Re: Nano Assembler Matter Repository

Anders Sandberg (
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 16:05:52 +0200 (MET DST)

On Fri, 11 Oct 1996, Chris Hind wrote:

> In isolated environments such as space craft or colonies in the age of nano,
> wouldn't we need a central matter repository where all waste would be
> recycled?

This is a good question. Just having everything float around as one glop
is a sure recipe for unexpected chemical reactions (= inefficiencies).
The recycling system is also interesting, maybe it could work like this:

Pipes, coated with macro- and microscopic cilia pump the waste forward (in
zero gravity we need pumping to move the waste). Some specialized
disassemblers are injected, and start to break apart the waste into more and
more basic sludge as it moves through long, winding pipes (yes, it is a
gut!). Through the walls the system extracts basic chemicals and add new
disassemblers for each stage. At the end we have the unmanageable stuff that
can be dealt with using heavy-duty disassemblers or dumped. Around the
winding "gut" we place a set of circulatory systems that take care of
different chemicals (water, organics, metals, nanites) and pump them to their
correct destinations.

> How could you engineer a cube of preferably dense matter while
> keeping it inert and non-reactive with all the other molecules inside the
> respository?

This depends on what materials the assemblers use. If they use prefabricated
nanite parts, they would need stockpiles of them (and they are probably
inert), but for general building we need inert, fairly general chemicals. My
guess is that we might stockpile amino acids, the basic vitamins and
co-factors, and common structures like the fatty acid or steroid backbone and
ions in crystals. I imagine a cubical block of diamond filled with tiny
compartments holding a chemical each, linked by quick molecular conveyor

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y