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Space Based Solar Power Aff

Space Based Solar Power Aff


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Published by: AffNeg.Com on Jan 08, 2009
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SPS system will lead to lunar mining which will solve our energy consumption and our resource depletion.
Hempsella, 2006
(Mark, professor at University of Bristol, “Space power as a response to global catastrophes,” Acta Astronautica, Volume 59,
Issue 7, October 2006, Pages 524-530, EBSCO host, JDC)

In current times there is a greater concentration on pollution induced problems such as global
warming, however, earlier warnings of anthropogenic collapse tended to highlight rates of
resource depletion. The original global dynamic modelling work of Forrester [34] demonstrated that with only very small changes in the
modelling parameters collapse due to pollution effects could be interchanged with collapse due to resource depletion. In the later
high profile work by Meadows et al. [35], the “standard run” was a resource depletion collapse. Bond and Varvill [36] have
explored a concept for mining metal on the Moon on a scale that would meet the world's demand for
most common metals aluminium, silicon titanium, iron and possibly nickel. The argument made was not that there was a shortage of these
metals but that the energy used in refining metals from their ores is one of the highest contributors to
humanity's energy consumption. Therefore an extraterrestrial metal supply would have a
considerable impact on the Earth's total energy requirements. To produce hundreds of Mega-
tonnes of iron and tens of Mega-tonnes of aluminium an operation would require 100 GW on a continuous basis. Bond
and Varvill assumed this would be provided by SPSs in L4 or L5 Lagrange points—20 reference SPSs would be required to
supply this—allowing continuous mining and refining operations. The material would be sent to
Earth using a electromagnetic accelerator the energy required to do this is between 6% for steel and 1% for aluminium of the
energy required to mine and refine the metal. Thus the transport element is not a significant extra burden. The
overall concept is shown in Fig. 2. Bond and Varvill's solution to the final return to Earth was to shape the ingots into an aerodynamic disk
shown in Fig. 2. Each disk is 80 m diameter and 8 m deep with a mass of 3000 tonnes. The ballistic coefficient ensures heat loads at atmosphere
entry do not melt the ingot and that the final impact speed with the ground is 100 m/s slow enough to ensure the ingot stays in one piece for
salvage. Of course one of the first major users of lunar materials would be the SPS systems itself as
highlighted by O’Neil [37], so it is likely that the technology for lunar metal extraction would be part of
the SPS legacy and not require separate development.

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Space Based Solar Power Aff

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