Exclusive SpaceShipTwo unveiling gallery

The world's first commercial spacecraft was officially unveiled on Monday afternoon.

Photos shot for Boing Boing by Alan Radecki, photographer and Mojave aviation and space historian.

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The craft will take six tourists at a time to the edge of space. Each seat is $200,000, requires the traveler to pass a strenuous physical, and offers just a few minutes of zero-G flight.

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The Mojave desert is home to Virgin Galactic's research and development base. Its commercial spaceport is to be built in New Mexico.

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Entrepreneur Richard Branson and engineer Burt Rutan's dream is to kickstart private space exploration. Test flights will begin almost immediately.

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Earlier in the day, an ice-sculptor's work reflects similarly cold conditions two hours east of L.A., lashed by heavy rains before the unveiling.

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Journalists gathered for the event, bussed out on coaches to what one correspondent described as a "goat rodeo."

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Guests were evacuated early from the event due to wind advisory, Radecki said ... "Current winds, 53, gusting to 60!"

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson were among the attendees.

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The "badminton cock" design allows SpaceShipTwo to re-enter the atmosphere as slower speeds than the Shuttle, producing less heat.

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Branson, Rutan and their families will get to enjoy the first official journey into space. There's already a huge list of reservations for the twice-daily flights thereafter.

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  1. spaceman@SpaceShip2: Gr33tings from space!! first msg ever frm outer space, seats are 200 000 bucks!

    youngjedi@home: ROTFL!!

  2. ackpht: Meh. Two hundred grand a seat and six at a time they’ll never run out of customers like that. At least the taxes (heh hopefully the Govenator didn’t give them too many loopholes) are going to California. Also I strongly support any step our species takes towards traveling the universe.

    1. Think of today as March 31, 1951, the day the UNIVAC I, the first commercially-available computer, shipped. It’s gigantic, it costs hundreds of thousands (millions in 2009) of dollars, and it will still be years until computers are even measured in MHz or flops. But here it is. It’s the beginning. It’s a slow beginning. But, bit by bit, this is eventually gonna change everything.

  3. And they’re calling it the “VSS Enterprise”–as a commenter on the earlier thread said, the tears are a bit close to the surface for this old geek. Always struck me as a cheat that NASA’s first shuttle testbed got the “Enterprise” name but never went to space.

  4. Ice sculptures to celebrate the most C02 intensive amusement park ride on earth – those people have a well-honed sense of irony.

  5. A vehicle that travels on land and takes passengers to the edge of land (where the water starts) but doesn’t take them in to the water would be called a land vehicle.

    This is a vehicle that travels in the air and takes passengers to the edge of space (but not into it).

    So surely it isn’t a space vehicle ?

    It’s cool – but is it really a spaceship ?

    Mac

    1. A vehicle that travels on land and takes passengers to the edge of land (where the water starts) but doesn’t take them in to the water would be called a land vehicle.

      It’s cool – but is it really a spaceship?

      No, not really a spaceship. It doesn’t do any of the useful things that a spaceship would do. It’s unlikely to be a stepping stone to anything. It simply takes the letter of the definition of space and reaches just beyond it in the least inspired way possible.

      1. Sabik: if this doesn’t count as a spaceship because it’s “not useful” then the earliest flying machines don’t count as airplanes. As for what it’s a stepping stone to: SpaceShipThree, of course!

        1. Sabik: if this doesn’t count as a spaceship because it’s “not useful” then the earliest flying machines don’t count as airplanes.

          No, because it doesn’t do any of the useful things a spaceship would do. The earliest flying machines did do the useful thing an airplane would do — sustained heavier-than-air flight. Not sustained for very long, but extending that was a relatively simple matter. Meanwhile, a minimal sub-orbital lob is in a different class to orbital flight — orbital flight is exponentially more difficult.

          1. No, because it doesn’t do any of the useful things a spaceship would do.

            If it doesn’t do anything useful it’s a useless spaceship, but as long as it transports people to space it’s still a freakin’ spaceship.

            The earliest flying machines did do the useful thing an airplane would do — sustained heavier-than-air flight. Not sustained for very long, but extending that was a relatively simple matter. Meanwhile, a minimal sub-orbital lob is in a different class to orbital flight — orbital flight is exponentially more difficult.

            You are making two flawed assumptions here:

            1. There is no possible useful application for a suborbital spacecraft.

            Wrong. The current designs being bandied about for SpaceShipThree include a suborbital hypersonic passenger plane that could transport people from London to Sydney in under two hours. If something really, really needed to get to the other side of the planet in less time than it takes to watch a movie then a suborbital spaceship would be the way to go.

