Jump to content
Sturgeon's House

Recommended Posts

Colonization Of The Solar System

lunar-base-foster-partners-e140561081452

 

This thread is for discussing the colonization of the solar system, mainly focusing on Mars and the Moon since they are the most relevant. 

Main topics include transportation, industry, agriculture, economics, civil engineering,  energy production and distribution, habitation, ethics and politics. 

 

 

 

 

First order of business, our glories tech messiah Elon Musk has set his eyes on Mars:

Reason stated? Because being a interplanetary species beats being a single planetary species. 

 

How does he plan to do this?
By sending two cargo ships by 2022 to Mars for surveying and building  basic infrastructure, then two years later in 2024 sending 4 ships, two cargo ships and two crewed ships to start the colonization. First thing would be to build fuel refineries and expanding infrastructure to support more ships, then starting to mine and build industry. 

 

This could mark a new era in human history, a second colonization era, this time without the genocides. The economic potentials are incredible, a single asteroid could easily support the entire earths gold, silver and platinum production for a decade. The moon holds a lot of valuable Helium 3, which right now is worth 12 000 dollars per kilogram! Helium is a excellent material for nuclear reactors. 

 

 

 

MAC33_SPACE_COLONIZINGTHEMOON_POST01.jpg

 

 

Speaking about the moon, several companies have set their eyes on the moon, and for good reason.

In my opinion,  the moon has the possibility of becoming a mayor trade hub for the solar system.  Why is this? Simply put, the earth has a few pesky things called gravity, atmosphere and environmentalists. This makes launching rockets off the moon much cheaper. The moon could even have a space elevator with current technology!  If we consider Elon Musk's plan to travel to Mars, then the Moon should be able to supply cheaper fuel and spaceship parts to space, to then be sent to Mars. The Moon is also rich in minerals that have not sunk to the core yet, and also has a huge amount of rare earth metals, which demands are rapidly increasing. Simply put, the Moon would end up as a large exporter to both the earth and potentially Mars. Importing from earth would almost always be more expensive compared to a industrialized Moon. 

 

Now how would we go about colonizing the moon? Honestly, in concept it is quite simple.When considering locations, the South pole seems like the best candidate. This is because of it's constant sun spots, which could give 24 hour solar power to the colony and give constant sunlight to plants without huge power usage. The south pole also contain dark spots which contains large amount of frozen water, which would be used to sustain the agriculture and to make rocket fuel. It is true that the equator has the largest amounts of Helium 3 and the best location for rocket launches. However, with the lack of constant sunlight and frequent solar winds and meteor impacts, makes to unsuited for initial colonization. If the SpaceX's BFR successes, then it would be the main means of transporting materials to the moon until infrastructure is properly developed. Later a heavy lifter would replace it when transporting goods to and from the lunar surface, and specialized cargo ship for trans portion between the Moon, Earth and Mars. A space elevator would reduce prices further in the future.  Most likely, a trade station would be set up in CIS lunar space and Earth orbit which would house large fuel tanks and be able to hold the cargo from  cargo ships and heavy lifters. Sun ports would be designated depending on their amount of sunlight. Year around sunlight spots would be dedicated to solar panels and agriculture. Varying sun spots would be used for storage, landing pads and in general everything. Dark spots would be designated to mining to extract its valuable water. Power production would be inistially almost purely solar, with some back up and smoothing out generators. Later nuclear reactors would take over, but serve as a secondary backup energy source. 

 

 

The plan:
If we can assume the BFR is a success, then we have roughly 150 ton of payload to work with per spaceship. The first spaceship would contain a satellite to survey colonization spot. Everything would be robotic at first. Several robots capable of building a LZ for future ships,  mining of the lunar surface for making solar panels for energy production, then mining and refinement for fuel for future expeditions. The lunar colony would be based underground, room and pillar mining would be used to cheaply create room that is also shielded from radiation and surface hazards. Copying the mighty tech priest, a second ship would come with people and more equipment. With this more large scale mining and ore refinement would be started. Eventually beginning to manufacturing their own goods. Routinely BFRs would supply the colony with special equipment like electronics, special minerals and advanced equipment and food until the agricultural sector can support the colony.  The colony would start to export Helium 3 and rocket fuel, as well as spacecraft parts and scientific materials. Eventually becoming self sustaining, it would stop importing food and equipment, manufacturing it all themselves to save costs. 

