Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

For all chat about the things in the sky without a central nervous system
User avatar
Menelmacar
Site Admin
Posts: 783
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:42 am
Location: West Bank of the Coast Fork

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by Menelmacar »

dont_think_twice wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:18 am
Menelmacar wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:16 am And with saving resources as you envisage, How long would already rare elements last?
Wouldn't they last forever? We're not doing nuclear processes that transmute elements on them.
We can't stop mining them. They are absolutely necessary for society. There is only a very limited amount.
If you lack the vocabulary to hold a debate, it's easier just to lob a piece of concrete thru a store window.
-Mark Steyn
User avatar
Menelmacar
Site Admin
Posts: 783
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:42 am
Location: West Bank of the Coast Fork

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by Menelmacar »

I know the big thing is people on Mars, but I think the better option is a gas station on Phobos and a human society in the asteroid belt. Planets are inconvenient in the sense of unpredictable weather plus a deep gravity well.
If you lack the vocabulary to hold a debate, it's easier just to lob a piece of concrete thru a store window.
-Mark Steyn
User avatar
dont_think_twice
Director of Sandbags
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:15 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by dont_think_twice »

Menelmacar wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 5:45 am I know the big thing is people on Mars, but I think the better option is a gas station on Phobos and a human society in the asteroid belt. Planets are inconvenient in the sense of unpredictable weather plus a deep gravity well.
Seems like we should start a space company.

If you want to start with the asteroid belt, that's fine with me. Seems like the tradeoffs are longer distance from earth (== resupply time), lack of radiation shielding, and lack of gravity. If I was going to leave earth for another home, I would feel more comfortable on Mars than on an asteroid.
User avatar
Menelmacar
Site Admin
Posts: 783
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:42 am
Location: West Bank of the Coast Fork

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by Menelmacar »

dont_think_twice wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:07 am
Menelmacar wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 5:45 am I know the big thing is people on Mars, but I think the better option is a gas station on Phobos and a human society in the asteroid belt. Planets are inconvenient in the sense of unpredictable weather plus a deep gravity well.
Seems like we should start a space company.

If you want to start with the asteroid belt, that's fine with me. Seems like the tradeoffs are longer distance from earth (== resupply time), lack of radiation shielding, and lack of gravity. If I was going to leave earth for another home, I would feel more comfortable on Mars than on an asteroid.
The lack of gravity (or more accurately) the presence of micro gravity on large asteroids is a legitimate concern. But Bruce Willis and his oil drillers were able to work on a large comet. :D
If you lack the vocabulary to hold a debate, it's easier just to lob a piece of concrete thru a store window.
-Mark Steyn
User avatar
ian.au
Oxford Comma Destroyer
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:56 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Au

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by ian.au »

Menelmacar wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:16 am
e3k wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 8:31 pm now look hows hard to send out a peek mission like jwst to space or to build an orbit station. doing colonisation of planets that would cost many earths to make them real. just very ineffective to fly abroad. what about we rationalize our own planet and save resources here.
And with saving resources as you envisage, How long would already rare elements last? If we have any chance at all of surviving as a species, we need to expand off this rock.
That's equally true and difficult to do. I remember reading Pournelle's 'A Step Further Out' way back in the '70's outlining a few concepts around this. I think he also wrote a bit on why we can't afford a 'third-world' which made a fair bit of sense too, although may have been in a different book. My mother was a fan and I read most of the material she left lying around (Asimov, Niven etc..) back then.

That was 50 years ago now more or less, and absolutely fuck-all has been achieved in either case. The planet will likely prevail, but It's hard to see how we humans don't eventually go the way of the Dinosaurs if we continue as we are. It's probably more a question of how and when, rather than if imo.

As for getting anywhere meaningful off-planet, well as these bags of water we inhabit here aren't well suited: Short of firing some dna off in the direction of a bunch of likely candidates, hoping they're vacant and hospitable and starting over, I can't see it. The problem with that is that any tech hints we send with the dna package are long gone before the amoeba's crawl out of the Oceans... So I guess we do it all again... Maybe we've done it all before... seems somewhat futile to dwell on it .

