Monday, September 30, 2013

Landing the first stages

I am always surprised how conceptually simple most really good ideas are.

The cost of the energy required to get to space is cheap. Perhaps even as cheap as $1 a pound. The problem is that the cost of hardware needed to get to space is really high. If you had the equivalent of a 747; something you could take off to space, refuel, and quickly take off again space travel would be cheap.

A lot of ideas I have seen are simply trying to get a single vehicle which can get to space like a plane. This might be possible, but has thus far been really difficult. There might be an easier way though. Make a multi stage rocket, but make the stages which drop off into drones. The drones could then land, be hooked back together, then launch again.

SpaceX is trying to do something similar to that. So far the tests haven't gone all that well, but given how well a lot of their launches have been going I expect those details to be worked out quickly.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Less Licenses

I knew driving was becoming less common amount young people due to things such as high cost and more strict DUI punishments. Still, this statistic surprised me a bit:
In recent years, fewer young people are interested in driving. Just 79 percent of people between 20 and 24 had a driver’s license in 2011, compared with 92 percent in 1983
Now more than 1 in 5 young people do not have a drivers license, when thirty years ago it was about 1 in 12. Having just made a huge bet on the idea that homes within walking distance of businesses will increase in attractiveness, I am probably not unbiased on this subject though.