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May 11, 2012

Why Space ? Everyone does want more. What Abundance really means and looks like

Gregor MacDonald claims to be an oil analyst and wrote at Zero Hedge a couple of days ago. I had already corrected this "oil analyst" that crude oil did not reach a ceiling in 2005 and has increased by 3-4 million barrels per day and oil liquids has increased by almost 6 million barrels per day.

Gregor asked the question - why is Diamandis thinking about mineral mining in space, when resources here on Earth -- in his view -- are so abundant?

Summary

Oil in place in the continental US is from about 3 trillion to 5 trillion barrels of oil not including the 4.5 trillion barrels of oil shale.

There is enough and the technology will be here to get it and use it affordably. However, the technology to clean has historically lagged and that would be a big problem.

Everyone in the developing world wants to at least catch up the US and Europe. So in 2050 that means about 10 billion people with $100,000 per person. So a $1000 trillion global economy. We have demonstrations here where the 99% want to get to the 1% level of income.

For the US, getting to where the bottom level of the current 1% is about $506,500 per year.

Everyone getting to that level is a $5000 trillion economy. The world is currently at an $82 trillion economy.

It is not just cornucopians who want more, clearly everyone wants more. The developing world wants more and the 99% want more. However, most people have not thought it through or done the calculations. There are a bunch of knee jerk doomers who just assume it cannot be done and that they consider the current level too much. Many of the doomers have some kind of implicit or explicit mass death and poverty solution.

Technology and long term planning and execution of those plans can achieve true abundance for everyone.


Sure a lot of Earth-based resources but getting and using it here ?

Oil in place in the continental US is from about 3 trillion to 5 trillion barrels of oil not including the 4.5 trillion barrels of oil shale.

1.53 trillion barrels Piceance Basin of Colorado (USGS, June 2011 oil shale)
1.44 trillion barrels Green River formation (USGS, June 2011 oil shale)
1.32 trillion barrels for the Uinta Basin of Utah and Colorado. (USGS, June 2011 oil shale)
260-500 billion barrels Monterey Formation (tight oil)
271-503 billion barrels Bakken Formation (tight oil)
etc...

Aggressive use of new fracking technology and combined with fire flooding and water flooding could enable 20-30% recovery rates. Large amounts of the Oil shale is likely recoverable with fire flooding. So 6.5 trillion to 9.5 trillion barrels of oil, with 20-30% recovery rates is 1.3 to 2.8 trillion barrels of oil. Oil Shale like in the Green River Formation cannot be recovered with horizontal drilling. It will require fire flooding or some other likely insitu method.

Technology should make horizontal drilling three times cheaper.

Fire Flooding and other technology can make it very affordable to get oil from the oilsands.

Technology for affordably extracting 4 billion tons of uranium from seawater is close.

I did not have room in this article, but I have other articles that detail out increasing agricultural production, handling water issues, near term energy and whatever other "problem" doomers have.

There is enough and the technology will be here to get it and use it affordably. However, the technology to clean (pollution mitigation) has historically lagged and that would be a big problem.

Yet Clearly China and India and everyone else wants their share

Everyone in the developing world wants to at least catch up the US and Europe. So in 2050 that means about 10 billion people with $100,000 per person. So a $1000 trillion global economy. We have demonstrations here where the 99% want to get to the 1% level of income.






For the US, getting to where the bottom level of the current 1% is about $506,500 per year.

Everyone getting to that level is a $5000 trillion economy. The world is currently at an $82 trillion economy.

It is not just cornucopians who want more, clearly everyone wants more. The developing world wants more and the 99% want more. However, most people have not thought it through or done the calculations. There are a bunch of knee jerk doomers who just assume it cannot be done and that they consider the current level too much. Many of the doomers have some kind of implicit or explicit mass death and poverty solution.

With clean energy it is possible to have 10 billion people living 100 times more energy rich than today without messing up the environment. This shows the claim of Tom Murphy and Gregor MacDonald that the calculations have not been done in detail about how much Earth based growth is possible is wrong. It is also shows that we need to get the space based solutions ready in plenty of time to allow for growth beyond the 100 times more than today level.

It is also goofy that Gregor asks why Space and has reasons in his own article but he is unable to put two and two together.

I did preface that with the need to use non-air and water polluting methods to get that energy. So that would mean a shift from fossil fuels (of which there is plenty of oil, natural gas, frozen methane etc...).

