Dec 28, 16 04:40 UTC

Space junk, (first adquisition.)  

The scrap of space, should be our first acquisition, and look for a new utility.What is there near that we can extract? Our eyes must be on the moon, as a place to look for minerals. In my opinion is the best option. I see no other alternative than the moon. Surely we will find

Jan 3, 17 18:18 UTC

I think so, at least we can clear a space junk orbit for security reasons to fix the station.

The initial idea is a satellite, buying the launch of some aerospace center that is willing to sell the ticket, so to speak.

But what is the purpose of this satellite, I do not know.

Maybe it's to broadcast a few beeps, just beeps. Maybe it'll be something more complicated, I do not know.

I just know that over time it could end up being another garbage in space if the space station project is not finished. But to end it we need to start somewhere.

So I propose a "Space Drone" capable of putting garbage in a specific coordinate for future use. A small drone with many skills. Is this a good project to begin with, would it have the same effect as a satellite for the UN? I do not know.

We can run a contest to name the drone.

I would vote for THOR, the first in space. Cool!

  Updated  on Jan 3, 17 18:22 UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Jan 8, 17 21:50 UTC

lol don't you think other countries would get nervous about our space drone?

Jan 9, 17 05:11 UTC

Well I personally think that Near earth asteroids are our best hope, as well as recycling said space junk. I think our best bet to get outside of the atmosphere is through a private company like space x. Nothing that could feel threatened by competition.

Jan 10, 17 00:26 UTC

Stockpiling it for future use isn't incredibly productive - it's just moving the problem.

If first a seed factory was put up there, then you can begin processing it right away. Something like:

Whilst it's waiting for resources to be thrown back, it should obviously continue on the LEO debris field, and end up with mining capacity the other side of the moon ready for parking asteroids near. First the little local ones - and then the ones that are going to be coming close. Then bigger ones.

I don't think other countries should "get nervous" of our cleanup efforts. Not much they could do to stop us, should we work together. It's all closely monitored up there anyway. They'll soon relax.

  Updated  on Jan 10, 17 00:26 UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo

Feb 3, 17 21:28 UTC

I propose to send garbage back to earth for metals processing for further use. We need an all-purpose cleaner spaceship. Firstly, it will pick up garbage near our planet and send it to the World .. And then we will be able to continue to use this technology to collect other space resources. I think we need to build new space station for the collection of debris. Space debris radioactive and most likely it is largely not necessary to send him to the world planet. This violates the environment due to space radiation. Asgradians, what do you think about that ?!

Feb 6, 17 17:59 UTC

Sending it to the planet doesn't sound as efficient as processing it in orbit.

Some will certainly be radioactive. Technically everything is already, but certainly some things more than others. If using this to build automated equipment, then as long as the electronics packages are sufficiently shielded then it shouldn't matter that much. After a little expansion it should be possible to seperate the radioactive matter.

Feb 7, 17 16:47 UTC

Although a Von Neumann type probe is in my opinion a worthwhile objective, I can't see one being feasible in the near future; creating things like electrical components, silicon chips, batteries etc are miles beyond what we can automate. At best, imagine what would be required to verify some random chip on a retrieved board still worked, was compatible, if it could be safely desoldered, flashed with new firmware, then custom fit onto a board you've found. And this is granting that there's even compatible parts within delta-v range.

Fuel considerations are a big problem also. The requirement to move from piece to piece would be large, and you'd never be able to replace it with any scraps remaining in retrieved tanks. You're also fighting orbital decay the whole time. This is if NASA or similar share their tracking data in the first place.

If we're talking 20/30 years in the future, I'd still say lunar or asteroid mining would provide much better returns for probe construction.

Feb 8, 17 06:24 UTC

Sillicon chips are definitely in the scope of sufficient automation. Might take a while to devel, but it's technically feasible. The problem I see is getting the raw materials, but there's a lot of sillicon littered out in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. You send the first clone "Von Neumann" off that way - and pretty much everything to make that go already exists we just have to package it together right and write a little bit of software. I'm sure we can do that in less than 20 years. It could of been up there at least a decade by then, by my reckoning.

