EU, US Start To Realize Letting Elon Musk Dictate Global Space Rules Might Not Be The Brightest Idea

from the who-needs-a-plan? dept

As previously noted, Space X, Amazon, and others are pushing harder than ever into the low-orbit satellite broadband game. The industry, pockmarked by a long road of failures, involves firing thousands of smaller, cheaper, lower orbit satellite constellations into space to help supplement existing broadband services. The lower orbit means that LO satellite service will offer lower-latency broadband than traditional satellite offerings, which for 15 years or so have been widely maligned as expensive, slow, and “laggy,” with annoying monthly caps.

And while these services should absolutely help bring some additional options to rural Americans, nautical ventures, and those out of range of traditional service, folks shouldn’t get their hopes up in terms of broader disruption of the uncompetitive U.S. telecom market. The physics involved in satellite transmission means there will always be limited capacity and odd throttling and network management restrictions, meaning it won’t really make much headway in highly monopolized major metro areas. In short, the tech is absolutely a positive advancement, but it’s not going to be the game changer many think.

Enter the other major problem: the gold rush into the low orbit satellite space without much in the way of regulatory oversight has resulted in an explosion of space traffic and debris that’s already causing genuine harm. The tens of thousands of additional low orbit satellites being flung into orbit without much of an over-arching plan not only make space navigation immeasurably more complicated and dangerous, the light pollution created is having clear and profound harms on astronomy and other research. Harms researchers say can’t be mitigated with technology.

While regulators in the U.S. have taken a few steps to mitigate space debris, most experts say it’s not enough. And regulators have done even less to manage the low-orbit gold rush’s impact on science. Generally, the modus operandi has been to kiss the ass of companies like Amazon and Space X in this space, letting them dictate the cadence and rules of deployment. The same approach is occurring in the EU, and it’s starting to raise some hackles:

The head of the European Space Agency has urged the continent?s leaders to stop facilitating Elon Musk?s ambition to dominate the new space economy, warning that the lack of coordinated action meant the US billionaire was ?making the rules? himself. Josef Aschbacher, the new director-general of ESA, said that Europe?s readiness to help the rapid expansion of Musk?s Starlink satellite Internet service risked hindering the region?s own companies from realizing the potential of commercial space.

Again it’s effectively global regulatory capture, where wealth dictates who gets to make the rules. Eventually that won’t just be bad for competition, but science. That you need an intelligent, over-arching plan to manage this massive explosion in debris and space traffic that considers more than just wealth generation seems like a no brainer. Yet you’re only just now starting to see some folks in policy and government start to mention that letting Elon (COVID is no big deal) Musk dictate the entire planet’s space policy and regulatory structure might not be the smartest idea:

“Aschbacher said Musk?s Starlink was already so big that it was difficult for regulators or rivals to catch up. ?You have one person owning half of the active satellites in the world. That?s quite amazing. De facto, he is making the rules. The rest of the world including Europe…?is just not responding quick enough.”

Aschbacher?s concerns were echoed by Franz Fayot, Luxembourg?s economy minister, who said new rules were needed to ensure the safe use of space.

?You have people like Elon Musk, just launching constellations and satellites and throwing Teslas up into orbit. We need to set common rules. Colonization, or just doing things in a completely deregulated space, is a concern,? he said on the sidelines of the New Space conference in Luxembourg.

It’s not too surprising that captured regulators in the U.S., UK, and EU are going to bend over backwards to please the planet’s wealthiest men. Especially given that Space X has truly been so innovative in the space. The problem is even Musk has acknowledged that low-orbit efforts like Starlink may not be financially viable over the long haul. And that was before recently leaked Musk emails showing how delays in Raptor engine production could keep Starlink from meeting future deployment goals or making at real money at scale.

Yet U.S. regulators keep throwing millions of dollars at Musk (a guy who professes to be opposed to government aid), and generally has let Bezos and Musk dictate the cadence and scope of anything vaguely resembling oversight. Despite no solid evidence that Musk’s low-orbit Starlink venture is even going to be financially viable or operational two to three years from now. And with nary a peep about the low-orbit light pollution researchers have complained about for three years straight. Surely none of this ends badly, right?

Filed Under: , , , , , , ,
Companies: spacex

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “EU, US Start To Realize Letting Elon Musk Dictate Global Space Rules Might Not Be The Brightest Idea”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
71 Comments
OGquaker says:

Fanbois....?