            2. This design approach could not be further developed to launch an orbital spacecraft.

            Also wrong. You’re correct that an orbital craft is much more difficult to build but that doesn’t mean that a ship that used design elements from Rutan’s SpaceShip series couldn’t work.

  6. Vomit Comet is just a few seconds of weightlessness at a time. I take people on zero-g parabola flights all the time in my plane. I can do 3-5 seconds at a time, the Vomit Comet can do something like 30 seconds.

    When you’re done, you’ve…. flown in a plane.

    When you finish with the SpaceShipTwo, you’ve fucking been into SPACE and had 5-6 minutes of uninterrupted zero-G.

  7. They’ll make fantastically expensive falling stars to view from down here. But personally, I’d rather see a huge, super-yacht capsize in a squall.

  8. Anonymous @11: if someone has $200k and is determined to blow it on a fancy holiday experience, most of the other ones that occur to me would have a far higher CO2 cost than this. (Virgin’s own figures, which are verifiable by some back-of-the-envelope calculations, show that each suborbital hop produces less CO2 per passenger than one return economy flight across the Atlantic.)

    Of course, if you want to argue that a rational Green society would not permit either space tourism or people to have a spare $200k to blow on it, go on – but that’s a political argument. (It’s not my view, but I have run into it.)

  9. dont we have enough internal troubles not to mention enough cool shit to do down here? the last thing we need is to explore space. as if we havent fucked up our little patch of the universe enough as it is, now we have to get civilians in on something that will hurt the earth again so that they can leave it for probably a matter of seconds.

    1. Our chances of surviving an extinction event are at the moment very close to zero. Amongst many other factors, the primary reason for this is that we are keeping all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak. To increase the chances of the human race surviving the next Dinosaur-killer, we have to go into space. At the very least, we have to imagine, design and build interplanetary vehicles we could use to _try_ to nudge such a heavenly object out of our way. And no, that type of craft is not readily available at the moment.

      Your sentiment, reasonable as it seems, is very narrow minded, and in the long run, dangerous. As in the order of 880 megatons dangerous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99942_Apophis

      1. im counting on us not surviving the next extinction. species get a chance to make their mark on Earth. I think we’ve made our mark and we don’t deserve to know what’s out there.

        1. I respectfully disagree. I don’t think that the actions of others reflect on my entitlements with respect to the universe, if such things exist outside of the abstract. Oh wait, they don’t.

        2. I think I had you pegged in my first reply. Here’s two simple things you can do to help out;
          1. Don’t procreate.
          2. Stop eating.
          And voila, you’ve done your part to halt population expansion.

          We don’t deserve to know..? We? Speak for yourself.

    2. Cool shit is cool shit, wherever it is. Why is cool shit on the edge of space a special case deserving of scorn?

  10. Don’t I have enough internal troubles not to mention enough cool shit to do right here in my own house? The last thing I need is to get up and go outside.

    The “we have too many problems here” argument is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There will always be problems here. To think otherwise is to believe in unobtainable utopia. There is no magical existence where all problems have been solved and mankind can focus its energies on sending Captain Picard and Lt. La Forge careening through the cosmos on a mission of perfectly lovely techno-communism.

    It takes people with vision to expand the boundaries of the possible so that the rest of us can move into it and complain about how it is dirty and scary.

  11. Nope, we have to think to the future. One aspect of that is to reach for the stars. Anything that might make it more economical for us to get into space is good. Even if it were only to get small autonomous craft (or manned) to asteroids for mineral mining, water mining or other such endeavours which would benefit us all.

    Apart from the human spirit of exploration which is behind most of what we’ve done so far.

    We should make habitation modules on the moon and mars, and slowly try to reach further. Always try for more.
    It’s expensive and it’s dangerous but some of us (actually quite many of us) are willing to take those risks.

    On with the adventure!

  12. Well I guess “In my lifetime” is now a plausible wish.

    I’m with Arikol, this although expensive orbital cruise will only lead to greater things. Once the kinks are worked out it will become more and more feasible for anyone with the desire to go “Off world”.

    I predict a commerical Space Station plan to be announced within the next 10 years. After that who knows.

  13. The great thing about private space is that it’s not even your tax dollars. Tritty can look down, i can look up, and not feel stiffed for either la vie quotidien or looking at the stars.