 

I am not the best in agriculture, so if some knowledge people could teach us here about closed loop farming, or some way of cultivating the lunar soil. Feel free to do so.

 

 

Mining:
I found a article here about the composition of the lunar soil and the use for it's main components:

rlHjxXg.png
In short, the moon has large amounts of oxygen, silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron, magnesium and titanium in it's soil.

How do we refine them? By doing this.

 

Aluminum could be used for most kinds of wiring to requiring high conductivity to density ratio. Meaning power lines, building cables and such. Aluminum is not very suited for building structures on the surface because of the varying temperatures causing it to expand and contract. Iron or steel is better suited here. Aluminum could however be used in underground structures where temperatures are more stable.  Aluminum would also most likely end up as the main lunar rocket fuel. Yes, aluminum as rocket fuel. Just look at things like ALICE, or Aluminum-oxygen. Aluminum-oxygen would probably win out since ALICE uses water, which would be prioritized for the BFRs, since I am pretty sure they are not multi-fuel. 
 More on aluminum rocket fuel here:

https://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/88130-aluminum-as-rocket-fuel/&

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/realdesigns2.php#umlunar

https://blogs.nasa.gov/Rocketology/2016/04/15/weve-got-rocket-chemistry-part-1/

https://blogs.nasa.gov/Rocketology/2016/04/21/weve-got-rocket-chemistry-part-2/

 

Believe it or not, but calcium is actually a excellent conductor, about 12% better than copper. So why do we not use it on earth? Because it has a tendency to spontaneously combust in the atmosphere. In a vacuum however, this does not pose a problem. I does however need to be coated in a material so it does not deteriorate. This makes it suited for "outdoor" products and compact electrical systems like electric motors. Yes, a calcium electric motor.  
 

 

Lastly, a few articles about colonizing the moon:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_the_Moon

https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-scientists-say-we-could-colonise-the-moon-by-2022-for-just-10-billion

https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/HEP_Lunar.html

 

NASA article about production of solar panels on the moon:
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20050110155.pdf

 

Map over the south pole:
http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/images/gigapan

 

 

Feel free to spam the thread with news regarding colonization. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In relation to the topic, I've always questioned why some people are so persistent with the idea of colonizing Mars before the moon.  Since we aren't entirely adept yet with extended, sustainable living away from Earth and its resources* (beyond ISS since it routinely gets resupplied), would it not be better to pick a location that is a great deal closer?  It'd be much faster to react and respond to an issue should one occur.

 

*I think we've discussed this before here, but I don't recall where and when.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Scolopax said:

In relation to the topic, I've always questioned why some people are so persistent with the idea of colonizing Mars before the moon.  Since we aren't entirely adept yet with extended, sustainable living away from Earth and its resources* (beyond ISS since it routinely gets resupplied), would it not be better to pick a location that is a great deal closer?  It'd be much faster to react and respond to an issue should one occur.

 

*I think we've discussed this before here, but I don't recall where and when.

From what I have heard, the reason NASA wants to go to Mars is because the public cares a great deal more about a Mars mission than a Moon mission, meaning more funding to do more stuff. If they could chose they would take the moon.  Elon Musk said he wanted to make our species interplanetary, and since he needs to keep up his achievements, he chose Mars. 

 

Currently, only India, Japan, Russia, China and to some extend the US plans to colonize the moon by around 2020-30. But those are small scale and not close to what Elon Musk is planning. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I'd venture good.....We'll get nowhere by sitting around and reinventing the mobile-phone every twelve months and that's a fact.

 

 

True enough...

then again, good for "humanity" doesn't mean good bussiness-which is what will pull the big investors in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, juretrn said:

True enough...

then again, good for "humanity" doesn't mean good bussiness-which is what will pull the big investors in.

The economic prospects are enormous, it's just that the risk and very long term investment is not seen as worth it for business.  Example: Why should I risk billions on a something that might only make huge profits in 25 years?  Also, by doing it, you basically pave the way for the rest, meaning they can do the same at a much lower risk. 

