Building Blocks

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Emerging sci/tech can widen the scope and reduce the cost of space missions, and transform impossible dreams into feasible, realistic projects.

Summary

New developments in science and technology have a potential to significantly widen the scope and reduce the cost of space missions, and often to transform impossible dreams into feasible, realistic projects. Distributed manufacturing promises low-cost crowdsourced space hardware, personal robotics and LEGO Mindstorms-like building blocks allow citizens to cooperatively prototype advanced robotic systems, and next-generation garage-tech initiatives are lowering space access costs. Blockchain technology is developing new ways to fund and collaborate on ambitious space projects.

Further ahead, research projects on innovative next-generation space propulsion systems, from light-powered sails to new propulsion methods based on exotic physics, promise game-changing breakthroughs. We intend to play a role in the development of all emerging technologies for the space frontier.


Discussion

I believe all the components are now available to create a space manufactory. The challenge becomes merging the components together to create a self-sustaining ecosystem. Core technical components: Low-cost launch vehicle 3D-printers Drones and robotics Power to sustain operations Steady flow of raw materials Reusable, commodity building block designs The overall theory here is to "seed" the initial platform, which builds a beachhead in space. The initial infrastructure serves to build even bigger infrastructure. The idea here is to lower costs and risks by using off the shelf components and eventually building economies of scale. Big bang launches can be extremely expensive , risky, and time consuming. Ideally, a fully operational space could be built before a human ever steps foot inside of the manufactory. Overall, once the equipment is up and running, only raw materials are then being shipped up to the manufactory. Very long term, the materials will be sourced from asteroids and space, relieving the effort of having to build launch vehicles fighting against trying to escape the atmosphere. See Von Neumann probes for an overall vision and its variants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-replicating_spacecraft As the mission description notes, garage tech can complement the existing platforms by reducing costs. Obviously there is also alot of regulatory work that needs to be done to make sure these platforms can be achieved. Some resources for further diligence: Rockoon small payload launches: https://www.leoaerospace.com/ 3D printing: https://www.carbon3d.com/
The jury is still on for exotic propulsion schemes like EmDrive, Mach Effect Drive (MEGA) etc., but if they work they could open a cheap road to the planets and tomorrow the stars. My last article about that published in Motherboard and CNET: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmzmpa/emdrive-nasa-impossible-propulsion-system-explained Especially relevant to Building Blocks: "Some exotic propulsion research today is inexpensive "garage science" that doesn't require multi-billion dollar investment, and can even be self-funded. EmDrive enthusiasts can now 3D-print EmDrive parts and start doing independent experimental research."


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