I seems that there could be some water on Vesta, which makes it very interesting to me.
Vesta is small and rocky and has a deep hole blasted into one pole I believe, exposing very deep rocks which may or may not expose valuable minerals.
I will drop my usual notions about ice covered lakes and so on. I have already exhaused that and am not so interested anymore. (It is a good strategy for the outer solar system though). Instead, I am interested in a place where certain "Pilot" projects could be implemented. Ceres is going to be interesting, but really probabbly too much ice overburden, to make mining pay.
#1 being a space elevator. I don't think it could get much easier than Vesta, and still be dealing with a object resembling a planet.
In this case, I am not intending to entertain wild notions about terraformation. I posted here because this location has a post about Ceres, and because I do not want to fill up the more serious catagoies with wild specualtations which might detract from the focus on Mars. "Modest intentions" is really not true, if the things I have said were actually done, that would be super ambitious. However, modest in the sense of ambitions equivalent to current speculations for the Moon or Mars, things that might actually be possible with our abilities + a great effort to expand those abilities.
If there were a space elevator, then I guess I will go conventional and presume rotating space stations in geosynchronous orbit over Vesta, for a simulation of normal Earth or Mars or Lunar graviation, whichever is prefered.
On Vesta itself, perhaps solar energy farms, mines. Most likely open pit mines.
I have been told that counterpressure suits are such a wonderful option, that I suppose that other than the cold and greater radiation risk, they should be just fine on Vesta.
I wonder if unpressurized "Sky Scrapers" with steel structure, and stone "Curtain walls" would be a good option, providing moderated temperatures within, and also, some radiation protection. (I would presume that small sections would be pressurized, and given greater radiation protection).
The whole notion being I suppose that materials of value could be extracted and shipped to Earth/Moon, or Mars/Phobos/Demos, to purchace items of value to people living in a Vesta location.
But I wonder how hard it is to get to Vesta.
Anyway, I am wondering if it would be worth it, where the Space Elevator would be first implemented there, for reason of ease, and from there, perhaps tried on Mars some distant time later, and then finally Earth.
Last edited by Void (2012-04-02 15:43:59)
You could consider worldhousing it and using it as a farmworld for colonies in orbit. The basalt weathers quite good to soil I hear, and can itself be used to build a lot of the orbitals.
Yes, if you want that concept, it could be persued, but it seems to be more the end of a story about Vesta, rather than a beginning.
I am reading how hard it seems to be to land significant materials on Mars due to the fact that it has a thin atmosphere and it would almost be better if it had none.
So, I am looking at Vesta, and thinking that in fact for somewhat round worlds, it would not be likely to find an easier one to land supplies on.
Getthing there would be harder, but with patience and electric rockets, the materials could be dropped there, and when sufficiency was confirmed, a crewed vehicle could go, either a cycling spaceship, or a very fast nuclear/plasma device.
This all presumes that the dry Vesta is not totally dry, that there is some water ice.
So, I am thinking a research station/mining station/outpost the the outer solar system. Maybe maxing out at 5000 people Plus a gene bank, in case of a social collapse of the whole solar system. Maybe a component of a solarsystem wide radio telescope?
Experiments in surface mining, Mass driver launching of ore, Space elivators, and perhaps trying to drill down to the core of that little world and get to the heavy metals.
Of course it is also possible that a shattered core exists in the asteroid belt with all the heavy metals desired.
Anyway, the fun is in imagining walking about in your counterpressure suit, and building stuff, and robots to help you.
Just the opposite of the wet world stuff I have usually concerned myself with.
I am getting a bit Sci-Fi, in the old fashion sense. It's kind of fun.
I am not knocking the way you see things, I am just after something else. Perhaps the adventure, or the thought of it.
Last edited by Void (2012-04-04 04:38:08)
Well, mining is OK, but there are other places.
With a rotation of 5+ hours and such a low gravitation, I am thinking easy space elivator. Learn how to do it at Vesta, then see if you can do it at Mars.
I am also thinking hollow spinning habitats in orbit for 1/6, 1/3, 1/2, 1 gee as may work.
I am thinking further experiments with various things.
An outpost as I said for perhaps 5000 people. Research in methods.
In fact there may not be enough water. Importing may or may not be worthwhile.
Perpaps from such an asteroids spinning habitats could be built, and then they could move over to Ceres to pick up Water and other things such as Ammonia (Nitrogen), then load up with people, then out to the Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and so on.
I am just investigating the potential value or lack of value to the idea. I havn't come to a conclusion.
I guess value would be relative.
Another use of course would be mining where perhaps Mars would want to import materials. Although it has Phobos and Demos, a person cannot be sure of what their orbital ambitions for construction might be.
Anyway, I am also willing to forget the idea, but not until examined.
It might be possible that the center could be hollowed out some day and made into a habitat with artificial gravitation machines inside of it (Spinning habitats). But that's way out there.
may prove more useful, but for now, we have some significant data on the nature of Vesta, so I will think about what could be done with it.
Maybe some star systems only have little worlds like Vesta, and some comets. Very long term being able to habitate such a star system might be useful to humans.
Last edited by Void (2012-04-06 01:03:55)
And people thought I was nutty when I suggested terraforming Ganymede and Callisto. Their surface gravity is 1/7 and 1/8 G respectively. Use a mixture of oxygen and sulphur hexafluoride gas. That gas is an extremely strong greenhouse gas, good to keep it warm, but more importantly it's extremely heavy. Use giant mirror rings around the moons to increase sunlight. Trouble is current belief is the moons are so light because beneath the crust, the top 800-1000 km is an outer ice mantle. If all that melts you get a ocean world. So I thought of keeping the poles dark, so they act as heat sinks, and a sub-aquifur of liquid silicone between the water aquifer and frozen ground. Circulate the silicone in moon encircling currents, like the Gulf Stream, to carry heat to the poles. This should keep the moon's mantle frozen. But radiation is so strong around Jupiter that each moon would require a strong magnetosphere. The climate would most probably be subarctic. I created a topic for this some years ago.
I could create a new topic, but the point is if terraforming the largest moons in our solar system is considered a wacky idea, then the idea of an asteroid that isn't even large enough to be considered a dwarf planet...
Ok, that sounds rude. But I believe we should terraform Mars, Venus, Ganymede, and Callisto. Use automation to mine metal asteroids, starting with Near Earth Asteroids simply because they're close. Carbonaceous chondrite asteroids could be mined for rocket fuel, and volatiles such as carbon monoxide to mine metal asteroids. The question is how close to the Sun such an asteroid can get and still have sub-surface ice; how far from Earth? And established airless settlements on Luna (Earth's moon), Mercury (lots of metal and lots of solar heat to smelt it), and Io (lots of sulphur, and vulcanism to power industry). Perhaps dirigible settlements can harvest the upper atmosphere of Jupiter itself for gas; plenty of rocket fuel, hydrocarbons, water, and plastic. Anything on Jupiter would require a REALLY powerful energy source.
Well, I am not with the dream police, so I will not take you in for further questioning.
I am wondering why I can't speculate on dwarf and almost dwarf planets? Rotating pressurized habitats in geo synch orbit? Am I an apostate? Space elivators on the smallest mock up of Earth or Mars to test the concepts, is this wrong? It's not like I am spending any ones money thinking about it.
If you wanted, I could tell you how to have artificial gravitation inside of a location on or inside of that little world. However, I just wanted to keep things simple and return to the basics, and see where the thought process ended up. I confess, that this particular thread does stretch the concept of terraforming a large amount, but of course I finally added the bit about hollow spaces inside the little world. All the way down and hollow planet? Well, yeah, that's way beyond my original conception, but maybe finding out specifically why it is not a prefered plan is as good information as finding out what is a good plan.
I've been around a while, and spinning habitats in the asteroid belt, and indeed hollow asteroids are not new and rejectable ideas. Given a choice, if I thought I could help to establish a population on Mars and that they would not die out like Greenland, that would be where my efforts would stay. However, we are not in that pinch at this time.
I think that there are plenty of wild ideas in this section "Terraforming", and that actually other than the drill to the core part, my asperations are rather modest and fairly practicle compaired to the average.
But I can take it. And to keep the piece, I can also behave.
I wouldn't call wanting to terraform Callisto crazy in any way... I want to terraform Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, and the moons of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - and in the latter two cases, their primaries as well.
For the smaller bodies (<5%g?), I'd build hybrid worldhouses with multiple redundant layers, and make them into agriculture, mining, and recreation worlds. Have most of the economy in orbit, in spinning habitats, connected via space elevator. It's quite plausible that someone could live and work planetside during the week, and retreat to their homes come the weekend. With fast enough travel, you could do it daily, and use the planet as a giant storm shelter.
