boostrapping a mars colony

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happyjack27
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:58 pm

Solar power should be thin-film roll-to-roll, with diagonal brushes placed intermittently.

This way, cleaning after a dust storm would simply by a matter of rolling one way and then the other. Could even be automated (reserve power allowing)

Ends should have housing so you can roll it up for protection. And movable so you can move it to shelter if needed.

Initial location should be:
^ by the equator for maximum solar energy
* by a lava tube for initial shelter (from radiation and dust storms, and also a more stable temperature)
* by a crater for later large scale construction

Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:18 am

Every now and then some fool comes up with the idea of running a launch tube up the side of a mountain on Earth, evacuating it, and using it to accelerate a spacecraft up to orbital velocity. A door must snap open just before the spacecraft emerges. And then I have to burst their bubble by calculating 0.5 ro v^2 at the top of the tallest mountains, and describe what it would be like to be released from that tube into air that is too dense to get away with it. You might do it in the low hypersonic range to launch a scramjet.

But air density at the surface of Mars is as thin as it is at 100 k ft on Earth, several times higher than the candidate mountains mentioned for the launch tube, over three times higher than even Everest. And then there is Mar's big boy, Olympus Mons. Which is about ten miles high. It has reasonably uniform shallow slopes. Bud Sparhawk, SF writer and a friend of mine, examined the geometry of that volcano, and it has a curious property. If you stand at the top and look down the slope, the base of the mountain is pretty much the horizon. This volcano is as wide at the base as France, and it is a small planet. So we're talking about a pretty sweet arrangement for a launch tube or rail, and the top of the mountain is nearly in space. Plus, orbital velocity is a lot less than it is on Earth. So all told, the idea is a lot less preposterous on Mars, and maybe even workable.

Coming down INTO the tube remains a really sporty, though not impossible, proposition.

paperburn1
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby paperburn1 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:59 pm

Wait a minute I disagree. All you have to do is let the crazy out of the bag for one shot.
You set off one solitary ten megaton nuclear device in a deep underground salt dome. Perched on top is an Orion type spacecraft. The ship rides up in the blast so you do not have the worry of slamming into the atmosphere .The sucker wouldn't have incinerated, flattened, and irradiated nearly as much real estate as you might think. All the EMP and radiation is contained in the underground cave (as has been done with historical underground nuclear tests). And 280,000 TONS of payload sails into low Earth orbit. Not pounds. Tons.

I say "sails into orbit", but of course it is more like "slammed by thousands of gs of acceleration", so this has to be unmanned (any human beings on board would instantly be converted into a thin layer of bloody chunky salsa covering the deck plates). But 280,000 tons? That's about one thousand International Space Stations, an entire Space Elevator, an entire Lunar colony, an orbital fuel depot that would make future NASA missions ten times cheaper, a space station the size of the one in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, or about one-tenth of a ecologically clean 1.5 terawatt solar power station.
In the mid-80s I heard of a "Project Thunderwell" He told me that it was a project, never actually constructed, to launch a spacecraft on a column of nuclear-heated steam. The idea was that a deep shaft would be dug in the earth and filled with water. A spacecraft would be placed atop this shaft, and a nuclear explosive would be detonated at the bottom.
http://www.kschroeder.com/weblog/archiv ... -verne-gun
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

paperburn1
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby paperburn1 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:29 pm

http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/16/13294926/exomars-esa-roscosmos-trace-gas-orbiter-schiaparelli-separation
After seven months of traveling to Mars, Europe and Russia's two ExoMars spacecraft are scheduled to separate from one another this morning
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

vasimv
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby vasimv » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:07 pm

I think they'll need few 3D printers. Small sized plastic ones, small sized powder metal and big sized for cement work. It'll allow to build a lot of stuff right on Mars, replace missing/broken parts and make some buildings even. In addition, i would add few tonns of microcontrollers/FPGAs, IGBTs/MOSFETs and wide range of electric motors. They will able to create all kinds of stuff needed - electronics, new 3D printers, ventilation, lathe and milling machinery, scout and transportation vehicles.

happyjack27
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:33 pm

vasimv wrote:I think they'll need few 3D printers. Small sized plastic ones, small sized powder metal and big sized for cement work. It'll allow to build a lot of stuff right on Mars, replace missing/broken parts and make some buildings even. In addition, i would add few tonns of microcontrollers/FPGAs, IGBTs/MOSFETs and wide range of electric motors. They will able to create all kinds of stuff needed - electronics, new 3D printers, ventilation, lathe and milling machinery, scout and transportation vehicles.


FPGA's are a good idea. I was thinking "fully self-sustaining"? Well since most of your important stuff is going to be robots and electronic miscellany - you're not going to be "fully self sustaining" until someone builds a semiconductor fab on mars.

so - short of that, you have to import your electronics.
using fpgas can at least turn it into a commodity rather than a billion different specialized chips.

Image
A "fully self-sustaining" mars colony.

vasimv
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby vasimv » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:14 pm

happyjack27 wrote:using fpgas can at least turn it into a commodity rather than a billion different specialized chips.


Yep, one kilogram of military grade "Spartan 6" FPGAs will have 300+ chips, easy to bring them in massive numbers. These ones are good enough to build almost all kinds of electronic stuff, from motor microcontrollers up to personal computers (not so good as our current ones but they won't have a lot of HTML5/javascript sites around anyway). PCBs are quite easy to create with laser engravers/milling machines (almost identical to 3D printers).

Much easier to import universal chips from the Earth than spend resources to build even simpliest semiconductor factory on Mars. Their priority would be metallurgy (iron, copper, aluminium), chemistry (cement, fuel, plastics, mineral fertilisers) and biology (oxygen, food).

