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11 January 2015


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João, I think the point is that this is a very long term project, beyond our current geopolitics.

And, would the US and Europe stand around and let a potential guillotine be built on the earth? If this thing fell along any part of the US and then across to Europe, it would be beyond catastrophic. It would be hard enough to do it without everyone's cooperation. And, if it takes 60 years, what form of geopolitics would exist at the end of that time?


ISL,lot's of prose written about throwing away the Saturn 5 and/or the F-1 engines. It is a testament to our politics and national leadership that we stopped.

I can tell you this story. When I worked at the Michoud Assembly Facility, we were look at buildings that had not been used for many years. I went into a hanger and there, packaged but recognizable, were 3 ship sets of F-1s. They were destined for Saturn 5s that were never built. I was just goggled eyed.

Babak Makkinejad

You might want to look at the possibility of setting up on the Moon remote-controlled factories that use the regolith to build what is needed.

In particular, the advent of 3D printing makes it possible to remotely manufacture usable items - though perhaps not with much longevity during actual use - on the Moon.

One will use a boot-strap method; first sending a rocket with a very simple building block factory which then would build more elaborate factories.

Sort of like Von Neumann machines with 3D printers mixed in.

Space elevator, like its cousin the Fusion reactor, requires materials with improved properties several orders of magnitude beyond what is currently even conceivable.

Here is something that is doable - if US works with Russia because, in my opinion, without Russia, there can be no possibility of further manned space exploration.


Charles Dekle

Thank you for the excellent discussion. I read all of the Clark space elevator novels and loved them. I grew up in the 50s and 60s and the space race was one of the reasons that I eventually became an EE. However, the closest that I ever came to working on space related projects was time spent supporting SDI when I was at Martin Marietta in the 80s.

When I was in college in the 60s, my girlfriend's dad was one of those Chrysler engineers in Huntsville. He was a ME and worked on the Saturn 5 test cell. Those were heady times and I always lamented the abandonment of the Saturn 5 and the switch to the space truck. It was an awesome site to see them launched even in Orlando but I always thought that we could have lifted much more with the older technology.

Do you think that we would have been able to establish and outpost on the moon if we had continued the Saturn program? I have often wondered about that.

Kind regards,


Charles, we are going to have to compare notes, as we were both Martin M. employees at the same time. I left a little while after the merger to LockMart. I got to Orlando in time to be part of the 'We Won the Cold War' mass layoff contest.

Did you know any of the guys working on the Pershing 2? I used to affectionately refer to them as the "Star Geezers". One guy, Rudy, was in his 70's and was terrified of retirement. Loved that guy.


Babak, I was wondering when someone would mention Von Neumann machines. Man, that would be a very cool thing to see happen.

And, who saw 3D Printing coming when Sci Fi was being invented? The closest thing is the replicator tech from Star Trek.

My hero, Dr. Clarke, proposed using diamond film for a material. I think that came from the last 20XX book.


It would still rotate once a day, wouldnt it?

different clue


Aside from all the minerals precipitating out and around from the superheated water-outflows from black smokers, I wonder if we will someday be able to harvest the heat itself from black smoker water-plumes. If the problems of getting heat-exchanger/harvester pipe and ductwork systems to work at those pressures could be solved, the other biggest problem would be to prevent the near-immediate crusting over of the machines with minerals from the mineral super-rich
black smoker-water itself. The problem of sending electricity to the surface in cables would seem simple by comparison. (Just guessing, of course).

Babak Makkinejad

The basic idea is to build tool that would be tools that would build tools...

The same way one builds tool that physically scale up or scale down.

You need to put a nuclear reactor on the Moon - and don't let the solar energy guys fool you - there is no other way to supply the required energy.

João Carlos

You know very well that thing need be built at the equator line and so it will be built not near Europe or USA or Japan. It will be built at South America or Africa. Africa is too much mess for try build it there, so my personal guess is that it can be built at Amapá or at Maranhão, here at Brazil. But Lima, capital of Equator, will be best choice, no one at Pacific Ocean for be hit if the thing falls and have ports that go directly to China.

When the technology for built it is finally ready (nanotubes, graphene), it will need 15-20 years for complete and not 40 years. China will have enough economic power for try it after the next 20 years. Before 2020 China will be 20% above USA economic base and the diference will grown a lot after 2020.
the Apollo program used 5% of USA total economy and the chinese have experience with big projects like big walls.

With relation to Japan, it is dead economically and the japanese don`t know it. Europe is going for a long recession. And after the shale oil ponzy scheme go bankrupt this year, USA will have a huge depression and unemployment at the last year of Obama's government. And prob the repubs controlling the Congress will help for that economic disaster be bigger, they want win the elections.

