Before the Control of Gravity…

Before the Control of Gravity…

By killykoon (Generated with AI)
While today we depend upon the use of chemical rockets to move materials and people into space. This is very expensive per ounce. To reduce this cost to a more reasonable point, we either need to control gravity or use what’s called a space elevator.

For Rosella’s world, the control of gravity became a reality but before this point, humanity only had one choice which was the construction of a space elevator. Without this step, humanity wouldn’t have been able to make that initial push into space in a way that made economic sense. Exploring ideas such as harvesting materials from asteroids or establishing a base on the moon.

The space debris accumulated during construction is a bigger hurdle for the elevator than the scientific challenge of finding ribbon materials. For this reason, prior to this project, we did a global initiative to clean up this debris from the orbital areas.

Part of this global initiative was rethinking how orbital materials ended up in orbit and lowering the debris footprint they created. Other than that, the bigger problem was gathering up all the particles, ranging from nanoparticles to whole spacecraft.

No one solution would solve the problem. Instead, variations of the following earlier ideas were implemented:

  1. Active Debris Removal (ADR): ADR involves capturing or actively manipulating space debris to remove it from orbit. Methods being considered include robotic arms, nets, harpoons, grippers, ion beams, and lasers to capture or reposition debris.
  2. Deorbiting: Satellites and spacecraft can be designed with built-in propulsion systems or additional thrusters to facilitate controlled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Intentional lowering of a satellite or rocket stage causes it to burn up upon reentry.
  3. Space-based Lasers: Powerful lasers based on the ground or on other satellites could be used to target and vaporize selective smaller debris objects. The energy from the laser would cause the debris to heat up rapidly, resulting in a change in momentum and causing it to slow down. Over time, this technique could deorbit the debris by reducing its orbital velocity.
  4. Electrodynamic Tethers: Electrodynamic tethers use long conductive wires to generate an electromagnetic force by interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. The tethers can slow down the orbit of the spacecraft or debris, resulting in reentry and disposal.
  5. Space Sweeper Satellites: Dedicated spacecraft, often referred to as “space sweepers,” could be deployed to collect space debris actively. These satellites would use onboard sensors and robotic systems to capture and store debris, either by physically grappling it or by using other techniques like deploying nets or electrostatic forces.
  6. Aerodynamic Drag Enhancement: changing the shape of satellites and upper rocket stages to increase their surface area or adding deployable structures like sails can enhance the drag they experience in the upper atmosphere. This increased drag causes the object to lose altitude more quickly, resulting in eventual reentry and burn-up.
  7. International Cooperation and Guidelines: Implementing stricter regulations and guidelines for satellite operators to deorbit their satellites at the end of their operational life can help prevent the accumulation of additional space debris. International collaboration is crucial for establishing standards and incentivizing responsible behavior in space activities.

Over several years, we removed enough space debris to allow the beginning of construction of the first space elevators. After controlling gravity, we dismantled the space elevators.

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