Author Topic: Exploration concepts and principles?  (Read 58508 times)

Offline morganism

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Re: Exploration concepts and principles?
« Reply #120 on: 11/29/2013 11:05 PM »
Randy, have to agree with you.

There are many folks with romantic visions of "free" colonies and stations wandering the system.
All of that is looking like true fantasy.
The dangers inherent of someone leaning on a door switch, or getting drunk and falling down the gravity well, are just to ominous to ignore.  Most likely will have to be structured like a military org, or at least a nuclear reactor facility. And look how that turned out.

A lot of discussion on "why's", can be found over on the Rocketpunk Manifesto, mostly in the archives.
http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/

The true "why" is going to end up being an incoming rock, or terrestrial habitat destruction.
If it is a rock, we have no chance. There isn't a single useful plan, that doesn't include tech needed for NEO mining. Paint, lasers, mirrors, etc., are all long term tech that needs to be practiced now. Gravity tractors wouldn't be useful unless you had a big enough attractor to do some actual attraction.
That means moving big rocks around too, and at KPS velocities.


"Saving" the environment , however, is a good possibility.

When we get down to IRSU arguments, there are a lot of folks that point out how much easier it is to do right here, in an atmosphere, at a reasonable temp.
 
This is absolutely correct, but misguided.

We have shown repeatedly that we will take the easy money, over long term gain for anyone else, present or future.

But, if we do go out, we need to figure out how to process these rocks for use.
This is pretty easy in microgravity in some ways, and really difficult in others. This isn't a bug tho, it is a feature.
We will have to figure out how to make non-wearing boring tools, grinders and bits. There isn't really anything in nature that we can copy to do this, except water, so we are going to have to figure it out ourselves.
Remember, most meteorites and dust we have examined are around 10% diamond.

When i see the mountaintop mining scars, or the tar sand bitumen bogs, it certainly appears we are literally going to bury ourselves in wastes, or poison the waters to unusability.
But in space, everything is valuable, even if just for shielding.  By figuring out how to process in tiers, for nearly zero waste, and precise separation, we can bring that tech home, and use it to clean up the biosphere.
Consider stepped processing of REE metals, and imagine being able to use cascaded catalysts to separate out elements. By using tuned lasers, molecular weights, vaporization temps, magnetization, and other tech, we should be able to isolate compounds and elements stepwise, while pulling out volatiles along the way.
That same tech would also be useful for running mine wastewater, and tailings piles for that matter.


This isn't anti-tech, it is forward tech.

IF we don't do this, we end up in Soylent Green.
And it is made of people, BY robots.




 

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Exploration concepts and principles?
« Reply #121 on: 12/10/2013 06:09 PM »
I think, we should think along the lines of space exploitation than space exploration. Autonomous satelites are good enough for exploring, but they don't bring back to Earth anything other than data.

We need a lot of data before we can reasonably plan "exploitation" missions though. That's part of the "Chicken-or-Egg" issue that underlies Human Space Flight in the first place...

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To make space accessable to humans, there must be a reason for them to be there in the first place.

That's been the "paradigm" for the last 50 years and I think it is wrong actually. :) Once you have humans UP there you find reasons to use them usually. But you have to be able to get them UP there and in quantity to make the system work. My personnal opinion is that it will probably take simply doing that (putting humans into space to live and work) before we find enough justification to KEEP doing it. YYMV :)

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Reusable TSTO will get you to LEO, where you can refuel. Methane and LOX are good propelants for storage, in-space production and refueling to go to your destination resonablly fast.

This is predicated on an "agenda" that is currently not a consideration by those who set "concepts and principles" of Space Exploration in that it assumes a well supported and planned, ever expanding program to nuture and expand human presence in space. I agree with it of course but the question is how do we "sell" this to the people in charge and the general public? Everything points to this (space) never being a "priority" with either group and without that support will always be marginal at best.

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What we need is a destinatination that is cheap to build and run, and that can actually pay for itself. Mars or Moon looks like a good destination, but the best destinations are asteorids that need the minimum amount of delta-v to bring to L1/L2/HLO. A BIG iron rich rock brought there would mean, that you could build large rotating cities that would be able to extract expensive metals from space rocks for export to Earth and the rest of the material to expand itself, tools, propellant, consumer products, air and food with solar energy.

You could then slowlly transfer those giant spacestations via Intestelar superhighway network to Mars, Jupiter or other asteroids. The fact, that it would be almost selfsuficient from the Earth, would mean it would be cheap to run and would be able to pay for anything it imports with things that it exports. UK doesn't have to support its former colonies, but it can trade with them to make everyone better off.

