Neowin Think Tank: Mars Colony One (and Two ... and Three ... and ... )


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Arachno 1D

My idea was for the structure support frames to be fabricated by a large 3D printer converting local media on site

Something like this titanium printer and if you were to create the framework on the fresh surface as you were tunnelling casting an internal sleeve there would be no placement of supports required

 

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Worlds-first-3D-printed-bike-2014.html

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FloatingFatMan

I think it would probably be simpler to dig a channel, fill it with inflatable Bigelow modules, then cover it with soil. Tunnelling might be possible, but I don't think it's too practical initially.  Too much heavy machinery is needed.

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Beittil

I think area's with natural cave systems would be of great interest as well, all you need to do is put an airlock into the entrance :D

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firey

Would it not be easier to tunnel into local hillsides and create caves thus using the local topography to not only stay out of any harsh elements but also as naturally occurring radiation shielding,This would also save on the need to transport vast amounts of building structure to the planet we could also use 3D printer technology fed from local aggregate to build additional structures ad hoc.

 

Thinking something like the Star Gate underground cavern system

 

This was something I was getting to in my first post.   Using what is already there to assist with colonization.  We don't need to do everything ground up.   The hellas crater sounds interesting.. what kind of slope are we looking at for getting in/out is it extremely steep?  What could be done is something like the Egyptian hill houses.   Basically creating a collection of mini tunnels into the craters hillside.  The excavated rock/dirt/??? could be used to reduce the grade of the slope.    Potentially being used for paving/roadways.

Now, the want to build some sort of food/harvestable crop would be huge.  What sort of protection do we have from the sun in the crater? Could a farm be built in the lower flat area?  While yes, excavation requires machinery... we have that and along with the ability to 3D print.. doing something smaller than a full tunnel system.. but still using the natural geography and topology.. (like I said in my original post) we can have brought in materials for use outside of just habitation.

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Crisp

I think we should build a Tesco express on the Moon first.

 

No one wants to get half way to Mars and forget their loaf of bread.

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Unobscured Vision

That's good thinking, everyone. :yes: Ideas, ideas, ideas. Pumping neurons. Yees! Paamp does neuraans! Auugh!  :rofl:

 

Since our location will have a lot to do with what type of CoS Structures we build, it's a good time to start thinking about those. Hellas Basin is starting to look like a non-starter because of the Weather.

 

Any other thoughts on Hellas Basin (pro or con) before we look at other locations?

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firey

That's good thinking, everyone. :yes: Ideas, ideas, ideas. Pumping neurons. Yees! Paamp does neuraans! Auugh!  :rofl:

 

Since our location will have a lot to do with what type of CoS Structures we build, it's a good time to start thinking about those. Hellas Basin is starting to look like a non-starter because of the Weather.

 

Any other thoughts on Hellas Basin (pro or con) before we look at other locations?

What is wrong with the weather? I mean while yes it is essentially a big stirring pot for wind.. if we use the walls of the crater to build shelters (mini tunnels) we would be protected from the elements no?   

Granted, the potential wind could make farming difficult.

Ultimately we would be protected from things above, but since we are also much lower than the base terrain.. everything could just come down on us.  

Ideally we have walls/natural mountain/hill formation we can build into and use to protect against winds, and such.

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Beittil

Farming would have to be done indoors anyway, so wind shouldn't even be an issue for that! What is an issue is that farming produces dangerous levels of oxygen, so the base layout would need separated areas (each with airlocks between them) for this in order to keep the oxygen levels in the living quarters and other work area's out of harms way. For the farming area's I suppose a system would have to be invented to remove the excess oxygen.

 

For more on these dangerous levels of oxygen:

 

 

For example, if all food is obtained from locally grown crops, as Mars One envisions, the vegetation would produce unsafe levels of oxygen, which would set off a series of events that would eventually cause human inhabitants to suffocate. To avoid this scenario, a system to remove excess oxygen would have to be implemented
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firey

Could the oxygen not just be pumped out via vacuum and replaced with a neutral filler.  Essentially removing the oxygen rich air and replacing it with something less rich effectively diluting the air?

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Beittil

Well, I suppose (and I am obviously no expert on this) that you could use the outside 'air' from Mars. This is almost 96% CO2 and plants love that, I guess that you could mix this in and let the oxygen from the vegetation escape to keep the O2 / CO2 mix inside the farming areas on acceptable levels.

