13 thoughts on “Four Megaprojects”

  1. Falcon Heavy makes the doomsday ark a mini project. The megaproject would be to create an off-Earth settlement that could survive without assistance from Earth. After a startup period, a Lunar settlement could probably survive reverting to 1950s technology (the first solar panel) and building back up from there. 40s technology might suffice if there’s enough nuclear fissionables on the Moon at the time assistance breaks off.

    1. Knowledge is storable. Once a level is reached very little of it need be lost. We could start with blacksmiths and get to current tech. levels in a generation.

      Those megaprojects were all just one… keeping the earth viable. The real classification should be planet level, star system level, star cluster level, galaxy level and universe level. There are extinction events for all of those we must successively deal with.

      1. “Knowledge is storable. Once a level is reached very little of it need be lost. We could start with blacksmiths and get to current tech. levels in a generation.”

        But would that generation survive if it were on the Moon? If yes, then they could catch up, but Earth knowledge might not be sufficiently relevant for the to do so quickly.

        1. The moon can not be self sufficient. Mars will be.

          However, with good recycling the moon could be viable to a small population for some time depending on starting supplies and recovery rates, but would eventually wind down without massive imports.

      2. Books decay and more modern storage options have their own limitations. Even with all the information in the world at your fingertips, assimilating it is not easy.

        It all depends on what scale of disaster befalls us, but recovery could take a long time.

        1. Absolutely, but the essential knowledge is not knowing how but being aware that it can which is stored in the collective consciousness. Most things are actually improved when you have to refigure them and few things are that difficult to reproduce (with notable exceptions that don’t matter much.)

          Then the only real limitation would be a missing resource (which is what makes mars preferable to all other options.)

  2. Krafft Ehricke, legendary space engineer and contemporary of Werner von Braun in the German and U.S. rocket programs, spent 10 years studying solar light reflection and how it could benefit humanity. His paper, published in the 1979, is a great example of how super smart people approach massive engineering problems.

    There is a good documentary about the challenges a system like this faces.

    1. A Mockumentary you mean. lol. But you know what? This feat of engineering is also in Sid Meier’s (or should I say Brian Reynold’s) Alpha Centauri. It’s a UN design which is called “Launch Polar Shade” or “Melt Polar Icecaps”.

  3. It’s disappointing that the alleged driver for one of these schemes is alleged looming overpopulation. There is no credible projection that posits 11 billion Earthlings by 2100. The best estimates I’ve seen are that total Terran population will hit maybe 9.5 billion by mid-21st Century, then start a modest rate of decline.

    1. Yeah it’s a shame we aren’t full filling the Prime Directive (expand and multiply) anymore. Makes one think we are failing as a species.

  4. The moon is one place where solar is all one needs. Forget the two weeks of night. At the poles, one can erect a solar panel tower high enough to be in constant daylight.

    Silicon dioxide, made of two of the most abundant elements on earth or moon, has a minimum compressive strength of 159.5 ksi, and a maximum density of 165.4 lb/ft^3. Thus a constant diameter column of the stuff on earth could be as tall as 139,000 feet, and a constant-tapered column (a cone, pyramid, etc) could be three times that, or 417,000 feet. On the moon (with 1/6 earth gravity), they could be 834,000 to 2,500,000 feet tall, respectively. And on the moon, there is no weather or seismic activity for which to design. A tower with either a flat panel solar array making one rotation every two weeks, or a Solyndra-type cylindrical panel, could deliver unceasing power of at least 164 W/m^2 on a 24/7 basis.

    BTW, the comment in the article about meteors hitting the moon due to it’s lack of gravity was a howler. I think he meant “atmosphere.”

  5. Couldn’t you just use it as a giant mirror and conduct the solar irradiance over something like an optic fiber (preferably one which wouldn’t melt that is) into the actual places which have the collectors or which needs the solar irradiance? You could even use it to melt stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *