Saturday, October 19, 2013
Presentation from the International Space Solar Power Symposium at the National Space Society International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Huntsville, Alabama, May 2011. Space Solar Power: The First International Assessment of Opportunities, Issues, and Potential Pathways Forward - John C. Mankins (Artemis Innovation). For more videos from this symposium see the NSS Space Solar Power Library at www.nss.org/ssp
The full report here ( pdf ).
Dickie boy gets it wrong again. If there's anyone who looked unreasonable here, it was Obama and the Democrats. You don't win by acting weak. In an argument with a wolf, the lamb always loses---force has the better of an argument, no matter how good the argument. The GOP has to upgrade itself from the lamb arguing with the wolf, to something more on an equal footing. Weakness always loses. Being reasonable is being weak if you cave in on principle. The GOP looks weak on principle. The Democrat's principle is always bigger government. They will fight for that. On the other hand, the GOP will not fight for the basic principles---if one of those principles is limited government. How can they possibly convince anybody of this when they cave in that way?
Politics ain't beanbag and it ain't a beauty contest. It's not necessarily nice, so you have to be tough when it is necessary. The GOP is soft. You can be assured that people have taken notes and this is what they see. Anything like this that Morris argues for is nothing but an illusion. These people are kidding themselves.
In my opinion, it's why we don't have cheaper energy. Look, even the campaign against global warming is a scheme to keep energy prices high. If you doubt that, then look at the results. Look at what they want, which is more expensive fuel prices. The effect that they want is probably the goal that they really have in mind. Concern about the environment is something that sounds good. You know, there are two reasons for doing a thing--- one that sounds good and the real one. This climate change advocacy isn't any different.
The powers-that-be have a vested interest in the current structure. The current structure will not support radical abundance because you can't make a profit on radical abundance. Profits require some scarcity. For example, you cannot sell the air we breathe because it exists in radical abundance. As soon as clean air becomes scarce, there will be a market for clean air. Then you can package it and sell it on a market.
It all sounds rather dismal. Well, economics has been described as the dismal science. Goods are scarce. It will always be so. When it isn't, the market will cease, as there will be no longer a need for one.
Some folks say that the exchanges are being worked on this weekend. Perhaps that explains it.
The reviews for Obamacare still aren't favorable. Can't say that I disagree. If I find differently, I'll say so. This blog is about truth, not about phoniness. That's why I am a conservative. What I see amongst liberals is a tendency towards phoniness.
There was a video that I wanted to post, but it played automatically. So, I took it down. This post replaces it.
Tyson said that only the government can open the space frontier.
You could argue back and forth on that one.
My opinion is that governments can fail and still exist. Businesses can't afford to fail without risking their very existence. As a consequence, the challenges are far greater for businesses.
There needs to be some kind of government program for space, but keep in mind that the government can only do so much.
Flags and footprints is what the government will do. Colonization will have to come from the private sector.
Once there's a lot of people there making a lot of money, the government will want in on the action.
After checking out my own representative, I started going through the entire list. But I didn't make it all the way through. What I mean, is that I went through the members in the Republican party that voted for the measure.
Then I went to their sites on Wikipedia to get some information on them. It really doesn't look like they had a reason to flip like they did. One had a very close race recently, but he is going to term limit himself out of office soon anyway. Why would he be afraid of a backlash should the deadlock have continued?
What I saw didn't make a lot of sense, buy you can't rule out corruption. If my theory is correct, those who voted for the measure may not have done it according to conscience. If that is true, then they don't belong in Congress.
It bears repeating that I didn't go all the way through the list. But it wouldn't have taken many to flip the vote in favor of the Democrats. What I saw didn't make sense to me, that's all.
He suggests "Redtape". I think that's great. But pro-government people might get offended and want the name changed again. Anybody who offends the government class are just not nice people, you know.
Dr. Eric Drexler's talk from TEDx IST Alameda (18 June 2013).
Note: One video of many in a playlist. The playlist was excluded here, but if you're interested, you can go here.
Friday, October 18, 2013
It's basically what I've been writing about lately.