So I don't. ;)
User avatar
e3k
Director of Sandbags
Posts: 470
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2020 8:19 am
Location: blackout land

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by e3k »

Menelmacar wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:49 pm
otw-refugee wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:45 pm
Menelmacar wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:08 pm I guess the alternative is to be naked with no fires and live in caves. ;)

There is a lot of solar system out there.
The real alternative is to learn to make do with what we have, not constantly seek new territory to completely gut.
I'm pretty sure most of us will be long dead before they're really ready to strip mine any planet/asteroid/etc.
Strip mine is your concept, not mine.

I take it you want a moratorium on any future mining of rare minerals that we need for electric vehicles, computers, etc.? Just do with what we currently have and learn to live with that.
yes rare minerals and the high tech. we have a problem 1st of all not because the minerals are rare but because the economy wastes them. what is the average phone lifetime? and why it is so short?

we better do some optimization of the economy here on Earth before we try to reach the Stars!
#controlgroup
User avatar
Menelmacar
Site Admin
Posts: 783
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:42 am
Location: West Bank of the Coast Fork

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by Menelmacar »

There are asteroids out there that are worth more than the GDP of the entire planet. As I said before, if we start exploiting those we can turn planet Earth into a wilderness area.
If you lack the vocabulary to hold a debate, it's easier just to lob a piece of concrete thru a store window.
-Mark Steyn
User avatar
ian.au
Oxford Comma Destroyer
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:56 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Au

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by ian.au »

Menelmacar wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:56 am There are asteroids out there that are worth more than the GDP of the entire planet. As I said before, if we start exploiting those we can turn planet Earth into a wilderness area.
Lovely concept, positively jasmine scented.

Meanwhile, on planet earth, I can't buy aluminium joinery within 200% of the price in 2019. It comes by boat from China.

Wonder what Elon's price for that shit will be by the time he's flown it half-way around the solar system on ego-dick-IV?
User avatar
dont_think_twice
Director of Sandbags
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:15 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by dont_think_twice »

ian.au wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:23 pm
Menelmacar wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:56 am There are asteroids out there that are worth more than the GDP of the entire planet. As I said before, if we start exploiting those we can turn planet Earth into a wilderness area.
Lovely concept, positively jasmine scented.

Meanwhile, on planet earth, I can't buy aluminium joinery within 200% of the price in 2019. It comes by boat from China.
It came by boat from China in 2019 too. The cost of shipping has gone way up because there is more demand than supply.

If aluminum from an asteroid isn’t cheaper than aluminum from a mine, then nobody will bother shipping from an asteroid to earth. It is not like increasing the supply of a commodity will cause the price to increase.
flysideways
Creator of Opportunities
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2020 11:37 pm

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by flysideways »

I want to see the tech for safely de-orbiting a meaningful quantity of all those resources.

I have always gotten a laugh when the NASA discussion turns to hard science versus tech.
"My one wish is for Twitter Inc to be the most transparent company in the world," Jack Dorsey
User avatar
dont_think_twice
Director of Sandbags
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:15 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by dont_think_twice »

flysideways wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 9:57 pm I want to see the tech for safely de-orbiting a meaningful quantity of all those resources.
This got me thinking.

Option 1: Purify/smelt in space. Then make metal gliders out of the materials. Launch them down to earth like paper airplanes.

Option 2: Tether deorbiter - these seem to be a known quantity now, although I am not sure how often they are used. They seem simple and cheap. https://www.tethers.com/deorbit-systems/

Option 3: Sky hook - A giant rotating bar with one arm dipping towards the surface of the earth where a load can be attached or detached. If we launch the same amount as we deorbit, conservation of energy means that the momentum exchange happens for "free". https://medium.com/predict/skyhook-the- ... d5fa84696f
User avatar
RoGeorge
National Metrics Strategist
Posts: 421
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:47 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by RoGeorge »

Why would I need to bring meteorite ore on Earth.