But the worse thing is that USA infrastructure (roads, railroads, airports, energy grid, etc) is obsolete and old and soon will start to go in pieces, like some bridges falling. USA need money urgently for rebuild infrastructure and you need a tax rise for it, but it is politically impossible. While that the chinese are building the Nicaragua's channel that will make Panama useless and the "silk railroad" that will make chinese exports arrive at Europe 40% faster and cheaper. And not forget the US government debt, currently above 18 trillion, that is a time bomb ready for explode, while US government waste money at a futile military campaign at that stan that made URSS go bankrupt.

The next 20 years will be very bad for the Western powers. The pendulum is moving strongly to the East. The chinese are building the infrastructure for world economic domination while USA is sleeping or wasting money at useless wars.

And all the fuss about Ukraine is only helping China, that now will have Russia gas and oil. And soon, Russia money transactions will use yuan and not dollars because Russia will try to evade future economic retalations, making the chinese happier. So, how much time for the chinese too have access to the russian atlas rockets? If USA continue to make pressure, it will be soon.

I don`t see any hope for the governments of USA, Europe or Japan go help that orbital elevator project, because they will have no money for it. That will only happen if chinese show any goodwill, but the price will be high.

The only country we see trying to make a manned land in Moon, currently, is China. It is because they have money for try it. They will have enough money at 2030 for build the orbital elevator.


João, I have been reading about the economic destruction of the United States for almost all my adult life. I almost stopped reading Sci Fi written by British authors because they seemed to invariably included the destruction of the US as part of their plot.

I think your read of the physics of this device falling back to earth is too simple. It would be a very dynamic event beyond our ability to predict what actually would happen (depending on how it happened. Yes, it is best if it is built near the equator but not mandatory.

Manned landing on the moon? We have a national t-shirt that says "Been There, Done That, Remember Most Of It".


lack of leadership. Sigghhh.

When I first saw that the NASA ER2 (civilian U2) uses toggle switches from the 1960s, I was amazed. But then again, KISS is excellent advice when someone's butt is on the line. As with the F-35 - when politics over-rides science and engineering we become our own worst enemy.


The Space Elevator and possible solutions for our energy needs might be a little closer than we think.

ALexander Franklin Mayer has recently released a 360 odd slide scholarly presentation on a subtle modification to the Theory of relativity which has profound implications if it is accepted. The link is below.

Please note that Mayer is not some "vacuum energy" crackpot, but has been working diligently on this matter for at least Six years. I have early drafts of his book.


Babak Makkinejad

Thanks, we will have to wait and see.

That the Sloan results are inconsistent with the Inflationary Big Bang does not surprise me; the age of Globular Clusters, and indeed the age of the Earth seems to be likewise. And then there are all those anomalous red shifts that Arp had documented decades ago.

But historically, no modification of SR has survived - or any alternatives thereto.

Personally, I think that whole geometric approach to physics - a Platonic prejudice - has been an abject failure.

Just look at nuclear theory - where all that gauge theory machinery cannot help compute a damn thing.


I honestly think, at times, that the Air Force should be removed from their own procurement programs. The F-22 and F-35 are both testaments to about the worse program management imaginable.

Of course, the Navy did not do much better with the A-12. I mean, when Dick Cheney recommends a major program be canceled, you know it had to be bad.

I imagine that, like the F-111, the F-35 will eventually be a useful asset and never, ever be close to worth what was spent on it.

Charles Dekle


Wow it is a small world. I was at the Martin Sand Lake Road plant from 1984 until 1994. Since we had won the cold war they laid me off in 1994. That wasn't such a bad thing as I started my teaching career at Valencia Community College. Later that year my wife who was working for the Navy at NTC, Orlando was offered the chance to move to Sicily so we left Orlando and have not been back. For the next ten years I played the role of itinerant teacher as I followed her career from Sicily, to Key West, to Germany, and then to here (northern Virginia) in 2003. Of course that meant I had to find a real job so I went back to work and just retired in 2012.

I worked with some of the old Pershing 1 and 2 guys. Some of them were real rocket scientists. The name Rudy does ring a bell but it has been over twenty years. One guy in particular was a great digital engineer. His name was Tom. If we ever meet in person, I would like to swap stories. As all good Dilberts do I have some interesting tales about the quirks of my fellow engineers. I remember them with affection but quirky does not even begin to describe them.

Most of my time was spent as an ATE Design Engineer and most of that was on TADS/PNVS. I did work on SLAT, aka SPLAT, and Brilliant Pebbles. Once when I was at Army Depot, Tobyhanna a few years ago the director told me that some to the Test Program Sets that I helped develop were still there. Of course now the entire TADS Electronic Unit could be instantiated on a single board computer. In my day it was big black box in the starboard electronics bay. Now that I am retired, I tell people that I am well past my use by date. :-)

I know that electronic design is orders of magnitude more advanced now, however I wonder if the new EEs could bias a transistor if needed. Sigh...



That would be fun, Charles. In Orlando, I did Labor/Employee Relations, Project HR and Safety at Martin and LockMart. Supported the F-14 IRST move from Utica, NY to Orlando, ADATS and TARP. Also worked on some site selection stuff and setting up the 'rack and stack' facility in Americus, GA.

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