Ol’ Musky Boi

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Everything posted by Ol’ Musky Boi

  1. Getting oxygen from the aluminium oxide in regolith instead of water is a lot more energy intensive. It takes 285.8 kJ/mol to split water, but 1675.5 kJ/mol to split Al2O3. I reckon you'd be better off extracting the water and shooting that up instead, at least if you're only trying to build a fuel depot and aren't doing any space manufacturing.
  2. A strategy game where you manage interstellar Kerbal colonies might be interesting, but I'm not sure how well this fits into KSP's charm. Maybe it should stay in this genre.
  3. That's the concept behind the lightcraft, and these engines have actually been flight tested: https://youtu.be/KtH-SxqdtaA?t=110 Not sure if they are still in development though.
  4. Nice math! A good photon rocket is just about propellant mass fraction then, in which case you're not going to do much better than a quasar drive...
  5. I like it, what about Cratertown?
  6. I like "Untitled Spacecraft Landed on Moon" or USLM for short, it reveals nothing but makes it clear what it is at the same time. Perfect for a military base!
  7. Theoretically, but not practically. You are going to have to lose some mass to generate power to run your lasers or whatever you're using to shoot photons out the back of your rocket. Unless you are using beamed power, as in lights sails, in which case you would have infinite Isp. I think the OP was talking about the first case.
  8. True, I find ancient mythology quite interesting, there are some cool stories in there.
  9. Thanks for the correction, I don't know much about relativity and all this wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. Hurts me brain.
  10. Things that go faster than light are supposed to go back in time according to special relativity.
  11. You already proposed a moon God! Luna - the Roman goddess of the moon! I agree though, we've already used up too many deities in naming planets, they've become a bit cliche.
  12. If the base is American and not international then perhaps they might call it Kennedy base? Although personally I think its best to keep base names apolitical, name them after Explorers and such. Alternatively, there are a lot of lunar deities to choose from, you could always name the base after one of those. Moon Base Diana has a nice ring to it.
  13. Well, your rocket would violate causality for a start. If you were floating a few light years behind the craft you would see the engines fire, before they actually fired, because presumably your exhaust would travel back in time (I think?). Since we're assuming FTL particles I don't know wether we can still take into account modern physics, but assuming that everything we know now is more or less correct minus the fact that tachyons/quotons actually exist, then the rocket still wouldn't be able to reach >C, because the energy needed to speed it up will still rise to infinity and even tachyons/quotons don't have infinite energy. It would make a great propulsion system though.
  14. You can say that again. I don't know if he's a genius or completely mad or a bit of both! I'm not sure SpaceX will go the direction of having a "mini starship" because the additional development costs would be financially prohibitive. Starship is very much designed to be a cheap jack of all trades rocket, and that works well for SpaceX's limited budget. If there is government interest in using Starship and they sink some money into it, then I imagine they might go the other route.
  15. I'm a little confused by your question. How can you make light that goes faster than light? If a particle exists that could go faster than light, it's not going to be light is it?
  16. 1km/s sounds feasible, but I think the big hurdle might be economic. If you're a cubesat manufacturer (I'm assuming this will launch cubesats) you are probably have a small budget, so designing a satellite to survive high G-forces might be too prohibitive. I'll remain pretty skeptical until they produce results, but good luck to them.
  17. I mean, if you could make FTL particles then sure, the higher the exhaust velocity the better your specific impulse. But that is a massive if.
  18. A Moon base is becoming an ever more likely possibility in the coming decades, thanks to renewed interest from both governments and commercial entities alike. But what should we name such a moon base? And what naming conventions, if any, should we employ for future extraterrestrial outposts? Personally I like the idea of naming the base after it's location, e.g Shackleton base for Shackleton crater, Tycho base for Tycho crater etc. What do you think?
  19. I suspected that someone would point that out, your pedantry will be acknowledged and rectified Although, if we want to be more pedantic about it, fire must have been discovered at some point. Otherwise we would have no knowledge of it.
  20. Humanity is funny like that. We're not one connected organism so we very rarely make unanimous decisions even if they would be beneficial for us. If bees co-operated as little as we did, well there would be no bees. That being said, humanity has done a lot of stuff that we can be proud of, creating fire, building societies, inventing science, etc. So I think there's always a case for an optimistic future, one where scarcity is a thing of the past and we span the solar system and beyond, but it'll be bloomin' hard work. Best get started now.
