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#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2005, 08:42:17 pm »
3.Fertilize the ocean
Feasibility: 10
Cost: \$
RISK: 9
On January 5, 2002, Revelle, a research vessel operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, left New Zealand for the Southern Ocean—a belt of frigid, stormy seas that separates Antarctica from the rest of the world. There the scientists dumped almost 6,000 pounds of iron powder overboard and unleashed an armada of instruments to gauge the results.
The intent was to test a hypothesis put forth by oceanographer John Martin. At a lecture more than a decade ago, Martin declared: “Give me a half-tanker of iron, and I will give you an ice age.” He was alluding to the fact that the Southern Ocean is packed with minerals and nutrients but strangely devoid of sea life. Martin had concluded that the ocean was anemic—containing very little iron, an essential nutrient for plankton growth. Adding iron, Martin believed, would cool the planet by triggering blooms of CO2-consuming plankton.

Oceanographer Kenneth Coale, who directs the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories near Monterey, California, was a chief scientist on the Southern Ocean cruise. He says the project was a success, proving that relatively small quantities of iron could spawn colossal blooms of plankton.

The Timeline
Scientists are wary, saying that too little is known about the deep-ocean environment to endorse further large-scale experiments. In October, Coale and other scientists will gather in New Zealand for a weeklong meeting sponsored by the National Science Foundation, New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmosphere, and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme to decide how to proceed.

The Promise
Iron fertilization is by far the cheapest and easiest way to mitigate carbon dioxide. Coale estimates that just one pound of iron could conceivably hatch enough plankton to sequester 100,000 pounds of CO2. “Even if the process is only 1 percent efficient, you just sequestered half a ton of carbon for a dime.”

The Perils
“What is still a mystery,” Coale says, “is the ripple effect on the rest of the ocean and the food chain.” One fear is that huge plankton blooms, in addition to gorging on CO2, will devour other nutrients. Deep currents carry nutrient-rich water from the Southern Ocean northward to regions where fish rely on the nutrients to survive. Says Coale, “A fertilization event to take care of atmospheric CO2 could have the unintended consequence of turning the oceans sterile. Oops.”

4. Turn CO2 to Stone
Feasibility: 7
Cost: $$RISK: 3 The Grand Canyon is one of the largest carbon dioxide repositories on Earth. Hundreds of millions of years ago, a vast sea covered the land there. The water, rich in carbon dioxide, slowly reacted with other chemicals to create calcium carbonate, or limestone—the pinkish bands striping the canyon walls today. Nature’s method for turning CO2 to stone is achingly slow, but researchers at the Goldwater Materials Science Laboratory at Arizona State University are working on a way to speed up the process. Michael McKelvy and Andrew Chizmeshya use serpentine or olivine, widely available and inexpensive minerals, as feedstock to fuel a chemical reaction that transforms CO2 into magnesium carbonate, a cousin of limestone. To initiate the reaction—known as “mineral carbonation”—the CO2 is compressed, heated, and mixed with feedstock and a catalyst, such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The Timeline Scaling up the process to handle millions of tons of CO2 would require huge quantities of serpentine or olivine. A single mineral-carbonation plant would carve out a mountain, but, McKelvy says, “You could carbonate [the CO2] and put it right back where the feedstock came from.” The Promise Mineral carbonation is simply an accelerated version of a benign natural process. The limestone in the Grand Canyon is 500 feet thick, McKelvy says, “and it has been sitting there not bothering anybody for millennia.” The Perils It costs roughly 70 to eliminate one ton of CO2, a price that McKelvy says is too high. Also, the feedstock and CO2 must be heated to high temperatures. “You wind up having to burn fossil fuels in order to provide the energy to activate the mineral to put away the CO2,” he says. [continue] #### Stormbringer • Global Moderator • Lt. Commander • Posts: 1984 • Gender: ##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet. « Reply #41 on: July 20, 2005, 08:43:59 pm » 5. Enhance Clouds to Reflect Sunlight Feasibility: 6 Cost:$$
RISK: 7
Some proposed solutions to global warming don’t involve capturing carbon dioxide. Instead they focus on turning down the heat by deflecting or filtering incoming sunlight.
On any given day, marine stratocumulus clouds blanket about one third of the world’s oceans, mostly around the tropics. Clouds form when water vapor clings to dust or other particles, creating droplets. Seeding clouds with tiny salt particles would enable more droplets to form—making the clouds whiter and therefore more reflective. According to physicist John Latham, a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, boosting reflectivity, or albedo, in just 3 percent of marine stratocumulus clouds would reflect enough sunlight to curb global warming. “It would be like a mirror for incoming solar radiation,” Latham explains.

