Background: Most people probably know me best from my work in the fitness industry and a few very unlucky folks may have seen me a couple times on television, but behind the scenes of all the Hollywood stuff I am the founder and chairman of an aerospace company called Deimos-One. The majority of people reading this have probably never heard of the company before, but it all started as an MBA thesis many moons ago, and I have been working to defend my “crazy hypothesis” ever since. You see, ever since I was a wee lad, I naturally gravitated (no pun) towards space, and after launching my first baking soda n’ lemon juice “rocket” when I was just six years old, I knew space was going to be my thing. Fast forward to what felt like 1,000 Earth years of studying econometrics, working with predictive models, and drawing lots of very ugly graphs on big white boards, I have assembled a team of scientists and deep thinkers who have been working with me in stealth for the past few years to solve some of the world’s most unsolvable problems. Deimos-One is the brainchild of this marriage of the minds. This paper outlines our vision for the future. This is the Master Plan.
Let’s begin at the very end.
The deep void.
The great unknown.
The final frontier.
Is it possible for a mere mortal to reach for the stars?
Or is space reserved exclusively for big governments and billionaire elites?
Human space colonization is often viewed as a topic of high-brow speculation.
There is a sort of elitist taboo attached to it.
Not in pop culture, of course, where interest in science-fiction epics and otherworldly superhero legends proliferate the ecosphere — but more so in “normal” culture, where the ten thousand year old construct of peasants vs elites dominates the conversation.
It is no secret that the structure of authoritative control and practice when it comes to space has been dominated globally by three groups: big governments, scientific elites, and the mainstream media.
It has been this way for years.
These groups have created a structure of authoritative belief and doctrine that shapes what “reality” officially is, and the beliefs and assumptions that come with their determinations and rules shape decisions in both public policy and our personal lives, whether we realize it or not.
Decisions that are very real and sometimes can have suboptimal consequences for millions of people.
And after thousands of years of seeing different versions of this system come and go in various forms, the common man (through what some experts may argue was a natural evolutionary processes) eventually built a defense system of his own to protect himself against the establishment — and his primary weapon is mistrust.
A decent but rather rudimentary weapon, mistrust has allowed the common man to avoid extinction, but it has not yet proved powerful enough to help him catapult himself over the massive barrier created by the establishment to become an uncommon man.
Space, however, may offer this bounty unto him, if he is willing to accept it.
And while it is easy to write sensational prose to fuel the pitchfork vs cannon antithesis, it is worth noting that risky and expensive initial space exploration by the primary money holders actually makes the most economic sense.
However, regardless of the class of people who are the first to embark on any sort of futuristic space odyssey, it is my opinion (both personally and scientifically) that space is for everyone, not just a chosen few.
Space only really “works” if everyone is involved.
That said, a broader understanding of Spaceonomics, if you will, may unlock the unconscious layers of the common man’s space taboo, the ones that are otherwise beyond his limits of reach and natural defenses — and this newfound knowledge may help the common man finally slam the door shut on antiquated thought processes about space and move him in a more futuristic, data-driven direction.
Class theory aside, I think it’s important for every human to understand that futuristic activities like space colonization and space manufacturing are not only within our reach, but that these endeavors are critically important to improve life here on Earth.
And not only are they important for short-term terrestrial outcomes, but also important for improving long-term outcomes for humanity in the future.
Therefore, it is practically important for all of us to try to develop a deeper understanding of “why space” and then work together to develop a realistic vision of the future.
A future where everyone is included and anything is possible.
This paper sketches an overview of my thoughts on space as well as some of the work my company is doing to help create a better world for the future.
My hope in posting this is that I will be able to (1) provide some encouragement that space is for everyone (2) offer insight to assist with overcoming space bias and fear (3) lay out ideas to help people move past theoretical or ideological constructs about space that are often used as reasons to dismiss it (4) outline my company’s vision of the future (5) inspire the next generation that anything is possible.
Stochastic Variables and American Supergods
One of the hardest things to do in the world isn’t starting your own space company, but summarizing yourself using only a few words.
For the folks reading this who have no idea who I am, I guess the best way to describe myself is “a rebellious nerd who is always asking annoying questions and challenging the rules.”
The people who have known me since the very beginning probably remember me as the skinny kid with big glasses and high socks who used to build baking soda and lemon juice powered rocket launchers in my parent’s backyard of to conduct attack raids on my brother’s fort across the yard.
They know me as the kid who was constantly getting in trouble because I frequently used to attempt risky experiments when my parents weren’t looking — risky experiments such as attempting to test the limits of physics by seeing if it was possible to jump out of the top floor window of the house using a towel-chute, and convincing my little brother to try it also.
But the people who know me best know that my greatest passion in life ever since I can remember was to save the world, and to do it in the wildest and craziest of ways.
Back in my childhood glory days I used to run around the house (“with his chest all puffed out” Mom used to say), with my red superman towel cape flying behind me.
I was constantly waging “intergalactic” living room and backyard wars with my younger brother, who was basically just like me, only he was dressed as the subpar superhero known as Batman.
When I wasn’t in trouble, you could usually find me reading.
I loved science fiction (anything relating to space, sharks, or dinosaurs really) and went on to study economics, finance, machine learning, artificial intelligence, political science, philosophy, law, music, art, religion, and even physics — all fields full of wonderful insights.
Unfortunately, I also usually abandoned most subjects after mastering their major fundamental principles.
Somehow, however, I always found myself gravitating back to space.
