Cocoon for Apophis

Cocoon for Apophis from NewMars forums

A discussion is underway on the web site, regarding a concept shown by nature, for capturing an asteroid. In nature, creatures (eg. caterpillars) wrap themselves in a cocoon (eg. silk thread) to prepare for metamorphosis. Asteroids such as Apophis are thought to be loose piles or collections of rubble held together by very small gravitational forces.

Such objects cannot be moved through application of a force, such as that produced by a chemical rocket. Wrapping such an object in a cocoon of basalt thread (as an example) would appear to offer a solution to the problem of giving the object a structure to facilitate movement to a harvesting location.

Here is a recent post by the forum administrator, inviting composition of an article about this topic, for possible display on the main page of the Mars Society web site. readers are invited to think about the problem, and offer their thoughts about how best to proceed:

tahanson43206 wrote:

For SpaceNut re #

First, thanks for the reminder of the many contributions of JoshNH4H during his tenure as a moderator and member of the forum.

And thanks for the interesting teaser of an opportunity for the Asteroid Cocoon contingent. 

From my perspective, some work is still needed to reduce uncertainty in numerous areas. 

I’m not sure how many bullet points I’m going to come up with, but I’ll start and see how far it goes …

1) Is the surface of Apophis suitable for manufacture into thread?

2) Can equipment fabricated for manufacture of basalt thread here on Earth be adapted to deep space and whatever material Apophis offers?

3) Is there an optimum strategy for wrapping the cocoon.  Calliban’s long arm from a pole is what Nature offers as a model, but that would be slowest.

4) Would SpaceNut’s idea of tossed toilet paper rolls (as a metaphor of course) work at all, and if so, how would it be designed for the free space situation?

5) What amount of wrapping material is needed?  Nature provides a model of multiple layers of thread. Can we get by with less?

6) Where would the world want the asteroid to be delivered?  I say the world, because there is ** no ** doubt the world has an interest in the project.

7) Speaking of the world … what international agreements are needed to avoid unhappy and worried people, let alone nations?

Enough for now …


Maybe its time for a consolidated write up for this topic to be posted on the home page..targetting the above bullets to finish out what we might be missing…

Buy Materion (MTRN)

Today’s recommendation is a little different that past ones. Previous investment ideas have had a “green” tilt. Today’s has a “tech/space” tilt. Materion is a mining company (a good one!) and mining is hard to do in an environmentally friendly manner. It is a necessary evil for a technologically advanced society. Eventually, this dirty industry should move off planet but for now we have to make do. Fortunately, the material this mine produces is particularly useful for aerospace applications and advances the cause.

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Climate Change Fuel Options

kbd512 is a member of the NewMars forum who frequently contributes long posts which are rich with detail, and show careful thought in preparation. In the post below, kbd512 looks at a variety of options for human beings to address climate change, and offers recommendations based upon various factors.

Readers of should be aware that kbd512 posts on a variety of topics, some of which might be offensive. The post below confines itself to physics, economics and technical fields, so should be acceptable in this setting.

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Economics of Mars

Index>> Martian Politics and Economy >> Economics of Mars

Louis: Member from UK

Registered 2008-03-04: Posts: 5,198

I’ve just been reading a book on economic theory called 30-second economics (it’s actually a more in-depth study then that title might suggest). I thought it might be interesting to work through the theories and ask how they relate to a future human society on Mars since I don’t think anyone here or elsewhere has ever attempted to do that…

Classical economic theory This theory has evolved out of Adam Smith’s original writings which indicated that the rapidly adjusting market ensures equilibrium, stability and prosperity.

My comment: The free market will be largely absent from Mars for at least a couple of decades following the arrival of humans in my view. This partly reflects technology (the need to ensure that life support technology is in place) and partly the way missions will be structured (under the control of a centralised planning team). There will be a market between Mars and Earth e.g. over science experiments, where I anticipate demand will exceed supply.

Marxism Marx  predicted the inevitable evolution of a classless society based on the principle of “from each according to their ability and to each according to the need”.

My comment:   In a sense the early missions to Mars will probably reflect these principles. All the participants will be highly dedicated to giving their all to the project and financial motivation will not be required. Equally, they will be happy to help a fellow pioneer who may be in need – e.g. in need of medical treatment.  But Marxism is not an organising principle that works well with larger and more sophisticated societies.

Keynesian economics.  Keynes argued that the business cycle was driven by aggregate demand and suggested that government could intervene to smooth out the ups and downs of the business cycle by manipulating aggregate demand for goods and services.

My comment:    The business cycle is a reality in all markets but it is worth pointing out that we have, on Earth,  had steady growth in world GDP year by year virtually every year since World War II. This is due to technological innovation, improved transport and communications and a growing population. 

The Mars economy will be growing from a tiny colony into an economy based on substantial human populations possibly millions within 100 years. So I think we will not see major business cycle dips. There is perhaps a risk of investment “bubbles” going forward which may cause economic dislocation.

To be continued…

Last edited by louis (Today 09:46:57)

Louis added additional posts to his topic. These may be viewed at the links below:

Post #1

Post #4

Post #5

Post #6

Post #7

The Procure Space ETF (UFO)

Today, I’m reviewing a new way to invest in the new space movement. There are three good reasons for investing in space at this time: 1) location based sharing apps are growing rapidly thanks to satellite enabled navigation 2) decreasing launch costs are creating new economically viable industries 3) with the formation of the US Space Force governments and the defense industry are poised to increase investment in space.

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SBSP & Solar Electric Propulsion

Could we one day use the Space Solar Power to travel around the Solar System?

When Valery Danko in 2019 went to interview Professor Naoki Shinohara, during the intial contact phase, he mentioned an experiment using Microwave beam technology to fly a small drone. In other words, no energy is carried on the drone, it all comes from the microwave beam at a distance!

This example is not clearly the same as Solar sail, but the principle is the same. The drone saves vital weight carrying fuel or batteries. The energy is supplied by the sun, using another electromagnetic beam of radiation!

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Mars – Will Space Solar Power be the key to its future?

The Developed Martian Colony

Mars is a very hostile place with a thin atmosphere and less solar energy than on Earth. It’s very far away from Earth – anywhere between 55 and 401 million kilometres. (34 million miles and 249 million miles). There’s no life on it as far as we currently know. Its atmosphere is so thin that it is an excellent insulator. However, it might also be so hot in the sun that living things will have problems without considerable energy use to keep cool. Artificially Intelligent (AI) robots will be critical to any development of a martian colony. Also, if we decide to nuke it before we turn up (as Elon Musk suggests) we can thicken up the atmosphere and hopefully create, albeit low gravity, conditions for growing food. To make it worthwhile, we’ll have let the robots build mars before humans arrive.

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Profit from the decline of Big Coal

Every two weeks I contribute something at the intersection of Economics, Finance, and Space or Environmentalism. This is often takes the form of exploring an investment opportunity. This week, I’m taking a slightly different approach and showing how savvy investors can profit from the decline in stock price of a beleaguered coal miner faced with shrinking demand for its product.

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