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Would You Move to Space? 145

Posted by Cliff
from the real-estate-in-zero-gravity dept.
garyebickford asks: "Slashdot discussions on the SpaceShipOne flight talked about whether folks would take the flight if offered. It reminded me of a question that used to go around. If you were offered the opportunity to move permanently into space - perhaps an orbital environment, or asteroid (mining?) or another planet, etc. - and you had an 80% chance of living five years, would you take it? What if your chances were 50%?"
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Would You Move to Space?

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  • by aleonard (468340) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @01:47AM (#9503641)
    80% chance of living for five years, and reaping the tremendous bounty of mining an asteroid? I might just take up that offer. It'd be a hell of a ride, whether or not I make it alive.

    Also, just imagine the view every morning when you wake up. Every. Single. Morning. I'd risk my life for that, yes.

    It'd be nice to live free for once.
    • Also, just imagine the view every morning when you wake up. Every. Single. Morning.

      There would be no such thing as a "morning" anymore.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        There's such a thing as morning *now*?

        What is this "sunlight" people keep telling me about?
      • morning (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dpilot (134227)
        Depends on the asteroid's spin. There might even be a morning every hour. Too fast a spin might make working an asteroid impractical. (Coriolis, effective surface gravity, dizziness, etc.)
    • by Des Herriott (6508) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:16AM (#9505210)
      If you're out in space mining an asteroid, then you're going to be a minor employee of some large corporation. Unless you, yourself, are capable of reaching said asteroid and claiming it.

      So don't kid yourself that you'll be living free, or indeed reaping any kind of "bounty" other than the montly paycheck from your employers. Granted, the first few individuals to do this sort of work are likely to get some highly lucrative danger money; but if & when asteroid mining becomes routine, it'll be a pretty unglamorous life.
    • You have an incredibly beautiful sunrise out your window. Every. Single. Morning.

      How often do you get up to see it?

      Seeing Earth out your window would be cool... for a month. After that, it's like anything else. Been there, seen that.

      This is coming from someone who lives on a hill and has an incredible view of California out my living room window -- Los Angeles to the North, all the way down the coast to San Diego to the South (on a clear day, of course) and beautiful mountains to the East. Yeah, it's

      • You have an incredibly beautiful sunrise out your window. Every. Single. Morning.
        How often do you get up to see it?


        I can stare at an Earthrise. If I do that with a sunrise, I kinda get a burning in the retinas.
    • the problem with this proposal is exactly that.. every single goddamn morning - same view - same chores - doing jobs that mission control on earth schedules for you - excitement? sure it would be nice to be the first person on mars, but doing the same thing for every day-cycle for 5 years, without connection to real people, without holidays, without alcohol, without tobacco, without fresh porn, without football, without (most)hobbies.

      sad thing is, it would be boring in reality. after a while it would be ha
    • >I?It'd be nice to live free for once.

      The psycological issues of living in confined quarters in space are similar to those in prison or a submarine. Living in a very small space, with the same people for prolonged periods of time is not very nice, and it is what is considered as "removing the freedom" of a convict.

    • I agree it would be hella cool. But the view? Out where the asteroids are, you're so far from Earth that it would look similar to how Venus looks from here. A blue dot [cjb.net], brighter than the stars probably. When you wake up every "morning" all you'd see are stars, not too different to how the night sky looks from Earth. Perhaps a few more of them. Either way I think the view would get boring quickly.
      • Out where the asteroids are, you're so far from Earth that it would look similar to how Venus looks from here.

