Friday, October 30, 2015

Hope to resume space blogs soon.

I'm not dead. I've been up to my ears in alligators lately -- with paying projects (thank God!).

Hope to resume blogging soon. Some things I want to do:

Tethers and elevators

I'm eager to adapt Chris Wolfe's spreadsheet and examine a variety of tethers and elevators.

A few scenarios I want to look at:

There's a large population of dead sats in a graveyard orbit just above geosynch. These could act as a momentum bank for a vertical tether above geosynch.
I also want to look at a low earth orbit rotovator. It will be tricky adding tidal stress to the rotovator's stress from centrifugal force, but I think I can tweak Wolfe's spreadsheet to do the job.

Lunar elevator going from Mösting Crater through a balance point at EML1
Lunar vertical tether from an anchor mass at 30,000 km altitude

Phobos anchored vertical tether.
Deimos anchored vertical tether.

Clarke style elevators from Ceres. Using Chris' spreadsheet I will be able to look at elevators of various lengths. Down the road a Ceres beanstalk might even throw stuff to trans-earth orbits.

I want to examine Clarke style elevators from Vesta.

Boundaries of our bodies/extended phenotype

Awhile ago I reviewed a James Patrick Kelly story where a large fraction of the populace dwells in cyber-space. A trend in science fiction was been to explore artificial digital worlds rather than outer space. I opined that as telepresence improves, robotic avatars will become common place. The line between digital existence and meat space will blur.

Well, recently Kelly wrote an essay on prosthetics. It was a rich source of information, full of great web links (the norm for Kelly's Asimov articles). I want to talk about Kelly's essay. Also prosthetics and boundaries of our body. Many already regard dentures or lens implants as part of ourselves. I believe the same will become true of robotic arms and other body parts. And if we come to regard a prosthetic arm as an extension of our body, what is the difference between an arm attached to our shoulder or a robotic tele-arm thousands of kilometers away?

Robert Reed has written science fiction stories of god like beings whose minds and bodies extend throughout multiple star systems. That's not going to happen any time soon, but I do hope to see our "bodies" extend to the moon and near earth asteroids. In my lifetime.

I believe it will be advances in robotics that enable us to move beyond Cradle Earth.