13 thoughts on “The Solar Power Satellite Game”

  1. Rand,

    Prob’ly worth noting that there’s a link at the top of the landing page to a previous winner — a 1976 study project at MIT titled “A Systems Design For A Prototype Space Colony” (https://thesolarpowersatellitegame.com/a-systems-design-for-a-prototype-space-colony-mit-1976/).

    One of the student contributors is K. Eric Drexler.

    A downloadable (scanned) PDF of same is at David Akin’s publications site: https://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/publications/pub_index.html.

    Kinda cool!

    1. And I had been looking for that study for a very long time. My only clue to it’s existence was a couple of illustrations in “The High Frontier” with captions alluding to a MIT study.

      I consider this to be one of the better habitat designs. Much more realistic than the O’Neill Cylinder, although I see no reason why this design couldn’t be scaled up to the same diameter.

        1. Which part was making you reserve judgement: That the O’Neill Cylinder design has problems, or that this MIT design could be scaled up?

          1. I agree that cylinders have inherent problems. I have not yet read about the MIT design.

            Instead I have been pondering for the last week what space settlements will have to do with humans who are born disabled or become so. Long Term Care will not be viable for decades after settlements are founded. Medevac insurance might be the best option.

          2. I just re-read The High Frontier, which was an interesting experience. As a non-engineer, I’d be interested to know what you see as the problems with the O’Neill cylinder, since it’s not immediately obvious to me.

          3. “As a non-engineer, I’d be interested to know what you see as the problems with the O’Neill cylinder, since it’s not immediately obvious to me.”
            As a non-engineer, I would think artificial gravity is like gravity- so the mass and material strength.
            And air pressure and windows.
            It seems it’s easier to make greenhouse on Mars, as compared to in space.
            And have weird idea that greenhouse in Mars lakes are better than on Mars land.

  2. Thanks for the mention Rand! I know that the site looks odd compared to typical Space industry websites but… everything else has been tried to expand the awareness of SPS technologies beyond the choir. And doing what you can to personally expand that awareness is important, if you care about something. The documents are serious and they seem to be being at least seen by some people (there’s no evil tracking on them, I just see the public hit counters like everyone else), I do hope that there are some “votes” instead of passive reading and moving on because I am basing the decision of continuing to make these and other government documents available on the number of times people click on that one little button. It honestly looks at the moment like it’s not going to continue past the six week test – I didn’t think it would be such a hardship for people to click a button. Alas, the way of the internet. Cordially, Smith

  3. Is there some inherent advantage to mirrors for habitat lighting as opposed to sunlight collectors (lenses, basically) which would then transmit the gathered light via fiber-optic cables, or even simply reflection using smaller mirrors? The latter would seem, intuitively, more robust. No need for moving parts either as the entire outer hull could be plastered with sunlight collectors and solar power generation infrastructure (PV cells or parabolic mirrors focusing sunlight on tubes of working fluid which would vaporize and turn turbines).

    I am not any kind of engineer though, so take my speculations for what they’re worth:-).

    1. Fiber optic cables work very well for coherent (laser) light but tend to melt when you try to pump concentrated sunlight through them. I know because I did an experiment with a big Fresnel lens and a bundle of fiber optic cables. Unless you’re planning on making the fiber optics out of sapphire, it won’t work.

      1. Thanks, I did not know that! Maybe evacuated tubes with internal mirrors would be an adequate substitute? Or I may be over-complicating things. I’ve always seen the big, external mirrors as too fragile and overly complex to maintain and operate, especially given the concomitant need for windows to allow the light to enter the habitat proper.

    1. Disposable [cheap] slightly pressurize dome like shields, and double panel behind it- of course a small rock could go thru it and destroy panel, but dome should stop most of it.
      If water was cheap, doubled walled dome with inch water in it. But again a rock could go thru all of it.

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