        Near-earth asteroids. I don't know if anyone really thinks mining the asteroid belt will be doable for a very, very long time. But there are thousands of large rocks near the Earth (like one which the BBC has said is estimated to hold, at current prices, $20 trillion in minerals), and we can be mining those for a very long time before ever touching the Mars-Jupiter belt.
        • I'm pretty sure the NEAs are called that because they have orbits relatively close to Earth's, rather than out past Mars. This doesn't mean that the asteroid itself is near Earth for very long - it might pass within a couple of million km once a "year", but at that distance you won't have much luck at getting pretty pictures. The Earth would look the size of the moon in the sky.
        • Mining the asteroid belt will probably best be done by robot probes bringing them [the asteroids] into a near-earth parking orbit. Alternately the old sci-fi idea of sending ships with mass drivers out and throwing them back towards earth and catching them has merit but sounds very dangerous to me. Probably best to stick with the probes. No pun intended.
  • Depends (Score:3, Funny)

    by The Clockwork Troll (655321) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @01:48AM (#9503645) Journal
    Do they have cable modems in space?
  • L.A.? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CyberVenom (697959) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @01:48AM (#9503646)
    An 80% chance of living 5 years? Isn't that the same as L.A.? Between the freeways, the gangs, and the smog, it sounds about right to me...
    • Yes but what if there were little green men who suicide bomb your shuttles and then shout 'Earthmen Go Home!' while dragging the bodies of your fellow species members behind their saucers and cutting the heads off any who let themselves be taken alive?
  • Kum-by-ya. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @01:51AM (#9503661)
    "If you were offered the opportunity to move permanently into space - perhaps an orbital environment, or asteroid (mining?) or another planet, etc. - and you had an 80% chance of living five years, would you take it? What if your chances were 50%?""

    What if there was peace, love and understanding on the Earth, so we wouldn't feel the pressure to leave?
    • Re:Kum-by-ya. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You greatly misunderstand the basics of human nature. Certainly pain, distrust, and conflict are responsible for much of our current technological development, but there is also the matter of insatiable curiosity. Unless you can block the sky from view, man will always look up at the twinkling stars, wondering what they are.

      We want to go there. It isn't a pressure away from Earth, it's a pull to the unknown.
    • "What if there was peace, love and understanding on the Earth, so we wouldn't feel the pressure to leave?"

      Yes because it would be boring. What would be left to do? The problem with perfection is that it is so dull.

      BTW there is peace, love, and understanding on Earth.
    • Re:Kum-by-ya. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by reallocate (142797)
      >>"What if there was peace, love and understanding on the Earth, so we wouldn't feel the pressure to leave?"

      We are what we are; we will take our problems with us. People imagine that some magic ideology and some kind of all-knowing government will change things, but that's a fantasy.
  • Perhaps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @01:58AM (#9503686) Journal
    Being a college nerd with poor social skills, I'm tempted to say yes to just about anything if there was a good chance of getting laid with a healthy member of the opposite sex. But I'm sure I'd regret it as I die in the vacuum of space. So no, I probably wouldn't even under such ideal conditions as I've only imagined but were not mentioned as perks.
  • Yes. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by feidaykin (158035) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @02:06AM (#9503732) Journal
    and you had an 80% chance of living five years, would you take it? What if your chances were 50%?

    Yes and yes. Those aren't great odds but the odds of being safe inside a automobile aren't great either... I'd rather die doing something that no humans have ever done...

    Kind of reminds of what someone much wiser than myself said on a similar subject here. [slashdot.org]

    • Yeah, but would you put your brain in a robot body?
      • Yeah, but would you put your brain in a robot body?

        Hmm... Depends on how much better the robot body would be than my current one I guess. Sounds like it might be fun, but then again I might miss the old ugly bag of mostly water. ;)

    • Less than 0.01% of people who ride in autos are killed each year, I think it could be as low as 0.0001%.
      • Less than 0.01% of people who ride in autos are killed each year, I think it could be as low as 0.0001%.

        While that sounds great, if you're one of the 50,000 people in the US killed in an automobile accident each year, you're still 100% dead.

