Saturday, August 8, 2009
George Bush was right about the general direction of the space program; going to the Moon first. Here's why...
It's physics, and specifically the physics of trying to get around the solar system.
If you go to Mars directly from the Earth, it is going to be HUGELY expensive, and very likely a one-off program like Apollo, rather than a continuous move to get humanity into space in a big way, such as colonies and asteroid mining and interstellar exploration.
The Moon is logical as the next place to go, IF you are going to expand humanity beyond just the Earth.
Once on the Moon, you have access to effectively 24/7/365 sunlight for solar power, one-sixth the gravity of Earth, and what amounts to a planetary surface in a vacuum. This is probably the most perfect environment to build magnetic launchers possible, and it is right next door in astronomical terms.
If you establish a permanent base on the Moon, mine the raw materials for solar opanels and magnetic launch tubes there, and build magnetic launchers, suddenly the entire solar system becomes far, far more easily accessible in a huge way.
With a magnet launcher, you can launch payloads as quickly as once per minute provided you have the electrical power, and you can launch at high enough velocities to reach anywhere in the solar system, or launch probes into interstellar space at much higher velocities than anything ever done before.
Suddenly the colonization of the entire solar system becomes far more easily accessible, as does access to the entire solar system's wealth of raw materials.
This also makes it possible to for Humanity to survive a cosmic strike on the Earth, such as a large comet or asteroid. Humanity - and all the life we know FOR A FACT exists in the entire universe, can now expand beyond the one vulnerable planet we know it exists on.
The era dreamed of by the greatest science-fiction writers of the twentieth century since the 1940's, and all of their fans and people who grew up reading them will finally arrive. Humankind will finally, fully, become a truly space-faring species.
If we are thinking long-term about human expansion beyond the Earth, then the Moon is a cosmic gift, the perfect spaceport for Humanity. It will be magnetic launch technology that is the key to making it so.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Today's most active topics:
* The Incremental Mass Driver - 1 new
The Incremental Mass Driver - 1 new
One of my early concepts for a mass driver was a modular.system that could be
run part time and constructed part time. What I mean is, as soon as you added
enough modules to launch high-G hardened cargo, you could begin launching such
payloads in between adding more modules. As the mass driver grows longer, you
can reduce - Mon, May 11 2009 9:08 pm
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Sunday, May 10, 2009
A mass driver or electromagnetic catapult is a proposed method of non-rocket spacelaunch that would use a linear motor to accelerate and catapult payloads up to high speeds. All existing and contemplated mass drivers use coils of wire energized by electricity to make electromagnets. Sequential firing of a row of electromagnets accelerates the payload along a path. After leaving the path, the payload continues to move due to inertia.
A mass driver is essentially a coilgun that magnetically accelerates a package consisting of a magnetisable holder containing a payload. Once the payload has been accelerated, the two separate, and the holder is slowed and recycled for another payload.
Mass drivers can be used to propel spacecraft in two different ways: A large, ground-based mass driver could be used to launch spacecraft away from the Earth or another planet. A spacecraft could have a mass driver on board, flinging large pieces of material into space to propel itself. A hybrid design is also possible (see coilgun, railgun, or helical railgun).
Miniaturized mass drivers can also be used as weapons in a similar manner as classic firearms or cannon using chemical combustion."
Full detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_driver
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Mass drivers as currently thought of are suitable for launching hardware that is capable of withstanding high g-force loads far beyond what living organisms or delicate electronics can handle. The concept needs a revamp, a new paradigm. The basic idea for mass drivers has been around since the late 1970's at least. So have some of my ideas for upgrading them to handle larger and more delicate payloads. One of the largest discussion topics here will be on mass driver technology and how to improve it. Mass drivers can launch a payload per minute, rather than the payload or three per month current rocket technology can support.
Another concept that needs rework is the electric rocket, or ion drive propulsion. Current ion drives use very small amounts of fuel at very high velocities to produce a tiny amount of thrust for months at a time. We need ion drives that can produce higher thrust levels at even higher velocities over a sustained period, which would make them suitable for relatively rapid travel of full-sized, manned space craft. This is the second piece of a lower-cost, high-volume space transportation infrastructure, and it will be another heavy topic of discussion.
Finally, the third major area of discussion will be overall strategies for exploring space using these technologies to explore and colonize the solar system. It may surprise some people that I would say it, but George Bush actually got at least one thing right during his tenure as President of the USA, and it was the idea of going to the Moon first and establishing a permanent base there. It's not until you understand the full power and potential of an integrated electromagnetic space transportation infrastructure that it becomes clear why that is. I will be writing on exactly why getting a solid presence on the Moon first is key to opening up the rest of the solar system to exploration and colonization.
We might no have warp drives, but we can definitely have much better electric drives. Here is where we'll hash that out.
There is also a companion Google Group to go with the Magnetoverse blog, which you are welcome to Join: http://groups.google.com/group/magnetoverse?hl=en
For those reading this on the Group, here's a link to the Magnetoverse blog: http://magnetoverse.blogspot.com/
It's time for space 3.0