Space-fabricated ore tubs, FOB Indian Ocean (was Re: SPACE)

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 23:43:06 -0800

Umm, I believe I read an Analog speculative-fact article about foaming
asteroidal NiFe into (big, you bet) lifting bodies with a reasonable
(comparable to human free fall--ca. 200 MPH) terminal velocity back in the
1976-1983 timeframe. Part of the idea was that any significant hull segment
would have a specific gravity < 1.0, so even if it broke up at sea, the
pieces could be towed in. It was also claimed that aero heating should stay
well below the level at which any metal would burn off.

The part of the author's claim I was most dubious about was the idea that
all the needed atmospheric guidance could be had by shifting the CG by
moving a mass around inside the hollow airframe. Nonetheless, I thought it
was cool back-of-the-envelope stuff.

Of course, like any ballistic mega-engineering, it's subject to a serious
NIMBY effect.

(solecism side comment: I originally mistyped the phrase above as
"ballsitic mega-engineering". :) )

I'm sure a Reader's Guide index search would turn it up.


At 02:44 PM 1/1/98 +0000, you wrote:
>At 09:36 PM 12/31/97 -0600, Forrest Bishop wrote:
>>>The sensible versions I've read use solar mirrors to melt asteroid metals
>>>in situ, then railgun standardised ingots to a relay station at one of the
>>>earth-moon libration points, for redirection to earth (after, perhaps,
>>>reshaping into lifting bodies). Still pretty scary.
>>Where have you read this (besides my proposal)?
>Hmm, I wonder. Since I used it in THE WHITE ABACUS, written before I
>joined this list or read any of Forrest's intriguing papers, I guess it
>must have been in Bob Forward or Jerry Pournelle or one of their epigones.
>Damien Broderick
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