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

In a message dated 3/2/97 1:10:18 PM, lparker@cacaphony.net (L. Clayton
Parker) wrote:

>> >> 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.

We do market much longer lived items.  These are frequently used by the
militarey, but for civilian use long life isn't much of an advantage.  (Why
by a 20 year light bulb when you'll switch out the lamp and house a couple
times by then?)

Oh, the $500 tolet seat is an unrban myth, like the $100 hammer.  The actual
items were priced normally, the "cost" was the administrative overhead and
billing games required on federal projects.  (Hey its better then the tens of
billions spent each year to keep up the cost of our groceries?)

I'ld expect a starships systems would be a mix of long life and easy to
rebuild systems.  Which would be what would depend on costs and difficulty.

>> >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.

Say 50 years.  In a hundred they'll be archaic.

>> >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.

Hey my fuel/sail idea works pretty well!  ;)

>> >> 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".

Probably in most cases their will be little reason ever to settle a star
systems, and virtually no case where we could settle a planet.

>> 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.

I'ld recomend an engineered, rather then an ecological, life support system.
 Its lighter, more relyable, and more adaptable to changing loads.

>> >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.

I'ld assume only a tiny fraction of the crew would be allowed down, and would
only be allowed up after passing extream quarenteen.