Running Out of Time

Not only am I running out of time, it may be humankind is also.

Well….it is possible, at some point, the scientific community is going to have a “don’t look up” intervention and say that at least, at the very least, several billion people are going to die when our fragile civilization begins to unravel due to the accelerating effects of climate change. The DOD already knows this is going to happen and are not hiding it, though they are also not taking action like they should. Too many important people have invested in fossil fuels, and they see no way to cash out…..yet.

A couple of experiments validating Space Solar are coming up and if all the weird little coincidences that drive events in history just happen to line up, like they did with Apollo, then it won’t be “someone” willing to spend the money.
It will be everyone.
And not just billions, but trillions from every nation on Earth.
God willing.

I have commented several times before that prepositioning a radiation sanctuary either in Lunar Orbit or on/beneath the surface should have been the plan from the start. But like I just said, when you are trying to go cheap and complete a plan that has a start and finish within a budget, what makes sense goes out the window. Remember the ISS was never meant to just go on and on. But people are invested in so many ways now that it has a life of its own. If it was a Moonbase that would of course be justified but it is not in any way some kind of permanent base with millions of tons of resources at hand. It is essentially a bunch of tin cans flying in circles a couple hundred miles up.

I prefer the idea of a fat workshop in Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) filled with a thousand or more tons of lunar water to start with for several reasons, but there are other options. The ideal is an immense lava tube we could just move into and they possibly exist. However, we know where all the craters are. We pick one the right size, use robots to frame over and cover the top and then bulldoze regolith on top. With a couple trashcan nuclear reactors and some inflatable structures in the crater I would say that is a safe place to stay for a long time. Connect to another crater with a covered over and regolith shielded trench and then more inflatables. And so on.

SIS: Sphere-Inside-Sphere.

The key to expanding humankind off-world is NOT a cheap rocket. The key is a construct that will allow humans to live and work in space without the permanent damage caused by Dosing and Debilitation. This construct, minus radiation shielding, was proposed at the beginning of the space age as the “wet workshop.” That is, an upper stage that after expending its propellants is converted into a crew compartment. Incorporating a shield would make this a “Fat Workshop.”

The baseline, the “Parker Minimum”, is the 16 feet of water required to stop cosmic radiation and this space between the inner and outer sphere to contain the shielding is the main feature. Such a stage would of course be very large. Water to fill the shield can be brought up from the Moon with 20 to 23 times less energy than from Earth. An electromagnetic rail gun, to send water slugs into space from the Moon, may be an “order of magnitude” more efficient.

By attaching two S-I-S workshops together with a several thousand foot tether system, this “bola” can be spun to provide artificial gravity. The large water shield would be used in a closed loop life support system to provide air and food and solar panels attached to the tether system would provide electricity. This construct would provide a near Earth environment, independent of outside support, for several years. A true Space Station. By docking a nuclear propulsion system it would be the first true Spaceship.

The concept is a spherical Super Heavy Lift Vehicle with two “doughnuts” of engines and a central Earth departure engine. The larger doughnut would mount the first stage engines and the smaller inner doughnut the second stage engines which would detach with small tanks, and a heat shield for the second stage doughnut, to land back with. The center engine would detach after burning and make a free return around the Moon to reenter and possibly be helo-captured.

The ISS days are numbered and when it goes LEO is going to be left to others. Forever.
LEO is a dead end. The Chinese may operate a platform for a few years and then splash it. There is nothing left to be learned there with humans that is worth paying billions a year for.

For humans to undertake long duration missions Beyond Earth Orbit will require massive radiation shielding on the order of 500 tons even for a small capsule that may or may not enable a couple of astronauts to go on 6 month tours. Probably not enough room. Realistically, well over a thousand tons for a small crew will be the requirement. For multi-year interplanetary missions that figure doubles. At least. With larger crews it gets bigger fast.

This “Parker Minimum” (after the 500 ton figure specified by Eugene Parker to shield space travelers from cosmic radiation) has always been the elephant in the room. Nobody, especially NASA, wants to address this issue. And the issue is quite clear; for humans to live and work in space they must be provided an environment that does not cause permanent damage. It gets worse because it is a two part problem with Dosing AND low-gravity Debilitation going hand in hand. Addressing Debilitation requires an artifiical gravity system and relatively heavy structures able to handle the rotation and loads. Dosing and Debilitation can only be addressed by providing a Near Sea Level Radiation One Gravity (NSLR1G) crew compartment with enough interior space to prevent negative psychological effects on the crew.

For a short mission of a couple weeks, perhaps on a shielded Lunar Cycler, the required interior space may be relatively small, and if the one gravity is waived the structural weight can be greatly reduced. This is probably where the Boeing and SpaceX taxis will be going if they are around long enough- intercepting Lunar Cyclers. They will likely launch and to minimize dosing intercept the Cycler at it’s closest approach within an hour or at most two. The astronauts coming from the Moon and those going to the Moon will transfer in a few minutes and those returning to Earth will be reentering within an hour or so. Those going on to the Moon may be on board for a couple weeks as Lunar Cycler trajectories are convoluted.

