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Re: Fwd: LIT e-mail discussion group

On Thu, 1 Feb 1996, Kelly Starks x7066 MS 10-39 wrote:

> Ah, its been about a week since I sent out my draft summarry document
> (attached), and (other then Daves compliment) I haven't heard any responce
> to it.  No one has any complaints, things they want added, changed etc?
> Kelly

Actually, I found most of what you said to be fair and balanced.  Some of 
it may be _wrong_, but i can't prove it (yet)

For one-way trips, I agree that they are undesirable.  I agree that very 
little supoort would be generated.  I disagree that there won't ever be a 
situation in which we'd have to send one.  I agree that we should try 
evey thing else first, and then as a last resort see if we can make a 
one-way trip.

> > >Round trip (Crew returns to Earth with ship at mission end.)
> >
> >---------------------------------
> >Pick up and return by follow on flight

I think we need to look into this idea some more, I don't think we have 
given it enough consideration to discard it too quickly.

> >
> >>Pros
> >Most of the advantages of the round trip model, and would allow the first
> >ship to be a mobile research station or other specialized ship, with faster
> >courier ships providing round trip flights.
> >
> >>cons
> >High risk and more complicated.  Multiple ship types, and concerns that the
> >first ship might be left stranded.

I don't think the multiple ship types is all that worrisome, I think that 
the engines would be the same, so the only difference would be the hab 
rings, etc.  specialized equipment.

> >---------------------------------
> >Crew constructs equipment for return flight
> >This option come up with light/microwave sail craft, beamed power craft,
> >and fuel launcher craft.  The crew would  construct automated duplicates of
> >the systems that launched the ship from Sol space.
> >
> >>Pros
> >Would establish launcher facilities in both star systems.  Which could
> >allowing faster two way flights with specialized fast light ships.
> >
> >The crew might get back faster with their ship using the constructed
> >launcher systems for assistance.
> >
> >cons
> >If they can't build the equipment, they don't get home.

perhaps they should be required to build the sol-based launching system 
as a dry-run.

> >
> >The construction phase may require so many resources that the first flight
> >is devoted just to infrastructure construction.  With little or no
> >exploration being done in the first mission.  This obviously would cool
> >public interest and slow down the return of productive information.

I really see the developement of a two-tiered crew.  one set flys the 
ship, and builds the return infrastructure. the other set does the 
exploration and analysis of the data.  The flight crew may not have any 
real work in the target system, so they may be the logical choice to 
build the return infrastructure.

> >---------------------------------
> >Multi-step.  (Ship proceeds to other target star after completion of first
> >mission, in first starsystem.)
> >
> >>Pros
> >One mission explores multiple star systems.
> >
> >>cons
> >Technical feasibility is low since wear and tear on the ship would
> >accumulate, dramatically increasing the likelihood of a catastrophic
> >failure.
> >
> >Because of the extremely long flight times with likely technology, the
> >mission would take so long as to be undesirable.  At some point the ship
> >would be superseded by newer faster ships sent straight out from earth,
> >decades after its launch.


> >               technical                 political          Desirability
> >             Risk    Feasibility     risk     Feasibility
> >-------------------------------------------------------------
> >One-way      med-low  Medium         Ex-high    Nil          Low
> >Round trip   medium   medium         low        High         high
> >Pick-up      Med-high medium         medium     medium       medium
> >Construct ret high    med-high       medium     medium       medium
> >Multi-step   Ex-High. med-low        low        Medium       medium
> >Multi-gen    Ex-high  Low            high       medium       low
> >Hibernation  high     Low            medium     medium       low
> >

I think the risk factor on construction return is too high, it should be 
medium to medium-low, the technology should be well-tested before the ship 
leaves earth.  The political feasibility should be higher also, because 
we won't have to pay for the return flight, the explorers (or their 
robotic helpers) will build the solar arrays to power the return flight.
I would say the desirability of the construction return option is medium 
high to high.  Other wise I agree with your other analysises

> >---------------------------------
> >Infrastructure construction
> >
> >>Pro
> >This could establish facilities necessary for routine, lower cost, flights
> >between home and this starsystem.
> >
> >>Con
> >Construction could take so many resources that little or no exploration
> >will be done.

Again, I think there will be plenty of resources, given self-replicating 
robots.  They don't have to be human-equivilent thinkers.  they only have 
to have the _intelligence_ (as opposed to the capabilities) of a bee or a 
microbe.  Think of the incrediblly complex hive that bees can make with 
limited thinking abilities.

> >
> >Less interesting to public than an exploration or colony program.

if it was done co-currently with the exploration, then I don't think the 
public would mind.

> >propulsion systems
> >---------------------------------
> >---------------------------------
> >Staged fusion ship

there is an equation that gives the maximum limits of a staged vehivle, 
but I don't know what it is.  there is a point where adding another stage 
actually takes more power away from the engines than you get from the 
engines, this is known as the point of diminishing returns.
> >Beamed power
> >
> >Beamed power (or fuel launchers) have the advantage of eliminating the need
> >for the ship to carry the heavy fuel (and power systems).  That improves
> >the ships power to weight ratio significantly.  But the systems are
> >difficult to do, limit range, and don't seem to help us to slow down.
> >
> >Beamed power systems are most effective as microwave sail craft.  But
> >powered electromagnetic drives are possible also.
And probably required for the mid-point to Target portion of the trip if 
you intend to travel near light-speed.

Kevin (who wants the maser energy to heat up this frozen wasteland, so 
that I don't have to live in -26 F (-32 C) anymore)

P.S. to Timothy, tell the BBC that We'd love to talk with them.  I for 
one would have no problem doing an interview.   :)