Saturday, October 12, 2013

Michael Needham: Strategist Behind the Shutdown

Free Republic


On the latest offer from House Republicans—a short-term extension of the debt ceiling—Mr. Needham calls it a shrewd move by Speaker John Boehner: "We've got to get back to the discussion of ObamaCare, not the typical Washington food fight."[ emphasis added]


I'm not so sure that it was shrewd.  Obama could have accepted the deal, and then where would they have been?

Obama was foolish not to accept the deal.  He could have gotten what he wanted without giving up anything at all.  Just a promise to talk was all he would have given up.  He could talk and talk and talk until the new deadline and they would be right back to where they are now, but this time, in a weaker position.

Obama must believe he is in a strong position, or there's some other dynamic going on that I'm not aware of.

Next Big Future: Calculations show carbyne chains will be twice the...

Next Big Future: Calculations show carbyne chains will be twice the...: Carbyne will be the strongest of a new class of microscopic materials if and when anyone can make it in bulk. If they do, they’ll find car...


If you can make it in space, it can serve well for your solar sail.  Try to imagine a solar sail that weighs nearly nothing, but can pull a 70 ton spacecraft on a trip to the planets with no propellant necessary.

This can be used on a solar sail for the connectors that will be needed.  A sail will need tendons and masts and so forth.  The use of such materials as these, if perfected, would mean that this auxiliary equipment needed for the sails will be as light as the sail itself, which will be only nanometers thick.

Measured In Gold, The Story Of American Wages Is An Ugly One

Forbes via Instapundit


Yeah, I know.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth 01 The Hero's Adventure

I watch the movie Logan's Run today.  That story had a hero's adventure in it.  Logan was sent on a mission "outside" in order to destroy a threat to a civilization.  Instead of completing his mission, and destroying that threat as was intended, he brought back something unexpected, which destroyed that civilization.

Logan ended a dystopic view of a future civilization, and put it back on a better path.  The movie won some awards, but is not well received by everybody.  One can see why.  There are those who want things to change, and there are those who want things to remain as they are.  I would suspect those who don't like this movie are experiencing it as something of a threat.

History Rhymes: ObamaCare Website and the Ukrainian Wheat Farmers



You are going to be punished for failing to comply with ObamaCare, even though the regime has specifically and maliciously seen to it that compliance is impossible


Almost two weeks and the system doesn't work.  According to the linked article in the quote above, the computer programming for was intentionally designed NOT TO WORK.

Barnhardt compares that to the intentional starvation of Ukrainians during the Stalin years.  Who'd a thunk that they'd ever try something like this in the good ol' USA?

Keep in mind that Obama's friend and ghost writer, Bill Ayers, was a Weatherman.  The Weathermen wanted to kill millions of Americans so as to enable their revolution to succeed.  This is what we've got in control of our country and the only ones in the government who can stand in the way of it are doing nothing about it.

I don't want to seem hysterical here.  I've looked over the mandate and so forth.  Not the code in the website.  I'll take article's word that it was intentionally designed to fail.  In my mind, there's definitely something fraudulent here.  The question should be this:  what do you intend to do about it?  Just be an obedient sheep that is led to the slaughter?  Is that word too strong?  No, I don't think so.  If you won't stop this, the screws will just get turned tighter and tighter.  Now is the time to stop this.  If you wait, it will be too late.

Should We Live Shorter to Save the Planet?

National Review


The overall trend in high-income countries with improvements to the Human Development Index, which includes human life expectancy as one of its variables, is toward a disproportionately larger negative impact on a country’s ecological footprint. However, some lower-income countries have a high level of development without a high impact on ecosystem services (Moran et al. 2008).


Now that's Limits to Growth for you.  Not only will you not be permitted to grow economically, you will also be required to die younger.  That reminds me of a movie.

Is Red State America seceding?

Pat Buchanan, Human Events

The spirit of secession, a spreading phenomenon.  What are the forces pulling nations apart? Ethnicity, culture, history and language — but now also economics. And separatist and secessionist movements are cropping up here in the United States.

That NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Washington DC in a tizzy.  But it is a bogus poll.   Washington is in a bubble.  They want to ignore what's going on in the rest of the country and to continue doing just exactly what they've been doing all along.  But how long will that arrangement last?

You can see the attempts to control from DC for what it is.  A small number of people want to control and dominate the rest for their own benefit.  That was evident in even this phony poll.  This spirit of control can't last because it breeds the spirit of secession.  They'll try for more and more control, but it won't last because it won't work.  People will rebel against the control.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What Republicans Should Do

Dick Morris


The new NBC poll has sent shock waves through the political world. This government shutdown is triggering a disastrous decline in Republican fortunes and has left President Obama largely unaffected.


All very predictable.  Here is where you make a difference, or you just curl up into a fetal position and suck your thumb.

Those who started this should have known that at some point there would be pain.  I wrote about this at the very beginning.  I said that they had better be serious this time.

Now Morris and probably a number of those like him are suggesting that it is time to panic.

Whether the polls are accurate or not is not the point.  The point is whether or not you believe in what you are doing when you started and whether you still believe it now.  If you don't believe it now, what changed your mind?  The polls?  If it is the polls, then you have no mind of your own.

You'd better know your own mind before picking this fight.  You'd better know if you can take the heat before you get into the kitchen.  If you cave in now, you look ridiculous.  That's because they ( meaning the GOP ) has indeed become ridiculous.

Stay the course no matter how painful.  Or simply admit that you don't believe what you have pretended to believe up till now.

I respect Dick Morris' knowledge of polling.  That's his job and his area of expertise.  But that is not the same as leadership.  That's not the same as knowing what needs to be done and why.  The question is now one of credibility.  After had staked a position, and then quickly backing off of it, why should anybody trust them or believe them?  The credibility of the GOP is at stake here.  They are committed.  There is no turning back.

High Quality Graphene Could Soon Be Produced in Bulk

The Spectrum


I'm wondering if this process can be used to make a space sail.  It would be only a few nanometers thick.  Then a reflective coating could be applied that is also only a few nanometers thick.  The weight would be very, very light for its size.  Graphene is strong material, so it should hold up.  At least, in theory it could hold up.  The sail itself would not be a significant factor in mass, but its structural components would.

Latest shut down theatrics

Just went on Breitbart via Drudge and got some horrible news, or so it seems.  The GOP leadership offered Obama a six week deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a promise.  In other words, nothing.  Obama said no.

If that wasn't enough to stop this now, I don't know what is.

