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Zero Gravity the Key to Interstellar travel?

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posted on Oct, 21 2007 @ 10:44 PM
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Robert Bigelow believes the key to creating space craft that can travel to far off galaxies is zero gravity research. I was reading my new Wired magazine today and they have an article on the eccentric Bigelow. He has a space habitat business that he says he's going to invest another $400 million into. He has a remarkable idea he bought off of NASA which was one of there scraped ideas, basically inflatable structures that look like giant watermelons. Zero gravity research is a brand new frontier that only has had limited research. All our technology is based on a world with gravity, but when you take gravity away all the rules change. Bigelow thinks that new propulsion technology built in a zero gravity environment will be the way to create space vehicles that can zoom around our universe. This is a new concept to me and it really struck a chord and I think this nutty billionaire may be onto something. I have never been to MIT and my knowledge in physics is extremely limited, does anyone with a bit of knowledge in this field have some input?

What type of amazing propulsion system can we build in zero gravity?



Bigelow expects that many companies will be happy to pony for the chance to do things in microgravity that they can't do on earth. For instance, research suggests that, because of how molecules behave in zero gravity, it might be possible to manufacture superefficient fiberoptic cable or new pharmaceuticals in orbit.

Robert also said " I strongly believe that at least some UFOs owe their beginnings to being manufactured... from materials made in a micro-gravity environment." The effects of Earth's gravity, he explained, limit us to the elements and compounds we have here: In space, we might be able to develop all kinds of new substances with unguessable properties. Working in microgravity, Biegelow concluded, is therefore essential for manufacturing interstellar craft.


Wired Magazine issue 15.11 page 204


Bigelow Aerospace

Sorry the article is not available on Wired.com yet.

[edit on 21-10-2007 by jojoKnowsBest]




posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 03:11 AM
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Bigelow's idea makes sense, but it won't be as good as he seems to be making out. Building stuff in space (zero gravity) will be very expensive, but if it was done, you would not have to add all of the equipment for clearing the Earth's gravitational field. However, you would have to do exactly that in order to get the construction materials into space in the first place, so it is rather counterproductive.

If a space launch facility were built, say, on the moon, this would be productive, because the moon has less gravity to overcome during launch, and there are readily available materials on the moon to use in construction, as opposed to shipping them up from Earth. Still incredibly expensive, though, and I'm not certain if all the metals and minerals and things needed for construction would be available on the moon.

If we could have some kind of an efficient space shuttle, designed specifically not for long distance travel but simply for the Earth-moon trip, this might begin to be practical, at least technologically speaking. Basically, build the Earth-moon ship for personnel transport and for materials unavailable or too difficult to manufacture on the moon, and then build a base on the moon to launch from. Essentially I'm suggesting an idea where the ship designs are specialized, to improve efficiency.

Now, I'm not entirely sure that what I've said is even close to what Bigelow suggests, but I think I'm on the right track, at least. There is no way, for example, that what I'm talking about will let us 'travel to far off galaxies', but it would let us explore our own solar system.

With the idea of giant watermelons, I'm not exactly sure where Bigelow is going with this, and not having seen the design, I can't really comment. However, for aerodynamical reasons, such a shape would be ridiculous in Earth atmosphere, but if built in outer space, would work just as well as any other shape, due to the lack of air resistance. The inflatable thing is a neat idea, one that I haven't seen before, and depending on the design it might allow for more economical space travel 'locally', like in our solar system, but no one will travel to another galaxy in anything we can even imagine today, much less build, I think.



posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 05:18 AM
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The cool thing about zero-G construction is that you can build things that would never be possible on Earth - huge ships that would fall apart under their own weight on Earth, but are struturally sound in space. Cargo frieghters, for example - they only have to be built strong enough for the acceleration of the ship itself, not gravity. If the ship accelerates slowly enough, the ship could be very weak and still carry vast amounts of massive cargo.



posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 01:16 PM
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It's pretty tough to work in space isnt it? You have to basically re-think the way you do construction. However, if we come to a point where we can build construction docks ala star trek in earths orbit, it only makes sense that people would be doing very little of the "grunt work".



posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 01:36 PM
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Is "zero gravity" the same as "artificial gravity"? I'm a little confused by the term.

Bob Lazar claimed that an artificial gravity field created around an object, with the ability to amplify the gravity (inside the artificial field) in a certain direction, was the key to interstellar travel (light speed travel). This explanation always made perfect sense to me.

Peace



posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 08:59 PM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
With the idea of giant watermelons, I'm not exactly sure where Bigelow is going with this, and not having seen the design, I can't really comment. However, for aerodynamical reasons, such a shape would be ridiculous in Earth atmosphere, but if built in outer space, would work just as well as any other shape, due to the lack of air resistance. The inflatable thing is a neat idea, one that I haven't seen before, and depending on the design it might allow for more economical space travel 'locally', likTe in our solar system, but no one will travel to another galaxy in anything we can even imagine today, much less build, I think.


Think giant inflatable space tents. The space habitats will be inflatable and will be made up of a bunch of layers of different materials including Kevlar and other super strong substances so the structure can absorb impacts of fast moving space debris. The floor plans are totally customizable. There are many companies going into the space business but most are focusing on the delivery aspect, where Robert is the only one making habitats for space. We have companies focusing on getting up into space but what do you do once you get in orbit? There are lots of countries that have developing space programs but lack the capital to build their own space craft. Now with space tourism, like Virgin Galactic and space freight businesses, like SpaceX, launching cargo and people to space will be much more cost affective. Japan and China are likely candidates to buy some of Robert's Habitats which at first will be as big as 1000 cubic feet. They will be small and easy to launch to orbit and once in space will be inflated with oxygen. You can then connect them together and there will be no limit to the size of a space station you can build. Robert was talking about building a space hotel where for about $15 million you get to spend a week in orbit and you will have your very own room and the accommodations will be more comfortable then the International Space Station.
These are some very interesting times we are coming into, wouldn’t it be amazing in ten years we will have space hotels in orbit with hundreds or maybe thousands of people. If there are any UFOs up in space it will be very hard to keep it quiet once we have many civilians floating around the planet.