Or, if we either develop medical science enough or gravity is merely used by a fetus to orientate itself and has no other negative effects, and they are willing to put in the required 1-2 hours of excercise each day in the centrifuges, they could live planetside.
Just remember, as hard as you try you'll never make it earthlike. The waves are going to be much higher, the trees can grow much taller, the birds can become giants... you could populate such a world with giant forests, insects the size of your arm (especially if you monkey with the atmosphere), and birds you can fly on. Sound fun?
I have been very careful not to place this type of post anywhere else, because I do not want to interfere with what they are trying to accomplish in those threads.
Any type of terraforming almost has to look pretty far into the future for a payoff though, so as you say. "This is where this belongs".
And after having other people talk about space elivators on Earth and Mars, and after all the book "The high Frontier", way long ago when I was a puppy, I think I havn't gotten that far out there.
Terraformer also has a notion, I leave room for that.
So, I will go further out.
A habitat assembled at a rocky asteroid and then moved to a wet one like Ceres to take up volitles, and then moved slowly to Jupiter or further out, that might be a way.
And as for small objects. What if Alpha Centauri has no major planets, just small dry ones and comets. Given that eventually humans might live to be thousands of year old before they die, and might cross to such a place at rather low speed over a number of centuries, maybe a little rehearsal in the mind of such a case is OK.
How about an amusement park?
If you are going to offer me a web site where I can be insulted and have free pokes in the eye, I might prefer one with a little fun.
Last edited by Void (2012-04-06 19:08:48)
Actually, I disagree with the idea of a space elevator. At least for Earth. Actually, we could build one with carbon nanofibres. The problem isn't whether it can be done, the problem is whether it's a good idea.
We can manufacture carbon nanofibre cables today; not with all the strength that is theoretically predicted, but stronger than steel. Today we can make continuous cables, but the individual fibrils are still 1/10th of a millimetre long. Fibrils a metre long or longer would be required to approach the theoretical maximum. To equal theory would require monofilaments that run the full length of the cable.
But the problem is a space elevator cut through all orbits, from the lowest LEO to GSO and higher. That becomes a collision hazard for everything in orbit: weather satellites, GPS satellites, even ISS. I liken a space elevator to railroads; most people don't use passenger rail for long distance travel, they take an airplane. An efficient space shuttle would be much better. To be efficient requires a SSTO RLV. That is Single Stage To Orbit, Reusable Launch Vehicle. My idea is a nuclear jet engine for take off and landing, it only uses uranium and air. The jet engine would be used to high altitude and high speed, ideally mach 20 but some have argued for only mach 10. Then change to a solid core Nuclear Thermal Rocket engine for the final push to orbit. The NTR would require liquid hydrogen for propellant. A fast nuclear reactor would use much less uranium than NERVA; the key innovation with Timberwind. I would also like to use highly enriched (>99% pure) uranium-233. That isotope has more energy per mass than U-235, but less than Plutonium-239. Plutonium is extremely poisonous, chemically speaking, but uranium oxide is only about as toxic as rust. So the danger would be fission fragments, commonly called nuclear waste. A solid core engine contains that. As for the jet engine, work on that was done by the US Air Force in the 1950s for the B-36 bomber. They had a few problems, one was an overly complicated ducting design. Another problem is they didn't have the light weight radiation shielding or reflectors that we have today. I would use U-233 for the jet engine as well. Other stuff: windows made of ALON instead of glass, so you never have to hand-grind the windshield. Same black tiles and reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield as the space shuttle that was just decommissioned. The black tiles work fine as long as you don't have an external tank that sheds foam. Instead of white tiles or AFRSI thermal blankets, use the new thermal blankets that Ames already developed but were never deployed on the Shuttle: DurAFRSI. Same MMH/N2O4 thrusters, or use hydrazine arcjet thrusters improved specific impulse. Would arcjet work with MMH? NERVA engineers came up with a design that contains nuclear waste, and can act as a power producing nuclear reactor as well as a n NTR. Again, just further modify the design to be a fast reactor like Timberwind. Power from that reactor can run arcjet thrusters. This shuttle would be able to take off and land from a runway: Horizontal Takeoff/Horizontal Landing. Since it would roll on its own wheels out to the runway.
Well what a surprise. I am not very wild about a space elivator myself, and would certainly hesitatate to try it on Earth or Mars until experimented with on a small scale.
