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      CommentAuthorbranjo
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1011.21)
    I received a title to an acre of land on the moon as a gag gift. I have mineral rights. But i have yet to find a ride to get there and protect it with my space-shotgun. I need to dig that thing out and link to the site that sells the deeds. it's pretty peculiar and could open up a whole slew of legal issues... as if they weren't opening already.
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1011.22)
    Oh: speaking of technologically-advanced dinosaurs: Thank you, Bill Watterson. Thank you.
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      CommentAuthorUnsub
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1011.23)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    It takes more energy to make hydrogen than it produces. It would be a great fuel if we had a really good way to produce electricity. Nuke power to make hydrogen fuel cells might not be such a bad idea. The hippys hate nukes but if the alternative is coal and gas it might be the least evil.
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      CommentAuthorbranjo
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1011.24)
    the hippies hate the nuclear-waste.

    and baths.
    am i right?!?! c'mon! wakawaka!

    i'm clearly adding nothing to this thread. i'll stop now. sorry.
  1.  (1011.25)
    Titan may be awash in hydrocarbons, but there isn't a drop of oil on the planet.

    Oil is created from the dead bodies of state sized areas of plankton and other microscopic sea life whose bodies piled up in a mat on the ocean floor. Over millions of years this mat hardened into a layer of nutrient rich rock which was buried under megatons of sediment that pours out from the mouths of nearby rivers. The sediment compacts over eons, forming sandstone, up to 5 miles thick in places. The enormous weight of the sandstone, along with high subterranean temperatures basically pressure cooks the fossilized bodies and chemically transforms the biological matter into a particular complex hydrocarbon known as petroleum.

    Since Titan has no life or biological matter, there's no oil.
  2.  (1011.26)
    haven't you been paying attention? there's SPACE DINOSAURS up there.

    it's on the itnernet, it's a fact.
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1011.27)
    Ah. That clears a LOT up. Thank you, Mark.

    So, if not petroleum, what manner of hydrocarbons are on Titan, then, and might they be at all useful by the time we get there?
  3.  (1011.28)
    Titan has huge amounts of ethane, methane and propane, all of which can be used as fuels... but you have a huge problem of mining, refining and transporting it.

    If we were looking to other planets and moons for sources of fuel, we'd be looking for a compact, dense energy rich source, like nuclear fuels Uranium and Plutonium. Transporting hydrocarbons would simply use up more energy than you'd get from them.

    For instance, one days supply of oil for the US would take up a space of about 4,678,819.43 cubic yards, or roughly volume of 167 x 167 x 167 yards.

    Over the centuries, we've gone to higher density energy forms. For thousands of years, wood was the only fuel source, until that began to run out in the 13th century. The wood shortage was eased somewhat in the 14th century by the plague which killed of 1/3 of Europe's population. By the 15th century, firewood was a luxury item available only to the wealthiest.

    At that point, society migrated to coal. As sooty, and sulfurous as early coal was, it was also much more energy dense than wood, and less work to get a pound of coal than a pound of wood, and the coal also produced 5x more energy.

    The end of coal began in 1901, with the discovery of oil in Texas. Oil has almost 2-3X the energy density of coal.
    Fast forward to the 50's and nuclear energy - nuclear fission has an energy density on the order of 2,000,000 times that of oil.

    Unfortunately, just like oil, there are finite amounts of nuclear fissile materials. So if we look to exploring other planets for energy sources, it's going to be something with a very high energy density, not hydrocarbon based energy.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1011.29)
    @Mark Sweeney

    Nicely said, fine sir. The most educated insight we've had so far.

    Which brings us back to the necessity of developing fusion technology as the next step above nuclear, or at least parallel to nuclear with the benefit of being oh so much cleaner...
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      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1011.30)
    Fusion is still nuclear; You mean we need to develop nuclear fusion as the next step above nuclear fission, and I agree. Fission is a horrible way to make energy, and the waste is disgusting.

    And they need to bloody hurry up about it; they've been working on it for ages. The current work-in-progress is ITER, which is funded by (IIRC) seven countries and currently planned to be built in southern France.

    However, it's not expected to go into action for another eight years or so, and isn't trying to be a true power generator, only to sustain a reaction for a few minutes, at a decent efficiency ratio. The actual power-producing won't be until the NEXT gen after ITER, which (assuming all goes as planned with ITER), should start producing by about 2030, and at hopefully about twice the efficiency of ITER. For fuck's sake, 2030.

    We seriously need better construction techniques; part of the problem with all of this is how long it takes to build the facilities.


    Oh, and we really really need to find a better way to harness nuclear power than using it to power giant steam turbines, as it's used now. That's such a hilariously inefficient method of transferral of the reaction to electricity.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008 edited
     (1011.31)
    Oh, and we really really need to find a better way to harness nuclear power than using it to power giant steam turbines, as it's used now. That's such a hilariously inefficient method of transferral of the reaction to electricity.


    You're entirely right, that hadn't occurred to me before. Thats piss-funny! :D

    Its almost reverse-steampunk... Using future technologies to power outdated devices.
  4.  (1011.32)
    The actual power-producing won't be until the NEXT gen after ITER, which (assuming all goes as planned with ITER), should start producing by about 2030, and at hopefully about twice the efficiency of ITER. For fuck's sake, 2030.
    This sounds about right. For the past 50 years, we've always been "about 25 years away from Fusion"... and we still are.
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      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
     (1011.33)
    Oh yes, I know. But dammit, it's not like it's impossible or anything, we just haven't got it yet. We may as well keep going, cos unless someone has a major unexpected random breakthrough into something completely unthoughtof (obviously not impossible) it's the best option we have to develop.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
     (1011.34)
    This sounds about right. For the past 50 years, we've always been "about 25 years away from Fusion"... and we still are.


    It seems like we're always twenty-five away from "that thing" that will make life easier and not kill us in the process. Yet that deadline keeps moving with us. Kind of like a really fucked up Zeno's paradox.
    • CommentAuthorzenbullet
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
     (1011.35)
    My friend and I were talking about it last night, he explained to me that we pretty much have fusion covered, it would just take a plasma ball of a couple million degrees hot, the only problem is that the only material that could hold that is a superconductor for a magnetic bottle affair, and the best we got runs at like minus forty.

    So as he told me, the problem is it would take a refrigeration system that would drain more than it would work.

    But he could be wrong on that one.

    Just throwing it out there...
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      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2008
     (1011.36)
    Well.

    A) We're getting better and better superconductors anyway, so even if that was the problem, it's be fixed fairly soon, because superconductors are just so useful that they're a major target of research, and

    B) The thing I linked to the Wiki of above, ITER, is pretty much getting around the problem of not good enough superconductors by using a clever bunch of engineering to wring the most capable possible fusion bottle/torus from what we have. Essentially, they are throwing lots (and lots and lots and lots) of money at the problem.

    We don't want to have to refrigerate superconductors because the current way atomic power is used to make electricity relies on the heat to make steam (I still say it's stupid and I wish I was good enough at physics to do more than bitch about it). Removing heat is therefore a Bad Thing.