If the space tech would be that widespread it can mine meteorites, most probably the need of materials in space will be way higher than on Earth. Bringing materials to Earth for processing, then putting them back to space doesn't look like a viable option.

My bet is on processing the ore in space. With automated foundries, and only very few humans on site, if at all.
User avatar
dont_think_twice
Director of Sandbags
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:15 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by dont_think_twice »

RoGeorge wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:35 am Why would I need to bring meteorite ore on Earth.

If the space tech would be that widespread it can mine meteorites, most probably the need of materials in space will be way higher than on Earth. Bringing materials to Earth for processing, then putting them back to space doesn't look like a viable option.

My bet is on processing the ore in space. With automated foundries, and only very few humans on site, if at all.
I agree with your general point - much better to start building in space, then to send everything up and down.

That said, I am not sure this is true: "Bringing materials to Earth for processing, then putting them back to space doesn't look like a viable option." I'm not expert, but it seems that if we build a momentum exchange system, such as a sky hook, then we can bring materials to and from space with near zero marginal cost.

Building that sky hook is going to take a lot of aluminum in LEO, so we better get started on the orbiting aluminum smelter.
User avatar
RoGeorge
National Metrics Strategist
Posts: 421
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:47 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by RoGeorge »

If it were to count on reusing the potential energy of lifting down the materials, I'll rather go with some sort of propeller generators to convert the potential energy into electricity. That would be too much energy to store onboard, so beam the produced energy with an onboard LASER/MASER to some high capacity storage facility built on Earth.

A pulley will be more efficient than wind breaking with propellers, but I don't think such a strong material can exist so to build a space elevator with a pulley.

----------------

Thought, recovering the potential energy is not essential, because the amount of energy needed to put things in space is not what limits us to space-travel as easy as we jet-travel. There is no shortage of energy on Earth. The problem is with energy storage. More precise the density of stored energy.

So far the best technology we have is chemical storage of energy, and chemical reactors as engines. This chemical technology packs just enough punch to put something on orbit, but with a big struggle, so not good enough to use this all day long. Rockets technology looks more like a workaround, than like a solution.

The chemical rockets already reached their limits, same way as horse riding reached its limits at some point. Maybe we can still invent a better saddle or a better shoe for our rocket horse, that's what vertical landing and other gimmicks are doing today, but a horse will never go as fast as a car.

We need a technological leap in space transportation.

-----------------

The next level we know in terms of packing energy is going nuclear, that would be more than enough, except we don't have any nuclear-based rocket engine to takeoff. And so, for now we are stuck on Earth. :?
User avatar
ian.au
Oxford Comma Destroyer
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:56 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Au

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by ian.au »

dont_think_twice wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:01 pm
ian.au wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:23 pm
Meanwhile, on planet earth, I can't buy aluminium joinery within 200% of the price in 2019. It comes by boat from China.
It came by boat from China in 2019 too. The cost of shipping has gone way up because there is more demand than supply.
The shipping increase is thx Covid, and still wouldn't approach the cost required to get even an unmanned craft into orbit, let alone the massie logistical exercise of boarding an asteroid, mining the bauxite and flying it back through the atmosphere.

Shippings only a small factor in the current price anyway, the ingot price is though the roof because China uses coal to power the smelting of them and coal is now a 'very bad thing'.
If aluminum from an asteroid isn’t cheaper than aluminum from a mine, then nobody will bother shipping from an asteroid to earth. It is not like increasing the supply of a commodity will cause the price to increase.
Well, obviously. That was sort of my point.

edit to add a quote tag
Last edited by ian.au on Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
dont_think_twice
Director of Sandbags
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:15 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by dont_think_twice »

RoGeorge wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:39 pm If it were to count on reusing the potential energy of lifting down the materials, I'll rather go with some sort of propeller generators to convert the potential energy into electricity. That would be too much energy to store onboard, so beam the produced energy with an onboard LASER/MASER to some high capacity storage facility built on Earth.

A pulley will be more efficient than wind breaking with propellers, but I don't think such a strong material can exist so to build a space elevator with a pulley.