NASA Designs 3D Printing Spider by GeoBeats
A promising solar cell material can be manufactured using the same method as the cheapest silicon devices, without sacrificing energy-production efficiency.
Cheapest and least complex, that's the ticket.
Dr. Marc Gluba and Prof. Dr. Norbert Nickel of the HZB Institute for Silicon Photovoltaics have shown that graphene retains its impressive set of properties when it is coated with a thin silicon film. These findings have paved the way for entirely new possibilities to use in thin-film photovoltaics.
I'm thinking huge space solar panels.
But one of these days, there will be one.
Air marshal accused of taking naughty pics.
“A government shutdown is off the table,” he says, looking ahead to a possible impasse early next year. “We’re not going to do it.”...I’m in a weaker position when the House can’t act...one thing that’s made it hard is the inability of the House of Representatives, on these occasions, to send us legislation that’s more robust, proposals that have more of the things that I and my colleagues would prefer. We’d have been in a much stronger position if they had been able to do that.
McConnell didn't think the shut down was going to help the GOP. There is no stomach for combat in those guys. They are more interested in the show than in the dough. You can't win if you won't fight. It's not going to happen by itself.
How might the mining of 3554 Amun, or a similar near earth asteroid take place?
Amongst the initiatives to mine asteroids, it seems to me that this asteroid won't be selected. At least not by the current players.
The government won't select it because they want to go to Mars. If the government chooses an asteroid mission, it will be a small one that Sen Nelson of Florida favors. That mission will be in support of an eventual Mars mission, not an asteroid mission.
Furthermore, the private companies interested in asteroid missions want the small ones that they can bring back. This asteroid is too big to move.
If anyone wants to mine this asteroid, they will have to do it on their own. It will have to be a new player.
Now, as far as asteroid mining as a business opportunity goes, the only thing that's worth bringing back is precious metals. It doesn't make sense to bring back fuel because you have to use so much of it in order to bring it back. Besides, in the long run, the goal should be to not use fuel for destinations. Fuel should be a temporary business.
Here's a thought: What if you dedicate the asteroidal platinum towards making fuel cells for cars? Also, dedicate the space solar energy towards making hydrogen? The final product could be sold in competition with fossil fuels. Prices are high enough to support a large profit margin if costs can be brought down low enough. The basic idea is not to sell the space derived products themselves; rather, to sell value added products derived from space.
The trick would be in getting the product back to earth. The way to do that economically would be to use space sails. These require no fuel. They are not likely to wear out soon. Thus, operating costs should be low. Construction costs should be low too, as it would be built by robots. The cost of labor would be low at first because you can't send many miners yet. The main cost would be in initial start up costs, and that would be taken up largely by the need to launch from earth. This cost is coming down, but realistically, it will likely be relatively high for a long time to come.
Another trick would be to get people up there. After all, why go into space at all? It is a dangerous and forbidding place. The answer is money. People will take risks for money. A money making opportunity won't be passed by simply because it is too dangerous.
The final trick is to get investors who would be willing to mine this rock. That may be the toughest sell. The reason is that money men are not big risk takers. You don't get rich by being careless with money. You have to convince them that the risks are manageable and relatively small in comparison to the benefits.
It will have to have money making potential of course. But there are other reasons.
The reasons to do this go beyond mere monetary gain. Humans should spread out from the earth. It would be an insurance policy against human extinction in case of a calamity on earth. Furthermore, the mining of platinum and space solar production will mitigate the burning of fossil fuels, an activity which is changing our atmosphere in ways we may regret some day.
Why 3554 Amun? Because it has growth potential. Its very size will mean a long term project to mine its platinum. It can also be used to build a permanent habitat in space, which will enable true space settlement. Miners will be going to space to stay and could bring their families.That will take time, of course, but the potential exists. I would say the potential would be better than for settling Mars.
The government is not likely to do this. Private industry might, but they will have to be shown the way. It will take private individuals to start this, and they will have to be willing to spend the money necessary to get it started. Those who would do this could be the only realistic hope for mankind's settlement of outer space. The failure to do this could spell doom for us all.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Dates from the beginnings of the solar system.
