Evolving Asteroid Starships project

April 27, 2018, European Space Agency
Credit: Nils Faber & Angelo Vermeulen

A group of students and researchers at Delft University of Technology are designing a starship capable of keeping generations of crew alive as they cross the gulf between stars – and they've turned to ESA for the starship's life support.

DSTART, the TU Delft Starship Team, is bringing together a wide variety of disciplines to perform advanced concepts research for a resilient interstellar space vehicle, to be constructed from a hollowed-out asteroid. The aim is not just to focus on the necessary technology, but also to consider the biological and social factors involved in making such a gargantuan voyage feasible.

"We need self-sustaining and evolvable space technology capable of enduring the many decades needed to journey from our Solar System to another," explains DSTART leader Angelo Vermeulen, currently studying for his systems engineering Ph.D. at TU Delft.

"As part of that, we are looking at the kind of regenerative system pioneered by the ESA-led MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) programme."

The 11-nation MELiSSA programme seeks to build a system, inspired by a natural aquatic ecosystem, to efficiently convert organic waste and carbon dioxide into oxygen, water and food.

A MELiSSA pilot plant in Spain's Autonomous University of Barcelona hosts an airtight multi-compartment loop with a 'bioreactor' powered by light and oxygen-producing algae to keep 'crews' of rats alive and comfortable for months at a time. While the algae yield oxygen and trap , the rats do exactly the reverse.

The bioreactor with oxygen-producing algae was recently demonstrated on the International Space Station.

"The MELiSSA concept gives the starship its baseline life support," adds Angelo, a biologist and artist who in 2013 served as crew commander of the NASA HI-SEAS Mars simulation base in Hawaii. "Meanwhile, we're also integrating other technologies such as 3-D printing and asteroid mining into our design."

Next month the DSTART team will present the first version of their starship-scale MELiSSA computer simulation at the AgroSpace-MELiSSA workshop in Rome. The simulation allows the team to test the robustness of the MELiSSA system as it travels through deep space across extended periods of time.

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nrauhauser
2.7 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2018
The only way this makes sense is if we master a power source that can feed on the content of the asteroid itself - not chemical, not nuclear, it has to be fusion. I'm glad we're looking this direction, but I feel the hour is growing late for our species to engage in such adventures.
Thorium Boy
1 / 5 (3) Apr 28, 2018
It isn't necessary to have this multi-generation and highly risky type of craft. Resurrecting Project Orion from the 1960's would facilitate travel to all the planets in the solar system, their colonization and trips to nearby stars within human lifetimes. All it takes is the political will to build the ships.
Da Schneib
4.6 / 5 (5) Apr 28, 2018
This is how we'll travel to the stars. It'll take us under ten million years to populate the galaxy's usable planets, assuming we stick to planets. Of course, we'll have to survive that long. Not many species do.
humy
1.7 / 5 (7) Apr 28, 2018
Are they completely mad?
Are they really seriously considering arranging generations of people to be helplessly imprisoned in the confined space of an asteroid with most people born in the asteroid learning they will spend the rest of their natural lives imprisoned there with no hope of escape before dying of old age because they are lighty years away from the nearest solar system? Many of them could go totally insane with such a meaningless life! Totally unacceptable.
Think about it; would YOU like to be one of those people born and then dying of old age in there?
I certainly would HATE to be one!

A less insane idea is to wait, no matter how long it takes, until we have technology to genetically modify the people to become like the wood frog (which can be frozen solid and then revived) so they can then be put into frozen hibernation for the thousands of years of the space travel and then still be revived. But, even then, not sure if you would get any sane volunteers!
Scolar_Visari
3.8 / 5 (4) Apr 28, 2018
We already know that human civilizations can survive similar conditions for extended periods of time. The vast majority of people born after the Neolithic era and prior to the 18th Century lived their entire lives within an area no larger than a few square miles. In many cases, movement off their land was illegal. To say nothing of cultures that lived in physical isolation without the method or inclination to regularly leave, such as the Rapa Nui of Easter Island.

