Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leaving Phoenix

I'm leaving Phoenix today or tomorrow. Yesterday I cleaned out my car. Now I have to pack it with what ever I'm taking with me. My anxiety and stress have pegged the meter. I expect this will be my last time in Phoenix. I don't see any reason for coming back.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What we wont see tomorrow

Rand has a heads up on hearings.

The government wants to take over private companies and ruin what makes them great (because only the government knows how to do things right, right?) We need to break free and offer the future an alternative.

It's not about the technology and the cost (while too high) are not prohibitive.

What is lacking is vision. Space has unlimited assets that people want that have nothing to do with sending material back to earth. Earth has something space needs to be viable... lots of people willing to go. Space has real estate. What those people need to go is funding. It's already economically viable with a great ROI (800%?) for any banks that agree to a settlement charter.

A mars settlement charter might say that every individual is allowed a reasonable claim by possession (one sq. km. is enough to make this economically viable.)  The banks in the charter will finance anyone willing to accept the terms of the charter (and become instant millionaires with the stroke of a pen.)

Suppose it costs [you pick any amount] to get a colonist to the surface of mars with sufficient supplies. A bank loans them that money for which the colonist agrees to develop and sell plots to future colonists. The bank expects to get 800% ROI or more to be competitively decided (by a number of banks offering different terms.) Zubrin has describe a 50m round hobby farm that could feed three. Let's assume that includes a habitat and so is the minimum plot size for sale. A one sq. km. claim would include 400 quarter hectare plots not all of which need be resold. Which means, to break even a colonist would need to sell a developed quarter hectare plot for just 0.25% over [the amount you picked divided by 400.]

New colonists should have a home waiting for them before they even leave earth orbit. It makes sense for them to buy it rather than trying to develop it when they get there. The cost to develop it is the same whether they do it themselves or a colonist already on mars does it. The difference is they can focus on other things when they land and will be able to take a different mix of supplies because essentials will come with the plot. They pay a few percent more for their travel package (totally financed by a settlement charter bank) to save months of time getting a start on arrival.

Suppose a colonist chooses to provide 160 plots for resale. Here is one potential scenario.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adding lander capability

The SpaceX Dragon is soon to become the Dragon lander capable of landing not just on earth but on other rocks as well.
SpaceX can now start building the hardware at the heart of its innovative launch abort system.
Which is much more than just an abort system. Other than in testing they may never actually use it for any abort, but they will be using it to land. Expect to see Dragons on the surface of many rocks including the moon and mars.

Tax the rich

We're just about a year away from the next presidential election. It's time to give Obama a judo throw. Let him have his 'Tax the Rich' bill on it's own. The results are predictable. It will get conservatives elected and insure Obama doesn't get a second term. Then the next president can throw out the whole tax law to replace it with a flat income tax or fair tax.

Otherwise, the demagogue in chief (DiC) will have his issue.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

USB explained


No business going to mars

...if you can't do a Mars orbit rendezvous you have no business going to Mars.
Got me thinking. To reduce the cost of mars missions most things should not travel with the colonists. They should either be waiting in orbit or on the surface. However, safety requires some redundancy of things that do travel with the colonists.

We can put things on the surface of mars with a certain amount of accuracy (going up) and cost (going down.) Before they learn to live on mars ISRU we can keep dozens alive on the surface indefinitely (although healthy is debatable we shouldn't be afraid to find out directly and deal with it. Not going is not an option.)

People going to mars initially should be planning for a one way trip. This doesn't mean they never come home. It just means getting them home is a different mission for sometime in the future. They should go with the intent to settle or not go at all.

For best results we should be generous in over supplying them and getting enough hands on the surface to do meaningful work. My proposal is a dozen researchers on the first trip followed by several dozen on the second trip. First job, setting up their habitats and power. Second job, water ISRU and agriculture. Once they can produce enough food, water, air and power the next wave of colonists can follow.

These researcher start out in earth orbit in two ships that need refueling.* Mars landers have been sent ahead and wait in mars orbit. Resupply can also be waiting in mars orbit so the missions have some flexibility and margin of safety. The mars landers should also be reusable accent vehicles but that isn't essential.

By sending everything we can ahead using the least costly route and planning for a one way mission we can move toward mars settlement much faster than some paralysis by analysis methods. Looking before we leap is smart, but not taking the leap at all is not.

Update: *The ships start in orbit needing refueling. The passenger go to orbit when the ships are fueled and ready to go. There would likely be an exchange of astronauts. Those refueling the ships return to earth while others go to mars.

Obama killing christians

When I heard we were sending troops to Uganda I knew before reading it would be to kill Christians.

Update: This is not an endorsement of the LRA. It's root.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Imagining a new car

Start with a Tesla roadster or sedan. Take out the transmission. Take out 90% of the batteries. Replace the wheels (keep the tires) with regenerative braking electric motors. High torque in the rear and high speed in the front. Add a generator directly driven by a Stirling motor. The heat source is a small self contained thorium/laser unit that you replace every twenty years. You have about 400hp. Add a computer to manage it all.

If you prefer to refuel every 200 miles you could go with this...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thor to the rescue!

...using just 8 gm of thorium in a car should mean it would never need refueling.
Well, that's the kiss of death, isn't it.
...developing a portable and usable turbine and generator is proving to be a tougher task than the laser-thorium unit.
Did you get that? Nuclear power is the easy part! Makes me wonder if mating it with a Stirling engine might be the way to go?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The word on soft

But among the hundreds of thousands of your readers who didn't know you were a sap until you told them three years later, soft choices have hard consequences.
You handed a multitrillion-dollar economy to a community organizer and you're surprised that it led to more taxes, more bureaucracy, more regulation, more barnacles on an already rusting hulk? 
Obama would not have withstood scrutiny in any society with a healthy, skeptical press. 
...there's nothing soft about a dead-parrot economy, a flat-line jobs market, regulatory sclerosis, "green jobs" multibillion-dollar squandering and a mountain of dead Mexicans.
Read it.

Also... Vodkapundit.