Moon or Mars colony

Thread Starter

hp1729

Joined Nov 23, 2015
2,304
So many new problems to solve. Plumbing must have a greater slope so the solids keep moving. At 1/6 the gravity do we need 6 times the slope in our plumbing? Construction rules change. Wood is no longer a cheap material. Neither are plastics. No organic petrocarbons to work with. No oil or gas fields on these worlds. There just isn't much to work with but rock.
Silicons? We will have lots of silicon to work with.
A lot of sci fi has man living on the surface. I think not. Caves are in order.
I just don't see a Moon or Mars colony being feasible any time soon. Camping out for a year or so is not "self sufficient". A self sufficient colony manufactures what they need. Housing and clothes for the next generation just isn't that easy to accomplish. Everything must be manufactured locally. If it depends on Earth it is not self sustaining. If Earth dies the colony dies.
Are we 1,000 years from getting to this point?
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
So many new problems to solve. Plumbing must have a greater slope so the solids keep moving. At 1/6 the gravity do we need 6 times the slope in our plumbing? Construction rules change. Wood is no longer a cheap material. Neither are plastics. No organic petrocarbons to work with. No oil or gas fields on these worlds. There just isn't much to work with but rock.
Silicons? We will have lots of silicon to work with.
A lot of sci fi has man living on the surface. I think not. Caves are in order.
I just don't see a Moon or Mars colony being feasible any time soon. Camping out for a year or so is not "self sufficient". A self sufficient colony manufactures what they need. Housing and clothes for the next generation just isn't that easy to accomplish. Everything must be manufactured locally. If it depends on Earth it is not self sustaining. If Earth dies the colony dies.
Are we 1,000 years from getting to this point?
How bad do you expect earth to get that Mars or Moon become better alternatives?
 

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
819
I doubt that we will ever achieve light speed or space colonization unless we were to get that kind of technology from someone else.
I would have to disagree on the space colonization. What will make the difference is if we can get into orbit and outer space cheaply (such as an elevator). There is a great design that is in the works which instead of making a huge elevator into space, goes 12 mile high using flotation (helium or hydrogen). The platform can then be used to launch rockets and planes into low earth orbit.

A space colony, if big enough, could easily house farming facilities for items such as food and oil. Clothes can be made out of plastics such as nylon which can be fabricated with hydro carbons (again, farmed). Metals are already in the rock and asteroids (more pleantiful than that of earth), and lanuching rockets from asteroids or the moon is by far easier to do than on earth.

I think the REAL stepping stone is getting into space cheaply. Once that is done, things will dramatically change.
 

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
819
O2 can be obtained from vegitation. But it can also be extracted from rocks (as many minerals contain large amounts of oxygen), and other sources (water ice etc).
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
O2 can be obtained from vegitation. But it can also be extracted from rocks (as many minerals contain large amounts of oxygen), and other sources (water ice etc).
O2 is way different from oxide.

To get the oxygen out of a rock, you will need huge qua ties of energy to first heat / melt the rock and then do a chemical reduction. On earth, the reductions are usually done with carbon (as in iron refining) or electricity. When carbon is used, you end up with CO2, so you are kind of stuck with electrochemical reduction to get the O2. Hopefully, you will have enough solar panels to gather the rock, move it to the melting equipment, melt, electrolyze the oxide to oxygen and then move the tailings to a remote place (garbage dump). Enough for each person on your planet each day.
 

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
819
@GopherT
Have hope ;)

I agree that it would be difficult but at least it sits in the realms of possbility. What is needed is a surplus of energy which could be sourced from fusion. But the majority of O2 would need to be from vegitation (the ideal source).
 

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
3,625
I recall a sci-fi story where the solution was creating an atmosphere (not sure if in Mars). After so many years they got a full ecosystem allowing the colony to develop on the surface.

What seems to reduce the feasibility of any option you could consider is the dimensions involved: time, distance, volumes, power required and maybe prime materials...
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Also, could electrolysis not be used to extract the oxygen in minerals such as silicon dioxide?
That's what I was saying, it could be "extracted" from SiO2 but with a huge energy penalty vs getting it from CO2 because you have to melt the minerals before the oxygen is even accessible by electrolysis. Look up the melting point and heat capacity and heat of melt for siO2.

You also have to transport the minerals to the melting site and move the waste away from the melting site. All takes energy.
 

Thread Starter

hp1729

Joined Nov 23, 2015
2,304
How bad do you expect earth to get that Mars or Moon become better alternatives?
We would have to do it before things got bad here on Earth. I just don't see it happening. Spending billions or trillions on it now is just unreasonable.
 

Thread Starter

hp1729

Joined Nov 23, 2015
2,304
I would have to disagree on the space colonization. What will make the difference is if we can get into orbit and outer space cheaply (such as an elevator). There is a great design that is in the works which instead of making a huge elevator into space, goes 12 mile high using flotation (helium or hydrogen). The platform can then be used to launch rockets and planes into low earth orbit.

A space colony, if big enough, could easily house farming facilities for items such as food and oil. Clothes can be made out of plastics such as nylon which can be fabricated with hydro carbons (again, farmed). Metals are already in the rock and asteroids (more pleantiful than that of earth), and lanuching rockets from asteroids or the moon is by far easier to do than on earth.

I think the REAL stepping stone is getting into space cheaply. Once that is done, things will dramatically change.
A space colony? Generation ships? A fleet big enough to be self supporting that can take generations to go to another planet then be disassembled to form a colony. It makes a good sci fi plot. We just don't have a place to go to yet.
 

Thread Starter

hp1729

Joined Nov 23, 2015
2,304
@GopherT
Have hope ;)

I agree that it would be difficult but at least it sits in the realms of possbility. What is needed is a surplus of energy which could be sourced from fusion. But the majority of O2 would need to be from vegitation (the ideal source).
How many acres of vegetation do you think we would need to support a colony? A big need for automation.
 

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
819
Well we seem to manage the size on earth. When I say that I mean that vegitation is enough to support life otherwise it would not work here! BUT, if I remember correctly a single human needs around 2 acers of land in order to survive. This land contains things like different crops and animals.
 

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
819
The good thing about places like the moon is that its all mostly flat and empty so the question is if we could build structers wide enough. But the moon contains silica which holds hope for those starting a colony on the moon (i.e. glass could be manufactured localy). On top of that, all the metals that are needed are in abundance so the only issue is sustaining the colony until it becomes self sufficient. Most colonies on earth are not self sufficient and rely on other colonies to help (city to city, country to country).
 

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
819
It would take forever to transport huge amounts of materials need to colonize a planet/natural satellite.
Yes it would BUT once you colonize the moon the effort to get material of that is far easier which is why its an important stepping stone. Like I said in the original post, once we can get into space cheaply thats when the ball will start rolling. Hopefully....
 
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