The Asgard phase of TMP2 represents the first foray of civilization into space, the first attempt to permanently settle space, focusing on the Near Earth System; the region between Earth and Lunar orbits. Through Asgard TMP2 would establish the basic infrastructure, transportation systems, and habitation techniques with which the solar system as a whole would be developed.
Orbital Colony Edit
In the original TMP, the Asgard phase was focused primarily on the creation of the Asgard GEO orbital colony and its possible LEO pre-cursor Valhalla, which would prototype the structural systems used in Asgard. In TMP2 we look at the habitation of the whole Near Earth System as a protracted stage of development starting with unmanned facilities along with the cultivation of a comprehensive infrastructure to exploit inner-system asteroid resources and later support transit and communication across the whole solar system. In effect, Asgard is a precursor to Solaria, with the intermediate phases of Avalon and Elysium occurring concurrently with this phase of development.
Marshal Savage believed that the strategies for orbital habitation –dominated by visions of grand rotating space colonies that had become prominent in space advocacy in the late 1970s– where greatly overcomplicated. And so he sought to make space colonization a more imminent prospect by cultivating a strategy for habitation using lighter and simpler systems and based on the assumption that there would soon be a clinical solution to the problem of ‘space wasting’ –the pernicious deterioration of bone and muscle in a microgravity environment that limits how long people can stay in space. Eliminating the pressing need for artificial gravity to live in space, one precluded the need to go to the engineering extremes called for by the more traditional rotating space colonies proposed in the past and thus one could employ a much more straightforward approach to habitat design and construction. Savage’s Asgard colony concept is a surprisingly simple and logical structural concept for a space habitat (it makes the ISS seem positively baroque), making it seem quite imminently feasible. But in streamlining his descriptions of the concept for publication he glossed over many details about the logistical and construction processes for this form of colony and these have since proven problematical. While most scientists are optimistic about an eventual clinical solution to space wasting, it’s proving to be a bet with longer odds in the near term than Savage anticipated. This would effect how daily life in our first orbital settlements would work and what their relationship may be to the communities of Aquarius settlements that must initially support them.
As with other phases, in TMP2 the key strategy for this phase of development is based on a notion of incremental, evolutionary, development which offers contingencies for the possible variations in strategy that one may have to deal with should early solutions to key issues not be realized or the evolution of launch capability over the Bifrost launch system program result in variable transit logistics. As with Aquarius, the new Asgard is about cultivating a way of inhabiting space rather than a specific structure or individual project. And so in describing Asgard we will be looking at an evolutionary progression of space structure and in-space capabilities that starts –in a manner roughly reminiscent of the development of marine settlement– with simple facilities that can be realized more-or-less with current technology and culminates in a style of habitat not unlike what Savage had envisioned for Asgard but constructed in a very different way.
The logistics of this first phase of space development will tend to be dominated by four issues; the profitability of orbital activities, the fabrication and construction of progressively large structures on-orbit, the sourcing and processing of materials off-Earth, and the challenge of space wasting and its impact on the lifestyle of the space inhabitant.
Making space pay Edit
Lack of progress in space has typically been blamed on a lack of social/cultural will among the societies of industrialized nations, pestered as they are with countless distractions in the form of economic instability, social strife, political and cultural upheaval, and environmental degradation produced in the wake of what 20th Century people often refer to as ‘progress’. But truth be told, the First Space Age would not have seemingly fizzled-out if, in fact, there had been any real money in it. While the side-effect of national and military space programs has been the creation of a pretty large and robust commercial space industry, it is almost entirely focused on the one and only space application that, since Arthur C. Clarke first proposed it in 1945, has ever proved profitable; communications satellites. This is not for any lack of space business ideas, of course. There has been no end to them. But concerted commercial investment in space has always been wanting due to the risk of the new and expensive and so the cultivation of a commercial space industry had to coincide with the interests of governments able and willing to foot the bill where Wall Street wouldn’t –and that meant that commercial uses of space were relegated to paralleling military its uses. To put it another way, the reason satellites are commercially viable is that they were militarily useful first –a not uncommon situation in the history of technology.
But whereas in many areas of technology a great commercial diversification in application resulted from initial primitive military technology, space systems have not seen any diversification in commercial applications beyond that original concept of the orbiting box with a radio. And this, in this author’s opinion, is a product of national space agencies perpetually failing to understand their practical role in space development. Though space agencies have produced many spin-off technologies of great commercial use on Earth, virtually nothing they have ever created for space has had a practical commercial space use. Too long too focused on pursuing geopolitical prestige (and domestic political support/taxpayer money) through grandiose but now increasingly anachronistic ‘space race’ feats, they have produced predominately white-elephant systems of no direct commercial repurpose and no economic practicality. And they have consistently failed to establish a functional development agenda/strategy and make a concerted investment in the nuts and bolts industrial research from which a functional culture for inhabiting space can be created. And because they have failed to do this, all concepts for commercial space applications other than that single proven idea have remained wild speculation that no one in their right mind would ever invest in.
To live in space means to know how to make and do things in space –everything a modern civilization is based on. That goes far beyond figuring out how to eat steak through a tube or work a socket wrench in zero-g wearing a space suit. And this is the kind of knowledge that makes a diversity of commercial space activity possible –industrial activity that can exploit the unique environment of space in some way to produce products and services that are exclusive to space and valuable to markets on the ground. This is what has consistently been lacking in space agency activity, largely because politicians apparently aren’t intelligent enough to understand what ‘development’ in space means and because agencies are compelled to pursue funding through things that can most impress the rubes. Things that are always focused on the Next Big Mission when putting a handful of astronauts temporarily on Mars will do little to make space itself more commercially useful –let alone allow people to stay there once they get there.
Here then is the essential difference between space development, space science, space exploration, and all that other stuff that, in the long term, are just footnotes in history books;
Space exploration is, essentially, about mapping and assay and it’s usually done in concert with or as a preliminary to space science and space development where you’re really on a frontier whose character is truly unknown. Today this is primarily the province of remote viewing. Astronauts don’t make maps and don’t really offer much insight over the information gathered by machines –at least not enough to rationalize the cost of manned missions given current technology. Indeed, as obvious as the purpose of exploration should be, during the Apollo program it was difficult for NASA to even realize the point to giving astronauts geology training, let alone training a true scientist/astronaut, bringing into question the practical purpose of the program.
Space science is about the pursuit of raw scientific knowledge. That’s valuable, culturally and practically. All practical technology has its basis in science and the evolution of culture needs means to push the boundaries of human perception. Again, most of the time, it’s never needed or justified man-in-space activities at current costs. There just aren’t that many kinds of experiment or forms of information gathering anymore that strictly demand a human hand –except for that relating to human biology, which tends to be rationalized by the circular logic of a man-in-space agenda. Yes, it’s very important to understand human physiology in space but compared to the vast body of knowledge, technology, and technique that must precede true human settlement and can be pursued at a fraction of the cost, it’s a bit low in priority unless you’re goal is to toss men in tin cans into space for its own sake.
Space development is about cultivating the means of habitation in space –learning how to make and do things in space, turning a profit in the short-term to cover the engineering research investment, then using that knowledge to establish settlement there. It builds on exploration and science and in the near term its top logical priority is industrial research; figuring out how make things in space, how the properties of space effect what you make and how you make it, what new products and services might be based on that, and how to acquire and use the resources in space for that purpose as a means of improving ones industrial bottom-line. Here you have a practical reason for human beings going to space; they go there to live. But it behooves activity focused on the intent of permanent habitation. On the objective of creating attractive places for people to live where they can explore the possibilities of new lifestyles and expand civilization physically, technologically, and culturally.
If you aren’t very clearly doing one or the other of these activities in space, what then are you doing? There probably aren’t very many space agency administrators today who could give you’re a straight answer to that question.
