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O'Neill Cylinders and 0g Manufacturing


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Bottom line, SpaceX do want to colonize Mars, and they're aware that will take millions of tons of downmass. They've designed a system that will be capable of that.

Whether or not that actually happens, the Earth-centric uses of such a capable system will be transformative.

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31 minutes ago, tater said:

If SpaceX wants to colonize Mars, more power to them. I have no desire to move there, lol. I like being outside too much. And good food. And I'd not want to not see my family in person again.

I also don't want to have to eat the bodies of my dead companions, lol.

That said, I think that Starship is a cool vehicle, and I think they could do Mars missions with it if they get it to work.

Problem with an Mars colony is that it makes no economic sense. 
The only thing it has for it is claiming land however an city does not give you planetary ownership. 

Claiming Shackleton crater on the other hand :) That is one location who could grow into an industrial town this century.  
Again all for Mars bases,  and yes starship point to point makes more sense on Mars :)  
Lets do KSP style biome jumping. 

 

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2 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Problem with an Mars colony is that it makes no economic sense.

Large space stations and O'Niel cylinders make much more sense, they can adequately provide earth-like gravity and can be useful for manufacturing. They are also only a few days or even hours from Earth so if anything went wrong you aren't far from home. Space stations also make for a great staging area for larger interplanetary research vessels.

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2 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

The only thing it has for it is claiming land however an city does not give you planetary ownership. 

Meh, kinda does. The people living there are defacto the owners.

Not that that means much of anything, there's no gain to be had. The only places worth living in on Mars will have to be built, they're not worth living in until people build them—and at a level that makes them worth it. Pretty high bar. If you build literally a shack on a south pacific island, sure the house is meh—but you're on a south pacific island. WIN. You pretty much need to build the nicest indoor space ever built by humans just to make Mars "acceptable" as a place to live, IMO.

Just now, SpaceFace545 said:

Large space stations and O'Niel cylinders make much more sense, they can adequately provide earth-like gravity and can be useful for manufacturing. They are also only a few days or even hours from Earth so if anything went wrong you aren't far from home. Space stations also make for a great staging area for larger interplanetary research vessels.

I tend to be an O'Neill colony person if I have to pick one, but 1g is not ideal for making stuff, I'd think 0g is better. 1g is better for humans, however. Better than 0g. As to 0.38g (Mars)? No one actually knows.

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1 minute ago, SpaceFace545 said:

Large space stations and O'Niel cylinders make much more sense, they can adequately provide earth-like gravity and can be useful for manufacturing. They are also only a few days or even hours from Earth so if anything went wrong you aren't far from home. Space stations also make for a great staging area for larger interplanetary research vessels.

Starship can be invaluable for building those. How much mass is needed to build one, a million tons? A fleet of 10 starships each launching thrice per day can do it in less than a year.

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Exactly. Mars may not be for everyone. We're also going to need space stations and moon bases and deep space expenditions. But are those ever going to happen?

Without something like Starship they won't.

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9 minutes ago, sh1pman said:

Starship can be invaluable for building those. How much mass is needed to build one, a million tons? A fleet of 10 starships each launching thrice per day can do it in less than a year.

Tons in the billions, actually for a proper O'Neill colony. Smaller versions that were later proposed are lower.

This is why he proposed lunar mining, and launching much of the material with mass drivers from the lunar surface.

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9 minutes ago, sh1pman said:

Starship can be invaluable for building those. How much mass is needed to build one, a million tons? A fleet of 10 starships each launching thrice per day can do it in less than a year.

If full and rapid reuse REALLY works as advertised, and the launch costs can be brought down to $5M per launch, total launch cost will be $50B, or 2-3 NASA annual budgets. No idea how much would it cost to build it in space.

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I have seen numbers like 3B tons. So 3000X that launch cost. You don't build O'Neill colonies with mass from Earth. You build it with mass already in space.

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1 minute ago, tater said:

Tons in the billions, actually for a proper O'Neill colony. Smaller versions that were later proposed are lower.

This is why he proposed lunar mining, and launching much of the material with mass drivers from the lunar surface.

This design is much smaller, housing 100,000 or so. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_torus

Just now, tater said:

I have seen numbers like 3B tons. So 3000X that launch cost. You don't build O'Neill colonies with mass from Earth. You build it with mass already in space.

