Dec 21, 16 / Cap 20, 00 15:30 UTC

Infinite Resources  

Truely, the incredibly finite resources available on this single planet are not the most sensible to consume.

I therefore propose that a priority be to begin extracting the vast, and almost inexhaustible resources that are abundant offworld. From the perspective of an entity with a short enough lifespan(say, humans) they could almost be considered infinite. Definitely if you cast the net wide/far enough.

I'm aware this would constitute a loose overview as opposed to an actual roadmap, but my personal suggestion would be to develop an ISS module. This could be ready to attach by 2020 ⃗ 2025 in line for when NASA abandon it. The module is basicaly a "seed factory" - A collection of highly automated tools: 3D printer, CNC, a few robot arms to move things about... It could then print and assemble a couple of "tugs" that can begin to harvest "waste" from LEO in order to upgrade itself, print more tugs, and eventually clone itself for deployment closer to more distant resources, whilst lifting the minimal amount of mass from the surface. Once it has sufficiently expanded itself, it should then be possible to start making/storing modular components for the first orbital resource extraction and purificaiton facilities ready for towing asteroids to(I'd suggest positioning this about 150,000 ⃗ 250,000 meters the other side of the moon, just above NASA's cislunar station that will be there by this time).

This will serve two functions. Primarily, it will be an initial source of (infinite)resources, both raw and refined/processed materials. Additionally it will remove both large hunks and small chunks of rock that'll be spinning about in unfavourable orbits, making the solar system a little safer.

Such an infrastructure could feasibly provide for construction of the first Asgardian orbital farms by 2050(Every civilisation requires to eat, and initially this could be sold to Earth to supplicate other initatives, with eventual construction of sufficient farms being able to provide for every Asgardian's need and Earth's deficit of arable farming land, which by 2050 will be prominent) and once all other supporting infrastructure exists, the first long-term Asgardian residential station(s), and making us truely a(n independant) space nation.

In an effort to reduce the "me too" posts, I would suggest replies focus on the more practical aspects of various facets that would be required to be addressed in order to make this a reality.

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 14:16 UTC

We should build vessels than can extract resources from asteroids and comets :)

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 17:34 UTC

Indeed, asteroids/metorites comets and the like will be a major source of resources. Just gotta park one up by the extraction facilities. I'll be attempting this in KSP soon, it could be sooner, but I tend to do it realtime - as in no FF. I don't actually have extraction facilities, but I do have a station with a mining rig and was just gonna park it next door for a proof of concept.

Vessel is possibly the wrong word... The facilities themselves are likely to require to be expansive, so station would possibly be a better designation. With the actual extraction in mind, care should be taken to avoid creating debris. Maybe some sort of inflatable structure could be used to contain the asteroids whilst mining operations are underway - avoiding the loss of even dust. Park the asteroid next to the facilities, contain, mine it to nothing - repeat.

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 17:36 UTC

Oh, and water isn't particular rare "up there" - it's maybe rare in a liquid state, but it can always be rendered liquid.

Additionally, it's possible to make water readily. By extracting the oxygen from various oxide compounds - say, sillicon dioxide which is abundant - and combining it with abundant hydrogen gasses, it should be possible to manufacture that pretty readily.

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 19:24 UTC

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Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 00:42 UTC

I agree, but bringing an infinite amount if resources into the mix would threaten the economy. Maybe we should figure out a better system for the economy.

Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 00:50 UTC

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  Updated  on Jun 15, 17 / Can 26, 01 16:55 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time
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Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 01:17 UTC

Sure maybe the ones a few hundred miles in diumpherence out in the Oort, but for mining that it'll make more sense to build facilities closer - as with the belt betwixt Jupiter and Mars.

I'm more talking things that will be comming close anyway, initially at least. These will provide the materials for those more distant facilities, and from there they can just throw a continual supply of materials, and eventually goods... Seed factories...

The first tugs would start clearing up LEO debris, and there's more than enough of this to expand the seed factory to the point where it can replicate itself, by my reckoning. By this time it would of built and launched more tugs, some of which assist the clearup, but a few fire off on an intercept course... And here's where it gets really cunning.

When you interact with a gravitational field, it interacts with your gravitational field - it's actually a net effect of both sides, but perspective favours the greater mass. Lets say there's an asteroid 200 miles across at it's thinnest point, a reasonable size beasty. Easily megatonnes. Lets say the "tug" is about 80KG's of hull, retractable/extendable solar paneling, a few grapple arms and or a drill/anchor. It's pretty obvious which one will win in a tug of war... But what if you don't try to actually pull it... just interact with it's gravitational field, sit on the "far" side and refuse to allow impact. It'll slow it. Maybe by only 0.00001m/s every few days -=- But over time that could significantly adjust the tractory, and even velocity.

