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Re: starship-design: Deceleration scheme

On Thu, 7 Aug 1997 12:38:17 -0500 (CDT) kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu (Isaac Kuo)
>KellySt@aol.com wrote:
>>In a message dated 8/5/97 3:55:37 PM, lparker@cacaphony.net (L. 
>>>Well, we can slam a Starwisp up to .9c in about three weeks with a 
>>>Sail. Perhaps we should start exploring now with Starwisps while we 
>>>infrastructure for larger manned sails. We could at least settle 
>>>within about 10 light years if we could get up to .5c. We would be 
>>>out ships crewed with children to do it....of course there wouldn't 
>be any 
>>>chance of coming back.
>>What good is a starwhisp you can't stop in the target system?
>Here's an insane idea.  (Some ideas are just kind of insane, like 
>starlight to *ahem* decelerate a starship--this idea is _really_ 
>You know how integrated circuits are currently manufactured by 
>up and/or etching away layers of semiconductors and metal?  What if
>such manufacturing techniques were employed to build something bigger,
>like a mining robot or something?
>Maybe you could build something on an atmosphereless planet using
>templates transported by starwisps slamming into it at relativistic
>speeds.  You can etch away layers by using thin templates and you
>could deposit layers by using a layer which vaporized in sunlight
>(so as to be a puff of gas by the time it hit the target).
>_If_ you could manufacture things this way, it is conceivable that
>you could build mining robots and mass drivers on a target world
>which could create a deceleration track for later starships.
>But like I said, this is a _really_ insane idea.  The mind boggles
>at the technical difficulties.
>>Multi gen ships ad a host of problems.  A multi-generation colony 
>ship would
>>probably need to be a few orders of magnatude bigger and more 
>complex.  We'ld
>>never try them with sublight ships.
>    _____     Isaac Kuo kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu 
> __|_)o(_|__
>/___________\ "Mari-san...  Yokatta...
>\=\)-----(/=/  ...Yokatta go-buji de..." - Karigari Hiroshi

My friend, this is not as insane as you think.   Etching something on the
surface of a distant body is pretty stretched, but a method similar to
what you describe exists now.  Its called laser stereo lithography, or
rapid prototying.  A plastic that is hardened by light of a particular
frequency is spread in thin (THIN!!!!)  layers, with each layer having
its slice of an artifact made by a CAD guided laser.  Fairly complex
items can now be made, so in theory very complex items, i.e., robots,
etc. could be made in the near future.  My thinking is that small probes
could be sent carrying miniature ( or micro) sized systems to start
building larger robotic units, which could construct the necessary
infrastructure in the target system.  Von Neumann machines may be nearer
than we think.  Maybe we should start here in our own system for