• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

Sign in to follow this  

[science] Mars settlement?

Recommended Posts

vincent    154
The Homestead Project: Making a Mars Settlement a Reality

The Mars Foundation?s hope for humanity?s future on Mars is neatly summed up by their slogan: "To arrive, survive and thrive!"

In July at the International Conference on Environmental Systems (SAE-ICES) in Rome, the group presented plans for a permanent settlement they believe can be built using near-term technologies and resources already available on Mars.

The Mars Foundation is a non-profit organization made up of approximately 30 volunteer members, many of them scientists and engineers, and their effort is called the "Homestead Project."

According to the plans, the settlement will rely on a curious blend of old and new technology: it will be built with the aid of robots and run on nuclear energy, but will utilize materials and building techniques reminiscent of earlier centuries on eartShe?s a brick housese

Designs call for large masonry arches and vaulted ceilings and domed skylights built with bricks baked from Martian soil and stones cut from Martian quarries.

Bruce Mackenzie, a co-founder of the group and a former member of the National Space Society?s board of directors, has been preaching the benefits of brick as an ideal building material for a Martian settlement for years.

"There are a number of ways you can make it, including just scooping up the soil, putting it in a mold, and compressing and heating it," he said. "You can also melt it and make glass, and it can be glued together."

Brick is also easy to manufacture, Mackenzie said, and quality control for brick is not critical the way it is for other materials like fiberglass.

Additional materials?such as steel, aluminum, ceramic, glass and plastics?will also be needed for the settlement?s construction but the group believes these materials can be manufactured using local Martian resources.

"The industry and the technology that you need to produce these materials we?ll have on hand," said Joseph Palaia, an MIT nuclear engineering graduate student involved in the settlement design. "It?s based on last century?s industrial engineering technology."

Compared to the cramped quarters within space shuttles and the International Space Station, the Martian settlement will be large?approximately 27,000 square feet?and will initially house a dozen settlers.

"We?re not putting them in a trailer somewhere," said Mark Homnick, another Mars Foundation co-founder and a retired engineer who designed wafer-fabrication plants for Intel. "This thing is roomy and intended for permanent habitation."

As more settlers arrive, the site will be expanded and will ultimately be able to accommodate approximately 100Ideal conditions?

Ideal conditions?

Conditions on Mars, however, are not exactly colonization-friendly and compared to Earth, in fact, they can seem downright hostile. Morning temperatures on the desert planet can dip can below -76 degrees Farenheit (-60 Celsius) and enormous dust storms sweep across its barren rocky fields at speeds of over 60 miles per hour.

A wispy atmosphere, combined with the lack of a planetary magnetic field, means that the air pressure on Mars is only a tiny fraction of Earth?s and that harmful radiation from solar winds, cosmic rays and solar flares routinely bombard its surface. Factor in a minimum 6-month commute and a communications delay that can reach over 40-minutes and an obvious question arises: Why would anyone want to go to Mars? Let alone live there?

One reason, said Palaia, is because it?s there. "We will go to Mars for the challenge," he said. "Anything short of Martian settlement will be too easy an undertaking."

Mars is also scientifically interesting?geologically and perhaps even biologically?and research conducted from a permanent base would be more efficient and less costly, the group said.

Compared to a round-trip exploratory mission, the group believes a permanent settlement may also be safer. Broken parts, for example, could be manufactured and replaced on-site, eliminating the need to haul heavy spare parts or risks dangerous shipping delays.

"Anything that is high-mass and low tech, we?re going to make there on Mars," said Palaia. "Anything that is really high tech?like sensors, motors and complex mechanism?most of those things are relatively low mass and can be imported from Earth."

The group recommends sending a minimum amount of resources to Mars beforehand, a process known as bootstrapping. When the settlers arrive on Mars, they can use the prepared materials, along with local rForward thinkingthe settlement.

Forward thinking

One possible scenario, the group proposes is to send small gas tanks ahead that store methane and oxygen extracted from the atmosphere. When the settlers arrive, they can then use that equipment and stored gas to build things like steel production plants.

Finally, Mars will be an integral part of an inter-solar system economy that the group believes will develop within the next century, one based on the convergence of four frontiers: Earth, the Moon, asteroids, and Mars?including its own rocky satellites, Phobos and Deimos.

Mars will catalyze the development of the other frontiers, said Homnick, acting as a supply house for vital resources like nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water for the moon and asteroids, places where such things are scarce or nonexistent.

Many of the technologies developed for use on Mars will also have applications for the other frontiers, the group said. For example, life support systems and mining equipment developed for use on Mars could also be used on the moon.

The group strongly supports President Bush?s Moon, Mars and Beyond vision and said they are not trying to compete with NASA or any other space organization.

