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starship-design: Mining vs. Recycling

Hi Kelly,

>>* Recycling can be done at any time.
>>* Some form of recycling equipment has to be on the ship anyhow.
>>* Recycling combined with storing substances in the shield may make mining
>>  unnecessary. (#)
>These I have a bit of problem with.  Recycling has proven difficult and
>resource consuptive, and should probably be minimized to save weight and
>materials.   Also its often far easier and less resource consuptive to mine
>replacement material, then to recycle used.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean with resource consumptive? Clearly energy
shouldn't be a problem, so all that is left is the weight/mass of the
recycling equipment. Part of the recycling equipment is refining equipment,
that part (though in another form) will also be necessary when you mine.
And of course mining equipment does have mass/weight too.

About recycling being difficult: It may be much easier than mining in space.
Since we have only a decade of real research in recycling and no experience
at all in space mining, I doubt if we can make any reasonable guesses about

>>* Some form of mining equipment has to be on the ship if (#) is impossible. 
>>* Finding relative easy accessable ores may be timeconsuming and
>We should have a good idea of the desired orebearing asteroids before we go on
>the flight, though we'ld probably need a separte minning team.

Hmmm, go all the way to Tau Ceti and do nothing but mining which you could
have done at Sol too? (talk about being suicidal ;)
Anyhow, even when asteroids have purer ores than Earth, they won't all be
readely accessable and may need all tricks in the book to get what we need.

>>* Recycling is relatively constant and with little surprises.
>Big disagre.

Please explain. Only major equipment failure would give such surprises when
recycling. What I meant with surprices is that few asteroids will be the
same, I'm not so sure that mining for all kinds of materials will be "common