Centauri Dreams looks at the 'Advent of the Belters,' relating the news from Planetary Resources to older dreams of mining the asteroids.
Nextbigfuture - Blue Origin is a secretive private spaceflight firm, which was established in 2000 by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, is developing systems to launch astronauts to both suborbital and orbital space. While Blue Origin releases details about its plans and progress sparingly, the company's basic business model has come out. It all revolves around reusable rockets and spacecraft, developed in incremental steps
Nextbigfuture - A new approach to solar sails is taking shape in a clean room in an Illinois laboratory. Researchers there have designed a sail that would unfurl from bobbins into a giant space ribbon 250 meters long, says Victoria Coverstone, an aerospace engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This project, also dubbed Cube Sail, is basically ready to fly, she says, if the team can find money for a launch and to upgrade the Mylar film that makes up the sail. The Illinois group next aims to test a spinning deployment of sail blades, on the way to an ambitiously large spinning sail whose rotating blades could measure up to 5 or even 10 kilometers long.
Nextbigfuture - Another type of Dyson Sphere is the "Dyson bubble". It would be similar to a Dyson swarm, composed of many independent constructs. Unlike the Dyson swarm, the constructs making it up are not in orbit around the star, but would be statites—satellites suspended by use of enormous light sails using radiation pressure to counteract the star's pull of gravity. It would be millions of times lighter than a Dyson Sphere because you are not making it thick enough for people to walk on it but wispy thin to just collect solar energy and it can be made 10 times or more closer to the Sun which makes it 1256 times ore more smaller. Over a billion times less material means that 100,000 to a million tons would gather all of the solar energy hitting the earth and a complete Dyson bubble would use less than 1% of the material of the Asteroid Pallas.
Nextbigfuture - Cookbook for a Galactic Empire - Civilization Demand and Resources for Energy Relative to Kardashev Scale. Here we outline the economic growth that would drive the energy demands to climb the Kardashev scale and the basic technology that will enable getting the energy equivalent of all of the solar energy of the earth, of our sun and of our galaxy
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