Saturday, November 28, 2015

Neil Degrasse Tyson....Saying What I say.....



Neil Degrasse Tyson is saying the things that I have been saying.  

The only difference is I have been saying these things for years.  Neil must have read my posts and is now trying to align himself with my way of thinking.

I have talked a lot about how private Companies are not as innovative as they all pretend to be.  A lot of the innovation comes straight from the Government.  Neil is now saying the same thing.

I have made fun of the idea of privatizing space travel and the delusion that the private sector can do a better job than NASA.  Neil is now saying the exact same thing.  

Just always remember who was saying these things first.....I was saying them before they were the sexy opinions to say.


"let’s just take the iPhone. The iPhone was not something that was invented in Apple’s labs. The iPhone has a touchscreen — well, Apple didn’t invent the touchscreen, the touchscreen was invented by an NSF grant to the Library of Congress for their visitor program. The iPhone can tell you where you are on the Earth’s surface — well those are GPS satellites, launched by the military, now a highly commercialized role, initially only a military role — but Apple did not invest in these satellites to make its iPhone find where you are on Earth. So who would’ve thought you could take these things, put them together, and have that become your product."

"You’re missing the fact that we only declared we’re going to the Moon because we were at war with the Soviet Union, we were in a cold war, so this is a war of technologies. The fact that Sputnik was launched in a hollowed out intercontinental ballistic missile shell — no one thought about the space over the atmosphere. We knew that you could control your own airspace, but how about your "space" space?"

"So there was our sworn enemy’s spacecraft flying over our head, and we knew it because they would send out radio signals and you could detect it. And so that’s why we went to the Moon. We didn’t go to the Moon because we’re explorers or discoverers, or we’re Americans. There’s a whole delusional front story that we tell ourselves about that era. And then, when we don’t go end up going to Mars, people cry foul. It was war that got us there, so let’s just be honest about that."

"Once you know what the actual drivers are, if you want to continue to achieve that goal, then you can at least base it on the reality of people’s decisions rather than what you wish they were."

"It seems really easy to delude ourselves about the state of space now, right? We look at a company like Mars One and say, "Oh yeah, totally, that seems possible. A reality show would definitely fund a mission to Mars." Or even SpaceX, we’ve looked at that company with wide eyes and only now question them after a very public failure.
The delusion that relates to private spaceflight isn’t really what you’re describing. They’re big dreams, and I don’t have any problems with people dreaming. Mars One, let them dream. That’s not the delusion."

"The delusion is thinking that SpaceX is going to lead the space frontier. That’s just not going to happen, and it’s not going to happen for three really good reasons: One, it is very expensive. Two, it is very dangerous to do it first. Three, there is essentially no return on that investment that you’ve put in for having done it first. So if you’re going to bring in investors or venture capitalists and say, "Hey, I have an idea, I want to put the first humans on Mars." They’ll ask, "How much will it cost?" You say, "A lot." They’ll ask, "Is it dangerous?" You’ll say, "Yes, people will probably die." They’ll ask, "What’s the return on investment?" and you’ll say "Probably nothing, initially." It’s a five-minute meeting. Corporations need business models, and they need to satisfy shareholders, public or private."

"A government has a much longer horizon over which it can make investments. This is how it’s always been. And the best example, I think, is Christopher Columbus. That was not a private mission. There were some private monies in the public monies that were used, but basically the mission statement was established by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, and they said go plant the flag wherever you land. There’s hegemonistic motivation, and it wasn’t specifically military at the time, but Spain certainly had an armada to back up their land grabs. Only after that, only after Christopher Columbus comes back and says, "Here are the people that I found, here are the foods, and here are the trade winds," only then does the Dutch East India Trading Company come in and make a buck off of it. They didn’t have to make that first investment. The risks were quantified, the cost was well understood, and the return on investment was calculable."

"That is a recurring model in the history of our civilization, and I don’t see any reason why that would be any different from advancing a frontier such as that in space.
So what is SpaceX doing now? They’re bringing cargo back and forth to the space station, as should have been happening decades ago."

"You don’t need NASA to move cargo, you get NASA to do the things that have never been done before. And then when they do it enough and there’s a routine, then you farm it off to private enterprise, which can actually do it more efficiently than you can, and presumably make a buck for having done so."

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