    (Yes, I know the state space budget is a tiny proportion of the whole thing, but even so…)

    1. Okay very vaguely:
      Boeing 747 with 200,000L of fuel and 400 passengers = 500L/person/fuel stop.
      SpaceShipTwo might carry (wild guess) 2000L of fuel and six passengers (crew don’t count) = ~330L/person. It’s comparing apples with cheese, of course.

  14. @Mac: It takes passengers to about 110km (according to wikipedia) which is 10km higher than the Karman line, which is what the FAI recognises as th edge of space. NASA defines a spaceflight as above 50 miles (I think) so either way it basically is a spaceship, yeah.

    I don’t think I’d pay that amount for a suborbital flight though.

  15. Sorry #18 that is wrong thinking! These folks are actually doing some valid science here that like many have noted, is a step towards a goal. So far the goal is non military and the best part is, it’s done by private enterprise, funded by private citizens!

    It’s a good thing, it really is!

    aoxomoxoa~!

      1. Tritty: A quick review of my previous comments will show you that I enjoy a good complain on the side of the environment and developing countries… but stop being a troll. Seriously.

        If this is such an issue for you, then where is your rant about sports cars? I mean, as #30 pointed out, the carbon emissions from 1 flight for 1 passenger is roughly equal to 1 year of car ownership (arguably 3 months ownership of a sports car, as any decent sports car’s engine is probably roughly 4 times bigger than your standard passenger car).

        Futhermore, this flight does not use earth’s materials (excluding fuel, and in-flight meal?) like a sports car does. Cars are solid objects, made from resources we tore out of the earth. After use, they will probably eventually end up decaying in a scrap yard somewhere.

        A flight on this craft is a unique experience which will sell in vastly fewer numbers than annual sports cars sales, so your assertion that it is wasteful is misdireected unless you are willing to go and picket Ferrari on your days off…

        Pick your fights better, cause the damage:potential_gains ratio here is strongly in favour of the potential_gains. There are way more important things for you to rant about if you care about the environment and inequality.

        Also worth mentioning that Branson said at the launch that Virgin Galactic was going to operate completely carbon neutral, so I wouldnt be suprised if the carbon offset is already factored into the $200k pricetag.

        1. this article is on space travel. not sports cars. so what do u mean “this flight does not use earth’s materials? where do they get spacecraft materials from? space? and aren’t fuel and food two of the most exhaustive processes for the earth? i will continue being a troll if thats what it means to respect your progenitor more than your reputation

      2. Tritty tritty, dont get shitty.

        You are saying: “This is wasteful. Divert energy into real problems first”

        I am saying: “Other things which you accept without question are much more wasteful and provide less potential benefits. Rant about them before you rant about this”

        please explain how ones opinion can be wrong. and brush up on your grammar
        do you mean “one’s”?

        If you are going to be a nit-picking asshole… here we go:
        this article is on space travel.capital t? – comma instead of full stop? not sports cars. so what do u mean “this flight does not use earth’s materials?capital s? – how about closing your quotes? Should I also mention that you completely misquoted me?

        Someone’s opinion can be wrong when it is guided by bullshit and disproportionate in scope… like yours.

        where do they get spacecraft materials from? space? and aren’t fuel and food two of the most exhaustive processes for the earth?

        OK…. I will slow this down so you can keep up, because you are obviously having trouble… A car is made of metal. When we buy a car, we buy that metal. It is out metal. Noone can take that metal from us or even (properly) put it back in the earth where it came from. When you fly on this craft… you RENT IT. Noone is stupid enough to suggest that if we shared cars there would be more consumption (thats the entire principle behind public transport). [So that’s one for the VSS Enterprise]

        Cars take fuel…. This craft takes fuel. Not many people could afford to fly on this craft every year. Hundreds of thousands of people can afford, and do pay for, fuel to operate their cars every year. [So that’s another for the VSS Enterprise]

        People have to eat. Are you suggesting we dont eat? Awesome problem-solving skillz you got there, I’m so impressed.

        Please… keep trolling… You look smarter with every post.. No, seriously!

        (No, not seriously.)

        1. Wow! Do you have to be pro-space travel to rhyme? TP so far i haven’t criticized a single opinion of yours. and if its your opinion that an opinion can be wrong i’ll respect that.(no, not seriously) this single craft is not going to make a dent in the earth’s resources but as many have suggested this will pave the way for bigger, better and more things. It is not wrong for me to object to something(not just v galactic, but manned space travel in general) that clearly has negative benefits for many things while positive benefits for only some, mostly humans. please nitpick me some more

          1. Wow! Do you have to be pro-space travel to rhyme?
            Obviously… I couldn’t find even one rhyme in your reply! Nor even a scent of iambic pentameter.