Though, I have the strong impression that travel times to local star systems would likely be reduced to around a century (rather than multiple centuries) by the time (or if) humanity ever gotten to the point of building true generation ships. If you can build a massive starship capable of safely housing thousands of people for extended periods of time, you also have the same industrial capability to make high velocity beam assisted sailcraft and scale that up how ever you wish. To say nothing of technological progress.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2018
- not chemical, not nuclear, it has to be fusion
And why not nuclear? Thats the tech we have been spending the last few gens developing for the specific purpose of colonizing space.

Nukes are simple and dumb. You can locate them on the outside of these asteroid ships for instance where they wont be contaminating anything.

Fusion in contrast is very complex and tech-intensive. It requires the use of exotic materials and manufacturing techniques which in turn require the support of technologically advanced manufacturing bases.

Fusion in space wont be available for centuries.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (5) Apr 28, 2018
gens of people to be helplessly imprisoned in the confined space of an asteroid with most people born in the asteroid learning they will spend the rest of their natural lives imprisoned
-What? We spend most of our lives imprisoned in cities and shopping malls and little vehicles with no contact with trees and grass let alone our 'nearest solar system'. You can create mile-wide voids in these things, spin them for gravity. Kim stanley robinson described them in detail, flying about the solar system with cities inside.
go totally insane with such a meaningless life!
I think that being part of the effort to colonize a distant system would be far more meaningful than most of the lives being lived back here.
Think about it; would YOU like to be one of those people born and then dying of old age in there?
Better of dying of old age in a rest home in sarasota.
I certainly would HATE to be one!
I think that would make you a wuss. Youre not invited.
humy
1 / 5 (4) Apr 28, 2018
gens of people to be helplessly imprisoned in the confined space of an asteroid with most people born in the asteroid learning they will spend the rest of their natural lives imprisoned
-What? We spend most of our lives imprisoned in cities and shopping malls and little vehicles with no contact with trees and grass

Strange. I have seen plenty of trees and grass in my life time and don't now of anyone that hasn't.
I presume even most inner city dwellers at least have a chance to occasionally travel see real trees and real grass or see a beech and the ocean? People in inner cities often feel the desire to escape it; at least they might occasionally have a chance to.
People inside an asteroid won't ever even see blue sky or clouds or feel the wind or ever see real rain although they can star at the stars out of a window (that they cannot open) but that's about it. No new land for them to explore. Almost as bad as being in jail I think.
Scolar_Visari
4 / 5 (4) Apr 28, 2018
@humy
Why would the interior of an asteroid generation ship be like an inner city? The entire reason for proposing they have voids hollowed out instead of an endless labyrinth of smaller rooms is so that an open, Earth-like space could be created. A lot of the technical literature behind habitat design in the past, such as the NASA's 1975 Space Settlement Design Study, actually went into detail as to how much land would have to be set aside for open spaces, individual housing, recreation, etc., to avoid overtly high population densities.

The rotating 'surface' would also produce wind, and simulating a blue sky could probably be done given existing technology and a large enough interior volume. Though windows are unlikely in the context of an already unlikely asteroid starship, it's also not like anyone in Great Britain sees actual blue skies but a few times every year.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2018
@humy figures they'll stuff all the people they can in to maximize profits.

That may be right or may be wrong but it's sure worth discussing.
Scolar_Visari
3 / 5 (3) Apr 28, 2018
I think that scenario would only be remotely plausible if we assume the generation ship's being designed by the Vault-Tec Corporation.
Whydening Gyre
2.7 / 5 (3) Apr 29, 2018
@humy
Why would the interior of an asteroid generation ship be like an inner city? The entire reason for proposing they have voids hollowed out instead of an endless labyrinth of smaller rooms is so that an open, Earth-like space could be created. A lot of the technical literature behind habitat design in the past, such as the NASA's 1975 Space Settlement Design Study, actually went into detail as to how much land would have to be set aside for open spaces, individual housing, recreation, etc., to avoid overtly high population densities.

The rotating 'surface' would also produce wind, and simulating a blue sky could probably be done given existing technology and a large enough interior volume. Though windows are unlikely in the context of an already unlikely asteroid starship, it's also not like anyone in Great Britain sees actual blue skies but a few times every year.