Space is a discipline that is unmastered and boundless.
And over the years, it has been the one constant in my brain while everything else has been the variable.
These days, I am primarily focused on studying economics and data-science and their relative applications to space and the future.
Over the years, I have found economic theory to be full of insights (you will find a few basic economic concepts scattered throughout this paper) and consider it to be one of the most important, and perhaps, the single most important disciplines to master on planet Earth.
I have always been driven to seek, explore, and learn — and despite the fact that I know it is scientifically impossible, I want to learn and understand everything.
This has always been the goal.
“Unlimited knowledge” I would always reply as a kid when asked the age-old question of “if you could only pick one, what superpower would you choose.”
Unlimited knowledge, I reasoned, would provide a mere mortal with the ability to unlock and attain every superpower in the universe, thus making him the ultimate hero — a god among men.
Today, I push hard on new ideas and seek out critics to help me sharpen the sword. The ones who are left standing usually become lifelong allies to whom I am forever loyal.
My close friends and I frequently argue and debate together, and if I find too many of them agreeing with me, I know I am probably not analyzing the subject on a deep enough level.
One of the core principals I teach my analysts is that we must “believe in nothing, but also, believe in everything.”
I have a very curious but critical style and tend to make enemies with people and groups whose thinking is sloppy, small, or lacking abstraction.
I tend to seek out knowledge and insights which can dramatically change my world view.
To me, the act of knowing is a sacred quest and it should never be tainted with bias, ideology, or fear.
I am constantly asking questions, constantly working to disprove and refine prior assumptions. I have always been this way, even when I was very young (sorry mom).
That said, you can read this paper with 100% confidence knowing I am not part of any group or elite establishment — I tend to rebel against multi-member institutions and groups who have slogans such as “our beliefs.”
To me, such a slogan is an unmistakable and salient trait of a group who lives in constant fear that they may be wrong — and unless they begin at the very top, will find it difficult to reach their full potential and win.
I contend that any belief can and should be challenged and debated.
Refined and improved.
So as you read this, I encourage you to have an open mind, but to also embark on this journey with sword in hand.
Instead of valuing ego, worldviews and “isms” let’s instead value honesty, passion, and truth.
Truth, Technology, and Directionality
If you’ve done any research on my company, you’ve probably read that we are developing a multi-purpose robotic space drone, named Vulcan, to conduct exploratory missions through the solar system, carry heavy transpo through space, launch rockets, and collect Earth data from space.
It still feels weird every time I hear myself describe our concept, but thanks to modern technology, high-level space tech startups like mine are quietly becoming more and more normalized.
It is getting cheaper and easier to do “space stuff.”
I will discuss the various reasons to support doing more “space stuff” later in this paper, but when you look closely at data, an astute observer may conclude that us humans are not as mentally or as philosophically “advanced” as we think we are, but instead, we are still primitive savages who are bound by the same type of mental and philosophical constraints that held back our ancestors.
Humans have existed on this planet for over 300,000 years, and yet we still do not fully understand our world.
In fact, one could argue that the only difference(s) that distinguish our modern lives from the lives of our hunter-gatherer ancestors are mostly tied to technology.
I’m not only talking about machines and gadgets like cars and iPhones, but also processes, institutions, techniques, and even languages.
Throughout history, humans have used technology to fight against the odds and survive — with each big technological leap, we have increased the mastery of our domain, and consequently, also our odds of survival.
The odds were never in our favor, but look how far we have come.
Upon closer inspection of the data, I guess I should not be overly surprised that a mere mortal slash common man such as myself is developing a robotic spacecraft, because over long time scales, the compound effects of even small amounts of annual growth can be dramatic due to the fact that technological innovation is the main driver of long-term economic growth.
Scholars have observed this trend throughout history, arguably dating back to 10,000 BC when the concept of farming was first invented in the Fertile Crescent.
Now, I am not asking you to embrace any sort of strong form technological determinism here to recognize that technological capability – through its multivariate and complex interactions with the world – is a key factor in determining who “wins” and “loses” and where the future ultimately takes us.
This has been an unwritten rule ever since the first humans crafted tools to make it a bit easier to survive the harsh environment of the early world – but this is a topic for a separate blog post.
I will discuss humanity’s rapid rate of technological change and how it correlates to the modern economy later in this text, but regardless of where our society is in terms of technological sophistication, I still cannot say in good faith that building a spaceship is typical, or even expected from any small business or startup — even though thousands of small space companies currently exist in the United States.
Starting a space company yourself is still quite atypical, despite the fact that the technological capabilities readily exist on the commercial level.
Even as I sit here writing this, most of my close friends still think this whole thing is one big joke and that I will eventually reveal it was a meme all along at a big, super awkward “haha gotcha” reveal party.
“Aerospace is too hard” and “it’s too risky and expensive” are the common themes.
Of course, I cannot confirm or deny if I would ever go through such elaborate lengths to prank my friends, but I can definitely say with 100% confidence that Deimos-One is a real company and we have big plans for the future.
A big part of those big plans is Vulcan, our space vehicle prototype, which in its first flight test last year flew for over 250 miles and reached an altitude of nearly 100,000 feet.
During the flight we conducted high level research in near space conditions and we were able to obtain some very valuable data to help work towards our hypotheses.
One of the hypotheses we were able to somewhat prove during the test was that going to space does not have to be reserved for big governments and rich guys.
This was a huge win for us, but we still have a lot of work to do.
Just because something is affordable does not mean it is easy.
