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#26 2013-01-02 16:37:18

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,180
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Josh,

Ah yes, those are the important questions. Your plan appears to hinge on manufacturing being cheaper in space than on Terra. I don't believe that will be the case, certainly not for the plausible midfuture - on Terra your labour costs are much, much cheaper. Perhaps space will prove economical for manufacturing goods where labour cost is a miniscule component of the manufacturing cost, and where avoiding pollution is a major cost. That severely limits what can be manufactured there.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#27 2013-01-02 20:54:45

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,380

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Josh,

Firstly, learn some manners. That is not how one engages in constructive debate.

Secondly, it is only your only view that we have not reached a conclusion previously. I leave others to judge whether that is accurate.

Thirdly, my figures are all anchored in reality e.g. I always start with Space X claims for launch costs to LEO in the near future.  I am always careful to check development costs against NASA figures. But equally I am not stupid enough to include in development costs things that have already been developed. The fact that Space X has the Red Dragon concept shows that they will be using the NASA funded Dragon to cancel out (partially) developement costs for a Mars project.

Everything I say about Musk is based either on his own quotes (he is probably the most extreme advocate of Mars colonisation of any note on the planet today) or rational interpretation of his actions.

As to "glorification" - Musk has proved his worth through deeds. It's like criticising me for glorifying Edison as the founder of domestic electricity supply.

JoshNH4H wrote:

Louis-

The reason why I did not address your points specifically is that we've been in this argument before, at least a dozen times.  You know what my responses to what you've said are because we've done the whole thing before and come to no conclusion.  I'd rather not do that here, and as you are presumably aware my largest single grievance with your arguments is that instead of basing your conclusions on numerical analysis or established facts, you simply settle on a number that you like and repeat it like gospel.  When pressed you provide neither citations nor real justification, but instead simply appeal to a presumed (but not shared, thus the reason you're being pressed in the first place) rationality of the numbers provided, and claims to research (While I don't doubt that you do research that does not make your conclusions above challenge).  Rather than launch a long discussion on the matter (something I have tried in the past with unsatisfactory results) I chose to note my objection with a facetious "citation needed." 

While there are many other topics where I think you have valuable, interesting, and very relevant contributions to make in this one I chose not to respond where it wasn't worth my time.

With regards to Musk I don't disagree that Mars is one of his primary goals as the CEO of SpaceX.  To say he's made it his life goal, or as you have elsewhere that he's a philanthropist, or any number of other statements that you've made that involve phrases like "Elon thinks..." "Musk wants..." or glorifications of Mr. Musk are going rather far and, again, generally cannot be verified.

Last edited by louis (2013-01-02 20:55:40)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#28 2013-01-04 08:35:06

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Louis-

As I said before, the [citation needed] that seems to have offended you was mostly facetious.  If you don't appreciate the joke I apologize.  Nevertheless, I am quite aware that this is not how one engages in constructive debate.  As I said, I am not looking to engage you on this topic.

While others can judge for themselves whether past engagements were productive or not, my opinion is the only one that matters regarding my decisions of whom to engage and whom not to.  The forum rules prohibit me from saying certain things (and if you feel I have violated them at any point please make me aware of this) but they certainly do not and certainly cannot require me to make a full response to every poster.  I should like to offer the fact that I still have fundamental issues with the way you estimate costs and revenues as ample evidence that those discussions have not been very productive.  For the record, multiplying your mass to LEO by a few thousand dollars/kg is not difficult or contentious.  Saying things like "I don't see why some complicated, large, and vital program involving the development of new technology should cost more than some amount that is far less than anyone has ever suggested--" something that you do quite frequently.  A similar phrasing applies to your revenue generation ideas.

Concept studies, by the way, prove nothing.  They are not an indication of policy or plans.  It's literally only an indication that someone commissioned a concept study.  This is a great example of how you will optimistically interpret any evidence in support of conclusions that you have already come to.  I think you will find that my objections to your characterization of Mr. Musk follow much the same lines. 

In any case, I don't plan to further engage you on this topic.  I can't tell you and won't ask you not to post in this thread but I don't intend to reply where I deem it not worth my time.  I hope this doesn't offend you, but if it does... Frankly, it is what it is.