Therfore Vesta or an alternate equivalant. If it turns out to be as messed up as it seems to me it might be, better to fail on Vesta than Earth or Mars. Or if it just pays off on Vesta then moving to Mars and Earth would not be contemplated.
Perhaps it should never be more than a thought experiment. But I am not the master of what others try to do.
But if it does not cause annoyance, I will not withdraw the suggestion that Vesta can be tought about. If it does cause discontent, and disharmony, then this thread can go dead, or even be removed if the higher powers would prefer.
Eh? What are you on about disharmony for? A space elevator's a great idea on such small worlds, even if it's only a partial space tower. Something is going to have to penetrate the worldhouse roof...
Anyway, starting from scratch you don't have to worry about satellites. Just do several dozen space elevators and mount your equipment on them instead - I'm pretty certain such small worlds will not be balkanised, so there's no spy satellite issues to deal with. Really, Terra is a unique case. Besides, you're only talking about the first several hundred kilometers of altitude; after that, you're beyond synchronous orbit for the inner dwarf planets...
Ok, space elevator for asteroids and dwarf planets. I just think orbital space around Earth has way too many satellites for a space elevator. And if you want to settle Vesta, go ahead. My spinning is't really practical, an asteroid is still a VERY heavy object so spinning it up would take way too much energy. And spinning the entire asteroid for artificial G raises the real danger of it flying apart. Large spinning habitats inside could be done, after all we have rotating restaurants here on Earth. But there are practical issues such as getting in, and plumbing connections to a rotating thing. I think it's more practical to build an entire rotating space settlement such as on O'Neal colony, and just build low-G housing on the asteroid. Could you park an O'Neal colony beside Vesta? Hmm, zero-g effects on the human body. Workers should really live in significant gravity during off-time. You may be right, a spinning habitat building within a hollowed-out cavern within Vesta. The natural rock would provide both micrometeoroid and radiation shielding. And gravity from Vesta may be minuscule, but enough that you couldn't tether an O'Neal colony beside it.
Reading your stuff... Geosynchronous? Hmm. What is the rotation rate of Vesta? How far out is geosynchronous? That may work.
Current thinking to mine metal asteroids is the Mond process. That is currently used on Earth to refine nickel. It uses carbon monoxide gas at 1 atmosphere pressure (ambient on Earth), and about 200°C. Metal combines with CO to form carbonyl vapour, use slightly higher temperature (tens of degrees) to decompose back into metal and CO. Use different temperatures for nickel, iron, and cobalt. That's why it's used to separate nickel from iron. These temperatures are low enough that we can get the energy from sunlight with a parabolic mirror. Vacuum of space helps keep the heat in, the universe's natural thermos bottle. ISS requires radiators just to get rid body heat, add heat from sunlight and machinery and you can appreciate the radiators. Vesta is close enough to do this, but the catch is it only works with metal, not oxide ore. If Vesta has metal like a metal meteorite, then you can mine that. With easy and cheap access to copious quantities of steel, use that for habitat walls. If Vesta doesn't, well...
One nice thing about the Mond process is if you add more pressure (10 to 200 atmospheres) it works with some platinum group metals as well. Add hydrogen or fluorine gas and it works with more platinum group metals. Platinum group metals and gold make a great export to Earth, the reason for mining asteroids. Does Vesta have metal on or near its surface?
If Vesta has heavy metals on it's surface, most of them will be from impacts (though vulcanism may well have occured for the first few hundred million years). It's a differentiated body. The large impact basin may be interesting, though...
You couldn't tether an O'Neill colony - it *is* a planet after all - but having it in orbit isn't such a big deal, especially if you're using it as a space elevator counterweight. Ceres synchronous orbit is approx. 750km altitude; I suspect Vesta's will be much lower. Enough that working during the weeks and recuperating in orbit will be quite practical; I don't think 5 days in microgravity weakens one that much, especially if you're excercising each day, though it would be helpful to see the data we've got so far (fortunately, we already have information about this).
Though, if people are willing to do the excercise, we might be able to dispense with the space habitats. Just use spinning excercise rooms at a suitable angle to the gravitational field to simulate an acceptable gravity, say 0.2g. You might be able to get the people to power it themselves; I've been musing on the possibility of excercise bikes attached to a track to get a suitable gravity, maybe 0.5 would be possible. Though I still like to have a significant space population...