People today in the US and Europe are 100 times richer than their ancestors were a few hundred years ago. Yet the people of today still want more. I am expecting that after the next 100 times improvement that there will still be the desire for more.

I have laid out in some detail how advanced deep burn nuclear fission, near term nuclear fusion, stratosphere based solar power and space based solar power can meet those needs up to the everyone at the current 1% USA level.


Solar system resources will give ten billion times more energy and material.

Near term Space Revolution

SpaceX is hard at work trying to design rocket parts that can fly themselves back to the launchpad for reuse. We talked to founder Elon Musk about how far the company’s designs have come.

Musk tweet this recently: "Design completed for bringing rocket back to launchpad using only thrusters. Yay. Wings r just dead weight in space."

In a press release a few months ago, SpaceX had shown an animated simulation of a Falcon 9 that returned both its first and second stages all the way to land vertically at a recovery site. Recently we spoke to Musk so he could elaborate on the design in more than 140 characters.

Elon Musk told Popular Mechanics SpaceX has come up with a solution to make both the lower and upper stages of the Falcon 9 reusable. (The Dragon capsule that will fly atop the rocket has already demonstrated that it can be recovered in the ocean after it splash-lands with a parachute, though SpaceX is building vertical-landing capability into that as well.)

The key, at least for the first stage, is the difference in speed. "It really comes down to what the staging Mach number would be," Musk says, referencing the speed the rocket would be traveling at separation. "For an expendable Falcon 9 rocket, that is around Mach 10. For a reusable Falcon 9, it is around Mach 6, depending on the mission." For the reusable version, the rocket must be traveling at a slower speed at separation because the burn must end early, preserving enough propellant to let the rocket fly back and land vertically. This also makes recovery easier because entry velocities are slower.

However, the slower speed also means that the upper stage of the Falcon rocket must supply more of the velocity needed to get to orbit, and that significantly reduces how much payload the rocket can lift into orbit. "The payload penalty for full and fast reusability versus an expendable version is roughly 40 percent," Musk says. "[But] propellant cost is less than 0.4 percent of the total flight cost. Even taking into account the payload reduction for reusability, the improvement is therefore theoretically over a hundred times."

A hundred times is an incredible gain. It would drop cost for Musk’s Falcon Heavy rocket—a scaled-up version of the Falcon 9 that’s currently rated at $1000 per pound to orbit—to just $10. "That, however, requires a very high flight rate, just like aircraft," Musk says. "At a low flight rate, the improvement is still probably around 50 percent. For Falcon Heavy, that would mean a price per pound to orbit of less than $500." Falcon Heavy is particularly amenable to reuse of the first stage—the two outer cores in particular, because they separate at a much lower velocity than the center one, being dropped off early in the flight.



Other Space and Energy Revolutions

Planetary Resources is lowering the cost of satellites by 100 times.
Bigelow Aerospace is enabling single launches of inflatable space stations that will have more room than the International space station which cost $100 billion and took dozens of launches.

Need serious engineering and long term planning

China has energy plans out to 2050 and 2100. They are building lots of nuclear reactors, hydro dams and deepening rivers for 10,000 ton barges. They are making grand canals to move water from the South to the North.

Back in the 1970s, President Nixon had energy plans to build 2000 nuclear reactors by 2000. France built up to achieve 80% electricity from nuclear mainly over 15 years. Instead of nuclear the US has more coal and natural gas thermal power plants. Over 30 years, it would have been perfectly feasible to build 2000 nuclear reactors and to have done the development to have them be more advanced deep burn breeder reactors. The nuclear fuel cycle should have been closed. This would have made uranium usage sixty times more efficient. There would be no long term nuclear waste. This is the plan that China is systematically working towards now.

A well developed nuclear power system would be providing power at about 2 cents per kilowatt hour. This is about three to five times cheaper than most of the power in the US. Instead of paying $1000-2000 per year for that power the average US person could be paying $200-400 per year.

More abundance was possible if a proper long term energy plan was executed.

Now we have clowns like Gregor MacDonald talking about taking 50-100 years to use solar and wind to just replace the coal and some oil but not have any growth.

For 200 years the US and Europe grew 1-2% more per year than China until 1970. This enabled the US and Europe to become 100 times richer than the people in China. The zero and negative growthers are pushing poverty and mass death.

Ran the numbers ahead

Yes, eventually there are limits. The expansion from the solar system will be about 1% per year for a few hundred thousand years unless future generations find ways around certain limitations that we currently see in physics. However, they will have plenty of time, resources and technology to figure out what to do.

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