Posts Tagged ‘space construction’

‘Mining the Sky’ – John S. Lewis

March 22, 2013

This is the last of my seven posts about good textbooks or technical books about Earth impactors in English. Let me know about works I’ve overlooked!

Mining the Sky by Dr. John S. Lewis has 15 chapters about utilizing space resources. This is, in effect, a distillation of the OOP (Out-of-Print) 1993 Arizona Space Science Series textbook, “Resources of Near-Earth Space,” edited by Dr. Lewis, Mildred S. Mathews, and Mary L. Guerrieri.

Dr. Lewis became the Chief Scientist at one of the asteroid mining companies, Deep Space Industries (DSI) in 2013 after helping to define the industry two decades earlier with ‘Resources.’

275 pages, Helix Books, 1996, Mining the Sky by Dr. John S. Lewis, Paperback, U$13.64 from Amazon.

Errata: page 172, replace ‘William Burroughs’ with ‘Anthony Burgess’ as author of the nadsat language in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’

Resources of Near-Earth Space – John S. Lewis

March 17, 2013

Resources of Near-Earth Space edited by John S. Lewis, Mildred S. Mathews, and Mary L. Guerrieri.

The essential textbook of Space Resources, with 33 papers defining the field to the public. I hope Dr Lewis has colleagues working on the update/sequel now that two decades more data have been accumulated. Dr. Lewis joined Deep Space Industries in Feb. 2013.

  1. Introduction – 1 paper, Using Resources From Near-Earth Space by Lewis, McKay, and Clark
  2. The Moon – 15 papers including Refractory Material From Lunar Resources by Poisl and Carrier
  3. Near-Earth Objects – 7 papers including Volatile Products From Carbonaceous Asteroids by Nichols
  4. Mars and Beyond – 10 papers including A Chemical Approach to Carbon Dioxide Utilization on Mars by Hepp, Landis, and Kubiak

Arizona Space Science Series textbook, University of Arizona Press, 977 pages, 1993, Resources of Near-Earth Space is OOP (Out-Of-Print), but if you act fast, used copies are as low as U$112 at Amazon and U$119 on eBay. Very inexpensive if you want to make a good impression at your Deep Space Industries job interview by quoting from their Chief Scientist’s textbook during your answer to their question: what do you want to work on.  🙂

Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids – Belton et al

February 24, 2013

My next suggestion for your local college library donation to help as reference material or textbooks for Chelyabinsk-inspired students is Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids by Belton et al. This 17-chapter technical book’s papers concentrate on the physics and engineering of how to prevent impacts, rather then on impact effects.

For instance, the papers I intend to read or reread first are: Chapter 2 – Earth impactors: orbital characteristics and warning times, Chesley & Spahr; Chapter 6 – About deflecting asteroids and comets, Holsapple; Chapter 9 – Mitigation technolgies and their requirements, Gritzner & Kahle;  and Chapter 13 – Optimal interception and deflection of Earth-approaching asteroids using low-thrust electric propulsion, Scheeres.

And this is where having an existing space construction infrastructure would come in, as Chris Lewicki, Chief Asteroid Miner at Planetary Resources, and David Gump, CEO at Deep Space Industries, have pointed out in numerous interviews. With multiple copies of various modules – hab, lab, propulsion, storage/shielding (water), etc – in use, and with the ability to rapidly print more modules from asteroid metals and lunar titanium, we will have more options for deflection. For example, fuel depots, using icesteroids and lunar-pole ice as storage sources, will give between one to two orders of magnitude more immediately available velocity change (fuel). But this would take a minimum of 20 to 40 years to create.

The amazon link to the 2011 paperback reissue of the 2004 Cambridge University Press hardback (436 pages, U$58 for the paperback, U$185 for the hardback):
Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids by Belton et al.

In the Cave of Night – memorable

December 22, 2007

My next personally memorable word, phrase, or scene (aha! cheating already – yep) is my very first one – “the cave of night.”  I’m a second-generation sf reader, and Mom kept her Galaxy and Astounding magazines lying around out on the (enclosed) porch of our 2nd floor apartment.

Wandering out there in 1955 as a seven-year old who had awakened to the worlds inside any block of black-marked sheets of unpowered paper, I found a Galaxy Feb issue.  I settled down to read a story called “The Cave of Night.” …

I learned of Rev McMillen’s plight in the first hours, along with the rest of the world.  Stranded – all his return fuel burnt, receiver out, air for 29 more days – trapped in the cave of night.  We listened to him talk of the beauty of the world turning below him, how there were no boundaries visible.  How many sunrises and sunsets he saw every day in orbit.  And we rushed to build the second ship…

James E. Gunn wrote this, and four more involving the Big Wheel space station they built to carry on Rev’s pioneering spirit.  These were published by Bantam Books in 1958 as Station in Space,


taking advantage of the Russians launches of Sputniks 1 through 3 to help sales.  According to Prof Gunn’s website, the television show I saw based on the story the next year was on Desilu Playhouse in 1959 as “Man in Orbit”.

Station in Space was reprinted in 2004 as an ebook Station in Space Kindle edition and paperback.  After you read it, if you are lucky enough not to be in an urban sea of nightlight pollution, look up at the stars … and consider how different our timeline was.

I think the 2 versions of Martin Caidin’s Marooned have been the best subsequent treatments of the theme, with honorable mentions to Dean McLaughlin’s ASF story The Last Thousand Miles, later revised as the first section of his 1965 novel, The Man Who Wanted Stars, and Charles Sheffield’s 1999 novel, Aftermath, in which returning expeditions from the Jovian moons and Mars find dead space stations (a subplot in Aftermath).

I’ll share other memories with you.  Next one, the 3rd: “In the ocean of night.” Let’s hear yours!

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