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Re: RE: starship-design: Interstellar mission within fifty years

> From: KellySt@aol.com
> In a message dated 10/8/98 11:29:38 AM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl wrote:
> >> > It must of course start from building
> >> > permanent human habitats in space and on other planets/moons.
> >> 
> >> Not necessarily, these _could_ be automated or even teleoperated in some
> >> cases. But admittedly, we would vastly prefer a human presence for 
> >> our own reasons <G>.
> >> 
> >First, actual complex mines and factories cannot yet be fully
> >automated without human supervision, and will not without
> >real breakthroughs in AI and nanotechnology.
> Largely agree, but nano tech is not a requirement.
Maybe not, but it will help significantly...

> >Second, our starship should be a viable "permanent human 
> >habitat in space", and rather large for that.
> >How to build one without any prior experience?
> >Do you think that the very first human space habitat will be 
> >that going to another star?
> Theres no reason a starship would need to be a perminent habitatate 
> and a lot of real good reasons why it couldn't/shouldn't be. 
But for interstellar missions we will need such a habitat
capable of sustaining hundreds of people for tens of years 
(which by today's standards is close to "permanent"),
in complete isolation from any help from outside.
We do not have ANY experience in building such habitats in space,
not even clear desigh concepts (e.g., concerning reliability
and necessity for repair & manufacturing machinery - there were
hot and inconclusive discussions on the list concerning these problems).
I do not think one can build a starship from scratch
WITHOUT prior exerience with similar space habitats actually
working in relative isolation for tens of years
(or at least several years).
Till now we have only a little experience with habitats
for several people that can work for several months
on near-earth orbit. 

> Size and weight being real biggees. That fact we probably couldn't 
> make it work being a better one.
> Frankly I don't think a full sized O'Niel could be completly 
> self sufficent.
It depends on the time scale, I think.

> >True, but we should START going in the first place.
> >Apollo seemed such a start - but after that first step,
> >we made two steps back.
> Actually in a lot of ways Apollo was the two steps back. Air Force programs
> in the '60's leading toward mini space shuttles were scuttled to help pay 
> for space capsules. Also it gave NASA ownership of space that they have 
> viciously defended.
You are partly right, but, first, it is a good strategy
to use as much of already proved technology rather than make 
all the things anew. Second, obviosly some technology
progress has been made, for example the Saturn V rocket,
which is to this day one of the largest (if not still the largest) 
as concerns carrying capacity. It would be more than sufficient
as the Zubrin's Mars Direct booster - unfortunately its assembly
lines were dismantled long ago and as far as I know,
none is preserved (even rusted).

> >With current attitudes, it is not going, but crawling,
> >and not always ahead.
> >Say, Pathfinder was a nice toy, but no number of Pathfinders
> >will build the necessary space infrastructure.
> Big agree.
Kelly, I start to worry - who will quarrel on the list
if we two start to agree on so many issues?  ;-))

> >So naming it a "Sagan Station" sounds rather denigrating 
> >(for Sagan).
> Actually Sagan might have liked it. He HATED the idea of maned space
> exploration and colonizatino. Went crazy at a meeting where equipment 
> to mine fuel from Phoboes was discused. He wanted space left prestine 
> for robots and science probes.
That is strange. In "Pale Blue Dot" he strongly advocates manned space
exploration and even planet terraforming (he also presented in his
other works various terraforming ideas and scenarios, e.g. for Venus).
He writes in the "Dot" about "ecological" arguments against that,
but only to "show the whole picture", not to really advocate them.

However, he was certainly wrong with his "great idea"
of international cooperation (by which he meant mostly 
USA-Russia cooperation) to boost space exploration,
as current state of the ISS shows with a vengeance.
He should have asked the Poles for the opinion instead...

> >I doubt seriously if we discover a habitable planet
> >around another star. Kelly seems right here - it will
> >be either inhabitable, or deadly.
> Thanks.
Again, what with our quarrels?  ;-)

-- Zenon