"You couldn't tether an O'Neill colony - it *is* a planet after all - but having it in orbit isn't such a big deal, especially if you're using it as a space elevator counterweight. Ceres synchronous orbit is approx. 750km altitude; I suspect Vesta's will be much lower. Enough that working during the weeks and recuperating in orbit will be quite practical".
Actually, I would house spinning worlds inside of non spinning worlds.
Supposing that I had the credentials, the authority, and the resources to make a Dwarf/SubDwarf Planet (I coined a phrase "SubDwaf"!), into a place for a human civilization, I would rather than a space elivator, go for hollow cylinders with many floors, planted on Vesta's surface and going up to geosynch. If this is actually asking too much from the metals we have then I suppose space elivator.
Anyway, at geosynch, a stationary shell pressurized to < 10 mTorr. Inside of that another stationary shell pressurized to 250 Torr? The two shells interlocked with struts, the outershell strenth butressing that of the inner shell.
Inside of the dual stationary shell, Vacuum bells, large enough for a spinning world. At the axis of the spinning worlds, air locks, largely air tight seals, they doi't have to be perfect. A person leaving a 1 gee spinning world could pass into a tube at zero gee, and go to a different spinning world, perhaps one with .38 gee. A whole tree of these worlds. The interior of the tree having Earth normal pressure nominal. The spinning worlds would not have large scale agriculture, but instead, quarters, and small decorative parks, with artificial lighting. No windows.
The reason such a spinning world were to be in a vacuum bell, is to keep them under continuing pressure testing, and also to reduce air friction energy losses to a minimum.
Returning to the double shell which is like a body cavity to contain the tree of spinning worlds like intestines in the belly, windows might be an option, and zero gee agriculture, but I am even inclined to exclude them from this.
Air leaking from the inner shell into the gap between the two shells, would be pumped back into the inner shell.
As for agriculture, why not have attachments to the double shell, with transparancies. Perhaps s double or tripple shell arrangement. Then zero gee agriculture.
I suggest that rooted plants could be planted into pads, and those pads be wetted with hydrophonic liquids.
The farmer would need a device to fly her around, perhaps a fan with some power source and of course a protective gaurd.
A person with a house in one of the spinning worlds might work there, or might as you have suggested travel down through a pressurized tube to the surface, and then become involved with mining or solar power.
I don't know what the probability of drilling to the core would be, but I do know that in an underground Iron mine near where I was born, the iron content was so greate that it was said that you could weld to it.
If the core were like that using pure Oxygen to burn tunnels would be an option. I imagine a labrynth of chambers and tunnels. And of course the metal ores. Where would they go, those other than Iron and Nickle? Where would then settle out to during the formation of this world?
There was something about nuclear jet propulsion, NERVA, and Timberwind, earlier in this thread. NERVA was an enriched-uranium solid-core nuclear thermal rocket that received a lot of ground test and development work in preparation for a flight application that got cancelled right before it flew. The gross characteristics of NERVA as tested were Isp 750-900 sec, engine thrust/weight 3.6, and a longest-demonstrated single "burn" of 47 minutes (yep, that's minutes!). NERVA and its predecessors like Phoebus and Kiwi, were part of AEC/NASA "Project Rover" for nuclear rocket propulsion.
Timberwind was a fluidized-bed improved design concept that never got much ground testing. There were others as well, such as an alternate-geometry solid-core design called Dumbo, which I think actually had more potential than Timberwind. The consensus potential of solid-core nuclear thermal rocketry based on 1970's experience was Isp 1000 sec, at engine thrust/weight 4, and several hours of restarts and accumulated burns, based mainly on Kiwi/Phoebus/NERVA.
The entire program was prematurely cancelled in 1973 before it could fly. The intended initial application was a replacement third stage on the Saturn-5 for the S-IVB third stage. It would have at least doubled the payload capacity of the Saturn-5 to the moon.
There were two gas core designs (generically "Lightbulb" and "Open-Cycle"), and several fluidized-bed (like Timberwind) or liquid-core ideas. None got tested beyond the level of academic university bench tests. All were part of "Project Rover", but none ever made it to any sort of real engine tests. Of these, the "Open-Cycle" idea was probably the closest to reality, being limited more by its waste heat radiator design than by anything associated with gas phase nuclear reaction controllability or by its degree of gaseous (actually plasma) uranium containment.