Despite the challenges, however, I am very confident in the work our company is doing — we have a lot of smart people working on some very interesting things, and we have an opportunity to do some really cool stuff.
Stuff that has never been done before.
Stuff that has the potential to make the future better.
Techno-hype aside, however, simply flying high for a couple hours is not our goal.
It’s cool, but isn’t really the problem we are trying to solve.
My thing has always been “if you’re gonna go, you might as well go big” so our long term “big plan” at Deimos-One is to (1) build a wide range of affordable space vehicles; and to (2) increase the probability that every person on Earth will eventually be able to experience space and/or the benefits that space can provide.
This is because the overarching purpose of the company (and one of the goals of my original thesis) is to figure out a way to move humanity away from a conflict economy where scarcity reigns supreme and push it towards a multiplanetary economy.
I believe a multi-planet system could help minimize the age-old problem of earthbound scarcity, and push humanity towards a more peaceful, more sustainable global economy where resources are plentiful and conflict is minimal.
Failed Intellectuals, Conspiracy Theories, and Wise Fools
The economist in me takes great pride in tackling neglected important questions with an intellectual strategy.
However, there is a certain risk involved with tackling neglected topics because neglected topics are often thought to be the topics only discussed by people with small brains.
Conspiracy theorists, uneducated folks and the like.
People who attempt to tackle low status topics are often ridiculed and have their intellectual credibility stripped bare.
Entire careers are thrown in jeopardy.
UFO conspiracy theories, alien visitations, and space colonization often tend to be thought of as “low status topics” that only belong in Hollywood films and epic fiction novels.
These are topics that are typically considered “beneath you” if you are part of the elite academic establishment.
I am not part of any academic circles… but posting my “wild ideas” here today definitely does run the risk of lowering any perceived status I may have had, and being labeled by many who fall in line with the status quo, as a fool.
Or what my grandma likes to call “an educated fool.”
I am well aware that “space cities” and “post scarcity economics” are some of the most ridiculed topics ever, and I’m sure I’ll get a fair share of negative feedback for what I say here today — but the curious seeker in me believes these topics are important and should be discussed, despite the risk.
That said, the purpose of this post is not to conduct a deep dive analysis on fringe economic theory or delve too deeply into futurism, but instead, to encourage optimism that a better solution may be out there and that it may be possible to improve humanity at some point in the near future.
Despite all the unknown variables and risks at play, we can probably assume that it is wise to begin discussing and developing a solution that will improve and sustain life on Earth sooner rather than later.
And despite the fact that an off-planet economy may seem incomprehensible and outlandish to our brains at this current stage in evolution, it does not necessarily mean it is not prudent to look further ahead and prepare for the years to come.
The first step is creating a conversation, and here we are.
That said, I am not under the delusion that any solution exists that can completely eliminate human conflict or destruction.
Humans are predictably selfish and hostile by nature so one can reasonably assume that everything will not always be peaceful and pristine, even if the “best solution” is implemented.
But perhaps we can get close.
A Futuristic Utopia Within Our Grasp
“Are you nuts?”
“How can such a thing be possible?”
I believe a futuristic space economy slash early-stage space civilization is possible in our lifetimes — and this reality may be a lot closer than people think.
We have in-house data that shows futuristic “space stuff” is already being tested and developed, but in order for us to advance to a true space civilization we will need more than just advanced space technologies — what we will also need is for our earthbound paradigm to shift dramatically.
You see, modern technology has gifted us the unique ability to acquire information and knowledge quickly and effortlessly, which in turn, shapes our thinking and worldviews in ways never imagined by our ancestors.
Yet, one could argue that the very technology that educates us and propels us forward, also holds us back in many instances by contributing to countless sociological and ideological mental constraints.
Quite frequently you’ll hear ideological based human constraints thrown around such as “humans were designed to live on Earth” or “humans were designed to eat only plants” or “humans were designed to only do X and not Y” — but my question is always, “but why?” and “how do you know?”
Mathematically, the probabilities of these sort of ideological based assessments being undeniably true are often quite low, but surprisingly, the probability that “humans can do anything if you just give them enough time to figure it out” actually scores much higher.
With that in mind, one must always wonder why in modern society you often hear people state that humans should revert back to the primal roots of our ancestors and abandon our modern lives, but quite paradoxically, I’d be willing to bet that our primal ancestors would probably give anything to live as one of us “modern humans” if only for a day.
1,000 years from now, quite ironically, our current society will be the primal ancestors to some future generation who may decide it is a wise thing to reverse course and go back to live as we do now.
Alas, it is quite the conundrum.
Certainty, there are many things we can learn from studying ancient civilizations, but it is in our best interest to make difficult decisions now in order to avoid the destruction that befell the many great civilizations that came before us.
A Dark Age is often just around the corner — one bad decision from leadership and a seemingly unstoppable civilization is suddenly brought to its knees.
That said, in order for humans to ever build a true space civilization, I think that everyone first needs be made aware “why space” and how expansion beyond Earth can help humanity advance to the next stage of human civilization.
It’s also important for the public to know that this multiplanetary vision is not just the boastful ramblings of eccentric billionaires who want to master the universe and keep the common man under their ruling thumbs — it goes back much further than that.
Sure, it’s easy to grab a digital pitchfork and angry tweet at rich corporate overlords, but billionaires are not really the enemy here and they didn’t even come up with the original idea.
None of this colonizing space talk is new, and it isn’t going to happen simply by throwing money at it.
