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|Notional 7 meter in diameter Blue Origin space habitat (Credit: NASA & Blue Origin)|
By Marcel F. Williams
A 2018 Pew Research poll suggest that 42% of Americans would be interested in traveling into space. But, so far, only seven super wealthy individuals have been able to do so with their own private funds. Multimillionaire Dennis Tito was the first tourist to travel into space to the ISS. Billionaire Charles Simonyi was the first space tourist to pay for two trips to the ISS.
The Russian space agency has charged these super wealthy individuals between $20 million to $40 million to travel to the ISS. And because of the extraordinarily high cost of space travel, space tourism has been exclusively for the super wealthy.
|Multimillionaire Dennis Tito (far left) became the first space tourist in April of 2001|
There are over 2100 billionaires on Earth. 52,000 people in the world who are worth over $100 million with 15,000 of those individuals living in the US alone. So there are at least 52,000 people on Earth who could afford to travel to a space and to a space station at current prices.
Companies like Bigelow Aerospace have also been developing their own private space habitats that they hope to deploy some time during the next decade. And NASA has recently presented space habitat concepts from several private space companies including Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin.
|Notional 8.4 meter in diameter SLS derived microgravity habitat (Credit NASA)|
A large microgravity recreational area should also be available for guest. And the recreational area should be at least as spacious as the accommodations experienced by astronauts aboard the old 6.6 meter in diameter Skylab facility. Notional habitats derived from the New Glenn upper stage (7 meters in diameter), Bigelow's Olympus: BA-2100 (12.6 meters in diameter), and SLS propellant tank technology derived habitats (8.4 meters in diameter) should provide spacious environments for microgravity recreational activities.
A Cupola window viewing area of the Earth should be continuously available for guest.
Samantha Cristoforetti taking photos within the ISS Cupola (Credit: NASA)
|Notional FlexCraft single person vehicle (Credit: NASA)|
If the polls are correct then their should be at least 6300 super wealthy Americans who desire to travel to a space station-- and can afford to do so. And if there is a similar statistical desire world wide, then there should be at least 22,000 super wealthy people who want to travel into space-- and can afford to do so.
Annually, if just 10% of the super wealthy who desired to travel into space (2200 people)-- did so-- that would require 440 to 550 private commercial launches every year. In 2018, there were only 111 successful space launches with only four them being crew launches. So space tourism should create dramatic increase in the launch rate accompanied by substantial reductions in launch cost. But even if it were only 1%, that would require 44 to 55 private commercial launches every year.
But what if there was a national or even an international lotto system that could allow private individuals to risk an American dollar for a chance to travel into space? What if 42% of adult Americans risked $5 a year, on average, for a chance to travel into space through a Space Lotto system? That would generate approximately $1.2 billion a year for crew launches. And that would be enough money to send 24 average Jane's and Joe's into space every year (5 to 6 additional crew launches).
But you could add even more incentive for Americans to purchase Space Lotto tickets if winners were given a monetary prize of $250,000 (less than 1% of the cost for the round trip ticket to space). Winners could be given $125,000 initially for their time off from work for astronaut training and traveling into space. An additional $125,000 would be given to them once they returned from space.
If 42% of the world's adult population were willing to participate in Space Lotto system with a similar financial reward but only risked $2 per year, that would still generate $5 billion a year. That could purchase enough tickets for 100 winners per year (20 to 25 additional crew launches).
Optimally, a single private space habitat might be able to accommodate 36 tourist flights per year for a 10 day stay. Ten habitats would be required to accommodate 360 flights per year. So, obviously, there would also be a significant launch demand just to deploy the private habitats needed to accommodate potential tourist.
Recreational activity within the interior of the 6.6 meter in diameter Skylab space station.
References and Links
NASA LEO Commercialization Study Results
The World's Billionaires
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Links and References
In Ford's Future, Two Legged Robots and Self Driving Cars could Team up on Deliveries
Saturday, May 25, 2019
|Ocean view under golden skies (Credit Simeon Muller)|
The reprocessing of spent fuel (fissile uranium and plutonium) from commercial nuclear reactors could slash uranium demand in half, providing more than two centuries of uranium supply at current levels of use. However, using terrestrial uranium and spent fuel recycling to provide all of the world's energy needs with current light water reactor. So the current generation of nuclear reactors could not utilize-- terrestrial uranium-- to completely supplant the environmentally harmful fossil fuel economy that is causing global warming and global sea rise.
|Countries with the largest terrestrial uranium reserves|
Countries with the largest uranium reserves by metric ton (tonnes)
However, the next generation of Fast Neutron Reactors could produce 30 to 60 times as much energy as current commercial nuclear reactors. And at current rates of global energy use, that could allow terrestrial uranium to power human civilization on Earth for more than 600 years. Fast Neutron Reactors could also use thorium in combination with uranium to power human civilization for more than a thousand years.
But while affordable terrestrial sources of uranium are less than ten million tonnes, the world's oceans contain more than 4 billion tonnes of uranium-- naturally dissolved within seawater. Utilized in Fast Neutron Reactors, that would be enough nuclear fuel to power human civilization for more than 300,000 years. And marine uranium would still be able to power the current generation of nuclear reactors, with spent fuel recycling, for about 10,000 years.
However, uranium from seawater is also an intrinsically renewable source of energy. The world's oceans naturally contain uranium dissolved at a concentration of about 3 parts per billion. But the amount of uranium content within marine waters is controlled by a steady state chemical interaction between water and rocks on land and in the ocean. So no mater how much uranium is extracted from the ocean, the uranium concentration in seawater remains the same because of its continuous interaction with the Earth's crust that contain approximately 100 trillion tonnes of uranium. That's a 7.5 billion year energy supply if Fast Neutron Reactors are utilized or a mere 250 million year supply of fuel to power all of human civilization using current commercial nuclear power technology and reprocessing.
Of course, in about a billion years, the ever increasing temperature of the sun will cause the oceans to boil. This will make the Earth-- uninhabitable-- long before the sun turns into a red giant. So, basically, there's more than enough renewable marine uranium to power all of human civilization on Earth until the end of life on Earth!
|Acrylic fiber test material for uranium extraction from seawater (Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and LCW Supercritical Technologies)|
|US marine territorial exclusive economic zones (Credit: NOAA)|
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and LCW Supercritical Technologies have recently had a major breakthrough in their uranium extraction from seawater research. They've managed to extract five grams of yellowcake from seawater by using acrylic fibers. The inexpensive yarn they've developed is both durable and reusable with an innate ability to selectively absorb uranium from seawater. And the material also appears to perform much better in warmer water where the extraction rate could be three to five times higher than in cold water. This could make the extraction of uranium from warm marine waters compatible with Ocean Nuclear Power production in remote tropical waters. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory believe that the acrylic material that they've developed could be ready to be a manufactured on a commercial scale in about 10 years.
Links and References
Deploying Ocean Nuclear Energy Flotillas into International Waters for the Carbon Neutral Production of Synthetic Fuels, Industrial Chemicals, and Fertilizers
Siting Ocean Nuclear Power Plants in Remote US Territorial Waters for the Carbon Neutral Production of Synfuels and Industrial Chemicals
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References & Links 1. http://www.startech.net/ 2. Methanol production from Startech technology 3. Online brochure
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