Claimed to be message from God.
The Blues Brothers couldn't be reached for comment.
It may be worse. They may have given up something in order to get nothing.
Will change this title and not include it in the series on mining asteroids. The new title is as long as the post.
The GOP appears to have caved in again.
Nothing appears to have been gained by this. But we might have gotten a curtain call. Yay!
One question for the GOP. WTF are you doing????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
In Part 10, I gave a thumbs up for an asteroid mission.
So, what do you do with it?
You could make fuel with it. Then what? Two options.
Use that fuel for a Mars mission.
Use that fuel to go to the lunar surface to mine it as well.
If you can net more by going to the surface, the latter option looks better. By more, it is meant that more can be accomplished with it. What advantage is there to go to the surface and mine there? You have to use precious fuel to get there and back.
I think that to go to the surface will net aluminum that will be useful for making a space sail.
The downside is that you have to have equipment to get that aluminum so that it could be sent back up. The equipment has to be sent from Earth.
Meanwhile, you will be mining the moon for oxygen as well. That will make the trip back up less costly, but the you need that equipment too.
While you're at it, mine some silicon for solar panels.
So, to mine the moon means at least three pieces of equipment that must come from Earth. In addition to the one piece to mine the asteroid. That makes four pieces altogether.
If you aren't going to mine the moon, then you must go directly to Mars. The question there is if there's enough to get you there and back? Probably not. You would have to mine Deimos for return fuel.
If I were to place a bet, the government will probably opt for the latter rather than the former. The skills to mine Deimos should be about the same as for the asteroid at the moon, whereas, the excursion to the lunar surface would require landing equipment as well as mining equipment. In other words, less equipment and less money.
Perhaps you could mine Mars for the aluminum for the space sail? The moon would be a better choice. You could build more infrastructure going back to the Moon, but you will end up with more capability. For once you run out of asteroid, you will have to get another. That means frequent missions to replenish used up asteroids. If you develop the moon, you get more mass to work with because the moon is bigger.
Each step has to yield more than the previous step. So, which way is better?
It depends upon what your long term intentions are. If you just want to plant flags and take pictures, then take the shortest route to Mars. If you want to colonize, you may need to spend more money and make more infrastructure.
How that question gets answered, only time will tell.
If the idea is to mine asteroids, and get the added bonus of going to the lunar surface, why not collect 12 asteroids together and make a Moonstalk? This will avoid the need to use propellant in order to get to the lunar surface. It may be cheaper than going to the lunar surface immediately and set up mines there immediately. Hold back on that until you've collected enough asteroidal material to make a Moonstalk, and then go to the surface with mined material from the asteroid being used as a propellant so as to make the anchor base on the surface so you can get your aluminum for the space sail. At the end of the day, you've got access to the lunar surface, plus lots of fuel left for a Deimos mission. After mining all those asteroids, you'll be plenty experienced at it when you get to Deimos.
The long term goal for space settlement should be to use as little propellant as possible. Or to use no propellant at all. For you can make a Mars stalk as well. The space sail requires no propellant. The idea should not only to gain propellant from each step along the way, but to get to the point to where you don't need propellant anymore.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Then make that a demand before any short term deal. Otherwise, we are back to the same thing soon.
Last few posts made here belong to the series:
By the way, this is a repost, but I wanted to include it in the discussion of space settlement.
That is, the subject of hydroponics as well as aquaponics.
If you are going to spend a lot of time in space, you have to be able to grow your own food. You can't bring everything with you from Earth.
The profit motive as a way to colonize Mars. Will it work?
To answer that question, it would take the profit motive. Columbus was looking for a trade route to China.
After the inadvertent discovery of America, the colonists of that time came for land and gold. The same motivation can apply to space colonization. Not so much the land or gold, but the profit motive.
Profit means earning more money than you spend on an activity.
Space is currently quite expensive to access, but there are those who are working on that problem, and their progress will bear fruit in time. It is not an impossible problem, if past efforts are any indication. The question is will. The profit motive can put some motivation behind that willpower.
