As a lover of all things space I enjoy reading a wide variety of perspectives. The more different the origin, the more likely I am to learn something new! Even in articles which contain errors or elements of confusion, there’s still a good chance that I’ll encounter a new way of thinking about an issue.
This is important. Space is hard, and it’s also hard to reason about. Humans often prefer reasoning by analogy, but with very few exceptions, reasoning by analogy in space is always wrong. So we need to find other ways to reason about space systems, architectures, mission concepts, and past history in a way that lets us derive the full learning value while avoiding the traps of lazy thinking. A robust commentariat is an essential part of training to think deep thoughts in space.
On the other hand, I am increasingly troubled by the persistence of a variety of common misconceptions in space journalism. So rather than complain or just feel bad about it, I’ve decided to write a series of blogs on each topic, the better to understand the issues myself and to function as a handy reference for others. Each blog represents my opinion only, but will be accessible to a general audience and rigorous enough to adequately support that particular viewpoint.
This post will remain pinned for some time and be updated to link to the posted topics below as they are published. I’m open to suggestions for new topics.
The first few blogs are an extension of an older post entitled Unpopular Opinions in Space.
- Modular space stations don’t save time or money
- The Moon’s water is less exciting than you might think
- Space based solar power is useless on Earth
- No really, space based solar power is not a useful idea, literature review edition
- No gas stations in space
- There are no known commodity resources in space that could be sold on Earth
- Self-replicating robots don’t exist, and why that matters
- On reasoning backwards from architecture to implicit requirements
- Why arguments by analogy never, ever work in space
- Civilization is a good thing, and mines are part of life
- OMG space is full of radiation, and why I’m not worried
- Space debris, probably not coming to a backyard near you
- Space law allows commercial uses of space, and why this is a force for peaceful uses
- Blanket pessimism and anger are not your friends
- Billionaires and private space companies, are they the worst?
- Living in space is really hard, the Earth is where it’s at
- The biggest question: Why go space at all?
- Parachutes don’t scale, and other quibbles with the Mars Direct architecture