Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mining the Sky Part 2

Well, I spent much of the day researching stuff on the web about
mining asteroids and such. It would appear to me that much could
be done today with the technology we already have. This approach
as opposed to waiting around for who knows how many years until
new technology can be invented which will make something else work.

Take for instance, the space elevator. The technology to build this
thing does not yet exist. But there is another idea around that does
exist, and might work. I say might work because I don't know if it
would or wouldn't. The idea is a Launch Loop.  From my reading
on the description of the thing, it would not require new technology.
It would be a rather big project though.

As for space elevators, there are possibilities for that. But not so much
on Earth because of gravity. You could build one on the moon and it
would work with the technology that we have already. The trick is to
get there. But with the launch loop and the space cannon (mentioned
in a prior post), it just might be possible to get a lot of people and
equipment up there to do the job.

From there, you could do a lot of stuff. Like mining asteroids.
Update:  1998 paper on feasibility of mining asteroids

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mining the Sky

The title of this post is the title of a book that can be purchased on Amazon.
I didn't read it, but it does has some interesting ideas.

I thought about this after reading a proposal to put fuel in the sky for space
missions into deep space, such as a trip to Mars. It is much more efficient
to put a fuel station in orbit than to launch all the fuel you need and put it
into space all at the same time.

The means to do this would be a space cannon in the sea. The space cannon
concept is getting near the proof of concept phase according to one article I
read in Next Big Future. If this concept does indeed work, a mission to Mars
becomes much more affordable and feasible.

The space cannon will launch small projectiles into space in rapid fire order.
Therefore, it can launch a lot of stuff in a small amount of time. Just collect
the stuff in one location, like a gas station in orbit, and then fill up with a space
ship that can be launched into orbit separately. Once the space ship has enough
fuel for its long journey back and forth, its off to Mars. Or anywhere else you
may want to go.

A trip to Mars would be a science mission. But a trip to the asteroids could
become a commercial mission. There's gold in them thar asteroids. Also platinum
and numerous other rare metals that would be handy to have here on earth.
Something to think about, hm?