If access to space could be made affordable, that's a start. But there also has to be something out there that will bring the money in. For that, there is the possibilities of mining for precious metals. There's money to be made out there if you can figure out how to do it. Whoever is serious about making money in space will be the new Columbus of this age.
That's what my latest series is about.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Strategy for mining asteroids, part XV
The series now turns to how to feed a crew during the long journey in space. If you have to carry food along and dispose of wastes, mass will increase and that won't be helpful. Everything has to be recycled.
A look at the aquaponics link suggests that this topic may be quite complex. It could be difficult to replicate in space. It would have to be tested thoroughly before leaving on a long journey.
How do you stay alive for two years in outer space? NASA will have to learn how if they are going to send a crew of astronauts to Mars. The study of Aquaponics may show a way to do this.
Aquaponics is the simultaneous cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a symbiotic environment where the animal effluents that accumulate in the water are used and filtered out by the plants as nutrients, after which the water is recirculated back to the animals.
Nothing can get wasted in outer space. There is no room for pollution either. It must be kept clean. Water and carbon dioxide must get recycled continuously. Food must be produced that includes a balanced diet of meat and vegetables. This system looks like it can do this. What can go wrong?
Aquaponics systems can have multiple 'single points of failure' where problems such as an electrical failure or pipe blockage can lead to a complete loss of fish stock
In practice, that's how it can happen. Clearly, there needs to be backup systems in order to recover from times when things go wrong. But this is true in all space flight systems. Perhaps the system can be productive enough so that, in case of failure, reserves of food can be produced that will be enough to sustain a crew until a new crop can be grown. Perhaps this is not the most critical of worries for NASA.
Not only can you grow food, you can cultivate yeasts which can produce plastics. Hat tip: Instapundit.
Further thoughts on the space hab.
Considering that risks are taken in human spaceflight, would it not be out of the question to seek reductions in mass if such can give an advantage?
Look at the ISS. It doesn't have 93% shielding against gamma radiation. Half of the sky is taken up by the Earth, but the other half has to be shielded, but is not being shielded. The crew members aren't harmed too much by it.
Now, with that in mind, the "coffin" arrangement is revisited. As written earlier:
Consider a coffin 2 meters long by 1 meter wide by 1/2 meter depth.
It would have 6 sides. 2 sides would be 2 by 1 equal 4 sq m
2 sides would be 1 by 1/2 equal 1 sq m
2 sides would be 2 by 1/2 equal 2 sq m
or a total of 7 sq meter
That's 7 square meters of surface area to be protected. If lead is used instead of iron, and only 1 cm of protection is used, the mass would be 7 times .01* 1 million cc in a cubic meter * 11.34 g cc lead equals 794 kg ( 1746. lbs ) lead for 50% shielding. As much shielding as the ISS gets from the Earth.
Now, using a very thin layer of reinforced aluminum for the sphere as was used for the sail itself, you could have a pressurized habitation with 50 % shielding that mass out at a much lower rate. The graphene reinforcement could boost confidence in the strength of the aluminum. Bulk graphene isn't available now, but could be soon. The nearly half inch thick aluminum is also thicker than what the ISS gets, so that means more protection.
The aluminum would weigh in at 5940 lbs per cubic meter. To use all 11 meters as calculated before in the last post would give a 4 inch shell. Not so much thickness this time, so 1/10th of that would be 1 cm. So, a sphere could be constructed at that thickness for 594 *1.1 equals 653 lbs .
The sphere could be spun up for artificial gravity. But that would not be anywhere near 1 g. At 6 RPM, you could get about 0.12 g. For long duration missions, this may be a problem. That's the reason for the minimizing of mass, to keep the mission as short as practical.
Now, for 2 "coffins" and a spherical aluminum habitat, we need only 653 plus 2* 1746 lbs or 4146 lbs for our habitat. For comparison, the lunar ascent module in the Apollo Era massed out at about 5k pounds unfueled. Now, this hab so far doesn't include everything of course. But you can get an idea of how little weight would be necessary for some basic protection.
