SPACE: Economic Benefit of Manned Space Stations (fwd)

Eugene Leitl (
Wed, 28 Jul 1999 18:02:51 -0700 (PDT)

Robert J. Bradbury writes:

> It takes ~11 days to dismantle Mercury and harvest the entire power
> output of the sun (using some reasonable assumptions like 1 kg/m^2
> solar panels). Once you have that much power, dismantling everything
> but Saturn & Jupiter takes ~12 years (which take ~60 and 600 years
> respectively if you use all the available power).

11 day for Mercury, that's awfully swift. How's that supposed to happen, by building beanstalks? Mercury surface is already pretty hot for machines to operate, it won't take too much additional insolation to make the environment intolerably harsh.

Once the stuff is in space, and more or less dispersed, anything is cheap. The hard part is getting a massive planetary body dispersed without rendering it unusable. How do you do that?

I would like to see an easy way of translating power into such a coordinated activity as planet dismantlement.