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  1. Not related to habitation exactly. There is over $20 billion worth of minerals sitting on the sea floor in potato sized ferromagnetic nodules.
  2. Running an electric current through the exhaust plume is different than simply adding heat to it. It's possible to get electric thrust downstream of the throat, if you can somehow push against the ionized plume.
  3. Are you sure that is true? Superheating the exhaust could have a positive thrust.
  4. Actually I was thinking the airship could handle tricky cargoes. For example, wind turbines are difficult to haul and install. An airship could preassemble them and drop them anywhere in Texas... There are also offshore applications.
  5. In a high thrust high flow engine, screens are bad. The flame in a conventional rocket is plasma and conduct electricity quite easily. Smaller ring shaped anodes and cathodes could run a discharge current with as much power as you have.
  6. Assuming we had a spectacular secondary energy source, why not? Cathode ray tubes can project electrons onto the afterburner plume. This might give thousands of times more thrust than an ordinary TV set.
  7. how would you deploy solar panels? a kite tail solution does not seem elegant especially in conjunction with a crane
  8. Suppose you wanted a heavy lift sky crane with about 50 tons lifting capacity. Being unmanned, hydrogen gas is acceptable, as is methane. A methane balloon though twice as large is less prone to leaks than hydrogen and helium. Recalling that buoyancy is the equal to the mass displaced , rather than the mass of gas in the balloon. It would be desirable to have large multi-axis propellers to give powerful and accurate crane controls. So what is the best power source? A fuel cell? A combustion engine? It's hard for me to see how solar or wind could be used, but maybe I'm wrong about that.
  9. Is there any way to paint the outer hull with polymers?
  10. Passing through a meteor shower your ship takes several holes in the hull, some too small to see. What is the best way to fix it? Do spray on products like polyurethane, etc work in vacuum?
  11. How many distant dwarf planets are there nowadays? I remember when Sedna and Quaoar were introduced.
  12. We could blow shielding gas like nitrogen or carbon dioxide around the fittings. I assume these fittings connect the craft to the launch tower, in which case the launch tower is not mass constrained. The shielding gas could exhaust several inches away from the fittings because flammability at 10% oxygen is not a factor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flammability_diagram
  13. There is an old thread somewhere, I proposed using an ice tube like a gun barrel. The main flaw in these systems is you want to get above the atmosphere before gaining most of your velocity, otherwise you lose too much energy to air resistance. Still to me this is just as plausible as other ground based launch assistance systems.
  14. The fuel rods must be kept submerged in cooling water for some period of time before they can go into dry storage. I'm not sure what the period is (possibly 18 months). The spent fuel could meltdown which might not be catastrophic or the zirconium cladding could catch fire and belch radioactive smoke into the atmosphere which is catastrophic. This seems to be the weakest link in nuclear safety as currently designed.
  15. I'm not talking about a criticality incident I'm talking about residual decay heat setting the zirconium on fire. If an earthquake or an explosion prevented the pool from holding water at all, that could be a (non-critical) worst case scenario.
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