  21. The green line represents 6.1km/s, which is the delta-V Zubrin went for in his Moon Direct plan. The idea was that the lander would do direct ascent from the moon to LEO, and then once refuelled by a Falcon 9 in LEO, go back to the moon to land and refuel with ISRU. The added benefit was that with that much Delta-V you get access to much more of the lunar surface. I quite like the Moon Direct plan, but NASA doesn't seem to be heading in that direction. Yeah, the method that you'll want to employ does depend on wether the ice is concentrated in certain areas or not, and we won't have to wait long to find that out. Obviously NASA has stated that as part of Artemis they are going to scout out the poles with rovers first, and ESA has got its lunar "PROSPECT" mission planned for 2022. Speaking of which, ESA have also designed a "Moon Village" concept, which focuses heavily on international co-operation. Maybe this is NASA's long term goal - to collaborate with Europe on a Moon Base? That'd be cool, if all goes well I should be out of university by then and might be able to nab a job as a janitor in mission control It's worth noting that the waste material needs not be waste at all. The ESA has experimented with building bricks by compressing and baking lunar dust, so in theory not only could the astronauts monitor the ISRU system but they could use the stuff coming out to build radiation shielding around their habitat or launch pads for their landers. You could even combine the baking and compressing processes so you can extract water and make bricks in one streamlined process. With that amount of raw material there's really no limit to what you could build. One of my favourite ideas is to build a large brick atrium, and then pile on regolith until the pressure of the regolith on top is equal to atmospheric pressure. Slap on a door, pressurise it and you've got a resilient airtight habitat made entirely from dirt. That way you don't have to send up heavy base modules every time you want to expand your capacity. If you'll forgive for getting into really far future stuff, there's a lot of aluminium on the moon, and aluminium makes a great conductor of electricity. So in theory you could build giant coilguns or railguns and use them as mass drivers to get materials into orbit or to send things back to Earth for trade. The only materials that are inconveniently scarce on the moon are carbon and nitrogen, so unfortunately mass production of polymers is a no. That's a shame because a lunar space elevator would need something at least as strong as Kevlar to work, and Kevlar contains both nitrogen and carbon. It's like the universe is trying to crush all of our space elevator dreams. I seriously hope we get a moon base in the next decade or two. It'll be a huge downer (to say the least) if we didn't pull it off. It's not like we can't it's just damned politics getting in the way of everything. Start a space project in one presidency, cancel it in the next, rinse and repeat. (I know expressly political topics aren't allowed on the forum, so I'll leave it at that.)
  22. I agree, an orbital fuel depot wouldn't make sense for enabling more surface exploration, because any tanker that can get fuel from the surface into orbit and back again is capable of landing anywhere on the moon in the first place. Sub-orbital hopping is a good way to get around, and is featured prominently in Zubrin's Moon Direct plan. You could do sub-orbital hopping with the landers currently proposed by NASA, but the problem is that they have less delta-V than envisioned in the Moon Direct plan. And according to this graph: with only 5km/s of Delta-V you only get access to >10% of the surface. So in this case the advantages of hopping over a mobile ISRU system are only that an immobile ISRU system requires less mass to be carried around - at the expense of range. Although as long as you don't put the ISRU system on the lander the mass penalties are fairly similar, which is why I quite like the idea of a roving ISRU system. You could still utilise sub-orbital hopping, but you could slowly migrate your ISRU system to different locations to visit points of interest. Then again, if it breaks down you've just lost a crucial bit of hardware, rovers are very slow, and building a roving vehicle that can survive for long periods of time on the moon is quite a challenge, even with astronauts on site to repair things.
  23. It depends on your method of extraction, if you're scraping up regolith and putting it into an oven, assuming a water concentration of 5% (it could well be as high as 10% in places) you would have to shovel 20 tonnes of regolith for every 1 tonne of fuel. Although on the moon 20 tonnes feels more like 3.3 tonnes (tonne-force I mean), so it's feasible that you could use some kind of autonomous tractor that just trundled across the landscape. You could even put the heating system on board so you can extract the water, dump the dry regolith, and keep on driving until you've got a full tank, return to the lander, split the water and launch. The benefit of this design is that you could drive the ISRU system to new landing points whilst collecting water on the way, leaving the landing site relatively untouched. Compared to an ISRU system on the lander which would have to strip mine the surface of it's nearby landing site, contaminating the area and making it less useful for science. Assuming 16 tonnes of propellant is required and you completely remove the top 1m of regolith for fuel, you would need to mine an area of about 213m2, or a circular pit with a diameter of about 16.5m. Not impractical, but you did just destroy the closest 213m2 that you could have otherwise explored. The beauty of microwave extraction is that it combines the excavation and the extraction of the water into one process that requires few moving parts, because moving parts don't mix well with regolith. You could set up a big plastic tent at the bottom of a crater (or anywhere else for that matter), vaporise the water-ice, collect the vapor at the top of the tent and now you've got water. This seems the most likely method in the short term, but I can imagine that far-future colonies would also want to use the dry regolith for construction, so they may favour the excavation method. One way or another the big thing you want on the lunar surface is mobility, if your ISRU system limits you to landings only at the south pole then you're going to need a new system for landing at other locations (how about a 2001 moon bus?). Then again you could just put a bunch of ISRU systems around the moon so you could land just about anywhere, but that gets expensive quickly. I think you're right there, it's not so much that I don't trust NASA to pick the right architecture, it's that I don't trust politicians to fund it. So if the future plans get cut we end up with oversized and poorly optimised infrastructure for what is essentially just Apollo 2.0. I guess that's where the limits of public space exploration are and where private space exploration might have to pick up the slack. Then again if China gets really serious about a moon base I imagine that the politicians will be much more enthusiastic. Apollo certainly wouldn't have happened without the USSR.
  24. alt + F12, or if you are on a mac, alt + fn + F12 because function keys are locked by default.