In its rather spendthrift haphazard way, the First Space Age has, nonetheless, succeeded in accomplishing most of the exploration and science activity needed to effectively begin development in space. It just never followed-through, since so few seemed to understand that this was the ultimate point of it all. This, then, is where Asgard would begin, with a pursuit of the orbital industrial knowledge that can make space pay and, by extension, make it habitable. And the clever bit is that it doesn’t even have to do all that much of this itself to get things going. All it has to do is what the space agencies never did; create a cost-effective venue for others to do it with. To that end we would begin the Asgard phase with a Modular Unmanned Orbital Laboratory; a teleoperated space station self-assembled on-orbit from relatively small modular components which provides a low cost platform for commercial space industrial research and which can get its economic jump-start with the tried-and-true commercial application of a communications satellite, only with the powerful virtues of unlimited expandability and upgradeability and the ability to share its orbital real estate with an unlimited number of potential customers. This MUOL would be little more than a space frame assembled and maintained by simple single-arm telerobots, hosting self-contained modules for its different functions and similar modules on a leased-space basis for its customers. This is something that has been well within the capabilities of current space systems technology since the end of Apollo.
The structural system and supporting launch systems for the MUOL would represent an evolvable platform that is intended to carry through many applications throughout the Asgard phase right up to the Solaria phase –where it may ultimately see obsolescence by the use of NanoFoam. Its most direct evolution, though, would be into a larger variant form called the Modular Unmanned Orbital Factory. Here the original technology is simply repurposed to the task of turning the original orbital research into product using the same orbital systems platform. From here there would be no limit to later expansion and evolution of the facility thanks to consistent revenue and the possibility of investment in already proven systems, especially if located in GEO –though it’s likely the first MUOLs may be limited by early Bifrost capability to LEO without further support from the existing commercial launch industry. Thus like the Seed communities of Aquarius, every initial MUOL would have the potential to become, in time, a fully manned full-scale orbital colony, starting as simple facilities which add a variation on the TransHab pneumatic hull module to a MUOF structure in order to provide the benefits on on-board service technicians for already established orbital industries. (of course, there is also potential here in terms of space tourism applications, but that is most likely to prove a market too limited to support concerted space development alone. Just as there are only so many ways to package the experience of a beachfront vacation, so too are there limited –and far less since it’s not possible to do it at a widely sliding scale in cost- possible variations on the theme of playing astronaut)
Building in space Edit
There is a very fundamental logistical problem with space habitation that will effect how just about everything is done there and how all artifacts are designed; you can’t make anything inside a space habitat larger than what will fit through an airlock or pressure hatch. Consequently, one is faced with two options in the construction of large structures on orbit; either assemble them from small modular parts in the ambient space environment or –likewise using modular parts– assemble and disassemble on demand enclosures for fabricating things. In general working in the ambient space environment incurs a lower potential precision in fabrication processes owing to more difficult physical control of materials while, of course, machining within an enclosed environment allows for high control of materials and higher precision but limits scale. Modular component systems tend to give you the best of both worlds. Small parts can be fabricated in a controlled environment then assembled in the ambient environment with less need for precision control because the geometry of the component system extends precision by limiting the topology of how parts interface –making it self-correcting. The compromise is a limit to a very specific geometry, which in turn limits design. One must find solutions to problems that work within the limits in topography and geometry imposed by this and so one seeks to devise geometries that have as much inherent flexibility as possible.
How you fabricate things on orbit is a particularly critical issue for concepts of large space habitat construction that simply have no possibility of ever being lofted whole or in sizeable pieces from the Earth’s surface and futurists have tended to gloss-over that challenge with the usual assumption that all problems will ultimately solved in time. Marshal Savage was himself guilty of this in his original Asgard habitat concept whose seemingly simple water filled transparent pneumatic hull concept was presented with no explanation for how a kilometer wide system of spheres made of thin flexible membrane materials was ever going to be fabricated on orbit. In TMP2 we tackle this issue by looking a evolutionary modular component systems as the basis of equally evolutionary structures of progressively larger scale. Starting with the MUOL, we end up with the EvoHab –an evolvable space habitat offering a system for developing, over time, habitats as large as Savage envisioned and which would form the basis of most spacecraft developed in the Asgard phase. EvoHab also offers a means of creating sheltered ‘scaffolding’ for use with non-modular fabrication methods, thus eventually allowing for the creation of very large monolithic structures from difficult-to-handle materials.