Watch some of Isaac Arthur's youtube vids. Great stuff.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Apr 29, 2018
hunny, I agreed with you right up to the frog-popsicle. It's what I call the 'Alzheimers Cure Dilemma'. The best possible outcome would develop prevention of the various forms of senile dementia. 2nd best would be to stop further damage.

Actually curing diseases & injuries already causing loss of brain mass will result in unexpected dilemmas.

Biological brains function differently than electro-mechanical computers. Human personalities are a combination of memories, biochemical reactions to the environment and life experiences. Bundled chemical chains of smell, sound, tactile interacting with internal thought processes. In other words, inside our heads? "It's a real mess in there!"

What you want to preserve is your personality as it exists now. Just as curing an Alzheimer patient will not restore the former person. When you decant the frozen voyagers? They will have a different personality than they were originally. Acting the part of the person they used to be.
Edenlegaia
not rated yet Apr 29, 2018
This is how we'll travel to the stars. It'll take us under ten million years to populate the galaxy's usable planets, assuming we stick to planets. Of course, we'll have to survive that long. Not many species do.


Maybe it's then up to us to be one of those? We have yet to see any species travel via Asteroïd Spacelines after disrputing its course and changing it just to colonize other places.
If we manage to maintain or upgrade our shape, mankind will truly write history. Other species showing themselves everywhere in the galaxy, with bright pink flashes and silent honks? None known.
Scolar_Visari
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 29, 2018
@Edenlegaia
This was the exact reasoning of Michael Hart and Frank Tipler when they created what is more popularly known as Fermi's Paradox.

To put both of their works in a nut shell: If an intelligence alien civilization existed, they would've populated the entire galaxy within a two million years. Since they are not here, humanity is the sole intelligent species in the universe.

While they have long since been taken to task for their work (see Gray's, "The Fermi Paradox is Neither Fermi's Nor a Paradox" Astrobiology 2015 and Freitas' "There is no Fermi Paradox" Icarus 1985), both authors were ironically optimistic regarding interstellar travel. In the words of Hart's, "Explanation for the Absence of Extraterrestrials on Earth" Q. Jl R. astr. Soc. 1975:

"In the long run, cultures descended directly from ours will probably occupy most of the habitable planets in our Galaxy."

Amusingly, both Hart and Tippler are now better known for their pseudoscientific work.
xponen
1 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2018
All this assume Radiation in space can be beaten successfully by the Asteroid or the Spaceship. Without radiation protection I imagine any bioreactors or personnel in the starship will be sterile after a few generation and went extinct.

Radiation is still an open problem while the "MELISSA" programme PROBABLY assume it is not a problem and focus only on life support & Carbon recycling for an immediate suvivability (probably for months & years but not decade to a century where DNA integrity played more role).
SCVGoodToGo
4 / 5 (4) Apr 30, 2018
For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky...
TopCat22
5 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2018
we would just need to find an suitable asteroid. Metals and ice rich solid rock. We work on creating internal habitation, drives and power generation (fusion and/or fission or even more simple chemical reactions with a large mineral rich one). The asteroid becomes a steerable planet with drives. There is no reason for it to be round or smooth and it can be an evolving construction project.

Once you have the drives and power working and enough hollow spaces for living and working for the number of people you start with say a few hundred (like a large submarine). Those people start breeding and making more habitable space till it can be home to millions of people in a large city complex inside a large asteroid.

If we are lucky we could find one already in a large enough elliptical orbit to already go near another solar system (like oumaomao) and just have to nudge it and steer it to go elsewhere. Sections could be made to detach and attach to other large rocks found in space
mauldred
5 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2018
Are they completely mad?
Are they really seriously considering arranging generations of people to be helplessly imprisoned in the confined space of an asteroid with most people born in the asteroid learning they will spend the rest of their natural lives imprisoned there with no hope of escape before dying of old age because they are lighty years away from the nearest solar system?