So, the Mars colony's support mission on the Earth will have to create a lot of schematics and firmwares for FPGAs for all possible needs. And, of course, 3D models for stuff to print them in the colony.

zapkitty
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby zapkitty » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:50 pm

happyjack27 wrote:FPGA's are a good idea. I was thinking "fully self-sustaining"? Well since most of your important stuff is going to be robots and electronic miscellany - you're not going to be "fully self sustaining" until someone builds a semiconductor fab on mars.


Not so fast... :)

It wouldn't be cheap, but it might be a feasible and efficient investment over the start-up period of an initial colony.

While Earthside fabs are horrendously expensive and resource-intensive, they are also mass production facilities capable of processing dozens or hundreds of dies simultaneously.

So consider instead a small Mars-specific and robotic "lights-out" fab using programmable modular equipment. The setup might be for a common currently used die width, say 300 mm but at only a few dies at a time... until demand picks up or semicons are suddenly obsoleted by some Faster, Better, Cheaper, & Easier graphenesque trickery.

Such fab concepts aren't common at the moment Earthside but they are are in the planning stages... and thus such concepts might be adapted much more readily for Martian usage than current giant commercial fabs.

Even fabbing a half-dozen FPGA dies at a time from silicon stock shipped up from Earth could be a game-changer for the colony... or a lifesaver.

Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:36 pm

No Mars colonization ideas are valid without a business model.

List your upsides and downsides. Downside, very expensive to ship stuff, especially Earth to Mars. Mars to Earth should be easier. And shipping time is worse than a slow boat from China. There is hardly any air and it is nasty. The environment is either sterile or close to it. It is cold. It is lonely. These will do for a start.

Upside: No danged lawyers. No environmental laws. The environment is toxic anyway. So maybe manufacturing of semiconductors, etc, is a good fit. They are kinda high value for their mass (although they awfully cheap these days compared to yesteryear). A product that's high value per unit mass and noxious to manufacture on Earth is one good target. Also, anybody going to Mars in the early days will be a smart cookie ... the labor pool will be limited but really, really talented.

Another thing I've seen mentioned is operating isolated biological test facilities. For instance, greenhouses to test agricultural pests or genetically modified organism, and ways to deal with them. Every growing facility is inherently isolated from the environment. Most organisms will not survive if they get out (I'll bet there are a few that can live there, though). So Mars is a natural for running tests too risky to do on Earth.

happyjack27
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:49 pm

vasimv wrote:
happyjack27 wrote:using fpgas can at least turn it into a commodity rather than a billion different specialized chips.


Yep, one kilogram of military grade "Spartan 6" FPGAs will have 300+ chips, easy to bring them in massive numbers. These ones are good enough to build almost all kinds of electronic stuff, from motor microcontrollers up to personal computers (not so good as our current ones but they won't have a lot of HTML5/javascript sites around anyway). PCBs are quite easy to create with laser engravers/milling machines (almost identical to 3D printers).

Much easier to import universal chips from the Earth than spend resources to build even simpliest semiconductor factory on Mars. Their priority would be metallurgy (iron, copper, aluminium), chemistry (cement, fuel, plastics, mineral fertilisers) and biology (oxygen, food).

So, the Mars colony's support mission on the Earth will have to create a lot of schematics and firmwares for FPGAs for all possible needs. And, of course, 3D models for stuff to print them in the colony.


* buys stock in Xilinx *

kunkmiester
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby kunkmiester » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:54 pm

Lithography is a box. Think outside of the box. Even if it takes 100 times as long for a chip a fraction as complex, it might be worth it. A fdm printer takes hours to make what can be molded in seconds at an inferior quality but are practical for lots of stuff.

Finishing out the suite of 3D printers and such is going to be essential to space. There is not enough mass available to ship factories, so you ship fabbers.

Want to do that, get some ideas I had through the wringer. Got ideas for a multi layer circuit board printer, just Don have money or influence to get money, and can't do everything needed myself.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

paperburn1
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby paperburn1 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:10 pm

Another thing to consider is to drop back a level of technology. This is a time proven tech for other exploration of our planet. Go back to the era when chips and transistors were easier to work on and repair of boards was done the old fashion way with a meter and O-scope. bring back the tube even.
As per one site I am interested in being evolved with
http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Globa ... uction_Set
for when things go really south you can rebuild. After all we all can not go to Mars

two min video explaining it all
https://vimeo.com/16106427
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

happyjack27
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:19 pm

kunkmiester wrote:Lithography is a box. Think outside of the box. Even if it takes 100 times as long for a chip a fraction as complex, it might be worth it. A fdm printer takes hours to make what can be molded in seconds at an inferior quality but are practical for lots of stuff.

Finishing out the suite of 3D printers and such is going to be essential to space. There is not enough mass available to ship factories, so you ship fabbers.

Want to do that, get some ideas I had through the wringer. Got ideas for a multi layer circuit board printer, just Don have money or influence to get money, and can't do everything needed myself.


There are "micro-fab" techniques both existing and in development.

There's one I saw recently that came to mind but I can't find a link. I think it operated much like a printing press with precision alignment.

Still, these would be late-game moves, and I think it would still make sense to start out with fpga-based equipment and has at least one shipment of fpgas.

And I'll go with a mix of fpgas and micro-controllers. But standardized. "Replaceable parts" model.

kunkmiester
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby kunkmiester » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:26 pm

You'll need power transistors too then. Fpgas are not the only silicon based parts you'll need. One or two shipments could work but it won't take long for even chips to hit the point of diminishing returns.

A colony company that starts now will have twenty years to invest money and part of that money should go to developing these technologies. It'll make a nice return that would also mean a half million dollar first class ticket to Mars would cost a lot less to actually buy.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

KitemanSA
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby KitemanSA » Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:09 am

Take a motor winder.


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