Moon, asteroids, and Mars are GO!

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by cygonaut, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    Okay WCF, try this one:
    NEAP, the followup to NEAR, this time run on a commercial basis.

    Technical and economic feasibility study

    Mining economics and risk control for NEAs

    There's something up with the site for those - but cached versions can be found here and here, respectively.

    On an earlier point, the value of SI and I class asteroids:
     
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  3. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Oh ya I heard about NEAP, wasn't that a commercial endeavor so it’s not really connected to NEAR? Wow they did change the craft a lot since the last time I saw it. Ya that would land on a asteroid (at least when I read about it before it had a miniprobe for landing on a asteroid) and search for minerals and volatiles, but it would not mine the asteroid nor bring back anything.

    as for the other site they don't seem to work

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    could you just give me a run down on how they planed to get there, how they will mine it and how they will ship it back to earth?
     
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  5. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    It's not connected in that it's not being done by the same people - but it's mission is a direct follow-on from NEAR. NEAR was "can we rendevous and examine scientifically?", NEAP is "let's rendevous and prospect with the view to exploitation".

    *puzzled look*
    Well, no, it wouldn't - why would it? It's job isn't sample return or mining, it's evaluation for future mining operations. You need to know what's there to design your mining mission in fine detail, after all.

    Yes, as I said, the site's down at the moment, but there are cached pages on google and I gave links to those cached pages.

    Getting there and back would probably be a case of either using the ion engine technology that SMART-1 is now testing in orbit on it's way to the moon, and/or the mass driver concept that was developed and experimentally confirmed in the late 70s by NASA. Braking in earth orbit would be either by propulsive braking, aerobraking or lunar flyby. As to mining, there are a dozen different mechanisms that can be used from drilling into the asteroid and fluidising the innards with heat or a solvent, to putting up a large solar collector (think "hemisphere of tin foil pointed at the sun with the asteroid at the focus) and smelting the whole thing down to metals and slag in orbit. The papers have all this in detail and refer to other papers that go into even more detail if you're interested.
     
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  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Ya ya ya those aren't working either.

    Ion propulsion really, wow thats going to take some time for a manned mission.

    Here what I would do: send a robot "seed" miner by solar sail or any other means, it would mine by many techniques depending on the asteroid type and rotation. It would purify the minerals and make reture cargo ships, these ships are sent back to earth via solar sail, the shipments fold up there sails and aero-capture into earth orbit or land directly.

    All we need is the AI and we launch it and it goes and goes, easy money.
     
  8. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    Odd. They work for me.
    *checks again*
    Yup...

    Depends on the scale of the engine. The one on SMART-1 is a prototype, it's small, and it's designed to test the principle rather than get there fast. Besides, you'd use the ion engine to get there, not to get back. (Deep Space 1's ion engine has a throttleable ion engine with a specific impulse that varys from 1900 seconds to 3100 seconds. Compare that to a hydrogen-oxygen specific impusle of what, 490 seconds?).


    Definitely an elegant idea, but it's a ways off. Lot of research between here and launching it...
     
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Then you have them cached on your computer!

    I was not talking about the Isp I was talking about thrust, now were are talking about say at least 200tons of people, cargo, habitate, and a nuclear power plant because solar is not going to pump out beyond 15kws, being pushed by Ion engine with a thrust of 2N per 100Kw, it going to take them some time to get there.
    http://www.islandone.org/APC/Electric/06.html

    Duh!
     
  10. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    Blast. Well, they are available - I guess we just wait for the site to come back up or you can go dig out google's cached pages.

    Well, actually you'd be going to a NEA so solar panels would work as well there as here, and since you could have a few square kilometers of panel as easily as a few square metres, and since you'll need large solar collectors anyway, well, electrical power shouldn't be a major problem. So while I'd love to see a NERVA-type ship, it wouldn't really be needed. An RTG would be worth having, of course, but I'd just worry about the mass needed for the shielding.
    This however, is a technical engineering issue for the design team - the first questions to answer are :

    1. Is it worth doing?
    2. Can it be done?

    I'm saying that yes is the answer to both questions - by mere inspection for the first one and with the caveat that development work would be needed for the second one (though not any significant research work).
     
  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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  12. Vortexx Skull & Bones Spokesman Registered Senior Member

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    How does gas giant mining look like ? I can picture submerging a long tube in the atmosphere, but the gravity of gasgiants is enormous, you would need to convert part of that gas and burn it in thrusters to keep the installation UP and running...

    BTW: if we finally have stripped jupiter from its gas in 12000 years, we might mine it's solid hydrogen core

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  13. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    Why would the miner be in orbit? Sling it under a hot hydrogen balloon.

