Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Introduction to ASTEROIDAL

Vast majority of space travel will take place in asteroidal habitats.
  • Asteroidal orbits
  • Asteroid materials
Over the next century, mankind will become adept of constructing cylindrical habitats from material already in space (mostly asteroids, but comets have their place).

Just like transport of most goods is accomplished today not by subsonic jet liners but by huge, very cost effective, cargo ships (well over 100,000 vessels greater then 100 tons traverse the oceans today).

We'll gain plenty of experience building, moving and dwelling in asteroidal habitats.

Most interplanetary space travel in the Solar System will happen not in the quick spaceships with particle accelerator propulsion systems, but on these much more comfortable habitats.

Cyclers. Some habitats will cycle between Earth's orbit and orbits of other planets. The trips will take months, but the travel conditions will be excellent (like living at home or better).

Habitats will be so big that the spin around the longitudinal axis won't be noticed, but this spin will produce an Earth like gravity. They'll have their own fields, forests, jungles, rivers or any environment that enterprise perceives a market for.

A few habitats will be "towed" by g-force vessels directly to their, perhas to orbit around Jupiter or another giant gas planet.

A few habitats will even share Earth's orbit around the Sun.

Cruise Phase of Interstellar Trips
Interstellar vessel must cruise at a constant velocity for most of their voyage due to inherent fuel limits on g-force propulsion.  Without g-force, how will the vessel simulate earth like gravity? During cruise, gravity comes from angular momentum, constant rotation of axial rotation about the longitudinal axis (i.e., asteroidal habitat).

Occupants will transition from walking on the decks and considering direction "up" as being the direction of travel (toward forward end of vessel which is pointing toward destination); they will now walk on the inside of the outer hull of the vessel and consider "up" as toward the center of the vessel (center being an imaginary longintudinal axis running throughout the vessel length).

Eventually, the vessel will come to the distance where it needs to decelerate. During this phase, "up" will once again be toward forward end of vessel (now pointing to departure star) and people will start walking on decks again. I suppose one could call such vehicles interstellar "cruisers".

Conclusion: When interstellar flight is a new, novel experience, humans should have acquired lots of experience living in large, rotating habitats in space.

Humans should get plenty of experience with asteroids to fulfill interplanetary missions because economies of scale will need large safe vessels with lots of capacity for passengers and cargo to accomodate the large distances in our Solar System.

These same type vessels will prove indispensable to accommodate the much greater distances between stellar systems.
Divided into three sections:
  1. @@@Thinking About It@@@
  2. @@@Getting Ready@@@
  3. @@@Getting There@@@

Near Earth Objects (NEOs) present much more opportunity then risk.

Near Earth Objects (NEOs) present much more opportunity then risk. Most NEOs present absolutely no risk at all because their trajectories do not impact the Earth ever. These NEOs are pure opportunity to harvest at will; the only risk is that we'll refuse to harvest them at all. For the very few NEOs which will impact the Earth; they present an imperative for ASAP harvesting before they present any danger.

 Asteroids will provide most material for habitat construction.

Compare orbits for Earth and Apollo, a NEO with great opportunity.

The paths of habitats will essentially be those of asteroids; thus, TE computes orbits of asteroids, objects orbiting the Sun. Recall that Kepler proved that all orbits are elliptical.

Planetary - acts in a satellite fashion
Orbitors are habitats which revolve around Solar System objects to include Sol itself, planets and even large moons. They will provide comfortable abodes for many people as well as many types of production facilities. However, they won't provide travel capability; instead, they will themselves be travel endpoints (dept/dest). While Dr. O'Neill used the term "habitat", he postulated the first orbitor to circle the Earth at the famous Lagrange 5 (L5) point. Perhaps O'Neill's "Island One" might orbit Earth at L5, and his much larger Island Three might orbit Sol at either 60 degrees ahead or behind Earth in its orbit. Advantages of Terran orbit include the available sunlight..
Interplanetary - acts in an asteroidal fashion.
Cyclers are refashioned Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with highly eccentric Solar orbits. These orbits are modified to consistently cross several different planetary orbits. This configuration allows cyclers to provide inexpensive transport throughout the Solar System. Initially, cyclers will as regular transports from Earth orbit to other planetary orbits and perhaps to other habitats.

Interstellar - acts in a straightline photonic fashion.
Much like photons travel in a straight line directly from one star to another, cruisers will be very large habitats which will travel directly from Sol to Alpha Centauri (AC) and other stellar neighbors. While large physical objects can't travel at light speed like massless photons, propulsion systems with constant acceleration capabilities can enable spacecraft to travel to AC in years (much less time then "generations" as some writers speculate). Practical interstellar profile would include "x" months of g-force acceleration, several years of cruising at a constant relativistic speed, then "x" months of g-force deceleration.


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