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Lucretius t1_je5155n wrote


I recognize that this is not NA+ and Cl- related, but it does have to do with the relative abundance of low atomic number elements, so I was wondering if you would be willing to weigh in on it.

I friend of mine and I are trying to guess what the long-term potential for various forms of space settlement and colonization are across all conceivable intelligent species... a sort of: These are the universal ground rules kind of list. For that reason, we've been focusing on energy sources on the thinking that regardless of the exact nature or needs of the intelligent species, they will need energy sources to engage in whatever their civilization does.

To that end, we have a disagreement on the viability of proton-boron fusion as a sustainable form of energy with particular emphasis on small icy bodies on the outskirts of solar systems (Kuiper belt and Oort cloud bodies). The disagreement is concerning the relative abundance of Boron. As you know, Boron is, like Beryllium, mostly NOT formed in stars or left over from the big bang, but rather formed from Lithium and cosmic rays. I've been arguing that because stellar magnetic fields partially protect objects inside them from cosmic rays, we should, if anything, see MORE Boron in small icy bodies that spend all or most of their time outside stellar magnetic fields, and that therefore there should be more than enough boron to sustain a proton-boron-fusion based civilization in the outskirts of a solar system without ever needing to actually approach a star.

Am I right? Do we have any way of knowing how much boron is in such small icy bodies?


adamginsburg t1_je53c6u wrote

In short, I don't know - it's beyond my expertise. I'm not sure we have any way to measure boron; it's not (afaik) commonly detected in stellar atmospheres. I haven't checked the molecule lists (, but I'm not aware of any boron-containing molecules either. Your arguments sound plausible, but I'm afraid I can't weigh in on the argument.