Charlie Dougherty's Shortform

post by Charlie Dougherty · 2022-05-05T07:45:13.404Z · EA · GW · 1 comments

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comment by Charlie Dougherty · 2022-05-05T07:45:13.539Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

TLDR: It would be a shame if we just cross our fingers and hope everything goes well in Space for the next 100 years. Also maybe we can all play nice and one day have a space elevator or 10.  Its stimulating to imagine the far future when we are orbiting suns throughout the universe, but until then we first have to play nice and figure out how to reliably get off of Earth. 

If the future of humanity is dependent on moving beyond earth, then any longterm plans are dependent on us being able to regularly escape Earth's gravity well with ease and low cost, at least while we are still dependent on Earth. 

Ignoring any Deus Ex Machina like an AGI that comes and sorts out all of our problems, we will have to make sure that escaping Earth's atmosphere remains possible based on our own efforts and problem-solving.  Not getting the next 100 years right could be a type of "lock in" that is frustrates future human flourishing. 

Currently the main issues I see for access to outerspace.

  1. Militarization of space, or the problem of states, or the problem of global coordination, the potential issue of ultrawealthy private actors
    1. Satellite-killing missiles
    2. Satellite-killing satellites
    3. Rocket-killing missiles or rockets
    4. Drones- murderbots for rockets or even aircraft
    5. Rogue space development, aka the desire for glory. How do we manage potential net negatives that can be ignored due to the desire for glory? 
  2. The Kessler Syndrome - Garbage production in LEO could spiral out of control to the point that it is extremely risky, potentially impossible, to launch anything out of Earth's atmosphere for a significant period of time (10s to 100s to 1000s of years).  
  3. The pure difficulty of exiting Earth's gravity well
    1. Cost
    2. Technological hurdles
    3. Access to appropriate launch sites
    4. Control of powerful actors over access to space
  4. Space Governance
    1. Currently it is the Internationl Telecommunications Union which regulates Low Earth Orbit and sets the requirements for satellite retirement and safety. 
    2. Coordination
    3. Planning out the future. 
    4. I cant imagine that we can afford many space elevators in the nearer future, so we will probably have to find a way to place nice here without causing any wars or destroying the elevator before it is built.

One (of many, surely) Assumption: Anthropcentric focus, I am not sure if I actually believe humanity should be separated categorically from our ecosystem. When I say 'we', I am saying whatever we decide is 'us' will probably go into space eventually.

If you are interested in this topic get in touch, I want to begin writing a series of posts first establishing why space is important and explaining immediate  concrete issues that we need to address before becoming an extra-earth phenomenon.  Its stimulating to imagine the far future when we are orbiting suns throughout the universe, but until then we first have to play nice and figure out how to reliably get off of Earth.