posted on Apr, 24 2005 @ 06:17 PM
The Idea of factories in space has been around for ages yet the concept is not so simple.
First you have to remember that while gravity may not be an issue, mass is still present. A 1000 pound block of lead will weigh nothing in Space but
it still moves like a 1000 pound brick. You need to push it with a 1000 pounds of force and once it gets moving you need an equal force to get it to
stop. This is why it is so difficult for an astronaut to tighten a bolt in space. They have to anchor their bodies or they will simply turn around
instead of tightening the bolt. They actually have to use the muscles in their entire bodies and not just in their arms. Lack of gravity could be
useful in metallurgy and pharmacology but we need to study a lot more first before the benefits outweigh the costs.
Second, you have to consider material resources. Unless you place yourself near or on an asteroid, moon, or planet, you will need to deliver all
material resources to the factory. This could get quite expensive. Mining the asteroids could be potentially lucrative, IF there is a local need or an
exotic material found there. Why haul Iron from Space all the way to Earth? The Moon does have useful materials such as Oxygen and H3 but thus far
there isn't much need on Earth for them.
The true potential for space factories will only arise once mankind has broken the bonds of Earth and begins to live in Space or on the Moon and Mars.
Then, Local materials will be needed to create a new environment to live in and the new devices we will require. Alas, this isnt going to happen any
I think the biggest obstacle keeping us from living off Earth, is our current manner of getting about in Space. Chemical rockets are very limited in
their ability and also quite costly, not to mention dangerous. As we peer deeper into the working of the Atom and divine its secrets perhaps one day
we will be able to harness the power of gravity to move about the heavens. Then, we will master the universe.