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Gilligan's Orbital Island

Space Bamboo
  [vote for,

For many structural purposes, bamboo is superior to both steel and aluminium, with equivalent or better strength specs at a much lighter weight.

Thus, predictably, the short form of this Idea is "Use bamboo in space construction": start by sending preformed components (dried and irradiated then x-rayed to confirm structural integrity) up to orbit to use where appropriate: an idea which I believe stands on its own well enough. However, let's take that a bit further...

"Bamboo Plantation(s) in Outer Space":

While structure design would still probably be a "flatlander" job right down to the component level, the bamboo material would be grown, harvested and formed in-situ, ie: in orbit. To list some of the advantages that this has over transporting finished components:

• Fertilizer and seeds are much denser than bamboo poles or tiles.

This provides a much better weight/packing scheme on an outbound shuttle. Also, like water, fertilizer can be brought up any time the shuttle has an otherwise "light" load, and stored at the station for use when necessary.

• Station-produced biological waste can be used, instead of being disposed of.

A space veggie garden is a must but there's still going to be plenty of food shipped up the gravity well, which means there's always going to be more plant food put in to the hydroponics bay than there is foodstuffs taken out. (Also of note is the human aversion to eating human waste products, even once removed.)

• Components have a shipping time of close to zero.

Well, it's right there innit: need a replacement spar ? go pick out a pole, cut it, dry it and shape it. Micrometeroid blow a hole in the floor ? get some more panels out of the tile machine.

• Crew morale would be up.

Instead of sending up construction parts, cows and lobsters are transported to be turned into construction parts.

[bamboo space construction promoted from an annotation in <link>]

FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2011

as mentioned in an anno in... strawberry_20space_20load_20launcher
by [Steven J Scannell] [FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2011]

with nods to Low_20budget_20spacecraft
[FlyingToaster, May 21 2011]

and Foam%20Hulled%20Spacecraft
[FlyingToaster, May 21 2011]


       How brittle would bamboo be in the cold of space?
Can't believe this idea went this long without an anno.

       (Vacuum) drying, prior to use, would remove all the esters as well as water, so there'd be no problems with ice-expansion. Mostly I imagine it'd be similar to carbon-fibre. § x1
FlyingToaster, May 21 2011

       With so much bamboo lying (floating) around we could raise Pandas for food!
DIYMatt, May 21 2011

       I can't believe I didn't submit this idea.   

       Radiation shielding for the orbital greenhouse was a thing I hadn't worked out yet.   

       Reflective, insulating wrapping for the structural bamboo members were something else that stumped me.   

       + anyway.
Zimmy, May 21 2011

       [Z] I don't see why you'd need "reflective, insulating wrapping" for the structural members: once the phase-change substances have been boiled out there shouldn't be any problems with a reasonable amount of heat or radiation.   

       Per the greenhouse though, you'd want something that let through the chlorophyll spectra, perhaps diverting the rest to solar-collectors for heat/electricity.
FlyingToaster, May 21 2011

       further to this idea, Earth<>Moon orbital shuttles and cargo barges could be formed from bamboo as well, the premise being that at their end-of-life they would end up as fertilizer on the Moon, a place noted for being already rich in iron and aluminum and poor in carbon.
FlyingToaster, Jan 03 2013

       Must include the Skipper removing his helmet and beating his "little buddy" with it. Of course, roles for the Professor abound.
normzone, Jan 03 2013

       In the words of Chong, of Cheech and Chong, "that would really blow the cows mind man!" Seriously could you imagine what that cow would think as it arrived in space?
Brian the Painter, Jan 04 2013

       I think live cows in space would require a very very healthy ventilation system.   

       <ruminates on "space jerky">
FlyingToaster, Jan 06 2013


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