If systems like the EM-Drive/Q-thruster work, then Delta-V isn't a concern, if you've enought time and electricity. That is ofc a big if. There's other potentially promising systems. A centrafugal launcher or series of can reduce propellant use if there's really no other options, and propellant doesn't make it impossible, just cost more.

It would be nice if the tracking data was shared - as we will be sharing ours when we have - but if not we'll just do it ourselves. We'll need to be tracking near and far Earth objects to conform to other initatives. If offering a orbital object disposal service then it's quite likely they'll want to be telling us what and where. As this isn't something that's considered "cheap" then by having dedicated facilities in place for we can be "remarkably competetive" in order to gather the most LEO mass as possible, and they'll be paying for the fuel. It'll be cheaper to regularly lift it in bulk, and have a refuling station.

Lunar mining isn't clever. You really don't want to start that trend, as it's orbit is decided by it's velocity and mass - adjusting these are only sensible if you're either going to adjust the Delta-V of the moon, or desperately want to break the tides. Asteroids, or things that are either otherwise problematic(like comets) or inconsequential should be fair game, there's enough of it about to not do something stupid.

Feb 8, 17 12:21 UTC

You appear to vastly underestimate what is required to construct a silicon chip. The pipeline machinery is extensive and heavy, and the process highly involved. Even basic requirements like a clean-room can be difficult in space, let alone the refinement of silicon. Basic things like copper wires would be a nightmare if you can't salvage one of the right length. Imagine how big the machine would have to be in order to smelt copper, extrude into wires, then somehow insulate them. How big the power source would have to be to achieve those temperatures. How thick the thermal protection would be to shield the rest of the components from the heat. A Von Neumann probe is a massive undertaking, not something you could knock out in a decade.

We've spoken about the EM drive on another thread, until it's proven I won't speculate on it.

I'm not sure what you have against lunar mining, in theory it could be very lucrative delta-v wise (in the medium-future term)

Your last paragraph is confusing, I said lunar mining, I'm not saying we move the actual moon. Unless you mean we might mine substantial quantities of it away? This is highly unlikely, the moon is very large (7×10^22 kg)

In summary: if you're looking to collect resources, LEO is a bad place to do it.

  Last edited by:  snik (Asgardian)  on Feb 10, 17 11:35 UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed url

Feb 8, 17 17:46 UTC

I don't underestimate what's required, already the process is vastly automated. Such equipment being heavy is part of the reason behind thinking of constructing it up there mostly out of scrap. In order to smelt copper it'd need to have a vastly larger thermal dissipation system but the overall package in the smelting process isn't that large, unless intending massive scale(and these will need to be built eventually). Look at the open source 3D printer that uses a household microwave to melt aluminium as an example, it's not an impossible package. Producing wire is actually simple - coating it isn't, as there's unlikely to be a good supply of "common" materials so it'd possibly get an insulating material of another composition until we've applicable stashes of hydrocarbons. "consumables" like this and general electronics components are the largest headache in the early self-replication and will likely require additional feed in reality to completely self-replicate but it still results in reducing required lift mass making it more feasible.

A "Von Neumann probe" is a slight mission - But I'm confident I could pull it off solo in a decade, with my limited funding. Or close enough. I'd like to think I'd not be operating solo. Where I hit a problem maybe someone else already has a solution. "AI" is improving all the time, too.

The EM-Drive is contested, but it's not the only thing of such ilk(propellantless propulsion techniques) that shows promise. This is ofc technologies with ideal properties, the existing commonly used technologies like ion/xenon propulsion should work well enough. It's definitely a feasible concept, it's just about how it can be made most practical.