The B-36 "nuclear airplane" thing was most definitely not a nuclear jet engine. There was one NB-36 built and flown that had a working nuclear reactor aboard. The containment vessel for it had been crash-tested on the rocket sled at Holloman AFB, NM, to 500 mph impacts into solid stone without leaks. But it was no engine, just an ordinary reactor for a power plant, inside an extraordinarily-tough containment. Just the reactor, no steam loop, no generator turbine. They did generate thermal power in flight, but no electricity. I do not remember the government project name under which this was done, but it was 1950's vintage.
The nuclear jet engine was done under "Project Pluto", which I believe was AEC/USAF, nothing to do with NACA/NASA. It was 1950's-1960's vintage stuff. There were a lot of concepts investigated, but the only one actually tested was the nuclear ramjet. There used to be a facility for it at Jackass Flats, NV, on the government nuclear test site, alongside that for "Rover" and NERVA. A little of that stuff is still there, most has been disposed of.
The government supplied the reactor core, and LTV Aerospace was the airframe prime, for a nuclear ramjet cruise missile application. It was to cruise "forever" at low altitude and Mach 3, and divert to Russia and explode if war ever broke out. There was a separate megaton-range warhead for that. The engine was tested in direct-connect ramjet test mode at Jackass Flats in full scale and at full power, but the vehicle never flew, fortunately. It was superseded by rocket ICBM's in 1962. The nuclear ramjet spewed enough radiation, and more importantly its trailing shock waves and noise were so lethally loud, it would have killed more people on the ground as it cruised, than its warhead could ever have killed by exploding.
The only other nuclear propulsion effort was USAF "Project Orion" from about 1959 to 1965, when all military space was cancelled and diverted to NASA, excepting MOL, which wasn't cancelled until 1969. This was the nuclear explosion drive, based on in-company research by General Atomics in San Diego, from about 1950-ish up to 1959. It wasn't supposed to be anything but paper studies, but General Atomics couldn't resist, and flight-tested explosion propulsion with ordinary high explosives in a 1-meter long test article. It worked great, and just as predicted.
Nuclear explosion propulsion as it was understood ca. 1960 requires a shaped-charge fission device (that we could actually build) that is actually rather unsuitable as a blast weapon. It is very peculiar: working more efficiently in very large vehicles (10,000+ tons) and not very efficiently at all in small vehicles (few hundreds to 1000 tons). In 1959 the baseline paper design vehicle for "Orion" was 185 feet in diameter and 280 feet long, weighing 10,000 tons at surface launch. It spun for artificial gravity, and was designed for several dozen crew for a 2 year round trip to Saturn and back, single stage, stopping off at the moon and Mars along the way.
I wish we'd built that one. We still could. "Orion" was viewed by NASA as a competitor to "Rover", so they "cancelled" it by lack of funding in 1965.
The AEC/USAF built a turbine jet engine for the B-36 in the 1950s. That was predecessor to the B-52, it was hoped a B-36 could remain in flight for weeks or months at a time. Yup, the test aircraft was the NB-36. The design used a compressor that directed air through a duct to the body of the aircraft, when a heat exchanger used heat from reactor primary coolant, then air was directed through a duct back to the turbine engine. A turbine immediately behind the compressor used a drive shaft to turn the compressor. This is a "Rube Goldberg" design, way too complicated. To work you need the reactor right in the turbine engine. What's worse, they later came up with a secondary coolant cycle, requiring two heat exchangers. This had the obvious effect of increasing mass. The only way they could get it light enough to lift off was removing radiation shielding. That would expose crew to dangerous levels of radiation, enough to cause cancer after just one flight. There were rumours that Russia did the same thing with a Tu-95 Bear bomber. Later claims were Russia never did build such a thing, but after the Soviet Union collapsed documents released show they did build a nuclear Bear. They didn't have any magic solution, they just reduced radiation shielding and restricted crew to one flight only. Many of those crew did die of cancer. But today's technology is sufficient to do it. Use glaze from black tiles from the Space Shuttle's heat shield to exchange heat from the nuclear reactor quickly. Put a separate reactor in each jet engine. Do not use liquid cooling, instead cool through air flow directly. And most importantly use modern materials for a nuclear reactor.
I knew of paper designs based around the NB-36 airframe for a test nuclear turbojet, but to my knowledge it was never actually flown. They did fly a test of a reactor in the NB-36, as a sort of safety prerequisite for the nuke turbojet test. That's the flight with the 500-mph-impact containment vessel. But to my knowledge, there was no heat transfer loop flown.
