[ExI] rebuilding a saturn v today

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Mar 29 17:26:43 UTC 2011

>... On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
Subject: Re: [ExI] rebuilding a saturn v today

On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

>> We know there isn't a lot of money to be made  on space, unless we use it
to generate power for use on earth.

>...Asteroid mining and certain industrial processes - but that's still,
"for use on earth".

>...It's possible that this may change - but only after there are many
people in space already, and they need an economic reason to go there that
exists before they're there, just like any other settlers.


Ja.  My vision for the way forward is for space infrastructure to be built
entirely by semi-autonomous robots.  We don't have all the technology needed
yet, but we are getting there.  I envision the manufacturing to be done by
robots in the 1 to 10 kg range, mining, refining of materials and so forth.
I can see much of the interplanetary craft being built from asteroids,
because it is so much easier to escape their gravity.  Escape into
interplanetary space can be done entirely without matter-wasting rocket

For instance, we send a number of manufacturing robots to an asteroid which
begin to manufacture reflective light sails, which use photon pressure from
the sun to return to a medium high near-equatorial earth orbit, perhaps
20Mm.  These then steer themselves such that they reflect sunlight down on a
desert solar farms, in the Mojave and the Sahara for instance, so that these
places can operate near peak watts always instead of a few hours a day.  

I envision individual reflectors about the size of a dinner plate, 20 to 25
cm diameter, mass of about a gram, numbering in the quadrillions.  

We don't yet know how to manufacture anything in the quadrillions in any
human-relevant time scale.  But we have every reason to think such a thing
is possible.  We can convert the entire asteroid belt into solar energy
collectors, once we master manufacturing at that scale.


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