Simply throwing money at a problem does not fix the problem. All it really does is pump up the muscles like a steroid, while ignoring the issue of the shrinking balls underneath.
You trade off one thing to get something else, but the something you get ruins the thing you wanted in the first place.
Governments are notorious for doing this.
But there is a better way.
Let’s rewind to the ‘almost’ beginning.
The Godfather of Human Spaceflight
Depending on your current level of space nerdom, you may or may not have heard of or read Tsiolkovsky, but if you’re new to his writings and theories, a lot of what’s being said about space colonization today was first explored by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky way back in the 1880’s when he proposed a vision of futuristic space exploration that would lead to cities in space, and ultimately, to utopian societies throughout the solar system.
Even though he will never see what he foresaw in his imagination become reality (unless we figure out how to time travel), Tsiolkovsky championed the idea of the diversity of life in the universe; something the Founding Fathers of America also believed in back in the 1700s and called ‘The Plurality of Worlds.’
Note: for the curious and the brave, feel free to Google search Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Epicurus, and the Atomists.
But I digress.
Tsiolkovsky wrote in his journals that “someday humans would eventually colonize the Milky Way” and he developed a now famous formula to show us how to get there.
This formula is known today as the Tsiolkovsky Rocket Equation, which led to the development of rockets and modern astronautics as we know it today.
Tsiolkovsky theorized that since the solar system’s limitless energy and material wealth would be available to all of society, they would be free from the scarcities that plagued earthbound economies, as well as the conflicts caused by them.
His work paved the way for much of modern space technologies, and many call him the first theorist and father of astronautics and human spaceflight.
But Tsiolkovsky was not alone in his thoughts — also arriving at similar conclusions about Earth’s space future were Robert Goddard and Hermann Oberth, both pioneers and spaceflight fathers in their own rights.
And despite being beset by skeptics and harsh criticism due to the politics and beliefs of their era, Goddard and Oberth were able to inspire a new wave of thinkers through their work, including famous rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, Walter Huhmann, and others, who all set out principles that are still relied on today.
Principles that landed the first man on the Moon.
Principles that are used by literally every modern space company today, including mine.
Fast forward 150 years and Tsiolkovsky’s multiplanetary vision is now shared and discussed by many space supporters today, including scientists, engineers, investors, CEO’s, casual enthusiasts, and more.
Going to Mars, for example, and colonizing space is not a silly new idea created by eccentric billionaires or corrupt governments.
Space colonization is a scientific vision created and refined by some of the most brilliant scientists mankind has ever seen — a vision that’s based on a set of theoretical principles established by ancient minds greater than our own.
Visionary minds who could see the future and worked tirelessly to give us the tools to make it better — tools that the ancestors toiled their entire lives to give to us, despite being ridiculed and shunned by the societal Overlords of their day.
Now, it is up to us to use them.
But… it’s one thing to have an inspiring vision, and another thing entirely to see the vision through into reality.
Hoping and manifesting can only take you so far.
In order for big space dreams to actually become a reality they need to be backed up with strong business plans, physics, engineering, and last but not least, economics.
Economics: the system that matches unlimited desires (aka dreams and theories) with limited means and resources.
I love big dreams, I have big dreams of my own, but we are not getting to space without good economics.
In fact, you could argue that the economics that may be the main thing holding us back from the sci-future we deserve.
The annoying reality is that are rules to this game — rules that we do not have to like, but rules we must respect, if we want to win.
And if we choose not to follow and respect these rules, the path only leads to chaos and failure.
So, where is the dot on our space graph that shows us the precise point where desire and resources should meet?
How do we make this space vision thing a reality?
Space Dollars and Sense
Critical to making this “futuristic space” vision happen is that we need to lower the cost of access to space.
This is objective number one.
None of this multiplanetary space colony stuff will be possible unless we are able to reduce the price of admission.
What this means is that the price per kilo to launch something into space needs to come down, and it needs to come down a lot.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably a very wise and intelligent person… so you don’t need me to tell you that we don’t live in a fantasy world (even though many of us would like to) so we cannot just come out and say “taa-daaaa ok now the price is lowered, go to space.”
It is not quite that simple, and bad arguments like this are not practical or useful.
Consider this: it used to cost nearly $55,000 per kilo during the space shuttle era to get something into orbit, but modern visionaries like Elon Musk have been able to reduce this launch cost to around $3,000 per kilo with his new rocket technology, which is about a twenty-fold reduction.
This is huge progress.
Much wow, right?
But even despite this incredible cost efficiency, the economics of space still dictate that we will probably need to reduce launch costs nearly ten times more to around $300 per kilo if we want to make this multiplanetary dream a reality.
At that price, even the “crazy” things like asteroid mining, lunar bases, space tourism and hotels actually start to make sense.
Our in-house data here at Deimos-One shows that the space industry has reached the point where we are starting to see flashes of price elasticity due to the lowered costs of reusables, and this data point is currently in the $1,500 per kilo range.
People who are a lot smarter than me like to call something like this a “positive indicator.”
Our goal with Vulcan, however, is to reduce current launch costs even more (hopefully by at least 50% initially) while simultaneously increasing launch frequency.
This means we need to build the vehicle to have the optimal balance of power and efficiency, while also respecting the current rules of physics, economics, engineering, materials science, and more.
It goes without saying that this will be quite the challenge, but it is a challenge that we believe we can rise to and overcome.
Eventually, we want Vulcan launches to be in the $100-$200 per kilo range and have a launch frequency of 1-2 hours.
