Topic: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.  (Read 9364 times)

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Offline Nemesis

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Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« on: June 05, 2005, 11:01:08 am »
A resurrection of Stormbringer's old thread.

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What if we send a fleet of self replicating robotic tugs, solar collector oven satellites and ancilliary equipment to the asteroid belt. They would manuever asteroids into proximity of one another then weld or melt them together until enough mass was accumulated to cause gravity to finish the work of constructing a terrestrial core approximately the same size as the earth's core. Then carbonaceous or nonmetalic asteroids could be processed to form a mantle and finally a crust. The protoplanet could be constructed in such a way that it's solar orbit could be stable and it's spin rate could be controlled as it is built up so that it could be near the earths. Either the original fleet working in the asteroid belt or another dispatched to the ort and kuiper belt could use the materials there to pelt the dry planet with water and gases to become an atmosphere. The gas mixture could be altered so that the distance from the sun is mitigated by greenhouse gases. The limited but self replicating fleet could enable this be done in an amazingly short time (relatively speaking.)

This would have several benefits.

Firstly it would get rid of most of the larger earth endangering debris in the solar system.

Secondly it would in due time give the burgeoning population somewhere nearby to go to.

Thirdly it would develop a knowledge base for terraforming and environmental disaster control. It would spare the existing planets from the environmentalist controversy likely to ensue if someone decides to terraform Mars, Venus, Titan or other worlds. (this would destroy any chances of finding either life or evidence of past life on those worlds.)

The only thing I'm not sure in regards to constructing a planet are in regard to creating the dynamo needed to create a molten core necessary for a magnetosphere. 
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2005, 11:03:37 am »
A problem with his plan - not enough asteroidal mass.

Link to source of quote below

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It has been estimated that the total mass of the Main Asteroid Belt may total less than 1/1000th of the mass of the Earth. Indeed, if all asteroids down to the size of meter- or yard-sized boulders or less were combined together, the resulting object would measure less than 1,300 to 1,500 km (810 to 930 miles) across, which is less than one third to one half the diameter of the Earth's Moon. The Main Asteroid Belt is only a small remnant of the material that once resided in the region between Mars and Jupiter, but once may have contained between two to 10 Earth masses of material (Dan Durda, "Ask Astro," Astronomy, December 2000). However, T-Tauri-type Solar winds from a very young Sun, gravitational perturbations from Jupiter developing nearby, and dynamic interactions with other large planetesimals and protoplanets during the first 100 million years, and continuing collisional grinding over the following 4.5 billion years after the formation of the planets, interfered with the formation of a substantial, single planet and caused most of the mass to be lost to the rest of the Solar System and interstellar space.


An alternative mass source would be required.

Instead of planet building, space habitats could be substituted.

Travel to and from his proposed planet between Earth and Mars could use the cycler concept (link to cycler info).  Limited information on cyclers in the quote below.

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Modified versions of the space shuttle's external fuel tank might be used as building units for cyclers. The tank ordinarily is jettisoned during shuttle flights, and it burns up in the atmosphere. However, the shuttle's external fuel tank could be modified, adding two additional empty tanks atop the existing fuel tank. Instead of being jettisoned, the modified external tank assembly could then be carried by the shuttle all the way to low-earth orbit, where the dry tanks could be separated from the main tank and used to construct the spacecraft.

Cyclers would take advantage of the gravitational forces that are exerted by the sun, the planets and their moons, which provide "gravity assists" to passing spacecraft. As a spacecraft travels close to a planet, its flight path is bent, causing it to whip around the planet while boosting its speed. The path is commonly called a "slingshot" trajectory, which enables a spacecraft to achieve the proper speed and heading.

"The cycler essentially is in orbit around the sun and makes regular flybys of Earth and Mars," said team member James Longuski, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue. "Once you put your vehicle into a cycler orbit, it continues on its own momentum, going back and forth between Earth and Mars. You may need to carry some propellant for an occasional boost, but it's pretty much a free trip after that."
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Offline Javora

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2005, 01:43:48 pm »
Sheesh, almost makes building the Death Star sound easer.   ;D

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2005, 02:06:22 pm »
Hi guys! The estimated mass available in some form or another is rapidly going up. what is it, three now trans-Pluto planetoids like Sedna? And the sunward asteroids numbers are increasing also though they are hard to find. add to that god knows how much dust...not to mention already formed planets and planetoids that could be altered like mars venus, titan, triton. I still think it is doable.