            Please try to understand I am not criticising the principles behind your opinion (if anything I generally agree with them), but as I previously stated: there are bigger fish to fry.

            This development has potential for a multitude of benefits. Many things humans tolerate presently are excessively selfish and offer little benefit to anyone but the individual. A particularly good example of one of these things is sports cars. I am not nit picking – merely offering examples to counteract your magnification of what you want us to believe is the ‘problem’.

            Instead of repeatedly saying “I have my opinion and you can’t tell me that I can’t hold it”, how about trying to rebut what I actually said.. you know – discussion? I can often be a little rude and sharp in the way I make my point, but it doesnt mean you can just ignore what I say, click the “reply to” button, re-state your opinion and then completely neglect to address any of the points I made. Well you can do that – but then you’d be a troll.


            P.S.
            whats a negative benefit?

  16. I’m all for space exploration, if only for the fact that it acts as a catalyst for invention and discovery. How much of the technology we use today is due to NASA and the push for space in the 60s?

  17. In reply to #12: Once you’re past 100km up, it’s considered “space”; The air is thin enough that aerodynamic controls no longer work, your drag is so low that it feels like effectively zero g. So Scaled’s spaceships do go into space, just not very deep.

    And for all the people wondering about the carbon footprint… yes, it’s the equivalent of many thousands of miles flying in an airliner or driving in a car. If you’ve ever traveled to another continent, or owned a car for a year, it’s about that much. Hey, maybe Virgin will offer carbon offsets as part of the cost (it would certainly be an “affordable” bit of the $200,000).

    And count me in with the other people who want to be like Burt Rutan when we grow up. (But even cooler was Paul MacCready, who shared Burt’s talent for unconventional aircraft design with an environmentalist passion for making the most energy-efficient aircraft humanly possible. First solar-powered aircraft, first human-powered aircraft, first fuel-cell-powered aircraft… The solar-powered Helios, with the wingspan of a 747, could fly higher than a Blackbird, and if it hadn’t been destroyed could probably have flown indefinitely when the fuel cells became ready).

  18. I just don’t get folks who say we shouldn’t bother with space until we clean up our act down here somehow. I think that our problems on Earth make it even more important that we expand our inquiry as far and wide as possible.

    Solutions are very often found in the most unexpected places. The more places we explore, the more chance we have of finding the very answers we need to fix problems here on the ground. IMO. Plus there’s that whole ‘eggs in one basket’ bit.

    And, hey, it’s cool!

    1. I think people say we need to worry about Earth first for three reasons:

      1) With present technology, it would cost far more to colonize another world than to fix this one.
      2) The most habitable planets and moons we can reach are still far, far less hospitable than underdeveloped places on earth, such as the arctic.
      3) If we don’t learn how to do things right we’re just going to end up screwing up another planet and it’s possible (unlikely, but possible) that we will NEVER get interstellar travel working.

  19. I reckon we are on the edge of extinction at the moment but stopping science is a bad way to solve the problem, even if space flight appears counter intuitive. Wish I could afford the trip!

  20. The “badminton cock” design allows SpaceShipTwo to re-enter the atmosphere as slower speeds than the Shuttle, producing less heat.

    Errrr, no. The Space Shuttle re-enters the atmosphere going about 17,000 MPH, because it’s an ORBITAL spacecraft. It goes up, but it also goes “sideways” fast enough so that when it falls back towards Earth it misses.

    SpaceShipTwo goes straight up and then straight back down, so the speeds involved are much, much lower. The “shuttlecock” design makes re-entry carefree, in that the vehicle is aerodynamically very stable in the un-hinged configuration so there is very little risk of coming in at the wrong angle and getting into some kind of uncontrollable tumble.

  21. Everyone should revisit their aeronautical history and take a lesson. This is how it’s been done in the past and very similar as to how it’s being done now. Brilliant minds work towards similar goals until one achieves it. Then eventually a brilliant entrepreneur will figure out away to invest and turn it into a business adventure there by increasing the technology development with cash flow. Expensive of course, it’s brand new!!!! We’re talking about going into space for a private citizen!! Flying to ones destination used to be for the cream of the crop and was romantic. Just look at the PanAm days, the glamour and glitz and even way before that on prop airliners. Really, it’s however everything works in a capitalist society. Space travel is harder and we didn’t have a multitude of wars pushing space travel technology forward (World War 1 / 2 / Korea / Vietnam / cold war) as it did with flight advancement. It primarily pushed missile/rocket development and the space race that was eventually dumped. This is a good thing people. Small steps.