We’re currently working on a solution for rapid deployment so that payloads can be launched into space in an hour or less.
This rapid launch system will make it possible to send life saving support on Earth to people who are victims of natural disasters and may be trapped with no food or medical supplies — regardless of where they may be located in the world.
This support vehicle will be able to be deployed and complete the entire mission autonomously with no risk of life to first responders — and offer superior operational capabilities and longer flight times compared to a conventional drone or helicopter at a much lower cost.
Critical to making this happen is developing a multi-purpose vehicle that is not only safe and reliable, but also less dependent on terrestrial based energy sources.
This is why we are developing Vulcan to function autonomously, without using traditional thrust. When required, each mission will be zero-emission and have no environmental impact.
The vehicle will be capable of conducting high level data analysis, transporting cargo, and firing rockets into orbit from high altitudes.
It will also be capable of reaching supersonic speeds.
My team is working to solve some very difficult problems, but it is our belief that the single greatest contribution to the field of space exploration and to our future that Deimos-One can make will be developing and implementing space technology which currently does not exist.
So you’re building a spaceship, now what?
Well the next part to the process is usually having someone inevitably ask “Why are we spending a ton of money on space when we have problems that need fixing right here on Earth?”
“Do we really need more satellites in the sky?”
“How will something this ridiculous possibly help improve anything on Earth?”
I will do my best to answer your questions but the answers you seek are not so simple.
This is not a simple linear problem that one can quantify with a basic yes or no, but I will share my thoughts as best I can.
First of all, there are two fundamental concepts that are critical to understand if you are ever going to wrap your mind around the full importance of space and why humans should be more focused on getting there.
The first one is: we are already in space. Earth is a planet just like Mars or Venus and it zips around a massive fireball we call the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour. We are already space travelers to a certain extent; we just need to push deeper into space to solve certain issues that occur on this orbital plane.
The second is: our futuristic rate of technological change. Most folks have been conditioned to think that space is “too hard” and “too expensive” and this is largely due to the fact that we were raised to believe that evolutionary systems (i.e. technology) are supposed to grow linearly.
That is, every step forward in time moves our technological capabilities up exactly one step.
Inch by inch, it’s a cinch, they say.
However, solely focusing on linear growth completely misses the point here, because right now we are in a period of massive exponential growth, where every step up doubles the capability of existing technology.
After twenty of these steps, we advance by a factor of 20.
If we compare the same period of linear growth vs exponential growth, the period with exponential growth will have advanced technology by a factor of over one million.
I know this may be a difficult concept to grasp at first, because on the surface it may seem like there is not much (if any) futuristic sci-fi level technology around.
But if I were a predictive analyst (and I am), I would be willing to bet that you’re probably reading this on an iPhone, which has 100,000 times the power and 7,000,000 times the memory of the Apollo Guidance Computer that put the first astronauts on the moon.
Let that sink in for a moment.
You actually have a futuristic sci-fi level technological power in your hand right now.
If you traveled back in time 1,000 years they would call you a god if you possessed such a technological wonder.
Now, imagine doubling this power every twelve to twenty-four months.
When one begins to analyze the problem using a comparative lens, so to speak, it is only then that he or she may begin to understand that the challenges and complexities of space are not technically unsolvable, and that space colonization is no longer the mythology of our ancestors — it’s actually the next logical leap for our species.
Quite a few experts have recently stated that this moment in our history is the beginning stage of a space renaissance.
I know it sounds crazy, and it may be difficult to wrap your mind around it at first, but it’s true.
We are no longer technology limited.
We have futuristic, sci-fi level space tech right now that can allow us to develop the solar system economically.
So why aren’t we already living in space yet?
The primary limiting factors to creating a fully functional space economy are funding and organization; and the secondary limiting factor is the high initial unit cost of unoptimized new technology.
Taking this into account, our strategy at Deimos-One is to enter this brand new space market on the high end, where large customers (such as governments, universities, and big corporations) are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down the market as quickly as possible to higher unit volume and lower prices as each successive vehicle version is released.
Without revealing too much top secret sauce here, I can tell you that future models of Vulcan will be designed for human space travel, deep space research & exploration, and off-planet heavy cargo transportation.
We are committed to our vision of the future and want to help bring affordable space tourism and space industry to life.
We want to do our part to help improve and optimize the energy grid of the future.
We want everyone on Earth to gain some benefit from the space economy, even if they are not interested in ever leaving our home planet.
We want the future to be not only exciting, but also inspiring.
We want it to be better.
That’s what’s really important.
But in order for this “fantastic future” dream to be possible it means we will have to put all free cash flow back into R&D to drive down costs and help bring the complimentary and competitive products to market as fast as possible.
So when a government agency or large corporation (or billionaire) sends a payload into space or when a university conducts an experiment with us, they are actually helping pay for the development of a future technological improvement like the lower cost space tourism vehicle or the deep space heavy cargo transportation vehicle.
This could eventually lead to the democratization of space, which is the goal.
Bias, Isms, and Luddite Inquietude
Okay, now that leaves us with the two primary online arguments against space — the cost argument and the shouldn’t we fix the problems here on Earth argument.
The first answer is short and simple, the second answer is also simple, only slightly longer:
1. Imagine a day without satellites: No internet. No cell phone service. No debit cards. No airplane travel. Want to check the weather? Too bad. Google Maps? No can do Brochacho, you have to write those directions down using a paper atlas as your guide now.