You are and most of us are, currently, living imprisoned helplessly on the surface of a rocky ball, with little hope of ever going to space, let alone escaping to another planet. A big enough asteroid can offer the same living space as California or France or Japan. Most people living in those places never lived abroad, or only for a very short time, and spend basically all their life in such a limited space, only occasionally enjoying a few days of vacation in a nearby country or state.
Edenlegaia
not rated yet Apr 30, 2018
@Edenlegaia

To put both of their works in a nut shell: If an intelligence alien civilization existed, they would've populated the entire galaxy within a two million years. Since they are not here, humanity is the sole intelligent species in the universe.


Now now. Let's not take this as a certainty. Only as an observation. It's what we currently know, and we know we don't know much yet. The work you're talking about seems more about a challenge than a probability.
Still, i don't think we should take any probability of alien civs having existed before ours as granted because "Space is vast and Universe is old". We should rather keep in our mind that since we're a relatively young species, there would be no surprise if we were to discover we weren't first to do what we are trying to do.
Until we discover more, those Schröedingaliens will have to wait in the box of unproven probabilities.
TopCat22
5 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2018
i like this idea altogether and its easier than most other things we could do. think about one of Elons Boring Machines constantly digging in a California size asteroid in a highly elliptical orbit (like Omauomauo)... with many mag-lev catapults firing waste rocks out of portholes at a large fraction of the speed of light..for thrussters.

If its already travelling at the escape velocity to leave our system would not take much to steer elsewhere... also sectioning off pieces with populations of their own to tap other suitable rocks along the way to colonise the galaxy.

these people would evolve to never need an actual planet ... much like city people today do not need to farm or make things or move much to survive and live and reproduce in city environments now. Not much different living in an apartment and the view will be spectacular all the time.
Scolar_Visari
3.8 / 5 (4) Apr 30, 2018
@Edenlegaia
Oh no, you misread. I wasn't taking Hart & Tippler's conclusions as a certainty, I was merely summarizing them. As the cited refutations indicate, I'm whatever the opposite of a fan is.

Though, as a matter of fact, I'm also not a fan of asteroid ships. While their exterior would provide excellent shielding, it also comes at a high mass penalty that technological progress will likely surpass. More importantly, asteroids tend to not be very monolithic objects (typically being held together by their own gravity) and they are of course poorly optimized for any sort of propulsion system!
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (3) May 01, 2018
This Universe is not 'old'. It is a mere 13+ billion years as we measure from the proposed BB accidental breakage of chaos.

A pity that we are 'Sooners' to this early period of Cosmic indifference. The best chance of simultaneous Living Worlds and multiple Alien sophonts will be about ten billion years from now. After the first few collisions of the Milky Way & Andromeda Galaxies.

As for living inside asteroids? "The faster you go, the harder you hit!"

The shell itself will accumulate secondary radiation and eventually irradiate the interior. In addition, the issue of Miner's occupational diseases and disabling conditions.

Also, centripetal acceleration is a very poor replacement for gravitational attraction for biological organisms.

Not to mention the engineering issues such as the effect of torque on the mass of the asteroid. Even if you do melt it down and recast it into a solid body.

And, Coriolis forces upon the atmosphere of a hollow rock and hydraulics.
Scolar_Visari
3.8 / 5 (4) May 01, 2018
@rrwillsj
Relative to the age entire human species and, indeed, all life on Earth, the Universe is indeed quite a bit old.

Yet while that may be a matter of perspective, your claim regarding secondary radiation is absolutely inaccurate: The braking radiation created by the impacting of the surface material can be absorbed in turn by the material underneath separating living space from outer spacel; effectiveness increasing with depth and density. There have been a great deal of technical papers published on the matter, such as Miller et al.'s, "Lunar soil as shielding against space radiation" Radiation Measurements 2009 and Kim, Hu & Cucinotta's, "Effect of Shielding MAterials from SPEs on the Lunar and Mras Surface" AIAA 2006. As the latter noted, the use of hydrogenated composites underneath denser materials would be particularly helpful against secondary particles. To say nothing of active shielding eliminating bremsstrahlung altogether.
Scolar_Visari
4.7 / 5 (3) May 01, 2018
There's also absolutely no data to suggest that, "centripetal acceleration is a very poor replacement for gravitational attraction for biological organisms." In fact, Theodore Hall recently wrote a paper for the 2016 International Conference on Environmental Systems that supports a conclusion directly opposite of your own: "Artificial Gravity in Theory and Practice". The few negative physiological effects from what little artificial gravity tests have been attempted are almost all certainly owed to the very high angular velocity of the setups (being very small), and there's simply not a big difference in practice between being accelerated down to Earth in its gravity well and being thrown to the walls from centripetal acceleration.

