Wild Technological Leaps by the 2030s

The 2020s could see the true birth of true 21st Century Technology.

Fully Reusable Rockets Instead of Planes

Fully reusable SpaceX Starships will lower the cost to access space by ten to one hundred times. There will be thousands of Starships built by 2030. Each can cost less then $20 million which is ten times less than a 767 cargo plane. The Starship would move 100 tons at mach 20 while the 767 moves at 0.8 mach and moves about 50 tons. The 767 costs $200 million.

Millions of Satellites for Multi-gigabit Internet and Super GPS Everywhere

SpaceX already has over 1300 Starlink satellites in orbit and they are providing download speeds up to 400 megabits per second with 20 second latency. Super Heavy Starship drops the per Starlink launch cost by fifty to one hundred times. The launch cost drops ten to twenty times and the payload increases by five times. SpaceX already launched 240 Starlink satellites in one month. SpaceX could increase to launching 24,000 Starlink satellites in a month. This would mean ten gigabit per second download speeds everywhere on Earth with a capacity to replace all cellular and internet communication. This would also mean centimeter-accurate GPS for global robots and not just in warehouses.

Self-Driving Cars, Self Driving Trucks and Robotaxis

Ten cents per mile Robotaxi’s and level 5 full self-driving could arrive in the 2022-2025 timeframe. Cars built with the hardware for these systems are already on the road. There should be 4 million such cars in 2022 and over 20 million full self-driving cars could be built by 2025. Ten million robo-taxis could give rides equal to 100 million human-driven cars.

AI Conquers Self-Driving and Ready to Automate Robots and Everything Else That Moves

Tesla has created their own chips for the Dojo self-driving training supercomputer. Tesla will be using NPU chips (Neural Processing Unit). Currently, it takes 3 days to do a training session for self-driving. The deployment of Dojo will allow for larger training sets and reduce the training time to 7 hours. This would allow three training sessions per day instead of two per week. The new hardware and software will enable unlabeled and more unsupervised training. Parts of Dojo were already online in August-October 2020. More parts of Dojo have been released or are being released with the new FSD betas. Self-driving training and improvement will scale up by ten times and then accelerate even more with additional training software and process improvements and being able to leverage more data.

The self-driving car and truck system will be applicable for self-driving of drones, airplanes and automation of robots.

Hyper Integration of Cities for Massive Economic Boosts and a Post Pandemic Boom Greater Than Post WW2 Boom

Electric self-driving trucks would be on the road 23 hours out of every day. This would triple the miles driven compared to human trucks where the driver would have to rest after 8 hours of driving.

There are about 60 million people in the North-Eastern USA (Boston, New York, DC regions). Instead of this being a loosely connected cluster of 4 metro-areas self-driving trucks could integrate the region. This would be a quadrupling of connected people and potentially provide a 25-30% boost in per capita productivity.

The top 29 global megaregions generate $29 trillion in GDP. If connectedness was boosted with self-driving vehicles for a 25-30% boost in productivity for all megaregions this would be a global boost of $8-10 trillion.

Solar and Battery Future Could go to 50% by 2030

Massive infrastructure spending could increase solar, wind and battery storage energy to 40-50% of total US energy by 2031.

Antiging Warp Speed Project Well Underway and Delivering Results

The biggest thing could be a multi-trillion dollar warp speed program to deliver radical antiaging by 2035. This could get started by 2025. There could be initial treatments that provide some antiaging benefits which will make everyone realize comprehensive, combination antiaging treatments is a realistic and urgent goal.

An interesting result is that Elon Musk could become a multi-trillionaire, make our species multi-planetary but he would be historically rated behind the heroes who conquer aging for humanity.

SOURCES- Tesla, SpaceX, Wikipedia, Visual Capitalist
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

128 thoughts on “Wild Technological Leaps by the 2030s”

  1. Big Demand? Quality of Life past 75: alzheimer's, dementia, short-term memory loss, brittle bones, and sight/ hearing. People have different expectations for minimum functionality – therefore different needs for anti-ageing therapies. The amount of money and time commitment may not be worth it to be '25 again' (sell your house and half your income ongoing) — maybe ok to be 50-ish perpetually at 100k down and $2k per month

  2. It's a lot easier to cripple things if you start before anybody has something working. You start yelling, "Replicators would allow people to manufacture illegal drugs! They'd have to be heavily regulated to keep people from printing guns! We'd have to cripple them to be safe!"

    And the venture capitalists decide there are better places to put their money.

