Thursday, March 02, 2006

Zubrin in China

Often at odds with Rand, Mark has an interesting post regarding Dr. Zubrin visit and speech in China.

Zubrin makes an interesting comment in his speech, " we enter the 21st Century, two nations stand out as leaders, the USA and China."

Some people might say, "well, he's just being nice to his hosts." In which case they could dismiss the comment. That would be a mistake, IMHO. People that look at the GNP (or whatever they call it these days) between the two countries might feel comfortable in dismissing China. People that say they're only doing things we did over 30 years ago would also be missing the relevant issue. I believe that Zubrin correctly shares my intuition that China is going to be a major player in space in the next few decades. I suspect the American government will not be as is suggested by this comment of Zubrin's, "...the United States has set itself the objective of sending humans to the Moon and Mars, but is actually spending over 90% of its manned space budget on the Shuttle and Space Station programs in activity that contributes almost nothing towards the achievement of that goal, and furthermore, plans to continue doing so for the next five years."

The bright spot is the vision of people that plan to take matters in there own hands regardless of what governments do. While no company by itself may be up to the task, in combination I think they'll provide all the elements for the private move into space. With access to the resources of space, government involvement may not matter that much.

Of course, you can't get away from the politicians. People have been trying since the dawn of time. Even with nukes, China is a limited threat to us now. They still live in a world where MAD works. But it would be another mistake to think they may not take advantage of any opportunity to diminish the power of American in world affairs. For example, what would a big rock hitting Yellowstone do and could we determine if it was a natural event or mischief by a country learning to move rocks?

Why Yellowstone? No reason, it's just brainstorming about a super volcano that's right about ready to blow given a geological minute or so. Might make a good movie, eh? Flying jumbo jets into skyscrapers might have made a good movie before 2001. What do you think, Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis?

I used to be a Ford fan, but I've always liked Bruce. Even his stinkers.

How's that for serious analysis?

Update: "...[competition] is a fact of existence. If you choose not to compete, you may (and likely will) still find yourself on the loosing side."

Well said.


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