Though, as I implied earlier, this is all only relevant to monolithic (IE solid) asteroids, and it's not like most already rotate at high speeds without destroying themselves.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet May 02, 2018
This is how we'll travel to the stars. It'll take us under ten million years...we'll have to survive that long. Not many species do
There's an enormous amount of real estate right here in this system to inhabit. Vast cities, parks, preserves can and will be created under the surface of many world's.

The problem may be getting enough people to inhabit them. Western nations have already achieved zero growth without refugees and if populations on this planet shrink drastically then there may be no compelling reason to leave it... But because it's absolutely essential for us to disperse a bit to ensure survival of the species, im sure compelling reasons will be concocted to do so.

Like AGW...

Meanwhile machines can and will be assuming most all our activities in space, including interstellar travel and exploration. But then, why send probes to the next system when we can build planet-sized telescopes that can tell us everything we would want to know about it?
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet May 02, 2018
Evolving civilization might mean that instead of expanding without limit, we begin to shrink. We begin to emphasize quality over quantity in the species, a decidedly feminine prerogative.

And we will become gradually less and less human as we swap organs for widgets and gadgets far better suited to the tasks at hand, and we meld with the machines around us.

And at some point all that will be left is a little ball of goo. And we KNOW we can we can replace THAT with something far more functional and appropriate.

Welcome the Singularity.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) May 02, 2018
All this assume Radiation in space can be beaten successfully by the Asteroid or the Spaceship.
A bunch of rock should work relatively well. Like inside an asteroid. This is one of the attractions of this method.

If more is needed perhaps we should investigate Earth's magnetosphere for ideas.
Edenlegaia
not rated yet May 02, 2018
Evolving civilization might mean that instead of expanding without limit, we begin to shrink. We begin to emphasize quality over quantity in the species, a decidedly feminine prerogative.

And we will become gradually less and less human as we swap organs for widgets and gadgets far better suited to the tasks at hand, and we meld with the machines around us.

And at some point all that will be left is a little ball of goo. And we KNOW we can we can replace THAT with something far more functional and appropriate.

Welcome the Singularity.


There can be an artificial way to "preserve current human model", by creating feodal worlds there and there, something messing up with their evolution and stuff.....warhammer40k style.
That is, if becoming a ball of goo seems too extreme and a necessary step to become more.
Will nostalgia become useless? The current humanoïd form would not be missed. That'd be too bad.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (3) May 02, 2018
Oh dear, I have to agree with otto's shrewd projections of robots in space and humans on Earth. Sorry otto. Better luck next time.

I also agree with hunny's analysis of the psychological effects & affects of being imprisoned in long-distance. generational voyages. For those of you who have had the delightful experience of raising teenagers? Yeah, lots of attitude and damn little gratitude. Now stuff all those pleasant memories into a tin can and shoot them off into space. Bon Voyage!

- cont'd -
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (3) May 02, 2018
- cont'd -

As for the rest of you? Sober up and peruse these recent papers covering various health and engineering issues that will need to be resolved to accomplish a sustained, survivable multi-generation colony. Whether
In-System or Interstellar.

https://gizmodo.c...95125973

https://medicalxp...ars.html

https://en.wikipe..._gravity

https://en.wikipe...mic_rays

https://www.natur...j2015239

https://phys.org/...ipe.html
Scolar_Visari
3.7 / 5 (3) May 02, 2018
@rrwillsj
You should take your own advice in the future and read your links before sharing them. None of them actually support your claims that, "centripetal acceleration is a very poor replacement for gravitational attraction" and that objects hit by bremsstrahlung with, "accumulate secondary radiation".

