[ExI] Thoughts on Space based solar power (limited time?)

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sun Nov 23 01:21:52 UTC 2008

hkhenson wrote:
> At 07:32 AM 11/22/2008, Paul wrote:
>> Let's say nature has missed something and strong nanotech is around 
>> the corner like in your story. We still don't know what will happen or 
>> when or how other events will shape it. Why abandon the simplest way 
>> to get some diversity of living spaces and a diversity of ideas of how 
>> to approach things as space habitats?
> I would be working on space habitats if I thought there was any chance 
> of them happening pre singularity.  I simply don't.  If we set up to 
> build 500-1000 GW of new power sats a year, a side effect would have a 
> significant number of people working (and living) in space.  If we build 
> the power sats out of Invar, perhaps the most sensible material, then 
> the nickel mines on earth get exhausted.  Perhaps if that happens 
> someone will remember that nickel is a major part of some asteroids and 
> dedicate a power sat mass (10,000t) to go mining asteroids.  But these 
> generate construction housing and mining camp housing not O'Neill 
> habitats.  Sorry.


This is perhaps the heart of our different perspectives. I don't begrudge 
you being skeptical -- you, if anyone, have more than earned that right. :-)

Well, maybe you be less skeptical in a couple of years about whether space 
habitats are possible pre-singularity if I and others show some significant 
progress? :-)

I might make that my short term goal over the next three years, to reprise 
this topic on this list in three years time, and to try to show enough 
progress (in terms of related free and open source designs and simulations 
and content and collaborations) to convince you to reevaluate your position 
on this topic.

I could put the progress in a place like one of these:

(Although, as I have said on those lists, I see sustainability on Earth and 
the development of space habitations as interwoven, so any progress will 
likely be interwoven in that way too.)

Thanks again for the discussions.

--Paul Fernhout

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