Last edited by JoshNH4H (2013-01-04 08:36:19)


-Josh

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#29 2013-01-05 10:46:53

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
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Posts: 2,526
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Terraformer-

In general, you're right: Where space-based labor has to compete with earth-based labor, all else held equal space-based labor will lose.  However, most factory labor is menial tasks that could be done by machines.  At least, that's the goal.  In the long run, the system will have higher and higher closure with regards to work input by people in a rapidly expanding Extraterrestrial Economy, this means that the initial investment in hardware will ultimately pay off, while humans are almost exclusively responsible for more difficult (intellectually stimulating, generally skilled labor).  In essence, leave machine work to machines.  It's cheaper to just import a machine from Mars than to import a human from Earth and it probably has lower per-unit costs.  As soon as it is cost-effective the machines for new factories will be produced in the Earth Hill Sphere.

I would like to emphasize again the sequential nature of the development of manufacturing in the EHS.  While mining precious metals on the Moon and perhaps elsewhere is probably the first profitable industry that will be pursued, I think electricity is a better example because it has a much higher scope for growth.  The technology behind Space Solar Power is pretty well-worked out, but I would replace the photovoltaics with mirrors and thermodynamic heat engines which are simpler to make in space.  Even before this, simple power transmission should prove cost effective, possibly with a system as simple as reflecting microwaves beamed from a power station on Earth to another location.

2e13 kWh of electricity are used each year; By selling energy at 5 cents per kWh (This is far below the US national average of 9.8 cents per kWh), 2e10 (.1% of global use) kWh per year would have to be sold to obtain $1 billion annual revenue.  Assuming that installed capacity is 33% higher than mean power demand, and assuming an 80% efficient transfer of power from orbit to the surface, this requires the generation of 3.8 GW.  Round it off to 4 GW.  At 5 cents per kWh, there will be demand for as much power as can be produced.  The fact that space is a less corrosive environment than earth will mean that maintenance costs are generally lower (at least for non-electronic items that are properly thermally shielded).  Without more information I don't want to specify too much, but I think that In-Space electricity generation is feasible.

So here we have one huge industry; but once the logistic curve for power generation runs out there's gonna be a bunch of machinery in the Earth Hill Sphere that can be bootstrapped to do other projects.  Beyond that, it creates an environment where electrical energy is cheaper in space than on Earth.  Aluminium production, anyone?  That creates a pretty favorable environment for many kinds of industry as well.  An increase in the mechanization of labor only increases the importance of cheap energy.


-Josh

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#30 2013-01-05 13:04:39

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,180
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Who do you expect to pay for this? You're looking at a ROI (Return on Investment, for bobunf tongue ) that's in the region of decades, with an in initial investment on the order of $100 billion. That's beyond the private sector, and governments aren't going to change their habits and suddenly support it...

I do think that space electricity power generation will be cheaper, and probably will be an exportable resource, even if fusion works out (since space has the fuel and the large vacuum needed).

But I don't see labour being cheaper, even with machines. Why not send the metal and energy to Terra, and make what you want there? Unless you're talking about making stuff for use by space colonists, in which case you haven't solved the problem of making money to pay for the colonists...


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#31 2013-01-19 16:58:34

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,180
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Looking back, I'm starting to tend towards the possibility that $5 billion upfront cost for establishing the Lunar infrastructure is a pessimistic figure, given automated Lunar fuel production. The large sums quoted in the United Launch Alliance are, for a start, based on using their launch costs - using Falcon Heavy will reduce this significantly. Another thing is that they don't actually involve Lunar fuel production for quite some time, so the fuel for operations all has to be hauled from Terra - at quite a significant cost, given that you need about 4 tonnes of fuel for every tonne you land on Luna.

My plan would, first, involve a sample return mission using one launch of Falcon Heavy. Now, you could probably do it on a smaller rocket, but this mission would have the purpose of proving automated Lunar fuel production, for which we'll probably need a relay sat at L1 and several lightweight repeaters on the Lunar surface (or a few satellites in polar orbits). This would be designed to return to Terra several tonnes of rock, hopefully paying for the mission (at $100/g, it might even turn a profit). More important, though, would be the Lunar fuel production plant, which is intended to stockpile a few dozen tonnes of fuel for the later manned mission. We might need a couple of Falcon Heavy launches, actually, but I don't expect this mission to come in more than $500 million, with significant cost offsetting from the rock sale.