The turbojet test bed for the B-52 wasn't anything to do with the B-36. The initial B-52 designs (Boeing) were for a turboprop similar to the Tupolev Bear. That turboprop was tested on one or two old B-17's, replacing the bombardier/nose gunner compartment, making it a 5-engine airplane. When they (Boeing) decided to go turbojet, the engines were based on those powering the 6-engine all-turbojet B-47 (also a Boeing airplane). Not exactly the same engines, but a later model. GE's I think it was, but I could be wrong about details like that.
Convair/General Dynamics had a competitor (the B-60) to the B-52 that was based on its B-36. They swept the wings and tails, pointed the nose a bit, and put 8 turbojets under the wings, very similar to Boeing's final B-52 jet design. Convair's entry was the YB-60, Boeing's was the YB-52. As it turns out, Boeing won. The two aircraft were quite similar in characteristics, as it turns out.
Convair's "last gasp" in the strategic bomber business was the B-58 Hustler. Impressive aircraft in many ways, but a one-way suicide trip on its design mission, and no hold-at-a-failsafe-point capability. Compared to the B-36 and B-52, its practical range was way too limited, precisely because it flew so fast. Supersonic is very expensive in terms of fuel.
As General Dynamics, they (Convair) did a pretty good job, and made a lot of money selling, the F-111. Turned out to be a very good attack bomber. Not a fighter at all, in spite of the "F" designation. And there's the F-16, one of the finest fighters of all time. General Dynamic's other big division was/still is the Electric Boat Company, which builds most of the Navy's submarines, even today.
ps - sorry, we seem to have wandered very far afield from the topic of terraforming Vesta.
Last edited by GW Johnson (2012-04-19 15:38:59)
Oh Oh, I think someone put a nickel in me.
I am going to poropose a collection of propulsion methods, to move teraforming supplies to a perfered location from a location of origin.
I am only partially serious, I am only trying to see if there are any combinations which could make sense. Go ahead and hammer this hard if you think something should be removed from the assembly.
I could have gone upstairs to the places where you guys normally hang out but why should I mess that up for you. You stoped by with nuclear propulsion, and I am going to use it eventually.
But for now.
1) Couple an Electric rocket with a culuster of solid rockets, and perhaps a "Barge" of equipment, and a small liquid thruster capability.
2) Use the electric rocket to do flyby gravity assists from targets useful, perhaps the Moon, I hope Venus, and perhaps the Earth.
3a) Gravity boost from Venus to go to Mars, fire off the solid rockets in sequence as needed, fine tune with electric, use liquid when needed.
3b) Gravity boost from Mars to Vesta, fire off solid rockets in sequence as needed, fine tune with electric, use liquid when needed.
*So, I am thinking that the Solar Electric would have it's best performance heading towards Venus, and perhaps back out towards the orbit of Earth.
After that it becomes more of a steering mechanism, but has some use. I am prefering that the device would arrive at Mars or Vesta with some of it's solid rockets unburned, for future use.
So, I have tied all this to Terraforming, Vesta, and Mars. Now I want to add Nuclear.
What if this assembly did in fact have a "Orion" type push also? I am thinking one blast, and instead of springs, two plates with crushable honeycomb between them to buffer the shock. I am not exact as to when this would be used. I just think that it could be integrated into the system to make a one time mega-boost. I would also like to speculate on the notion that the shock absorber plate would be used again for Aerocapture.
By then way as I see, it the solar electric thruster system would separate from the assembly and get to a distance before the blast, because it would most likely be too delicate for that event. The solar electric thruster system could then try to get back to the assembly after the blast.
Now it's all tied together, except the nuclear powered planes, but give me time.
Just some fun.
If Vesta has subsurface ice, then self-pressurized ice caves/aquaculture volumes become possible on it. Nothing more sophisticated than drilling rigs and steam generators are needed to hollow them out.
Although, I have yet to figure out how to anchor a drilling rig on a really low-gravity world like Vesta (2.9% of a gee, is that not what I saw quoted somewhere?)
GW Johnson said:
If Vesta has subsurface ice, then self-pressurized ice caves/aquaculture volumes become possible on it. Nothing more sophisticated than drilling rigs and steam generators are needed to hollow them out.
Although, I have yet to figure out how to anchor a drilling rig on a really low-gravity world like Vesta (2.9% of a gee, is that not what I saw quoted somewhere?)