What I mean is that the GOP should stop negotiating with itself.  Now he's got all of the GOP faithful up in arms about this latest cave in.  Or what looks like a cave in.

If it really is a cave in, it is going to get more and more humiliating.  They will end up giving Obama everything he wants and they will get nothing.  At that point, they will earn the total disrespect of everyone.

On the other hand, it could be a ruse.  I hope there is a method to this madness.  But if they do a complete cave in and get nothing at all, they will splinter the party most likely.  By "they", I mean the GOP leadership.  Obama is just taking advantage of them, again assuming that they cave in.

I'm hoping that they don't.  Remember your Texas history---Sam Houston retreated right up the point that he finally gave battle.  Then he won.  All the leadership has to do is to fight and they will win.  But they are giving no sign that they actually will.

Next Big Future: China outsourced to Ukraine for rocket engines for...

Next Big Future: China outsourced to Ukraine for rocket engines for...: The Ukrainian space agency has always been short of funding. The Ukrainians used to work closely with the Russians as part of the Soviet pro...


I didn't know that Ukraine had any rockets.

Freewill Rush Lyrics

Heard this on the radio yesterday.  Lots of times, a song like this gets by me because I can't understand all of the lyrics.  Maybe my hearing isn't as good as it should be.  Or my attention span wanders around a bit.  Whatever the reason, even though I've heard the song many, many times, I didn't know the lyrics.  While listening to this song yesterday, I paid closer attention.  So, resolved to come back and study it a little more closely.

Interesting song.  Also, interesting comments at YouTube.

Philosophy is a tricky subject.  I've often said here that truth is a slippery thing.  But I never said that it is too slippery.

Number Crunching Shows Old Movies Are More Creative Than New Ones

wired via Instapundit

Tell your film buff friends they’re right: the most creative period in cinema history was probably the 1960s. At least that’s the takeaway from a detailed data analysis of novel and unique elements in movies throughout much of the 20th century.

If there's anything that sticks out to me about modern v. old movies is that the modern ones rely too much on technology.  Perhaps the creative class has become too lazy because it is easier to make movies than it used to be.  But making good movies is probably just as demanding as ever.

Krauthammer: Obama 'bait and switch' on GOP debt ceiling compromise



Krauthammer told viewers Boehner and his caucus should stand their ground. “I think the Republicans ought to stand fast on this. We're offering you six weeks, we're offering an opportunity for real negotiations on debt, the reductions, all kind of other stuff, eminently reasonable and I hope they don't budge on this,” he said.

The markets rallied on the news of the talks, but that rally may be premature.

Vincent Bugliosi on Oliver Stone's "JFK"

Bugliosi seems questionable at times, but like he does here, I'll give him credit when he is right.  He is right here, but normally, he very partisan Democrat.

Flaca Speech - The Alamo - John Wayne as David Crockett

There may be no evidence that this speech was ever made by Crockett.  I suspect it was a speech by none other than John Wayne himself.  That's why its a good movie even if it doesn't adhere to the actual history of that event.  It was great art, but it wasn't exactly historically accurate.

The GOP needs to see this speech.  And then act upon it.  Do the right thing even if you get clobbered for it.

In fact, Sam Houston did say something like that--- I think it went like this:  "Do right, and face the consequences."

The movie that turned my politics

After having written that you shouldn't trust what comes out of Hollywood, I have to admit that something out of there did influence me quite a bit.  But perhaps not in the way that was intended.

I've written about that movie before---it was Oliver Stone's JFK.

There was a short clip of that movie, in which President Kennedy is giving a speech.  It was the American University speech just a few months before the assassination.  It was hailed as a great speech by none other than Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader at that time.   It was a dovish speech that enraged the militarists so much so that they wanted to kill Kennedy and start a war---according to Stone.  But this wasn't exactly the thing that got me fired up so much.  It was one of them, however.  But even more so than this, it was the nature of its tone that permeated the entire movie.  One insult and slander after another.  The movie was full of them.

It was this same kind of slander that we witness today during the budget talks.  The left dehumanizes and delegitimizes those with which they have a disagreement.  Yet, the blame others that they disagree with as being hateful.

So, Oliver Stone uses the clip, but he doesn't even bother to study it.  For it is this kind of attitude that Kennedy is addressing.  If Stone and the far left really wanted peace and understanding, why use the kind of rhetoric that they use on their opponents?

It is worth studying Kennedy's speech.  Here it is in its entirety.  Ask yourself this, aren't we, meaning the two political parties in the US, in the same kind of situation that existed between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War?  And also:  wouldn't it be wise to tone down the rhetoric before it gets out of hand?

The Travis Letters Requesting Assistance In Defense of The Alamo From Mexican Forces

The Official Alamo Website

On March 11, 1836, General Sam Houston arrived at Gonzales to find nearly 350 men assembled and ready to march to the Alamo’s aid. Sadly, shortly after Houston’s arrival word reached the community that the Alamo had fallen five days earlier. The news set off the Runaway Scrape. The volunteers gathered at Goliad became the nucleus of the army that Houston took to San Jacinto. Thus, it is little wonder that their battle cry became “Remember the Alamo!” 

After receiving the news of the fall of the Alamo, Sam Houston began to retreat, which did not go over very well with his men.  During the retreat, there was a massacre of Fannin's men at Goliad.  But victory was achieved at San Jacinto about a month later.

John Wayne on liberals

Just to reassure anybody who may have gotten the wrong impression that I wasn't knocking John Wayne.

Actual Voice of General Patton starting at 1:15 vs. Hollywood

It is really easy to let yourself be deceived by the artistic license that it takes to make a story sell.

The facts presented in this video shows how the Patton story involved a bit of artistic license in order to make the film sell.  The real story of Patton is a bit different from the Hollywood version.

Lately, I came across the same phenomenon with respect to Texas' history.  On the Alamo website, it debunks the myth that the Battle of the Alamo was intended to give Sam Houston time to raise an army.  No doubt John Wayne's version of the Alamo helped fuel that little myth.  Not to disparage "the Duke", but film making is a business, and their films have to sell.  Wayne's movie is a good movie, but it should not be confused with actual history.  Nor should this movie about Patton, or much of anything that comes out of Hollywood.

Spaceballs - Pizza the Hutt

In case anybody hasn't noticed, Al Fin is on Wordpress now.  And I'm on his blogroll.  Woo hoo!

Pretty good company there.  I'm honored.

Okay, back to regular scheduled programming...

Christian delusions are driving the GOP insane

Free Republic


This is a bit of left wing propaganda from an extreme leftist named Amanda Marcotte.

