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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: ballistic ground-to-ground times
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 15:17:30 GMT

In article <>,
Rodent  <> wrote:
>> ...prepared roads are the subject of this particular (sub)discussion.
>    So, how to go about preparing a road?  Large rocks
>and small boulders should be easy to move in the lower
>grav. Could the regolith be compressed mechanically?

There is no need to compress the regolith.  Underneath a thin surface
layer of loose dust, it is packed harder than power machinery can easily
accomplish.  Remember all the trouble Armstrong and Aldrin had getting
the flag to stand up?  Just clear the surface dust away.

For areas near settlements etc., you'd probably want to gravel the roads
to cut down on dust.  That's easy -- just sieve the regolith for pebbles.

>Perhaps a roving solar concentrator that could literally melt
>a road.

Actual *paving* shouldn't be necessary very much -- landing pads would be
the biggest early application for it, not roads -- but it would be done
with variations on this idea. You probably can't get any significant
thickness of melting by just concentrating sunlight, because the regolith
is a very good thermal insulator.  A better approach is to melt regolith
or rocks in a (solar) furnace and cast the molten rock into paving blocks.
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

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