h a l f b a k e r y
On the one hand, true. On the other hand, bollocks.
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The next time we land rovers on the moon or Mars, let's drop
a package that contains:
1) 3D printer
2) Solar panels
3) initial printing mass
4) robotic shovel/grinder
It just harvests dust/rock from the surface over time to build
whatever we want! No more sending up
tons of mass on
With enough heat (from solar energy sources), we could melt
rock for the printer material.
Not enough energy? Create reflectors & position more &
more of them to slowly build up a solar-thermal plant with
the trickle you have from the initial panels.
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||First thing I suggest you build is a 3D printer
maintenance machine, capable of replacing the tips.
Melted rock could be a little hot.
||Is your 3D printer capable of oil-quenching steel?
||RayfordSteele, yes, of course. It's a thought-
||But, I love the spirit of RepRap (I'm sure you know
already, but those who don't can look it up).
||So, essentially, if we need a maintenance machine,
that's one of the first things this would build.
||If we launch several of these "kits" onto a planet, in
6 months intervals, we could take the learning from
one & apply it to the next one, so it knows better
what to build first, & next, etc.
||The laser-sintering type of 3D printer might be
suitable here. Moon rocks CAN be sintered, I think,
because they are all igneous, not sedimentary.
||Vernon: Yes, extruded or sintered, not sure what
might work best. But, just send both in the next
kits then. If we send up small mass kits every 6
months, we can refine the package. It would still
stay small, with the benefit of getting most of it's
mass from the destination, & only need to ship it's
"smarts + minimal startup materials"
||//Moon rocks CAN be sintered, I think, because they
are all igneous, not sedimentary.//
||Why would their igneosity make them any more
sinterable than sedimentary rock?
||Igneous rocks have been melted before, and
sintering involves melting.
Sedimentary rocks have grains that aren't really
stuck together tightly. Metamorphic rocks are
sedimentary rocks that have been subjected to
heat and pressure, and they should be more
too --but since the Moon never had an
environment supporting sedimentary-rock
formation, it won't have any metamorphic rocks,
||Perhaps I should have mentioned meteorites on
the Moon, though. Most of them will be igneous,
also (when they aren't made of metal, or are
carbonaceous chondrites). A few may
be sedimentary or even metamorphic, because
they will have come from some place like Earth or
Mars, where such rocks can form. But they will be
quite rare, compared to all the igneous rocks.
||I think you can cement the dust using Sulphur. I read
this in an engineering periodical only yesterday.
||Find a deposit of mercury compounds, melt some, electrolytically separate the mercury and gases (I'm guessing about the gases), and now you have fluids to work with.
||I think you need fluids (and maybe a bit of gravitation) to extract energy from hot stuff, mechanically?
||Alternatively build an open "air" silicon wafer plant, expanding from that to lunar solar panel manufacture.
||Trying to bootstrap like this makes sense to me. Beyond some point, it would start to become self-sustaining, and from there, carrying on the do something similar to other moons and planets is a much smaller next step. (There's already some pastry up there from a previous visit.)