boostrapping a mars colony

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happyjack27
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boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:31 pm

one thing notably lacking in musk's speech (though he did only have an hour) is the sequence of colonizing - the "build order", so to speak.

what would the order be?

i did find one guys plan on one of the interwebs: https://logiclogiclogic.wordpress.com/2 ... -overview/

here's my order:
1) satellites: combined time, gps & communication
2) in no particular order, 2 of each:
* micro-nuclear reactor (lithium)
* rolls of thin-film solar
* superconducting cable and supporting equipment - for energy storage and radiation shielding
* high re-use battery / energy storage
* electrolysis + sabetier reactor ( = methane, water, o2)
* greenhouse
* cold storage
* liquid storage
* rover/topsoil excavater
* unpressurized storage
* pressurized storage
* hab module
* life support
* water recycling
* organic waste recycling
* suit storage & airlock
* command & control
...

happyjack27
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:56 pm

perhaps phases would be a better approach:

a) sat
b) infra
c) hab
d) sustainability
e) growth1
f) improve resilence
g) industry
h) large-scale construction from in-situ

1) satelites
2) power
3) storage
4) supplies
5) life support
6) hab
7) greenhouse
8) hab 2
9 storage 2
10) co2+h20 -> o2+ch4 (convertor and rover)
11) greenhouse 2
12) power 2
13) repair facility

Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:30 pm

Well drilling equipment, heavy duty desalination (take your pick of available tech ... we're talking about some really briny stuff, and if you have a nuclear reactor that needs cooling, with that low atmospheric pressure, distillation may make sense).

This was a priority for Dr. Bussard.

paperburn1
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby paperburn1 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:55 pm

and distilled water for decontamination of local soils. Phoenix Lander conducted simple chemistry experiments, mixing water from Earth with Martian soil in an attempt to test its pH, and discovered traces of the salt perchlorate, I do not know but maybe they are in the "soil" in useful quantities.
The dominant use of perchlorates are for oxidizers in propellants for rockets and fireworks.
Niche uses include lithium perchlorate, which decomposes exothermically to produce oxygen, useful in oxygen "candles" on submarines, and in other situations where a reliable backup oxygen supply is needed. For example, oxygen "candles" are used in commercial aircraft during emergency situations.

I put soil in quotes as there is not really soil as we know it in the planet surface. Earth soils are full of organic mater and different biology's. it looks like everything for growing plants exist in the martian "soil" except for a few trace elements. As Hydroponic gardener I dont see any real hurdles growing in martian
Biology may provide a key input into the ecology of mars Over 40 phylogenetically and metabolically diverse microorganisms capable of growth via perchlorate reduction have been isolated since 1996. Most originate from the Proteobacteria but others include the Firmicutes, Moorella perchloratireducens and Sporomusa sp., and the archaeon Archaeoglobus fulgidus. With the exception of A. fulgidus, all known microbes that grow via perchlorate reduction utilize the enzymes perchlorate reductase and chlorite dismutase, which collectively take perchlorate to innocuous chloride.[ In the process, free oxygen (O2) is generated and this is one of only a handful of biological processes to generate oxygen aside from photosynthesis.
letting nature terraform mars may be the way to make mars green again.
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:16 pm

If you've ever seen "Robinson Crusoe on Mars", the hero discovered that he could make oxygen from the rocks. This was, of course, complete nonsense, or at least it was until one of the early landers discovered that it was pretty much true: add water, get oxygen. Be it peroxides/hyperoxides or perchlorates, the surface of the planet has had some high energy physics going on for billions of years, ionizing whatever oxygen is available and making some pretty extreme minerals.

Solid rocket fuel would be low on my list unless I needed to make some form of booster or weapon in a pinch. But salts recovered from making fresh water, or from cleaning regolith to create soil, might be a source of oxygen.

hanelyp
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby hanelyp » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:03 pm

The closest thing to soil on Mars is probably some kind of rock dust. But remove the toxic water soluble salts and add some compost and you may get some good soil.

Industries to add to the above lists:
- glass making.
- ceramics.
- masonry, good for solid structures with minimal processing of available rock.
- smelting iron (and other metals if good ores are found). This would be dependent on a supply of some reducing chemical.
- forging and casting iron and steel.

Adaptation of a lot of 19th century and earlier technologies, with simple equipment to construct, useful for building an assortment of useful devices. The above, a supply of water, energy, and reliable means to crack H20/CO2, and you can build pretty much any equipment needed to survive and expand. Semiconductors would be very nice, but not strictly necessary for an operational settlement on Mars.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:51 am

I never can get into one of these discussions without remembering why I first joined the L5 Society. I'm a belter. Most of what we're discussing here can be done by mining asteroids. The ships that can reach Mars can reach the belt almost as easily.

Landers are not needed. Taking off again can be done with a pogo stick. A space elevator for an asteroid could be built with rope from a hardware store and you could run up and down it with a modified bicycle. But you could also almost use off-the-shelf models from Otis, tho' they'd be overkill.

No worries that you have an atmosphere that is not even dense enough to slow you for entry.

Supporting Mars will be easier if we do the belt first.

