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Re: starship-design: my $0.02 (finally)


> >OK, the above explanation voids my initial reservations.
> As a nit.  Given the speeds and drive power these ships would need. 
> have a bout as much luck trying to slingshot around the mass of a 747.

Well, perhaps I chose a poor example, nevertheless, I would still prefer to
have acceleration to burn.

> >> 750 hour lifespan?
> >> 
> >OK, but do you think it possible, with current technology,
> >to produce light bulbs with 20+ years lifespan?
> >
> >However, I am afraid I do not fully understand your reply.
> >I did not postulate to send the starship away with unreliable
> >My point was that making the ship components reliable enough 
> >will require advanced technologies, without which building 
> >and sending away a starship is simply not possible. 
> >Replacing unreliable light bulbs with
> >simpler components (kerosene lamps? torches?) 
> >may not be enough to solve the problem...
> ...And the chanting, cloaked, torch bering figure stoad through the
> starship.....   ;)

I was simply pointing out that our society has geared its technology
towards built-in obsolescence out of economic reasons. Very little in the
way of current infrastructure such as light bulbs, ovens, electric motors,
pumps, door knobs, hinges, furniture (in other words everything we take for
granted in everyday life) is suitable for such an endeavor. I am not
questioning our ability to build such items, only the cost and viability of
doing so. Remember the $500 toilet seat? That might have been an abuse of
the system but in this case MOST components would cost ten to a hundred
times their cheaply made, engineered to fail cousins.

> >OK, you may choose any safety margin, however large,
> >on paper (or on screen, for that matter),
> >but will it be technologically attainable? I doubt it...
> True, the fligh times for these birds are LONG, about as long as the
> life of any of our heavy equipment.

This is a continuation of the above line of reasoning. We CAN engineer most
of our support systems for life spans of a hundred years or more. That
coupled with self repair capability should suffice for SUPPORT systems. In
the case of power and propulsion it is a little more complicated. By their
very nature these systems are subject to extensive and rapid wear.
Additionally, most of the systems we are discussing are not even in
prototype yet and are therefore not going to be ready (from a point of
engineering reliability) for three generations, or about 50 to 100 years at
current estimates.

> >Geez, the standard quarrel again... ;-)
> Yes.  Another has taken up the standard....  ;)

Actually, the standard bearer precedes us both (not that I am really so
gung-ho as to go into the melee with nothing more than a flagstaff <G>).
Zenon, did not originate the one way concept, it has been argued before
organizations such as NASA and the British Interplanetary Society and
others for years.

I don't remember the name of the person who presented your arguments, but I
do remember hearing them ( I think it was David somebody). The most telling
argument as has been pointed out here in this very forum is that it is
political suicide, therefore not an option as long as we are dependent upon
government largesse.

> Oh, we punched holes in the laser sail concept.  ;)

I don't really think that any concept based upon a material sail is going
to prove very effective for anything other than Starwisp type probes.

> >> 2) Send robotic Pathfinders FIRST. No "one way" manned missions to 
> >> systems that do not have a hope of eventual settlement or offer some
> >> overpowering reason to establish a permanent manned presence.
> >> 
> >Agreed.
> >Though, we may quarrel long and hard about the meaning of the term
> >"overpowering reason".
> Why not, everyone else did.  ;)

It is fairly likely that we will encounter many situations and
circumstances in which we may want to establish purely scientific outposts
or mining outposts, etc. where no colonization is ever expected. As such,
all personnel would eventually rotate back "home".

> I think hes refering to the carrying capacity of the life support

I mean it makes more sense to send FAMILIES on long duration voyages and to
plan on human nature rather than attempt to deny it. So allow sufficient
environmental mass for expansion of population in the first place.

> >BTW, what is a difference between satellites and planets
> >that makes you view the latter as not adequate for an outpost base?
> >The physical difference [which body orbits the star and
> >which another planetary body] seems not relevant to this decision. 

I was thinking more of orbital bases at lagrange points as a stepping stone
"down" to the surface of the planet. Build the orbital infrastructure
first, planet second. This helps to ensure the colonists retain access to
space and prevents loss of the entire colony to unforeseen circumstances.