You may want some meteorite shielding. But that isn't massive. It just needs to be of such nature as to slow down the speed of a meteorite as it strikes the hab. Finally, you need to outfit the hab with equipment.
The goal would be to get the weight down to a minimum for a fast sailing ship. A ship of 17 tons mass can get to Venus in 200 days. Again, for comparison, the total weight at the launch pad for the lunar module in the Apollo Era was about 35 k pounds, or 17 tons. We won't need rocket engines nor fuel for the asteroid mission, as the gravity well of the asteroid is practically nil. The fuel and rockets could be replaced by equipment. Now, the asteroid 3354 Amun ranges between Venus and Earth, so it shouldn't take any longer than a Venus trip, I would guess. Our hab has to be good enough for a couple years at most.
These calculations leaves ample room for equipment and gets us to our destination in a minimized amount of time. We want to be able to mine platinum and bring it back for profit. We don't want to get killed in the process.
Monday, October 14, 2013
This isn't even a record. In the nineties, there was a similar program to take off and land vertically called the DC-X. I read about this over the weekend, but I don't record the altitude record, but it was much higher than this.
Not to disparage the accomplishment. Just to remind everybody that this isn't really all that new.
This video has gone viral.
The survey was conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), a trade group representing multi-physician medical practices. The results are in, and they’re unambiguous:
Well, that pretty much cuts it for me. You can't sign up for it, and even if you could, it ain't worth a damn.
Tri-D is only about 7 in (17.7 cm) long and weighs about 10 lb (4.5 kg). Made of a chromium-cobalt alloy, it burns kerosene and liquid oxygen and produces about 200 lb (90.7 kg) of thrust.Comment:
A real live rocket engine printed and tested.
It is made of somewhat exotic stuff though. What if you could make one of these with materials available at a landing site on Mars, and then use it to return samples to Earth?
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Previous post here
Let's consider a possible new configuration for a space hab that may lead to less mass, but better protection from space hazards.
First, let's consider a sphere for a space hab. It would be made of iron with 10 cm thickness giving 93% protection against cosmic radiation.
The calculations of mass:
Volume of a sphere equals 4/3 pi r cubed
For r=3 meters, or 6 meters in diameter, meaning 6*3.25 feet or almost 20 feet.
4/3* 3.14 * 27= 113 cubic meters.
Now, a 10 cm thick shell would decrease volume by:
6 meters - 20 cm --- 10 cm on each side
This means 5.8 meters diameter or 2.9 meters radius. Calculations give 102, or 11 cubic meters less volume, which is accounting for the shell. Now, to account for its mass:
cubic meter of iron is 7.874 g·cm−3 density * 100*100* 100 equals
7874000 gms or 7874 kg, or 17323 lbs.
For this much mass, you will have 93% protection against cosmic radiation, but you won't have much living space. To expand the living space, include an outer shell of graphene. The graphene shell could be a cube, which could be of arbitrary size because its mass would be so small. Inside the volume, we only have the mass of the air inside. This amount of mass is trivial, but it could render the occupants some wandering about room. Perhaps you could spin up this thing and give some artificial gravity. Crew members could go to the edges and get some exposure to artificial gravity for awhile each day. Then, retreat back into the sphere in order to reduce their expose to cosmic radiation as the graphene would not provide protection from that.
You could have more internal space than a Bigelow space hab, and more cosmic radiation protection, while weighing less.
The less the mass, the better for a low-thrust propulsion method like a solar sail.
As the space sail is constructed in space, so could the proposed space hab. You could use materials from a captured asteroid.
Oops! I forgot to multiply the cubic meter of iron by 11. It does make a difference. Never mind!
Perhaps you shouldn't use iron. Or so much of it.
I considered a "coffin" arrangement. One big enough for one person times the number of people aboard.
Consider a coffin 2 meters long by 1 meter wide by 1/2 meter depth.
