Cornell News: No ice found at lunar poles [...]

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Thu Nov 13 03:45:54 PST 2003

On Thu, Nov 13, 2003 at 11:05:34AM +0100, Dr. Robert J. Harley wrote:
> Re: baboons and mecano.
> I hope that was taken in jest.
> Ctrl-X ( : ) Ctrl-X ) Ctrl-U Ctrl-U Ctrl-X E

Used to have that too -- until iBook's lack of space cadet keys made me pick up
> Let me change tack: "why"?
> Do you expect that remotely setting up a factory on the Moon to fire
> solar panels into space on a rail-gun is a feasible and economical way

Actually, I would initially just melt loose regolith powder to glass and
sputter doped semiconductors on top of it, making smart photovoltaic pavement
(alt.pave.the.moon) serving as a giant part-time phased array radiator,
solid-state, no moveable parts.

This would come useful to supply power and propulsion (carbon truss cloth,
aka gray sails, work at 2000 K and can push at several g's unloaded --
whether European, or African) to remote systems, both terrestrial and space missions.

Building ramps and linear motor rails would come comparatively late after

> to produce energy?  Or giant computers?  Or what?  Would building a

Feasible? Definitely. It's a good tradeoff between known technology and
novelty. The power issue is largely a carrot on a stick, the real value is
from bootstrapping a large scale hard-vacuum industrial base and kT-capacity 
interplanetary delivery system, based on autonomous self-replicating systems.

If you want to sell something, then "free wireless green power" will buy you
more capital then self-rep and humanity going postbiology deep-space culture. 

> pizza factory in Patagonia without leaving your desk be feasible?

There's no vacuum in Patagonia, and titanium would be more interesting than
pizza. I can get you a kT of processed Ti profiles airdropped and cheap power
beamed to build your pizza shack in Terra del Fuego, though, once we've got that lunatic venture

> Economical?  Do you not expect tinned monkeys (say primates from
> Beijing) to be on the Moon before you and happy to "accidentally"

No, because reaction mass is not cheap, monkeys need a lot of reaction mass,
and you can do interesting things with a giant-flux phased array microwave radiator.
if you focus it upon an incoming tin can, er, landing module. 

> reverse their moondozers over your best-laid of plans?
> PS: I'll have pepperoni with mushrooms.

What's your icbmto delivery address?

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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