This Josef Aschbacher (ESA is not the EU) want’s to maintain his lazy-ass monopoly, ESA is run by Nationalized &/or Corporate telcos. Read “Eccentric Orbits,” by John Bloom, on Motorola’s satellite telephone system. Precisely the same frequency allocation arguments, the same players, lots of two-face lies & "your monopoly will injure our monopoly"…… Thirty years ago. Josef’s "unfair competition"? The US pays an average of $66 a month for an internet connection, Why would most ESA Members care for Starlink, they average a lot less: Switzerland $64, Luxembourg $61, Norway $60, Ireland $57, Belgium $55, the Netherlands $46, Spain $45, United Kingdom $43, Austria $39, Portugal $39, Germany $38, Greece $38, Denmark $37, Italy $34, Sweden $34, France $33, Finland $28, Estonia $27, the Czech Republic $20, Hungary $15, Poland $14 and Romania $9/month. Here, in South Central LA with no hope for a Starlink (19,000 people per square mile), we are paying $69/month for 50Mbps. The "unfair competition" argument also fails outside the EU; China’s average is $15, Russia is $7 and Ukraine is whopping $6 a month. As with Iridium’s satellite phone three decades ago, Josef’s ESA’s public statements have little to do with the real issues. So, Starlink serves a customer base that "social-izm" serves (very cheaply) but "capital-ism" can not profitably serve, so Malthus throws a billion people onto the ash heap. SpaceX is neither fish-nor-fowl, backed by someone naive to two-faced liars (Elon waited to long to dump three of his lying Rapter "leaders") so SpaceX pursues capitalism’s useless outliers.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Fanbois....?

"ESA is run by Nationalized &/or Corporate telcos."

Not that simple. The EU isn’t the US and the ESA has to accommodate a lot more than just market economics. Bluntly put, the ESA is what Nasa would be if it was run by a committee consisting of 51 US governors.

This is a bit more sensitive and hearkens back to before the first moon landings when every player involved was a national entity. At the time it was agreed by every participant in the space race that space was no one’s private preserve. It would be freely accessible to every nation equally.

THAT is what prompts caution visavi Musk. Every potential infringement on that old "gentleman’s agreement" is considered crossing the line drawn in sand.

This is not about competition at all, it’s about how private interests should never be allowed to stake a claim for space, it having been agreed that outside of Earth is public land.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Fanbois....?

[Addendum]

the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

  • The Outer Space Treaty of 1966.
OGquaker says:

fan boy astronomy

By 1935, Corning had developed boron-silicate glass, allowing large castings and a 200 inch primary mirror, the glass transformed the heavens and personal telescopes. 30 years later, germanium front ends had developed & radio astronomy took off, allowing smaller primary mirrors, transforming the heavens and personal radio telescopes. 20 years later, the NRO released a Perk-Elmer mirror from a spy satellite for the Hubble, and the VCR had developed, the NSF was paying people to build 75 foot radio telescopes all over the globe, mailing their timed events back in a cassette, transforming the heavens and personal/professional radio telescopes. In the last 20 years, your I-phone has an App to automatically point your $500 Chinese Maksutov-cassegrain, transforming the heavens and professional & personal telescopes. Many of the most break-through astronomical events of the last 5 years are available because of microsecond simultaneous observation with long baselines. Astrophysicists are pining for Starlink, as is the DOD, nomad Amazon workers and dissidents around the globe. Josef Aschbacher will be 30 yeas dead when the ESA has a comparable advancement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: fan boy astronomy

Astrophysicists are pining for Starlink

Why? I’m not seeing the link from your preceding story to this. How does Starlink help with this astronomy? The GPS satellites already give us the microsecond-accurate timing.

The more interesting connection between Corning and Starlink, in my opinion, relates to optical fiber. Corning developed it, but it’s slow—light travels at 65% of the speed it would in a vacuum or through the air. Starlink could send data at more than 0.99C with only a several-hundred-kilometer detour, which would give a huge latency reduction over intercontinental links. High-speed traders are willing to pay quite a bit for that.

OGquaker says:

Re: Re: fan boy astronomy

Actually, Ex-Cel-O, the company that made their fortune in machine tools and folded milk cartons developed a crown-flint rod within a tube, exploiting angle of total reflection. The little guys created veriable-refractive index fiber decades later.
The "Corporations" don’t give a flying fuck about patents, they subscribe to them like a magazine.
Astrophysical observations often are best observed far from under-sea cables.
One example https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1367-2630/abde33 The information about what occurred in the core of the star to cause the explosion will be most easily found in the first tens of seconds. It is therefore imperative that we be able to detect the supernova as soon as it begins—if not sooner.
-Reduce the threshold for generating alerts in order to gain sensitivity;
-Reduce alert latency;
-Combine pointing information from individual experiments and enhance it via timing triangulation;
-Implement a pre-supernova alert based on the rising neutrino flux which precedes core-collapse;
-Develop a follow-up observing strategy to prepare the astronomical community for the next galactic supernova; and
-Engage amateur astronomer and citizen science communities through alert dissemination and outreach.