After this, and after the fuel production has been verified as operational and enough fuel has been stockpiled, the first manned mission in several decades would be launched, using another couple of Falcon Heavys and one Dragon launch. One of them would carry the habitat, a Bigelow module designed to be buried under regolith, and the other would carry the crew, who would transfer in orbit via the space station (which I forgot to mention would be built, using a single Falcon Heavy launch...). Once they have landed, the crew would set up the habitat, burying it under several meters of regolith, and settle in for their 6 month mission. At the end of the mission, they will fuel up their craft from the fuel depot and return to the space station, docking and returning in the Dragon, with some fuel left in the craft for the next mission.

Once this has been done (5 Falcon Heavy + 1 Dragon launches, so perhaps $5-600 million in launch costs, with R&D bringing it to $1 billion?), the base can grow with each Falcon Heavy and Dragon launch, since not all the payload of the Falcon Heavy will be needed for fuel. Perhaps a couple of launches of Falcon Heavy will be enough to establish the L1 depot, at which point all the payload can be used for growing the infrastructure. With the transit craft already in orbit, and the and the fuel essentially free, then each crew mission requires a single launch of Dragon for maybe $100 million each time. The annual crew cost might come to $600 million each year, and the annual operating cost might come to $1 billion, with growing the base. The total cost for getting to this point might come to $3 billion initial costs, which spread over 6 years would mean we have to make $1.5 billion a year to break even. At $500/kg for fuel, we need to be selling 3000 tonnes each year. Assuming a Mars mission (with ISRU, obviously, since it will have been proved by this point) requires a couple of launches of Falcon Heavy for 100 tonnes to the surface, one of which will be the fuel production, and an average of one a year is being launched by the various nations, then there's a few hundred tonnes which can be sold right there. Since they'll probably be wanting to execute a quick transfer from L1 for the crew, we might be able to sell 500 tonnes each year, probably more, based on Mars. Perhaps if it makes Mars One a practical proposition, we could be making half our money off Mars. The other 1500 tonnes could be sold to various groups and missions - you could certainly launch quite a few asteroid missions with the fuel being cheap, and crewed missions to Venus aren't out of the question. I do think that we could cover our costs off fuel alone. Though if not, I think the sale of Platinum group metals and Lunar rocks could push us over the limit...

With a growing Lunar infrastructure, and a price ticket for a one way Mars mission with a decent sized crew (~20) being around $200 million (if they can launch on the Falcon Heavy), then we might actually start seeing some Mars colonisation. If the transit ships can be reused, then the total cost for getting a person there should start to approach the cost of getting them into orbit, which if we can use the Falcon Heavy as a very big crew launcher might be $2 million per person. If the price tag for going to another planet is, say, $3 million per person, how many will be able to go? Certainly, we can expect a flurry of science outposts out there, and companies setting up to provide the scientists with what they need. If people start to have children out there...


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#32 2013-06-25 02:51:23

Mark Friedenbach
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From: Mountain View, CA
Registered: 2003-01-31
Posts: 308

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Josh,

1) In the absence of a space elevator, what would make it cheaper to manufacture goods in space? As an industrialist, why would I choose to build car or refrigerator factories in cislunar space? How could it possibly be cheaper than investing in factories on Earth, where the hellish environment isn't trying to kill my workers, and shipping doesn't require mass drivers, single-use aerobrakes, chutes, and/or propulsive landing systems?

(If your response is the utility of trade even in the case of absolute advantage, than kudos to you for reading Adam Smith. However that presupposes the existence of an otherwise self-sufficient off-world colony whose choices are either manufacture for internal consumption or export, and therefore doesn't apply here.)

And by the way, machines are much, much harder to get right in space, and often more brittle. The reasons range from strange material properties in microgravity (e.g, rusticles short circuiting electronics, or lubricant not going where it needs to be) to the more mundane thermal stresses and electrical loads, to the difficulty of getting someone up there to repair it when something goes wrong.

2) I think you are doing yourself a disservice by ignoring tourism and related industries. The value of tourism is (a) you are selling an intangible experience, and therefore don't require large capital investments, and (b) it transfers Terran wealth off-world. Both properties are essential for bootstrapping, which is why many people look to tourism as a way to bootstrap larger space endeavours.