Clearly these are not expected to have a return any time soon - but these tugs fired off will of been built from harvested materials anyway, so pretty much costless - therefore lossless. There's also a lot to be getting on with whilst you're wating for it - consider it a long term investment. By the time that tug is ½ way to intercept, thousands more will of been printed, with some doing "local" things, and others also fired off to the most logical targets first, and the larger more significant bodies later. All the initial tug needs do is steer it close, and by the time it gets here dozens if not hundreds of tugs can finish the job. One by one we will pick them clean, using it as fuel for expansion whilst tidying up the solar system.

As soon as it's possible to self replicate, if another seed factory is printed up and thrown towards the asteroid belt then that will be able to replicate itself over there faster. There's significant resources there, almost the entire periodic, so once it's built some centrafugal launchers, it can begin to throw raw and/or processed materials back in for collection and utillisation, and it's at that point the real benefits begin. But whilst that's happening a few tugs could steal a few minor sized asteroids, and have them parked just the other side of the moon, whilst centrafugal launchers on the LEO seed factory begin throwing tugs, centrafugal launchers and modular components to mining/purification facilities for assembly in situ, initially throwing materials back to the seed factory, then the seed factory throws production facilites over by the mining facilities...

I don't have a "solid design" on the tugs, but I think a modualr design would be "best" with various models for various specific purposes. I do think Q-thrusters would be a sensible propulsion method for a lot of them.

Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 01:33 UTC

Infinite resources wouldn't threaten "the economy" -=- Just the stranglehold of intentionally creating a scarcity of a fictional resource - AKA currency. That'll be kind of useless when everything is in infinite supply, if I'm reading my supply/demand graphs correctly. Ofc, this wouldn't be until about 2075.

In the meantime, yes, selling materials to Earth will be a major source of income, which will initially be required.

If we start building orbital farming stations before mass habitation facilities, we'll be able to produce food before we start sending people up there, removing another facet of dependancy of Earth. As initially we'll be producing food with no population to feed, this can also be sold to Earth for additonal income. Basically we keep expanding the food production facilities until it's above what Earth requires, then start building our residential stations. By the time that's done, the additonal farms built will more than fullfil our requirements, and Earth's. We should be able to pop off farms by this point faster than they can increase population. Eventually, when we have no need of Earth currency, we can just give them the food and end world hunger. Same with the materials and goods. Completely thrash poverty out of existence.

As well as orbital farms, work should begin now on power transmission technology. Orbital solar farms can collect energy that would otherwise miss Earth entirely, and beam the energy back down to Earth for use as electricity. This can be a steady source of income in the initial stages too. And again, once Earth currency is rendered obsolete, we can just give it to them, and thusly force them away from the destructive energy sources they currently favour.

Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 02:17 UTC

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Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 02:58 UTC

Actually, it takes no fuel to move mass, energy yes.

Gravitational slingshots are indeed useful tools. But so are centralfugal launchers. These can operate electrically.

You know what else operates electrically? Q-Thrusters.

Sure the models available now are pretty low specific impulse - but it can be applied constantly, with no propellant exhaust and that really counts.

A little study into cone shape and waveform alignment, it'll get a little better, too. But even as is, a few hundred KW could lift two tonnes from the surface of the earth to LEO in about 20 mins or so. Should you keep going in about 40 yrs you'll be doing 2/3 the speed of light.

Rather than fetch asteroids from all the way over past Mars - spin up some centrafugal launchers and throw some tugs over - These can decellerate the seed factory you then throw after, and park it safely - and start towing mass to it in order that it may upgrade itself, build more centrafugal launchers, and then it can throw the materials it's harvested back in.

  Updated  on Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 03:04 UTC, Total number of edits: 2 times
Reason: typo, additional data.

Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 03:08 UTC

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Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 03:16 UTC

They have been built - You've obviously not read the paper published by Eagleworks. Well, that's just the one what's possible to cite as a peer reviewed study, there's been one built in a shed for years.

You don't need fuel to produce energy either - that's just the easiest, simplest and commonly primitive methods. However in this instance, up until about jupiter it's perfectly viable to consider solar panelling for most uses and nuclear reactors should be able to cover the rest.

It's dolly dimple if you'd stop to think.

  Updated  on Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 03:17 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time
Reason: Additional data

Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 03:22 UTC

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Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 03:27 UTC

And here's one we found earlier:

Note, the date.

I assume you'll trust NASA as a reliable source and capable of determining if something actually works or doesn't. If not, tough luck.