  • by rice_web (604109) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @02:19AM (#9503842)
    But it'd probably get old, just like the Spice Girls. It seems like great fun at first, but you later realize that they really didn't deserve a movie, nor a nation-wide release. But hey, get back to me with the next big thing, like Furby 2.0 and maybe I'll be interested.
  • by Wetware (599523) <aseNO@SPAMenglish-in-america.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @02:35AM (#9503940)
    Yes and yes, in a heartbeat. Now, I don't think so. Maybe if the children were grown up. I would have to check with the boss though...
    • by way2trivial (601132) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @12:46PM (#9508671) Homepage Journal
      before my marriage, I had a discussion with my wife about things we wanted of each other, my wife had 'demands' and I had one,

      in all sincerity, I expressed the following..
      should the opportunity arise where I could go into space, even on a one-way trip (generation ship, suicide mission, whatever) and she could not go, (denied for whatever reason) I wouldn't go, but if she had the same opportunity, and declined to go,(doesn't want to leave the kids, doesn't want to leave the planet,) I'd go without her. she looked at me, said "ok" and immediately started laughing.

      I meant it, most truly, and remind her about it occasionally..

      • I'm betting that she was thinking if that was all you'd want in a prenup, she was fine ....

        She can lay claim to the house, the car, the money, the kids ....

        you can lay claim to any potential space flights which may or may not arise and any start wars action figures you might have brought to the marriage.

        Aim big I say. =)
  • by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @02:43AM (#9503995)
    i hear space is lovely this time of year. low pollution, few politicians, low crime rates and low taxes. as long as no one builds a black hole in my space-town.

    but seriously, who wouldn't. even if it sucks, humans are hardwired to explore new places, even if it's dangerous or they're not wanted.

    for further reading on human nature see the works of Smith, Agent.

  • Hell yes. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by torpor (458) <jayv@@@synth...net> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @02:51AM (#9504036) Homepage Journal
    I've been trying to find a quiet, non-NWO spot on this planet to live, but there ain't none left.

    Give me a six-pack worth of O2 and enough water to recycle through myself for 10 years or so, and I'll oversee the robotics on any asteroid you want.

    Of course, the issue of hydroponics - and what you can and cannot grow - would have to be worked out first.

    Just sign me up for the standard "Human Sustenance Science Package" (strictly -NOT- from Ikea, please...) and I'm there. Got my boots on right now.

    The possibilities for freedom on this planet have been long-since removed by the powers that be. Gimme another planet, or some other space body, and watch out. My descendants will be back in 50 years to re-claim Earth! :)
    • I've been trying to find a quiet, non-NWO spot on this planet to live, but there ain't none left.

      OK, for everyone who wants to go live in space cause it's 'free,' remember there are millions of square miles of ocean right here on earth to live on that no one claims ownership of. All you need is a boat and a bit of skill.
      If you want isolation, even in the 21st century you can isolate yourself from humanity just as much by going to sea, plus you get those beautiful sunsets/sunrises all to yourself.

      • I don't know what you are refering to here. Life in underwater environments, except for in very shallow waters, is going to be even harder to do than living on the moon. There are a few Seamounts that are in international waters that you might be able to claim, but most shallow areas are already claimed by nationalities, and the trend is for more and more of the ocean to be claimed by current governments. The current range is almost 200 miles of some sort of soverignty claim, which would clearly include
        • I don't know what you are refering to here

          The OP referred to wanting to live in space in order to be free and escape "normal" society and government. I suggested he get a sailboat and live alone at sea (outside territorial waters). The remotest place I've ever been is in the middle of the Atlantic and it's a hell of a lot easier to do that than to move to space in the near future. No assumption of building a society was made, but that is an interesting idea...

          there are still environmental dangers that

          • I was mainly talking about Hurricanes and other storms, sea swells, and other weather/atmospheric problems that happen when you are out at sea. Most intelligent sea captains will steer their ships well out of harm's way and try to avoid the really nasty storms. If you are floating in one spot (like a giant city at sea), it is much harder to move to get away from those environmental issues. When 40' waves start to pound on you, how do you deal with them? A small craft simply rides out the storm, and a la
            • I would grant that the level of technology necessary to maintain such a floating city is not nearly as great as maintaining a city in space

              Change "not nearly" to "not remotely" and I will agree with you. That's all I've been saying: it's far easier to build on Earth. All of the resource problems you (correctly) identify with living at sea would also exist in space.