Here's a hypothetical plan, that hopefully gets my point across: start a company selling a vacation package to a private space station. It starts out as a single inflatable module (with a nice viewport) and a single dragon spacecraft acting as crew transport vehicle, lifeboat and tug. Bring up extra equipment on each flight, eventually turning the unused corners of the station into a commercial research park. As launch prices fall and initial costs are recouped, start launching on F9H instead, taking with you an extra module to expand the station, or fuel for the now developed fuel depot. Use that infrastructure to assemble a pricey lunar lander mission, which you launch every 6mo or so. Each tourist trip to the Moon leaves behind a module and some equipment, and over a few years you assemble enough to start permanent habitation and/or local industrial production.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. The above is a plan I just made up, and certainly not the best path forward. But in the continued absence of investment dollars or a sudden outbreak of common sense in government, it is a viable and reasonable bootstrapping method.

But yes, in the long term tourism will be a small, small part of the extraterrestrial economy.

Last edited by Mark Friedenbach (2013-06-25 02:55:44)

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#33 2013-06-27 22:58:06

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

In response to (1), given in-space manufacturing, the production of power in the high-energy environment can be expected to be quite cheap.  I would expect power generation to be the first major industry pursued by the interplanetary economy, because it's such a big market with rising prices and stable demand.  However, power will inevitably be lost in the transmission process.  Therefore power, electrical and especially thermal, will be cheaper in space.  This makes the production of materials like Aluminium and Titanium cheaper to produce in space relative to Earth.  So we have Aluminium, Titanium, and Electricity.  These are big markets, and what I would do would be to capitalize on these to leverage the advantage of making these in space towards manufacturing.  I would also suggest that microgravity and hard vacuum pose advantages when it comes to making high-precision parts because they enable more accurate machining tolerances.  I'd like to see research into the use of physical vapor deposition, in combination with magnetism, to build large, single piece, unwelded steel or Aluminium objects with high precision.  I'd like to see an increased use of automation leading to an industrial infrastructure that is nearly self-replicating without human involvement.  Once you take out the people, after all, your effective costs drop to zero.  I'd like to point out that re-entry need not be expensive, especially if you're not concerned about mass.  Simply build a large delta-wing out of basalt fiber, coat it in a very thin coating of pumice (or similar-- a light material with high melting point) and send it into the atmosphere.  Land it in the ocean or a large sea and let it send itself ashore.  One doesn't need to worry about mass nearly as much. 

A more rigorous answer is that for any given product, there is not necessarily a reason why building it in space is more productive than building it on Earth.  But if we can get the transportation costs down and get a really strong infrastructure going up there, one would expect that the actual costs of doing so would be low.

With regards to (2), my argument can be paraphrased by a comparison of the countries of Greece and Germany; When the world economy went into recession, Greece's tourism-dependent economy tanked big time.  Germany, on the other hand, is doing well because it still makes things.  More specifically, tourism revenue is fickle, and while it could be a boon to an emerging space-based economy and the revenue therefrom would certainly be welcome, I would like to organize things such that tourism, branding, and tax haven revenues are ephemeral to the drivers of growth of a space economy.  All of these are nice, but not necessary to space colonization's true promise, which is unlimited resource production for Earth.  To me, tourism is a way to pay down initial debt sooner rather than later.  It's great if it happens, but the debt will be incurred with the expectation that real economic activity (To me, real economic activity means the production of a good or service that has value to people, or investment in the production thereof) will ultimately generate enough revenue for them to be paid off, under whatever conditions of interest are imposed.

Please note that all manufacturing done in space is environmentally neutral, so that if governments ever get serious about making corporations pay the true price of manufacturing this will be a further boon for doing it in space.  I don't consider this to be a "tax haven" argument because environmental damage is a real cost of manufacturing and power generation on this planet that is all too frequently neglected.

Last edited by JoshNH4H (2013-06-28 08:07:43)


-Josh

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#34 2013-06-28 11:40:47

Mark Friedenbach
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From: Mountain View, CA
Registered: 2003-01-31
Posts: 308

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

If you'll forgive me for simplifying, your argument basically boils down to this: the level of automation technology required to make space industry even practical will also make it more efficient (and therefore profitable) than Earth industry in the present time. This is true, but it's also a meaningless statement. Advanced automation will be applied to terrestrial factories just as well.