It would have 6 sides. 2 sides would be 2 by 1 equal 4 sq m
2 sides would be 1 by 1/2 equal 1 sq m
2 sides would be 2 by 1/2 equal 2 sq m
or a total of 7 sq meter
1/10th of that would add up to .7 cubic meter, or 12126 lbs each
You could spin up the coffins inside the big area enclosed by the graphene.
Not as good as I once thought, but you still get your 93% protection.
Reading some stuff on radiation protection. Got an idea on using pykrete, which is sawdust mixed in ice. This creates a very tough material that could be used in more than one way for life support. As a water source and as radiation shielding. Plus an added benefit of structural strength.
You have to keep it frozen though. Then that creates a problem if you want to stay warm. Surround it with thermal protection tiles like the Shuttle, which may do the trick. You keep the heat from it, and the cold inside.
Looks like you have a comparable amount of radiation protection, but you also have the use of the water.
Looking at that chart again... Let's say you make a cube 1000 ft cubed. At that size, the graphene shell would still weigh very little and the amount of air could add the same as 1 half thickness of shielding. In other words, the life support system would also serve as a shield. ( but not all of it ) You'd have to really sure that you have airtight seals for such a large structure.
One more time with this. Using lead, you can make the sphere that I started off with. It would mass at about 25k pounds. Now, if that sphere were to be reinforced with graphene, it would be tough. But tough enough?
Let's say the big cube mentioned above covers up the sphere. The graphene shell would have the Shuttle's tiles all around it if mass limits permitted. The purpose of the tiles would be two fold--- to protect against meteorites and to thermally protect a layer of pycrete, which gives toughness to the shell.
Now, if you can do all that for less than 25k pounds, that gives 50k pounds for the habitat so far. With 75% protection.
Then add the coffins to the sphere to finish off the protection at 93%. The coffins would not have to be as heavy as above. Maybe only 1/5 as heavy. That would be about 5k pounds. Now we are up to 55k pounds.
It is so simple that they'd never think of it.
By the way, this doesn't stop default, nor does it reopen the government. The effect would be to raise the debt ceiling, not to actually raise funds. Those have to be appropriated by Congress.
The Fed Could Simply CANCEL $2 Trillion of Government Debt
Bipartisan Proposal Would Substantially Reduce Budget Crisis
this happened largely, not entirely, but largely, since ARSH 1968.
Is the reference to that year just a coincidence?
She's talking about the changes in the Catholic faith. There are other things that happened before this in the society at large with respect to faith. Prayer in schools and so forth.
Culturally, economically, and militarily, the country seemed to hit a high water mark that year. It hasn't been back since. Is that just a coincidence?
Now we have the Obama Administration.
This regime is going out of its way to punish as many people as it can in order to win a political showdown.
Who do we have that can just stand up and do their duty just for awhile until this bullying mode is broken? She mentions the lack of men. Men as she defines it. Men with guts.
It's hard to tell that there's anybody. At least Cruz tried, and he is being vilified for it amongst those who should be supporting him.
She frequently discusses courage. That's what's needed right now more than anything. Hopefully, there are enough out there that can show up when it's time to show up. The time is now.
I have doubts that the needed courage is in our leadership. But there are signs of it out there in the country. I hope that the country itself isn't lost, but the leadership sure looks that way. Perhaps the leadership can take heart in the people, and find the courage they need.
The people have trusted the leadership this long and they have brought us to this low point in our history. Indications are that the people don't trust the leadership anymore. Perhaps that should be a clue for those in charge to reconsider what they have been doing.
today, even during the temporary and partial government shutdown, we are spending more than when President Obama took office...The arbitrary furloughs are not the fault of Congress. Obama and his appointees have huge discretion in how to spend money...f it wasn’t for these obvious attempts to make the cuts as painful as possible, Democrats biggest concern might be that the cut in government spending might go unnoticed.
That's why the GOP has to stand firm. It's going to hurt, but there can be no gain without any pain.
Just shows how much bullying is going on and why this administration desperately needs some stiff opposition.
But you still have to have a way to get there, so what's the point?
My impression is that the dems think they are winning this.