 

Simply put, humans are prefer more short term and quick solutions with instant gratification, and are egoistical, not wanting to share with others.

 

7 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Which is why we keep reinventing the mobile-phone.....Capitalism is a dead end, it confuses profit with progress.

Capitalism is supply and demand. Unless sufficient demand is there, they would rather make money of what they have. Why waste R&D on something that is not guaranteed to be hugely profitable? 
This is why Tesla is a pain in the ass for car manufacturers. He keeps pushing the bar up, forcing the car companies to actually invest in R&D.  Same goes with space. 

 

There is a reason why war and conflict causes such huge leaps in technology and advancements, because it creates a huge demand. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2017 at 5:03 PM, Scolopax said:

In relation to the topic, I've always questioned why some people are so persistent with the idea of colonizing Mars before the moon.  Since we aren't entirely adept yet with extended, sustainable living away from Earth and its resources* (beyond ISS since it routinely gets resupplied), would it not be better to pick a location that is a great deal closer?  It'd be much faster to react and respond to an issue should one occur.

 

*I think we've discussed this before here, but I don't recall where and when.

 

I agree with this line of reasoning. Another key difference between the moon and the ISS (in terms of their usefulness for future colonization efforts) is the gravity differences. We know that prolonged time in zero-g has negative effects on the human body (and one g is fine), but we don't really have any data on the range in between. If living in 1/6 gravity is enough to keep away the negative effects of microgravity, then we're good on Mars (which is about 1/3 g).

 

 

Speaking of Mars, one option that occasionally gets brought up is launching missions to Phobos and Deimos before actually landing on the surface; http://csc.caltech.edu/references/Hopkins-Phobos-Deimos-Paper.pdf This has the advantage of not having to deal with the Martian atmosphere and a slightly smaller gravity well to climb out of. I don't see any reason to colonize those moons long-term, however. Maybe in the extreme future we can relocate Phobos and use it as the anchor for a Martian space elevator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, LostCosmonaut said:

Maybe in the extreme future we can relocate Phobos and use it as the anchor for a Martian space elevator.

 

Love it.....You've read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy at a guess?  ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually haven't, it's one of many books on my "should probably read at some point in the future" list.

 

(Phobos is in a subsynchronous orbit so you can't build a space elevator on Mars without Phobos running into the cable eventually).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, LostCosmonaut said:

 

I agree with this line of reasoning. Another key difference between the moon and the ISS (in terms of their usefulness for future colonization efforts) is the gravity differences. We know that prolonged time in zero-g has negative effects on the human body (and one g is fine), but we don't really have any data on the range in between. If living in 1/6 gravity is enough to keep away the negative effects of microgravity, then we're good on Mars (which is about 1/3 g).

 

 

Speaking of Mars, one option that occasionally gets brought up is launching missions to Phobos and Deimos before actually landing on the surface; http://csc.caltech.edu/references/Hopkins-Phobos-Deimos-Paper.pdf This has the advantage of not having to deal with the Martian atmosphere and a slightly smaller gravity well to climb out of. I don't see any reason to colonize those moons long-term, however. Maybe in the extreme future we can relocate Phobos and use it as the anchor for a Martian space elevator.

Phobos and Deimos could be used for the same purpose as the moon, for cheaper materials and fuel to space. Since Mars has stronger gravity and a atmosphere, it take more power to transport materials to space. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

East of the shackleton craters seems like the best spot for a lunar base:
news.2007.182.jpg

 

It has near constant sunlight throughout the lunar summer. 

 

Also a light map made by NASA, brighter means more sunlight throughout the six months. 
506600main_121510a.jpg

 

The most illuminated ares marked here:
20110519074911WAC.jpg

 

A and B seems like the best location, since they receive the most sunlight of them all (81-85% of the day).
5Fqbo6i.jpg

 

Building a colony in this general location would be the best from a power standpoint. 

 

Cabeus and shoemaker crater are the best spots for mining water that can be refined to for example fuel.
SVS-LEND-20130601-580-2.jpg

 

Lastly, flyover of the moon:
https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/3686

 

 

 

Source:
http://www.nature.com/news/2007/071023/full/news.2007.182.html
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/multimedia/lroimages/lroc-20101215-south.html

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

×