I may write about politics, but I wasn't familiar with this person.  Now that I've read about her a bit, I think I've supported the assertion that she is far left.

The problem with the GOP is that they let themselves be intimidated by these people.  She even asks why the GOP isn't more afraid.  She then gins up the default fears, which do not exist in fact, and claims that the GOP is delusional for not seeing this as a threat to them.  She blames that delusional thinking on Christianity.  

How many people will believe this woman?  She has a lot of influence upon the Democrat's thinking, and it explains a lot of their hysterical rhetoric of late.

The GOP must hold firm, if for no other reason than to discredit all this fear mongering.

For the first 9 days of the shut down, the government raised many times more money than would be necessary to service the debt.  There can be no default unless the President wants one.  Any President could do this at any time, so if this President wanted to go rogue, the shut down would be nothing but an excuse.  The shut down has nothing to do with a default if the President acts lawfully.

Solar-powered cars in record 2,000 mile Australian outback challenge

The Telegraph UK


It is amazing that you could build a car that could cross the Australian Outback without using any gas.

But is it a practical vehicle?

Solar isn't practical.   There's no getting around that.

Lonegan to GOP: Wait Seven Days. When I Win, Obama Will Fold

Lonegan campaign


Lonegan says his internal polling shows a neck-and-neck race in the U.S. Senate contest and that all the momentum is in his favor. "My victory in this election on Wednesday will send a message to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that the American people want an end to Obamacare

There's conflicting information about polls.  Some polls have Obama winning, others have him losing.  So this campaign is for real.  It's a bellweather on what the public really thinks about this shut down.

Palin and Mark Levin will campaign for Lonegan, who is running for a vacant US Senate seat in New Jersey.   News has it that Obama has rejected the most recent offer from the GOP.  Once again, I suspect that the GOP is negotiating with itself.  Obama must believe that he has all the time in the world and events will turn in his direction.  So, if Lonegan is right, and he wins in a blue state, that should be a signal to Obama to give it up.  The GOP looks eager to make a deal, when perhaps they shouldn't be.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Conspiracy to keep you poor and stupid

It's hard to come up with a post this morning.  Not that I feel bad or anything.  Nor in a bad mood.  Nothing like that at all.  No, it is quite the opposite.

The idea that we could be on the verge of a great new age is having an unusual effect.  I find euphoria to be bad for writing.

Gotta find something to be pissed off about.  So, I'll take a stab at this conspiracy thing.

First of all, look at all the good things in energy and space that seem to have been suppressed:
  1. Molten-salt reactors.  Proved in the lab and then ignored for 40 years.
  2. Cold fusion.  The perfect solution to an energy problem that policy makers aren't interested in solving, it seems.
  3. Yes, even hot fusion.   Promising ideas there go unfunded.
  4. The failure to make a reusable spacecraft.  I'm thinking the Shuttle here.  That was a failure, a planned failure.
  5. The scuttling of the Venture Star program for an SSTO craft.  Well underway, it was stopped because of a faulty composite tank.  But composite tanks weren't necessary and offered no advantage anyway.  Another planned failure.
  6. The scuttling of a nuclear thermal rocket.  The Nerva was deemed space ready, but was scrapped because the Congress didn't want to spend the money for a Mars program.  The Shuttle ended up spending as much as the moon program.  No money was saved, and nothing was accomplished.
There has been all of this interest in solar and wind even though that won't work.  Why so much interest in things that don't work, and little interest in things that do work or will work if only they were tried?

Any of these in the list could have been big time successes, but they all were stopped.  The costs to the nation can hardly be calculated.  Could it all have been incompetence and blindness?  Or was it all deliberately done so as to keep people in chains and in poverty?  If so, could there be an explanation that makes sense?

Could there be a practical reason for keeping people poor?  What would happen if nobody had to work anymore?  Would they lose their work ethic and morality and slip into degeneracy?

I mean that last question really correlates with what I wrote about not having anything to post about.  If all our problems are solved, we could stop striving.  If we stop striving, we could actually die.  There has to be a struggle of some kind.

A struggle that does not include survival is not likely to attract much attention.  Life was not intended to be easy or soft.  People get bored and then they do stupid stuff.  One person is a small tragedy.  An entire nation is biblical.

We don't know what we've got

When it comes to the things I blog about here, the thought came to me that there's is little appreciation for our great fortunes.  Too much focus on the negatives.

There are a lot of great things happening, but the focus is on petty things like the government shut down.

As mentioned in earlier posts, the shut down is largely a lot of huffing and puffing of politicians trying to make themselves seem more important than they really are.  They are like frogs that puff themselves up in order to look more impressive.  Just a lot of air, not much there.

The really big things are bubbling just beneath the surface.  One of these days, one of these things will make it to the surface and people will be amazed.  Then they may start coming one right after another.

Meanwhile, the politicians will keep on huffing and puffing trying to make themselves seem relevant.

The politicians can foul things up, sure.  The odds are that progress will go on and things will tend to get better and better.

We may be heading towards a Maslow window very soon now.  The discussion of Maslow windows was on the Space Show not that long ago.

The last Maslow window must have closed at about 1968.  All the evidence seems to point to that.  We seem to be in a kind of funk, but we'll snap out of that soon.

Next Big Future: A summary of Dr. Bruce Cordell's 21stCenturyWaves....

Next Big Future: A summary of Dr. Bruce Cordell's 21stCenturyWaves....: Hi, This is Joseph Friedlander on a guest post for Next Big Future. Here we discuss long wave theory (56 year cycles involving booms, bust...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spider fab and the MAB

There was a series here that involved a concept that I called the MAB.  It is an acronym for Microwave Airbreathing Booster.  The concept was to use atmospheric air as a reaction mass and microwave energy to heat up the reaction mass and use that for thrust.

How can that be used with a spider fab?

The spider fab can build a 1 gigawatt solar panel complex that would beam the energy down to a rectenna on the surface.  That's the concept for supplying energy on the ground.  What if you wanted to use it for launching spacecraft instead?  How would you do that?

Well, if the rectenna isn't too big and too heavy, I was thinking that it could go along for the ride!

That rates a speculation alert.  Big time.

Okay.  It sounds pretty far out, but here's the idea.

Just lift the entire rectenna that is attached to a device that heats up the air and expels it as thrust.  This would lift the craft all the way up to where the air is too thin and then release it.  At that point, a more conventional type rocket would light up and take the craft to orbit.

I know it would have tremendous amount of drag.  Just keep the speed down low in the lower atmosphere.  Wait until you are really high to start accelerating hard.  Perhaps you could take it all the way up to GEO!  But, practically speaking, how about to the Kármán line ?