Latham is collaborating with Stephen Salter, an emeritus professor of engineering design at the University of Edinburgh, who is making sketches for GPS-steered wind- powered boats that would cruise the tropical latitudes, churning up salt spray. “I am planning a flotilla of unmanned yachts sailing backward and forward across the wind,” Salter says. “They would drag propellers through the water to generate electricity, which we’d use to make the spray.”

Salter wants to outfit each boat with four 60-foot-tall Flettner rotors, which look like smokestacks but act like sails. An electric motor starts each rotor spinning, which, along with the wind, creates a pressure differential (less pressure in front of the rotor, more in back), generating forward thrust. From the top of the rotor, an impeller would blast a fine saltwater mist into the air.

Until the concept is tested, Salter isn’t sure exactly how many ships would be needed to mitigate global warming. “Maybe between 5,000 and 30,000,” he says. That may sound like a lot, but Salter notes that for World War II, the U.S. built nearly 100,000 aircraft in 1944 alone.

The Timeline
Latham initially raised the notion in a 1990 paper. “The article went down like a lead balloon,” he says. But early last year in England, at a geoengineering conference hosted by MIT and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, he presented the concept again. “The consensus was that a number of ideas originally thought to be outlandish were deemed sufficiently plausible to be supported further. Our work fell into that category.” Latham needs a few million dollars to test his idea. “On the scale of the damage that will be caused by global warming, that is utterly peanuts.”

The Promise
What’s nice about this idea is that it can easily be fine-tuned. “If we tried it and there was some deleterious effect, we could switch it off, and within four or five days all evidence would have disappeared,” Latham says.

The Perils
One worry is that although the tiny salt particles released by evaporating sea mist are perfect for marine stratocumulus-cloud formation, they are too small to create rain clouds. “You might make it harder for rain to form,” Salter says. “Therefore, you would not want to do this upwind of a place where there is a bad drought.”

6. Deflect Sunlight With A Mirror
Feasibility: 1
Cost: 
RISK: 5
One of the most ambitious schemes is a giant space “mirror” positioned between the Earth and sun to intercept sunlight. To build the mirror, physicist Lowell Wood, a senior staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore, proposes using a mesh of aluminum threads that are only a millionth of an inch in diameter and a thousandth of an inch apart. “It would be like a window screen made of exceedingly fine metal wire,” he explains. The screen wouldn’t actually block the light but would simply filter it so that some of the incoming infrared radiation wouldn’t reach Earth’s atmosphere.

The Timeline
Wood, who has been researching the mirror idea for more than a decade, says it should be considered only as a safety net if all other means of reversing global warming “fail or fall grossly short over the next few decades.”

The Promise
Once in place, the mirror would cost almost nothing to operate. From Earth, it would look like a tiny black spot on the sun. “People really wouldn’t see it,” says Michael MacCracken. And plant photosynthesis isn’t expected to be affected by the slight reduction in sunlight.

The Perils
Wood calculates that deflecting 1 percent of incoming solar radiation would stabilize the climate, but doing so would require a mirror spanning roughly 600,000 square miles—or several smaller ones. Putting something that size in orbit would be a massive challenge, not to mention exorbitantly expensive.