The other possibility is the exchanges taking place on large shielded Space Stations in GEO and others in some kind of Lunar Orbit, with some kind of cislunar nuclear electric Spaceship transporting astronauts across the cislunar sea.

Musk did influence, if not determine, NASA policy concerning a lunar return. Anybody can see the facts supporting that. Shotwell even publicly stated, “we are not Moon people.” Reading between the lines of Obama’s infamous “been there” speech makes it obvious. Except to spacex fanboys of course. They love to do the Orwellian/Firehose of Falsehood misinformation thing and call the truth a lie. It works for Trump, why not Musk?

So far this week my comments have now been connected to the Unabomber and Q-Anon by spacex fanboys.

SpaceX did not get in the way of any O’Neill like projects. NASA, nor the US government were going to do any of that within our lifetimes.

I just wrote a long couple replies to someone about that. I will cut and paste for you. I think he really did “get in the way.” In my view he has set us back more than a decade. And the damage is accumulating.

Ukraine is changing the nature of mil-space right in front of our eyes.

I spent 23 years in two different branches of the military doing several different jobs and then retired and was a military contractor. The Military Industrial Complex is a real thing and what you are seeing is clever marketing. Don’t be fooled. Everything up there will get turned into junk in one afternoon in a real war. It is a scam. Like missile defense. Megaconstellaitons are a disaster unfolding before our eyes.

The truth is evidence for ice on the Moon should have shifted NASA’s focus to a lunar return as ice makes a permanent human presence, and many other projects, possible. Why did this not happen?

NASA did not immediately make plans to end the ISS and return to the Moon because Elon and that guy I voted into the white house decided we had been there and done that. His hobby rocket could not take anyone to the Moon so what could, Sidemount, was strangled in the cradle and here we are. Over ten years later and after one person finally threw the B.S. flag on the Moon being verboten (Jim Bridenstine) rocket jesus is still keeping us from expanding into the solar system with bizarre Martian fantasies and a shiny redux of the space shuttle that will require a whole fleet of tankers. And of course his cult of worshipers have done immense unrealized damage to public perceptions of space.

Again, the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.

“Here are the high points of Obama’s 2010 speech and he NEVER said what you said he did. Typical spacex fanboy misstatement and misrepresentation.”

– in striking contrast to the Falcon 9 rocket we just saw on the launch pad, which will be tested for the very first time in the coming weeks.

And we will extend the life of the International Space Station likely by more than five years,-

And in order to reach the space station, we will work with a growing array of private companies competing to make getting to space easier and more affordable. (Applause.)

Next, we will invest more than $3 billion to conduct research on an advanced “heavy lift rocket” —

How do we shield astronauts from radiation on longer missions?

So the point is what we’re looking for is not just to continue on the same path — we want to leap into the future; we want major breakthroughs; a transformative agenda for NASA. (Applause.)

Now, yes, pursuing this new strategy will require that we revise the old strategy.

And by 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the Moon into deep space. (Applause.) So we’ll start — we’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. (Applause.) By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it. (Applause.)

Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before.

It is proof of the adage that truth is stranger than fiction Andrew. We have this bizarro Tony Stark character all over the map, that has done tremendous damage to space exploration and, incidentally, delayed any insurance policy for our species, by portraying himself as rocket jesus.

He took a NASA engine design (Merlin) and put it on essentially a clone of a Saturn 1, and has had great success launching satellites with that, but as to how much cheaper he is doing that than others….he is not letting the numbers be known. He built spacex with tax dollars by promising a cheap ride to the ISS which was needed after Columbia. He has hyped reusability, which was also old NASA technology, and made himself a celebrity. And his Cult of Ayn-Rand-in-Space whackjob followers are well known as the THE most toxic creeps on the internet.

Now we have his latest project, Starlink and Starship, which go together, since the success of Starlink is going to depend on Starship. But he is not working off taxpayer paid for technology anymore. His “genius” is now facing a real test. The numbers say not enough customers. We will see.

I am a follower of Gerard K. O’Neill whose legacy Musk has thoroughly trashed with his statements about Space Solar Power and by promoting NewSpace ideology, which works directly against any state sponsored megaproject like Space Solar.

So I freely admit I am NOT a spacex fanboy and have suffered their harassment for years because, unlike most others trolled into oblivion, I keep criticizing NewSpace. In my view Starship is….really beautiful, I will give it that, but it is actually just a different version of the space shuttle with many of the same problems and some new ones. I hope it fails. I hope Musk no longer has the power to screw up space exploration any worse than he has already.

Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

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