I don't really see what's confusing - unless you don't understand simple things like trajectory. Being a function of mass and speed, adjusting one without adjusting the other will adjust the trajectory. The moon is tiny, compared to the Earth. Look at the damages caused once mining starts on Earth. Whilst still encapsulated in a scarcity based economy it's unlikley you'll (as a species) be satisfied with just a small amount of matter mined from the moon(BTW, the He3 levels are far too low, most of these plans based from a single sample, you'd need the entire surface of the moon, three meters down and you'd produce very little helium from that total mass, a few tonnes if that) and it would continually grow. Any "industrial quantity" is going to adjust it's orbit, noticably, and within a decade. Once you've set the precident it's acceptable to mine the moon(and ignoring the outer space treaty in the process, that'll go down well) then even if you only do take a little, someone else will want to take a little. Then someone else. Then someone else. It's best really just to stick with the previous arrangement no-one has the rights to it. It saves de-orbiting the moon within a century.

LEO wasn't selected as it's the most resource prime real estate in the solar system - but selected because it's close - ergo relatively cheap to get to, and about half the effort over with with escaping Earth's gravity - and full of crap that wants moving anyway. Lots of that can be used. In theory to mostly build what'd get thrown out to where the serious resources are and whilst that's happening it can be the start of orbital production facilities that can begin to expand ready to process the incomming resources.

Feb 9, 17 09:35 UTC

EyeR, just before reading this post I made a suggestion here: To encourage a brainstorming session on developing robotics with the purpose of being able to manipulate space junk (to try and stay simple.)

The folks who posted their appear to be very level-headed. I encourage you to communicate your ideas with them. I personally don't have the education you and these other guys have; but I feel it's worth attempting to "push" the right folks together.

To comment on the topic...I agree with EyeR that a processor of some kind can be small, or made up of a few small modules if needed. Mankind processed raw materials in simple charcoal fire pits thousands of years ago. I'm confident we can do it at a similar scale; likely much more consistent pace; in space itself.

I want to comment on sheathing electrical wiring too; couldn't a thin varnish coating serve our needs (initial needs) and be easy to apply? Like what is used on electrical coils? I suppose this couldn't be manufactured in space itself though.

  Last edited by:  Alaska (Asgardian)  on Feb 9, 17 09:37 UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Feb 9, 17 11:26 UTC

EyeR, Making chips is ridiculously complicated Even were it terrestrially fully automated, you're wanting to compact this into a self sufficient probe that is spaceworthy, and capable of motion.

You say you could create a Von Neumann probe, personally, in a decade. This claim is ridiculous. I chose a difficult component to try to explain the logistics required are advanced, but this is only one component. You'd be looking at thousands of custom components, you'd have to make every piece that the original was constructed from capable of being 3d printed, or take up an entire workshop of CNC machines. And then make those machines in space. You'd have to be able to print materials that don't melt, for your 3d printer. You'd require a huge amount of consumables. How would you construct solar panels? Or batteries?

And all of this would be fed from the meagre scraps left in LEO for months or years, I am highly critical. Space mining will perhaps be a possibility within 20 years.

With regards to your 'we shouldn't mine the moon away', it's 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg. You'd have to extract (into orbit) 7,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg to remove 0.01% of it's mass. That's 300 million years of extraction with current copper mining levels.

Mining has already been cleared for private companies iirc, and as long as you don't try to claim the moon as your own, you can mine and extract elements

  Last edited by:  snik (Asgardian)  on Feb 10, 17 11:36 UTC, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: dodgy underscores breaking url

Feb 9, 17 16:57 UTC

Not trying to butt-in here, but there are folks who have already experimented with 3D printing of circuits, and combined them with other circuits, without soldering.

These board can be made of common silicon, or something else. It appears we're working up to a revolution of 3D printed electrical components.

Feb 9, 17 22:33 UTC

Yup, lots can be 3D printed, I'll be looking into how to do the most with the smallest number of machines soon. Combined with various CNC and possible metal printing technologies, an yes it'd take an entire workshop, that's kind of the point - giving it the ability to make pretty much anything. Yes lots will be custom, almost all of it in fact. But as this will also be open source then other can improve upon it and add to it rapidly before we even print the parts for the seed. Building things terrestrially first will give us manufacturing capacities in our hands and make it trivial to build what we throw into orbit.

