[ExI] De-Orbiting Gold

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon May 21 20:29:56 UTC 2012



From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Tom Nowell


>.Regarding the current lack of fabrication in orbit - it was a criticism of
NASA in the 90s that not enough work was being done on materials science and
fabrication in microgravi.  Tom


Over fifty yrs ago, the US president issued a technical challenge to take a
man to the moon and back in this decade etc.  American rose to that
challenge and made happen.  Now we face another worthwhile space goal: take
any existing space material, including spent rocket motors, dead satellites,
etc, dock with it in orbit, take the materials and process it into something
else, anything useful.  


An example would be dock with an dead satellite, strip off the aluminized
mylar, grind it, recover the aluminum, make a solar sail using the design I
proposed in a technical paper last fall.  That sail had a microprocessor
(which we would be allowed to make down here and take along) and was guided
by three LCD variable reflectors (which could also be made down here.  That
design was 15 cm across and had a mass of one gram, but I would be open
minded on what qualifies as "anything useful."  Making some kind of
semi-autonomous on-orbit manufacturing device is a good way forward from
here and a cool interesting new technical challenge.



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