----------------

Thought, recovering the potential energy is not essential, because the amount of energy needed to put things in space is not what limits us to space-travel as easy as we jet-travel. There is no shortage of energy on Earth. The problem is with energy storage. More precise the density of stored energy.
Yea, that is exactly the reason to use a sky hook instead of propellers and lasers and batteries. The sky hook stores the momentum as rotational energy, so the energy storage problem is completely solved. Plus, I bet the efficiency is way way better than propellers (aerodynamic loss) followed by power streaming (conversion efficiency loss, free space transmission loss) batteries (rectification loss, storage loss), and then conversion back into momentum (motor and power generator loss).

Of course, the downside is that you need to build an absolutely massive structure in space, so it is not like you get those gains without upfront cost.
So far the best technology we have is chemical storage of energy, and chemical reactors as engines. This chemical technology packs just enough punch to put something on orbit, but with a big struggle, so not good enough to use this all day long. Rockets technology looks more like a workaround, than like a solution.

The chemical rockets already reached their limits, same way as horse riding reached its limits at some point. Maybe we can still invent a better saddle or a better shoe for our rocket horse, that's what vertical landing and other gimmicks are doing today, but a horse will never go as fast as a car.

We need a technological leap in space transportation.

The next level we know in terms of packing energy is going nuclear, that would be more than enough, except we don't have any nuclear-based rocket engine to takeoff. And so, for now we are stuck on Earth. :?
All the technology exists to do nuclear fission rockets, as far as I know. There are only two reasons not to do it right now - return on investment on R&D and up-front costs, and fear of nuclear disaster in the atmosphere. The first can be solved by putting enough stuff in space to make a business case for faster rockets. The second can be dealt with by only using nuclear rockets for interplanetary travel, but that doesn't help you get stuff from earth to space.
User avatar
dont_think_twice
Director of Sandbags
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:15 am

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by dont_think_twice »

ian.au wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:17 am
dont_think_twice wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:01 pm
ian.au wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:23 pm
Meanwhile, on planet earth, I can't buy aluminium joinery within 200% of the price in 2019. It comes by boat from China.
It came by boat from China in 2019 too. The cost of shipping has gone way up because there is more demand than supply.

The shipping increase is thx Covid, and still wouldn't approach the cost required to get even an unmanned craft into orbit, let alone the massie logistical exercise of boarding an asteroid, mining the bauxite and flying it back through the atmosphere.

Shippings only a small factor in the current price anyway, the ingot price is though the roof because China uses coal to power the smelting of them and coal is now a 'very bad thing'.
If aluminum from an asteroid isn’t cheaper than aluminum from a mine, then nobody will bother shipping from an asteroid to earth. It is not like increasing the supply of a commodity will cause the price to increase.
Well, obviously. That was sort of my point.
Is China actually cutting back on coal use? My understanding is that they haven’t changed much on that front.
User avatar
ian.au
Oxford Comma Destroyer
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:56 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Au

Re: Sierra Space Inside Info, Amazing Things To Come

Post by ian.au »

dont_think_twice wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:36 am.
Is China actually cutting back on coal use? My understanding is that they haven’t changed much on that front.
Sorry, I should have been clearer: I'd intended to say 'Australian Coal is a very bad thing'. We had neighbors over for a long and beer-filled bbq lunch the day I that that post, and it shows ;)

https://www.power-technology.com/featur ... gy-crisis/
China’s power supply shortage is multifaceted but there are three overarching factors: restrictions on import of Australian coal; the Chinese Government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions amid adverse weather conditions; and a surge in exports.

John Breen, lead analyst for global risks at Sibylline, said in relation to Australian coal that “the Chinese Government enforced an import ban in October 2020 after Canberra supported calls for an investigation into Beijing’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

He continued: “Beijing has turned to Indonesia to shore up its coal supply, but constraints around logistics and regulations have frustrated procurement efforts. Meanwhile, a historically cold winter period across China drove demand for coal, while a global surge in commodity prices saw thermal coal rising some 40%.”/quote]
Post Reply