Orbital Space Settlements

slipperhangingAI and Robotics

Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Orbital Space Settlements
and a Solar System Wide
Web

Al Globus

CSC at NASA Ames

November 2000

Humanity could be life's ticket to the stars

(The dinosaurs weren’t space
-
faring)

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle
-
mir/photos/sts71/mir
-
imax/hmg0018.jpg

People Live Everywhere


Every continent, including Antarctica


Hottest, driest deserts


Coldest, iciest regions


Wettest rain forests


On water


For short periods, in orbit


6,000,000,000 people on Earth

Life is Everywhere


On nearly all land areas


In nearly all waters


In the rocks under the Earth


In near
-
boiling water


In ice


On desert rocks


On a spacecraft on the Moon

Next Target: Orbit


Your lifetime: thousands of people
living in orbit


A few centuries: most of humanity in
orbit.



Next millenium:
generation ships
to the stars

Orbital Space Settlement


Who?

Ordinary people.


What?

Artificial ecosystems inside
gigantic rotating, pressurized
spacecraft.


Where?

In orbit; near Earth at first.


How?

With great difficulty.


Why?

To grow.


When?

Decades.


How much will it cost?

If you have to
ask, you can't afford it.

Who


Today: highly trained astronauts.


$20
-
40 million tourist trip to Mir


Survivor in Space


Tomorrow:
everyone who wants to go.


100
-

10,000,000 people per colony


Ultimately, thousands or even millions of
colonies


Sounds unrealistic?


A hundred years ago nobody had ever flown in
an airplane.


Today ~ 500 million person/flights per year.

What


A space settlement is a home in orbit,
not just a place to work.


Live on the inside of air
-
tight,
kilometer scale, rotating spacecraft.

Where


In orbit, not on a planet or moon.


Moon (1/6g) and Mars (3/8g) gravity
too low.


Children will not have the bones and
muscles needed to visit Earth.


Orbital colonies rotate for 1g.


Continuous solar energy.


Large
-
scale construction easier.


Much closer: hours not days or
months.

How


Materials


Moon


Oxygen, silicon, metals, some hydrogen for
water.


Near
-
Earth Asteroids


Wide variety of materials including water,
carbon, metals, and silicon.


Radiation protection


Life support: Biosphere II scientific
failure, engineering success!


Transportation critical and difficult.

Why


Growth = survival.


Largest asteroid converted to space
settlements can produce living area
~500 times the surface area of the
Earth
.


3D object to 2D shells


Uncrowded homes for trillions of people.


New

land.


Nice place to live.

Real Estate Features


Great views


Low/0
-
g recreation


Human powered flight


Cylindrical swimming pools


Dance, gymnastics


Sports: soccer


Environmental independence


Custom living


Weather art

When


A few decades should be sufficient to
build the first one.


No serious effort now.


Technology requirements:


Safer, cheaper launch


Extraterrestrial materials


Large scale orbital construction


Closed ecological life support systems


And much more

How much will it cost?


If you have to ask, you can’t afford
it.


How much did Silicon Valley cost?


Orbital space settlements will be far
more expensive:


all materials imported


transportation difficult


build all life support


hostile environment


new techniques must be developed

Key Problem: Launch


$/kg

$/me

(73 kg)

Failure rate

Shuttle

22,000

1,606,000

0.5
-
1%

Commercial
launcher

2,600
-
30,000

189,800
-
2,190,000

6
-
33%

airline

5

365

1/2,000,000

2010 NASA goal

2,200

160,600

1/10,000

2020 NASA goal

220

16,060

1/10,000



Launch Data Systems


Major opportunities for information
technology.


SIAT: wiring trend data were very
difficult to develop.


Some launch failures caused by
software


Sea Launch second flight


Ariane V


The comma “,”


Information Power Grid


IPG: integrated nationwide network of computers,
databases, and instruments.


The Network is the Computer


IPG value


help reduce launch costs and failure rates


support for automation necessary to exploit solar system
exploration by thousands of spacecraft


Problems:


low bandwidths


long latencies


intermittent communications

Integration Timeline

NAS


Single building


A few supercomputers


Many workstations


Mass storage


Visualization


Remote access

IPG


Nation wide


Many supercomputers


Condor pools


Mass storage


Instruments

This talk


Solar system wide


Terrestrial Grid


Satellites


Landers and Rovers


Deep space comm.

