Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Levitation on a Asteroid

The robotic method used to toss assembled prepared loads out from a source asteroid had been to easily slowly swing them around using a cable being unreeled from the end of a well anchored high inverted "L" strong not fast turning vertical axis motor.

Another possible method might have been a perhaps 10km long levitation track, low in the middle, a bit higher nearing either end, (thus actually being a long very straight track). Assemble a load near the track middle. Weights would be very low. A 3g/cc density 100km or 200km asteroid would have slight surface gravity merely .0419m/s^2 or .0839m/s^2 (where /s^2 means per second squared), giving 1/236 or 1/118 of Earth surface gravitational acceleration g weights. Thus the levitation track would easily support big loads, but very light weight here.

When a load is ready to be propelled out, lightly send it to one end of the long straight levitation track. Then accelerate it toward the other end to achieve escape velocity 65m/s or 130m/s (145mph or 290 mph).

Acceleration = end speed squared / twice the distance. With both ends a bit higher than the low middle, such a therefore long very straight 10km levitation track for such very low weights on a 100km or a 200km asteroid would only need to accelerate loads straight at .210m/s^2 or .839m/s^2 (2.12% or 8.48% of Earth surface gravitational acceleration g). As with something tossed out from a swinging cable, once out up away from the asteroid, use an ion jet to adjust where the load is being sent, (energized by electricity from Solar light).

Or possibly, as a much reduced version of what had been proposed for Earth, make a cable lift anchored to the asteroid, with a large counterweight swinging high around, each asteroid day. Since gravity here is so small, cable length would only need to be a tiny fraction of at Earth, to have daily rotation centrifugal force up it overcome the very weak and more quickly declining gravity, once lifted high enough. But unfortunately, loads tossed out would be stealing slight rotation from the asteroid, very gradually slowing its day, thus very gradually making the cable lift keep needing gradually lengthened cables.

Or yet another possible method could have even been to tunnel deep down into the asteroid, to then form in such a tunnel an acceleration track to accelerate up a prepared load. But the simplest method had been as mentioned to toss loads out from a turning cable from the top outward arm of a strongly anchored high not fast turning inverted "L" vertical axis motor, to leave the asteroid, and then get ion jetted toward where wanted.

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