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Old 19th July 2018, 01:10 AM   #121
Roboramma
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Name a few that aren't in it for the money or dabbling at a hobbyist level. Those that might join in funding something truly expensive like a Mars colony or an interstellar generation ship, say.
Yuri Milner put up 100 million dollars for this plan to send probes to Proxima Centauri, though I doubt they will succeed. 100 million dollars isn't much when it comes to actually making this sort of thing happen, but it's not peanuts:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_Starshot
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The project was announced on 12 April 2016 in an event held in New York City by physicist and venture capitalist Yuri Milner, together with cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who was serving as board member of the initiatives. Other board members include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The project has an initial funding of US$100 million to initialize research. Milner places the final mission cost at $510 billion, and estimates the first craft could launch by around 2036.[4] Pete Worden is the project's executive director and Professor Avi Loeb (Harvard University) chairs the Advisory Board for the project.[10]
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Old 19th July 2018, 03:56 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yuri Milner put up 100 million dollars for this plan to send probes to Proxima Centauri, though I doubt they will succeed. 100 million dollars isn't much when it comes to actually making this sort of thing happen, but it's not peanuts:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_Starshot
Is the $100m in a bank account and being spent already, or is it 'pledged'? We discussed this project here in some depth and it appeared to be verging on nutcase. An accuracy of 1 AU at a range of ~4 LY is astonishingly accurate (I think someone calculated the effect of getting the 'aim' wrong by even a minute of arc, and it was catastrophic and uncorrectable). Even then you have a ship of 1cm size carrying an even smaller camera that will usefully resolve features on the planet from a range of many millions of km? And the ship is traveling at 0.2 c. And the results have to be transmitted back home. Time to dig out that old discussion.

Estimated final cost of the project is $5-10B, a drop in the ocean compared to a ship that could carry people, or frozen embryos and robots.
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Old 19th July 2018, 08:43 AM   #123
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I had thought he'd actually given them the money, but yeah I don't know.

I agree that the project itself is a little crazy. The $100 million is only supposed to be part of the initial project which "research" on how to actually do the idea.

But it is at least an example of someone putting up some real money for space exploration without any plans of getting anything back. It's not billions, though, and it's not the perhaps trillions of dollars* that will have to be spent for anything real to be done about developing a permanent human presence off earth.

* Billions could be enough to start something that could go on to expand based on opportunities for businesses in space that then bring in more money and the incentive to invest more, etc.
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Old 19th July 2018, 09:02 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
You're thinking today, I'm talking in 100 years. As for the billionaires, there are more and more of them and some want to commercialize space.
There aren't really any commercial opportunities in space right now. Commercializing anything other than productive payloads to Earth orbit would require several generations of investment in supporting technologies. No billionaire alive today would live long enough to see a return on that investment.

There is no prosperous society on Mars, that could pay a profit of indigenous goods and services to Earth, in exchange for shipments of terrestrial goods and services. And there is no way in hell that all the Earth's billionaires, pooling all of their billions together, could build such a society fast enough to profit from such a commercialization effort. To be honest, I'm not sure that it's even possible at all, at any price.

Even asteroid mining, with current tech, isn't commercially viable. And I don't see any way to advance the tech fast enough to profit the current generation of billionaires. If any of them are trying to commercialize asteroid mining, they're idiots who are wasting their money.

On the other hand, billionaires who have taken space colonization as their hobby are in my opinion getting their money's worth regardless. But let's at least be clear about what's going on.
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Old 19th July 2018, 09:57 AM   #125
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You are still talking about current limits, Glenn and not thinking about future developments. As for limits of physics, sure, but we can still see deeper into space now than we did 50 years ago. It's possible there will be new instruments that don't rely strictly on optical resolution.

And I'm not sure what your objection is re private money. Why would commercial interests be an issue?
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Old 19th July 2018, 10:05 AM   #126
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I don't understand the 'but... reasons'.

