-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Thu, 08 Jun 2000 19:55:52 -0700


At 11:11 6/8/2000, you wrote:
>>In any case, living at the hub still puts you 32 km (20 miles) from the
>>nearest farm, where one of the three connectings tube intersects the
>>ring.
>
> The distances seems quite great, and I'm guessing that there would
>be habitation areas within the farmsat, if the farmsat is not rotating in
>sync with the cylinder.
>
> I certainly won't want to commute 30++ km just to look at a bunch of
>chickens everyday! =)

If they use the same "linear car" technology in the tubes that they use for
transport in the colony proper, they could zip through those tubes at up to
96 KPH (60 MPH) and travel 32 km (20 miles) in 20 minutes.

You may have noticed by now that much of what looked great on paper turns
out to have some severe problems when you begin tallying up the practical
considerations of each design element.

> Given that the colonist wanted to keep most industries outside of
>the cylinder proper, is it logical to assume that things like abattoirs and
>food processing plants would also be outside of the cylinder?

Everything but the residential and recreational areas is outside the
cylinder proper.

> It seems almost magical that they can fit so many industries into 72
>farmsats... =) Or maybe the outer hull of the cylinder proper is dotted with
>these industries, but it seems a trifle dangerous, what with micro-meteorite
>impacts and solar radiation.

The industries are divided into two categories, zero/low gee and
traditional, with the former staged in the cubic kilometer blocks at either
end and the latter on the outer hull -- "underground" from the viewpoint of
the inhabitants.

Solar radiation is minimized by the fact that the colonies are nose-on to
the Sun, presenting the least surface area, with solar collectors acting as
umbrellas to soak up as many rays as possible. Meteoroid ("meteor" is what
you get when a meteorid hits the atmosphere, "meteorite" is what's left
over after it hits) impacts are no more of a problem for the industrial
modules as for, say, the mirrors or the "windows" or the farmsats or any
other part of the colony, which are all at equal risk. "You pays you'
nickel and you takes you' chances...."

It's less of a problem than you might think. The Earth and Moon are
gravity wells that literally pull rocks out of the sky. A colony is just
another rock, minding its own business. The odds of two rocks running into
each other is vanishingly small.

Most likely, it'll be man-made debris that punches holes in a colony. When
it does, the hole will be relatively small -- three or four meters across
-- and someone will released beach ball sized balls of goo that will be
drawn to the breach by with the currents of escaping air. Upon impact,
either with the sharp edges of the breach or with one another, they rupture
and form a gel that quickly hardens into a temporary patch. This
"torimachi" (Japanese for "birdlime") is also used aboard space ships.

> How would a farmsat deal with such threats anyway? The cylinder
>proper is shielded by the outer shell, along with (IIRC) the idea that water
>might be kept between the hulls of the cylinder. But the farmsats are a bit
>small for this treatment, right?

The farmsats WANT the solar radiation, all they can get. They deal with
surplus by polarizing the glass, which is already near opaque to ultraviolet.

>>I think you might be able to support half a billion people it something
>>that large.
>
> Is such a cylinder feasible? I mean, why are most of the Side
>cylinders of 32km diameter and not larger, especially the Side 3.

I'm not sure that O'Neill himself believed that we could actually build
something as large and Earthlike as the Island Three cylinder. He simply
held is.flt as being possible and pushed for the first step, Island One,
which was basically a Bernal sphere. He waffled on the "intermediate"
step, Island Two, which he obviously hadn't given much thought. He may not
have even believed that Island One would fly, but that didn't matter. The
first step to a colony of any size was the solar power station satellite,
which was what O'Neill was really trying to sell.

Imagine if the space shuttle had been developed as a shuttle to
geosynchronous orbit, not low Earth orbit. If they'd signed on to even the
smallest part of the O'Neill High Frontier plan, we'd already have space
stations bigger than supertankers and they'd be doing real work, not just
stargazing.

>>I'll consider it, but I've got to draw the line somewhere and that's pretty
>>basic stuff.
>
> For you, maybe. For us newbies, not. =) We get a basic education in
>physics here, but it's not really obvious how some things connect to another.
>
>>Make it any longer than that and the Coriolis force at the
>>equator will be enough to turn it into a sphere -- the hard way.
>
> (^_^)
>
> So.. if we really want a big colony, would a sphere be the best
shape?

Not really, because you can only inhabit the "tropics" -- the relatively
level stretch between the equator and the 45th latitude to the north and
south. The cylinder really is the best shape for getting the maximum real
estate, because you can inhabit all but the endcaps. The torus is the most
economical and easy to build, which is why Wernher Von Braun latched onto
it back in the '50s.

A sphere would be best only if you
live on the OUTSIDE....

-Z-

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