  3. Saw a sketch for a very slow flying wing with panoramic viewing lounges in the wings. Reminded me of the 'Maungakiki Monster' – a one-off microlight built by a farmer in the North Island, designed to be slow enough to check out his farm, and land anywhere. It used a hang glider style A-frame for bracing, but about twice as big, with the pilot high enough to go over fences rather than through them, in case of mishap.

  4. The disadvantage is that in bad weather, they're too slow to run and too big to hide. Make them tougher and they're too heavy or too expensive. The US Navy gave up on them after they lost the Akron in a storm. 'The Navy blimp  J-3—sent out to join the search—also crashed, with the loss of two men.'

  5. I guess that the routes I see going that way are using the winds, which aren't much help in something like an Ekranoplane.

  6. The Great Circle route from Auckland to the Falklands goes all the way down to 66 S. Via the Bering Strait is 3000 km shorter, and more interesting, and you'd need radar anyway.

  7. popular demand? – increased demand for larger power at homes for EVs, 'larger space' conditioning demands (slight urban depopulating means larger properties for remote work – all day) with stalled energy efficient walls/ roofs and larger windows — maybe now minimum is a 100A/200A, soon need 360A+? how to supplement? – some on-site and local solar, on-site and local battery? nat gas can do all conditioning? home-life energy-demanding tech being rejuvenated?

  8. I'd have thought you'd stick to 40 or even 50 degree latitude until you reach the Falklands, and then head north? Less icebergs.

  9. Started spinning out all sorts of crazy notions about how to cripple replicators to enable centralized bureaucratic control of what people could make.

    Based on how effectively the "print guns at home" movement has been crippled, I expect this would slow things down by up to a week.

  10. I think CapitalistRoader is probably correct when it comes to the increase in CO2 output, but as your link shows, not the actual output.

  11. I due wonder how many people err using voice-to-text, seeing ass how often wee sea spelling missed steaks that luke phonetic.

    And how often they are just illiterate.

  12. To be fair, the distance involved is a constant for any particular journey. So that cancels out and you've only got btu/lb.

  13. I think this number came from the earlier articles about how productivity goes up with a larger city, and so if you extrapolate that out to a single city with the population of 60 million you get that 25% productivity improvement.
    Though this assumes that

    1. Just having self driving vehicles so you don't need to control the car to drive to the building (shop, office, factory, home) 200 km away makes it just the same as if that building was only 20 km away.
    2. The bigger city → more productivity is a direct cause and effect situation. It could well be the other way around: Most people are more miserable in a big city so the only reason they would move there is for a higher paying career.
  14. They already have those. They are called truck stops. Just replace a few of the diesel pumps with battery swap mechanisms.

  15. Yeah very difficult to argue with SpaceX's aggressive timelines. Sure they don't quite deliver but they are obviously on track.

  16. The only papers I have seen on this are for fusion second stages. Fusion thrust to weight ratios just aren't viable for first stages. Also you need aneutronic fusion if operating in Earth's upper atmosphere.

    Quick web search turned up not much. There was an Air Force paper about using a p-B11 dense plasma focus as an upper stage engine some years ago.

  17. I would be curios to know if Tesla built this in somehow (even if tesla 2.3). Seems a no brainer. I want to open the first Battery Swap Station. I'll even serve free coffee!

  18. a 747 can fly every day for 30 years even assuming that you can fly 24 hours flights firth in flight refueling it leaves you to 24x365x30=262800 hours, to fly 10 million hours you have to fly non stop for 1141 years… But yes, you need a rocket to be reusable several thousand times to be close to competitive (and it still will not be because they use more fuel)

  19. So, given the general outlook of the Lynas and Ruddiman books, neither of which I have read, they being quite recent, but which seem in line with general enviro concerns, are they better *understood* than the O'Neill/Criswell solutions to the problems presented? Clearly! Are they as important? Clearly NOT!

  20. Both books are preaching to the choir, they point out how vital O'Neill and Criswell are, without knowing about them. Have you read them both? You have a name wrong, so I must ask. They seem *Small World*, like you?

  21. Sheesh, even the old black and white SF movies had acceleration seats on gimbles, so that you'd always be experiencing weight in the same direction through maneuvers. These are problems that can be solved.

  22. Grasping at straws, as you are now doing, instead of dealing with the challenge, global weirding, etc, as I am, is a definite sign that you would greatly benefit from reading "The Primal Scream" 1970 and the more developed "The Biology of Love" 2000, both by Arthur Janov. You can be cured! Have you read "The Primal Scream"?

  23. But, as I pointed out, drag scales as the square, and available power/fuel/cargo capacity scales as the cube, so airships look better and better as they get bigger.