“If it wasn’t for satellites, would we have to go back to living like primitive savages?”
“Would we have to revert back to wandering to and fro on the Earth like some unwashed prehistoric Neanderthals?”
Considering how important the “basic necessities” like internet, gps, debit cards, and cell phones are to our everyday lives, one could argue that there is a significant risk that without access to satellite technology, humanity could descend into depravity, lawlessness, and economic collapse.
The entire modern world would come to a standstill… and that’s not even taking into account the thousands of other daily applications that rely on satellites to function properly, we are only talking about the six listed above.
I am not a doomsday scenario expert, but the thought of not having access to space data sounds very dangerous and extremely scary.
To confound matters even further, military experts have recently been quoted as saying space conflict is likely the next logical step in advanced modern warfare.
Long gone are the days where humans storm over majestic landscapes for duty and honor to clash in violent hand-to-hand hostilities with humans of opposing armies.
Modern wars will be fought from space using asymmetrical and cyber warfare, both on the small and large scale.
Examples of space managed systems that can be attacked include: the food supply, the power grid, the water supply, transportation systems, financial services, nuclear power plants, telecommunications services like the internet and cell phones, and others.
If one or more of these systems goes down for 24 hours, you could essentially render any major city completely helpless and beholden to the attacker(s). For sustained attacks of 4-7 days, you will likely have full on riots, mayhem, and even total economic collapse.
Fact is, a significant portion of the modern world is managed from space, and without space we would regress significantly, and quickly.
So instead of arguing for a regressionary society with less “space stuff”, perhaps we should be pushing our leaders to identify and quantify the risks and rewards associated with aggressively pushing further out, deeper into the void.
It seems that perhaps (just perhaps) we may need more satellites, not less.
Consider this: nearly half of the world’s population currently lives without internet — which is a massive number, especially when you consider how accessible and common internet is in the modern western world.
“Having internet access is our right,” western elites say.
I know this may sound a little crazy, but many governments and local organizations across the world cannot afford traditional satellite services at current price levels.
“But can’t we just lower the price?”
Earlier in this paper we covered price economics, and why it is irresponsible to inexplicably “lower the price” of a space technology or service — launching heavy objects into space costs a lot of money (right now).
With that in mind, I think it is very important that we try to avoid getting stuck in what I like to call a “paradox of the isms.”
If you truly want to fix the problems here on Earth, it likely requires thinking about Earth problems in different ways than before — because these are problems that have not yet been solved.
And if a problem has not been solved, it often means the problem must be analyzed in brand new ways in order to be solved, because the old ways of thinking are simply not powerful enough to solve a modern problem of immense complexity.
Earlier in this text I stated, “we are still primitive savages who are bound by the same type of mental and philosophical constraints that held back our ancestors” and “one could argue that the only difference(s) that distinguish our modern lives from the lives of our hunter-gatherer ancestors are mostly tied to technology.”
Technology has given us a tremendous advantage when it comes to adaptability and survivability, but in my humble opinion, humanity’s biggest limiting factor is still, quite arguably, the human mind.
Despite being our greatest strength, one of the major weaknesses of the human mind that it can become too easily trapped in various dogmas and isms and notions — concepts that limit critical thinking and attach us to self-limiting beliefs.
Such is the analogy of the sinking 50 ton anchor made of diamonds. If you choose to pursue it, and attach yourself to it, you will surely drown.
Imagine, however, just for a moment, that the way to fix the Earth problems of internet accessibility and/or energy sourcing, was to not do less space stuff, but more?
In the future, smaller satellites and satellite constellations in low earth orbit (LEO) may be able to provide internet to the whole world — at a very low cost.
But it would require a lot more launches.
Consider this: every minute, the world loses an area of forest the size of nearly 50 football fields.
Some loss is attributed to humans, but mother nature has a hand in it as well.
Illegal deforestation and logging, illegal fishing, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, hurricanes, and various other terrestrial disasters create havoc and devastation on our planet regularly — but small satellite swarms in low earth orbit may be able to quickly and efficiently provide humans on the ground with crucial insights and better data about deforestation locations and natural disasters, for example, that may improve how we deal with such events.
Maybe (just maybe) we could reach the point where we can even prevent them.
Vulcan is being developed to do this very thing.
The list of ways launching more satellites can benefit Earth is a long one, but at the very top of the list are benefits such as: management and tracking of disease outbreaks (i.e. Covid-19), detecting underground water and mineral sources, tracking water productivity, estimating water reserves, identifying pollution, solar panel power placement, shipping route optimization, monitoring illegal logging and deforestation, monitoring illegal fishing, and so on.
And this list barely scratches the surface.
2. At the time of this writing, every person on the Earth uses an average of 16 kilos of resources every day. That is pretty heavy when you think about it, and multiplying it out for Earth’s near 7 billion inhabitants really puts the magnitude of Earth resources we consume daily into perspective.
That’s right… the fossil energy, bio-mass, minerals and metals, etc we use every day (whether we realize we’re doing it or not) are materials that must be mined and extracted from Earth.
To make an already precarious situation even worse, people in the Western world (aka the First Worlders) use up to 60 kilos of resources daily — and studies have shown that nearly 60 billion tons of terrestrial resources are mined each year.
From manufacturing medicine, industrializing agriculture, powering our cars, and lighting up our entire world, we use Earth’s resources (resources that have evolved over billions of years) to build powerful technologies to improve our lives and live comfortably — technologies that span the modern economy.