Can anyone say that in 1970 (50 years ago) people imagined smart phones would be ubiquitous? Did anyone imagine the internet in it's current state? My dad at that time was putting a Commodore computer together using Heathkit.

There is no doubt there will be technological advances in space exploration that we don't know about today.
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Old 19th July 2018, 10:07 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I don't understand the 'but... reasons'.

Can anyone say that in 1970 (50 years ago) people imagined smart phones would be ubiquitous? Did anyone imagine the internet in it's current state? My dad at that time was putting a Commodore computer together using Heathkit.

There is no doubt there will be technological advances in space exploration that we don't know about today.
Somewhat closely, yes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_of_All_Demos

Although not the social media / web 2.0 stuff.
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Old 19th July 2018, 10:14 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Somewhat closely, yes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_of_All_Demos

Although not the social media / web 2.0 stuff.
But it's the social media/web 2.0 stuff, etc. I'm talking about when I say the world will look completely different 100 years from now.
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Old 19th July 2018, 10:18 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
There is no doubt there will be technological advances in space exploration that we don't know about today.
I've mentioned this before how this mentality puts futurism into a no win scenario.

Of course there will be advances, even major complete rewrites, of things in the future.

But you can't count on any one specific one happening, because that's unrealistic.

Which creates the paradox that our visions of the future, either in fiction or real world predictions.... have to assume things are going to change without actually changing anything.
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Old 19th July 2018, 11:30 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
You are still talking about current limits, Glenn and not thinking about future developments. As for limits of physics, sure, but we can still see deeper into space now than we did 50 years ago.
I repeat - the resolution of telescopes is limited by the laws of physics.

Your quote earlier:

"From the Moon landings to telescopes that are beginning to picture exoplanets directly and we've discovered a couple thousand exoplanets."

They are not, with very few exceptions, and even then the planet isn't 'pictured'. Discovering exoplanets is by deduction - by observing the slight dimming of the star on a regular basis as a planet passes across its disk each orbit, for example.

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
It's possible there will be new instruments that don't rely strictly on optical resolution.
Suggest one that might allow visual inspection of an exoplanet, revealing significant surface detail; even crude detail like oceans and continents and swathes of clouds. Or even non-visual. "It's possible that future science will solve all these technical issues" is always true (unless it breaks the laws of physics) but it has no business in the science section of a skeptics forum. It's unscientific, unless you can suggest a way in which it might happen. And then other factors can come into play when assessing how likely those advances are to actually help the proposed project. Things like timescales, expense, politics and so on.

"We can do this, but it will take 50% of the planet's GDP for 1,000 years" makes it 'possible, but not going to happen'.

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
And I'm not sure what your objection is re private money. Why would commercial interests be an issue?
I have no objection whatsoever to private money. My whole point there is that no self-respecting billionaire (or, to be accurate, a large cabal of them) would tip the kind of money into the kinds of projects we're discussing with no hope of some useful return. They didn't become billionaires that way. They might make the right noises and put in seemingly large amounts in order to promate their brand, however.
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Old 19th July 2018, 12:42 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
My whole point there is that no self-respecting billionaire (or, to be accurate, a large cabal of them) would tip the kind of money into the kinds of projects we're discussing with no hope of some useful return.
Bill Gates has donated about 50 billion to charities that will give him no useful return.
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Old 19th July 2018, 12:51 PM   #132
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Unless Skeptic Ginger thinks we're taking photographs of exoplanets her statement that we are beginning to detect exoplanets directly is perfectly correct. Two dozen so far. And future missions, including some already scheduled for launch, expect to increase the capability. Direct detection could be the primary method of detecting exoplanets within a decade.

Some currently scheduled missions will be able to indirectly map exoplanets. The Spitzer Space Telescope has already mapped temperature differences at low resolution on one exoplanet.

Methods to actually image are also under study. The Aragoscope for example. They are based on Interferometry and/or Synthetic Aperture.
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Old 19th July 2018, 01:49 PM   #133
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If that's what "telescopes that are beginning to picture exoplanets directly" means then I accept the point. But "picture"?
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