"We kind of look at NASA and the European Space Agency as analogous to Lewis and Clark in the old west," Homnick said. "They blaze the trail, go out to explore and do the science. Well, we are analogous to the pioneers?we follow the trail that they blazed, and we make the new frontier home and we add value."

Instead, the group believes that different agencies can benefit from one another and the colonization of space can be sped up.

"We hope they succeed because they?ll help us succeed," said Palaia.

It?s all about location

While drawing up plans for the settlement, the group restricted themselves to existing?or extrapolations of existing?technologies. Despite this limitation, the group believes the first stages of a Martian settlement could be in place as soon as 2025.

After studying Martian survey data collected by NASA, the group chose Candor Chasma as a tentative site for the settlement. Candor Chasma is a group of mesas located within an enormous canyon system on Mars known as the Valles Marineris.

In addition to being geologically varied and scientifically interesting, Candor Chasma is also relatively flat and situated near the planet?s equator, factors that are important for shuttle take offs and landings.

The settlement will be an oasis built for posterity, one the group believes future generations will come to regard as "a place of veneration and pilgrimage."

With this in mind, the group?s settlement designs call for the planting of a First Tree. The tree?the species of which will be determined later?will be planted in front of the settlement?s main entrance and its seeds will be transplanted to new parts of the settlement as it expands.

"That was very important to us," said Palaia. "We wanted to have this in there as a symbol of bringing life to [Mars]."

Mackenzie and Homnick are both middle-aged and doubt they?ll be able to go to Mars themselves. But Palaila, 25, thinks he may have a chance.

"It?s been my life obsession since I was very young," he said.

Whether he?ll be able to remain on Mars permanently, however, is another matter.

"It?s a point of contention with my wife," he said.

source

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bdsams    365

some one freeze me and bring me back to life in about 200 years so i can take a vaca to mars

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Max    50

Its gonna happen one day. All the planets around us will be colonised. Easyjet will be doing ?69 return trips to Jupiter and stuff. I give it 50 years to establish families on another planet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vincent    154
Its gonna happen one day. All the planets around us will be colonised. Easyjet will be doing ?69 return trips to Jupiter and stuff. I give it 50 years to establish families on another planet.

586356269[/snapback]

To land on Jupiter will be an immense challenge. the pressure from it's atmosphere alone can crush the discovery space shuttle like one crushing an empty soda can with their hand. Jupiter more than likely will NEVER be colonized.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave    0
To land on Jupiter will be an immense challenge. the pressure from it's atmosphere alone can crush the discovery space shuttle like one crushing an empty soda can with their hand. Jupiter more than likely will NEVER be colonized.

586356473[/snapback]

More than likely it's moons will be though and it gas "mined" for one industrial propose or another.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scudworth    0
More than likely it's moons will be though and it gas "mined" for one industrial propose or another.

586356936[/snapback]

ermmm, couldnt that seriously screw up the solar system...oh wait, I forgot, humans dont give a crap about what they screw up so long as it works out well for them, for aslong as they are alive....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave    0
ermmm, couldnt that seriously screw up the solar system...oh wait, I forgot, humans dont give a crap about what they screw up so long as it works out well for them, for aslong as they are alive....

586356964[/snapback]

Be serious, humans probably would be incapable for quite sometime of even making a dent into Jupiter mass thru collecting its gases.

The gas giants will more than likely be a near inexhaustable supply for fuel for space flights our other sources. Plus it could potenially help the enviroment on Earth if hydrogen could be used for fuel cells. As the current method of collecting hydrpgen involves natural gas, which causes pollution itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scudworth    0

I am being serious, look at the lengths we are willing to go to for gasoline, and the amount of essential habitat we are willing to destroy for the sake of profit, when there are better alternatives.

I wasnt suggesting that we would be able to completely exhaust it immediately, but once it is gone, what effect is that going to have?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
matt95110    15
Its gonna happen one day. All the planets around us will be colonised. Easyjet will be doing ?69 return trips to Jupiter and stuff. I give it 50 years to establish families on another planet.

586356269[/snapback]

Well I'll go, but we're leaving HAL at ho:laugh:gh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daviesbad04    0

:rolleyes: Jupiters a gas planet, now if you can show me a way to land on gas......Please do so

Thats like telling me you can land on the gas that comes out of someones a$$ when they fart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lav-chan    0

I think this is slightly off-topic, but it's related to colonising Mars, so....

One of the most interesting things about what life would be like on Mars, i think, is the calendar that we would use. People are already devising calendars especially for that purpose, and the most popular one goes something like this:

Since a day on Mars is roughly 40 minutes longer than one on Earth, and since a year on Mars is roughly 2 years on Earth, we obviously wouldn't be able to continue using the Gregorian calendar on Mars. It'd be so off-synch from Earth that it'd be pointless.

So, to take care of the 40-minutes thing, Mars gets its own 'day'. Actually, Mars already has one (NASA calls them 'sols' -- the first Martian day that the rover landed was Sol 1, the second day was Sol 2, &c.).

