Space-Sunoco

Postby draque » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:28 am

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMCSUUHJCF_index_0.html
and for reference... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_%28moon%29

Something like this is a pretty big deal if it's true. If the moon is made largely of car-foods like the Cassani data says, it could be a jump station to the rest of the solar system better than anything we possibly could have imagined. It's low gravity, high chemical energy, low temperature moon with heavy mineral deposits (i.e. useful metals), an opaque atmosphere to shield from radiation and large deposits of water ice.

There was a small discussion about colonization of various places earlier and a lot of people seemed to have a pessimistic view. As long as we find a way to shield from radiation on the trip... can anyone think of a reason that this moon wouldn't be ideal for... well, pretty much everything?
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby Tychomonger » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:20 am

The way it just hangs in the sky, tempting you to blow it up... There is no way the moon would be safefrom me!
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby strange_person » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:21 pm

It'll be perfectly safe until we pour liquid oxygen all over it.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby Thilia » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:07 am

Put in some rail guns on Titan, blast the goop toward the sun, then intercept it at a LaGrange point near the earth. Just let the gravity well do the hard work of hauling the goop to a solar-powered refinery.

Then we can take all of this precious petroleum product and rain down hideous fiery death upon our rivals from orbit.

At least, I think that's what we would probably do if we decided to go out there and get that precious liquid.


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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby draque » Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:38 am

Thilia wrote:Put in some rail guns on Titan, blast the goop toward the sun, then intercept it at a LaGrange point near the earth. Just let the gravity well do the hard work of hauling the goop to a solar-powered refinery.

Then we can take all of this precious petroleum product and rain down hideous fiery death upon our rivals from orbit.

At least, I think that's what we would probably do if we decided to go out there and get that precious liquid.


I dunno...I tend to think that the price tag on getting there is so high that anyone able to afford it would be less than worried about actual physical competition with rivals. Corporations are getting more and more powerful, which has the one upside of wars being frowned upon more and more. Wars are expensive, wasteful and do not maximize profits for anyone but arms dealers. As Conglomo starts to own you, that might be a silver lining to the acid rain clouds.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby Tychomonger » Fri Feb 15, 2008 8:29 am

The only problem is that pretty much every huge corporation has a few tendrils in War, for precisely the reasons you stated. Corporations have learned that if they are part of the inevitable war effort, their profits will go up instead of down.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby strange_person » Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:43 am

Thilia wrote:Put in some rail guns on Titan, blast the goop toward the sun, then intercept it at a LaGrange point near the earth. Just let the gravity well do the hard work of hauling the goop to a solar-powered refinery.

Then we can take all of this precious petroleum product and rain down hideous fiery death upon our rivals from orbit.

At least, I think that's what we would probably do if we decided to go out there and get that precious liquid.


-Thilia.

Well, if you're going the "firey death from above" route, you'd probably be better off with nickel-iron meteors. They're easier to sling with a railgun, and would be more likely to remain relatively intact and all the way to the target, rather than aerosolizing and gumming up the jet stream.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby Monocheres » Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:46 pm

I tend to think the cost and engineering difficulty of setting up a hydrocarbon supertanker route from Titan to Earth would be prohibitive. For the same effort I bet you could put up a fleet of geosynchronous solar power satellites all around the equator, tethered to the ground by space elevators. The space elevators could double as electrical transmission lines, so you wouldn't even need to beam the power down with microwaves. That, I think, would take care of humanity's power needs well into the foreseeable future, or until jihadists decide to blow up the space elevators, whichever comes first.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby RaharuAharu » Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:15 pm

On Chiron one of the ways we generate power is to build a Gigantic green houses, with large fans that spin when the hot hair rises. We have several city sized green houses like this for food production and power generation.

Power does generation varies by the season but it is still very effective, even
in winter.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby draque » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:02 pm

Monocheres wrote:I tend to think the cost and engineering difficulty of setting up a hydrocarbon supertanker route from Titan to Earth would be prohibitive.


I don't think that there would be lines going from there to here. The energy harvested wouldn't be worth the energy invested. What I was speculating on was whether or not it would make a viable base of operations for future expansion. It would have all the raw materials needed to expand without importing anything.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby RaharuAharu » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:35 pm

draque wrote:
Monocheres wrote:I tend to think the cost and engineering difficulty of setting up a hydrocarbon supertanker route from Titan to Earth would be prohibitive.