~~
Disclamer: My father filmed the gas-flame cutting open of the rail car of 200 inch mirror in Pasadena one night, and traded his color original to Corning for a pair of 12inch mirror blanks

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is almost as foolish as:

Iridium has 82 operation satellites (and their competitors, combined, have about 10), and services a very niche market (e.g., oceanic cargo ships, disaster response). Starlink has 1700 up there, with plans to reach a total of 12,000 to 42,000.

People who want "$1200 Sat Phones with $5/minute rates" already have them. It’s not obvious that there’s room for the market to expand 50,000%. The price would have to come down a lot, and the ground-based "competitors" (including wireless) would have to remain uncompetitive.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: This is almost as foolish as:

But, the reasons why the higher priced iPhones go for such sums have nothing to do with their ability to make phone calls or receive data. For the average consumer, too, it’s the "$5/minute" that would be a problem with that example, not the fact that they might make a one-off payment of $1200 then expect to be able to run most features from wifi at no additional cost.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is almost as foolish as:

In 1992, a phone call from a hotel in France to Chicago was $18 a minute. INTELSAT, the only way to hook into the terrestrial telephone system beyond an undersea cable was a suitcase that took 10 minutes to set up.
Up until the late 1970’s, mobile telephones could handle a TOTAL of 24 simultaneous calls in the entire Los Angeles basin. Alternatively, wait till your ship is in port. Dead in the water? Someone is bound to find you before you starve.

Not Necessarily Faan Boi says:

Willing to hear valid criticism

First, the idea the USA is a backer of Elon Musk, given the way Tesla has been treated by the Infrastructure bill’s reduced subsidies for the biggest, made–in-USA EV producer – laughable.

Notice how "too much traffic" in the article cleverly slides into "debris". There is AFAIK no debris from SpaceX and their Starlink satellites – but let’s imply there is. There’s plenty of debris up there, most of it government agency generated. (IIRC, Russia just added to it) Couldn’t do a better hatchet job if you actually meant to.

Basically, LEO satellites are the only practical way to do untethered internet – and the "L" implies of course, many satellites are needed. Whether SpaceX or someone else does this Amazon? NASA? NASA would be like letting the Post Office provide your wired internet. A government agency to provide global internet? That would go over well in the 23/24ths of the world that is NOT the USA. An international UN-type group? Good luck getting any decisions made. They would for sure allow censorship on demand.

NASA was welcome to create competitors to SpaceX – oh, wait, they did. How’d that go? Still haven’t launched actual people. A company can’t help it if their competitors fail, despite bigger subsidies. Or that their competitors feel throwing away 100-million-dollar rockets is a good business plan.

Sometimes companies come out on top because … they’re better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Willing to hear valid criticism

They don’t need more money. They need the freedom to spend the money they do get efficiently, rather than on congress mandated job creation programs and subsidies for "good old boy companiess" and their new friends. So long as NASA has to spend maybe $2 billion dollars for a launch that could be done for $200 million or less, for instance, no amount of taxpayer money will be enough.

Not Necessarily... says:

Re: Re: Willing to hear valid criticism

would you pay taxes if it meant NASA finally gets a ton of funding to finally do the one fucking thing it was set up to do: find and innovate on ways to EXPLORE SPACE?

Oh, wait. That’s what they do, and what they are planning to do. We have absolutely amazing pictures of the cosmos mostly thanks to NASA efforts. They are shelling out to put men (er… people) back on the moon. And they are going to use SpaceX as part of that effort because… it makes sense economically, they have the tech to do landers, orbital gateways, etc.

IMHO companies like SpaceX are good also because they provide a pace car that NAA can use to measure any other efforts against when it comes to launch tech. Wanna bet Boeing’s effort would slip even farther than it has – while continuing to collect millions – if they didn’t have to explain why SpaceX was so far ahead? Too many slide rules and mission meetings and not evenough riveters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mr. Bode hates all corps equally.

And Elon is a privileged white South African who never really realized all the privilege he had growing up in apartheid South Africa while being raised in a family of probable male psychopaths.

