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Re: starship-design: Interstellar mission within fifty years

> From: KellySt@aol.com
> In a message dated 10/13/98 10:34:17 AM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl wrote:
> >> From: KellySt@aol.com
> >> 
> >> In a message dated 10/8/98 11:29:38 AM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl wrote:
> >> 
> >> Largely agree, but nano tech is not a requirement.
> >> 
> >Maybe not, but it will help significantly...
> ..it will help significantly is the understatment of the century 
> in regards to Nano-tech.  ;)
I was careful, just in case you are a skeptic on this issue... ;-)

> >> >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. 
> Leakage rates over decades are a big issue, but atmosphere and water recycling
> aer  much more straight forward.  I agree that we wouldn't put together and
> launch a star ship without building and testing the hab ring for a couple
> years, but testing for decades wouldn't be nessisary.  No more nessisary then
> pre testing a bridge for decades before we build it and open it to the public.
But see, when building a bridge today, we tap hundreds of years
of experience with building bridges, their failures, etc.
But we have zero years of experience with building space habitats
of the sort needed for a starship.

> >[...]
> >> >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).
> True the Sat-Vs were great heavy boosters for their day, but none could be
> built and used today (even the tech to build the parts is long gone).  So all
> in all its pretty much a step that went no where, thou it did convince the
> world we could go if we wanted.  
So you think, e.g., that the ancient art of splitting stones,
largery forgotten these days, was also a step that went nowhere?

>(But it convinced them it could only be done at collosal cost).
It is true. This is one of the main reasons the other states
in the world are reluctant to pursue the space technology -
the convinction that it is collosally expensive.
Though I wonder if it was due to Apollo (only).

> >> >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.
> That is strange. He threw fits at space comercialization conferences, and
> almost always argued against maned programs.  I can't figure it.
Possibly, he came to his senses finally?
There generally is a big difference in attitude towards
future of mankind between his "Cosmos" and "Pale Blue Dot".
Or maybe you confused him with someone else?

> >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...
> Really, I forwarded reports related to that, and I know folks 
> in ISS were never happy to have to add all te extra costs 
> and hassel of adding Russia in.
So it seems to have been another example of miguided politics
overriding the reason...

-- Zenon