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Electricity in the Jupiter/Io subsystem - call for power station designs
Electricity in the Jupiter/Io subsystem - call for power station designs
#1
We've got people colonizing the Jovian subsystem. If I ever get the silly thing finished, chapter 5 of Legend of Galactic Girls will take place there, so I've been giving the area some thought, off-and-on...

One thing I've been wondering about is power. They're too far from Sol for solar power to be practical, and ... er... somebody beat them to the easily-available fissionables. (Get that guilty look off your face, Kohran; the exact natue of "kaboomite" is supposed to be a secret.) The locals haven't had time to get at the somewhat-harder-to-get-at fissionables yet. Fusion is a possibility, but nobody seems to have a working fusion plant before the Girls leave a copy of their tech archive with Noah. They could burn hydrocarbons (local or imported from Venus), but they need the oxygen for terraforming.

But I've been pointed at the electrical interplay between Jupiter and Io (Edit: link below), and can't help but think 5 megaampres of electricity is a pretty good source of power... if only it can be tapped.

So, given Handwavium and the state-of-the-art in Fenspace's 2010-2014, how can this power source be tapped? And who built the first rig (and thus started the Jovian power industry)?

(Sure, it's background, but it's background that might possibly actually be used in a story, maybe...)

Edit: Yuku insists on mangling the link to the article I tried citing. Take all the spaces out of the next line:
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Jupiter+a ... spots+mark+ link -a014632858
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
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#2
First thing that come to my mind is Tesla(?)-style broadcast power.
___________________________
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#3
There are three major problems here that need to be overcome:

First and biggest is the radiation environment around Io in general and in the flux tube in particular. Can't find figures at the moment, but ISTR reading
that the surface dose on Io approaches "unshielded nuclear reactor" levels. Even with handwavium, that's going to be a tough row to hoe.

Second's putting together a brake for the system. Generating the power's easy enough - just run a wire through that current and it'll conduct - but
keeping *all* of that power from running down the wire and wrecking the collector would be tricky.

Finally, distribution. All that power's there, but how do you get it out of Juptier's magnetosphere and to the colonies on Europa and Callisto?
Mr. Fnord interdimensional man of mystery

FenWiki - Your One-Stop Shop for Fenspace Information

"I. Drink. Your. NERDRAGE!"
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#4
Use it to run a big spotlight. Point the spotlight at solar panels. Wink
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#5
Quote:There are three major problems here that need to be overcome:
If I had answers to those questions, I wouldn't need to ask "how".

Mind you, one doesn't need to put the power station on Io's surface to be able to tap the flux. That mitigates (but does not solve) point #1...
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
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#6
Quote: M Fnord wrote:

There are three major problems here that need to be overcome:




First and biggest is the radiation environment around Io in general and in the flux tube in particular. Can't find figures at the moment, but ISTR
reading that the surface dose on Io approaches "unshielded nuclear reactor" levels. Even with handwavium, that's going to be a tough row to
hoe.




Second's putting together a brake for the system. Generating the power's easy enough - just run a wire through that current and it'll conduct -
but keeping *all* of that power from running down the wire and wrecking the collector would be tricky.




Finally, distribution. All that power's there, but how do you get it out of Juptier's magnetosphere and to the colonies on Europa and Callisto?

1). Radiation shielding is relatively simple, put whatever your trying to shield inside a meter thick jacket of water.

2). Use secondary, and tertiary hulls to create a "Leyden Bottle" effect to collect the power into a very large capacitor to be drained into a
battery.

3). Make electricity collection a byproduct of gas mining/skimming operations to provide atmospheric gases to the starting colonies.

I'd give the above a gross efficiency factor between 5 and 10%.
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#7
If dealing with Io is too much, why not use a tether style magnetic induction generation system like has been experimented with on the Shuttle? Jupiter's
got a far more powerful magnetic field. Then either use a microwave transmitter to beam the power to the colonies or use the power to melt ice and crack water
to create hydrogen and oxygen for fuel?
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#8
I was going to say magnetic induction myself...

Hrm... I'm wondering how complex we can make this thing. As an aspirant engineer, I know that Occam's Razor and KISS apply here. Only the simplest and most elegant solution will suffice.