    The big advantage of airships is the capacity to reduce their ground speed all the way to zero without losing their lift. Means you don't need long runways out in the countryside, they can actually dock with a mooring tower pretty much anywhere.

  24. As for 2005-8 *come lately* climate info, see David R. Criswell Lunar Solar Power proposal, first pub 1984. Knowing how to solve a problem (people on Earth) is better than knowing recent details of the problem but still not how to solve it. Which is your predicament, and Mark's (Lynas, btw), and William's. Criswell is a correction to O'Neill Space Solar, just in case you have not read "The High Frontier". Have you read "The High Frontier'? I also recommend "The Sea Around Us", which was good when I read it in grade school, in the 60s, before the other book came out. Of course, you know the author of that! Just in: Bill Gardner and PBS in the documentary, "Extinction: The Facts."


  25. Gandhi read Thoreau Civil Disobedience in South Africa early on, told Tolstoy about it, who then wrote War and Peace in response. I learned this reading Gandhi after having already read War and Peace, all by the 70s. Did you know this about War and Peace? Have you read any Gandhi? Have you read "The High Frontier" by Gerard K. O'Neill?

  26. The ultra rich don't like explosive decompression/rapid unplanned disassembly/prefunereal incineration any more than the hard of paying. Even if Starship doesn't do a Paris Concorde, the stats suggest it very likely will.

  27. Most of the graphs I've seen have Norway with the highest standard of living on earth anyway. They use nearly twice as much electricity per head as the Yanks, and it's all from hydro. Might as well run their cars on it too. Then they can sell more oil to the peasants.

  28. If you're moving at any useful speed, lift is not a problem, but drag is, which is why everything flying now derives from the Wrights, not the Montgolfiers. Even for sightseeing, I've seen better proposals than gasbags.

  29. I'm hanging out for a nuclear ekranoplane – New Zealand to London, through the Bering Strait and over the Pole. Sounds a bit safer than being shot there through a vacuum in a tin can.

  30. Have you read anything since "The High Frontier"? Apart from "The Primal Scream", of course. Allow me to recommed "Six Degrees", by Mark Lyas, "Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate", by Professor William Ruddiman, and "War and Peace" by Count Leo Tolstoy. That should keep you going for a while, come back to me when you've finished.

  31. I'm even older. I was steeped in airplanes and Space all my childhood, astronomy, the works. Timothy Leary recommended O'Neill in 77, blew my mind! SMIILE. The Space part is slides indicating the progress you reference, we are just on a continuum of progress, not an end point.

  32. I remember when jet contrails were a new thing, at least away from military bases. I can remember when airliners all seemed to be turboprops, don't think I ever rode on a piston airliner. I remember flying to Columbia, SC when I was 4, it was a turboprop. The airline made a big deal about it.

  33. Wise man say, everything concrete is based on chemistry, and physics, everything else is fiction, or solely symbolic.

  34. How about the landing flip. Yes, they will survive, but they (normies) might not ever want to do that again.

  35. Have you read "The High Frontier"? edit: no response? Still claim that "O'Neill does not mean ISM/RU"? That one is a keeper! edit: still no response! Howse this: what is the BO HQ bldg name?

  36. I make no such assumption, any would grant any kind of rotating habitat of any non trivial size as qualifying as an O'Neill colony.

    Space Solar is Space Solar
    ISM/RU is ISM/RU

    O'Neill does not mean ISM/RU. You appear to have your own made up nomenclature, why create an unnecessary incompatible epistemic standard which makes interacting with a would be interlocutor a more difficult exercise than it is already?

    As everyone else in the world knows the term in context, Bezos isn't doing "O'Neill" in any way, shape, or form.
    He's working on traditional launch services and the only new space solution in decades, service to the surface of the moon.

  37. "Starlink satellites in orbit and they are providing download speeds up to 400 megabits per second with 20 second latency." Is that right ? 20 seconds of latency is pretty unacceptable for most internet tasks. I suspect that number might be wrong. I think 20ms  might make more sense.

  38. How long would the starship accelerate for? Roller coasters typically only accelerate for a couple of minutes.

  39. Non-rocketry approaches, such as rotovators, launch loops, and so forth.

    Rockets aren't the only way to get from ground to orbit, they're just the lowest infrastructure investment.

  40. Musk says his rockets are only reusable around 100 times. This means you're still paying $200k per flight. So you'd need to transport a 1000 people @ $2k a pop to just break even on that. This excludes fuel costs etc. Note that a 767 is good for 10 million flight hours.

    While it would be good to do an international trip in 30 minutes, I can't figure out the economics of this. Or perhaps it will be travel for the ultra rich just like the Concorde.