And to take care of the 2-years thing, Mars gets its own yearly calendar. We could just transplant our current yearly calendar (with the twelve months) to Mars and just add more days, but that would be really weird for anyone used to living on Earth, because all of a sudden each month is twice as long. So the easiest way is to just double the amount of months that Mars has.

So, Mars will have 24 months, each with roughly 28 days. (Four of them will have 27, but all the rest will have 28.) This doesn't have any meaning on Mars as far as astronomy-type stuff goes, but it does have two meanings to humans -- (1) it's pretty close to the 30-day months we're used to, and (2) it just so happens to match up pretty close to the human menstrual cycle. The names of the months in the proposal are based on Zodiac signs, alternating between Latin and Sanskrit (Capricornus, Dhanus, Sagittarius, Vrishika...).

There would still be 7 days in a week (of course, a 'week' on Mars is almost 5 hours longer than one on Earth). This works out perfectly for the months with 28 days, because there will always be exactly 4 weeks in these months. Each month would begin on the same day of the week -- Sunday. That means that you'll always be able to tell what day of the week a given date is. The first is always Sunday, the tenth is always Tuesday, the twentieth is always Friday. No matter what.

For the 4 months with 27 days, though, this means that we'll be skipping that last Saturday (since the week days don't 'roll over' onto the next month). So, one proposal to compensate for this -- since nobody wants to get gypped out of their week end -- is to just make the last day of these 4 months a week end. So the last day of one of these 27-day months will be always be Friday, but Friday will always be a week end (as far as work and school and stuff is concerned). So there will actually only be 4 work days during this last week. Which isn't so bad.

So yeah. They have some leap-year plan worked out, too, i think, but i don't remember what it is. It's pretty neat to think about how it would be with that kind of calendar. I'm more interested in that than i am in the actual colonisation and stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sensayshun    0

Firstly, great news. This is absolutely brilliant.

Secondly, I think it's sad that they're going to this new, untouched (pretty much) planet, with the perfect (pretty much) conditions for humans (compared to the other planets we've found) and are ruining it by immediately quarrying, using natural gas, using furnaces and the like. I would have thought they'd have liked to have kept the planet clean.

I realise it may be impracticle but then, if that's the case, maybe we shouldn't be colonising a new planet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave    0
I am being serious, look at the lengths we are willing to go to for gasoline, and the amount of essential habitat we are willing to destroy for the sake of profit, when there are better alternatives.

I wasnt suggesting that we would be able to completely exhaust it immediately, but once it is gone, what effect is that going to have?

586357099[/snapback]

Well if it'll make you feel better I'm sure, some mass will be returned to the gas giants they are after all near ideal places to dump thing you never want to return (nuclear waste maybe). Since they have no ecosystem at all, that will not be disturbed.

The thing is that I imagine our solar system will be wiped out from the Sun going nova before we were to so much as mildly effect the mass of any gas giant in our solar system even if we focused exclusively on one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boffa Jones    0
I think this is slightly off-topic, but it's related to colonising Mars, so....

One of the most interesting things about what life would be like on Mars, i think, is the calendar that we would use. People are already devising calendars especially for that purpose, and the most popular one goes something like this:

Since a day on Mars is roughly 40 minutes longer than one on Earth, and since a year on Mars is roughly 2 years on Earth, we obviously wouldn't be able to continue using the Gregorian calendar on Mars. It'd be so off-synch from Earth that it'd be pointless.

So, to take care of the 40-minutes thing, Mars gets its own 'day'. Actually, Mars already has one (NASA calls them 'sols' -- the first Martian day that the rover landed was Sol 1, the second day was Sol 2, &c.).

And to take care of the 2-years thing, Mars gets its own yearly calendar. We could just transplant our current yearly calendar (with the twelve months) to Mars and just add more days, but that would be really weird for anyone used to living on Earth, because all of a sudden each month is twice as long. So the easiest way is to just double the amount of months that Mars has.

So, Mars will have 24 months, each with roughly 28 days. (Four of them will have 27, but all the rest will have 28.) This doesn't have any meaning on Mars as far as astronomy-type stuff goes, but it does have two meanings to humans -- (1) it's pretty close to the 30-day months we're used to, and (2) it just so happens to match up pretty close to the human menstrual cycle. The names of the months in the proposal are based on Zodiac signs, alternating between Latin and Sanskrit (Capricornus, Dhanus, Sagittarius, Vrishika...).

There would still be 7 days in a week (of course, a 'week' on Mars is almost 5 hours longer than one on Earth). This works out perfectly for the months with 28 days, because there will always be exactly 4 weeks in these months. Each month would begin on the same day of the week -- Sunday. That means that you'll always be able to tell what day of the week a given date is. The first is always Sunday, the tenth is always Tuesday, the twentieth is always Friday. No matter what.

