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Solar System Monopoly [Robert Bigelow, CEO Bigelow Aerospace] ^ | 19 Oct 2001 | Robert Bigelow

Posted on 11/04/2011 8:43:09 PM PDT by Space Patrol Hoppa

Get Ready! Listen up – Because your space playbook is about to really change. There’s a new gunslinger in Dodge and he’s huge. He’s hungry. He’s very wealthy. He’s ambitious, (like we used to be). And he is not American.

He has already started to play the Game and we are unaware. We don’t even know what the Game is. What is the Game? The Game is what I call "Solar System Monopoly". This will characterize the 21st and 22nd centuries and beyond.

"The Hell you say." Yes, I say -- and if we ignore this it shall be at our extreme peril. I will tell you now how the first major win of this Game of Solar System Monopoly will end about fifteen years from now and who this gunslinger is.

But first:

I. Over the next five years, America will struggle uncomfortably toward some politically acceptable level of economic recovery. However, I see it this way. With the passage of time over perhaps the last twenty years (not even including the additional serious damage caused by this Great Recession,) America has become weaker not stronger vis-à-vis other countries, as measured against traditionally important criteria. So we must ask: where is America going?

II. And as for those of us that are space geeks, we must also ask: where is this planet’s space future going?

III. Who will be in charge as the dominant force leading the way?

IV. How different is America today from 1969? Educationally, financially, politically, industrially, and especially motivationally.

V. Is America weaker or stronger from a global perspective?

VI. If America is a lot weaker than it was in 1969, relative to the above criteria, how close in years to the tipping point is America now to being relegated to the number two position across the board?

VII. Who would number one most likely be?

We are all probably thinking China. So let’s take stock of our situation.

What are some serious American problems that are probably permanent?

I. The enormous cost of entitlement and welfare programs.

II. The enormous cost and power of government unions at all levels of government that directly lead to those excessively fat and over indulgent employee retirement and benefit programs.

III. The damaging growth and costs of the national debt.

IV. The embarrassingly poor quality and results of our public educational system

V. An increasing and significant cultural bias toward socialism.

VI. And a pathetic lack of truth, honesty, skills and judgment in our government.

Yes, there are other problems, but these are some of my favorites. Extrapolating from this, you probably do not get a future picture of large, ambitious American space budgets. This is key.

Another problem of course is that NASA is a shadow of the space agency it once was in the 1960s and 1970s. Those were great times, weren’t they? What a difference.

(No, it’s not a function of enough money.)

But that fits right in, because America isn’t the same country either -- for many reasons, some of which I’ve already mentioned. Now, you’ll notice that these years pertained to the moon race and the lunar missions. America, at that time, had a national vision with real honest to God motivation behind it: fear. The fear was all about the Russian space program and their potential capabilities. But it produced in America, sizzle, energy, ambition, creativity, motivation and excitement with national pride at the core.

America today has no grand vision. And America probably couldn’t afford one, anyway, even if it did.

Georgi Arbatov, Soviet expert on the United States said this at the end of the Cold War, “We are going to do a terrible thing to you. We are going to deprive you of an enemy.”

Now, here is the really bad news for America. China already has a grand national vision. And China is achieving rapid progress on their national vision. Their vision is that China wants to be indisputably number one in the world, measured any way you want to measure -- with the possible exception of freedom and some would argue they have more freedom now than they have ever had. China’s people are excited and proud to be Chinese. Their standard of living is moving dramatically up in awesome displays. You can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading about the emerging power of China.

But I believe the best, by far, is yet to come for China. I have thought about the Chinese space program that includes as a centerpiece landing Chinese on the moon and creating a base. I have concluded that this is of course part of their national vision, but very different from the American lunar program. I have reasoned that China will not just send their taikonauts to make footprints and collect dirt. There would be really no point in China simply repeating what the Americans did when you have the opportunity for creating a sea change in global power that may only come along in a thousand years. Since China is already committed to going to the moon thereby risking national honor, life and capital in trying to succeed in these efforts, why not take the all important syllogistic next step: ownership, ownership, ownership?

I believe they will make ownership claims wherever they land and are able to move about. And this process shall continue for years until they have surveyed, marked and claimed the entire body -- the moon, and maybe later, Mars.

China’s Prospects for Ownership - Four Issues to Consider

First: Motivation. What is there about the moon that is or would be valuable to the Chinese from an ownership position?
A. Good location as a jumping off place to the rest of the solar system.

B. Mining and transporting helium-3 to Earth as a new, clean power source for perhaps the next two hundred to five hundred years.