Not everything can be printed, however, and a CNC rig and robot arms decked with interchangable tools can do quite a lot. Enough to make the tools to do anything else, almost. Ofc this will all be designed with microgravity in mind, but we could just centrafuge the lot to simulate gravity.

There certainly will be consumables. Some solar panels might still have service life in them - but probably not - same with batteries. Some of this could potentially be recycled. But the goal is to use as much as possible to build - if this means 0% consumables, perfect, but that may take some cunning. Minimally we can definitely reduce the launch from tonnes to a few hundred KG, building more that will have more long term function. Harvesting scrap can be accelerated be printing off more tugs. It's not a meagre stash, either, pretty much everything that's gone out of service life since 1960 that hasn't been decayed or de-orbited(most of it) is still there. Then each time they launch a rocket they leave the upper stage floating - there's quite a few of them, and they're prime for panelwork or melting into blocks to feed into the CNC. Considering there's already 3D printers that can print most of their own parts, and the CNC machine I'm making later this year should be able to make all of it's own parts when I'm done, that's an easy 2/3 of self replicating right there. Once that's done I'll be automating my reflow oven, and making some pick n place machine.

A coating of non-conductant should suffice, doens't matter much what it is as long as it does't conduct. What matters most is function, not form - if we can do this with something we don't have to lift then bonus. And it's coils precisely I was thinking of, this would reduce required lift down to magnets for being able to build motors and such - unless used electromagnets, but I'd not imagine much ferrites laying about. Much titanium and aluminium tho.

Yes making chips is a "rediculously complicated process" - but it's not as if the Bridgman–Stockbarger technique is a well kept secret, or the lithographic process involving UV laser through a sapphire lense grown from a single crystal to the required shape - these are pretty easy things, the difficulty is in the details and a little practice and a bit of math previous and this shouldn't be hard to nail. I'd not suggest this be starting functionality, but something it'd add to itself over time. It'd be better to start with it ofc, but then we'd have issues with feeding it, initially. Might be able to reprocess old chips, not overly confident.

Regarding the manipulation of junk, I'd personally use three possibly six units with what could be best descsribed as a wind sock strung between them - they can incercept and position themselves in front, then just slow down a tiny bit and allow it to put itself in the hole - via a draw-string type mechinism the apature can be closed to prevent it's escape as they steer it.

Regarding the moon, 0.000001% will add up over a few thousand orbits. Over a few decades it'll become noticable. There's also when you remove the mass, too, that'll impact. And you'd need to mine those sorts of numbers to get a tonne or two of helium. It's really not a well thought out plan at all. Mining was cleared by who, precisely? Because I was under the impression that the outer space treaty forbids the claiming of celestial bodies, such as the moon. Ergo it is not theirs to provide permission for such. Actually looking for evidence of permission (yes, forum uses encapsulation of underscores as formattitng. if you encapsulate your link: < link > without the spaces it'll become clickable: I did manage to come across a nice little extract from somewhere else wikipedia which seems to validate my standpoints:

Since 1980 there has been major progress in miniaturization, nanotechnology, materials science, and additive manufacturing, so it may be possible to achieve 100% "closure" with a reasonably small mass of hardware, although these technology advancements are themselves enabled on Earth by expansion of the supply chain so it needs further study. A NASA study in 2012 proposed a "bootstrapping" approach to establish an in-space supply chain with 100% closure, suggesting it could be achieved in only two to four decades with low annual cost.[36] A study in 2016 again claimed it is possible to complete in just a few decades because of ongoing advances in robotics, and it argued it will provide benefits back to the Earth including economic growth, environmental protection, and provision of clean energy while also providing humanity protection against existential threats.

So, NASA think it's viable, too. although their talking more asteroid mining there I feel, that was what I was initially thinking when I first thunked this madness - it's just possible to use it to clear up LEO too.

  Updated  on Feb 9, 17 22:35 UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo