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Argosy Mission Overhaul

>From Brian Mansur

(I used my last name so this must be important, at least to me).


Here it is, the new plan.  We are no longer on a mission of exploration 
(sound of the LIT charter being crumpled up).  We are, in fact, now 
colonizing every star within 20 or so light years.  "How?"  you say.  Okay. 
 Here is the deal.

All this week we've been running through ideas on how to redirect the 
maser/laser beam to stop the Asimov.  We've run through complex reflective 
sail apparatuses that are nearing the size of Jupiter.  I won't go through 
all the problems with these apparatuses, but I will point out one thing they 
all require.  For any manned lightsail/MARS propulsion idea to work, it is 
required that humans completely master of automotive technology.  This 
extent of "mastery" is to the point that robots could, on their own,  build, 
launch, and maintain humungous reflective arrays for over fifty years.

Here is my proposal.  If the robots are that good, they are good enough to 
handle this TC exploration mission just as well as humans (in terms of 
setting up pre-planned experiments, doing basic surveys, and transmitting 
the data back to Sol.  And since they are already capable of making huge 
reflective arrays and, in fact, must have done so around Sol to provide 
power to launch the maser/laser driven sails that towed their ship to TC, 
they must then be capable of setting up a similar array around TC.  So 
instead of launching a 100,000 to 500,000 ton starship to carry a measly 100 
 - 1000 person crew, this is what we will do.

Launch a small, .33c maser sail launched  ion rocket that carries enough 
robots to start a robot civilization at TC.  Note that the speed choice of 
..33c could be increased if we find rockets that could stop themselves from 
higher speeds.  But a rocket would probably be better than lightsailing 
which is what this whole plan revolves around.  So for now we're assuming 
..33c.  The ion rocket plus its payload will weigh very, very little compared 
to 100,000 tons as envisioned in the Explorer Class paper.  This should be 
expected since the ship is carrying robots in its cargo bays and doesn't (we 
should pray) need to have nearly the amount of shielding as a human filled 
hab section.  It will have to carry enough fuel, of course, for the breaking 
step.  This brings us back to the problem of stopping which we can work on 
later.  But since I am envisioning a 10,000 ton dry ship weight.  (Everyone 
does a double take.  Yes I wrote 1E4 tons not 1E5.  If our robots are worth 
anything, a seed robot ship should be compact enough to make  this doable.

Once the ship has arrived in the system, it locates a suitable asteroid as 
close to TC as it can find in a reasonable amount of time and it starts 
building robots and power collection arrays out of it.  The robots build 
masers that will then be used to stop high speed settler Argosies coming in 
from Sol.

This is just an outline of the new plan for human conquest of interstellar 
space.  And guess what!  I have solved the problem of the inhospitibility of 
planets and moons that are too far from their stars to be warm enough to 
live on.  What we do is have the robots build extra solar collectors and 
laser (not maser) arrays.  They then shine the lights on that distant planet 
as if they were shining a sun lamp.  This could be done in our solar system 
to heat up Mars, Europa, Titan, Encledes, and just about anyplace else. 
 Solving the problem of how to keep the lights on a moon that passes behind 
its planet every now and then can be solved with reflectors on another, dead 
moon (for Jupiter and Saturn,  there are several).  Note that I haven't yet 
worked out a way to account for slow rotations that would otherwise give 
uneven heating.  I have some ideas but my time for writing is running out 
for today.

I said at the beginning that super automation was assumed.  Humans could 
build and support 1E20 Watt arrays (assume overall efficiency to starship at 
1% to ensure that 1E18 reaches in all phases of flight).  But only if the 
entire human race pitched in.  I've got to go.  I don't suppose there is 
much to comment on what I've taken half an hour to write since this paper is 
built on that automotive assumption.  Basically if you have a robot 
workforce that can build anything, that is just what people will direct them 
to do: build anything.

I'll include this plan in my Argosy paper.  That paper will probably be a 
description of how a maser/laser driven ship would look like, inside and 
out.  Also it will give the plans that we've discussed so far on how to stop 
it.  That includes everything from retro-mirrors to portable maser arrays to 
RM to another maser set up at TC.

Have a nice day.