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Propulsion is a major concern. It could have engines that can change angles to allow it to create the spin it needs or move it as needed.

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4 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

Since your posts are date titled, the one is posted before the other because of the posting date.

I found a way to make a fix. 

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Coming in late, but I think something accessible by a space elevator would make people more apt to go there. It seems ... "friendlier" somehow. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, PenName said:

Coming in late, but I think something accessible by a space elevator would make people more apt to go there. It seems ... "friendlier" somehow. 

A space elevator might be cool, but the trip from ground to station might be 24 hours long. Even half that would be to long.  Still, cool trip. 

Edited by zx1ninja
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4 hours ago, zx1ninja said:

Aside from what's already been said, what if you wanted to change its orbit or have it stay in one spot or evenadjust a stationaryorbit of a planet. Now you have to install some type of drive system or build a group of ships to tow it around like a tug boat. 

 

I think that this same thing will be true for any space station. If the mass of the fabricated station were equal to the mass of the asteroid, the propulsion problem should be nearly identical. There would be a difference if only a part of the asteroid were converted into a habitat, or if there were some other reason that the repurposed asteroid included excess mass, above and beyond that of the fabricated station.

 

If you had sufficient manufacturing capability on-station, all excess material could probably either be reused or jettisoned. Unless you have a specific story reason to do otherwise, it should be reasonable to posit this as one feature of your story world.

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@Wes B you're right about having some kind of propulsion built into a constructed station as well, that would not change and if the mass is the same the power needed would likely be similar if not the same.

 

I'm just saying that for an asteroid it would have to be added somehow making the process more difficult . But for the constructed station it would be designed in from the start and easier to do.

 

A plus side to the asteroid though would be that if it's large enough, it may have sufficient mass to have gravity on its own. 

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1 minute ago, zx1ninja said:

I'm just saying that for an asteroid it would have to be added somehow making the process more difficult . But for the constructed station it would be designed in from the start and easier to do.

 

A plus side to the asteroid though would be that if it's large enough, it may have sufficient mass to have gravity on its own. 

 

It's possible you're presuming a really massive asteroid, and some story circumstances might require that, but a much smaller one could be selected, if there were some convenience in doing so. If it's a chunk of the standard iron-nickel, I'm not sure there would be any real problem in attaching things to it; it's tough stuff, and it should be possible to bore/drill, and even tap threads, for whatever attachments were needed. I suspect that there's technology to do vacuum welds, too, though as long as we're positing the ability to create a self-sustaining habitat, i suppose we could posit decent welds, too.

 

Also, in real engineering problems,there are almost always big tradeoffs to be made. A fabricated structure can be designed "from stem to stern", and that might make some aspects of installing things easier. However, that problem becomes much harder when it comes to actually importing all the necessary materials to create the thing.

 

So it comes down to which is more costly: transporting everything on site from elsewhere, or outfitting and re purposing the materials already sitting there. Don't forget that, given sufficiently sophisticated manufacturing capabilities, the asteroid-station might look indistinguishable from the fabricated one.

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Posted (edited)

You are correct, it might not be that hard to attach purpolstion to a metal asteroid. But there may be problems with metal poisoning. alas this is all just discussion and VERY interesting concepts. I like the stuff coming out the question, lots to consider as no one solution has all the best answers.

Edited by zx1ninja
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14 hours ago, Wes B said:

There would be a difference if only a part of the asteroid were converted into a habitat, or if there were some other reason that the repurposed asteroid included excess mass, above and beyond that of the fabricated station.

 

The habitat wouldn't have that much more mass, would it?

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It will all depend upon the completed habitat/station. My only point was that if an asteroid was used propulsion of some kind would have to be added. Where a constructed station would have it as an intragal part. The power needed for efficient movement or control will depend on the mass no matter what the station is constructed from. 

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14 hours ago, PenName said:

Coming in late, but I think something accessible by a space elevator would make people more apt to go there. It seems ...

 

I used this in my sci-fi novel. But they're mainly used to move processed materials from huge space stations down to Earth. The space stations are receiving/refining points for minerals mined from various asteroids in the belt. People use shuttles to get to/from Earth because it's faster, but I suppose there could be "slow boat" elevator trips that bring people to/from stations in greater numbers. Kinda like taking the train instead of an airplane.

 

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59 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

 

The habitat wouldn't have that much more mass, would it?