              That said, there is a good reason this isn't happening, and perhaps we should try to see what other issues are involved in preventing such

  • Hell yeah, I would. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mmm coffee (679570) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @02:52AM (#9504041) Journal
    In fact, if there was a 100% chance of me dieing within an hour of me getting into orbit, I'd still go if given the chance. I mean, every night I look up at the stars and I just wonder. The chance to experience life outside the womb of mother earth for just one minute... yeah, that's worth trading my life for. I am willing to die just to gaze upon the earth, stars and other galaxies from the outside for just one minute.

    In that one minute I would see, learn, and experience more than most people see, learn, and experience in their entire lives. I would have an idea of my place in the universe that few currently have.

    All of that near infinite universe and the chance to experience it outside the earth? Yeah, that's worth dieing for. An 80% chance of dieing within five years? I'd consider that a bonus - more time to experience it.

    Yeah, I'm an oddball.
    • by DAldredge (2353)
      Or you could wait a few years till others work out the bugs, then enjoy years alive in space. Nothing that only lasts 60 seconds is worth dying for.
      • [sarcasm]Ahh...that's what I like to hear...that good old can-do pioneer spirit that makes America great[/sarcasm] (guessing you're American, based on your e-mail).

        I guess it's a good thing that not everyone has that attitude, or there'd be no "others" to work out the bugs for you.

    • At the risk of sounding trite...

      We. Are. In. Space. Already.

      Right now as I type, and then as you read, we are traveling through space on a large (by our standards not the Universe's) rock. Stepping outside this rock's thin layer of atmosphere to get a better look at the stars is a matter better suited for a space based telescope. Sure, I like to experience extended periods of weighlessness and look at the stars from a little more clear perspective, but I wouldn't want to travel in a manner which is less


      • Right now as I type, and then as you read, we are traveling through space...

        Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
        And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
        That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
        A sun that is the source of all our power.
        The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
        Are moving at a million miles a day
        In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
        Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.

        Our galaxy itself contains a
      • On related matter, I don't think that we'll ever see colonization of space (other than the occasional oddball), the cost of maintaining life there is too high, and will likely remain so through our lifetimes.

        *sigh* Right. We won't see colonization of space. Whatever you say. Why don't we just back up a bit and we caqn see how many other things there are that should have been discounted out-of-hand, shall we?

        • We'll never put a man on the moon/in space
        • We'll never be able to have computers small enough
        • Space travel is not space colonization. All of the equipment created yet so far cannot sustain life without continuious and expensive resupply from the spacecraft where we currently live (Earth).

          Of course, all of the programs, vehicles, habitats, and support systems created to date to accomplish that goal have been developed by governments. Same thing happened with early aviation, but of course, commercialization changed a lot about the costs.

          Early avaiation was explored by two brothers on winter vaca

          • Space travel is not space colonization. All of the equipment created yet so far cannot sustain life without continuious and expensive resupply from the spacecraft where we currently live (Earth).

            Space travel is not space colonization, but the two have a symbiotic relationship, and advancing one means advancing the other. It is true, at present, that we have to resupply all habitats to sustain life...all the more reason for active work to be done on severing that tie.

            Early avaiation was explored by two b

        • Yes, I realize that you didn't say we'd never have space colonization at all, but why presume to know that it won't happen before you die? The cost of maintaining life there is to high...ahh...yes. Of course, all of the programs, vehicles, habitats, and support systems created to date to accomplish that goal have been developed by governments. Same thing happened with early aviation, but of course, commercialization changed a lot about the costs.

          I keep hearing this comparison of commercialization of space

  • ...I could pack up my things, move to the fringes and learn to say "aint".

    More seriously, what's the pay? If asteroid mining rakes it in, maybe they'd need an IT Manager. Can't be worse than a fly-in-fly-out job in Tanzania.