  41. You make a very common assumption, that O'Neill *is* Island 3. This assumption is false! If you see the BO/BM energy stuff, that is O'Neill, start with Space Solar, textbook! Use lunar resources, textbook O'Neill bootstrapping. You clearly have not read "The High Frontier" by Gerard K. O'Neill, avail Amazon, OR did not understand it. Only by doing O'Neill as Bezos clearly IS do we make Island 3 possible. And Space Solar, which needs lunar resources to do 20-200TWe. O'Neill means ISM/RU, as little launch as possible. You are either on a planet surface or you are not.

  42. I used the word competence, not wealth! Skilled or even enthusiastic workers will be the majority of Space settlers. Tourists won't stay, and the wealthy need an army of supporting cast. More like a gold rush than a vacation.

  43. "Rumor centers on implementing O'Neill plans, one Jeff Bezos I've heard about."

    You've said this before, i can find no source to support that assertion.

    The only primary source I'm aware of, Bezos said he's NOT going to build one in his Blue Moon reveal vid from May 2019.

  44. Who's going to clean the zero-g toilet and the cabin after a bout of explosive diarrhea, the competent or the desperate.

    Does competence necessarily implies wealth-No?

  45. That's a good read. Two things from that.

    1. I'd forgotten that Graphene was a thing. So much hype and hope that hasn't gone anywhere.
    2. No one saw the fall in price of wind and solar. You wouldn't believe 10 years ago that oil is a fraction of its price back and coal is becoming uneconomic. Google had their re<cproject and gave up, claiming renewables would never beat coal. Happy days.

  46. Wasn't grey goo that scared them. It was contraband and physical malware. Printcrime, really.

  47. It depends on the time element. I often talk in terms of timeless factors, saying it is *easier* to live in Space than on a planet. This is true, but not yet! However, Space has often been called a *filter* for competence, as the others won't even get the ride, again, at first.

  48. Well, I checked, and: "“Airship” and “dirigible” are synonyms; a dirigible is any lighter-than-air craft that is powered and steerable, as opposed to free floating like a balloon." and "A blimp (technically a “pressure airship”) is a powered, steerable, lighter-than-air vehicle whose shape is maintained by the pressure of the gases within its envelope." http://www.airships.net/dirigible/ So blimps are dirigibles, but not all dirigibles are blimps, if they have rigid or semi rigid supports in the gas bag.

    Anyway, I was going big and thinking of airships so large they did not come down, like the *airports in the sky* balloons, but moving. "Small" ones would service these as they went overhead. And, like the H power!

  49. Grey goo, but it's not like anyone was actually researching them.
    I'm still not clear on the current state of r&d on the toaster oven size kind, if any. Not much past the 2015 vintage resources from Drexler's old site via the WayBackMachine.

    Runaway replicators, while theoretically possible according to the laws of physics, cannot be built with today’s nanotechnology toolset


  50. For starters, people living in space can't be really poor or they'd be dead.

    I dont get that statement.
    On earth you need to pay for water, food and shelter and most of the human race are poor. What difference does it make being in space, even if you had to additionally pay for air.

    Poor: lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.

  51. Technically, "blimps" are passive, what we're discussing are "dirigibles". But people don't much respect the terminology.

    Dirigibles scale very well, the square/cube law works in their favor. Available mass, power and payload, scale as the cube, wind resistance and thus both top speed and ability to resist being randomly blown around, as the square. So you really want to build them as big as possible.

    This implies you really do not want small dirigibles. They tend to be able carry very little, and get blown around.

    Ideally, a hot hydrogen dirigible, you can't beat them for lifting capacity, and the gas bag can be your fuel supply.

  52. I was following the Foresight institute about this time. I think what happened is they got scared by the potential, and chickened out. Started spinning out all sorts of crazy notions about how to cripple replicators to enable centralized bureaucratic control of what people could make.

  53. "if the measures don't really bring about the stated goals"

    The only stated goal, recoup some of the cost people traditionally passed on to the public to minimize their own costs.
    Moving externalities back to the source is never stupid.

    "Subsidies and/or taxes for ice vehicles are unnecessary, since the BEVs are soon to have a lower purchase price than ICE vehicles"

    "You're a robber and a thief! —Windcheater"

    You would be free riding again. For as long as they're in use, you're depending on others, now and down the line, to pay those externalities against their will. You see no issue enriching yourself by robbing others of their wealth?

    All that the exorbitant taxes in Norway have achieved is a lowering of the norwegean living standard

    Buying ICE is a personal choice, like smoking, suicide and poverty.

