Three slide shows for Orycon 2015
These are three slides shows I unwisely promised to present at the Orycon 37 science fiction convention on 2015 November 20 and 21. I allowed 3 months to research, design and practice the Stadyshell presentation, thinking it would take about a month. I finished the last slide at 4am Nov 20. The talks were well received - I filled the room (at dinnertime!) for the last.
These are wydiwys webslide shows. When you click on the link, you will get the first alignment slide, with instructions. Click or hit space or pagedown for the next slide. home returns you to the first slide, and enter connects you to the hierarchial navigation menu (which I use for 3 day long thousand-slide presentations). These are built from a script stored in the design subdirectory, along with a free copy of the wydiwys perl program - if I was a smarter web designer, I would write a version of wydiwys with captioning and sound.
If you want to know what I planned to say, print out the script (or display it in another window or screen) and read along with the slides. There are extra slides at the end of the presentation, for answering frequent questions. I rehearse from the script, but wing it in front of a friendly crowd. That was necessary at Orycon, where the projector was sometimes delivered 20 minutes into my hour.
Everything here is sorta-kinda creative commons, built partly on images pilfered from the internet. Pilfer from me, please! If I pilfered from you and you don't like it, please let me know and I will change my presentation to showcase your competitor's images.
Server sky talk, including infrared frontside filtering, and raised GTO orbit 4 month test.
Note that the cubesat deployment depicts the thinsats emerging flat from the end of a 10 x 10 cm cubesat - in actual fact, they emerge edgewise, and are stowed diagonally, so they may be rectangular and perhaps 12 x 14 cm in size. The cubesat may open clamshell to ease deployment sideways. It will also have a cold gas thruster for 30 m/s delta V at apogee; a restartable higher-ISP thruster would be nice, but anything with high energy density (like hydrazine) may be too risky for our launch host.
Launch loop is always in demand among science fiction fans - for more information, see http://launchloop.com . Launch loop will only be developed after:
- 1 a much larger launch market develops - there is no need for a 400 tonne/hour launcher given the current 300 tonne/year market
2 the development and deployment of power storage loops, which will profitably develop ballistic loop energy storage and the technologies necessary for the launch loop.
So, being a crusty old engineer, I am sentimental about the idea but I don't think it is very important in 2015, or 2025 for that matter. Build a launch market first by developing new space-based products that 7 billion people are eager to buy. And no, 7 billion people aren't space tourists - until launch gets six orders of magnitude safer, and cheaper than a weekend at Motel 6, I doubt there will be thousands of space tourists. I do not want to risk the future of life in the galaxy on fantasies.
This presentation was just plain self-indulgent - I don't expect to live long enough to see the first two happen, so I presented an "ultimate artifact" development of Server Sky that none of the audience will live long enough to see.
An ice shell surrounding the sun at 50 AU, supported by light pressure, just beyond the aphelion of Pluto. This is a lot less impossible than old proposals, and it creates a zero gee, vacuum, crogenic environment where Eric Drexler's molecular machines might be easier to create, without getting broken by 30 sigma thermal noise extremes, contamination, or warped by gravitational stress (nature's molecular machines thrive in those conditions, using massive statistical averaging).
Unless we find something as remarkable as the Pluto-Charon system elsewhere in the Kuiper Belt, I think we should keep Pluto, and use it as a processing and launch facility for the Stady Shell. Since it will (artificially) clear its orbit of all other objects, it must be promoted to planet status. If it is not useful for that, we tear it apart. Either way, planet status controversy solved.
Stady = Stapledon Dyson, Freeman Dyson credits Olaf Stapledon's 1937 space fantasy "Starmaker" for the idea. I am proposing something quite a bit more doable than the usual fanboy "dyson sphere" - I want to depreciate that name and concept.
Near the end of the talk, I suggest spreading out the x-ray flux from a nearby supernova (in the distant future) with Rayleigh scattering from the shell - this is probably too half-baked. Rayleigh scattering attenuates the main beam by scattering the flux in all directions - the x-ray scattering depicted, the whole beam a few microradians to dilute the flux arriving at Earth - won't happen this way, as my particle physicist friends tell me. So what can we do with a few months of accurate supernova prediction?