If you were to take it all the way up, you would need to take along some reaction mass.  But why do that?  Just do it like a spacecraft stage.  Discard it, but instead of letting it be destroyed, just reverse the process and gently land it so that it can be used again.

For that part of the ascent that was air breathing, it would be infinite ISP.  On that part of the ascent that was not air breathing, the ISP could rival a good nuclear thermal engine.  Come to think of it, you should probably use a nuclear thermal engine and just take off from the Kármán line.  It would have to accelerate in a vacuum, but it wouldn't have to lift very much since it is already pretty high up there.

Moody’s Directly Contradicts Barack Obama on Danger of Default if Debt Limit Not Raised:

“There is No Direct Connection between the Debt Limit and a Default” – 10/9/13

Quote ( Washington Post ):

”We believe the government would continue to pay interest and principal on its debt even in the event that the debt limit is not raised, leaving its creditworthiness intact,” the memo says. “The debt limit restricts government expenditures to the amount of its incoming revenues; it does not prohibit the government from servicing its debt. There is no direct connection between the debt limit (actually the exhaustion of the Treasury’s extraordinary measures to raise funds) and a default.

The only way to have a default is for the President to order that the debt not to be serviced as long as there is a shut down.  There is no legal authority for him to do that.  In fact, it would be downright illegal.

Back in the 70's during the Watergate Era, President Nixon attempted to impound funds that were appropriated by the Congress.   The Congress said he couldn't do that, and so every president since then hasn't been able to do that.  If the funds are there, they have to spend them.  That's the law.

It gets even weirder than that.  A lot of the debt is owed to the government itself.  To default on this debt would be tantamount to the government welshing on a debt it owes to itself.  For instance, the government borrows the money, prints the money that it creates to buy the debt, the Fed holds the debt, the Fed collects the interest, and then remits it back to the Treasury.  In other words, from one pocket to the other.  If the government doesn't pay the debt at all, who would know?

Only those who bought the debt with earned money would be the only real live human beings who would know when there was a default.  This is about half of the 16 trillion dollar debt.  So, if Obama breaks the law and doesn't pay the debt, he has to go out of his way to do it, and even more so, he has to do it to private investors who hold about half of it.  He could pay those first, if extreme conditions truly obtained, and default on the rest and nobody would know any better.  So, in order for this to be a problem, he has to order that private debt must not be serviced.  How could he ever expect to get away with this?

He'd have to be insane.  He's bluffing, plain and simple.  He has to convince as many people as possible that he's crazy enough to do that.  He'd have to hope that you'd get too scared to see if he really was that crazy.  I want to find out if he's that crazy, because that would be a perfect reason to get rid of his ass.

If there's a real problem he could try to handle it creatively.  That would be a positive sign of a functioning mind.

For instance, that printing a coin business could actually work---here's how:  the government could mint coins, deliver it to the Fed and use those coins to pay interest on the debt.  The Fed could issue a receipt for the coins, and then send the coins directly back to the Treasury.  This is what they do anyway.  In fact, you could dispense with the coins and just make bookkeeping entries.  Two signed receipts and that would be it.  The minted coins could be in a warehouse.  The Fed could deem that the coins existed and were legal tender and accept them in principle.  Meanwhile, the real money from taxes could pay the real investors, who hold about half the debt.  This would free up those funds for spending on real people with real priorities.  All of this with a bookkeeping entry and it would all be legal as anything else the government does anyway.

Default talk is just scaremongering unless the President wants to go rogue.  That's why I said all bets would be off if this happened.  It's tantamount to a declaration of war against the rest of the country.  It's one thing to leave 4 guys in the lurch at Benghazi, it's quite another to leave the whole country in the lurch if he tried to pull this stunt.

The Federal Government Can’t, and Won’t, Default on Its Debt Obligations

Powerline via Instapundit


SEN. PAUL: I think it’s irresponsible of the president and his men to even talk about default. There is no reason for us to default. We bring in $250 billion in taxes every month, our interest payment is $20 billion. Tell me why we would ever default. We have legislation called the full faith and credit act and it tells the president, you must pay the interest on the debt. So this is a game. This is kind of like closing the World War II memorial. They all get out on TV and they say, we’re going to default. They’re the ones scaring the marketplace. We should never default. 

You can service the debt and still have $230 billion a month to spend.  That leaves plenty of money to spend on Social Security and Medicare.  It is plenty to spend on national defense and the operation of the government.  Vital services can still go on without any effect.

Sure, certain services would have to shut down.  But this is not a big deal.  There are shut downs over weather events.  The world doesn't come to an end.

Still, there is a possibility that this President may refuse to service the debt and try to blame it on the GOP.  If he does that, all bets should be off...

Strategy for mining asteroids, part XII


In an earlier post in this series, I put off the discussion of the Photonic Railway.  The Photonic Railway is a means of beamed propulsion.  It is postulated as a means by which we could get to the stars.  It is also useful within the solar system.

We've got plenty of reasons to go within the solar system.  Just from this one asteroid alone, 3554 Amun, is 30 times more metal than has been mined in human history.  And to think that we are ever going to run of out of this stuff!  So, to get to the asteroids will mean that we are never going to be in want of anything material that we need for survival.  Nor will we ever run out of energy as long as the sun shines.  It shines 24/7 in space.  We don't need to go outside our solar system for survival.  Just isn't necessary.

Nevertheless, there are those who would want to go.  That could be a long way off because the size of structure needed for this is going to be quite large.  You will need a terawatt of energy to make the laser powerful enough for the job.

Now, to get around the solar system, a gigawatt may do the trick.  A gigawatt is pretty big, though.  Let's say you build a solar panel that can generate that much electricity.  At 1 AU, the distance between the Earth and the Sun, solar energy is 1300 watts per square meter.  If you can convert 30% of that to electricity, that would be about 400 watts per square meter.  Take a billion and divide it by 400 and you get 2,500,000 square meters.   Take the square root of that, and you get 1581 meters on a side.  That's about a square mile.  With a spider fab, you may be able to construct a gigawatt class electrical plant in space.  It may even be possible to do that soon.

Now, combine a spider fab with materials in unlimited abundance already in space.  You see, the spider fab will require materials to work with, but these currently come from Earth.  They have to be launched from Earth's deep gravity well.  This imposes severe limitations on the size of objects that can be built, even with a spider fab.  With the materials from the asteroid, plus a spider fab, those limitations are removed.  You can make friggin' HUGE structures this way.

