Re: SPACE: Re: Is the ISS a boondogle?

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 15:53:51 MST

Brian D Williams wrote:
> From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>
> >Yes of course, but in this (rare) instance I was assuming
> >no-nanotech. I think I was commenting on Anders' game setup, which
> >sounded like there was no nanotech. My Asteroid Mining Robot also
> >doesn't need nanotech (just lots of good microtech). We also
> >don't have rockets that use TNT or C + O2 for fuel. Yes we have
> >ion drives but the thrust is pretty low. I was basically trying
> >to parallize the development paths -- we *can* go to space before
> >nanotech with microtech (and if we are clever about it, we can
> >probably do it without involving the government).
> Indeed, in Kim Stanley Robinsons "Mars" trilogy they did this same
> thing.

ARRGGGGHHHHHH. RObert!!!! I understand the concern about thrust, but
pounds of thrust is really irrelevant. Its specific impulse and kilowatt
hours that matters. Slow and steady wins the race.

The proper strategy is rather simple: go for the comets first. Once you
have fuel, you can go anywhere. Remember: NEEDS first, then WANTS later.

Now, plant a base on a comet, and start thrusting. Heat from the
thrusters can be pumped into a laser to provide light for a sail on
whatever you send onward to the metal asteroid.

THe other option is to go straight to the asteroid with a 10 kg
replicator that has 2 kg worth of solar cells (included). The replicator
is programmed to construct tiny mass accelerators with solar panels all
over the surface, all interlinked in a neural network.

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