[ExI] Why space tech isn't cutting edge

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Mon Nov 19 17:55:44 UTC 2012

On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 9:22 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> Any shielding that is light
> enough to be carried into space creates a shower of secondary particles when
> hit with a sufficiently energetic cosmic ray

Composite armor, just like tanks use.  Outer layer converts massive
attacks into a spray of smaller attacks.  Inner layer optimized to
stop a bunch of smaller attacks.

> Recall also that it
> would need to be shielded from all directions, and that to stop a cosmic
> particle would take a huge block of lead.

Not that huge, surely?  Considering how tiny CPUs are, and thus
the tiny volume that would need protection.

> In space applications, the motto is if it works, don't mess with it.  The
> humble i486 works, if you de-clock it from its blazing 40 mega-Hertz and are
> old enough to know the definition of the archeo-prefix mega .  If you need
> any heavy-duty space-calculations, the way to go is to send the data to the
> deck, have the super-computers calculate it and send it back up.

So how, eventually, do we get sentient AIs - that run on computer
chips, or some other computing hardware - floating around in space
and able to munch asteroids (at first, then eventually planets) to
make more hardware for themselves?

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