One of those huge structures could be the Photonic Railway.  This has the potential to get mankind to the stars.  We can start with demonstrator projects and proceed to grander and grander things.

I hope now that it can be seen that to proceed with the asteroid capture mission and visitation should go without delay.  If anything, it should be expedited.


Next Big Future: Spiderfab will use 3D printing and robotics to bui...

Next Big Future: Spiderfab will use 3D printing and robotics to bui...: Tethers Unlimited is currently developing a revolutionary suite of technologies called "SpiderFab" to enable on-orbit fabrication...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jeff Greason ISDC 2011 Keynote Address - A Settlement Strategy for NASA (42 min.)



There was a previous post of this video, but I can't seem to locate it.  I'm putting it up again because it is a good model for what is needed.  Greason lays it out: set a goal, decide on strategy and tactics, and then execute the plan.  Our current situation is that we have a goal, but we can't decide upon strategy because we don't know if we can do it.  Basically, what Greason is saying is that we need to think about it and then make the decision and stick with it.  That while keeping in mind that we can do this, and we must do this.

Greason mentions declining budgets.  This is an unavoidable fact, but not an insurmountable one.  The reason to go to 3554 Amun is to find funds for this very goal of settlement.  If some object to NASA trying to make a profit, and that is somehow impure and ignoble, then arrange matters so that they don't look that way.  But the money has to be raised somehow, and this is a way for the space program to earn its keep while keeping to its objectives

He mentions paradigms.  The Boots and Flogs paradigm.  The Base Paradigm.  These don't work.  I suggest the Hoover Dam paradigm.  Or the Interstate Highway System paradigm.  Make every project self-liquidating.  The proceeds that resulted from the construction of the Hoover Dam more than paid for its construction.  Gasoline taxes pay for highway construction.  In terms of space colonization, you could even use tricks like this.  Whatever it takes, we need to do that for achieving our objectives in space. 

Greason mentions "existence proof" in order to show that it can be done.  Let's have some existence proofs.  I'm doing one with this series.  If it can be done on Earth, why not in space?  If you can build dams that people use on Earth, why not some facility in space?  If you can build an interstate highway system, why not some facility in space that many people will use?  The caveat is that enough people will want to use it so that it becomes a popular facility.  It would be a failure to build something out there and nobody shows up.

You have to get people to want to go out there.  I suggest building facilities for a mine on an asteroid that is rich in platinum, like 3554 Amun.  Build facilities there that will encourage private organizations or individuals to want to use them.  Their use could be taxed and those taxes will pay off the costs of construction of those facilities.  Besides, everybody likes money, wouldn't you say?  Make some people want to get rich by mining that asteroid.  This will draw them out there.  If they go out there, maybe they'll stay and then we will have settlement.


NASA's Asteroid Mission Takes Shape as Congress Remains Skeptical - Yahoo! News ( repost )



This repost will be used as part 10 of the strategy for mining asteroids series.  I think it is very important for advancing the state of the art.  Going back to the moon isn't good enough.  We need to do this next.

A moon mission would be more expensive, says Bolden.

Oh, hell. Just do it, people.     
NASA's Asteroid Mission Takes Shape as Congress Remains Skeptical - Yahoo! News
NASA's proposed mission to snag an asteroid and bring it into lunar orbit to be visited by astronauts is beginning to take shape even as arguments over its rationale continue. NASA is asking for $100 million for the mission for FY2014.
Read the full story


Anti-Gravity / Cold Fusion Explained In Detail ( follow up )

What got my attention and piqued my curiosity was the anti-gravity, not the cold fusion.  Not that I've dismissed cold fusion any.  No, at the time, I had other fish to fry.

That page has over 20 videos that do indeed explain the theory in detail.  But there's little mention of anti-gravity.  It is mostly a basic physics tutorial, if you wish to characterize that way ( and I do ).

For me, some of the information is new.  My background wasn't physics.  Mind you, it is introductory stuff and it is elementary enough that a reasonably motivated and intelligent person can understand it.  It is not too esoteric, but for someone like me, I ran into information overload.  It is an entirely new language.  You have to go over it a few times before you can grasp the lingo.  At least, that is true for me.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing for the last part of yesterday and early this morning.  Taking in these videos.

I wonder how many people are willing to stick with it long enough to finish?  At this writing, I have just one more left.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Strategy for mining asteroids, part IX


The last post presented an alternative to mining 3554 Amun.  This presupposed that you could get Uncle Sam to finance the enterprise.

What if you wanted to keep it private?

You'd have to raise the money somehow.  The investors would have to be patient enough to wait for a profit.  They'd have to invest a hefty sum and they'd probably not want to wait longer than say, about 7 years.

With that in mind, then we take only what we need to do the job so as to bring back 50 tons of platinum.

That should take about 50 tons for equipment, and 20 tons for life support.

You'd have to leave all the processed ore on the asteroid.  One way to make good use of it is to dig a trench and cover it with what came out of the trench.  That way, it would be covered.  You could cover up the life support system and equipment.  Or, you could operate remotely from the hovering space sail.

The trench could be used to tuck away a life support system on the next trip.

Anyway, you'd have to process about 2.5 million kg per day.  That would translate into about 5 million pounds.  This would mean excavating about 312 cubic meters per day, if you work for a year, that is.

If you have 2 years, or more, you can adjust the numbers accordingly.

Provided that you could do all this, which would entail:
  1. Building a 2 km x 2 km space sail located at LaGrange point 2,
  2. Outfit it with solar panels that could provide sufficient energy, which would also be made in space,
  3. Launch a life support system as well as the necessary mining equipment,
  4. Figure out a way to feed a crew and keep them alive for 2 or 3 years,
  5. Plus anything else I haven't thought of yet,
and do all this within 7 years.  Seems rather daunting.  In the end, you would have about 1.6 billion dollars worth of platinum at today's market prices.  To make a profit off the first trip, you have to do all this for less than 1.6 billion dollars.

The risk would probably seem too great as there would be too many things that could go wrong.  Several of those things in the list haven't been done before.  It would be hard to estimate how much time it would take to do all of this.

A government sponsored program would provide the least risk, but the greatest cost.  The money would go to Uncle Sam.   The losses, if there were losses, would be borne by Uncle Sam.  But being that this is a big country, most people wouldn't notice.

On the other hand, in a private venture, even if you don't make a profit on the first trip, the next trip would likely be profitable.  The more trips, the more profit.  The profit in the long term would be hard to fathom.