C. Water ice for human consumption, rocket fuel, irrigation and foundation of life as we know it, etc.

D. Colonization to save the species.

E. Sell or lease tracks of territory on the lunar surface.

F. Sell licenses to other countries or corporations that would provide surface power, transportation etc, etc.

G. Provide leasing and licensing rights to other countries and corporations for research, etc, etc.

H. Major: Chinese national pride and confidence. Enormous uplifting of Chinese people everywhere. "It’s great to be Chinese!"

(Americans: still basking in lunar glow after 40 years. Americans: don’t own even one square foot.)

I. Probably most significant and valuable: global psychological impact – the tsunami of maximizing imperial global image to all nations everywhere. This would endure for a very long time.

A priceless, maybe a once-in-a-millennium opportunity. Nothing else China could do in the next fifteen years would be as great!

Second: How to acquire ownership? What would China need?

A. Internal financial resources and international commercial and political influence, accumulated and distributed globally, sufficient to compromise complaints that could turn into meaningful action.
* China: a dramatic engine of growth. American growth: much less

* China: debt not a problem. America: 15 trillion dollars in debt

* China Liquidity: 3 trillion dollars in cash. America: no cash

* China: world’s largest importer.

* China: world’s largest exporter.

* China: second largest economy in the world as of early 2010; IMF projects China #1 in GDP in 2016.

* China: holds over 25% of all foreign-held American debt.

"No Bucks, no Buck Rogers. Have Bucks, can buy Buck Rogers."

B. Technological capability. Where is China now much less in 2022?. In 2007 [NASA Chief Administrator] Michael Griffin stated “When we get back to the moon we will be greeted by the Chinese”.

* China recently adopted new national philosophy moving from “Made in China” to “Innovated in China”.

* Space program: Chang’e-2 is a lunar probe launched in 2010 to test lunar orbital mapping and soft lunar landings.

* China’s first stealth fighter bomber.

* August of 2010: China conducted a very close maneuver of two satellites to allow them to inspect each other at a range of 200 yards.

* 2011: Tiangong,/i>-1, the launching of first space lab module

* 2013: Chang’e-3 intended to be [China's] first unmanned lunar landing craft.

* 2017: Lunar sample return mission.

C. Ability to stay focused. "Plan ahead" -- China famous for this.

D. Actual execution of reaching Moon: enough teams, enough rovers, start process of surveying, placing markers, etc.

Third: What/who to prevent this?

A. Legal Permission: 1967 Space Treaty, not a problem
A. Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies

Article XV

Any State Party to the Treaty may propose amendments to this Treaty. Amendments shall enter into force upon their acceptance by a majority of the States Parties

Article XVI

Any State Party to the Treaty may give notice of its withdrawal from the Treaty one year after its entry into force by written notification to the Depositary Governments. Such withdrawal shall take effect one year from the date of receipt of this notification.

B. International Public Opinion: not sufficiently detrimental.

C. United States or some consortium of other countries: Too little, too late!

Fourth: When might this happen? Probably between 2022 and 2026. Of course, Mars would likely be next as a Chinese target -- maybe in late 2020’s.

What I’m going to suggest is that if China proceeds to lay ownership claims to vast territories of the moon this will hopefully produce the fear factor necessary to motivate the Americans. It may and probably will be much too late for the Americans to respond to China securing the moon.

However, Mars would likely still be available. With the land mass of Earth, Mars is special in many ways.

But how would America be able to pay for such a competition? And with NASA having such a poor track record of performance for the last 30 years of completing programs on time and on budget, who would be in charge of getting the work done? I don’t have an answer for this last question, but I do have an approach to the first.

I foresee the possibility of a unique situation. What if the American government found that military spending could safely decline by 10% in real dollars, while at the same time increasing spending on defending America’s chance to own portions of Mars. Current American defense spending not including black budgets is over $600 billion dollars per year. If that 10% reduction in defense spending were given to a Mars ownership space program, that would create an additional $60 billion per year as an increase to the space budget.

The current military trend is away from wars costing massive loss of life and injuries but wars still cost massive amounts of money. The future military trend is to do both, reduce the losses of life and injuries while also reducing the insane financial costs of wars. For example, two trillion dollars for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has already been spent. The American public is so disgusted with the cost of these two wars, that this bad taste will linger for maybe 10-15 years once they’re over. If money for defense could be reduced by 10%, a comparable increase in space expenditures could be a good substitute for this 10% reduction to feed the military industrial complex.

What happens when this money is transferred and reallocated?

1. A Mars quest-for-ownership program would produce less loss of life and injuries, as compared to that of those same 10% defense dollars engaged in wars, that it would be hard to even measure.

2. Small and large companies that profit from war and the making of war materials with an aerospace manufacturing capability could shift from one to the other. Their boards of directors couldn’t care less so long as total contracts remain equal or greater.

3. Science and human knowledge would experience a quantum jump

4. After 40 years, America would finally have a new vision, again supported by fear, this time from China.

Acquiring a Mars presence and securing territories of ownership will take a number of years even if we are pushed by China. These large expenditures, continuing for many years, will provide an equal economic substitute for the reduced economic stimulus from lower war production budgets. In addition, this would soon produce the creation of an important economic dynamic. When we landed on the moon then left only footprints, no commerce was possible.

With Mars under ownership, development and commerce would produce a nexus for multiple new industries. America would experience a rebirth in vision, excitement, science, prosperity and global prestige. America might just achieve something that would be worthy of respect from that generation of Americans known as the Greatest Generation.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: china; future; moon; space
Notes by Bigelow Aerospace CEO Robert Bigelow for his address to the members of the 2011 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) in Las Cruces, New Mexico on 19 October 2011.

This document has been edited by me for grammar and legibility. Mistakes and emphases are mine. The verbatim text may be found at link (above).

An edited video of Bigelow's speech


1 posted on 11/04/2011 8:43:12 PM PDT by Space Patrol Hoppa
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa

Really, I though some kid in grade school wrote it.

2 posted on 11/04/2011 9:00:19 PM PDT by org.whodat (Just another heartless American, hated by Perry and his fellow demorats.)
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa

Would make a good computer simulation game.

3 posted on 11/04/2011 9:22:41 PM PDT by Nowhere Man ("People should not fear their government, their government should fear the people." - V for Vendetta)
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa

I think Red China is and could be a big threat to us, but there is another side where I wonder if there is one keystone in their system that if pulled, will cause them to collapse.

4 posted on 11/04/2011 9:25:32 PM PDT by Nowhere Man ("People should not fear their government, their government should fear the people." - V for Vendetta)
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa

China can’t own the moon - it’s already owned by someone else:
from ehow:
“Land on the moon is sold through two main agencies: The Lunar Embassy, and the Lunar Republic. Both sell land by the acre, but provide different bonuses to sweeten the deal: whereas the Lunar Republic provides both a deed and a satellite photograph of your property, the Lunar Embassy provides a copy of the story, ‘You Own the What?”

Read more: How to Buy Land on the Moon |

5 posted on 11/04/2011 9:53:53 PM PDT by blueplum
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa
Except for basic science and tourism, human beings will do no productive work in space for centuries, and probably millennia.

Besides the moon and Mars, there's no place to go.

Venus? Atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth's and highly corrosive.

Mercury? Ultra hot, ultra cold, and lethal solar radiation.

Asteroids? Zero gravity makes construction or mining impossible.

Jupiter's moons? Bathed in Jupiter's lethal radiation belt and subject to massive gravitational stress.

There are no current technologies that protect against long term exposure to zero-G, cosmic rays, and solar wind.

Finally, the Environmental Left will NEVER allow large scale commercial mining in space.

6 posted on 11/04/2011 11:35:01 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: org.whodat; KevinDavis

Came from speaking notes?

Seems pretty close to the mark though.

7 posted on 11/04/2011 11:47:28 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Happiness)
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa


8 posted on 11/05/2011 1:39:06 AM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa

I mean, we must be... increasingly on the alert to prevent them from taking over other mineshaft space, in order to breed more prodigiously than we do, thus, knocking us out in superior numbers when we emerge! Mr. President, we must not allow... a mine shaft gap!

9 posted on 11/05/2011 2:21:34 AM PDT by Lockbox (`)
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To: blueplum

In order to claim ownership of a property, one needs a legal document.

In order to take possession of that property, one needs to be able to get there.

In order to keep that property, one needs the means to do so.

You must envision a kinder, gentler China, one with no mil ambitions, nor the means to enforce its wishes.


The PLA will be on the moon, and with the weapons to enforce whatever China desires. The Lunar Embassy, and the Lunar Republic can rail and wail, but to no avail.

China will own whatever it wants, and only Chinese will roam the “properties” claimed by the Loonnies ... sitting hopelessly on Earth while contemplating their collective navels, and demanding more free stuff.

10 posted on 11/05/2011 5:49:30 AM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
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To: Space Patrol Hoppa
China has many problems not mentioned: such as desertification that is taking more areas out of production, lack of several key minerals that have to be imported, a huge population making increased demands upon
resources, an inadequate transportation system.
11 posted on 11/05/2011 12:42:19 PM PDT by upcountryhorseman (An old fashioned conservative)
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