    (And you'd never reach a solid hydrogen core, if you did remove enough gas from jupiter the hydrogen wouldn't be under so much pressure and it'd sublimate before you ever saw it in it's solid form, and that'd keep going right down to the really big diamond at the core of the planet

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  14. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    by the time we mine that much the sun will have burnt out!
     
  15. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    Well, yes - at today's level of consumption anyway.
     
  16. Vortexx Skull & Bones Spokesman Registered Senior Member

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    I was assuming that if you get to the point of interplanetery gasmining interstellar spacetravel and spacecolonies might start growing at exponentieel rate, so 12000 years doesn't sound too far fetched but it could be 50.000 or even 5000 depending on how much effort you put in space.

    Here is a nice entertaining mining story:

    http://www.pankrator.freeservers.com/ARGUSPROJECT23.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2004
  17. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Well dam that level of exponential growth though possible is pretty unlikely. Take for example all known life limits out in growth eventual, many go extinct over time, I project the same fate for humans.

    as for metallic hydrogen there is some evidence that once made it my remain metallic even if its greatly under pressured.
     
  18. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    The most up-to-date estimate I've seen on asteroidal resources assumed that you built everyone in the solar system a habitat with 3000 square metres of floor space to themselves and provided them with sufficent resources to live at the same level as a 95th percentile american citizen today. The population topped out at 10^16 humans.
    Life does limit out WCF, but it does so because of the exhaustion of available food and resources, not because of some inbuilt limiting mechanism.
     
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Lets do a little experiment in exponential growth here, Lets say the human race is doubling every ~35 years at a rate of 2% growth during times of prosperity and free love, so lets say by 2050 we need to move people out due to over population (pop ~12.8billion) by 2085 we have ~25billion people and we managed to move 12 billion people somewhere, somehow, even moving one billion people into space in just a few years is very hard to imagine! Now by 2120 we have ~50 billion people and we managed to move around ~37 billion to new colonies and new space all over the solar system. By 2155 we have ~100billion and have to move around ~50billion people... To make this possible would requires a incredible leap in transportation technology, you better pray on antigravity, handheld fusion generators, wormholes, ect.

    Now lets consider something very radically different here: Last time I look it is theoretically possible to fit the computing power of 50 human brains in a cube 1cm^3. That means that in AI form you can fit 1.2trillion people in 3000m^2x8m high space. Also consider how much less energy is needed to feed these people, that they are immortal, and travel is cheap and at the speed of light. And this level of computing power would be available based on our present rate of doubling every 4 years in computing power by 2100! Now think about the shear economics of it, which is cheaper moving a giant colony ship slowly or sending nanoships at high speed to set up receiver stations and teleport people around at the speed of light? Who is going to get to the stars first humans of physical talking monkey form or humans of non-physical software form? I don’t see space colonizing as practical because by the time you can do it cheaply we will be obsolete!
     
  20. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    WCF, your assumptions there are off. Note that when settlers left Europe for the Americas, less than one in every hundred people in Europe left. Today, the population of North America dwarfs that of Europe. That's the model to be using. You're assuming in your model that noone you ship off the planet will ever breed. Either they're all very catholic and forgot to bring a priest, or you're forgetting a basic part of the model.
    As to those on the surface, well, it's harsh but the numbers won't grow exponentially. The resources and area available just won't allow it.
     
  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Not at all I was infact assume that everyone shipped off would breed, it just those on a colony would not need to leave. If I had a infinate number of earths and I had expential growth, I would fill them 1,2,4,8,16,ect I would say that people had to move at a rate of 0,1,2,4,8.

    as you said resources wont allow exponential growth like that heck are rate of growth would wide is already dropping, imagine how fast populations could grow if you did not need to worry about a body?
     
  22. EI_Sparks Registered Senior Member

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    Indeed WCF, but you're opening a very large can of ethical/moral worms right there (they're the worst kind). Or more accurately, you will be in a century or so when we figure out how to do this. Don't forget, you're proposing taking something we've spent 60,000 years looking for without success and copying it from a substrate we don't understand into a substrate we're not sure can actually maintain it.
     
  23. Kunax Sciforums:Reality not required Registered Senior Member

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    WCF how about comparing 1904 transpotation technologies to 2004 space tech, sure we learn how to pack a huge metal silo full of high explosive fuel, but we are only scratcing the surface, over time moving stuff in space will become easier.
    Who know what kind of tech we have in 2155, hell who know what we migth have in 10 years time.

    where did you get you AI idea, it sound very simular to the idea in this game http://www.eschaton-online.com/
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2004

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