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Re: starship-design: FTL travel

Curtis Manges wrote:

> Thank you, Lee, I was going to mention this and you beat me to it.
> Once you get enough stuff up to make one, you can build an automated
> factory for your structural steel shapes. Power it with solar, feed
> asteroid iron in, and it could extrude your choice of structural
> section to indefinite length. Weld the stuff up to any size you like.
> You could even roll it into curves for making cylinders and such.
> Welding should be easy; I used to do it for a living, and the biggest
> problem (down here) is keeping the oxygen away from the weld puddle.
> However, I don't know how a weld puddle would behave in zero gee; that
> may not be too bad either, though, since I learned to weld overhead.

I would think that anything that melts has to have the requirement
of low vapor pressure since you don't want the melted section
being jet propelled across the room. In zero G a lot of things that
don't mix together on earth could be made to mix in space.

> Once you've gotten to this point, you'll also have access to cometary
> ice for water, hence oxy and hydrogen for breathing and fuel.
> All the materials we need are out there, including C, N, S, etc for
> plastics and such, plus free power; the tough part will be getting out
> there to get at them. I see the hardest thing at that point being
> food. I don't know if gardening would work in zero gee, but what the
> hell, you could grow some _very_ tall beanstalks on Luna. :-)  And, of
> course you could spin a cylinder . . .

With genetic engineering, could one make your beanstalks space hardy
( bio-plastic outer skin ) and grow a dome for habit on the moon?

"We do not inherit our time on this planet from our parents...
 We borrow it from our children."
The Lagging edge of technology: