Re: v2.5 vs v3.0

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri Oct 13 2000 - 11:46:36 MDT

Elaine Walker writes:
> Hi Dan,
> The people I know in the pro-space movement who are the leaders
> and movers and shakers - the ones who are going to get us into
> space - are optimists for sure. (Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society

Huh? They're going to get us into space by burning hundreds of
gigabucks (raised from which source?) to send canned monkeys off to
Mars, not even sustainably? And how they will bitch and moan about
immortal space heroes, when said monkeys succumb to a simple technical
defect, while being lightminutes distant? At least Shuttle Inc.'s
fireworks can be conducted in front an appreciative audience, no such
luck with Mars.

> BTW, we don't KNOW we're getting into space. We are flying in circles
> and important missions are being cancelled. NASA's gigantic "humans

There's a damn good reason they're being cancelled, because
post-cold-war countries don't have loose $$$s to burn, Shuttle tech
sucks, and 99% of humanity doesn't care a fig about space, probably
because they have trouble keeping their rice bowl full. You have to
work with whatever private venture capital is there, which is not much
yet. If it ain't enough, well, tough luck, buster. No better luck next
time, because, well, there will be no next time. Clamp down the
autoclave lid, and up the ante. Please vent before draining liquified

> in space" budget has been spent on the shuttle, then the ISS (all
> well and good, but not leaving Earth's gravity well) and is now going
> to be spent on a 4.5 billion dollar thing called the Space Launch
> Initiative which is not as good as it sounds, and again, all within
> the great gravity well. We do have a sliver of a chance to encourage
> our new president to initiate a humans to Mars program. Please see
> and add your "reason for going into space".
> That will help the cause. I have not announced this page to the world
> yet. Just started it up and am waiting to get more "reasons" first.

If I had any money to spend, I would spend it on lunar surface space
simulators on earth surface the size of a tennis court, flooded with
monster xenon lights to simulate full ~1.3 kW/m^2 insolation. I would
use this to develop fully autonomous and (with artifical relativistic
delay) teleoperated fabbing technologies for the Moon, plus onion
rubber skin space suits (in electroheated loose kevlar coveralls) you
can actually work in.

Once the stuff has been debugged, optimized and debugged ten times
over, I would send the compacted result to the Moon in few 10 t
increments, and (tele)operate it 24 h/day to autoamplify the
bridgehead as fast as possible, inventing new fabbing tricks along the
way. Did you know that as of this month you can now make solid
titanium (V,Cr and alloys) regulus directly by electrolysis from pure
oxide cathode dipped in liquid calcium chloride electrolyte? Don't you
think that melting regolith to glass in situ with a parabolic foil
mirror and sputtering doped semiconductors on top of it will make nice
cheap solar cells? How to keep the mirror surface clean? How about
polymerizable inflatable structures you can bury under rubble? And how
to generate rubble, electromagnetic hammers? Wouldn't it be
interesting to know how to efficiently get out the tighly bound
hydrate water out of polar regolith? How to make efficient cryotraps
by shading off reservoirs? Where to find volatiles, and carbon?
Whether solar ovens can do quantitative fractional destillation of
lunar soil? How to do preparative mass spectroscopy? Or do we just
apply juice to a molten soil puddle? Using electrodes made from what?
How to insulate high-voltage capacitors for lunar mass drivers in a
vacuum? How do you do ebeam material processing? Won't the local
vacuum become too dirty in no time? How to make semiconductor-grade
silicon in a simplified process? How to make open power vacuum tube
electronics? Phased array microwave power radiation facilities?
Gossamer solar sails? Carbon truss cloth which can survive linear mass
driver launch? How to bake out 3-He and implanted solar wind hydrogen
from regolith? How to make sustainable underground ecologies? <insert
10^9 tricks and technologies I omitted>. We have to reinvent our
entire processing technologies, refitting them for space and
tele/autooperation. It will be a gigantic challenge, provide
unimaginable spinoffs and yield unprecedented wealth.

This will also initially cost us hundreds of gigabucks before
producing break-even revenue stream, but this will bring us
sustainably nigh-zero-casualty into space, without exposing idiotic
canned monkeys planting purely symbolic insignia on a remote, cold
ball of dirt shrouded in thin carbon dioxide/argon atmosphere which we
don't have to mine yet. Mars will be ours in its due time. Don't
spread too thin resources we don't have.

Don't all these fscking space visionaries have a shred of common
sense? Pfaugh.

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