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View Diary: Scientific American Gives Details on the Russian Meteor (277 comments)

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  •  It will be interesting to see (5+ / 0-)

    someone trying to fabricate semiconductors or make plastic or smelt aluminum or forge steel on some other planet.

    I'm still mad about Nixon.

    by J Orygun on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:32:27 PM PST

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    •  It will happen. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaloAltoPixie, MichaelNY

      All (or at least most) of the raw materials are available out there.

      Pour yourself into the future.

      by Troubadour on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:58:11 PM PST

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    •  It will require a radically innovative way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaloAltoPixie

      to create water from the available atmosphere, and super efficient storage and recapture of moisture from any source. Water and energy costs go hand in hand.

      •  Not really. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PaloAltoPixie, MichaelNY, elginblt

        Mars (to cite one example) is covered in highly oxidized compounds.  The main limiting factor is energy to remove the oxygen, but solar energy is still practical at Mars' distance from the Sun, and for the first few years colonies can rely on fission nuclear reactors.  Eventually they may also rely on fusion.

        Pour yourself into the future.

        by Troubadour on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 10:52:54 PM PST

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    •  it WILL be interesting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, MichaelNY

      but hardly impossible. Earth is made up of the same stuff as most planets, we just have more water.

      I imagine building materials will be whatever is native to the area though, like how homes here on earth were made of adobe in the southwest, sod in the midwest and wood in the northeast a few centuries ago.

      I imagine a colony on the mood would process regolith into some sort of cement. And there IS water on the moon. Not much, and it's not liquid, but it's up there. Mars has water as well, quite a lot really, compared to other not-earth planets, it's all in ice at the poles and under the surface though. There is evidence that there may even be liquid running water during some seasons.

      There are a lot of challenges to colonizing other worlds, but they are not insurmountable.

      "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." -Henry Ford

      by sixeight120bpm on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:05:02 AM PST

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      •  mood=moon (0+ / 0-)

        paragraph 3 should read "I imagine a colony on the moon..." I am bad at words.

        "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." -Henry Ford

        by sixeight120bpm on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:07:17 AM PST

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    •  With the right atoms & sufficient power (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, In her own Voice

      you can in theory reproduce & manufacture just about anything short of sentient life. (Which has its own tried & true methods. ;) ) The right atoms are pretty much everywhere you look in the solar system, in planetary atmospheres, asteroids, satellite regolith. The power is there for the taking via solar panels--which don't even have to be especially efficient since there's a lot of room to mount them & a lot of sun to catch.

      With sufficient power you can perform element & even isotope separation using mass spectrometers, which have been around since at least 1901. With sufficient power you can use 3D printers to build up practically any structure you want--right now it's a niche process because it's expensive, but again, sufficient power plus sufficient materials...Microgravity is more of a help than a hindrance in most cases, so you do this in freefall (& where "gravity" is necessary you spin up the facility to generate the necessary acceleration).

      Put all this together with the necessary software & you're within shouting distance of a Santa Claus Machine. I wouldn't disagree with this caveat from Wiki--

      A mature Santa Claus machine requires significant advances in technology to be possible, including the ability to take any collection of matter and reconfigure it into any other type of matter.

      Scientifically, it requires two parts: a disassembler and an assembler. Both are available today in primitive forms, each requiring a decade or so of engineering[citation needed] to achieve the maturity for a real Santa Claus machine.

      --but there seems to be no gigundous theoretical barrier to the design & fabrication. Ten years seems about right for the technology, but sooner would not surprise me at all.

      Once you have machines that can disassemble local material & reassemble it into key devices & replacement parts for key devices (including itself!) you are in business Out There--& heaven help the galaxy...

      BALTIMORE RAVENS--SUPER BOWL XLVII CHAMPIONS! WOOO-HOOO!

      by Uncle Cosmo on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:00:44 AM PST

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