  • No, but (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmac (51623) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:13AM (#9504166) Journal
    it would probably make me happy if
    *you* did. And take your friends, too!
    I mean, really, earth would be a great
    place if it wasn't for the people.

    On a more serious note, though, until
    we can travel at the speed-of-thought
    and *then* find a suitable earth-like
    planet, I'd rather we spent our time
    trying to fix our damaged ecological
    and societal systems.

    Peace & Blessings,
    bmac
  • by Sierran (155611) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:17AM (#9504197)
    Yes and yes. I'd go. If NASA called and said they had a pre-Challenger O-Ring shuttle that had been sitting in freezing rain for two days and they needed a mission specialist, I'd be on the next plane. Would I live there? If it meant *either* that I could do so undamaged (zero-gee, radiation) by the day-to-day experience, barring accidents; *or* that my doing so would increase the chances others would get to do so, then yes, in a New York Minute, baby.
  • by warm sushi (168223) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:19AM (#9504208)

    Not that I know the actual stats, but 80% survival rate over 5 years sounds pretty good. What was the survival rate of the early European-American colonists? Accounting for disease, starvation, being stabbed by someone or eaten by something - would it be better than 80%? Probably not.

    So hell yes. I'd go. Anyone with a sense of adventure and courage would go (or in Australia's case, anyone with a criminal record).

    The rewards are potentially massive (better than a tiny farm plot which is all the early colonists got) and the experience?! To have your name recorded as one of the first to colonise off-earth! Immortality is yours! Go and take it!

    I don't think anyone could argue that a shortage of highly motivated and suitable volunteers would be a problem. Rather, the real problem is getting us all up there. At 80% or 50% or even 10%.

    I'm ready now.

    • What was the survival rate of the early European-American colonists?
      The colonists were fleeing a society they didn't like.

      I guess I'm getting old or something. I'd love to live in space. But I don't like those odds.

  • Where's the signup sheet at?

    80% over 5 years... that's damn good odds. Better than driving in LA traffic for a year :P Even 50% over 5 years. I'd be game for it. In a heartbeat. ScaledComposites, NASA, JSDA, John Carmack, whoever wants me, I'm available.
  • by MikShapi (681808) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:45AM (#9504342) Journal
    Being someone who is currently moving his life and family from one side of the world (Israel) to the other (Australia), I can clearly point out that as nostalgically charming as moving into space may sound,

    ** There is more to making such a decision than the presence (or lack thereof) of vaccum around the place we call home **.

    Questions such as these arise:
    * What are the prospects of a quality life there? (which leads to further questions like how we measure quality of life - by the amount of green around our house? the amount of accessible online gadget stores that ship to our location?)
    * What are the prospects of economic prosperity there? Taxation? Salaries?
    * Can I work in my chosen field there?
    * Can I practice my recreation activities there? (Think diving, snowboarding, etc.)
    * What kind of mentality do the people who live there share?
    * WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

    Hell, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Would I move into space? Tell me what's waiting for me there and what I'm running from here for starters, and I'll consider it.

    The only people who'd answer such a question offhand are people who are either miserable with their current lives, don't have any, or are very deep into their fantasy worlds.

    That kind of problem can usually be solved using much simpler methods.
  • by keoghp (457883) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:59AM (#9504410)
    According to my dad, I was nearly an astronaut.
    He said if he'd pulled out 2 seconds earlier I would have been shot into space.

  • Need I say more?
    Hm, maybe... Support Spacegeeks Worldwide at these (and many more) organizations:
    Mars Society [marssociety.org]
    Mars Frontier [mars-frontier.org]
    Planetary Society [planetarysociety.org]
    Space Frontier [space-frontier.org]
  • Can I return?
  • by turgid (580780) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:31AM (#9504822) Journal
    When you're young, life is long, and quite often boring, and any excitement is welcome.