Canonical Models, Scarcity, and the God of War
“If we keep extracting Earth resources, won’t we eventually run out?”
“If certain countries run out of resources, could it result in World War 3?”
These are great questions, and they do not have easy answers.
Most of the predictive models I have seen so far suggest that terrestrial resources will eventually become a closed loop, and that we are now in a race against the clock.
It is the old economics problem of scarcity rearing its ugly head yet again.
It is very likely that someday our growing energy demands will outstrip Earth’s limited supply.
The primary danger is not necessarily human extinction (which looks like a fairly low probability at this point, and I will get into this a bit later on) but basic economics tells us that as supply decreases (and demand remains the same) prices will increase.
As Earth resources dwindle, energy/power will become incredibly expensive, used and hoarded by a select few, inevitably thrusting mankind into a futuristic global conflict to compete over the remaining scraps.
You may have gotten an early glimpse light version of what this may feel like during the Covid-19 pandemic with toilet paper hoarding and now the recent “gas crunch” in the United States.
Without enough energy to go around, government rationing and eventually starvation could likely take hold, hurdling the planet into a steady downward spiral of chaos and destruction.
Perhaps even global war.
Our in-house data suggests that Earth’s current trajectory of technological and economic growth is climbing at a rapid rate, and if it continues at this rate we could end up destroying our natural environment and the standard of living that technology afforded us in the first place.
It appears that increases in technological and economic growth are correlated to ecological destruction — and eventually total collapse.
The more modern our economy gets, ecological destruction appears to rise along the same plot line.
It seems as if the more advanced we get, the faster we destroy ourselves.
It is quite the paradox.
We simply cannot afford to continue to pull resources out of the ground to power our energy sources.
It just ends badly.
So, what do we do?
A common argument that you’ll hear thrown around a lot is that we really just need to “focus on carbon emissions” and try to become more “energy efficient.”
Those are good intentions, no doubt, but by my calculations, “energy” is somewhat of a tricky efficiency to quantify.
And not only is it a difficult quantification, but I would argue that the very phrase “energy efficient” is nothing more than a propaganda term, used carelessly, to present the layman with a feel-good way of describing the massive amount of energy he or she requires for survival each day.
60 kilos per day, for the average First World person.
However, let us ask ourselves, what is efficient?
50 kilos per day?
Is the current global average of 16 kilos efficient?
I believe words like efficiency can have multiple and ambiguous meanings in everyday language, but they have very precise meanings in science.
Economic efficiency (in mathematical terms) is a function of the ratio of the actual value of an economic variable divided by the potential value of that same economic variable.
In physics, efficiency is measured in terms of how much work or energy is conserved in a process.
It’s a comparison of the energy output to the energy input in a given system — a decent example of this could be work or energy is lost in many processes (i.e. as waste heat).
The efficiency is the energy output, divided by the energy input. When expressed as a percentage, a perfect process would have an efficiency of 100%.
Fancy math and physics aside, efficiency is essentially just a way to describe the energy that a certain system can extract and make useful from its energy source.
One can make the case that any system that uses energy (i.e. engine, power plant, turbine, human, etc) from a fuel has a certain efficiency associated with it.
Thus, one could also argue that every system could therefore be “energy efficient” with various efficiencies attached to each one.
In today’s modern world, we know the relative “efficiencies” associated with current systems, but can we improve these efficiencies while still remaining “efficient” and scale them, while maintaining and/or increasing performance?
Can we achieve this while also lowering the cost?
Will it benefit the entire world or just a select few nations?
Can we build a super-efficient energy system on Earth that satisfies the rules of economics and physics that is not only more affordable, but also less detrimental to the environment?
Will it be good for everyone?
The answer here is not easy.
However, you don’t have to be an expert in energy analytics or econometrics to believe that we will probably be producing and consuming far more in 2041 than we are right now.
This is a very reasonable assumption.
And that now leaves us with the very probable assumption that the ‘Using the Earth for Energy’ model, (regardless of how it is schemed and notwithstanding any incremental efficiencies gained) is unsustainable.
Our home planet’s resources are finite, and the competition for them is fierce.
A wise man once said, “the number one rule of economics is scarcity, and the number one rule of politics is to ignore the number one rule of economics.”
My primary concern every time I hear the words “energy efficiency” or “green energy” is that it reflects an understanding of technology and economics that could worsen the very problems it seeks to address.
It is very popular to throw these types of words around because most people believe our energy issues can be solved simply by implementing “more efficient” production methods, tradeoffs notwithstanding.
What they are essentially telling you is “you use a ton of Earth extracted energy every day, but the good news is, you’re paying less money for it.”
There are several economic theories and models, including the Jevons Paradox, which illustrate how improvements in efficiency can lead to massive increases in energy consumption due to the lower cost per unit and a subsequent increase in demand.
This is due to the fact that when more efficient machines use less energy, they cost less, which often encourages people to use them more — resulting in a net increase in energy consumption.
The invention of the “more efficient” train engines during the Industrial Revolution are a prime example of this.
Of course, the standard argument against this (often made by governments and scientific elites) is the general assumption that gains in efficiency will lower consumption of energy resources, thus eliminating the possibility of the paradox arising.
Big, if true.
At the end of the day, these are all theories and ideas that should definitely be debated, analyzed, and tested going forward, but the goal of this paper is not to figure out the optimal solution for Earth based energy efficiency, but rather to explore the idea that we don’t have to be infinitely bound by Earth’s limitations and its material scarcity.