Call me crazy for throwing this in, but maybe, just maybe, that Elon is perhaps a rich, massive JERK as well?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Do you have some more of your prejudice, sin of the father, and guilt by association you want to throw in there on that pile? Maybe blame him for starting the first World War? After all, why stop at illogically attributing guilt for where he was born? You clearly aren’t looking for rational causes of complaint.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

OGquaker says:

Re: Cleaning up our act

A 60 or 54 Starlink launch has been leaving a long rod to burn up. This should be eliminated if Rapter succeeds, or Musk pulls the plug. Upon failure, the Starlink satellites are programed to automatically de-orbit & their low LEO orbit means this will happen in a few months or years even if they die. Much of the higher debris, boosters and dead satellites have been circling the Earth for many decades back into the 1960’s, and a few will circle the Sun for a million years. The USAF set off a atomic explosion at 400 km in space, creating a new Van-Alen belt killing the AT&T TV satellite and all the other commercial satellites with EMP in (1964?) Amazon has yet to put anything into space. The French sent a cat into space and back in 1963, 50 miles higher than the Enterprise captain’s carnival ride.

Disclaimer: Propagating American exceptionalism (Enterprise??) on StarTrek always required a death or two, and a gun was required to solve every human condition; made me sick. What’s his name’s legal show was never-ending tripe on the futility of the justice system. I’m sorry he lost his wife in the pool, and i’m sorry Jeff Bezos couldn’t find the will upon landing to even listen to the old man:(

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"The researchers can suck it up. They dont own the sky. I’ll say internet service is more important than their research. "

You realize we’re way overdue another yucatan event? Statistically a large, civilization-killing rock should have hit again long ago. Eventually it will. And when it does, human civilization is over.

The only option to avert one such is by observing it and measuring its approach in time to do anything about it. Ignoring that in favor of internet is just the citizens of Pompeii telling themselves that OK, the surroundings are full of evidence of what happened to the dumbasses settling ther in times long past but where else could they find so much volcanic ash and fertile soil for their roman concrete and wine industry?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The researchers are not saying that the light pollution is threatening to interfere with ability to detect civilization-killing asteroids, are they? I’m only hearing "research", like the regular science. So your FUD scenario is just made up. As for regular science, yes I’ll say internet service is more important than regular science. There’s plenty of desolate places like Antarctica where one wouldn’t expect any flying over satellites to interfere with asteroid-detecting or regular science, would it? And then there are space-based telescopes where light pollution wouldnt be an issue. So yes, the researchers can suck it up. The world doesn’t revolve around them.
They also can go to space or the moon where they can do their precious science and leave Earth for the rest of us free for internet service.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No. I’m saying that researchers should not get special treatment. They can suck it up and learn to share the sky with others. Orbital internet service should not be restricted just because it may make it inconvenient for science. And it’s not about "obscuring" the sky, we are talking about brief moments of minor light pollution.

And for the comments about me being Elon Musk fanboy or some other nonsense, for your information, I may admire what he’s trying to achieve and what he has achieved, but I dont like the guy. He’s an very entitled asshole.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Orbital internet service should not be restricted just because it may make it inconvenient for science"

Which is ironic, since it’s only because of the science that of those things exist in the first place. But, hey, there’s profit to be had, fuck the future of science that those things would still depend on right?

"And it’s not about "obscuring" the sky, we are talking about brief moments of minor light pollution."

I’ll defer to the researchers on what is necessary for their research rather. I’ve already seen the state of the world when we let your type dictate things.

"And for the comments about me being Elon Musk fanboy or some other nonsense"

You’re valiantly carrying water for him and his drive for personal profit, whether you like it or not. If you don’t like it, I suggest not getting so angry that people value science over profit and tone it down so that you can hear the actual arguments. one of the arguments is that the man you’ve inadvertently presented as a hero should not be dictating how much of the universe the people researching the next phases of scientific development are allowed to see.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I’m sure there’s some isolated examples you can cherry pick for an argument, but on the general global scale when considering billionaires and researchers, I’ll go for the researchers every time. Especially when the business in question only exists due to prior work of researchers in that same field.

Also, I will note that I mentioned researchers and you skipped straight to environmental activists (with some random anecdote I’m not aware of nor care to search for), which suggests you’re not taking my words in the same good faith context they were presented in.

OGquaker says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Totally irresponsible LED street lighting has ended all but 5 or 6 sky objects in the last 10 years: Moon, Jupiter, Venus, and a few lucky stars. I would have to drive 50 miles to chance a look at the Milky Way, a few nights in 365. The skys of my childhood were destroyed before Mr. Musk was born.
I don’t care a wit about Mr Musk, and would never sleep with any rich guy. His products & his intentions; the end of mining petroleum makes him a solution, not a defect. Thank god other people keep throwing money at him; https://www.makeuseof.com/switch-to-starlink-satellite-internet-heres-why/

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"The skys of my childhood were destroyed before Mr. Musk was born."