I have a colleague at NASA-Ames who dreams of using proposed space automation to build a giant sand crawler in the Sahara desert, which scoops up sand, bedrock, and atmosphere to make solar panels / solar thermal stations, as well as pipelines, rail tracks, and both energy and data transmission cables. It'd make a slow crawl of a kilometer or so per day, leaving a paved road and trail of interconnected industrial capital in its wake.

How would that not be more efficient than doing the same thing on the Moon and having to ship the results back?

Secondly, I really think you underestimate the challenges (not benefits) of manufacturing in zero gravity. Take just your machining example: where do all the metal waste chips go? In the presence of gravity it's really simple: just use a machining fluid to both keep the part cool and absorb the momentum of the smaller chips. Let gravity pull the fluid & chips away from the work unit and through a filter on the base. If anything becomes stuck, give the unit a vibration and watch the dislodged pieces fall to the ground. Collect the chips from the filter for recycling, and pump the fluid back up to reuse it.

But in zero gravity.. chips fly everywhere and get in everything. Space becomes filled with junk clogging up moving parts from every direction. You could use suction to take the fluid and chips away, but whoops that's right - you're in a hard vacuum. And let's not even get into the problem of finding a machining fluid that doesn't boil under low pressure.

Engineering for either microgravity or hard vacuum is hard, very hard. There are a few unique cases where the properties of microgravity and hard vacuum provide unique capabilities. Crystal growth comes to mind, for example. For the most part though, the nature and extent of unique applications of in-space manufacturing is an open question and deserves more study.

JoshNH4H wrote:

A more rigorous answer is that for any given product, there is not necessarily a reason why building it in space is more productive than building it on Earth.  But if we can get the transportation costs down and get a really strong infrastructure going up there, one would expect that the actual costs of doing so would be low.

If you want to make an economic argument, low is not good enough. You need lower.

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#35 2013-06-28 19:07:24

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Mark-

That is one part of my argument.  I don't want to present things as if I know more than I do.  For most classes of objects, my answer for "Why (or how) could this be produced in space for less money than producing it on Earth?" is "I don't know."  I haven't looked closely at enough types of products to concretely say that it would be cheaper to make each in space than on Earth. 

However, there are three things that I feel very strongly about with regards to manufacturing in the microgravity environment:

  • 1. The primary reason why engineering techniques appear infinitely more difficult in a space environment is that these techniques have been developed for a 1 g, 1 atm environment.  If we put some smart people, money, and computing power towards the issue of zero gravity manufacturing, I would expect this advantage to disappear very quickly.  While I may not have much information to back this up (yet!) I would expect that when all is said and done the outer space environment will have many advantages over 1 g, 1 atm in the manufacture of a large variety of products.  I think that you kind of implicitly accept this to some degree, because of your statement that "For the most part though, the nature and extent of unique applications of in-space manufacturing is an open question and deserves more study."  Admittedly, we're looking at it from different directions; As part of my larger plan I would be more than willing to dedicate money towards the development of microgravity techniques.  In a more general sense, when there are relevant but random differences in parameters between two systems, one would in general expect that they will result in positive change in at least some circumstances.*

  • 2. Where economical and desirable, it is 100% possible to emulate earth conditions in space.  1 g is especially simple-- it involves little more than a few tethers and then platforms.  It comes at a cost higher than zero, but not that much higher, in situations where 1 g (Or more, or less!) is absolutely necessary.  For many processes I would expect things to be a question of whether there is or isn't a reasonable level of gravity, and low gs can be provided at very low spin rates.  The basic point here is that if a single step of an operation can be done at a somewhat lower cost with gravity or atmosphere, then these can be provided and the process as a whole can still be cheaper than it would be on Earth, depending on specifics.

  • 3. I would expect that the lifetime of space-based machinery that is designed to last to be longer than Earth-based.  It's similar to the question of whether a car will last longer in New York or LA; While both will experience similar wear and tear, the smaller temperature variation in LA as well as the fact that they don't need to salt the roads during the winter, plus the lack of most types of precipitation, mean that you can get significantly more time out of a car in LA than NYC.  This helps alleviate other costs of space-based development somewhat.

*Please don't interpret this statement to mean more than it does.  All I'm saying is that in a generalized complex system, varying a couple of parameters should result in some values going up and others going down.  This corresponds to saying that 0 g and 0 atm has to be good for something.  Please remember that we did not choose 1 g-1 atm, but in an evolutionary sense they chose us.  There is no reason to believe that this is the best, only that it is the environment with which we have the most experience.  Again, large structures and precision manufacturing come to mind but would have to be borne out by development.