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2005, 02:32:19 pm »
Also, I recently exchanged Email with a planetary scientist after reading an article he had published on computer modleing of extra solar planets around binary stars. we talked about safe orbital tracks in our own solar system he said that just about any area out to but not including the asteroid belt would provide a stable orbit that would not break up a planet or endager existing planets. So this proposed synthetic planet could easily live in the habitable zone of the solar system.

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2005, 02:50:23 pm »
I E mailed the professor in the story about habitable zone terrestrial planets and he replied back. Here is what we talked about (his replies are in blue) he quoted my original e mail and answered by inserting his answers in my e mail's text.
Professor Jones;

I enjoyed your article on exosolar terrestrial planets recently carried by space.com but it got me thinking about a question i have had from time to time. I'll be brief; Are there stable orbital tracks in out solar system which are unoccupied?if so can you provide me with data on this question. for example; are the conditions that prevented a planet from forming in the area of the asteroid belt likely to have abated by now? would some sort of gravitational tide tear a planet apart if it was put there?

There are many tracks in the Solar System that offer orbital stability and that are unoccupied. The asteroids are in a zone where the gravitational buffeting by Jupiter prevented the formation of a planet, and still does so. This buffeting also prevented Mars from becoming as large as the Earth. But any planet somehow put there fully formed would not be torn apart.

I have layman level discussions on this from time to time concerning megascale engineering. creating a planet to match as closely as possible all earth like parameters such as temperature range, atmospheric pressure, magnetic field, gravity and so on. I have determined enough material is probably left in the solar system at various places like the asteroid belt, kuiper belt and oort cloud and the earth crossing near sun objects to equal earth's mass density and therefore gravity. I have worked out ways of controlling the spin.

The total mass today in the asteroids is insufficient to make a planet of any size. The Edgeworth-Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud could beef this up to a planet, but to be habitable all this material would have to be assembled in the habitable zone, which doesn't extend far beyond Mars. The stunted growth of Mars has led to loss of much of its atmosphere, so its surface is not habitable today.

I would appreciate your ideas on this subject. particularly since your article mentioned computer modeling to determine stable orbits around another sun it should be easy to run that model on our own system here. Thanks in advance.

You can assume (to a first approximation) that anywhere closer to the Sun than the middle of the asteroid belt is likely to offer stable orbits, with narrow zones of exception, such as near Mars, the Earth, Venus, and Mercury. The habitable zone extends today from just beyond the orbit of Venus to just beyond the orbit of Mars.

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2005, 03:09:28 pm »
I wonder if enough radioactive elements could be injected into the core to keep it molten like earth's core without accidentally reaching supercritical density and blowing it up like a planet sized atomic bomb?

Offline Javora

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2005, 03:28:41 pm »
Mars already has the orbit and the spin, it just needs more mass.  Wouldn't it be easier to bombard Mars with asteroids then hit the planet with a few nukes to warm the planet up?  It seems that since Mars is a lot closer to the size we need than a few large asteroids combined, it would expend a lot less energy to create what we need in the long run.

*Shrugs*  Just a guess.

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2005, 03:39:20 pm »
Mars already has the orbit and the spin, it just needs more mass.  Wouldn't it be easier to bombard Mars with asteroids then hit the planet with a few nukes to warm the planet up?  It seems that since Mars is a lot closer to the size we need than a few large asteroids combined, it would expend a lot less energy to create what we need in the long run.

*Shrugs*  Just a guess.


Indeed it would. In fact that was one of my earlier suggestions, but-   I thought afterwards that some enviromental activist's would object as would some scientists and the fringers who believe there might be alien archaological finds there. And now it looks like there might be some life there in the form of extremophile bacteria and other simple organisms. If mars were to be resupplied with gases from icy comets it would take 16 million years for the renewed oxygen to escape. many times longer than the entire history of mankind. that's assuming we did not go ahead and increase the rocky mass so that it could not escape at all. It would be the way to go if the critics were ignored.