By things that Musk is going to do nothing about fixing, and "some of it’s already destroyed" is not a good argument for further destruction, especially in areas that have not yet been affected.

"his intentions"

Even if you’re foolish enough to take him and his wilder claims at face value that’s on you, but you know the saying about good intentions? They don’t always lead where the people selling you something tell you they’ll lead.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"The researchers are not saying that the light pollution is threatening to interfere with ability to detect civilization-killing asteroids, are they?"

They are, in fact. Google; "Harvard astronomer says Starlink could affect hunt for near-Earth asteroids".

"So your FUD scenario is just made up."

Kind of you to prove your dunning-kruger by making solid assertions debunked by about five seconds on a search engine.

"There’s plenty of desolate places like Antarctica where one wouldn’t expect any flying over satellites to interfere with asteroid-detecting or regular science, would it?"

That’s not how it works. I suggest a grade school course in celestial mechanics – notably how the poles will give the least arc coverage of the night sky possible on the globe.
Also, is pushing astronomy budgets by about three orders of magnitude coming out of your paycheck?

"And then there are space-based telescopes where light pollution wouldnt be an issue."

A space-based telescope is great for looking at discrete points of interest far away. They suck at sweeping long distance. Once again the argument of a five year old not understanding why dad refuses to buy the family a horse.

"So yes, the researchers can suck it up. The world doesn’t revolve around them. "

Says the man who owes his entire life to the world actually revolving around science.

I’m honestly inclined to think everyone who makes that sort of bullshit assertion should have to spend one year of their lives living in a cave without the benefits of technology better than flint and wood. Just so they can put into perspective why the world does indeed revolve around scientific progress.

"They also can go to space or the moon where they can do their precious science and leave Earth for the rest of us free for internet service."

The rest of us who don’t live in the fantasy world of Star Trek beg to differ. I’d say you were just trolling here but if the internet has taught me anything it would be there’s always that one moron whose statements make you wonder how on earth they ever got around to learning language.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Harvard astronomer says Starlink could affect hunt for near-Earth asteriods" see the weasel word could.. Notice it doesnt say "is affecting" or "going to". And it’s a single researcher. And is this even from a paper published and peer-reviewed? If it says could, it also mean it could not. It’s just an expression of possibility, not of reality. You want to lecture me on language, LOL. You have a lot to learn about language, it appears. Now I may not be very good at language, but it’s because I’m Deaf, not a moron. Now, what’s your excuse? Because you are a moron?

Is this the kind of weak "evidence" you want to see government policy based on ? This is sound science? Who is the moron here? Okay maybe your FUD scenario is not complete made-up but it still strongly smell like one to me. I’m not buying it and the government should not buy it.. when a group of researchers are definitely saying to government or the press that this thing with Starlink is definitely threatening the ability to detect civilization-killing asteroids and can demonstrate then yes, people should take it seriously. Nothing here I see is enough for me to take it seriously. I still say its FUDish bullshit. No logical person should take what this article or what you are saying seriously without hearing more.

Celestial mechanics is not taught in grade school as far as I know. And I dont need to know it to know that there has to be some workarounds for the allegedly blocking of detecting killer asteroids by SpaceX. So the poles are out, so what? There are other desolate places. There are no orbital telescopes that cant be designed to detect killer asteroids? Ok, so you say, assuming I believe your assertions, are you claiming or the researchers claiming that there are no viable workarounds? I see nothing here to buy that there is no viable workarounds. If people are going to assert there’s no viable workarounds thus justifying government intervention then it better has to be backed by sound science. If people are going to assert that without backing it up then I can assert otherwise without backing it up. Fair is fair.

Is pushing up internet costs for the public going to coming out of researchers’ paychecks if government is going to curtail SpaceX? No? Then screw the researchers.

I didnt say researchers in the general sense. I’m going with the article talking about researchers which mean astronomers not scientists in general. Stop taking me out of context. Maybe you should take a grade school reading course? No, I do not owe my entire life to some whining astronomers.

You like to throw fancy terms at me like dunning-Kruger, okay, I throw you this: ad-hominem, you are not going to win by belittling me or my intelligence and so that my arguments can be just dismissed out of hand because of your assertion that I dont know jack. Quit with the childish insults. Who is really the five years old here? You grow up.

I dont live in a fantasy world. I go with what I have read, unless you are saying what I have read is fantasy? That NASA/SpaceX have plan to build a base on the moon where science can be done there by people or robots that people will build within a decade or so? That NASA already sent remote control rovers to the moon? This is fantasy? It sounds like the space frontier is going to be broken though with all the talk of an orbital hotel for space tourism in the near future. That is fantasy? If NASA is capable of sending remote control rovers to the moon then surely they are capable of sending remote-controlled telescopes to the moon for the astronomers (notice I dont use researchers now because apparently I have to spell out to you because you are apparently not very bright enough to understand me) Detecting killer asteroids from space or the moon or whatever is surely within the mandate for NASA and NASA can do it with SpaceX help, or is that thinking fantasy-like according to you? I dont see why not the astronomers and the orbital internet service providers can have their cake and eat it together with NASA help. Fantasy?

Whatever. still I dont see the need for government to step in to intervene to curtail orbital internet service providers and all I see from you or the article sounds like FUD crap. People should not support government intervention based on this crap.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"And it’s a single researcher. And is this even from a paper published and peer-reviewed? If it says could, it also mean it could not."

Uh huh. I guess I’ll accept the words of some internet rando over the fears of a credible expert in his field. Makes perfect sense.

"Now I may not be very good at language, but it’s because I’m Deaf, not a moron."

Looks a bit like both. My condoleances on you being unable to deal with your personal issues in other ways than trying to troll online.

"Okay maybe your FUD scenario is not complete made-up but it still strongly smell like one to me."

With half a dozen extinction events pretty well studied in our pasts the concept that the human race could expire overnight because we decided to fill the sky with twinkling lights providing convenience rather than the most basic of required sensors isn’t FUD. It’s you settling on the slopes of Pompeii and calling the doomsayers looking at the active volcano hysterical for pointing out that the place you’re living in has been under lava multiple times before.

"No logical person should take what this article or what you are saying seriously without hearing more. "

So what you’re telling me is that you know nothing of astronomy or history but are inclined to make solid assertions about it anyway? Fair enough.

"So the poles are out, so what? There are other desolate places. There are no orbital telescopes that cant be designed to detect killer asteroids?"

Unless said asteroid is barrelling right down the focus of the satellites we do have, yes. Our current view of space around us is comparable to painting all the windows on your car black and keeping just a small pinhole uncovered. And from that is how you’ll get all your info on what’s outside.

The universe is a fscking big place and for us to discover the planetbuster about to kill us in time to do jack shit about it means we need a lot more.

"I’m going with the article talking about researchers which mean astronomers not scientists in general."

Ah, so just the guys trying to figure out how the universe works. Yeah, I’ll go with Asimov here and note that his statements about the cult of american anti-intellectualism is still going strong.

"I throw you this: ad-hominem, you are not going to win by belittling me or my intelligence and so that my arguments can be just dismissed out of hand because of your assertion that I dont know jack."

Oh, you not knowing jack isn’t why I’m belittling you. Ignorance is fixable. No, the reason I’m calling you a moron is because that’s the appropriate term for someone who knows jack and refuses to learn while still insisting their opinion on that topic of which they know jack is somehow more relevant than that of those who do know jack about said topic.
THAT is why you’re a moron. Not because you don’t know. But because you refuse to fix that. The very wiki definition of dunning-kruger.

"I dont live in a fantasy world. I go with what I have read, unless you are saying what I have read is fantasy? That NASA/SpaceX have plan to build a base on the moon where science can be done there by people or robots that people will build within a decade or so?"

Yeah, that’s fantasy. Within the century perhaps, but not within the decade. Or the next. And the reasons why this isn’t happening is pretty clear;
1) No money. It’ll – conservatively speaking – be a bigger project by far than the initial US space program. The likes of which hasn’t been seen since the US stopped burning every resource into a space race against the USSR. NASA’s current budget – or SpaceX – won’t let them put cubesats on the moon.
2) The tech literally doesn’t exist yet. There’s a reason we can drop a rover on mars to the tune of 3 billion USD but we still don’t have the tech to do the same for the moon at scale and at length. Can it be done? Sure. If the research was funded. But not anywhere within the decade.

"This is fantasy? It sounds like the space frontier is going to be broken though with all the talk of an orbital hotel for space tourism in the near future."

…the same way every prediction since the 60’s has utterly failed this is also a pie-in-the-sky idea. We all thought that come 2001 we’d be travelling physically between planets and have space stations. And then we learned just what has to go into such exploration and governments and corporations worldwide cut funding.
It’s a literal catch-22 issue. To have proper space exploration we need the ability to shift significant mass into orbit in cohesive amounts. That means a very big mass driver or a space elevator needs to be built first, unless the US decides to dust off the old theoretical plans for the Orion.

"Detecting killer asteroids from space or the moon or whatever is surely within the mandate for NASA and NASA can do it with SpaceX help, or is that thinking fantasy-like according to you? "

Yeah, it is. Looking for a planetbuster has a market issue – there’s no profit in it. Thus SpaceX will always reserve every pound of payload to further its margins. Meaning the taxpayer will have to pay, in the end, multiple amounts more for each pound they push into orbit since, by normal market economics, SpaceX will want its margin – whereas NASA does it at cost.
Yet NASA doesn’t have the budget either, meaning that they have to make ends meet.

"…still I dont see the need for government to step in to intervene to curtail orbital internet service providers and all I see from you or the article sounds like FUD crap."

People like you have pushed that exact bullshit about every issue where government failed to intercede to curb overly avaricious markets. Global warming was identical "FUD" twenty years ago.
And the hazards of the next yucatan event has been covered in metric tons of studies since the 60’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Hey Scary Devil Monastery, know-it-all.. you said space-based telescopes are not great at detecting killer asteroids.. okay then how do you explain why NASA is building a infrared space telescope to detect just that?
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasa-approves-asteroid-hunting-space-telescope-to-continue-development

I also have seen it mentioned somewhere that NASA is already tracking killer asteroids using satellites hence no light pollution issue.

And there’s the DART mission as mentioned above . Apparently NASA is defending us from killer asteroids now and it’s not complaining that Starlink is interfering with that business. If NASA can defend us then we dont need the researchers (astronomers) help so no need to curtail SpaceX for the sake of defending us from killer asteroids. So yes, the researchers (astronomers) can suck it up as we dont need them to detect killer asteroids. They can live with a little light pollution and quit whining

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"…then how do you explain why NASA is building a infrared space telescope to detect just that? "

I said it wasn’t a good solution – and it isn’t. You need vast arrays of telescopes to pinpoint, scan and detect black body-objects the size of a mountain at a distance of multiple AU. NASA is as usual putting a good spin on getting one eye into orbit, but what we really need is coverage a few orders of magnitude better than that. And at that scale it really just means plastering the ground with multiple acres of arrays.

"Apparently NASA is defending us from killer asteroids now and it’s not complaining that Starlink is interfering with that business. "

No, NASA is experimenting with possible methods of defending us from asteroids. They don’t have a magic gun, an anti-asteroid missile, or Bruce Willis. They’ve got a theoretical plan they want to show proof-of-concept of. DART is a literal attempt to send a vehicle the size of a sedan with a warhead, trying to move a falling mountain
And even if DART works exactly as advertised it doesn’t render an asteroid harmless. It attempts to push it slightly off course.

That’ll help only if the asteroid is detected many years out and persistently bombarded with DART kinetics until its orbit goes from a hit to a very near miss.

If we only spot the asteroid, say, three years off today, all we can do is to wait until armageddon because we have nothing to deflect it with within that time.

"So yes, the researchers (astronomers) can suck it up as we dont need them to detect killer asteroids."

With every assertion you made to that effect being fantasy bullshit and hopes and prayers, no, all you’ve done there is to double down on showing everyone that you don’t grok scale, astronomy, science, space or the concept of technology.

You…seriously need to go read up on why it has never been a good idea to trust the spin of the snake oil salesman whose money is invested in the product he’s peddling becoming a market hit. And that, sadly, goes the same way for NASA whose public communications have been a desperate attempt to get the public and body politic interested enough to invest in space at the same scale they did back around the moon landings…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Oh okay, LOL. Whatever. I’m still not supporting government intervention in the case of Starlink based on minor light pollution and space debris that SpaceX has nothing to do with. That’s just political bullshit and FUD to me. Maybe not to you, but I dont believe civilization is not going to end because of Starlink . I have more faith in NASA than you have and I’m not losing sleep over killer asteroids. So we’ll have to disagree.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Yawn. Maybe civilization ends in the future because of killer asteroid missed by science due to too many pinpoint of lights in the sky. Sounds unlikely and sounds lije not happening during my lifetime or my children’s lifetime so it’s S.E.P. — future Someone’s Else Problem to me, and meanwhile we need internet service now. (And that doomday scenario sounds fantasy-like to me by the way.) So I still say the researchers can suck it up and get the fuck out of the way of us getting orbital internet service. And government can stay hand off because I dont trust them not to fuck up like they did with ground-based internet services.