It would be a high risk- high reward type of enterprise.  Those taking the greatest risks will potentially receive the greatest rewards.  Perfect reason why wealth production must come from the private sector.  A government wouldn't do this.  People in government don't think this way.  People in government only think of the risks and don't care as much about costs.  So, the project would probably cost too much and be too timid.

"The pioneers take the arrows."


Verdict:  The project will probably have to wait.  Too much risk, too many unknowns.  The state of the art has to advance further before enough of the unknowns can be understood and most of the risk quantified and accounted for.   The odds of a mission soon is still not good unless there is somebody who is willing to undertake the risks now because of a compelling reason.


When The Bleeding Heart Becomes The Iron Fist



What began as an effort to reverse a draconian law that even now exacts a high toll in terms of jobs lost and skyrocketing premiums, has become a contest of wills in which a President instructs his apparatchiks to inflict as much pain on the citizenry as possible. Chiefly instructive in all this is the salient reality that any person capable of wielding the instrumentalities of the state in a despotic manner in the present, will prove equally capable in the future when he controls your health care.

The Democrats are overplaying their hand, if this is any indication.  I think that it is.  There's something that anyone can relate to is the model of a bully.  The bully tries to get control over you through intimidation.  In this case, the fear is that the public will punish the GOP for opposing the Democrats.  Under our Constitution, the GOP has the right to oppose.  The only way the GOP loses this right is by default.  Even if they lose at the ballot box, they will retain their dignity---and their rights.  I don't know how you keep your respect when you back down in fear, even when you are well within your rights.

Anti-Gravity / Cold Fusion Explained In Detail: A New Era In Physics Pt. 1 of ?

seattle4truth  Uploaded on Oct 31, 2010 This series covers the groundbreaking work of Frank Znidarsic. Visit for full playlist. This segment covers how to make $100 and save the world at the same time, how to download Frank's papers, and also how Planck's constant was calculated experimentally.

comment:  Fascinating.

This segment covers Bose-Einstein condensates.

This segment covers the mechanism for anti-gravity and cold fusion.

BEC and LENR revisted ( repost )


There was a post recently here about an unrelated topic--- the invention of a process to make beamed energy work at 70% efficiency.  This involves making a tiny gap between two pieces that are nanometers apart, if I am not mistaken.  The process requires a type of atomic vapor deposition process.  It occurred to me that you can make an artificial bunch of nanocracks this way and perhaps that would help the fusion process.  Make a whole bunch of them, maybe like making a computer chip.

Note:  BEC means Bose Einstein Condensate, LENR means Low Energy Nuclear Reactions

Curiosity got the better of me.  This stuff is so esoteric that it is tough to read about, much less describe.  Let's stick with the easy stuff first.

Let's review what I've posted on the subject so far:
  1. Generalized Theory of Bose-Einstein Condensation Nuclear Fusion for Hydrogen-Metal System
  2. Bose--Einstein Condensate (video) 
  3. Just asked a question of Mr. Rossi 
  4. Statistical correlation for the composite Boson 
  5. Bose Einstein Condensates and the E-cat 
  6. Bose Einstein Condensate and LENR 
  7. Rossi's Self Sustaining One Megawatt Reactor 
These are all linked so that it is now easy to access each in case you feel the need for the review.

Here's what I got curious about. BEC's are always referred to as being near absolute zero.  However, there are predictions of BEC's at high temperatures.  But these BECs are not the same kind of BECs as the ones that are being referred to as being formed near absolute zero temperature.  The question then is this: How can we achieve fusion if the formation of a BEC at high temperature isn't possible for this type of material?  That's because the high temperature BECs are, shall we say, a bit exotic, for the want of a better term.

There is an attempt to explain by way of magnetism, see #7 above.  It seems that magnetism can be affected by temperature which allows the "bosons" to form.  That means the non exotic material must behave as bosons.  The non exotic material will be hydrogen and nickel.  However, the exotic material is said to be the material that can form bosons at this high temperature.  Can hydrogen and nickel do the same?  That is what this theory is claiming in the conclusion which I linked to in #7 above.

By the way, the "exotic material" I am referred to are called "magnons", or quasiparticles.  Another term, which I am looking at now, is called a "spin wave".  It is rather complicated stuff and I won't try to explain what, frankly, I don't understand.  Actually, the exotic material isn't material at all.  It may well be material in an unusual state.   It is a phenomena which is being exhibited, it is not a particle.   From the wikipedia:
These fictitious particles are typically called "quasiparticles" if they are fermions (like electrons and holes), and called "collective excitations" if they are bosons (like phonons and plasmons),[1] although the precise distinction is not universally agreed.
Then we are talking about "magnons" that can behave as bosons.  Ok, I think I get it.  It is in an excited state, also known as a magnon, but as far as a particle is concerned, it is still hydrogen and nickel.  It is acting in a collectively excited state, if it is a boson.   The boson state can be reached at a certain temperature called the Curie point, in which magnetism is affected.  This aids in allowing bosons to form because magnetism is affected at that temperature.  This is how you get "magnons".

I'll return to this subject in the future, but for now, I'll think I'll stop here.

The above posts and this one will now go into a separate category which will be labeled BECNF Ni-H Theory.   It will also get labeled as a sidebar entry, so as to trace the history of the labels for this blog.

The SuperWave™ Fusion Process ( repost )


I'm sure that somewhere in this blog, I hypothesized that cold fusion may not produce gamma radiation because of interference of the the gamma rays.  This would depend upon the creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate ( BEC ), which would mean that the waves were all in the same quantum state.  If, by being in the same condensate, the waves would be tricked into acting as if they came from the same source.  Those kind of waves could show the interference effect.

The latest video by McKubre indicates that cold fusion is a surface phenomenon.  It is my further hypothesis that the nano cracks he is referring to may be a type of interference.  The waves will tend to bounce off the boundaries at the surface and interfere with the oncoming waves.  This could possibly create the conditions where fusion takes place as well as the interference in the production of gamma rays.

Uploaded by nofunclub Apr 23, 2009

Not exactly a new video, but I wanted to point out the "Wave" aspect of this process. It seems that waves have a significance in cold fusion. As a collective excitation, could they become bosons and form a BEC?

This video doesn't claim that, however.  Now, if the collective excitation does become a BEC, it could explain the ability to cross the coulomb barrier and fuse.

Frank Znidarsic: Quantum Transition, Cold Fusion, and Antigravity

link courtesy of ecat now


Anti-gravity?  How interesting.  Also, there seems to be something here about BEC.

Interesting discussion at 21:30.  BEC's are mentioned.  You can get a summary of the video here.