    I'd love to go into space, but I don't see why it has to be risky, or why we should accept high risks in a gung-ho fasion. There is plenty of intelligent and advanced engineering that can be done to minimise risk. I realise that people do dangerous things like mountaineering for sport and for fun, but that's not my cup of tea.

    As I get older, and become more aware of the limited time available for life, I realise that there's lots to do. Anyone can put their body into space, alive or dead, for short periods of time. What I'm saying is there is more to most people than a physical presence.

    I can imagine getting very bored with being in space, cooped up in a tiny craft for any length of time. Many of us don't appreciate the importance to our well-being and sanity of being in the natural environment which we've evolved to be in. Could you imagine being in a tin can for years breathing recycled air, having nothing to eat but a small selection of plants and freeze-dried food? What about experiencing day and night, wind, tide, rain, hearing bird song, the fragrance of flowers and freshly cut grass or a good chicken jalfrezi? What about the company of friends and family? What about gravity? Wouldn't you get bored with floating about all the time and not being able to walk?

    I'd love to go into space, for a week or two, in a safe, reliable and comfortable craft. Some people have that gung-ho spirit and would throw their lives and well-being away for a few minutes of experience that one day will be as common as walking down the street. Whatever floats your boat.

    Personally, I'd prefer a more considered and rational approach, but heck, I'm rapidly becoming and old git.

    • What about experiencing day and night, wind, tide, rain, hearing bird song, the fragrance of flowers and freshly cut grass or a good chicken jalfrezi?

      I know, what about experiencing an earth-rise, floating in zero gravity with the entire universe beneath your feet, seeing nebula with the naked eye and stars as bright as diamonds. I mean, you can't just live your life in some crappy space port and expect to see anything as mind-shatteringly cool as that. Err, oh wait...
      • by turgid (580780)
        I know, what about experiencing an earth-rise, floating in zero gravity with the entire universe beneath your feet, seeing nebula with the naked eye and stars as bright as diamonds. I mean, you can't just live your life in some crappy space port and expect to see anything as mind-shatteringly cool as that. Err, oh wait...

        Like I said in my post, it would be nice for a week or two, but the novelty would soon wear off and I'd be craving my earthly paradise. For me it's not worth givin up my life to experienc

  • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:35AM (#9504842)
    Five years is a long time. What is the quality of like like, and what am I achieving while I am there?

    Five years sitting inside a small capsule just to prove it can be done - forget it.

    Five years in a moderately cramped environment with good communications, building part of a real space station, participiting in the escape from Earth - you're on.

    While danger is not irrelevant, the cause, the goal, is much more relevant. People have taken huge risks for a cause they believe in - and lost, not infrequently. I believe in trying to ensure that humanity is not limited by the finite resources of the Earth. I want humans to inherit the stars. I am prepared to risk quite a lot of danger, and quite a lot of discomfort, in that goal. But not infinite danger, and not infinite discomfot.

    So - give me a worthwhile job to do, and I'll sign up.
  • One rule: Will move for bandwidth
  • Armageddon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vincman (584156) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (kcilywnav.tnecniv )> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:16AM (#9505207) Homepage
    Incidentally, probably the only thing the movie Armageddon [imdb.com] has to contribute to society, is the answer to this question. The typical person who would most likely take on an assignment in space, like drilling into an astroid or setting up base there, would have to have little ties like family, be very well paid (at those odds) and more than slightly suicidal. This is not a scientist's (or nerd's) type of job. It involves following instructions to the letter (like: drill here) and very hard and continuous manual labour. After that part is done, people can start to think about *living* in space, at far better odds.
    • Actually, 'very hard and continuous manual labor' is one thing very likely NOT required in any space situation. So far, we haven't been effectively able to cool the space suits. Every time I've heard of a mission that has involved significant EVA, especially active EVA, cooling and internal humidity have been the limiting factors. The astronauts have had to slow down to the cooling and dehumidification limits of the space suits.

      The problem extends, and is more general. Every time I hear of electronics in s
    • "(or nerd's) type of job."