Muscle and bone density losses aren't going to be relevant if under artificial gravity, and braking radiation ceases to be a problem if you eliminate it altogether. Moreover, the Wikipedia articles directly contradict your claims as to how they are and can be mitigated. As the article on cosmic rays directly mentions that, "secondary and fragmented particles may be reduced by the use of hydrogen or light elements for shielding."

The, "cold-arid limits of microbial life in permafrost" and uranium pipe cleaning robots are hardly relevant to a topic that involves neither permafrost or uranium pipes.

And no one here's claimed there wouldn't be engineering issues.
Da Schneib
1 / 5 (1) May 02, 2018
I think that we're going to have to live in space, and I think the first most obvious place is Earth-crossing asteroids and the next is the asteroid belt. Mars just doesn't offer the resources asteroids will nor does the Moon.

We'll experiment first in Earth orbit, but the resource constraints will push us outward.
Da Schneib
1 / 5 (1) May 02, 2018
As for robots, think space-drones.

:D
TopCat22
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2018
I am somewhat certain that Elon Musks teams at SpaceX and the Boring Company have units to merge operations where they launch boring machines (or parts to assemble) on a suitable asteroid.

There are a few that pass close enough to the earth to reach.

Once there autonomous boring machine can start working to make space inside it. Magnetic Canons (built in to the Boring Machine) would provide propulsion to steer it.

This may start as a plan to deflect an earth grazing asteroid that may look to be a hazard to our planet.

No reason why we cannot get good enough at it to actually drive them like transit systems. Use them to combine large solid metallic-rocks to build hundred or thousands cities in orbit around the sun.

and when Omauomauo type objects swing buy from other systems tag on to them to orbit other parts of the nearby portions of the galaxy.

We have to start sometime and it looks like Elon Musk is working on two important technologies to start us off.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet May 03, 2018
I think that we're going to have to live in space, and I think the first most obvious place is Earth-crossing asteroids and the next is the asteroid belt. Mars just doesn't offer the resources asteroids will nor does the Moon
So little flying rocks spaced several AU apart around the solar system, with wildly diverging delta V, have more resources than a planet similar to earth but entirely unexploited so that these goodies are all at or near the surface, waiting to be processed in a relatively tame and pleasant environment... close enough to the sun for PV rather than nuclear... CO2 atmosphere convenient for dissociating, also water ice all over the place...

I could go on but I think I will laugh now haha.

Just WTF are you on dude?
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet May 03, 2018
No reason why we cannot get good enough at it to actually drive them like transit systems. Use them to combine large solid metallic-rocks to build hundred or thousands cities in orbit around the sun
Yeah we've read Kim Stanley Robinson. Perhaps you have too? No?
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (2) May 03, 2018
S_V, it's not one thing or the other thing. It is a combination of all the things that are problematic for constructing a Hollowed Asteroid Habitat. A HAH. (Okay, I did not intend that as an amusing acronym. But I'll relish the joke.) What will basically be a structured cylinder, a giant pipe in space. A collector of a spectrum of radiation.

S_V, What you ignored in the reference material were the words "maybe', 'unknown', 'will need to be tested', 'lacking long-term data", 'maybe', 'perhaps', 'still to be resolved', 'if we develop such & such, it might make so & so possible'.

That is called having the humility to comprehend the limits of what we can prove now.

The structure would either be an orbiting habitat or a voyaging vessel. The voyager would be an entire magnitude of problems beyond that of an orbiter.

Rotating for the oxymoron of 'Artificial Gravity' is actually centripetal acceleration. You would be pushed by the movement of the structure not pulled.
TopCat22
not rated yet May 03, 2018
No reason why we cannot get good enough at it to actually drive them like transit systems. Use them to combine large solid metallic-rocks to build hundred or thousands cities in orbit around the sun
Yeah we've read Kim Stanley Robinson. Perhaps you have too? No?


Never heard of him nor read... just pulled the above form the top of my head
Da Schneib
4 / 5 (4) May 03, 2018
@rrwillsj, gravity and acceleration are indistinguishable by a local experiment. This is called the equivalence principle and it has been shown in experiments both on Earth's surface and in Earth orbit. Now, because human lives are involved and doctors don't study physics, the medical profession is conservative to a fault.