Soviet style of bargaining, part 2

Part 1 was here

You won't see a lot of posts on the shut down here.  To me, there is mostly just posturing right now before the two parties get serious and start to negotiate.

Keep in mind something though.  A real hard bargainer will not negotiate at first.  At the Paris Peace Talks during the Vietnam War Era, the North Vietnamese argued for a year or so over the shape of the table.  That's Soviet style for you.  No time limits.  They'll act as if they have all the time in the world.  Another tactic is emotionalism.  Hence the attacks.

Basically, the Soviet style is win at all costs.  It is a win-lose strategy that seeks to impose a defeat on the opponent.

Could you blame both sides for this?  Yes.  It all started with a House refusal to fund ObamaCare.  But the Senate and the President have only acted in the same manner---refusing to negotiate and using emotional attacks.  If anything, they have added fuel to the fire, so to speak.

In the meantime, you can't access the exchanges.  People have had trouble signing up for the mandated insurance.  If they can't get their act together, how can the government enforce the law?  How can they fine somebody for not having coverage if they can't get it on the exchanges?

What we are seeing is a certain amount of non-seriousness from the Administration.  From where I'm sitting, I fail to see how they can think that they are winning.   The PR doesn't favor them as much as they seem to think.

Anyway, the posturing is not interesting to me.  I'll post about other things because this kind of stuff annoys me more than anything else.

99% of Obamacare applications hit a wall

cnbc via Instapundit

Excerpts from cnbc:

  1. Some of the problems involve how the exchange's software collects and verifies an applicant's data.
  2. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment directly on the revelations Friday afternoon.
  3. He blamed the exchange's software, which is allowing too many people to finish the process online without making sure they provide answers needed by the insurers processing the applications.
  4. People have until Dec. 15 to enroll and pay for a plan to be effective Jan. 1. The enrollment deadline for 2014 is March 31.
Quote from Instapundit:

And remember, this is 1% of the comparatively small number of applications that people are able to complete on the website to begin with.


I didn't even get to the process.  The website doesn't work.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Strategy for mining asteroids, part VIII

Previous post part 7

An alternate plan for mining the asteroid.  Instead of bringing back so much metal initially, start off slower.  Bring back as much ( 50 tons ) as you take from Earth.  But deliver it to the Moon's Lagrange Point L2.

The idea is to replace the original idea of 12 missions to asteroids and build a Moonstalk.  Here, we will build 12 solar sail vehicles in order to do 120 missions over 10 years that will build the Moonstalk.  At the end of the construction, there will be 6000 tons of a living area that will also serve as an anchor for the Moonstalk.  The Moonstalk will give access to the lunar surface without the need of propellant.  Also, at the end of the construction period, there will be 6000 tons of equipment on 3554 Amun.  With that much equipment and that much in the way of facilities having been constructed there already, mining of the asteroid can begin in earnest.

Eventually, the fleet of solar sails could be bringing back 50 tons of platinum a flight.  That's worth $2 billion per flight.  Or $24 billion per year.

Once the serious mining begins, serious construction on the asteroid could begin.  The big torus can begin at this time while the platinum deliveries are ramping up.

Meanwhile, back on the moon, the Moonstalk can aid in economic development there.  The sales of platinum can finance that development.

This idea may be worked into the original plan to grab an asteroid and bring it back for 2.6 billion dollars.  Instead of spending it on just one asteroid, you could spend it on this asteroid.  Eventually the entire project could be self-liquidating--- like the Hoover Dam.  It will facilitate the development of the entire solar system.


Dr. Michael McKubre: Experimental Cold Fusion, Nonsense Skepticism, and Progressing LENR

link through E-cat now  Cold Fusion Now

Update and Comments:

"A surface phenomenon."  50:50 into the video.  I should also point out that he says it happens at "nano cracks".  Question:  What does the phenomenon have to do with cracks?  A possible answer is that it produces more surface area!

Self-Assembling Robots  via   Transterrestrial Musings


the ultimate aim of most such research is hordes of swarming microbots that can self-assemble, like the "liquid steel" androids in the movie "Terminator II." And the simplicity of the cubes' design makes miniaturization promising.

Video link:


If the robots were small enough, they could work like pixels on a computer screen.  Put enough of them together, you could have a solid shape.  You would have a solid shape, but then what?

But could that solid object perform as a unit?  This doesn't show that it could.

Pundit Press: WaPo: ObamaCare Website Sucks

Pundit Press: WaPo: ObamaCare Website Sucks: But, but the President said that it was just like Apple and he, apparently, is Steve Jobs! From the Washington Post : "We’re buildi...


I just tried it again.  Yes, it still doesn't work.  At least I got past the initial screen this time.  But the link to actually applying for it doesn't work.

Nano-Scale Solar Rectenna can Achieve 70% Efficiency



 By using nano-scaled rectenna, a rectifying antenna, sunlight can be absorbed and directly turned into a DC current at an efficiency of 70%. Only large scale hydroelectric power plants can beat this number, and nearly all other power plants work at less than 50% efficiency.


Obviously, this post is in support of the previous post about rectennas.

Strategy for mining asteroids, part VII

Previous post

The previous post discussed the method by which the asteroid will be mined.  This method requires a lot of energy, but no worries.  There's a lot of energy in space.  

The trick is to get it from where it is to where you need it.  In this case, it could come from nuclear reactors, or it could come from a space solar device.  With a space solar device, the energy could be beamed from space to a location on the surface.

But that may be difficult since the asteroid is rotating.  In that case, build a strip of rectenna that covers a full revolution of the asteroid.  It's energy will be delivered from the solar sail.  The solar collecting device ( or solar panel)  will have to be deployed from the solar sail when you arrive. It may be possible to carry along a substantially sized solar panel.  However,  the rectenna will have to be built when you get there, it can't be carried along on the trip. These two procedures--- deploying the solar panel, and installing a rectenna--- may be the first things that should be accomplished upon arrival to the asteroid and a secure landing site has been established.

Here's a video, which discussed rectenna design

Here's how a rectenna setup could look like on the asteroid.  Those buildings are not that far fetched, you know.  You could make things out of this asteroid, including buildings.
A criticism could be that this is way too simplified.  It may well be.  There's a lot of details not covered here, but that's what we are doing---learning as we go.

Anyway, since one of the first things to do is to build a rectenna, we could use a nuclear reactor for that.  It will mine the metals on the surface and use those for making the rectenna.  Not all materials needed will be there.  Most, if not all materials used from the asteroid will be used for structural purposes.