 

It doesn't have to be, though author decisions made for story setting could drive a lot of the outcome:

 

  • Lots of authors like to visualize a large, hollowed-out rock. While this  would be possible to build, it doesn't make a lot of sense, unless the rock is a very special one, and it must be the site of a station. Otherwise, one of the abundant iron-nickel asteroids would likely get chosen, ahead of a rocky one. The choice would likely be driven by...
  • Manufacturing capabilities. The OP doesn't specify where or when said station would exist. In the near future, on-site manufacturing would be limited, but then in the near future, repurposing an asteroid isn't practical, anyway. Go a little further to the future, and on-site manufacturing would likely allow the asteroid's entire volume to be consumed and either remade into station components, or jettisoned as waste. The size of the asteroid would likely to be chosen according to the volume of material needed for construction. Extra mass, reserved for future construction, could complicate the propulsion issue, though.
  • We've been given no constraints on whether the thing is near-Earth, or way out there. The further from "home" it is, the more reasonable to repurpose an asteroid, as local materials could be orders of magnitude cheaper. The closer to earth, the higher the safety concerns for bringing a massive hunk of material nearby, and the cheaper to import materials safely to the station.
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1 hour ago, Wes B said:

We've been given no constraints on whether the thing is near-Earth, or way out there.

 

Oh, yeah, that's true...

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1 hour ago, Wes B said:

We've been given no constraints on whether the thing is near-Earth, or way out there.

I've not decided yet. Still not really sure if/how I will use the information or where this will go. 🤔  I do have a design idea now though. 

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On 7/18/2020 at 12:57 PM, Vance Kessler said:

Propulsion is a major concern. It could have engines that can change angles to allow it to create the spin it needs or move it as needed.

Yes and no. Remember that in space once an object has momentum it continues in that direction until acted upon. But that could be an indirect gravitational force or simple  friction, no matter how small. 

 

I've pretty much decided on a O'Neil cylinder. The cylinder could be spun and maintained easily enough through the use of small reaction jets or a mechanical system of some type.

 

But that still leaves the station as a whole. The next question then is do you want to give it the ability to move from planet to planet or just maintain station keeping or position.

 

Station keeping will almost certainly be a must. Although if in the right position, say L5 in our Earth moon system.

 

Not sure about the station moving between systems that would certainly take a VERY long time as it will probably not move that fast. But movement within the system, planet to planet might be something. The next question would be why?

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I hope I'm not being annoying here... Moving an O' Neill cylinder could have severe unintended consequences. There are huuuuge mirrors, intended to reflect sunlight into the system. They avoid allowing direct sunlight in, because that would also allow the energetic particles from solar flares to fry the interior...

 

These mirrors will be designed according to the station's distance from the sun, so as not to have too much, or too little. If you move it planetary distances, it'll totally throw the internal environment out of whack. Also, the thing has to be oriented so as to keep the cylinders' axes pointed toward the sun. to keep the interior environment stable. That might make it very tricky to move the thing, anyway.

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7 minutes ago, Wes B said:

That might make it very tricky to move the thing, anyway.

Yes, but that assumes mine will have mirrors. I'm currently seriously considering an O'Neil class with no mirrors and using artificial lighting.

 

Or possibly artificial lighting conjunction with mirrors that can be deployed or closed as needed.

 

For instance solar storms. No mirrors would allow for more surface use because then you don't need the windows.

 

Think Babylon 5 and that's the direction I'm really considering. But I'm still looking at a lot of things. 

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Space habitats are something I've been researching for a while, especially because I intend to ship a non-violent agrarian Christian community to the stars in one. They'll spend generations in space in a hybrid habitat about the size and shape of Manhattan Island, and I fully intend to throw all kinds of curveballs at them, from potassium sequestration ( that's a vital mineral that gets locked up in the bones of the dead) to cancer to the suspicion that the ship's AI has its own agenda. 

 

Nickel allergies are something I hadn't considered, but I can imagine a scenario where the AI is attempting to introduce countermeasures and the colonists are resistant, refusing to use water provided for them unless it has been purified.

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Hadn't given AI much thought, but I think you're on to something there. I'll have to look into including it.

 

Open the pod bay door HAL.

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1 hour ago, zx1ninja said:

Hadn't given AI much thought, but I think you're on to something there. I'll have to look into including it.

 

Open the pod bay door HAL.

I'm a little concerned about the mission, Dave.

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