[end]

#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2005, 08:09:38 pm »
OK remember one objection to my premise of building a planet from scratch was the amount of available mass free to do so in the solar system. well every week we get announcements indidcating the sparce mass beleif of scientists is wrong now there is this one:

Gemini Samples Spectrum Of 2003 UB313: Pluto-Like Surface

Figure 2: 2003 UB313 spectrum (red, obtained at Gemini Observatory by Trujillo, Brown and Rabinowitz) and Pluto (black, from Rudy et al. 2003). The "dips" characteristic of methane ice are indicated by red arrows and are present in both 2003 UB313 and Pluto.
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 31, 2005
The Gemini Observatory has obtained a preliminary spectrum of 2003 UB313, the lastest so-called "10th planet". These observations were obtained on January 25, 2005 by Chad Trujillo, a Gemini staff member who is also on the discovery team for 2003 UB313, the existence of which was formally announced by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, MA on July 29, 2005.
The discovery team (Mike Brown of Caltech, Chad Trujillo of Gemini and David Rabinowitz of Yale) are still uncertain of the exact size of the body, but report that it must be Pluto-sized or larger. The body is the most distant solar system body known to orbit the sun at 97 AU from the sun, over 3 times farther away than planet Pluto.

The "planet" was originally discovered in late December 2004 with data collected from the Samuel Oschin 1.2 meter telescope at Palomar Mountain, CA.

To better characterize the surface of the object the team obtained spectra with NIRI (the near-infrared spectrograph) on the much larger 8 meter Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

The NIRI spectra shows strong signatures of methane ice, remarkably similar to the spectrum of Pluto, which is also dominated by methane ice in near-infrared observations.

Figure 2 shows the spectra of Pluto and 2003 UB313, with arrows marking the "dips" that correspond to methane features. The same features are readily apparent in both the Pluto and the 2003 UB313 spectra.

Trujillo states, "We still do not know much about this object, however, it is clear that it is very similar to Pluto in both size and composition, at least upon first glance."

The presence of methane ice is unusual in that it indicates a primitive surface that has not likely been heated significantly since the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.

"If 2003 UB313 ever got close to the sun, all the methane ice would have boiled off immediately," Trujillo continued.

"To date, no one has seen methane on any other Kuiper Belt Object, only on Pluto and Neptune's moon Triton." The distant Kuiper Belt is a collection of bodies orbiting the sun beyond Neptune, and is likely the parent population to the comets.

The team have also obtained spectra of the smaller mini-planet 2003 EL61, which was reported on July 28, 2005 by two independent teams: one from the Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain and the Brown, Trujillo and Rabinowitz team. This object is smaller than Pluto, but shows strong water-ice features, similar to what is seen on the surface of Pluto's moon Charon.

Results will be reported in detail at the 37th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in September 2005 at the University of Cambridge, UK.

#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #43 on: December 14, 2005, 02:35:51 am »
lots of info on kuiper objects in this article from space daily.com:

Mysterious Deep-Space Object Raises Questions On Origin Of Solar System

An edge-on-view of the solar system to show the tilt of Buffy's orbit. See larger image. Credits: The Canada France Ecliptic Plane Survey.
Paris (AFP) Dec 13, 2005
Astronomers working in Canada, France and the United States said Tuesday they had found a small deep-space object, nicknamed Buffy, that challenges mainstream theories about the evolution of the Solar System.
The rock lies in the Kuiper Belt, the name for the flock of objects beyond Neptune's orbit that are believed to be leftover rubble from the Solar System's building phase and are the source for many comets, the Canada-France Ecliptic Plane Survey (CFEPS) said.

Measuring between 500 and 1,000 kilometers (300 to 600 miles) across and taking about 440 years to make just one circuit of the Sun, Buffy is remarkable not for its size -- around half a dozen identified Kuiper Belt objects are bigger -- but for its location and orbital tilt.
"This new object challenges current theories about the history of the early Solar System," CFEPS said in a press release.

"(...) This new discovery is exciting because it causes us to rethink our understanding about how the Kuiper Belt formed." Buffy has an almost perfect circular orbit and encircles the Sun at an extreme tilt, at 47 degrees to the orbital plane of the planets as they swing around the Sun.

But it lies in a curious outer region of the Kuiper Belt, on the dark, bone-freezing fringes of the Solar System.

The theory is that, billions of years ago, this remote community of rocks, the so-called "extended scattered disk" of the Kuiper Belt, got their extremely eccentric orbits because of a passing star.

The star's gravitational pull was enough to give the objects a tug, pulling them out of a circular orbit but not enough to coax them away from enslavement to the Sun.

But Buffy is the odd one out -- its almost-perfect orbit and tilt circular puts a dent in the "star" theory.

One possibility, the discoverers say, is that, in the infant days of the Solar System, the nascent Neptune lay much closer to the Sun.

