I can't believe these guys come from Boeing. These guys are talking nonsense as far as I'm concerned.
"There are so many things underway now that relate to space colonization. The International Space Station is part of this too, as well as the long-term potential for terraforming Mars into another planet for humans to live on..."
How is the ISS part of space colonization? We have a few people decided by NASA and Russia in a tin can barely at 500 km in altitude. That's space colonization?
And that's a whoosey on terraforming. It would take literally hundreds of years, and untold resources to terraform Mars - it's really science fiction. The most feasible Mars terraforming plan I've seen is to detonate large scale nuclear weapons in the polar ice caps. This would start a chain reaction to spur the creation of lakes and running water. But it wouldn't change the basic factors that have lead to Mars being a cold world. They would also have to release large amounts of ozone in the atmosphere. Still any of that won't be happening anytime too soon.
"During the last half of the 20th century, a host of technologies and disciplines which had witnessed millennia of slow or no growth suddenly went exponential..."
And there are those that have experienced absolutely zero progress, where we literally still use the same technology we used 30 years ago. And also the prices on manufacturing these technologies have gone up and not down... Try Rocket technology!
McCullough pointed to photography, chemistry and quantum mechanics that have combined to produce a new industrial revolution. Electrical and mechanical engineering are on courses that appear to indicate unbounded exponential improvement. Delving into the structure of DNA has spurred a better understanding of the cellular processes. The human genome has been sequenced and micro biomechanics has taken off, he said.
Wha? "...unbounded exponential improvement"? What can they magically predict the future? Then why aint they rolling in money from the Stock Market?
And what's worse, none of the technologies listed in the article seem to make the cost in dollars per pound to get to orbit decrease, or the cost of building the hardware to decrease. Until those costs decrease to manageable levels, space travel for regular people will never happen. And I hate to brake it to people but that's the only way true space colonization will happen.
Space suits with artificial muscles are nice, but they serve no purpose. You can buy Russian space suits literally on E-Bay for prices that private citizens can afford.
The real barrier to space colonization is the cost of access to space. That has to come down before anything else can change and real space colonization begins. And that's what the X-prize and Space Ship One were all about. NASA isn't interested in reducing the costs to space. In some cases they're actually hostile to it. Some I honestly believe don't like the idea of regular joe blows going into space. The big aerospace companies are addicted to government money and wouldn't suggest a cost reduction measure if their lives depended on it.
But that's exactly what Burt Rutan did. He manufactured a vehicle at the same price tag that a NASA report costs: $30 mill. And just to drive the point home: the bird flew well and was safe.
These guys are from Boeing? It's just quite frankly sad that they are deluding themselves so much.
The giggle factor will never leave space travel, until these guys accept reality and realize that "intelligent materials" and "microscopic fluidic computers" are not going to mean beans all for increasing the chances of space colonization.
Reality is that it costs $16,000/pound to get into space. That's the real barrier. Break that barrier and people will flock to get off this crap rock like the pioneers of old.
They're just waiting to buy the tickets.
UPDATE:Apparently I'm not the only one that has some issues with these guys.