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Outer space thread


#121

You guys might want to see a doctor…


#122

Or maybe you need to see a Doctor?


#123

Actually, it’s a pretty average-sized space penis. Ask Galactus.


#124

#125

Not from the 90s, but James Blish also had something like that in his first Cities In Flight book.


#126

huh I should’ve probably posted in here xD


#127

#128

Their playing catch up to China.

There is a potential commercial biggie involved.

If He3 is commercially recoverable from the Lunar regolith and fusion expectations e.g. ITER indicate it a 2nd generation fusion reactor using He3 mat well be developed. This would be of extreme value commercially.
Maybe 4 shuttle sized cargos a year providing all the electrcity for the planet including future usages like electric cars etc.

This also fuels (exc. pun) the interest in Mars but I suspect atmoshperics are likely to have made He3 non commercially recoverable there.


#129

Better get the crews training then;

No-one has proved this is economical yet, it’s still politics and that means there’s only an outside chance it will actually happen.

There is no commercially viable fusion reactor running yet. Not even in a lab, not one that “just” needs a moon base to make it a good investment.

Fusion needs a breakthrough, a big one. Until that (or something of equal magnitude) happens the future of manned space exploration is more scifi than anything else.


#130

The ITER project in France will, unless the vast majority of physicists are wrong, produce a fusion reactor with at least a Q of 10.

True, it will take some years, decades even, before an optimal design is realised for commercial reactors.

However, that is based on He3 NOT being available i.e no need for a Moon base.

Recoverable He3 would only be a bonus not a necessity.

He3 has certain theoretical advantages namely reducing the decay time to safety of decommissioned reactors to around 10 years versus 100 years for the planned fusion fuel. It also offers the possibility of direct generation of electricity rather than an intermediary thermal stage.

There remains some engineering choices on the type of blanket material but that is not a potential show stopper, fusion is going to happen unless some equally productive and environmentally friendly alternative manifests itself first, that is always possible.

But fusion is not a pipe dream, it is happening as we speak.

Here is a Ted talk on it:

Here is a vid that gives an indication of progress to date.

Of course ITER is ridiculously expensive but that is because it has been designed to be festooned with a huge amount of instrumentation and configurability. Its job is to establish the optimal design for a prototype reactor.

Future reactors stemming from ITER will be at least an order of magnitude less expensive to build.

And to be honest, with fossil fuels and fissile fuels running out frankly the only alternative to a renewables only future i.e. a much reduced energy to demand ratio fusion represents the only promise of energy supply meeting demand.

If ITER does not meet its objectives, physicists will not just be dismayed they will be shocked.


#131

Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen.

We’ve been promised fusion for decades. Yes it works, no it’s not economical, no they don’t know when it will be. ITER has already been pushed back, I don’t expect that to be the last delay.

I wish them well, I want to live in a fusion powered future, I’m just not counting on it happening at any particular point in that future.


#132

I’m disappointed too that the UK government is sitting on the fence so far with the Swansea tidal lagoon project. It addresses the moan about inconsistent delivery from renewable sources as the tide goes in and out on the same regular reliable frequency it has for pretty much all of time. A real opportunity to be at the forefront of seeing it works with way less speculation and cost than fusion.


#133

Unfortunately politicians slow down all kinds of progress to varying degrees, that is just a cross we all have to bear.

Sometimes through ignorance, sometimes just until they have figured out how to make sure any benefits go to themselves and their pals.

But at least when we have fusion power, they will need to think of something else other than energy wars in which to kill our young folk.


#134

Just cover 10 % of the Sahara in solar panels. Problem solved.


#135

Personally I’m hoping for exo-atmospheric solar panels and robust wireless energy transmission!


#136

Old Chinese proverb.

Many sands make light not work. :slight_smile:


#137

Would make more sense, cheaper, less damage prone, to have reflective and focused foil mirrors to a solar panel array on Earth.


#138

Problem solved if we all move to north Africa :slight_smile:

Otherwise, electricity has limits on how far you can transmit it over wires, and present technology would never get it all over the globe from the Sahara.


#139

True but with the latest tech you can cover all of Europe, even the Northern parts. Of course there are plenty of other deserts for other parts of the world. The US has empty deserts that can be filled with solar, China and India have, Australia…


#140

I am not sure that is serious…but it does work, there are already big solar farms in the Sahara. They just need to get bigger.