It's OK to be conservative to a fault but you have to be consistent; and ignoring the equivalence principle is not conservative.
TopCat22
not rated yet May 03, 2018
acceleration is indistinguishable from gravity ... Think About The Einstein Elevator
Scolar_Visari
4.5 / 5 (2) May 03, 2018
@rrwillsj
Once more: None of the links supported what you were and still are claiming. I even noted one contradicts your understanding of braking radiation and shielding. The, "unknowns" in your own links have zero relevance to the topic at hand they assume free fall and low-mass shielding in existing environments. The articles are only relevant in the context of near-future travel, rather than shielded and rotating habitats.

No one here is saying that there are going to be engineering issues, but that's not to say they haven't been formally addressed in works like O'Neill's "The colonization of space" Physics Today 1974 and NASA's 1975 Space Settlement: a Design Study. The real problem is that you're implying they're all insurmountable.

Again, you should take your own advice and gain some humility before lecturing others. Whatever the issues with asteroid habitats are (and I could name many), you are certainly not addressing them.
Scolar_Visari
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2018
Correction: No one here is saying that there are not going to be engineering issues
TopCat22
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2018
acceleration is indistinguishable from gravity ... Think About The Einstein Elevator


A auto-robotic tunnel boring machine with built in mag-lev cannon running on its own nuclear power plant lands on a suitable asteroid. Its starts drilling and ejecting mater in the same direction creating circular rotation of the asteroid. If it does nothing else it will create a suitably hollow asteroid rotating with sufficient spin to create artificial gravity inside. When its ready people and the rest arrive to colonise it. Protected from radiation and with suitable gravity... much easier than doing something similar to be a habitat on mars.
Da Schneib
1 / 5 (1) May 03, 2018
I suspect that we will use nanomachines to mine asteroids and comets. Not alone; there will be robots too, and eventually people, but nanomachines will do most of the work.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (2) May 03, 2018
Acceleration may have some similarity to Gravity but it is not an 'equivalent'. You can turn off acceleration. In small, very localized experiments and in imaginary thought experiments, you can compare the two.

But I thought we were speculating about huge structures, at extreme velocities? A massive structure spinning around a unsupported internal open space.?

While preventing internal creep by masses of granular materials? Such as soil, water and air. What are the health effects of rotational torque against acceleration?

When ballistic vector is reached, the acceleration ceases. Now you have to rotate even faster to maintain the illusion of artificial gravity. Oops, forgot to include the results of maneuvering the vessel. To begin deceleration until the habitat is in a stable orbit. Where you get to spin it up again.

While everything from space debris to gasses to radiations galore are slamming the hull from all directions. For centuries of damage.
TrollBane
not rated yet May 03, 2018
I'm surprised at the downvotes on a suggestion of Isaac Arthur's videos. Those are usually top notch content. It's like voting down a suggestion to check out Atomic Rockets. Perhaps it's more about the who than the what.
TopCat22
not rated yet May 05, 2018
Acceleration may have some similarity to Gravity but it is not an 'equivalent'.

When ballistic vector is reached, the acceleration ceases. Now you have to rotate even faster to maintain the illusion of artificial gravity. Oops, forgot to include the results of maneuvering the vessel. To begin deceleration until the habitat is in a stable orbit. Where you get to spin it up again.


You're very wrong... once the intended spin rate is reached, centripetal force acts to push you towards the floor which is the inside shell of the borehole along the equatorial plane of rotation. The walls will work just like walls and the ceiling like a ceiling above you. There is no way for you to know you are not on the earth inside a borehole of similar size and shape. You live in tunnels like mole rats You grow food like an ant colony.

No need to hollow our the entire rock. Just bore tunnels as needed
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2018
All this assume Radiation in space can be beaten successfully by the Asteroid or the Spaceship.


10 tons per square meter of shielding is enough to reduce any radiation to Earthlike levels. A huge asteroid spaceship like the one proposed would have no issue with radiation.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2018
I think the first applications of such a hollowed out asteroid with robust long-term life support will be more prosaic: A service hub for nearby autonomus asteroid mining operations. Probably with some sort of launcher that will impart the necessary delta v to the mined metal ingots.