Mining space Edit
While the cultivation of Asgard Earth-orbital settlements could achieve fairly robust communities relying on their links to the Earth through the communities of Aquarius and their potential as hosts to orbital industry, true sustainability in space calls for a means of fully supplying one’s needs from materials sourced there. This too would be critical to progress in for-profit space industry since many applications may remain impractical without reducing their bottom line by supply overhead –which would remain high for Earth resources until the realization of a very large robust Bifrost Space Elevator. Thus a key focus of development for the companies involved in early Asgard facilities and their residents would be the exploitation of Near Earth Asteroids and space debris. Distance in space, from a practical standpoint, is more about energy than about actual distance. The Moon may seem our closest neighbor, but it takes more energy to reach and to exploit its materials than asteroids that may seem to be quite far away but take little energy to reach or remove material from. Though also a likely source of materials in the long-term –and the basis of settlement in the Avalon phase– the Moon may be of secondary priority to the orbital settlements of Asgard, it’s own settlements relying on asteroid-sourced materials almost as much since the Moon does not offer a particularly broad spectrum of resources compared to asteroids.
Asteroid exploitation presents an enormous set of technical and logistical challenges owing to the amount of transit time involved, the long distances for radio communication (and hence high latency), and the variable characteristics of asteroids and their orbits. Spacecraft for asteroid mining and materials transport must be extremely efficient and built on-orbit, deriving from the same structural technologies employed by Asgard habitats. It is likely that the communities of residents and businesses hosted on the first Asgard colonies will follow the model of the GreenStar Industrial Cooperative with the creation of an Asgard Mining Cooperative composed of a community of entrepreneurial companies located on the first Asgard settlements which would divide the task of asteroid exploitation into component operations while working in concert, rather than competitively, as a co-invested group.
Coping with space wasting Edit
Microgravity is simply not suited to human health. Even with the aid of exercise and various clinical techniques, the body degenerates steadily without the constant force of gravity and a solution to this problem has not been realized after 40 years of man-in-space activity. This is probably the biggest problem faced by space development. In the original TMP Marshal Savage bet heavily on the prospect of a near-term clinical solution to this ‘space wasting’ and while the possibility of that does continue to exist, it has become clear this will not be as imminent as Savage hoped. We may ultimately be forced to wait for a solution coming from a combination of both biotechnology and nanotechnology –effectively turning the space dweller into a new cybernetic form of life where the body becomes host for a community of systems that can actively compensate for the conditions of space –along with a lot of other clinical issues– where natural physiology alone cannot. That’s very sophisticated technology that might never be realized with the first generation of space inhabitants. Thus the early stages of Asgard –at least– will have to cope with this issue in a more pragmatic fashion, through the cultivation of a strategy whereby a large population can easily migrate on a regular schedule between space and Earth.
Marine colonies, of course, would play a logical role in this, serving as the nearest place on Earth to space where one can host comfortable residence and where the usual ‘business’ of conventional real estate can be set aside to support a community with a dual residence lifestyle. Thus we can anticipate that some Aquarius colonies will become host to a perpetually cycling population of spacefarers, sometimes migrating as whole families, sometimes with individual parents alternating their habitation in space while children are –for a time at least– relegated to terrestrial living. This definitely favors individuals who can be more flexible in their residence and less burdened by large masses of personal possessions and would be endlessly problematic given the primitive way we deal with property in most of the world today. But by virtue of their basis in a Community Investment Corporation and the elimination of the ‘man on his lot’ notion due to the use of megastructure architecture, marine colonies make property more easily fungible with other TMP-related settlements anywhere in the solar system. To own CIC stock as part of being a member of any Foundation CIC community means having rights to space on demand in any of these communities. This migratory lifestyle thus becomes easier to manage because one’s property rights –and by extension ‘wealth’– are independent of a specific location. This does, however, demand a technology where one’s idea of a comfortable home becomes easy to replicate.