No "destination" off Earth meets the qualifications posited: none are cheap, (to get to, to build, or to run) and none are going to be self supporting any time soon without huge upfront money subsidies. What you're suggesting is that somewhere in there a "miracle" occurs which is unlikely at best to happen :)

Space is like no "frontier" on Earth and that is a fact that has to be realized and dealt with right up front. IF, (huge two letter word there) there was an "inexpensive" and regular TSTO orbital system with a high fight rate and supporting "economy" then things begin to become a lot easier. But it IS a "Chicken-or-Egg" issue because a reliable, reusable, "cheap" TSTO (or any launch vehicle actually) NEEDS a robust and expanding market to be able to "pay" for itself over the long run and that requires a NEED for high flight rates and cheap prices in the first place! :)

Personnaly I can see ways to use what we have currently to expand HSF away from just occasional "government" visits but it takes cash as well as a more united "front" from the Space Advocacy community. Getting all the "Space Cadets" to put aside their different agendas to realize even a short-term goal seems almost impossible at the present because as with most "zelots" they already KNOW the "right" answer and will accept nothing less, so it seems "here" we will remain till we get our "act" together.

Or we throw caution to the wind and do something "wild-and-crazy" to change the situation, like maybe put people into space even if its not clear how they are going to "support" themselves in the conventional sense. As long as it is possible to keep themselves alive in a fairly "cheap" and easy fashion that's a HUGE leap from where we are not. More so, pretty much by definition, keeping them alive and supplied is going to put a huge dent in the direction of "needing" a reliable, reusable, and cheap space access system is it not? :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Exploration concepts and principles?
« Reply #122 on: 12/10/2013 06:38 PM »
Randy, have to agree with you.

There are many folks with romantic visions of "free" colonies and stations wandering the system.
All of that is looking like true fantasy.
The dangers inherent of someone leaning on a door switch, or getting drunk and falling down the gravity well, are just to ominous to ignore.  Most likely will have to be structured like a military org, or at least a nuclear reactor facility. And look how that turned out.

I'd say probably closer to being "your brother's keeper" because your brother can kill YOU as easily as he can kill himself if he's not careful, but in general I'd agree that a lot of "liberitarian" leaning space advocates are missing the essential fact that there is going to be a huge "blurring" of public and private "space" in space :)

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A lot of discussion on "why's", can be found over on the Rocketpunk Manifesto, mostly in the archives.
http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/

The true "why" is going to end up being an incoming rock, or terrestrial habitat destruction.
If it is a rock, we have no chance. There isn't a single useful plan, that doesn't include tech needed for NEO mining. Paint, lasers, mirrors, etc., are all long term tech that needs to be practiced now. Gravity tractors wouldn't be useful unless you had a big enough attractor to do some actual attraction.
That means moving big rocks around too, and at KPS velocities.

The problem is that any of the "conventional" why's don't stand up to any direct scrutiny or questioning. Oh it WILL happen... someday, maybe, and it could be tomorrow! But that doesn't provide any significant "incentive" to change policy or priority. And no I'm afraid the "environmental" card is as overplayed and just as ineffective.

I'd even argue it has become counter-productive in fact using the example (joke or not) of the Voluntary Human Extiction Movement. Joke or not the FACT that it exists AND there are people who do NOT consider it a joke shows that. You're not going to get much traction with a group that sees "humans" as a mistake :)

Probably worse yet though is that a large segment of the "environmental" movement is less about "saving" the envirionment than it is about "control" over human action and technology which intentionally or not "frowns" on technological solutions and expanded options. (Including space colonization or exploitation unfortunetly)

I've actually heard/dealt with the "argument" that increased food production and "ISRU" type resource production is "bad" because it "encourages" unsustainable population and economic levels which prepetuate the "myth" of plenty for all. (And during this "argument" laws were therefore enacted to "define" organic produce as that which is ONLY grown in organicly certified "soil" with hand labor and no mechanical or chemical assitance. This was specifically because intergrated "system" production methods such as hydro/aqua/ponics were out-producing the "certified" methods and still able to claim the "organic" label)

As I've noted, we MAY just have to ignore "common-sense/wisdom" and go into space anyway because finding a viable "justification" is pretty much impossible.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Exploration concepts and principles?
« Reply #123 on: 12/24/2013 01:25 PM »
"As I've noted, we MAY just have to ignore "common-sense/wisdom" and go into space anyway because finding a viable "justification" is pretty much impossible."

There's nothing wrong in principle with faith based arguments, as long as it is acknowledged that the premise for HSF is a matter of free will choice, based on a faith in human spirit and the illogical desire to explore. 

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2014, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country, nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . This wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Except for Randy, for whom I wish a very Merry Christmas.  And a Happy New Year.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2013 01:26 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline vulture4

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Re: Exploration concepts and principles?
« Reply #124 on: 07/21/2014 10:04 PM »
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The ISS is currently the "only" destination in LEO and being under government control their needs will always take precedent over commercial/private concerns.
I don't completely agree. The tourists who went to the ISS, although technically only the guests of the Russians, were treated graciously by the entire crew and, by all accounts, enjoyed their stay. There are tourists who take cabins on cargo ships, tourists who stay at government-owned accommodations in the National Parks, visitors to many government facilities. Until the traffic becomes excessive, I see no reason the ISS cannot be a destination for all who wish to make it a port of call.

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