It eventually migrated outwards, causing at least some members of the Belt's "extended scattered disk" to develop more circular and tilted orbits, they speculate.

Buffy is the temporary name given by the team for the object, whose official designation by the Paris-based International Astronomical Union (IAU) is 2004 XR 190.

Its orbit is in a relatively narrow range of between 52 and and 62 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun (an AU is a standard measurement, being that of the distance between the Earth and the Sun, of approximately 150 million kilometers, or 93 million miles).

By comparison, another "extended scattered disk" member called Sedna swings out to as far as 900 AU before coming as close to the Sun as 76 AU.

The Kuiper Belt was first recognised in 1992.

Most of its objects lie in a region that extends from 30 to 50 AU where there are "at least" 70,000 rocks with a diameter of 100 kms (60 miles) or more, according to David Jewitt, a specialist at the University of Hawaii.
Buffy was first noted by Lynne Allen of the University of British Columbia, Canada, in December last year as she pored over data from powerful computers that sift through telescopic images in search of new celestial sightings.

Because Kuiper Belt objects take so long to go around the Sun, it takes between one and two years of additional observations to calculate their orbits precisely.

Further measurements are needed over the next three months for a fine-tuning of Buffy's orbit.

related report

Discovery of a large Kuiper Belt object with an unusual orbit

A team of astronomers working in Canada, France and the United States have discovered an unusual small body orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune, in the region astronomers call the Kuiper belt. This new object is twice as far from the Sun as Neptune and is roughly half the size of Pluto. The body, temporarily code-named "Buffy", has a highly unusual orbit which is difficult to explain using previous theories of the formation of the outer Solar System.

Currently 58 astronomical units from the Sun (1 astronomical unit, or AU, is the distance between the Earth and the Sun), the new object never approaches closer than 50 AU, because its orbit is close to circular.

Almost all Kuiper belt objects discovered beyond Neptune are between 30 AU and 50 AU away. Beyond 50 AU, the main Kuiper belt appears to end, and what few objects have been discovered beyond this distance have all been on very high eccentricity (non-circular) orbits.

Most of these high-eccentricity orbits are the result of Neptune "flinging" the object outward by a gravitational slingshot. However, because this new object does not approach closer than 50 AU, a different theory is needed to explain its orbit. Complicating the problem, the object's orbit also has an extreme tilt, being inclined (tilted) at 47 degrees to the rest of the Solar System.

Source: Agence France-Presse

#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #44 on: December 14, 2005, 02:42:14 am »
[SNIP]

Quote
Measuring between 500 and 1,000 kilometers (300 to 600 miles) across and taking about 440 years to make just one circuit of the Sun, Buffy is remarkable not for its size -- around half a dozen identified Kuiper Belt objects are bigger -- but for its location and orbital tilt.

[SNIP]

Quote
Most of its objects lie in a region that extends from 30 to 50 AU where there are "at least" 70,000 rocks with a diameter of 100 kms (60 miles) or more, according to David Jewitt, a specialist at the University of Hawaii.

[SNIP]

Thats a lot of mass! and that does not include the Oort cloud proper or the asteroid belts. so is this enough mass to fire up the Magrathea planet factory?

#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #45 on: December 14, 2005, 04:59:19 am »
What if we send a fleet of self replicating robotic tugs, solar collector oven satellites and ancilliary equipment to the asteroid belt.

We aren't even confident of our ability to move an asteroid on a collision course with Earth yet, let alone our ability to transport them around the solar system...  And out in space, where are the raw materials for self replication going to come from?

To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe!

#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #46 on: December 14, 2005, 05:02:59 am »
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.

Ground Control to Major Tom?  Moving Venus?

We haven't even moved ourselves beyond LEO in the last thirty three years...  What we want to be doing is setting up ambitious space prjects with realistic goals...
« Last Edit: December 14, 2005, 05:21:01 am by prometheus »

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#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #47 on: December 14, 2005, 07:07:35 pm »
What if we send a fleet of self replicating robotic tugs, solar collector oven satellites and ancilliary equipment to the asteroid belt.

We aren't even confident of our ability to move an asteroid on a collision course with Earth yet, let alone our ability to transport them around the solar system...  And out in space, where are the raw materials for self replication going to come from?