  54. Well, if the measures don't really bring about the stated goals but only a situation of less wealth, then the measures are probably stupid, right?

    Subsidies and/or taxes for ice vehicles are unnecessary, since the BEVs are soon to have a lower purchase price than ICE vehicles (total cost of ownership is already lower). That and the worlds production capacity of batteries – the limiting factor for BEV – are the only two important factors. Everything else is window dressing.

    All that the exorbitant taxes in Norway have achieved is a lowering of the norwegean living standard….

  55. A lot of the biggest breakthroughs in the 60’s were based on physics and chemistry. It feels like we hit a bit of a wall after that in the basic scientific discovery that can be commercialized.  

    The web, mobile, cloud computing have been the bulk of the change we’ve felt in the last 20 years. They are a big deal, but it’s all been information technology based.

    So I am skeptical any time someone says that big changes are around the corner. But I actually think we could see some things that move civilization forward in a few years. There are some real discoveries happening in Biotech and materials etc. Maybe some get commercialized. You could argue that mRNA is one of those technologies, and it just made a big difference with Covid. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

  56. I agree about Musk. My big ugly beef is that there is no mention of O'Neill anywhere ever. And if there is, it is Island 3, which totally distracts attention from the important stuff, like Space Solar, that is so crucial to survival as we know it. This goes back to before Musk, before Bezos were aware of it. The current hot spot is whether the lunar effort will be practice for Mars, or start of ISM. Not *or* but what balance of effort. Are we going to waste time practicing partial g factories for Mars, on the lunar surface? Practicing living in partial g for Mars? Underground for Mars? In a day nite cycle for Mars? ARE YOU KIDDING?

  57. On a slightly related note, PDQ Bach's rendition of "The Hindenburg Concertos" is excellent. Big blimps can nurture small blimps and never have to land, dock, berth or whatever they do.

  58. Speaking of Drexler, and the good old days, do you remember any O'Neill exhibit in San Fransisco must have been fall 1977. Had model mass driver. I just happened upon it, had just read the book, thought it was just around the corner. Now, it is!

  59. That is an Austin term for climate change, more than simple warming or heating. From the slogan "Keep Austin Weird", sort of. But, Space Solar quickly opens O'Neill Space in general, so much that is weird can be improved, not just weather.

  60. Eric Drexler(2011 Singularity Summit at Stanford) "...when you hear about nanobugs that's an idea that is 14 years out of date. Please sinkt it, self-replicating nanobots are not quite part of anybody's picture…"

    Nano tech outside of chemistry/biology is likely to remain an intractable problem for a long time. It will have to wait on more fundamental research and theoretical understanding. I have a deeply held personal belief that the "methuselarity" is likely to end up on this same pathway for the foreseeable future.

    "but there needs to be an Elon Musk of nanotechnology to execute and make it happen."

    what is the meaning of life, the universe and everything: Musk?

  61. I don't think it's the only realistic next step, just that it is "a" realistic next step. And them that pays the piper calls the tune.

    Relax about Musk, basically everything he does at this point, and 95% of it even after he starts launching to Mars, advances your goals, too.

  62. Power beaming and hydrogen pipelines would only reduce shipping of fuels. It wouldn't result in everything being manufactured locally.

    Nanotechnology likely would, though.

  63. Tax on ICE vehicles in Norway starts at 100% of the cost of the vehicle and goes up from there unless you buy an electric car and then it has no tax not even VAT.

    Nothing wrong with that, everyone should pay the cost of the externalities of their choices.

    If it makes you feel better, "Crude oil and natural gas amount to over 40% of the total value of Norway’s exports of goods in 2020" ~$55Billion

    Norway probably does more to worsen Anthropogenic Global Warming than half the countries on earth combined(i didn't check, it just feels right)

  64. " but there needs to be an Elon Musk of nanotechnology to execute and make it happen."

    Precisely. It needs a very well funded and focused effort, that hasn't happened yet. A similar scale effort could probably get us "clunking replicators".

    I'm surprised neither seems to be happening, the payoff for either is staggering.

    On the fusion front I'm less optimistic. The basic problem is that politics has caused most of the effort to be focused on quasi-steady state reactors, and that's something the physics just doesn't 'want' on a scale smaller than stars.

    And it's questionable that fusion will ever be economically competitive with fission anywhere fissile or fertile elements are available. Fission is just absurdly easier and less finicky.

    Frankly, I think a lot of support of fusion is as "the best that's the enemy of the good enough", and as soon as any approach to fusion proves out, the opposition to it will dramatically increase.

  65. "solve global weirding with Space Solar" 

    Solar can't stop global weirding. This world gets weirder every day …

  66. The final advice of the Expanse review was: Don't go to Space. Now, there may be possibilities of *reverse psychology* here. It is the constrained resources even in Space that drive the story, big picture at least. So, revolutionary young people will take over Kerbal and go orbital. You just never know.

  67. I certainly agree. My objection is to the saturation idea that Mars is the only realistic next step. I say it is a total waste of time compared to O'Neill near term plan. Somewhere in the middle is what will happen, now that 40 years of time wasted on Mars First/Direct/Only seems to be coming to an end.

  68. Fusion would need an extremely high power to weight ratio to be able to power rockets capable of lifting off from Earth. Much less of an issue if you're already in space.

    I think rocketry will be replaced by other technologies for the trip from Earth's surface to LEO, before fusion will ever be capable of that kind of power to weight ratio without using bombs.

  69. Depends. Cargo ships are fine for cargo that isn't time sensitive. That's not all cargo, otherwise we'd still be crossing the oceans on passenger ships.

    But I tend to agree that I don't see the huge market for passenger/cargo rockets. The problem is that T=A+B, where A is the actual trip time, and B all the other time consumed. Traveling to the port, getting through security, collecting your baggage, traveling to your final destination.

    Rockets might reduce A dramatically, but a dramatic reduction in A results in a much less dramatic reduction in T, which is what we really care about.

    The last time I flew to Germany, I spent about 3 hours between travel to the airport and security, about 5 in Germany between customs, a commuter flight, collecting my baggage, securing a rental car, and driving to my final destination. 9 hours actual flight time across the ocean, total 17 hours.

    A rocket might take that 9 hours to 1, but the total is still 9 hours. Not very dramatic.

  70. The first flights to mars will be empty space but will be driven by people with the will to explore. 50 years after that people will go to Mars because that is where the adventure is and where they can make their fortunes. 100 years after that, the adventurers will be leaving Mars because it has become passé.

  71. no idea what to make of it? Tax on ICE vehicles in Norway starts at 100% of the cost of the vehicle and goes up from there unless you buy an electric car and then it has no tax not even VAT. I was trying to elude at the fact that such green tarded policies are not shared outside of the first world. if the Norwegians want to stifle transportation, add that to the list of reasons why I'm glad I don't live there.

  72. But those struggles and worries would feel more rocambolesque, epic, like taken directly from a Perry Rhodan Silver Age of science fiction novel.

    You know, megastructures in peril, planetary destruction risks, alien invasions we can fight, the kind of struggles we don't see in our daily lives nor in hard sci/fi.

  73. The last decade where that much innovation occurred was the 1960s. Rocketry, electronics, and reactor research bloomed. Too bad the reactor research was not capitalized upon. If the rate of advancement in the 60s had been continued, we'd already have what we now hope for in the 20s.

  74. Think of this as the first step in your description of the Expanse Belter civilization. We can do LEO, ELEO, lunar Halo (LHO, I think?), L5 and all, really all gravitational co-orbits with Earth around Sun, cis lunar plus. Belters will follow BB as a long held dream, perhaps before absolutely necessary. Bravo!

  75. "struggle to imagine drama and tension on such a world" Wiki: "Efforts to terraform Mars begin to wane as ready-made habitable worlds are now available." The Ring, I assume. I have not seen the show! So, they are presenting all planet stuff, with aliens saving the day with an O'Neill (orbital) thingy. OK by me! edit: closer reading of Wiki -> worse than I thought, Ring is portal to other planets, ready made, not built. Tiny, tho numerous. Sheesh!

  76. Wasted is rather easy to define in the sense of cargo transport, if it takes more BTU per pound cargo then a container ship or a train, then that overage is "waste".

    If the goal is to make stuff more expensive, then transporting it by rocket is the way to do that.

  77. "If connectedness was boosted with self-driving vehicles for a 25-30% boost in productivity for all megaregions "

    Do you have a citation for that? Seems like a rather large overall % boost for a region from just SD vehicles.

  78. "What half the countries on this world does about co2 reduction doesn't matter as much as the actions of ~15 countries."

    Two countries, really: India and the Peoples Republic of China.

  79. "…thousands of methane combusting spaceships wasting energy on an unheard of scale?"

    Wasted how? Easily 50 million buildings are heated with methane in the US, dwarfing spaceships' usage. Is that "wasting energy on an unheard of scale" too?

  80. SpaceX delivered, the timelines for the start of human space settlement were a bit off, though. Just move them to this decade.

  81. You are underestimating the potential economic growth resulting from space activities.

    MIFTI/MIFTEC z-pinch fusion seems promising on the route of producing viable levels of power.