Regarding re-entry, it's an additional transportation cost.  But if production costs are low enough it's not that significant.


-Josh

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#36 2013-06-28 22:06:02

Mark Friedenbach
Member
From: Mountain View, CA
Registered: 2003-01-31
Posts: 308

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

My goal was only to throw up a “citation needed” where I felt it was appropriate. I think the case can be made that resource could be extracted more cheaply in space well into the foreseeable future, as in some particular cases there are ores sitting on the surface of the Moon, NEOs or Mars which are more pure than all but the richest deposits on Earth. I remain less convinced that space manufacturing can be made competitive with Earth industry, or that transportation costs can be comparable without a space elevator. Some exceptions do exist though, such as novel zero-g techniques in materials science and biology.

I think you're on the right path though, and asking the right questions. It'll be economics that ultimately takes us to Mars and beyond, not social or political ideals.

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#37 2013-06-29 09:04:57

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Yeah, I appreciate it.  Developing a full plan for economic expansion into space is no small task, but I would be very interested in any ideas you may have with regards to profitable enterprises. 

I'm working on it, but because I'm demanding of myself the highest level of academic information sourcing (Well, maybe not the highest level.  But I'm demanding a high level) it's slow going. 

Constructive criticism is always welcome.

I would say that we can't go to mars exclusively on social or political ideals; however I would expect them to play some part in the development of extraterrestrial society, as with all societies.  Cheap government loans or the occasional infrastructure subsidy (perhaps authorized oligopolies?) could go a long way towards making the business cycle of space exploration smoother.  I also like the idea of setting up a not-for-profit Space Investment Bank/Chamber of Commerce to lobby governments and invest where possible, as well as to manage the dollar assets of the company. (I like the idea of space-based currency from the get-go).


-Josh

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#38 2014-07-09 12:58:32

knightdepaix
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Registered: 2014-07-07
Posts: 225

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

My input is that the interplanetary economy can include terraforming efforts, say the sulfur and CO2 removal from Venus can be exported to Mars for agriculture as sulfur and carbon content. A very wild imagination is that the silicon after exploitation of ores on Mars, near earth objects or asteroids, meteorites etc. can be split into nitrogen by nuclear reaction.

1 mole of Si28 + huge energy input from nuclear fusion or fission --->  2 moles of N14.

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#39 2014-07-09 19:03:22

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,380

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

knightdepaix wrote:

My input is that the interplanetary economy can include terraforming efforts, say the sulfur and CO2 removal from Venus can be exported to Mars for agriculture as sulfur and carbon content. A very wild imagination is that the silicon after exploitation of ores on Mars, near earth objects or asteroids, meteorites etc. can be split into nitrogen by nuclear reaction.

1 mole of Si28 + huge energy input from nuclear fusion or fission --->  2 moles of N14.

I wouldn't dismiss such considerations, but I would point out that currently in the solar system the grounded inhabitants of planet Earth account for about 99.999999999% of  wealth in the solar system (the ISS accounting for the most part for the remainder), so it is likely to be there that a nascent  Mars community will find the reciprocal trade economy that will ensure its survival.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#40 2019-11-23 11:35:44

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,686

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

For SpaceNut .... This topic ** may ** be a good match for the article at the link below.

The key information to be gleaned is that for sand to be useful for concrete, it must be jagged, and not rounded off as would be true of Mars sand.

However, I'm hoping Calliban will take a look at the article, to see if (by any chance) asteroids might be rich in "concrete ready" fine material.

I'm also wondering if the notoriously jagged lunar regolith might be particularly suitable for use in concrete.

(th)

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/2019 … ut-of-sand

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#41 2019-11-23 12:57:43

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,490

Re: The Interplanetary Economy- My Take

Sand for concrete is not all that much of a problem as its going to also come from crushing stone, fragment cutting from stone carving or quarying, sand that is to smooth would be used in the glass making process.
We do have a concrete or cement topic which may shed some light...

Well you knew that I would:
Construction technology for Mars?
Introducing the Construction Hab
Material Choices for Mars
Mars Colony Cement & Concrete
Inflatable concrete shelter
Concrete made with sulfur binder - article says Moon but why not Mars?

Of course what we are talking about at construction and building materials with the equipment needed to make it possible....

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