[ExI] Mining the Sky SL Talk I gave today

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Apr 27 20:35:33 UTC 2010


> ...On Behalf Of spike
> ... 
> The free floating ion deposition device need not be connected 
> in any way to the balloon...

> We have all the technology needed to do this today, with the 
> possible exception of the device needed to cut circular 
> pieces of the balloon and set them to gently rotating... spike

After I thought about this for a while, I received inspiration from one of
my son's toys and realized we don't need any device to cut the balloon into
circular pieces.  Instead, the balloon could be constructed like a soccer
ball, with the seams glued together using a type of cyano-acrylate adhesive
which vaporizes over time when in a hard vacuum (we discovered this
characteristic the hard way.)

We make the soccer ball balloon, ten pentagons and twenty hexagons, each
with side length about 40 meters, glue the seams with the cyano-acrylate
with the ion gun and extruder inside, inflate to about a nano-atm, coat the
inside with a reflective material would likely take a few months, extrude
beams about 40 meters in length and about the size of a soda straw, using a
thermal-setting elastomer such as a polyvinyl chloride material, attach the
corners of the hexagons and pentagons using the beams to a central hub
perhaps the size and mass of a baseball, which contains the processor and
actuator to move a pair of masses to shift the CG slightly so the sail can
orient itself with respect to the sun.  Eventually the cyano-acrylate glue
sublimes sufficiently that the seams split open, the ion gun floats free,
waiting for the next cargo of platinum and another mylar balloon, and 30
individual solar sails are set free to navigate the vastness of
interplanetary space. 

We have all the technology to do all this today, if we make the mylar here
on the deck, along with the 30 hubs.  I don't think we can make the mylar
out of asteroid material.

We could use the resulting solar sails to haul asteroid material down to
HEO, a few grams at a time.


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