Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Earths first Spaceport?
Sooner or later, we gotta get of this planet. Me thinks sooner, judging reports about global warming and the on-coming War of the Cultures.
Over-population and the usage of our natural resources means that we must find some resources (and even somewhere else to live) before Earth has another Extinction Level Event (ELE). We know a giant rock is coming to change the order of things. It has happened 5 times we know of already. The dinosuar event, 65 million years ago in the Chixalub in Mexico is just the fifth ELE that they know of.
And of course I havent mentioned Super Volcanoes, Global Plagues, Ice Ages, and good old fashioned Thermal Nuclear Death.
sings "We gotta get out of this place". But how?
It is actually really fuel intensive to get of this planet. So much of a rockets fuel is just needed to break the Earths atmospere. You probably couldnt launch a vessel that was meant to go deep space and back again with conventional rocket fuel. It would probably weigh too much. Thats why they dont paint the fuel cells on the shuttle. The extra weight would mean extra fuel to cover it, and even more fuel to cover the extra weight of the extra fuel! phew!
So if you could launch from somewhere where you didnt have to break the Earths atmosphere, you could take so much extra fuel with you for your deepspace exploring or mining trip! Nice :)
And finally, what is the main componant of rocket fuel? Hydrogen, the H in H2O.
Which brings us to that magnificent photo from the Mars Exress showing a crater at the north pole of Mars full of water ice. It is about 10km across and about 200/400 meters thick. And its not the only crater at the pole. Concieivably, you could build a base at the poles of Mars, build a machine that converts water into Hydrogen fuel, and launch missions from there.
Many years in the future, I fear; but we have the technology now, not the political will.