 

But yeah, seems like a shame to just waste perfectly good oxygen like that. Then again, eventually you DO want to make the outside atmosphere more Earth like anyway, and for that it needs a higher oxygen level :p

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DocM

>

PS. That MIT study shows several other difficulties as well btw, such as for example the fact that up to 60% of your logistics will eventually become the transportation and storage of spare parts for all your equipment :p

Spare parts are what local metals, the hardware for creating small particles from the metal (a compact electrolytic process is used by Metalysis), and 3D metal printers are for. Repeat for structural polymers, organic and regular circuit elements and chips etc.

http://www.metalysis.com

Of course once you do this you can print more 3D printers and crank up production. There are also 3D printer designs which can print structures using lunar/Mars regolith based concretes.

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firey

Well, I suppose (and I am obviously no expert on this) that you could use the outside 'air' from Mars. This is almost 96% CO2 and plants love that, I guess that you could mix this in and let the oxygen from the vegetation escape to keep the O2 / CO2 mix inside the farming areas on acceptable levels.

 

But yeah, seems like a shame to just waste perfectly good oxygen like that. Then again, eventually you DO want to make the outside atmosphere more Earth like anyway, and for that it needs a higher oxygen level :p

For sure, but the mass amount of oxygen could potentially be used as a fuel if it could be controlled enough no? It should burn well if properly controlled.  Could have an oxygen powered engine/generator.

http://www.quora.com/Why-cant-we-use-oxygen-to-combust-an-internal-combustion-engine-instead-of-air

 

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Unobscured Vision

What is wrong with the weather? I mean while yes it is essentially a big stirring pot for wind.. if we use the walls of the crater to build shelters (mini tunnels) we would be protected from the elements no?   

Granted, the potential wind could make farming difficult.

Ultimately we would be protected from things above, but since we are also much lower than the base terrain.. everything could just come down on us.  

Ideally we have walls/natural mountain/hill formation we can build into and use to protect against winds, and such.

According to the Sensor Data, the Martian weather patterns behave differently than on Earth. Due to the lower pressure,winds don't blow straight-line as on Earth, but follow the terrain and pick up a lot more dust. That's why there are Dust Storms on Mars. Hellas Basin exacerbates the issue because the winds will dive downward due to being colder; and, because they are somewhat particle-laden, gravity now kicks in a little bit extra momentum.

 

This gets the now-denser wind moving more quickly, and by the time these particle-rich airflows reach the bottom of the Basin they can reach 60-90 kph. The lower 1/3 of Hellas Basin is very difficult to get a clear image of most of the time according to NASA and ESA due to this phenomena. 

 

Mars-Hellas-Maurice-March-8-Melbourne.jp

Credit: Maurice Valimberti Source: http://www.universetoday.com/110279/till-hellas-freezes-over-see-frost-and-clouds-in-mars-largest-crater/'>Universe Today

 

See the cloud around 40

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chrisj1968

you'e have to create one heck of a section with plants to create oxygen. what about light issues? mars won't possess an atmosphere for human or plant protection from the suns rays the oxygen question weighs on my mind.a huge atrium for just plant life. then you'll have to send certain pro plant life insects to promote plant groth and development like bees and butterflys.

 

the oxygen aspect for me is key or none of this will matter

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Unobscured Vision

you'e have to create one heck of a section with plants to create oxygen. what about light issues? mars won't possess an atmosphere for human or plant protection from the suns rays the oxygen question weighs on my mind.a huge atrium for just plant life. then you'll have to send certain pro plant life insects to promote plant groth and development like bees and butterflys.

 

the oxygen aspect for me is key or none of this will matter

 We have all the Oxygen we need right there. It's locked up in the Water Ice. Water is H2O (2 Hydrogen atoms, 1 Oxygen atom). We can use simple melting to get it to a liquid state, then it's a simple matter to get Hydrogen and Oxygen to separate from one another.

 

More chemistry combined with CO2 (1 Carbon atom, 2 Oxygen atoms) in the atmosphere, and we've got even more Oxygen plus Methane. Once we have Methane, we can perform even more chemistry to get Nitrogen, and poof. Breathable air, Rocket Fuel, Fertilizer for plants, everything else we need at that point.

 

Inflatable Habitation Modules (Bigelow Aerospace patented) will provide Living Quarters. 3D-Printing will be used to fabricate even more 3D Printers and additional parts to fix the ones we have. Those 3D Printers will be used to build Greenhouses and Support Equipment needed to get the Farms and Water Reclamation going.

 

See how one thing leads into another? And don't fret -- we'll bring backup supplies with us as a precaution. We're not flying into this one blindly. :yes:

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Arachno 1D

So given your concerns over weather and dust storms what area of the planet is optimal for habitation North,South or does the planet not rotate ina manner similar to Earth where there is a meridian?

.As we have discussed using a crater to good effect as it provides a walled structure that we could possible tunnel into or use fissures for habitation and gain just theorising, using the inside of the crater for plantation buildings protected from winds and storms.Are there any suitable sized craters in this "golden area" of habitat we could colonize?