Because the issue of space wasting is such a difficult prospect to solve, TMP2 must also accept the possibility that its solution may be extremely protracted and address the contingency of the artificial gravity habitat. Savage considered the this an unnecessary complication to space habitation –much like the habit of space agencies of designing spacecraft, habitats, and space suits based on a sea-level atmospheric pressure and a rich natural Earth atmosphere mix when a much lower pressure simpler but still habitable atmosphere akin to more higher altitude terrestrial communities would be suitable. There’s no question the classic rotating space colonies have their problems. Ironically, much as with the original Aquarius concept, they are difficult to realize because they are not evolvable and so cannot be incrementally developed and grown. They are titanic construction projects that remain uninhabitable and thus non-self-sustaining until completed. Always a difficult –if not improbable– prospect. With the EvoHab concept in TMP2, however, we will illustrate an evolutionary approach to this that would make the gravity habitat one of a host of forms that a space settlement can evolve into according to its evolving needs. Similarly, in the later Solaria phase we will look at the possibility of the gravity habitat on a scale far larger than any of the classic colonies –indeed, potentially far larger than the surface area of the Earth itself– with the intent of duplicating the terrestrial environment not simply for the sake of human habitation but for the deliberate expansion of all terrestrial biomes and the full spectrum of life forms that cannot survive without as complete an analogy to the terrestrial environment as possible.
Path to Space Edit
Given this logistical context, lets have a look at a likely path of evolution for habitation in the Asgard phase.
As noted before, Asgard would begin with the deployment of the first Modular Unmanned Orbital Laboratory - MUOL; a leased-space facility built on orbit by its own simple multi-jointed armed telerobots which supports the efforts of various companies to pursue on-orbit industrial research using small self-contained teleoperated laboratory units. Consisting primarily of a planar space frame truss hosting a module ‘bus’ that interfaces modules to communications, power, and thermal management networks, the MUOL would employ functional features reduced to interchangeable units that lock onto the quick-connect nodes of its frame structure, creating an appearance rather like some telecom towers. MUOLs may initially be deployed in LEO but will ultimately be stationed in GEO where they would have the most bootstrapping economic value as communications platforms and where they would offer the best teleoperation performance thanks lower and constant latency in communication compared to LEO. Little of the activity on MUOLs would strictly demand any centralization of terrestrial facilities. Marine colony based operations centers –location along the path of the Down-Range Telemetry and Telecom Network - DRT&TN would manage primary maintenance and communications administration while the majority of leased space clients would operate their facilities by Internet, the MUOL hosting a simple but high bandwidth IP based network allowing systems monitoring and control through web controllers.
The construction and maintenance of MUOLs could be supported by most existing launch platforms as well as any of the launch technologies likely to be pursued over the course of the Bifrost program. Consequently, Asgard would likely see its beginning very early in the Bifrost phase and evolve concurrently with Bifrost launch capability, ultimately serving as the logical Upstation facility for early Bifrost Space Elevator systems and providing much of the systems technology for that system’s development and construction.
The Modular Unmanned Orbital Factory - MUOF would evolve directly from MUOL facilities, initially supporting both research and production activities and perhaps never being entirely specialized, simply different in proportion of activity. Based on the same technology of the MUOL but with some benefit of evolution by experience, MUOFs would feature the same operational model offering leased space for use by different clients. But as production becomes more routine in space there would be a need for matching and linking orbital and terrestial production facilities by their most immediate transit links, which would make centralization of client activity on Aquarian marine settlements attractive as they would represent –regardless of particular launch technology– the nearest points on Earth to these MUOFs. Initial factory systems for MUOFs would follow the same design approach as MUOL laboratory modules, consisting of self-contained units plugging into the station’s structural and service backplanes like the components of a computer. But over time these would start to include side-to-side interfaces to allow for larger production ‘lines’. Eventually the MUOF would need to support a new architecture in the form of a polygonal truss and the use of ‘built-up’ factories that combine complexes of systems in enclosures formed of space-frame supported shield paneling. Assuming a rather tree-like structure, the MUOF would increasingly specialize regions of its structure for activities of incoming and outgoing shipping and specific areas of production, research, and communications.
