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Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism

Posted by: sanman - Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:58 pm
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Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism 
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Post Re: Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism   Posted on: Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:44 pm
Terraformer wrote:
Well, setting a work of fiction in Nearspace allows you to explain the 1g of gravity, large ships, definite down direction, pin-point turns... all classics of Soft SciFi.

Then say a supervolcano/nuclear war has rendered the surface uninhabitable, and you have your MacGuffin explaining why food is produced in big aerostatic stations, manufacturing has been moved to the sky, big warships patrol the darkness...


:D I like your thinking its a shame they don't do good b-movies anymore i think this would make a nice second feature you could have the supervolcano caused by the Chinese after someone exports the TV format Strictly come tap dancing to them and it becomes an audience participation hit the in sync taps causing Yellowstone to trigger :twisted:

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Post Re: Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism   Posted on: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:14 pm
Hmmm... what about an Arkship in Nearspace? Say 5km by 10km by 1km, with a section in the middle that contains the breathable atmosphere (0.2 bars - 160mb oxygen, 2mb CO2, and 38mb Nitrogen perhaps) that is 100m tall. It gives approx 90kg/m^2 if the air is 10% sea level density.

One idea I have from growing crops and grass is a layered medium, witha foamy layer above a thin (1 mil) layer of water, seperated by a mesh. The roots would spread out in the water, which would have tubes running through it to deliver nutrients. It might be useful to use bacteria to break down the dead roots, although in the Arkships the water could be thick enough to remove this impediment (1cm).

If space is out future, nearspace is our near future. To paraphrase Monroe, "Today's the day! We go into Nearspace!"


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Post Re: Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism   Posted on: Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:50 pm
It must use graphene - not just because graphene is cutting-edge cool tech, but because graphene is the lightest, and the strongest, and the most impermeable to gas leakage. Even hydrogen can't leak through graphene.

I'm thinking that hydrogen could be a lifting gas of choice, since up at that extreme altitude, flammability doesn't pose as much of a hazard at sea-level.

I'd worry about micro-meteorite penetration, possibly.

Instead of an ark-ship, why not have a giant floating theme park, like a Disneyland in the sky? The theme park could be themed around a space theme, and related activities. Instead of having conventional circus high-wire acrobatic acts, you could have EVA "performers" who do cool entertaining spacewalk stuff, outside of the pressurized environment. This helps to build up expertise in doing stuff in the unpressurized vacuum, while also entertaining audiences.

I doubt the constraint on building such a thing is technology - it would really be cost. But who knows what innovations could be pioneered just by doing the development work on such a project? There could be tremendous technological spinoffs in engineering strong, lightweight structures.


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Post Re: Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism   Posted on: Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:40 pm
I was thinking Arkship mainly because of a world building project I'm considering... more details here. Carbon and plastic, not so much weight and impermeability as mineability - they can be extracted from the air.

Oh yes, air. The problem is, at that altitude air carries it's won weight penalty - if the air's 1/10 as dense, and you want it 2/10 as dense, you need an additional 125g/m^2. Doesn't sound like much - until you try running the numbers on a decent sized station or Ark.

Although, developing Ark's, farms, homes, manufacturing, mining stations (you would want to concentrate the Carbon and Water, as well as other trace elements)), and the like up in space would not only be useful in case of a disaster down here (not much can get you up there... except a leak), it could potentially turn a profit on tourism. Not just standard tourism - above about 18km, it's international airspace, so such stations aren't bound by Terran law. Meaning...


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Post Re: Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism   Posted on: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:16 am
Terraformer wrote:
Not just standard tourism - above about 18km, it's international airspace, so such stations aren't bound by Terran law. Meaning...


It could be a wretched hive of scum and villainy?

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Post Re: Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism   Posted on: Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:44 pm
Potentially...


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Post Re: Floating High Altitude Platforms for "Near Space" Tourism   Posted on: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:49 am
Just recently returned from watching the Red Bull Stratos flight. As we watched the balloon inflate I couldn't help but wonder how long it could have lasted floating up there if that was to be the mission and thought if it were me I would have planned to stay with the balloon until it started descending on it's own. I wonder if the cost for a near space flight to say 100,000' on a balloon would be the same as a flight with XCore or Virgin Galactic. The time aloft would definitely be greater as we spent a few hours following Stratos over the New Mexico desert.

An interesting illusion was seeing it above at 120,000' but it looking like a plastic bag floating only a thousand feet above. It's not everyday that one sees such a large balloon so high overhead.


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