Plasma Waste Converters ( repost ) [ Mining an asteroid, Part VI ]


This is a proposed method of mining an asteroid.  Therefore, I'll make this repost number 6 in the series.  The plasma device will rip apart the materials where they can separated out.  You can also use this technique to recycle everything while you are in space.  Particularly waste.

Update: This site says that 2000 tons of waste can be processed per day.   It would be very handy if you could go at that rate with the asteroid, but it will probably go much slower than this.

Energy for mining operations can be discussed next in the series.

Part 5 was here.

This concept may be even better than this gal thinks.

I'm thinking that with enough energy, you could recycle everything.  Think nuclear energy here that is cheaper than coal.

You don't have to restrict yourself to materials that would be used in making energy.  Perhaps in theory, you can make a plasma out of anything and just about everything.

Every substance will have a boiling point, in which it will be turned into a gas.  As it cools, it will condense according to its chemical properties.  You could set up a collection point as is done in oil refineries, that will pick off each product as it condenses.  The final result should be various pure elements which constituted the chemical makeup of the waste stream.  That's the general idea, anyway.

Here's the video.

Strategy for mining asteroids, part V

The last post of the series discussed propulsion and power for the torus, which is to be made from asteroidal materials.  It's not practical to move the torus without nuclear power of one kind or another.  This could be controversial though.  If something like aneutronic fusion can be perfected, then this could be a solution for moving the torus short distances.

But, in any event, we do want to move away from the asteroid a bit so that the torus can be spun up.  That's the whole point of making a torus.  While you are on the asteroid, you have no gravity.

A short blurb about purpose.  The initial purpose is to make money and so to finance the colonization of the solar system.  Other purposes can be discussed eventually.

Rather than getting sidetracked on another issue like that, I decided not to post about the Photonic Railway just yet.  Leave that to future posts.  This will be confined to the solar system for now.  But it could enable trans-stellar operations.  Some food for thought and to chew on.

Perhaps this can be a big picture post.  I've posted several times on mining asteroids.  Here's a couple

  1. Deep Space Industries - Mining The Universe For The Future 
  2. Planetary Resources Inks 3D Systems Deal, Plans Test Launch From ISS
Plus this one, which has the potential for sending thousands, if not millions, of people into space.  The deep space mine at 3554 Amun is a reason to get into space and a place to go.  The way to get there would be a space sail.

Now, Skylon might get you to space, but this project will want people to get to deeper space and mine this rock.

With a space sail, there won't be a need for propellant to get there.  You may want to have the propellant to get to L4 or L5, where the space sail could dock.  A 2 km x 2 km space sail could send an 70 ton payload to Mars, so it could certainly send a crew to a NEA.  That's what this space rock is--- a near Earth asteroid.  With 20 tons devoted to the crew, another 50 tons could be devoted to a lander, plus some equipment to get started on the mine.  With 3D printing techniques, you could start building the torus too.

No space sails of this size exist yet, but technology is on the way that could enable construction of this.  With the sail by necessity being rather light, it wouldn't take many launches to get the necessary stuff into space in order to construct such a sail.  Another launch could launch the payload mentioned in the previous paragraph.

For a total of less than a billion dollars, you could start a project that could return trillions in value.  It's not out of the reach of private enterprise.  The public sector could accelerate the process though, but that would take a commitment on the level with Apollo.  Not on costs, but on vision and boldness.  The costs could be self-liquidating, like the Hoover Dam was.

Just think what the Southwest United States would be like without the Hoover Dam.  Then think about how the human race could benefit from something like this.  It could enable a whole new level of existence.

We nearly have the means, but do we have the will?


Next Big Future: Direct Energy Momentum Beaming (DEMB) for Innovati...

Next Big Future: Direct Energy Momentum Beaming (DEMB) for Innovati...: Traditionally, Direct Energy (DE), especially High Energy Laser (HEL), has mainly been considered for beaming energy or power, however, it ...


There's a spot in the article that says 1 gigawatt of power can generate 6.7 kilonewtons of thrust.

This could be a reason for developing large ships that I've been writing about.  More on that in the next post of the series.

Strategy for mining an asteroid, part IV

Part I  briefly discussed how to get to the asteroid, how to land, and then how to begin mining operations.
Part II   discussed how to begin construction of the torus. 

Part III discussed masses, what could be done with masses, and values of the masses mined.

Propulsion for the torus?

A solar sail would not provide enough thrust.  This is a different type of craft, obviously.

The link just above describes a fusion based system that wouldn't require breakeven fusion power.  Instead, it would heat the reaction mass via the fusion reaction.  Power would come from solar panels, as the fusion is used to provide thrust, not power.  The article doesn't make it clear enough what the thrust would be, I'm guesstimating from the text that it would be something like 1800 pounds of thrust for the Mars mission thus described.  ( 50 lbs for each MW, 36 MW Jet power claimed).  This is not very much to propel this massive torus structure, so there may be a necessity for multiple engines of this type.  For example, some rough calculations suggest that an array of 12 of these firing continously would take a day or so to get just 1 ft/sec of velocity.  Thus, it would take a long time to get this thing going.  But at 5000 ISP, it wouldn't use nearly as much fuel as a chemical rocket.  A quick look at the rocket equation yields a disquieting observation.  It still requires too much propellant!  Acceleration is also too slow.  It looks like another means of propulsion may be necessary.

Orion, perhaps?  Yes, the torus would be a different type of craft.  Perhaps a world ship that could go to star systems.  But, do we have to be this ambitious?  No, probably not yet.  We just want to buzz around the solar system.

Power for the torus:

Looks like solar power could generate about 80 MW in the center of the torus.  At 1 AU, the distance between the Earth and the Sun, the amount of solar energy available is 1300 watt/square meter.  It so happens that there is a lot of empty space in the middle of the torus.  Fill that empty space with a huge solar panel.  Solar power would be stronger, perhaps by a factor of 4, as the asteroid swings by Venus.

The amount used for the fusion engines would only be a fraction of the amount needed for propulsion, judging by the text of the article linked above.  This leaves plenty for life support inside the torus.

Judging by this Yahoo article, 1 MW could power 80 to 1000 homes on Earth.  In space?  Well, assuming the same ratios, this amount of power, say 50 MW, would be enough for up to 50,000 dwellings.  Plenty of power available.

With this much extra power, I'm convinced that everything can be recycled onboard.  Minimal need for resupply.


Here's a video where Arthur Clarke says that nuclear propulsion is the only way to get large payloads around the solar system.  I seemed to have stumbled upon that understanding just now.