As mentioned, induction sounds like a good way to go, turning the Io flux-tube into what will probably be the galaxy's largest step-down transformer.

Another idea that comes to mind is to somehow harness all that radiation directly. I bet if you run a series of boiler-tubes through the flux-stream you'd have a nice little steam generator. Or why not a more direct method through a thermo-voltaic option?

Next: transmission. We got all kinds of options from tethers to beams... beams sound like the best way to go. You can bounce one from one satellite to another in order to reach your target destination. And if you can keep the focus tight enough, you can probably even beam surplus out as far as Pluto. The million credit question is what should the medium for beam-transmission be? There's a myriad of ways for energy to be transmitted in such a manner, and with Handwavium involved many of them become rather efficient. This could boil down to a contest of, "Okay, what's more nifty than that?"

After that, you have distribution - really a minor thing after dealing with the hassle of capturing it from the source and then transmitting it over the vast interplanetary distances. I, for one, favor the idea of the hydrogen-cooled superconductive powergrid - it distributes energy in the forms of electricity and hydrogen.

Sooooo.... What'll it be, Boss?

Yasuri Nanami is my number one waifu, if only because she would horribly murder all the others if they didn't shut up and toe the line.
"They did not care about all the other attempts wizards had made on the Lone Power through history; as far as a computer is concerned, there is no program that cannot be debugged, or at worst, rewritten."
-Diane Duane, High Wizardry
"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
-Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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#9
I'm just going to reference whatever people decide on...
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
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#10
Just... ifyou GO with beamed POWAH... You should have whatever AI is in charge of it talk like an impression of Christopher Walken as Nikola Tesla. ^_^
''We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.''

-- James Nicoll
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#11
Steam-powered MASER array? Could be done with hardtech, even. Although, you *would* have to have some serious security on what would be, if in the wrong hands,
the most powerful weapon ever built. (But my inner Steampunk is screaming, "But it would be SO COOL!")

Better idea would be a magnetohydrodynamic tap built around the flux path. You'd only tap what you needed at any one time that way, and if you need more
power, build more generator. Same problem as the above, only more distributed; anytime you're beaming power, you're also creating a weapon.
Niven's Law still applies here.
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#12
Niven's law indeed.

Let's see... How about this. Steam-powered MASER to start out with, because 1) the Sparks made it, and 2) it fulfilled the initial demand quite nicely.

Then, later on as the expansion continues, start building the oh-so-much-easier-to-scale magnetohydrodynamic taps. This way, we have the best of both worlds,
and with a solid reason for why it was done.

Security is definitely going to be an ongoing issue. Would anyone complain if Benjamin commissioned the construction of a Jovian-based branch of the
Roughriders?

Yasuri Nanami is my number one waifu, if only because she would horribly murder all the others if they didn't shut up and toe the line.
"They did not care about all the other attempts wizards had made on the Lone Power through history; as far as a computer is concerned, there is no program that cannot be debugged, or at worst, rewritten."
-Diane Duane, High Wizardry
"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
-Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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#13
When were the Roughriders formed, again?

We might end up with a cross-faction security team instead, if the Browncoats and Juvies don't set up security on the beams first...
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
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#14
Rockhounds and Browncoats go together like peanut butter and jelly, so. Smile
--
Sucrose Octanitrate.
Proof positive that with sufficient motivation, you can make anything explode.
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#15
Rob: thanks for the reminder. Benjamin started that up a few months after the SOS-Con, once he realized that one Blackbird wasn't gonna cut it and what was
really needed was a fleet.

Cross-factional defense force sounds like how it would happen. Places like the Jovian system seem to be Fenspace's melting pot. It kinda helps, though,
that Jupiter and it's moons is comparable to the inner-system - jupiter just never got the mass it needed to ignite.

Do agree, Rockhounds and Browncoats are pratically inseperable.

Yasuri Nanami is my number one waifu, if only because she would horribly murder all the others if they didn't shut up and toe the line.
"They did not care about all the other attempts wizards had made on the Lone Power through history; as far as a computer is concerned, there is no program that cannot be debugged, or at worst, rewritten."
-Diane Duane, High Wizardry
"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
-Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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