New answers tagged

0

Circular train tracks around Phobos can create centrifugal gravity inside cars running around them. This was actually used in Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars" for the purpose of adjustment to human physiology, but I don't see why centrifugal artificial gravity could also be used for refining and other processes. (I have no complete answer to the question, ...


1

There should be no serious problem with operating a nuclear reactor in zero gravity provided it has been specifically designed for that purpose. Such a reactor in zero or very low gravity would need a pump or more likely a series of pumps and back up pumps to ensure circulation of the sodium. In fact sodium cooled nuclear reactors have flown in space: https:...


3

As I see it you have 3 issues here: Gravity. Normally sodium circulation would occur because of a temperature/density gradient which facilitates convection to carry it through the heat-exchange cycle. In minimal gravity the circulation would be crippled without a pump, both for the core->sodium heat exchange (spinning the sodium to create a centrifugal ...


0

Most (probably all) reactors designed for use on Earth basically require a decent gravitational field in order to stop Unfortunate Things happening like all your coolant floating away, or gravty-assisted mechanical systems failing, or crud getting into mechanical bits and so on. The lazy answer, therefore, is to use a design that is intended for microgravity ...


1

While there would be specific methods used depending on the ore and nature of the environment, I'm going to assume there is a high tech society or entity actually doing the mining (a sort of space mining operation), which can be applicable to almost any environment. A source of high intensity heat energy is needed, such as a large solar mirror or electric ...


8

would the ore itself be different in such an environment? Pretty much all the iron ores on Earth are oxides and hydroxides. No oxygen, no water, no conventional iron ores. (I listed a few of the common ores in another answer of mine with various relevant wikipedia links; I shan't copy it all out here). If you had water, you'd have a ready supply of oxygen, ...


1

Minerals? Not much, until the transport costs come down. Heavy metals (Gold, platinum, irridium...) are more common in certain classes of asteroids. However useful these metals are, their high value on earth is due to scarcity. All the recovered gold in the world would fit in something like a 65 foot cube. An asteroid with a trillion tonnes of gold ...


2

The question is critically dependent on cost of transport. If you wrap a conventional hull around a bunch of ore, like big ore ships, the answer is "no", at least initially. Where travel on Earth is measured in distance,in space it's measured by delta-V: What tis the minimum delta-V to get something from one orbit to another. Let's consider moving water ...


1

There's not a huge amount of utility in shipping stuff found in space back down to Earth's surface... after all, we have an awful lot of stuff here and there are plenty of places we haven't yet tried to exploit. Exceptions might be made for materials that are limited in availability and might be largely found in particularly picturesque regions of the globe, ...


2

Energy We don't really need materials on Earth, we need energy. If we can use the materials to generate energy for Earth, we solve most of our issues. Almost all of our air pollution is caused by energy production. If the energy could be created in space (e.g. beamed solar power), you cut out on almost all air pollution (put a cork in the cows for the ...


9

Bring back to the Earth? Almost certainly not. As mentioned in the other related thread, anything you can find out there in the solar system you can also find right here on earth, and generally in vastly greater abundance and ease of retrieval, if you're comparing to the difficulties involved in getting to an asteroid and mining ore off it in a vacuum suit ...


4

Definitely a good long term investment Space is big. Insert H2G2 quote here. Moving around in space takes a lot of energy or a lot of time (as in, even more time than usual) if you're willing to use ridiculous witchcraft gravity assists to get that large amount of energy for free. Thus, with the perfect setup of planets, it'd be entirely possible to send ...


5

This answer stands as an historical artifact, obsolete because of an edit to the question's tags. Energy-rich minerals of unknown composition from the surface of Mercury. Mercury, the planet has an eccentric orbit leading it to be at it's closest point to the sun it is bathed in searingly hot unfiltered solar radiation and cosmic rays. Mercury turns slowly,...


3

Nothing. Earth is made from the same raw materials as asteroids and comets. In fact, the current belief is that the Earth formed by accretion of a piece of the solar nebula, which is where everything else in the solar system comes from. Now, some of the heavier elements like iron may have sunk in large quantities to the core as the Earth cooled after its ...


4

Earth is running dangerously low on helium. It's important enough that America has a strategic helium reserve of 1 billion cubic meters, although they may be selling it off. The LZ129 Hindenburg zeppelin was designed to fly with helium, but the USA decided not to sell the necessary amounts required to Nazi Germany.


Top 50 recent answers are included