Yeah, for billions we’ll need to excavate the Moon. Send the stuff up with a mass driver.

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1 minute ago, tater said:

I have seen numbers like 3B tons. So 3000X that launch cost. You don't build O'Neill colonies with mass from Earth. You build it with mass already in space.

A million tons of mass in LEO or on the Moon would be part of the infrastructure needed to go out and exploit mass already in space at a scale that starts to move the needle.

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8 minutes ago, tater said:

I have seen numbers like 3B tons. So 3000X that launch cost. You don't build O'Neill colonies with mass from Earth. You build it with mass already in space.

I think a problem with O’Niell cylinders is getting the dirt their, obviously they can just be bare structures but that defeats the purpose of something so large.

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5 hours ago, tater said:

1g is not ideal for making stuff, I'd think 0g is better

Have we actually made stuff at 0g?

(I tried to imagine how an asteroid miner could process ore... and outside of centrifuges, couldn't.)

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36 minutes ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

Have we actually made stuff at 0g?

(I tried to imagine how an asteroid miner could process ore... and outside of centrifuges, couldn't.)

Fair point.

I was thinking in terms of stuff where you want/need space to make it, hence 0g. Some processes prefer gravity, though.

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I think there have been some experiments in crystal growth and other manufacturing processes in microgravity, but in general it seems to be a thing everyone assumes will have value but nobody has ever actually put into practice.

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34 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

I think there have been some experiments in crystal growth and other manufacturing processes in microgravity, but in general it seems to be a thing everyone assumes will have value but nobody has ever actually put into practice.

There's always cryptocurrency mining

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31 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

I think there have been some experiments in crystal growth and other manufacturing processes in microgravity, but in general it seems to be a thing everyone assumes will have value but nobody has ever actually put into practice.

I believe you're thinking of ZBLAN fiber optics. It is a legitimate improvement in the quality over manufacture in 1g, but I believe it isn't economical at current prices.

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2 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

I think there have been some experiments in crystal growth and other manufacturing processes in microgravity, but in general it seems to be a thing everyone assumes will have value but nobody has ever actually put into practice.

Yeah, partially because the place to do it is ISS—except the people around make that undesirable, they need free fliers.

If gravity is the best place to do certain things, then the question is how much? Use the Moon, and throw finished goods off the surface. None of the cases close very well.

"We need manufacturing on the Moon!"

"Why?"

"To make the metal to build our O'Neill colonies."

"What are those for?"

"Workers!"

"To do what?"

"..."

1 hour ago, sevenperforce said:

There's always cryptocurrency mining

^^^ solar powered, 24/7

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34 minutes ago, tater said:

[cryptocurrency] solar powered, 24/7

What a waste of resources.

It's crazy that people are burning entropy to run computer calculations that are intentionally designed to be wastefully expensive, just to show "proof of work".

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4 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

Have we actually made stuff at 0g?

(I tried to imagine how an asteroid miner could process ore... and outside of centrifuges, couldn't.)

Old article... but yes, astronauts made stuff in microgravity:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/3d-printing-in-space-long-duration-spaceflight-applications

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4 hours ago, satnet said:

I believe you're thinking of ZBLAN fiber optics. It is a legitimate improvement in the quality over manufacture in 1g, but I believe it isn't economical at current prices.

Yes that is one thing who you can make easier in zero gravity. 
Its likely many more, problem now is that just testing if you can make stuff easier in zero g is very expensive. 
On an spinning station you can select your gravity who might be even more useful, yes vibration might be an problem for very sensitive stuff like crystal growth. 

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12 hours ago, magnemoe said:

Problem with an Mars colony is that it makes no economic sense. 

Not from an earth centric point of view.

 

Mars is economically necessary if large scale orbital assembly of heavy inter/intra-stellar spacecraft is to be on the menu.

The reason being is that Mars is the goldilocks planet for that endeavor, it has the following unique characteristics.

  • Shallow gravity well for ease of transit throughout solar system
  • Atmo for braking
  • Gravity for ore separation and smelting
  • It's already a dead world, so stripmining it and turning it into a WH40K forgeworld won't hurt anybody's feelings
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