The Valhalla facility would be an evolution of the MUOF into a Manned Orbital Factory with the intention that on-orbit technician provide immediate servicing of factory systems using a shirt-sleeve workshop facility for components brought in by telerobot. However, Valhalla stations might also be created for the specific purpose of doing man-in-space biology research and orbital tourism. Essentially, Valhalla is a MUOF with the addition of a series of advanced TransHab-like pneumatic habitat modules with an independent pressurized docking facility and one or more pressurized cargo storage and transfer modules that would be serviced by automated cargo vehicles. The pneumatic habitat modules would be simple affairs, consisting of a multi-layer foam and fabric hull with a core truss that supports all internal systems in essentially the same way as the MUOL/MUOF space frame does –and which would even pass through bulkhead modules to the space frame structure outside. Foreshadowing the construction methods of the later EvoHab, pressurized links between these pneumatic modules would be formed of pneumatic tunnels that run inside space frame beams which are externally clad in the same type of shielding panels used by MUOF factory enclosures.
Dedicated space physiology and tourism stations using the Valhalla architecture would, of course, tend to have a lower proportion of external frame structure to pressurized habitat structure with some habitat modules specialized for recreational uses, particularly outdoor observation and microgravity sports or play in large span spaces. But while these facilities –if GEO located– would have the potential for later settlement evolution, the truly large colonies are likely to be evolved from the more industrially focused MOF facilities as these would have the more complete infrastructures.
The EvoHab would be a direct evolution of the Valhalla facility that is predicated on the simple objective of finding a way to make habitat enclosures that are larger than can be pre-fabricated on Earth and launched to space as pneumatic habitat modules. To accomplish this feat stations would employ an advance on the enclosure technology of the ‘built-up’ factory complex, using a space frame structure that is enclosed with external shielding panels and then employing a pneumatic pressure skin on the interior. This decoupling of pressure containment, structural integrity, and shielding functions would allow for very large pressure skins to be prefabricated on Earth and packed into small packages, since they need not have all the other capabilities built-in, while the rest of the structure is reduced to modular parts that can be fabricated on-orbit. This would allow for the construction of pressurized spaces hundreds of feet across housing elaborate interior complexes based on an Urban Tree formed from a central core truss. Eventually a system of creating a pressure hull on-orbit would be devised, using an interior ‘foundation panel’ that would attach just like the exterior shielding panels but which could be spray-sealed from the inside using epoxy, ceramic, or molten alloy materials. With this technology the EvoHab would have the ability to produce truly vast pressurized enclosures of varying shape –easily matching the dimensions of the kilometer-wide habitats originally envisioned by Marshal Savage. And yet these would still be evolvable since this process of construction would allow for the incremental and perpetual modification and improvement of these structures.
It would not be possible to make such a hull system transparent as originally envisioned in TMP, even if it were to use shielding modules that were water-filled. But one could realize an effective transparency in an alternative way that would be simpler than trying to develop some exotic –perhaps improbable– transparent material that not only would be able to host a water core but also insulate that water from IR gain and loss that would alternately make it boil and freeze where it contacts this material. An effective –if not actual– transparency would be achieved by using thin holographic membrane panels as heliostats collecting, filtering, and communicating external light to matched and similar diffuser panels on the interior of the hull through a single fiber optic cable. This would be further combined with a simple video camera and a video display back-lit by the diffused light, creating in effect a virtual window panel that, spread across many such modules on a geodesic form, would create the illusion of a transparent hull and also serve double-duty as a mass communication information and entertainment display. This would, of course, be a primarily aesthetic treatment that would only be rational for permanent residence habitats.