Well I started this. It is my opinion that Vesta will have little or no water ice, but I could be wrong for sure. This would not stop the importation of Ice say from Ceres, and exchange for metals?
It may be that a better candidate than Vesta can be found, but I went with Vesta because we have the most information about it.
Here would be a scheme for Vesta, and also for Phobos and Demos, and also other asteroids.
I recall a term "Chimney Cave". Unfortunately google did not return what I wanted. It may be a European term, as I think the reference I saw long ago was perhaps having to do with Switzerland.
Perhaps we could call it rouble pile caves.
Vesta had an impact, where 1% of it's materials were ejected I beleive, from it's south pole. I have to speculate that large slabs of rock came back down on Vesta as well. Perhaps they shatered, but even so, there should be slabs of rock which have voids under them, or where it would be possible to tunnel under them, unless, somehow the whole mass got packed down and vacuum welded.
Anyway, such slabs do not appear as apparent in the pictures, so I have to suppose that fine materials have flowed over 1 billion years time, and conceiled them.
If they exist, and can be tunneled under, then this would be a good option for an initial shelter, provided that the inhabitants were wise enough not to undermine it so much that it would fall and squish them.
Having such a location you could then have your drill rig, and anchor to a slab of rock overhead, and I guess drill down.
As for barometric Ice/water ponds or lakes, I guess if the cave was hollowed out large enough and enough water and ice were available, then you could put one under the slab of rock. Or hollow out a verticle tunnel and fill it with water and Ice, or half fill a horrizontal tunnel, seal it off and keep a minimal pressure in it, just enough to stabalize ice, and then have electric lights above the ice, and shine light down through the ice into the water below. (Or use submirged lights).
There woud be options.
For Vesta, it is my opinion that the surface would be the least habitible part, I would choose artificial worlds in geosynch, and also if you could drill down to the core,
then you could have all the metals, and it would also be zero gee there, so you could have spinning artificial habitats in the core of Vesta.
However that is some kind of mining job.
But I don't think the rock pressures would be that unreasonable. I believe that it would not be that much far above the deepest mine in South Africa for rock pressure. Keep in mind that as you tunnel down the gravitation deminishes.
Last edited by Void (2012-05-09 05:34:03)
I do a lot of things by intuition. Love your calcs, but really beyond that not going to talk the language unless it need to. Have plenty of mind benders at work at this time and must rest my tiny little mind for that.
But interesting stuff.
I have in the past proposed an enclosure on the surface of low gravitational objects where that enclosure is filled with CO2, or Air.
Inside is a spinning "Balloon" contianing H2 or He2, or maybe air, if the esternal is CO2.
You get the notion, heavy gass with spinning baloon with gondola, where spinning baloon contains a lighter gass.
Further a "Mast" extending from the bottom of a floating boey, could An
(Note I could just scream, this site is one where a whole paragraph will misteriously dissapear, on a keystroke, therefore, I am wise to save and then edit. I have often had incidents where I have composed whole messages, and on a keystroke everything vanishes)
Anyway, if that is as bad as it gets, I will live.
A bottom thing floating on water. Think of an old fashion childs top, with a floatation gass inside, and a pool of water under it, and the apex of the bottom immersed in that pool of water.
So, maybe "Centrifuges" on Asteroids and Mars.
I like the geosynch stuff though, and for asteroids smaller than Vesta, perhaps a cavity created in the center with zero gee, where spinning worlds choudl be.
Last edited by Void (2012-06-13 04:42:54)
An advantage that you've have with using Vesta for your idea, Rob, is that it's very Basaltic. Basalt is a wonderfel material for making fibres with - you could probably automate the entire process. Potentially you could automate the entire manufacturing process for the ring.
Smaller basaltic asteroids might be ideal candidates for such treatment. A lump of basalt a few hundred meters in diameter could be spun into quite the space colony by the crew of a seedship. Maybe several families - or an extended clan - could purchase a ship and go make their own world, maybe half a kilometer in diameter. If it's 200m wide, they'll have about 30 hectares of land on their world. Imagine several thousand of such worldlets spread throughout the belt...
One use of a ring around the small planets would be to accelerate spacecraft electromagnetically. The acheivable velocities would be much higher than those from merely relying on the planets own angular momentum stores. You could launch craft at maybe 10km/s using a ring at Ceressynch without pulping the occupants. Enough to reach Jupiter or Mars in an expedient manner? Perhaps.