Offline Javora

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2005, 03:51:34 pm »
It seems like it would be faster on both counts if we used the ice on Earth's moon instead of using comets.  But then we will need that ice to get us deeper into space.  The bacteria on Mars could be a double edged sword, while it could be usefull in scientific study it could also be very deadly to humans.  So nuking Mars may not be all that bad and I doubt that Mars was ever populated by any intelligent life form.  Despite what the Globe puts out every other month about reporting that Elvis's face is on the serface of Mars.   ::)  ;D

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2005, 03:59:09 pm »
Yeah but the scientific value of studying the first extraterrestrial lifeform even a microbe is a very serious matter. if thye find them and i think they will it nixes the type of engineering we were talking about for a considerable amount of time. perhaps forever. While making your own planet has none of the enviromental and biological pitfalls of reengineering mars. Heck even venus is really a better prospect than Mars because it has the same gravity as Earth, has the proper elements and it's heat problem can be overcome by altering the atmosphere and eliminating the sulphuric acid. tuning the atmosphere the right way could lower the temperature to earth like levels. If not then large "mylar" reflectors could be orbited to shade it and reflect away sunlight.

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2005, 04:01:54 pm »
UIsing the moon is a no no. doing so would devastate the earth. Earthquakes, volcanos, floods, tsunamis, storms, dogs and cats living together; mass hysteria!

Offline Javora

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2005, 04:27:08 pm »
But wouldn't the orbit of Venus have to be altered as well?  It seems like that would be harder to do and still keep the spin rate at the same level that Venus is now.  Sounds like a great idea though.

Offline Javora

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2005, 04:33:02 pm »
UIsing the moon is a no no. doing so would devastate the earth. Earthquakes, volcanos, floods, tsunamis, storms, dogs and cats living together; mass hysteria!

 :rofl:


I was just talking about the ice on the moon's surface, not ripping the moon out of Earth's orbit and smashing it into Mars.  ;D
But the ice on the moon could probably be better used as rocket fuel.

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2005, 04:35:44 pm »
Not necessarilly. a great deal of venus's heat problem is due to runaway greenhouse conditions due to compounds like sulfuric acid in her atmosphere. with the removal of those compounds and the addition of compounds or gases that do not trap heat well the temperature could be lowered to earth norms. just as mars temperatures could reach earth norms with the proper atmosphere. the highest recorded summer temperature on mars is 80 degrees F. which is quite acceptable to humans. Venus could be further cooled with large scale reflectors in orbit around her. However moving her would be a good idea and it would not effect the earth in any way. right now we don't have the means to move a whole planet but in the future we might. A russian scientist has had some success with antigravity research. he became famous for reducing the apparent weight of masses with superconducting disk magnets. Since then he has apparently managed to create a gravity and antigravity beam and his work has been taken up by thousands of amateur enthusiasts.  

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2005, 09:25:29 pm »
But wouldn't the orbit of Venus have to be altered as well?  It seems like that would be harder to do and still keep the spin rate at the same level that Venus is now.  Sounds like a great idea though.


Actually the current day on Venus being 243 (Earth) days long I think that to terraform it we would either want to spin it up or use reflectors to simulate a 24 hour day.   Oddly enough on Venus the sun rises in the West and sets in the East.  Venus rotates backwards compared to the other planets and its own orbital direction.

Link to Venus Info
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Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2005, 09:30:26 pm »
yep. you pointed that out in the old thread too, i think.

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2005, 09:44:26 pm »
UIsing the moon is a no no. doing so would devastate the earth. Earthquakes, volcanos, floods, tsunamis, storms, dogs and cats living together; mass hysteria!

As you say Doctor Venkman.  But that only applies if we move it or change its rotation.  It could have air and water added and reflectors to change the apparent day night cycle to a 24 hour period. 

Even a pressure of say 3-7 PSI of non breathable/non corrosive and not toxic (in small quantities) atmospere would make using the Moon much easier.  Flight using aircraft rather than rockets would be possible even balloons or Zepplins would be practical.  Aero braking for landing of space craft (and water landings) would reduce fuel requirements.  Pressurized habitats would have to worry about leakage out rather than explosive decompression.  Minor to semi major leaks would not be the disaster they are with a vacuum outdoors.  No pressure suits only an O2 tank and face mask would be needed (plus heat or cold protection depending on local temperatures). 
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Seti Team    Free Software
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2005, 09:47:22 pm »
yep. you pointed that out in the old thread too, i think.

I looked and could not find it.  Maybe in a related thread.
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Offline Stormbringer

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Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2005, 09:55:05 pm »
Check this fringer site out. it has some info on Dr. podkletnov's gravity research. But don't letthe fringe site throw you the dr's credentials are real and his research is published and was covered in the mainstream media. Heck boeing, NASA and others have shown interest.

http://www.americanantigravity.com/podkletnov.html