I believe that the idea we are infinitely bound by Earth’s limitations (or that by remaining infinitely bound by choice) will somehow lead to an optimal outcome is a false assumption.
Space, quite arguably, has the resources to help the entire world reach the highest standard of living possible and I believe that going deeper into space is a crucial next step to ensure a positive long-term prognosis for humanity.
Of course, the typical counter to this is usually something along the lines of “maybe we can just develop a grid of power in a very new and sustainable way using a combination of ground-based solar, wind, and water solutions.”
While I believe these are ideas that should be tested and explored, I’m not quite sure they are world saving solutions.
The physics aren’t great to begin with, and basic economics tells us that these types of terrestrial based systems are usually not only very costly but also very difficult to scale.
The trade-offs often lead us right back to square one.
It is the same old big muscles and shrinking testicles paradox again.
The solution to this energy problem must not only be cost-effective, but it must also sustain the durability of long-term scalability — or it could end up becoming yet another “first world” high-priced luxury technology that pushes the gap between modern countries and impoverished nations even further.
This is the very definition of economic inefficiency.
Does it make practical sense to spend trillions of dollars on new terrestrial energy infrastructure and resource extraction programs when all that’s needed in many instances is a simple antenna and a receiving station?
Why do we need to default to an inorganic terrestrial system that has a significant probability of making Earth worse off long-term when a more modern system such as space-based solar power, for example, could give us the ability to convert energy from above without using any risky ground based system for energy transmission?
In theory, this type of solution could be implemented at a much lower cost, even in impoverished nations.
Perhaps, even by using a Hovering UAV in Low Earth Orbit.
But off-planet solutions like this only scratch the surface, the potential here is limitless.
Think about it this way: we have already sent robotic probes to every planet in the solar system (an incredible feat in itself), and in doing so we confirmed our original hypothesis that Earth is the good one.
That’s right, Earth is the best planet of the bunch.
It has the best atmosphere, the best air, water, grass, sunlight, etc — so we need to start protecting it like our lives depend on it.
Our generation (for maybe the first time in 4 billion Earth years) has the chance to become master stewards of our home planet.
We could become de facto Guardians of the Galaxy, watching Earth from above, like a loving parent or guardian angel, making sure our favorite rock is healthy, clean, and safe.
We can move heavy industry into orbit where solar energy is abundant and constant; and in the process, we can help democratize energy power across the world and increase the standard of living for everyone, not just us “first worlders.”
I know the politics can be tricky for stuff like this because tackling this sort of issue would require buy-in from many different competing power groups, but the economist in me will always try to figure out the answer(s) that will lead to the “optimal outcome” for the big data set, and the big data set here are the citizens of Earth, aka the common man.
To accomplish this vision, we don’t need to take drastic measures, we simply need to venture a little bit further from the nest, deeper into space — and we need to do it before the window of opportunity closes forever.
It could be another 4 billion years before we get the chance again.
I think we have a great team here at Deimos-One.
People, who in my opinion, are some of the best of the best.
But even the best minds cannot plan beyond the next 20-30 years.
We know the broad strokes but lack specifics.
In his paper ‘The Future of Humanity’, Professor Nick Bostrom outlines four possible patterns for the future of humanity: Recurrent Collapse, Plateau, Extinction, and Takeoff.
(1) Recurrent collapse, he argues, is unlikely because the level of knowledge and technology that supports civilization is so widespread that the Earth experiencing multiple collapses has a much lower statistical probability than humanity completely annihilating itself.
If we reach an (2) Economic Plateau (poor countries catch up with rich countries) we would see dramatic spikes in the intensity of economic competition over resources for every person and company on the planet, which will likely lead to global conflict. Much like scenario one, this scenario also appears to be statistically unlikely.
(3) Extinction, he argues, could happen if new technology does not become available to relieve competitive pressures because post-conflict economic stagnation from a plateau could collapse society into extinction.
This leaves the fourth and final scenario (4) Takeoff, where we create new technology to enable a better future where we don’t destroy ourselves.
As I mentioned earlier, it is very difficult, even for the best minds, to predict where the next 20-30 years will go; but still, many brilliant humans relentlessly attempt to imagine and create new technologies so powerful that they transcend the current limits of our understanding.
Many have called this, the Singularity.
I work in predictive analytics, but I am not a fortune teller.
I use data to make sense of the future, but I cannot perfectly guarantee what the future holds.
But I do know that the prosperous and peaceful future we want will not just happen on its own.
It is up to us.
We have it pretty good right now, but we can’t sit around and take for granted that the future will somehow just end up being better.
There are quite a few predictive and data models that show that the future could actually be much worse than the present, and this means we need to work on creating a better version of the future right now.
I’m not sure if we will ever be able to achieve “The Singularity” on a cosmic scale, but that isn’t what’s important right now.
What’s important is that we find singular ways to build new things that will make the future better.
The first step starts now.
Here is our masterplan:
-Build a stratospheric space vehicle for data collection and earth observation.
-Use that money to build an affordable deep space research and heavy cargo transportation vehicle.
-Use that money to build an affordable stratospheric rocket launch vehicle.
-Use that money to build an even more affordable space tourism vehicle.
-While doing the above, use all zero-emission spacecraft that have no environmental impact.
Please do not share this plan with anyone, it’s for your eyes only.
Thanks for reading.
Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, Deimos-One is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company that designs and develops advanced multi-use rockets and tactical ground robotic systems. Its mission is to create affordable, reliable access to space and build a sustainable civilization for future generations.