Thursday, August 11, 2011

O'Neill: Ch VIII,IX

Chapter eight discusses the nuts and bolts of the first colony.  It will require a base on the moon, and a mass driver.  It would have taken six years.  The cost figures calculated are based upon Shuttle estimates, which were not in the cards.  Therefore, it couldn't have been economical.  It would have required an extra heavy lift vehicle to be constructed. That didn't happen, and still hasn't happened.

Chapter nine discusses space solar power as an economic activity for the colony.  It was not to be, and for the same reason- which was launching costs.  Interestingly enough, O'Neill doesn't discuss how to solve this problem.  I think he assumed that the Shuttle would do that, but as we all know now, it didn't happen that way.

This chapter also discusses his ideas for a propulsion based up lunar dust as a reaction mass.  I can't say that I like that idea at all.

Oddly enough, he doesn't seem to making an economical case for building one of these things.  Even if his assumptions were correct, which they weren't, this doesn't make enough sense to me.

He does make a case for his colonies to perform science.  Would a government be willing to support such large colonies for primarily scientific reasons?

Self preservation of the species was also mentioned. If that is the goal, it can be done more cheaply.

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