1) Launch
Bigelow Aerospace used modified Russian missiles to haul two test modules into space. But the real units are bigger and will need beefier transport. So far there's no word on who will provide taxi service, but Boeing has voiced an interest, and Lockheed Martin is already working on how to get people to the station. Plus, there's SpaceX, Elon Musk's firm, which has rockers for rent.

2) Inflate
Once in orbit, the module is deployed. As it's unfurls, three to eight solar panels flower out. Then compressed air is released from the tanks in a metal core, forcing the 16-inch-thick fabric skin to expand outward. Within minutes (test models inflated in less than half an hour) units reach full size-22 feet in diameter for the BA 330 module and 21 feet for the smaller Sundancer craft.

3) Dock
BA's first human-ready pod, Sundancer, will launch in 2010. A year later, a spine with docking ports will join it in orbit. This core will accommodate two BA 330 modules with 1,080 cubic feet of usable room each. Once the final unit locks into place, the complex will hold up to 15 people. Future stations will be completely customizable, and big-name clients will be invited to design their own.


SpaceX

Virgin Galactic



posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 09:07 PM
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Why Microgravity Research?

One of the most promising new areas for the commercialization of space is in the field of microgravity. Microgravity is the absense of gravity also known as weightlessness or zero gravity. It is most dramatically illustrated by astronauts floating around in their spacecrafts. Microgravity allows new materials to be developed which can not be made on Earth due to gravity. These new materials can be used to speed up future computers, reduce pollution, improve fiber optics, and enable medical break throughs to cure diseases.



MICROGRAVITY.COM



posted on Oct, 23 2007 @ 01:55 AM
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Originally posted by Dr Love
Is "zero gravity" the same as "artificial gravity"? I'm a little confused by the term.

Peace


yea it is, if you have an artificial gravitational feild then you are like a different world to everyone out of that craft. Its basicaly like being in another time space continuem (sorry for the spelling). Being in another gravitational field your body isnt effected by other gravety fields (like the earth). I hope that makes sence for you.


Originally posted by Dr Love

Bob Lazar claimed that an artificial gravity field created around an object, with the ability to amplify the gravity (inside the artificial field) in a certain direction, was the key to interstellar travel (light speed travel). This explanation always made perfect sense to me.

Peace


I think that is true, if you can charge the edge of the craft in the direction that you want to travel then you will be able to move at extrodinary speeds simply because you arnt effected by the gravity fields out side of the craft.

-fm



posted on Oct, 23 2007 @ 05:24 AM
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Building stuff in zero-G would be really easy - you can move arbitrarily massive objects to any place and any angle with equal ease. A huge amount of work when building a skyscraper goes into lifting all the heavy stuff to the top of the tower, but in zero-G there's no top or bottom and no weight to anything. That sounds fun...



posted on Oct, 23 2007 @ 05:34 AM
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Originally posted by jim_w
Building stuff in zero-G would be really easy - you can move arbitrarily massive objects to any place and any angle with equal ease. A huge amount of work when building a skyscraper goes into lifting all the heavy stuff to the top of the tower, but in zero-G there's no top or bottom and no weight to anything. That sounds fun...


Not that much fun once you realize that although objects in zero-g have no weight they still have mass! E.g., a one-ton mass in zero-g is hard to get moving at all and - possibly even more important - equally hard to stop when it's moving towards you
.

But of course you do have the advantage that once a part is somewhere at rest, it will essentially stay where it is and not fall "down"
.

Regards
yf



posted on Oct, 23 2007 @ 06:25 AM
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Exactly! The amount of work taken to actually move the object (i.e. accelerating it while moving it around) would be the same as on Earth, but you'd have to do no work against gravity. No cranes either - just propulsion devices.

You're right about stopping things - on Earth at least you know that if something goes wrong it's probably going downwards, but if a rocket misfires you could have girders moving in any direction out of control. Redundancy needed, I think.



posted on Oct, 24 2007 @ 01:33 AM
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NASA has some interesting things to say about microgravity.


Gene transfer in a microgravity environment has demonstrated at least a tenfold increase in the efficiency

Research conducted on the Space Shuttle has shown that the production of antibiotics is substantially greater in microgravity than in comparable experiments on Earth.

Microgravity has been demonstrated to affect the production of essential oils in a rose resulting not in a slight shift in scent, but in an entirely new fragrance.

Research with human insulin crystals grown on several flights has revealed surprising and uniquely valuable data that can be used to develop a longer-lasting insulin formulation.

Research has been conducted on the KC-135 aircraft and will be continued on the ISS to understand how gravity and other parameters affect the composition of porous ceramics which could be used as bone replacement material.

The microgravity environment has been demonstrated effective in determining thermophysical properties data through containerless processing techniques which are not possible on Earth. The research goal is to obtain new data for use in developing advanced casting techniques and alloys for designs not presently producible and for improving yields of the casting process, where scrap rates average about 10%.


Maybe if we are still around in 200 years we may have giant space factories because curtain things can only be made in microgravity? We could have technology by then that could control gravity but, on a large factory scale, working in space may just be more cost effective?

Check out the link to read more about what NASA has to say.

The Benefits of Microgravity Research



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