  22. we’re distracting ourselves by imagining that reaching the stars is a truly amazing achievement. a truly amazing achievement would be taking the funding for space exploration and using it to help people or the environment in countries that are NEVER going to have a space program.

    1. Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

      And if you think we’ve made our mark and should fade, then why bother helping others? Should we quit having kids and just let our race die off?

      1. i watched that movie last night man. good stuff. and yes i do think we should dramatically reduce the earth’s human population. not to extinction but to the point where we don’t push other things out of our way. how to accomplish that goal? i have no idea. i don’t think space travel is going to help us there though.

    2. Tritty…………… You irritate me.

      How do you feel you have the right to decide on whether or not humanity deserves to try for the Universe? How do you think that reaching the stars is not something to be celebrated?

      You really feel that we should not try to better ourselves, that we should not try to outdo those who have come before, and defy the seeming inevitabilty of our species demise?

      First you say we should user the money spent on space exploration to help people, and then you say that the human race as a whole deserves to die………….. The way you think makes no sense!

      We have the ability to do the amazing, and if we turn our backs on this ability, it makes a mockery of everything humanity has ever achieved.

      1. Clearly there is a confusion about my opinions and beliefs on this subject and my actual ability to make decisions on this matter, which is nil. I’m certainly glad this has precipitated so much debate but criticizing my opinions makes no sense. why let my opinions irritate you? we have so many ways to appreciate the stars and there are many ways to better ourselves within these confines. Im not suggesting dismantling current satellites, telescopes, other extra-terrestrial systems, etc. and i certainly did not suggest that the human race should all die. at the moment i hope we can help as many living people improve the quality of their lives as possible but lets be realistic 7 billion is too many. I celebrate many human achievements vastly more important to us than space travel.

        1. I’ll start off with an apology I can’t make, as I’m just wading in: Sorry we’ve ganged up on you like this. However, your “don’t deserve” quote did sound pretty derned anthropocidal.

          Explosively successful species are directly synonymous with mass extinctions, and so far we fit the description. But we’re not just successful, we’re -mankind-. The brains that turned us into the absurdly prodigious trinket-makers that we are also gave us foresight. We don’t use it well, but we’re by far the best we know of anywhere. We’ve squirmed past countless Malthusian disasters, long before Malthus discovered horse dung would smother New York, through our billions of misery-avoiding, inquisitive wills.

          Given sufficient power (and here I believe space development comes again into play) we could turn our CO2 burden into diamond, monogrammed, self-aggrandizing monoliths and the Earth would be better off than the eons of Anthropocene extinction that would ensue if we decided to die in bitter, brutal, pathetic squalor without making such efforts. We are the planet’s best hope of getting through the next vast era with any sense of dignity, and we are because we’re awesome.

          Besides, to banish the only intelligent life we know of to a tiny rock to wink out decades to eons later– it’s rather callous towards sentience in general. Ours appears to be a fire not easily kindled.

      2. You really feel that we should not try to better ourselves, that we should not try to outdo those who have come before, and defy the seeming inevitabilty of our species demise?

        You mean finally getting a Single Payer System for health care in the United States? I thought we were talking about rich people with massive tax breaks floating around in expensive spaceships?

        /s

  23. to all space exploration apologists: we have the internet now, remember? digital space is infinitely renewable and expandable. consciousness is a computational structure/process, theoretically capable of existing divorced from ever-decaying biology. do you see?

    i guess the question for the future of humans is, which will we achieve first: large-scale interplanetary travel/terraforming, or the ability to translate our consciousnesses into 0’s and 1’s, upload them for posterity, and life forever in the digital?

    right now i’d say we are accelerating far more rapidly towards the latter than the former. the first rockets made it to space only a few ears after the first digital computers got up and running, and which has paid the higher dividends by now?

    but who knows? science has a way of sneaking up on us.

  24. Firstly:
    All of these sorts of pioneering engineering projects generate unexpected offshoots, and to stop them because you can’t see the offshoots ahead of time is shortsighted and stupid. For example, the primary reduction in pollution released by cars in the 80’s was caused by the introduction of engine management computers. These were made possible by the miniaturization of the circuitry required into integrated circuit packages, which was developed in large part for the Apollo program. The real-time OS kernel was invented for the Apollo Guidance Computer; it is now an essential part of everything from your car to large industrial plants.