EvoHab Gravity Habitats Edit
As EvoHab settlements become home to sizeable populations, there would be increasing pressure for a practical solution to the problem of space wasting. Should no clinical solution be realized by this time, the developers of these settlements may seek a pragmatic solution in the form of artificial gravity. Because the structure of the EvoHab hull would be a rigid geodesic space frame, this becomes relatively easy to add to existing habitats in the form of a self-rotating ‘gravity deck’. This would consist of ring or cylinder structures tensioned by loops of nanofiber cable supported on magnetic bearings on the interior of the habitat hull, allowing simple linear motors to rotate these structures independently of the rest of the habitat. Supporting perhaps no more than a few storeys of levels, they would feature ‘U’ shaped avenues and arrays of private atriums, possibly enclosed by vaulted or domed screens to hide their relative movement and prevent vertigo. These environments would have characteristics in common with the excavated habitats of the Avalon phase.
Asgard Upstation Edit
The ultimate in EvoHab based colonies would be the Asgard Upstation; a colony built around the tether of the Bifrost Space Elevator which, once it reached a certain thickness, would function as the core truss of a large Urban Tree through which SE vehicles would pass. In time, these habitats may become the nodes for horizontal tether systems intended to follow the path of the GEO orbit and eventually completely encircle the Earth, creating the single-largest space habitat of the Asgard phase, though this would likely be accomplished well into the Solaria phase and we will be discussing this in more detail in the Geopolis article for that phase.
Asteroid Habitats Edit
Created as a consequence of the pursuit of asteroid exploitation in Asgard, asteroid habitats would employ much the same technology and architecture of the EvoHab except that they would rely on the hollow spaces created by mining activity as the basis of their habitat enclosures. A key function of asteroid exploitation would be their attitude stabilization in order to allow for control of their orbit and the easy communication of material by spacecraft. To this end some asteroid mining operations may employ the use of truss boom structures that are simultaneously built up from and into the surface of the asteroid, effectively turning the asteroid into an enormous popsicle that is ‘eaten’ from the inside out using excavation systems that can mount on the exterior of the penetrating truss structure while communicating material through it to MUOF-type processing facilites radiating around its poles and docking stations at its axial ends. Waste materials from processing would not be simply discarded to pollute free space but rather piled up and stabilized on the surface of the asteroid, slowly averaging out its form into a uniform shape. The end result of this would be a structure very much akin to any EvoHab, only with a hull of solid mineral material. The mining truss would then simply be turned into the core truss for an Urban Tree and one would have a functional settlement –albeit on the fringes of civilization in the Asgard context.
Cyclic Transports Edit
Though we will be discussing these in detail as part of Asgard Transportion, Cyclic Transports would also constitute another form of settlement in the Asgard phase –temporary for most of their inhabitants but potentially permanent for crews living aboard them. Combining the features of both large Beam Ships and EvoHab colonies, these vehicles would serve as perpetually orbiting transit vessels whose orbits are transfer orbits between key destinations in the solar system where they are serviced by shuttle vehicles when as they pass within range, this approach potentially allowing for the greatest cost-effectiveness of bulk transport using electric propulsion based on plasma thruster technology and the maximum exploitation of natural gravity boosts. Since these transit orbits could take months or even years between destinations, these vessels would –when manned– be designed as complete settlements providing all the comforts of ‘home’ during these protracted journeys.
With such a great diversity of habitats with such a variety of lifestyles, Asgard promises to be one of the most dynamic phases of TMP2, exploring a wide range of possibilities for human habitation in space.
- Life In Asgard
- Modular Unmanned Orbital Laboratory - MUOL
- Modular Unmanned Orbital Factory - MUOF
- Manned Orbital Factory - MOF
- Asgard SE Upstation
- Asteroid Settlements
- Inter-Orbital Way-Station
- Solar Power Satellite - SPS
- Beamship Concept
- Inter-Orbital Transport
- Cyclic Transport
- Special Mission Vessels
- Orbital Mining Systems
- The Ballistic Railway Network
- Deep Space Telemetry and Telecom Network - DST&TN
- Asgard Supporting Technologies
- Transhumanism and TMP
- Economics, Justice, and Government in TMP
- Emergent Technologies