      Yea, just think of the R&R time. My UT2004 pings would be through the roof!
  • Freedom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by heikkile (111814) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @08:03AM (#9505422) Homepage
    Several posters here have expressed an opinion that going to space would be the only way to find "freedom", what ever they mean with it. In my humble opinion, things would not be very much different out there for a long time. We would be bringing our earthly culture with us, with even more strict rules and regulations. For a long time any possible habitat would be owned by large corporations, and/or by earthly nations. In any case, they would be sure to insist on their red tape everywhere.

    Of course at some point said colonies would get their independence, and presumably could offer some "freedom" for newcomers. Of course, acquiring independence has traditionally been a bloody mess, and as often as not has lead to a very unfree dictatorship...

    Once independent, the new colonies would be kindly requested to sign trade treaties etc, and as a condition to doing so, promise protection for intellectual property etc. Until and unless they'd be totally self-sufficient, the colonies would have to agree to limit music downloads and software piracy and everything else the earthlings demand...

    All in all, going to space will happen, it will be exciting, dangerous, and rewarding, but it will not provide much "freedom" in any way. That's my prediction.

    • Interplanetary Internet links would be disastriously slow...Internets would be mostly seperated by the planets themselves. Until something more efficient than lightspeed radio or laser links was thought up, interplanetary communications will not be instant.
      • Interplanetary Internet links would be disastriously slow...Internets would be mostly seperated by the planets themselves.

        Given that bandwidth would start becoming less of a concern over interplanetary transmissions, I'm guessing that the Inter(pla)net would be developed around some form a queued requests for large information archives. e.g. A request for slashdot.org would return all current pages and images. Large file downloads would probably come in separate requests.
  • Yes, without even thinking I would say yes. I am a science fiction junkie, what I cannot do in actuality I do in imagination. I explore the stars through fiction at least two hours a day, every day.

    When most people look at the night sky, seeing the wonders of the universe layed out before them, they see many different things, signs from above, pictures etc.

    When I look at the night sky, I see a billion suns that I will never visit (except in fiction), a hundred billion planets that I will never see, or wal
  • You guys are nuts. Think about this:

    HIGH LATENCY TO QUAKE 3 SERVERS.

  • Even at 50/50 odds the chance to step a little closer to the stars appeals to me in profound ways. I don't know off the top of my head but what were the odds of surviving a trip to the pacific in a covered wagon? What were the odds for a British naval conscript to grow old? There have always been daredevils carrying the human race a few steps further away from the Tigris River. Had I been born 15000 years ago I would have been one of them.
  • If I were single the answer would absolutely be "Hell yeah!".

    Since I'm married with a daughter and a son on the way, I'd have to say no - unless I could persuade them to come with me.

    I'd love to emigrate to Mars. If the option becomes available within my lifetime, I *know* I'll try to persuade them. My wife won't go for it, but who knows how my kids will feel when they grow up... maybe they can persuade Mommy ;)
  • by Raven42rac (448205) * on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @09:27AM (#9506183)
    When we are discussing this, remember that the same discussions were held nearly 500 years ago. Replace the word "space" with "the new world" or "the wild west". There is probably an added element of danger with it being space and all. It probably evens out with the pioneer days, animals, weather, etc.
  • by jht (5006)
    FIrst off, I kinda like it here.

    Secondly, and more importantly, here on Earth I have a family, the ability to enjoy the outdoors unencumbered by a survival suit, weather, seasons, and all the nice things that accompany a home. The only things I have here that I don't like are bills. But when you pay them, they seem to go away for a few weeks (go figure).

    Giving that up to live in space, likely performing drudge work for whoever financed the trip is not my lifestyle of choice.

    However, given favorable odd
  • One word: Outland (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smchris (464899) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @12:07PM (#9508129)

    The drugs and hookers would have to be _really_ good. But forgetting to put your helmet on during decompression can be a mind-blowing bummer.