    Second: I refuse to be trapped on this rock we call earth for all eternity. There is something soul-changing about being in space, and if you can’t see that, then I pity you…

  25. @airshowfan: “If you’ve ever traveled to another continent, or owned a car for a year, it’s about that much”

    Somehow neither of those seem quite as frivolous as pouring all those resources into 5 minutes of floating. And it’s not like people taking this ride are doing it *instead* of driving for a year.

  26. There are over 6,000,000,000 of us. Some of us can work on cleaning up down here and some of us can work on going into space. How’s that?

    If I could afford it and I passed the physical, I’d totally go.

  27. Space travel after we’ve fixed all of Earth’s problems? So let’s see, that will be …… never.

  28. Some things to remember:
    1. This is not being funded by public money, but rather private money.
    2. This has created a lot of good jobs, in a town that has the highest per-capita welfare rate in California, and in a region that’s currently has a 4% higher unemployement rate than the rest of California.
    3. Because of this program, during the recession, Scaled has been able to double its work force (show me ANY other regional company that can boast this kind of growth over the same period).
    4. This program is a long way off from turning a profit, so that the money that’s being spent on it (meaning, being spent to hire talented young brains) is money going from the upper class (the sponsors as well as the future astronauts) to middle class engineers and technicians.
    5. The best way to fix things on earth is to a) redistribute some of the wealth, and b) grow technology. This does both, and without any bureaucratic intervention.

  29. we’re distracting ourselves by imagining that reaching the stars is a truly amazing achievement. a truly amazing achievement would be taking the funding for space exploration and using it to help people or the environment in countries that are NEVER going to have a space program.

    …so when an asteroid hits the earth (or truly horrific plague breaks out, or climate changes – natural or man-caused – force widespread extinctions), they can die with the rest of us?

    Makes no sense. The entire purpose of DNA is to replicate. It’s what every species does, every organism. DNA tries to survive and spread. ‘Success’ is determined not by aesthetics, or “rightness” but merely by how well a particular DNA strand’s successors survive to reproduce themselves.

    IE., getting OFF this planet is the only valid outcome of concern for us – at least, biologically. Truly long-term survival of any individual (and by extension, species) requires leaving the home/nest…which no Earth species has yet to achieve. Homo Sapien currently has the best shot at it, so by all means – let’s see what we can do!

    1. Makes no sense. The entire purpose of DNA is to replicate. It’s what every species does, every organism. DNA tries to survive and spread. ‘Success’ is determined not by aesthetics, or “rightness” but merely by how well a particular DNA strand’s successors survive to reproduce themselves.

      Well, no, actually it’s phenotypes that try to survive and spread. DNA is just part of the mechanism. Richard Dawkins wrote a good book on the principle back in the 80s.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_phenotype

  30. i agree with you that DNA strives to survive. But our species does not have to act on those impulses. why would we treat another planet any differently than a new continent? do you want Walmart to rule Epsilon Eridani and Cargill to be buying their crops and selling them back corn from Iowa?

  31. All the arguments about if this is a spaceship or if it is useful or whatever mean nothing to me. Because this thing is about as cool as it is possible to get. And the fact that it is that cool transcends all those arguments.

    And one of these when they will take you up and let you skydive from it, I’ll be one of the first guy’s in line…

  32. @ #44, you may want to live in the digital, and I wouldn’t say no either (I’ve got a brainrot that’ll steal the best of the future from me, so digitizing sounds good) but that’s peanuts to the feel of Martian dirt under your boot, baby.

    Diaspora is the obvious thing for at least some of our genes to do. It’s a drive as old as life. We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to have wonderful tall low-gee babies. We have the ability and that means someone will do it. Viva humanity!

  33. SS2 and WK2 are made, principally, out of carbon fiber. Thus, they are a good permanent repository for carbon. Therefore we should build many, many more as a way of storing excess carbon. See…it IS good for the environment!

  34. One possible offshoot, not often mentioned, is that sub-orbital space flight is a precursor to long distance supersonic travel.
    No sonic booms in space.

  35. The winning meme of this thread, the “we shouldn’t go into space until we solve all of Earth’s problems” argument is awesome, and, I think, has great potential to be modified into an all-purpose self-righteous condemnation of anything I don’t feel like doing.

    Second place to the voluntary human extinction proponents. What a curious religion.

    Honorary mention to carbon footprint pedantry.

  36. Urgh. Now that I’m commenting, I’ll need to scrutinize timestamps more carefully.

    Ah, well. Cheers for space development. *waves pennant*

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