Who says I refuse to learn, why do you think I’m reading Techdirt? To learn. Maybe you are right; I’m living in fantasy world and so I should examine my reading habits like should I read Techdirt articles like this one? Maybe I should not be if they come with this political FUD bullshit that distort people’ perception of reality.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Sounds unlikely and sounds lije not happening during my lifetime or my children’s lifetime so it’s S.E.P. — future Someone’s Else Problem to me…"

So it’s a Fuck You, Got Mine problem. That at least is honest, unlike making wide assertions around science the experts won’t back.
It might put things into perspective that because our grandparents also thought that way the next generation will grow up with the effects of global warming kicking in for real. Within our lifetimes we’ll start seeing the first mass migrations and resource wars as the weather patterns keep changing fast.

"…and meanwhile we need internet service now. (And that doomday scenario sounds fantasy-like to me by the way.)"

It’s not. The fossil records have been clear for a long time; Life has evolved more or less from scratch no less than five times on this rock. Every 50-100 million years all life beyond the most primitive is extinguished and has to start again.
We’re very much overdue another such event, given the last extinction event was 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs died off courtesy of the asteroid whose remnants we find lining the yucatan today.

If NASA’s infrared telescope works as designed and the DART then the pot odds are still that we’ll get enough months of warning to make our peace with the world and leave behind some suitably indestructible tablet for whatever evolves into sapience next. Hopefully with a recounting of our errors.

If anything I’ll tell you what is fantasy; That we’re all sitting on a rock moving 66k mph in solar orbit, through space we know is riddled with falling rocks the size of manhattan, and we’re still taking tomorrow for granted despite the fact that we have looked at the existing asteroid impacts, are circled by the remnants of the collision which created the moon, and have noted that we do, in fact, live in a target range with predictable firing intervals.

THAT is fantasy.

And the fact that sapient beings appears to value luxuries over actually preparing to survive might just be the reason why we keep finding no intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. It would be nice to buck the odds and try to survive as a species.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"I’ll say internet service is more important than their research."

When talking about this internet service, you’d be very, very wrong.

"They can launch space-based telescopes to get around the light pollution."

You mean those things that take hundreds of millions of dollars and over a decade to design, build and deploy? Great solution skippy, let’s just do that instead.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"They dont own the sky"

Nor should anyone else.

"They can launch space-based telescopes to get around the light pollution."

Oh yes, "billionaires fucked up the night sky so much that it’s impossible to do basic science without support from other billionaires is such a great thing to pretend is fine.

"The vast majority of the space debris was not generated by SpaceX and Amazon, but by numerous government agencies."

But, it exists no matter who created it, and massively contributing to it in the pursuit of profit is not a great future. Despite what some believe, actual science doesn’t change depending on whose dollars paid for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You need to read carefully and quit twisting my words, because it’s not helpful in any productive dialogue. I’m not saying ‘owning’ in this sense you are talking about. Dumping some plastics in ocean is not analogous to launching internet-providing satellites into space. No one is hurt and no creatures are killed. We are talking about brief moments of light pollution here. And little space debris because most of the debris is the fault of government agencies, not commerical venues and its not right to blame the commercial venues over the mess in space —yet. No one own the sky, is just what I mean as in no special treatment for any groups including researchers. Sky belongs to everyone equally. And I’m not talking about irresponsible use of the sky or space. I’m not advocating that. I’m talking about use within reason, which is the case here. Space debris and the inconvenience that the orbital light pollution may cause the researchers is just bullshit and should not be used as excuse to justify government intervention. Now I’m not advocating government non-intervention either, but if the government is going to intervene, it has to be for the right reasons, not because of this political bullshit manufactured just because people dont like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, SpaceX, Amazon, or whoever and whatever corporations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Cleanup

Not a bad idea, so long as the money were refunded when the satellites are deorbited by the owner. Unfortunately there are a number of reasons why it wouldn’t work in practice. The foremost is Russia. Then there are China, India, even Europe who wouldn’t necessarily sign on (to be clear, there is no way in hell Russia would and China is rather doubtful).

Plus, right now, the biggest problem for space debris is Russia by a long margin, due to their recent anti-satellite weapon test, which this scheme doesn’t address at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Cleanup

They are in LEO with unstable orbits and atmospheric friction. They move to responsibily deorbit but worst case a complete failure is gone in around five years. Superfund is for pollution which requires long term response for containment. It solving itself in five years with no action is the exact opposite of what Superfund is for.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...