    This overlooked movie has always been my standard to judge all movies about what "fun" it would be to work in the greater solar system.
  • by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron@hot m a i l.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @12:10PM (#9508179) Homepage
    After reading Kim Stanly Robinson's Red Mars I thought about this a lot. I considered whether or not I'd go to Mars if I had the chance, assuming it meant it was a one-way trip, with a high likelyhood that I would die on Mars, on account of the radiation. Not sure why I had this stuck in my head, there are ways to shield the radiation. But I think I'd do it, though not at this point in my life... I'd have to be older.

    With an 80% chance of survival... I think I'd do it now, as long as my S.O. could go with me, and I think she would. As for 50%... well, let's just say that I'd wait a little while longer until the odds got better. :)

    If you've not read Red Mars, as well as the rest of the series (Green Mars, Blue Mars) I highly reccomend it. KSR is on comissions at NASA and elsewhere for Mars colonization. He certainly knows what he's talking about. The really great thing about Red Mars is that it is very, very realistic- there isn't a lot that we couldn't do now with the right resources. When you read a book that is *so* close to what we could achieve now, it really makes you think, and makes you wish you could be one of the First Hundren. :)
  • Achilles' choice (Score:3, Informative)

    by raider_red (156642) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @02:27PM (#9510010) Journal
    According to myth, the fates appeared to Achilles and offered him a choice between a short but interesting life, or a long but unremarkable life. He chose the life where people would remember him after he was gone.

    I'd have to take the chance if it was offered. How many people have had the chance to fly in space? Even with all of its risks, I'd have to try.

  • Ask Slashdot: Would You Move to Space?

    What if we all said "please"? Would you do it if everybody signed a petition asking you to?
  • I'd do it. In a heartbeat. An 80% chance of living is pretty decent, especially if I would be seeing things no other human being alive (or ever) has seen before.

    I've always had an interest in spaceflight, and in studying asteroids. I'd gladly give up a lot of things for the chance to fly up into space and live there, study there, put myself into the history books, etc.

    Risk is always present. I might get run over by a truck tomorrow, or perhaps some Muslim bozo SOB will drop a nuke on Chicago and I'll
  • I have read many posts where the author compares moving into space or another planet to that of the colonial period in North America. However, I think there is one key difference between that time in history and the possibilty of the current topic and that is oppurtunity. Many early settlers moved to the Americas looking for prosperity, some found it and others perished. Also, others moved looking for religious or other types of freedom. However, they knew that upon arrival they would find a lush land c
    • A lush land capable of supporting lifestyles they expected?

      Many colonies in America had some absolutely huge disasters. Buena Vista (now Los Angeles) was a small Spanish colonial settlement that died off completely due to a lack of water. The settlers litterally died of starvation. Similar problems happened in Jamestown for the original settlement of Virginia, where the entire settlement of over 100 people completely disappeared. There are some suggestions that the settlers "went native", and adopted t
      • Well, early America compared to Mars is a lush land and after settlers learned how to deal with living in a new environment, some were enormously successful -- some sold tobacco or cotton for huge profits (although this is some time later than the time of the very first settlers).

        I don't really see how living on Mars could be profitable, so that motivation is gone. As far as being free on Mars, I don't know if such a situation would ever truely exist. How can you show that the plot of land that you own i
        • While I can't think of what to extract from Mars, I can think of many things that would make it very convient to go to several asteroids, particularly to extract minerals that on Earth are scarace and/or in countries that may be hostile to the interests of one or more other countries on the Earth. I'm not talking just petroluem either. You can look at a periodic table and seem elements that are difficult to obtain on the Earth that in space can be extracted and found in different amounts, some to be mined
    • During the colonial period, it was typically not the colonists themselves that financed their trip to the new world. Instead, people with money, i.e. businessmen, sponsored colonists. Outfit a ship full of people looking for something new, or willing to work as indentured servants to get to the new world; give 'em all the supplies you think they'll need to survive & they agree to send home profitable goods. In those days it largely meant fur. In this respect, sponsoring people to take off into space

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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