Relevant IPG Research


Reservations


insure CPUs available for close encounter


Co
-
scheduling


insure DSN and CPU resources available


Network scheduling


Proxies for firewalls


Extend to represent remote spacecraft to hide:


low bandwidth


long latency


intermittent communication

IPG Launch Data System
Vision


Complete database: human and machine
readable


Software agent architecture for
continuous examination of the database


Large computational capabilities


Model based reasoning


Wearable computers/augmented reality


Multi
-
user virtual reality optimized for
launch decision support


Automated computationally
-
intensive
software testing

2020 Tourism


Hotel


Doctors


Maids


Cooks


Recreational directors


Reservation clerks


etc.


These may be the first colonists.

Low/0
-
g
Handicapped/Elderly Colony


No wheelchairs needed.


No bed sores.


Easy to move body even when weak.


Never fall and break hip.


Grandchildren will love to visit.


Need good medical facilities.


Telemedicine


Probably can’t return to Earth.

AsterAnts:

A Concept for
Large
-
Scale Meteoroid Return

Al Globus, MRJ, Inc.

Bryan Biegel, MRJ Inc.

Steve Traugott, Sterling Software, Inc.

NASA Ames Research Center

Deliver
extraterrestrial
materials to LEO


Support solar
system
colonization

Near Earth Object
Materials


Mining of large NEOs very difficult
to automate


Mining involves large forces


Materials properties are unknown and
variable


Capture of small NEO may not require
human life support


10 million
-

1 billion 10m diameter
NEOs


Far more 1m diameter NEOs

Solar Sail in Earth Orbit

World Space Foundation

Znamia 1993

Guy Pignolet



20 meter diameter spinning mirror



deployed from Progress resupply vehicle

Solar Sailing 1

Net force

Sun

Sail

Photons

Solar Sailing 2

Sun

Orbital velocity

Propulsive force

Outward spiral

Orbital velocity

Propulsive force

Inward spiral

Sail

Sail

NEO Characterization
Project



Solar System Exploration


High launch cost of launch = small number
exploration satellites



one
-
of
-
a
-
kind personnel
-
intensive ground
stations.


Model based autonomy = autonomous
spacecraft


Requirement drivers


Autonomous spacecraft use of IPG resources


low bandwidths


long latencies


intermittent communications

Each Spacecraft


Represented by an on
-
board software
object.


Communicates with terrestrial proxies to
hide communication problems


know schedule for co
-
scheduling and reservations


Data stored in Web
-
accessible archives


virtual solar system


Controlled access using IPG security for
computational editing

Spacecraft Use of IPG


Autonomous vehicles require occasional
large
-
scale processing


trajectory analysis


rendezvous plan generation


Proxy negotiates for CPU resources, saves
results for next communication window


Proxy reserves co
-
scheduled resources for
data analysis during encounters

Conclusion


The colonization of the solar system
could be the next great adventure
for humanity. There is nothing but
rock and radiation in space, no living
things, no people.
The solar system is
waiting to be brought to life by
humanity's touch.

And computer
science can help.

NEO Composition


Widely varied, includes large amounts
of:


Water


Carbon


Metals, particularly iron


Silicon


Spectral studies don’t agree very well
with meteorite analysis

Detection of 1
-
meter
diameter meteoroids


Current Earth
-
based optical asteroid
telescopes


Smallest found < 10m diameter


Maximum 1m detection distance ~ 10
6

km


2,000 to 200,000 within range at any given
time


5
-
7 hit the Earth each day


Radar required for accurate trajectory
and rotation rate

Solar sail experience


Solar sailing used by Mariner 10
mission to Mercury for attitude
control


Enabled multiple returns to Mercury by
reducing control gas consumption


Ground deployment test by World
Space Foundation


Zero
-
g deployment test by U3P in
aircraft


Russian Znamia mirror February, 1993

Solar sail meteoroid return


Characteristic acceleration of 1 mm/s
2

produces 1.3 km/s delta
-
v per month


170
-
182 meters square sail for 500 kg
NEO return at 0.25 mm/s
2

characteristic
acceleration


Once design is refined, mass production of
AsterAnts spacecraft


?NASA build first one open source, then
pay for meteoroid materials by the ton?

Summary


Capture ~1 m diameter NEOs (Near
Earth Objects)


Return to LEO (Low Earth Orbit)


Solar sails for propulsion


Start with one small spacecraft, scale
up with copies


Early returns have scientific value,
later materials for construction and
resupply

Conclusion


Benefits


small down payment (one small spacecraft)


scales by mass production


missions can probably be automated


no consumables


Challenges


1m NEO detection difficult


solar sails have little flight experience


geosynchronous applications require space
manufactured sails