Saaaay, you don't suppose Musk has already figured this out, and is looking for NEAs, do you?

hanelyp
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby hanelyp » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:18 am

You can aerobreak/aerocapture at Mars. Can't do that at an Asteroid. On the other hand, stopping at Mars has a bit of extra delta-V from the local gravity well.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:30 pm

hanelyp wrote:You can aerobreak/aerocapture at Mars. Can't do that at an Asteroid. On the other hand, stopping at Mars has a bit of extra delta-V from the local gravity well.


Yes, you can aerobrake, but to do so requires a heat shield, plus a parachute, plus rockets for touchdown, because the atmosphere is about like 100,000 ft on Earth, and is not enough get you down subsonic on a heat shield alone. As a practical matter, I might expect a trans-Martian ship to use a heat shield to aerobrake to help achieve orbit, but you'd need a separate lander.

Yes, you need delta-v to match orbits with an asteroid, but it can be rather gentle, so you have the option of high Isp, low thrust methods such as electric rockets. The biggest problem with docking with or landing on an asteroid is dealing with spin. We may want to de-spin them first, for which robotic craft might work, possibly using electric mass drivers.
Last edited by Tom Ligon on Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Diogenes
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Diogenes » Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:41 pm

Did no one else read the book "The Millennial Project"?



Image


I think Savage has the right of it.
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

happyjack27
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:16 pm

Tom Ligon wrote:
hanelyp wrote:You can aerobreak/aerocapture at Mars. Can't do that at an Asteroid. On the other hand, stopping at Mars has a bit of extra delta-V from the local gravity well.


Yes, you can aerobrake, but to do so requires a heat shield, plus a parachute, plus rockets for touchdown, because the atmosphere is about like 100,000 ft on Earth, and is not enough get you down subsonic on a heat shield alone. As a practical matter, I might expect a trans-Martian ship to use a heat shield to aerobrake to help achieve orbit, but you'd need a separate lander.


i would think - (only speculating here) - that starting at the right angle, and controlling your inclination intelligently, you could maintain a pretty uniform spiral all the way down. at that rate, your final touchdown speed - assuming we're landing runway style and not using any rocket deceleration - will be no greater than the velocity needed to orbit at an altitude of 1 meter - had the planet no atmosphere.

this sounds like a pretty substantial speed reduction. and while i'm pretty sure you'd still need parachutes and/or rocket deceleration to avoid a "torsional breaking maneuver", i'd think the delta-v savings would be far from negligible.

Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:35 pm

You can do winged flight in the Martian atmosphere. We demonstrated it with the Aurora Mars Flyer (NASA re-branded it as theirs but it was a long-running hobby project of John Langford, one of the Aurora Flight Sciences founders.

We flew a small craft that was intended to be folded up behind a heat shield. We dropped it from a balloon at 102,000 ft and proved it could unfold and achieve and maintain stable flight. This particular craft was intended to fly at 40 kts indicated airspeed (you could do that with a sailplane). That's 40 kts at sea level and standard conditions. But the true airspeed at 100,000 ft is 10x that (air density is 1% of sea level, and dynamic pressure goes as 1/2 air density x v^2).

So landing that slow-poke aircraft would have been at speeds that would be contenders for a world land speed record.

The Space Shuttle touched down around 200 kts (barely above stall speed) at the KSC. That means it would touch down at 2000 kts on Mars.

You up for some excitement?

It may be possible if the right preparations were made. I've often thought one might use an electromagnetic launcher from the lunar surface in reverse, to capture a lander. But just picture what this would look like. No doubt it would need a computer, and it would probably help if the crew had no forward visibility.

I'm remembering a quote by an A-10 pilot who survived an AA hit on a wing that left him able to see the landing gear under the wing. He mentioned that the landing had a very high pucker factor, and they never did find his seat cushion.

happyjack27
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby happyjack27 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:50 pm

Tom Ligon wrote:I'm remembering a quote by an A-10 pilot...


Whenever I hear "A-10", I immediately think of this:
https://what-if.xkcd.com/21/

If you put two of them on one plane, and fired them forward while opening up full throttle, the guns would win and you'd accelerate backwards.


Tom Ligon
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby Tom Ligon » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:21 pm

Dr. Bussard was involved in designing a C-117-based gunship for the Vietnam war. He hated the war but he and his buddies wanted to build something to save troops. Dr. Bussard's contribution was to re-design it so it used side-firing guns, as the original design had bad gun mounts and would have been seriously slowed by them. Other gunships of the era used the same side-firing trick.

The calculation for recoil force above can be diminished using a muzzle brake. The Barrett .50 cal rifle uses one of these to keep the recoil down ... basically redirect much of the escaping gas to the side and back. Without it, well, my uncle had a Japanese infantry rifle that he said "killed at both ends."

The A-10 video is linked below. The seat cushion remark is at 2:50.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7JM82fa5ZY

The video is somewhat dated ... commentator Jeff Ethell died in a P-38 crash in 1997. I get sad looking at videos with him in them, including one that had several of Chuck Yeager's squadron mates who have now passed.

hanelyp
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Re: boostrapping a mars colony

Postby hanelyp » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:38 pm

Tom Ligon wrote:Dr. Bussard was involved in designing a C-117-based gunship for the Vietnam war. He hated the war but he and his buddies wanted to build something to save troops. ...

Any war worth fighting is worth fighting to win. And so much the better if it's a decisive victory that causes would be enemies to think twice before provoking you to do it again.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.


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