If we go to the stars the timeline will be so long that I think we should look to changing ourselves to fit the voyage (and the destination!), rather than changing the ship to fit current human biology
I.e. either we go as something hardy, able to hibernate, able to slow down or - straight up - as an abstraction that is (or isn't) reintroduced into an appropriate bodily form at the destination...because there's no chance in hell that current human physiology will be fit for anywhere we get to.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2018
Any asteroid would fly apart if spun up to simulate gravity. Also, it is not very efficient to accelerate whole asteroids to interstellar velocities, or any velocities for that matter. Asteroids are very good and important for resource mining, but thats about it. As places for people to live, they suck, dedicated spaceships and dedicated space stations are much better. I can see interstellar colonization happening by large generation spaceships flying outwards from solar system, flying from roid to roid to resupply, even leaving a string of space stations in their wake, until ultimately they reach other stars. It would take only few hundred million years to colonize entire galaxy even at this leisurely pace, a mere fraction of the age of the universe.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) May 06, 2018
Any asteroid would fly apart if spun up to simulate gravity.

You don't need to spin it up. All you need to spin up is the living area inside.

it is not very efficient to accelerate whole asteroids to interstellar velocities

Since they are aiming for a rather long voyage time that doesn't matter. It also highly depends on the kind of propulsion you use. With an Bussard ramjet or a fusion drive and prelaunched fuel pods one could achieve decent speeds (though the "prelaunch" scenario is pretty risky)
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) May 07, 2018
How are we intending to propel our asteriod, Rockets; the fuel will weigh more than the asteroid and take up more room than the asteroid, Nuclear bomblets are not feasable.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet May 07, 2018
Any asteroid would fly apart if spun up to simulate gravity
Most asteroids are already spinning. And many are very solid like 16 Psyche - an asteroid made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal.
not very efficient to accelerate whole asteroids to interstellar velocities, or any velocities for that matter
-says the guesser who never read anything about the subject.
Rockets; the fuel will weigh more than the asteroid and take up more room than the asteroid
Reactors can ionize asteroid material for use as propellent.
Nuclear bomblets are not feasable
Why not? All you would need is a Project Orion pusher plate and ion attitude jets. Halfway there at 1g and then flip for decel at 1g.

"...interstellar travel at 1G would take approximately 1 year + the distance in lightyears. Proxima Centauri (4.2 light years) for example would take 5.2 years." -???
https://space.sta...ou-there
-Thorough analysis
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet May 07, 2018
"The Mountain View, Calif.-based Made In Space, Inc., responsible for the first 3D printer to function in zero gravity conditions, will use its additive manufacturing expertise and backing from NASA to continue work on its Project Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata (RAMA). That initiative "turns asteroids into basic spacecraft capable of moving themselves to useful locations in space," according to a blog post by Made In Space co-founder and chief technology officer Jason Dunn."

Nuclear pulse propulsion
https://en.wikipe...opulsion

-per shotmans misguided comment about spinning up asteroids for gravity

"Some asteroids are clearly solid chunks of rock & metal:
Densities of 3-5 g/cc, like solid rock & metals
Heavily cratered surfaces and dusty regoliths..."

-we would just have to pick the most suitable, yes?
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet May 07, 2018
"At diameters < 150 meters, a population of objects appears with substantially faster rotation rates. As these objects are spinning too fast to be gravitationally bound rubble piles, some workers leapt to the conclusion that they are chunks of solid rock and dubbed them Monolithic Fast Rotating Asteroids (MFRAs)."

-this is natural rotation as opposed to artificial rotation of a hollow object reinforced and engineered to be structurally stable.
TopCat22
not rated yet May 07, 2018
How are we intending to propel our asteriod, Rockets; the fuel will weigh more than the asteroid and take up more room than the asteroid, Nuclear bomblets are not feasable.


You make a particle accelerator inside the asteroid. You take asteroid particles and ionizer them. You accelerate them till they reach a reasonable fraction of the speed of light and then direct them off into space in the opposite direction of desired travel. The resulting reaction is that the asteroid will be propelled.

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