[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: starship-design: Mining vs. Recycling

Hi Tim,

In a message dated 1/10/98 1:15:25 PM, TLG.van.der.Linden@tip.nl wrote:

>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.

The recycling equipment and chemical suplies to break down the processed
materials into simpler forms.  Since most things we use are things designed to
be stable and not break down, they are generally made of stuff thats
chemically hard to decompose back into its sinpler states.  (You could use a
plasma decomposition system to get around that.  But that has its own
problems, and the result it pure chemicals, no componds.)

Electronics are especially found of HIGHLY complex chemical componds and

>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

We have centuries of research into recycling, it just was a normal industrial
concern, without a trendy name and political movement to confuse it.  We also
have a lot of experience with minning and processing ores of various grades
and some knowledge of the composition of the space materials (asteroids and
comet cores) that we'ld process.  

>>>* 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
>>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.

?  I don't follow.  You'ld know what the ore is at Tau C or A centari before
we sent a ship or probe, and presumably we wouldn't carry a lot of heavy ore
we could find there just as easy.  Given a return flight or long stay mission
would need HUGE amounts of material, we couldn't afford to carry it all.

>>>* 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

Recycling would have a 'known' feed stock assuming no contamination, and a
constant suply.  This is vitualy unknown in garbage since thing are always
dirty, broken, and thrown away in unusually patterns as things break down or
are consumed.

Asteroids generally seem to be lose piles of similar materials, generally of
very high purity.