 

I did mean to mention this I found this morning the ExoLance project now I wasnt thinking of only using it as per the design to take deep samples but also as a ground penetrating sonar type device where we could look at the substructure of the proposed final landing site

 

3170ce8be1d8367376db5e562a19806e.png

 

033b762054fb7614f4f99aee15cd8a76.png

 

I did see mention elsewhere of sensors used in extremely cold climates like on the poles that heat the casing thus the probe descends through the ice a few centimetres per hour with overall low power usage

 

I must say Im surprised by the abundance of oxygen the survival system seems to produce can we convert it to something useful with a mixture of atmospheric gasses?

 

The atmosphere of Mars is, like that of Venus, composed mostly of carbon dioxide though far thinner. There has been renewed interest in its composition since the detection of traces of methane in 2003[2][3]

The Martian atmosphere consists of approximately 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% argon, 1.9% nitrogen, and traces of free oxygen, carbon monoxide, water and methane, among other gases,[1] for a mean molar mass of 43.34 g/mol.[5][6]

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Mars

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Draggendrop

There may have been some confusion on the way I portrayed the site to others. Hellas is the big crater and wide. The area I am talking about is on the east side of the crater along the top of the rim...much higher elevation and away from the storm base. It is right at the winter glacier footprint. We have a valley there, a run-off "river" valley, walled sections and an accessible wide flat landing area....basically camped at the water source with a bit of a trek into the crater for remote mining setup.....-31.1/101.1.....zoom in on google mars...real images...no colorization....

 

Note.....I believe that we need several other sites to look at as well, but in the end....the choice is going to be a tough environment if we want WATER...it will not be available in temperate weather area's in any quantity that we will need....you get what you pay for...... :)

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Unobscured Vision

There may have been some confusion on the way I portrayed the site to others. Hellas is the big crater and wide. The area I am talking about is on the east side of the crater along the top of the rim...much higher elevation and away from the storm base. It is right at the winter glacier footprint. We have a valley there, a run-off "river" valley, walled sections and an accessible wide flat landing area....basically camped at the water source with a bit of a trek into the crater for remote mining setup.....-31.1/101.1.....zoom in on google mars...real images...no colorization....

 

Note.....I believe that we need several other sites to look at as well, but in the end....the choice is going to be a tough environment if we want WATER...it will not be available in temperate weather area's in any quantity that we will need....you get what you pay for...... :)

 Ah. Okay. You're talking about the runoff slope into the crater? That's an interesting area. I'll look into it more later, I have errands to run. Ta-ta for now.

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Arachno 1D

 

It has been suggested that buildings on Mars could be made from Basalt as it has good insulating properties. An underground structure of this type would be able to protect life forms against radiation exposure.[18]

All of the resources required to make plastics exist on Mars.[19][20] Many of these complex reactions are able to be completed from the gases harvested from the martian atmosphere. Traces of free oxygen, carbon monoxide, water and methane are all known to exist.[21][22] Hydrogen and oxygen can be made by the electrolysis of water, carbon monoxide and oxygen by the electrolysis of carbon dioxide and methane by the sabatier reaction of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. These basic reactions provide the building blocks for more complex reaction series which are able to make plastics. Ethylene is used to make plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene and can be made from carbon monoxide and hydrogen,[23] 2CO + 4H2 ? C2H4 + 2H2O.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-situ_resource_utilization#Oxygen_to_breathe_and_water_to_drink

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Draggendrop

Another site that popped into sight was Gale Crater...A rover has been in the area for 2 years taking samples...

 

1) Temp -90C to 0C....balmy

2) Lot of wind erosion

3)Clay, lakebed strata

4) No confirmation of large water source

5) iron concentrates

6) River valleys and cliffs for protection...

7) Methane burst's observed

 

But...so far...not looking good for water...We must have access to water in an economical form.

 

Note...As several posters have mentioned...habitats can be flown down,,,built in situ....carved or use of natural caves.....buried shelters(sand).....but I feel we may be forced to higher/lower latitudes where the water will be during ice cap growth during winter season (40 to45 degrees)

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Draggendrop

Another site...Vastitas Borealis...

 

Northern planes...70 degrees

 

1) Cold

2) Year around water

3) Oxidizers for fuel

4) Calcium Carbonate

5) Further south, defrosting area's and glacier markings

 

Overall....water...fuel......climate very extreme......

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Draggendrop

Another site....Elysium Planitia...

 

1) Equatorial site  5 degrees

2) Water, frozen area the size of the Black Sea

3) Lower elevation for atmospheric braking

4) weather better than the poles

5) Landing area's

6) Future 2016 rover site

7) not much showing for minerals...will have to check deeper data

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123456789A

So theres no way to build near Olympus Mons?

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