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Re: Kevin

ReplyTo: Kevin
Subject: Bio interaction between earth and E.T. organisms.

>this is not to say that a alien ecosystem would be totally useless to 
>us.  who know what wonders we may find.  how bout an organism that can 
>"grow" silicon chips?  of solar cells?  perhaps some organism lives in a 
>metal rich environment and can really concentrate metal ores.  Perhaps, 
>perhaps, perhaps.  I could go on all day, how bout a critter that _likes_ 
>70 % ethanol (I'll bet that many companies would love to make brandy 
>without having to distill) bacteria that excrete oil, or plastic, or ones 
>that prefer it as a food source.  the list goes on and on, and I'm very 
>willing to bet that none of these creatures will be the first exploitable 
>alien lifeform.  and I'd further bet that the universe is not only 
>stranger than I imagined, it's stranger than i _can_ imagine.

It seems that some of that kind of bacteria also live on earth, every week
new ones are discovered. Solar cells are a bit to complex to be produced by
bacteria and I think they won't produce pure silicium bars either. So maybe
you imagined a bit too much. What bacteria are best at is converting
molecules (not atoms). But you shouldn't forget that we are getting better
and better in doing the same thing with technology.

>In short, A totally barren 1 G planent would be ideal for colonization, 
>but totally boring for study.  

That means we need two planets :)

Subject: mission

>I think perhaps it's time to either put the "Asimov" on a diet, or 
>approach the problem from the other end.  To put the "Asimov" on a diet, 
>I'd suggest at least a thousand fold reduction in payload down to 1E+05 Kg
>I think this rules out self sustained mission, and requires a return.  I 
>still think we can go at 1 G, and use a MARS for the engine, but in order 
>to over come the photon thrust, we're going to have to bring more 
>reaction mass ( and use a slower exhaust velocity).  for the return trip, 
>I'd suggest scrapping the lineac entirely, and relying on photonic thrust 
>for both portions of the trip.  this means that some payload capacity 
>will have to be devoted to maser transmitter control packages, but i 
>don't see this as a real problem.  the crew should be pared down to no 
>more than 100 people, and the return module can totaly scrap the hab ring 
>which can then be left in the target system as a stepping stone for a 
>follow up crew if one is deemed desirable

As Kelly said, 1E5 is too small, probably the engines alone would weigh that
Also such "maser transmitter control packages" as you call them so neatly
won't be thato small, you are talking about an array of several square
kilometres filled with masers and powerstations. (See also my letter to
Kelly at Dec. 23th)