Oort cloud

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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Jeff Peachman
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Oort cloud

Postby Jeff Peachman » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:20 pm

Random thoughts.

It seems to me that fusion might be the only viable energy source if people ever venture into the Oort cloud. Kuiper belt objects wouldn't contain much in terms of fission fuel, I imagine.

But it seems that with fusion it might be possible. Would we ever build on the surface of these objects? I imagine the thermal energy that would leak from any human habitat might melt everything around it. But perhaps we could just mine materials from them and live in habitats nearby. But I'm pretty sure there aren't many metals in KBOs to make habitats from. And although you could use the carbon to make some structural materials, you can't make everything out of carbon.

So, is it feasible for people to live there?
- Jeff Peachman

Helius
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Re: Oort cloud

Postby Helius » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:02 am

Jeff Peachman wrote:Random thoughts.

It seems to me that fusion might be the only viable energy source if people ever venture into the Oort cloud. Kuiper belt objects wouldn't contain much in terms of fission fuel, I imagine.

But it seems that with fusion it might be possible. Would we ever build on the surface of these objects? I imagine the thermal energy that would leak from any human habitat might melt everything around it. But perhaps we could just mine materials from them and live in habitats nearby. But I'm pretty sure there aren't many metals in KBOs to make habitats from. And although you could use the carbon to make some structural materials, you can't make everything out of carbon.

So, is it feasible for people to live there?


I like it. I always felt that SETI projects have the wrong philosophy looking toward sun like stars for intelligent signals; They'd be better off looking *beween* the stars, in the Oort and Kuiper clouds and elliptics. If a civilization is going to live 1M years, then 999,999 of them will be in deep space.

In my minds eye, a very advanced Oort civilization will need to be on the hunt for structural materials, but have plenty of ices to work with. I see them as accreting large ice objects to build within, making their own Plutoids if needed. Heavy material structure will permeate the accretion objects, but the metals required will be in short supply, and there may be the propensity to "raid" weaker Oort civilizations for their heavy materials. This would be universal, since *All* Oort civilizations would find the lack of metals to be the most restricting of their growth. Oort Civilizations, therefore, wouldn't be inclined to broadcast their locations. Communication would be limited to directed energy, such as Lasers, to other Oort civilizations that have a common ancestor. An Oort civilization would be terrified that a more powerful Oort civilization, with perhaps a different origin and ancestry entirely, would make a go for their metals.

It's a dog eat dog world out there! :)

Quaoar
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Re: Oort cloud

Postby Quaoar » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:44 pm

Jeff Peachman wrote:Random thoughts.

It seems to me that fusion might be the only viable energy source if people ever venture into the Oort cloud. Kuiper belt objects wouldn't contain much in terms of fission fuel, I imagine.

But it seems that with fusion it might be possible. Would we ever build on the surface of these objects? I imagine the thermal energy that would leak from any human habitat might melt everything around it. But perhaps we could just mine materials from them and live in habitats nearby. But I'm pretty sure there aren't many metals in KBOs to make habitats from. And although you could use the carbon to make some structural materials, you can't make everything out of carbon.

So, is it feasible for people to live there?


I think they can built the most part of their habitat structure with carbon. Carbon is abundant and can be extracted form methane ice.
Probably there be some metal in the rocky core of the KBO or in the Kuiper belt can be some metallic asteroid covered by an ice crust.
Or metal can be imported in excange for water.
For the illumination they can use a very huge and thin solar mirror, but is simple to build an artificial sun: get a Dr. B'DFP thruster, cut off the divertor coils, choose the correct diluition rate to have a plasma temperature of 5500 °K, and you will have a very good light source for a deep-space habitat.
I use this kind of device in my novels.

Best regard
Quaoar

Professor Science
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Postby Professor Science » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:47 pm

I actually read a book called islands in the sky, it was a very thorough discussion on space exploration and commercialization, from a current scientiffic to the highly theoretical stand point.

What it had to say about the oort cloud was yes, you could use fusion, but it would dictate the life span of your colony, as they had definitively finite fuel per comet. They also had some structured materials and you could unfurl a very thin mirror/collector system to generate non-trivial amounts of energy indefinitly. Certainly not enough to melt pluto or something, but enough for living purposes. It basically was describing how longevity of a cometary culture was inversely related to it's power consumption, which is fairly self evident when you think about it for a few minutes.
The pursuit of knowledge is in the best of interest of all mankind.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:46 pm

Minor correction:

If a civilization is going to live 1M years, then 985,000 of them will be in deep space. Roughly.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Helius
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Postby Helius » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:53 am

MSimon wrote:Minor correction:

If a civilization is going to live 1M years, then 985,000 of them will be in deep space. Roughly.


Thanks for the correction!

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:40 am

Professor Science wrote:I actually read a book called islands in the sky, it was a very thorough discussion on space exploration and commercialization, from a current scientiffic to the highly theoretical stand point.

What it had to say about the oort cloud was yes, you could use fusion, but it would dictate the life span of your colony, as they had definitively finite fuel per comet. They also had some structured materials and you could unfurl a very thin mirror/collector system to generate non-trivial amounts of energy indefinitly. Certainly not enough to melt pluto or something, but enough for living purposes. It basically was describing how longevity of a cometary culture was inversely related to it's power consumption, which is fairly self evident when you think about it for a few minutes.


What is the difference between a colony that lasts 20 million years and one that lasts 10 million? It is a question that can be put off for a while. Maybe we will have invented hydrogen fusion by then and won't have to depend on deuterium.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Aero
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Postby Aero » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:24 pm

I can't help it!

What is the difference between a colony that lasts 20 million years and one that lasts 10 million?


10 million years!
Aero

Professor Science
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Postby Professor Science » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:05 pm

MSimon wrote:What is the difference between a colony that lasts 20 million years and one that lasts 10 million? It is a question that can be put off for a while. Maybe we will have invented hydrogen fusion by then and won't have to depend on deuterium.


Oh no, I think he stipulated H-H fusion, which I don't think is holey unreasonable, i mean, youv'e got the tech to hang out in the oort cloud. And either you had a small population or few watts per person if you wanted to hang out on that particular comet for more than a couple thousand years. It's a shame I don't have the book in my dorm room right now, otherwise I'd pull up the exact info.
The pursuit of knowledge is in the best of interest of all mankind.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:28 pm

Aero wrote:I can't help it!

What is the difference between a colony that lasts 20 million years and one that lasts 10 million?


10 million years!


Heh.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.


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