I don't think that there would be lines going from there to here. The energy harvested wouldn't be worth the energy invested. What I was speculating on was whether or not it would make a viable base of operations for future expansion. It would have all the raw materials needed to expand without importing anything.


Indeed it would. Very similar to earths Moon.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby draque » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:46 pm

RaharuAharu wrote:Indeed it would. Very similar to earths Moon.


The moon doesn't have useful heavy elements, easily accessible water, an atmosphere or chemical fuel. It does have proximity, low gravity and a reasonable amount of solar energy (although as it is tidally locked with the earth, there is no place on the moon that gets 24/7 light). There's a reason that we're looking to make a base there... although it would not be self sustainable in the long run. No matter how efficient it was, it would need to be periodically restocked from earth. Titan seems to have all the raw material needed for indefinite and self sustained living.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby RaharuAharu » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:29 pm

draque wrote:
RaharuAharu wrote:Indeed it would. Very similar to earths Moon.


The moon doesn't have useful heavy elements, easily accessible water, an atmosphere or chemical fuel. It does have proximity, low gravity and a reasonable amount of solar energy (although as it is tidally locked with the earth, there is no place on the moon that gets 24/7 light). There's a reason that we're looking to make a base there... although it would not be self sustainable in the long run. No matter how efficient it was, it would need to be periodically restocked from earth. Titan seems to have all the raw material needed for indefinite and self sustained living.


Earths Moon has plenty of H3 and Lots water at the poles.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby strange_person » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:37 pm

It's also possible to extract oxygen from ilmenite (moon rock) with a simple hydrogen catalyst.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby draque » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:51 pm

strange_person wrote:It's also possible to extract oxygen from ilmenite (moon rock) with a simple hydrogen catalyst.


The issue is getting that. Hydrogen is essentially free energy in most forms, so it's expensive to produce. To say you can extract water so long as you have hydrogen is like saying that you'll be fed so long as you have food.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby Monocheres » Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:28 pm

draque wrote:
strange_person wrote:It's also possible to extract oxygen from ilmenite (moon rock) with a simple hydrogen catalyst.


The issue is getting that. Hydrogen is essentially free energy in most forms, so it's expensive to produce. To say you can extract water so long as you have hydrogen is like saying that you'll be fed so long as you have food.


Well, to be fair, Titan does have a lot of hydrogen, as well as carbon (which is also useful of course), in the form of methane, ethane, and other hydrocarbons. And it has a significantly smaller gravity well than Earth. It's at least conceivable that it would be more economical to railgun buckets of the stuff from Titan to Luna than to haul it up from Earth. Someone ought to do the calculations.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby arex » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:52 pm

Now, wait. "When the hot hair rises"??? Is that a euphemism for something?


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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby strange_person » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:16 am

draque wrote:
strange_person wrote:It's also possible to extract oxygen from ilmenite (moon rock) with a simple hydrogen catalyst.


The issue is getting that. Hydrogen is essentially free energy in most forms, so it's expensive to produce. To say you can extract water so long as you have hydrogen is like saying that you'll be fed so long as you have food.

Ah, but you don't need to produce it; just let it extract the oxygen from the rocks, and then electrolyze the resulting water to re-separate it. Electrolysis should be straightforward, since solar energy is easy to get when there's lots of real estate and no atmosphere to speak of.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby draque » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:06 pm

strange_person wrote:
draque wrote:Ah, but you don't need to produce it; just let it extract the oxygen from the rocks, and then electrolyze the resulting water to re-separate it. Electrolysis should be straightforward, since solar energy is easy to get when there's lots of real estate and no atmosphere to speak of.


I'm not sure I'm understanding what you mean there. If you don't produce/extract the hydrogen, where it is coming from? The reactions that extract oxygen from other minerals essentially take advantage of the fact that hydrogen bonds are "hungrier" than oxygen bonds, leaving the hydrogen bonded to the heavier elements and freeing the oxygen. The hydrogen essentially gets used.
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Re: Space-Sunoco

Postby strange_person » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:14 pm

You mix the hydrogen with the moon rocks, producing water with a suspension of deoxygenated moonrock.

Remove the particulates with a filter or a centrifuge or something.

Separate the water back into hydrogen and oxygen with a solar-powered electrolytic cell.

Make sure the oxygen isn't contaminated with water vapor by chilling it with the frigid void of space, causing the water to precipitate out as frost.

Ship the oxygen wherever, and the hydrogen back to step 1.

Hydrogen is not used up, but rather recycled as a catalyst, like I originally said.
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