• TECHNOLOGY - UPDATE
Since July 2014 our research has proceeded on two tracks. We have conducted early stage materials testing for the pressure hull growth mechanism in order to clarify the choice between options for pressure hull expansion. A program of improvements in efficiency of the shielding and mirror geometry has greatly reduced shielding mass requirements. Hardware development and testing will begin as soon as development funding is secured.
Initial deployment of a growth capable spinning habitat may involve a pressure hull radius of (10,5)m, using a single launch for initial deployment of structure followed by deliveries of supporting hardware, and would contain 5000cu.m of habitable volume, supporting a crew of 10 at 1/3 earth gravity, with the gravity factor increasing as the radius of the structure increases with each growth iteration. The initial shielding requirement will be for 1-2 meters of shielding depth, sufficient to allow a permanent rotating crew presence in deep space, with a minimum initial water mass requirement around 4000 tons. A shielding depth of 4 meters, would allow stay-times for individual crew members of up to 2 years, assuming the NASA protocols for lifetime exposure currently in place for astronauts on board the ISS.
• ACQUISITION of WATER for SHIELDING
While regolith provides efficient shielding on a planetary surface, in space water is the material of choice for a variety of reasons. The availability in space for purchase of significant quantities of water is a reasonable extrapolation from known facts. The asteroid 3552 DonQuixote was revealed in 2013, by observations made with the Spitzer space based telescope, to be in fact a still 'sopping wet' comet with an estimated 100 billion tons of water, equivalent to the volume of Lake Tahoe. This is strong circumstantial evidence that similarly water rich bodies are more common in the inner solar system than previously suspected. The key to the discovery was Spitzer's capability for sensitive infra-red wavelength observations, which can only be made with space-based instruments. Detection and mining of such objects for water will become the space economy's equivalent of the oil industry on earth. There are already at least two announced contenders in the market, building and launching space based survey telescopes to identify likely targets. Both Planetary Resources, and Deep Space Industries, are competing to deliver water, mined from asteroids and processed into rocket fuel, for sale to commercial satellites operators seeking to extend the useful life of their very expensive and very profitable orbital assets. While their first objective is to sell rocket fuel, by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, they are also keenly aware of the forward market for water for shielding of habitats, and preparing to be able to meet this demand.
• HELP US BRING ABOUT THIS FUTURE
We are looking to develop working relationships with qualified individuals with access to sources of development funding. Please direct inquiries to Anthony Longman via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Presentations at your location can be scheduled by arrangement.