    If any fusion energy startup succeeds, that will definitely change the economic outcomes we can expect from space. With a lot of Earth-side changes to be expected in the shorter term.

    But even if they get working fusion reactors tomorrow, it will take several years, maybe decades for fusion to start making a dent on chemical rockets. And it will probably start on deep space missions, where they can afford to use less mature reactors for thrust in exchange of better Isp and less travel time, and for powering up all kinds of facilities, when the technology matures.

    So space settlement and industrialization can actually be a factor of economic change relatively soon, but it will be SpaceX and other chemical rocket launcher companies' show for a while.

  82. Yep. The novelty of going on a vomit comet to get a peek of life on 0-g will fade fast.

    For growing a real tourism industry or others, people will need really habitable places to go. Even tin can hotels in orbit could work for a while, but they will son realize many people have not the stomach for free fall living, much less for enjoying it.

  83. The Expanse is fiction. And as such it has the obligation of having some drama and tension.

    But I concur: the main tenets of the world building are ridiculous. For starters, people living in space can't be really poor or they'd be dead. People on Earth, sure, on a big paraterraformed, stable Mars maybe, but Belters would need a lot of resources per person to stay alive.

    Only in places that are very fail safe, like living planets, we can afford the luxuries of poverty, ignorance and squalor.

    The idea of the haphazardly-made thrifty stations and spaceships is also ridiculous. They will need to have very good levels of resourcing, maintenance and engineering around them, just to function. Belters would have to be the most educated and science literate people in history.

    Funnily, they already assume the kind of miracles that negate the negative points of living in space. Making Ceres rotate and turn it into a O'Neill space station would require more magic tech and resources than building many O'Neill cylinders of almost comparable size and population (namely, millions), living in totally safe radiation and g levels, in abundance levels that would make the richest people from the past blush.

    The real problem, is that writers and we ourselves struggle to imagine drama and tension on such a world, extrapolating our modern dramas into those situations. But in real life, many things would be objectively better off.

  84. There must be a short time at the start when this would not reach orbit? As fuel is burned, the rocket gets lighter quite fast so engines then have extra capacity.

  85. I still believe in the huge potential of molecular nanotechnology and nuclear fusion but developing the first commercial products and factories and then rapidly scaling company is harder and more time consuming. I did talk about getting the functionality of a likely use case with future technology with other means. We do not need millions of tons of room temperature superconductors to have a low loss electrical grid. China is making mega volt power lines and those lose very little power and have been built

  86. 2 views of the problem.


  87. If you start to do power beaming and H pipelines, much *shipping* is not done a all. I've read that the current mess will hurt nat gas shipping. Power beam!

  88. Yes back in 2010 I was too optimistic about molecular nanotechnology. I believe the science will work but there needs to be an Elon Musk of nanotechnology to execute and make it happen. I also was too optimistic about some of the nuclear fusion projects. What is different about what I have selected this time is SpaceX has over 100 good launches and over sixty good booster recoveries and the full reusable design has both the first upper and lower stage built and they are being tested twice a month. Self driving is being down by a company with over 1 million cars with the right hardware.

  89. "aligned"?

    No idea what to make of that.

    My comment is pointing out there is no contradiction between supporting rockets and pushing for the need for action on industrial co2 reduction.
    A vast difference in scale separates those two interests.

    What half the countries on this world does about co2 reduction doesn't matter as much as the actions of ~15 countries.

    Just like rockets being the last things you deal with when other sources are solved, countries like the Philippines & Indonesia & Africa represent the last countries you worry about after the main ones are solved.

    That's how you triage a problem and solve it.

  90. So you are aligned with the 'not even wrong', self-inconsistent, often baked out of his gourd predictions? you know, 7/8 of the world's population is going to continue to use petroleum distillates, no matter what foolish, self-harming legislation in Norway makes ICE unaffordable for tall blonde Teutons. What would they charge electric cars with in the Philippines? Indonesia? Africa?

  91. I dont think a battery powered rocket is currently feasible.
    The idea is to swap out fossil fueled power that can be swapped out so you can operate those that cant within the earth's natural equilibrium co2 budget.
    Sure, we could rewind civilization to horse and buggy, but there would still be bad faith arguments about horse farts.

  92. Ten cents per mile Robotaxi’s and level 5 full self-driving could arrive in the 2022-2025 timeframe. Cars built with the hardware for these systems are already on the road.

    No need to wait, Waymo's autonomous commercial taxis is now able to make multiple stops during a trip(2021-03-22). Waymo's fifth-generation driver system bolted on to class 8 test trucks are currently on the roads.