The asteroids. these self replicating probes will be about the size of a salt box. along with  swarms of smaller 'bots down to molecular machine size. when their job is done they will deorbit on the planet adding a infinitesimal fraction of mass to it.

#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #48 on: December 14, 2005, 07:15:18 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.

Ground Control to Major Tom?  Moving Venus?

We haven't even moved ourselves beyond LEO in the last thirty three years...  What we want to be doing is setting up ambitious space prjects with realistic goals...

you post this as if the main thrust of my post was the idea that we were going to have to move venus in the first place when in fact the gist of what i said concerning the notion was that at some time in the future such a feat might not seem as impossible to us as it does today. you see no problem in portraying my post as if i announced my intent to hook a peterbilt up to her and drop the clutch immediately and then attacking that distorted portrayal?

#### Nemesis

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #49 on: December 15, 2005, 02:14:46 pm »

Quote
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – Astronomers have spotted a swirling debris cloud around a sun-like star where terrestrial planets similar to Earth may be forming in a process that could shed light on the birth of the solar system.

Looks like Stormbringer is practicing.
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#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #50 on: December 16, 2005, 08:18:57 am »
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.

Ground Control to Major Tom?  Moving Venus?

We haven't even moved ourselves beyond LEO in the last thirty three years...  What we want to be doing is setting up ambitious space prjects with realistic goals...

you post this as if the main thrust of my post was the idea that we were going to have to move venus in the first place when in fact the gist of what i said concerning the notion was that at some time in the future such a feat might not seem as impossible to us as it does today. you see no problem in portraying my post as if i announced my intent to hook a peterbilt up to her and drop the clutch immediately and then attacking that distorted portrayal?

No, what I was meaning was that when all the space cadets who engage in enlightened prediction come spiralling back down to Earth, I think one has to accept that moving planets is, and always will be, a little out of our jurisdiction.  Force = mass x accelaration.  Middle School maths.  the force you would require to move an object the size of Venus is beyond imagination.  Hell, we can't even be confident of deflecting an asteroid several orders of magnitude smaller and lighter than Venus from hitting us and wiping us out.  This kind of speculation about moving planets is not worth engaging in...

To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe!

#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2005, 08:21:25 am »
What if we send a fleet of self replicating robotic tugs, solar collector oven satellites and ancilliary equipment to the asteroid belt.

We aren't even confident of our ability to move an asteroid on a collision course with Earth yet, let alone our ability to transport them around the solar system...  And out in space, where are the raw materials for self replication going to come from?

The asteroids. these self replicating probes will be about the size of a salt box. along with  swarms of smaller 'bots down to molecular machine size. when their job is done they will deorbit on the planet adding a infinitesimal fraction of mass to it.

That doesn't really answer my question...  We replicate by drawing biomatter from the ecosystem we exist in...  How are these probes going to accomplish the same feat when they will have to exist in a vacuum and operate on lumps of metal, ice and rock?

To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe!

#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2005, 05:22:23 pm »
What if we send a fleet of self replicating robotic tugs, solar collector oven satellites and ancilliary equipment to the asteroid belt.

We aren't even confident of our ability to move an asteroid on a collision course with Earth yet, let alone our ability to transport them around the solar system...  And out in space, where are the raw materials for self replication going to come from?

The asteroids. these self replicating probes will be about the size of a salt box. along with  swarms of smaller 'bots down to molecular machine size. when their job is done they will deorbit on the planet adding a infinitesimal fraction of mass to it.

That doesn't really answer my question...  We replicate by drawing biomatter from the ecosystem we exist in...  How are these probes going to accomplish the same feat when they will have to exist in a vacuum and operate on lumps of metal, ice and rock?

At the nano level atoms could be seperated mechanically atom by atom or catalytically or using electrostatic or magnetic or even EM forces.  Most of this has been acomplished at nano scale in the laboratory. the larger probes would  break up asteroid material if necessary. the nano scales ones would work on dust sized particles. Also the larger ones would act as seperators, forges, and fabricators. once they have reproduced a number of times they would drop the reproductive mission and assume the planetary construction mission. there are a number of ways that could be worked out to divide the reproductive and constructive missions to optimize the alogrithmic progression. it could even be more adaptive so that constructors could return to the reproductive role if necessary for some reason.

#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2005, 06:52:19 pm »
What if we send a fleet of self replicating robotic tugs, solar collector oven satellites and ancilliary equipment to the asteroid belt.

We aren't even confident of our ability to move an asteroid on a collision course with Earth yet, let alone our ability to transport them around the solar system...  And out in space, where are the raw materials for self replication going to come from?

The asteroids. these self replicating probes will be about the size of a salt box. along with  swarms of smaller 'bots down to molecular machine size. when their job is done they will deorbit on the planet adding a infinitesimal fraction of mass to it.

That doesn't really answer my question...  We replicate by drawing biomatter from the ecosystem we exist in...  How are these probes going to accomplish the same feat when they will have to exist in a vacuum and operate on lumps of metal, ice and rock?

At the nano level atoms could be seperated mechanically atom by atom or catalytically or using electrostatic or magnetic or even EM forces.  Most of this has been acomplished at nano scale in the laboratory. the larger probes would  break up asteroid material if necessary. the nano scales ones would work on dust sized particles. Also the larger ones would act as seperators, forges, and fabricators. once they have reproduced a number of times they would drop the reproductive mission and assume the planetary construction mission. there are a number of ways that could be worked out to divide the reproductive and constructive missions to optimize the alogrithmic progression. it could even be more adaptive so that constructors could return to the reproductive role if necessary for some reason.

How are they going to produce rubber insulation, copper cables, pnp semiconductors, plasitc polymers etc from the raw materials on an asteroid?

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#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2005, 08:29:18 pm »
Molecule by molecule. this type of synthesis has been demonstrated in principle by scientists and engineers working on micro assembly techniques using ion probe microscopes modifed forthe task. while it might sound slow, actually it would not be; because the initial swarm (millions or billions of nano scale machinesmass produced by automated plasma vapor deposition or IC die machines) and thousands of the larger processing/factory/forge bots will be made on earth and transported out to thier job site.

#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2005, 08:32:40 pm »
Molecule by molecule. this type of synthesis has been demonstrated in principle by scientists and engineers working on micro assembly techniques using ion probe microscopes modifed forthe task. while it might sound slow, actually it would not be; because the initial swarm (millions or billions of nano scale machinesmass produced by automated plasma vapor deposition or IC die machines) and thousands of the larger processing/factory/forge bots will be made on earth and transported out to thier job site.

Sounds unlikely in the extreme...  We can't even explain how it happened in Earth based life, let alone replicate the process.  I wonder why human's have so much trouble accepting the fact that technology has limitations?

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#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2005, 10:39:23 pm »
But it is not life. it is a manufacuring technique that has some characteristics  in common with living organisms.

#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2005, 05:15:01 am »
But it is not life. it is a manufacuring technique that has some characteristics  in common with living organisms.

Biologists are in agreement that if something can satisfy the following conditions

1. Growth, development, maturity
2. Metabolism, consuming, transforming and storing energy/mass; growing by absorbing and reorganizing mass; excreting waste
3. Motion, either moving itself, or having internal motion
4. Reproduction, the ability to create entities that are similar to, yet separate from, itself or consisting solely of entities that exhibit the quality of reproduction.
5. Response to stimuli - the ability to measure properties of its surrounding environment, and act upon certain conditions. This property is also called homeostasis.

that by any sensible definition it is alive.  Your probes will have to satisfy all of these conditions...

To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe!

#### Stormbringer

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2005, 11:13:38 am »
Right off the bat the probes will violate condition one.

#### prometheus

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##### Re: Modest space project idea: Lets make a planet.
« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2005, 11:20:36 am »
Right off the bat the probes will violate condition one.

Don't be absurd...  Do you think they are going to instantly appear fully formed in a puff of smoke if they are built molecule by molecule, or if they are "built" at all for that matter?  Don't think of growth, maturity, developement in a 12 step program way, think of it the way a biologist sees it and it makes sense...

The ability to self regulate damage is considered growth to a biologist.  If you cut yourself, do you not heal with no conscious effort on your part?

These machines will have to grow and develope until they reach a state of completion, which is maturity...

To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe!