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Orbital Energy

or the Baskeball Generator
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colonists living out in the asteroid belt would have a need for energy that solar power just can't provide. That's where Oribial Energy comes along.

Take a series of low orbiting artificial sattelites with a magnetic charge (maybe just simple balls of iron) . Have their orbits pass through copper-coiled rings orbiting in the opposite direction. (Or maybe a series of rings on really long poles fixed to the asteroid, depending on how high the oribit is) When the satelites pass through the rings they generate electricity, based on the dynamo principal. (Poorly worded maybe, but I think the idea is sound.)

simonj, Aug 22 2008

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       they would slow and, as they slowed their orbits would degrade. Since they would contain no more energy than was initially invested in their launching there would only be a net energy loss.
WcW, Aug 22 2008
  

       Yeah, but can't you say that about everything in a certain sense? I mean, because of conservation of energy, you can't get more out of something than you really put into it.   

       Playing Devil's Advocate here, couldn't you make a similar argument about oil? We spend so much time and energy drawing it out from the ground in order to burn it in our cars. The energy spent drilling for it and refining it I would think is more than the energy we get from driving (just guesstimating). I think it just comes down to trade offs or rather what we'd rather have as our primary energy source.
WhereYouAt, Aug 22 2008
  

       Yeah, [WhAt], you could say that. About oil, at least. There, it's economic efficiency that has to be accounted for. Erg for erg, though, the extraction process is less than the energy gained.   

       As for the idea, it would require more energy to get all the satellites moving the right way than could ever be extracted. If, by chance, there were natural rocks already moving the right way, or within nudging range of the right way, some energy could perhaps be extracted as described, for a little while. But since the description refers to "low orbiting artificial", I'm fishboning.
baconbrain, Aug 22 2008
  

       While a google for "Oribial" gets 26 hits, with this one being the first, none of them make any sense.
normzone, Aug 22 2008
  

       Brings up images of planetary machines... gravity well near a star pulls hydrogen for ships to refuel; planets aligned to slingshot materials; dynamic systems that mold death stars as twin planets briefly touch each other and explode apart.   

       How do they get P and N gates on computer chips? This is how they move the planets. Probably involves black hole tug boat star ships, but that's another post...
Bcrosby, Aug 23 2008
  
      
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