For the 4 months with 27 days, though, this means that we'll be skipping that last Saturday (since the week days don't 'roll over' onto the next month). So, one proposal to compensate for this -- since nobody wants to get gypped out of their week end -- is to just make the last day of these 4 months a week end. So the last day of one of these 27-day months will be always be Friday, but Friday will always be a week end (as far as work and school and stuff is concerned). So there will actually only be 4 work days during this last week. Which isn't so bad.

So yeah. They have some leap-year plan worked out, too, i think, but i don't remember what it is. It's pretty neat to think about how it would be with that kind of calendar. I'm more interested in that than i am in the actual colonisation and stuff.

586357246[/snapback]

Wow that is insane, but awseome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scudworth    0
The thing is that I imagine our solar system will be wiped out from the Sun going nova before we were to so much as mildly effect the mass of any gas giant in our solar system even if we focused exclusively on one.

586357423[/snapback]

Good point. I'll shut my mouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vincent    154
Well if it'll make you feel better I'm sure, some mass will be returned to the gas giants they are after all near ideal places to dump thing you never want to return (nuclear waste maybe). Since they have no ecosystem at all, that will not be disturbed.

I wonder , if nuclear waste is dumped on Jupiter will it affect the atmosphere?

The thing is that I imagine our solar system will be wiped out from the Sun going nova before we were to so much as mildly effect the mass of any gas giant in our solar system even if we focused exclusively on one.

586357423[/snapback]

After the sun goes Nova Jupiter will more than likely freeze. The two bottom layers of it's atmospher consist of water ice particles. Our sun will enter it's dwarf stage and the heat from it will be too minimal to reach Jupiter and the other remaining planets. If they aren't destroiyed right off after the Nova gets them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Max    50
:rolleyes: Jupiters a gas planet, now if you can show me a way to land on gas......Please do so

Thats like telling me you can land on the gas that comes out of someones a$$ when they fart

586357142[/snapback]

Its a damn figure of speech, don't get all uptight about it. Geez.

Anyway by then we'll have the means to freeze Jupiter and land on it :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ramesees    348
I think this is slightly off-topic, but it's related to colonising Mars, so....

One of the most interesting things about what life would be like on Mars, i think, is the calendar that we would use. People are already devising calendars especially for that purpose, and the most popular one goes something like this:

Since a day on Mars is roughly 40 minutes longer than one on Earth, and since a year on Mars is roughly 2 years on Earth, we obviously wouldn't be able to continue using the Gregorian calendar on Mars. It'd be so off-synch from Earth that it'd be pointless.

So, to take care of the 40-minutes thing, Mars gets its own 'day'. Actually, Mars already has one (NASA calls them 'sols' -- the first Martian day that the rover landed was Sol 1, the second day was Sol 2, &c.).

And to take care of the 2-years thing, Mars gets its own yearly calendar. We could just transplant our current yearly calendar (with the twelve months) to Mars and just add more days, but that would be really weird for anyone used to living on Earth, because all of a sudden each month is twice as long. So the easiest way is to just double the amount of months that Mars has.

So, Mars will have 24 months, each with roughly 28 days. (Four of them will have 27, but all the rest will have 28.) This doesn't have any meaning on Mars as far as astronomy-type stuff goes, but it does have two meanings to humans -- (1) it's pretty close to the 30-day months we're used to, and (2) it just so happens to match up pretty close to the human menstrual cycle. The names of the months in the proposal are based on Zodiac signs, alternating between Latin and Sanskrit (Capricornus, Dhanus, Sagittarius, Vrishika...).

There would still be 7 days in a week (of course, a 'week' on Mars is almost 5 hours longer than one on Earth). This works out perfectly for the months with 28 days, because there will always be exactly 4 weeks in these months. Each month would begin on the same day of the week -- Sunday. That means that you'll always be able to tell what day of the week a given date is. The first is always Sunday, the tenth is always Tuesday, the twentieth is always Friday. No matter what.

For the 4 months with 27 days, though, this means that we'll be skipping that last Saturday (since the week days don't 'roll over' onto the next month). So, one proposal to compensate for this -- since nobody wants to get gypped out of their week end -- is to just make the last day of these 4 months a week end. So the last day of one of these 27-day months will be always be Friday, but Friday will always be a week end (as far as work and school and stuff is concerned). So there will actually only be 4 work days during this last week. Which isn't so bad.

So yeah. They have some leap-year plan worked out, too, i think, but i don't remember what it is. It's pretty neat to think about how it would be with that kind of calendar. I'm more interested in that than i am in the actual colonisation and stuff.

586357246[/snapback]

Wow, easilly the best thing I've read in a long time :)

Very very interesting lav-chan, and so easy to understand

Gotta love the people who can work this stuff out :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.