  93. How is it that half the NBF articles are about phasing out coal and ICE in favor of solar and Tesla respectively, and the other half are about thousands of methane combusting spaceships wasting energy on an unheard of scale?

  94. How do we get electric trucks on the road 23 hours a day? Battery improvements always seem to take longer than you would like. Given the Concorde experience you can bet there won’t be many useful places to have launch ports for tons of starships. They are gonna be loud.

  95. "Thousands of rockets becoming commonplace transportation between continents and up to orbit, in particular." There has been an argument for orbital launch practicality for decades, basically that the fuel required is comparable to a cross country jet flight. So, it should not cost *much* more, given common sense idea that modern jet is not that different from rocket. But we need a place to go in orbit, too, not just dump people in empty Space. Hint: forget Mars.

  96. Rumor centers on implementing O'Neill plans, one Jeff Bezos I've heard about. Interesting stuff, solve global weirding with Space Solar such as Criswell LSP, remove thoughts of limits to growth, which authoritarians rely upon, things like buying/building your own place to live free.

    Not to mention Janov, Primal Science now 50 years old, major health and longevity info.

    Why am I so far ahead of the general pop? edit: just reading about "The Expanse" show, utterly and hilariously fails to capture even rudimentary O'Neill observations.

  97. Too much focus on Musk and his few companies. Their contribution to changes and innovation in grand scheme of things globally will be less than 0,1%. There are so many startups, other tech companies, world changing science done in various countries. All that output combined will lead us to advanced future, not just some Musks products.
    I wish them luck with Spaceship and 100x price reduction ASAP but please Elon, less hype and grand promises, because when you underdeliver constantly, more and more people will become doubters

  98. With suitable support, most humans.

    Peak acceleration for the Starship going to orbit and back is 6 gravities, but that's an orbital launch. Suborbital could probably keep it to 4.

    I'd say a few minutes of 4 gs is probably survivable by most people if properly supported, in an ideal position.

  99. Good points. Really, most cargo does NOT need to cross an ocean in an hour. And there's no way a rocket is going to compete with a cargo ship.

    Really, I can't see the Starship in point to point mode being more than a modern Concorde, a "Look, we've got the fastest plane!" bragging point, but why would it be viable? Where's the market, once you're wasting 4 times the trip time getting to and from the flight, and going through security?

    What would be valuable would be comfortable transatlantic flights. But the trend looks to be in the opposite direction.

    What would be cool? A passenger ekranoplane, big enough to have comfortable seating, sleeping berths, restaurants. Massive enough to sneer at bad weather.

    OK, so it takes overnight to get there. You arrive RESTED.

  100. Gee, will future relations between the U.S. and China or Russia allow trusted rocket freight delivery? A rocket could be carrying anything…
    And somehow it's not speed that stops planes from being used instead of container ships today, even when they sometimes get stuck in the Suez canal. Even if a rocket is cheaper than a plane, it won't replace container ships:
    Container ship capacity is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). Typical loads are a mix of 20-foot and 40-foot (2-TEU) ISO-standard containers, with the latter predominant. Today, about 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide is transported by container ships, and the largest modern container ships can carry over 23,000 TEU"

  101. On the the Saturn 5 launch vehicles, which sent astronauts to the moon were 5 F1 engines on the booster stage (the first stage at lift off). It sometimes lost the function of one of the engines prematurely, yet each of those flights were successful. They throttle up the other engines and continue the burn longer to compensate.

  102. All these things are plausible & likely.
    However, the timeline is up for debate b/c of:
    (i) unexpected production issues
    (ii) unexpected side effects
    (iii) infrastructure build time
    (iv) unexpected social issues e.g. loss of jobs, psychological impact
    (v) political world stability
    (vi) other – unforseen

  103. I have hard time believing thousands of starship rockets will be commonly used for transportation on earth when their only maneuver is a flip. What happpens if an engine cuts out? What if a landing needs to be delayed or re routed? What if the rocket goes off course? Can it turn around?

  104. Hard to believe some of these things. Thousands of rockets becoming commonplace transportation between continents and up to orbit, in particular.

    Anti-aging is also kind of unbelievable, because it's really complex tech and goes against our lifelong experience.

    But as a reminder: people in 2000 believed the world wide web was normal. People in 1990 haven't heard of such a thing.

    But there were hints, here and there. Basic dial-up and serial POTS-based systems existed. Or hyperlinked information systems in labs like Xanadu.

    So, nothing comes from a void. And there are some rumors of thunder on the horizon, announcing some big things upcoming.

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