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#1 Re: Exploration to Settlement Creation » Living inside Mountains / Caves on Mars? » 2018-02-11 07:31:08

For the "sky-light" in the lavatube, you'd need to do something with the glass for to protect against radiation, right?  Like "double glazing" with water in-between. Are there any other methods that you could treat the glass?

Also all the suggestions sound like something that COULD be achieved with existing technology, assuming it could be shipped intact to Mars and the crew had the necessary skills to carry out the tasks and operate the equipment. This could be tried now! We've done so many other amazing things already. The biggest challenge with this, is that you'd have to make it to Mars with the equipment and survive while the work is taking place. People would be queing up in their millions to risk their life to be part of this project. Yet Elon Musk is the only one trying and he has to fund it himself.

VOID thanks for converting to C... I can't get used to F apart from a few reference points I picked up from TV. Important to be conscious of this though....Mars Orbiter etc.

#2 Re: Life support systems » Indoor heating on Mars » 2018-02-10 13:56:18

Oldfart1939 wrote:

There have been numerous discussions about habitats on other threads, but the most effective way in which to insulate and protect the inhabitants of a habitat is by burial or heaping regolith over it. Thick regolith adds protection from solar flare radiation, and is the most abundant resource available for utilization. We've also had numerous "discussions" about power sources, but when all requirements are totaled up, nuclear seems to be the answer. Surplus reactor heat can conceivably be utilized by heating water to be distributed to habitats and workshops for this purpose.

Thanks for the summary, I get it...

#3 Re: Exploration to Settlement Creation » Living inside Mountains / Caves on Mars? » 2018-02-10 13:53:38

Oldfart1939 wrote:

Are any others here familiar with a method used in the construction industry using a method of concrete application called "gunite?" It sprays on a thick slurry which doesn't use any retaining forms, but adheres directly to the surface where it's applied. I'm proposing a modified form using a thick slurry of an epoxy-type monomer/accelerator self curing blend for the walls of these caves or lava tubes. It can be applied in several layers by repeated application, but in principle will seal the surfaces to a gas tight consistency.

I think that method is what is visible in the Metro pictures I posted above. It's used in the metro and in various types of mountain rooms we have in my country. I didn't know what it was called but I heard it referred to as sprying cement. It looks like cement and is sprayed on the bare mountin so it can be painted and made to look less intimidating with relatively low effort and cost.

Perhaps this also insulates?

#4 Re: Not So Free Chat » Why do we have Poverty in America » 2018-02-10 12:05:52

You have poverty because you have extremely rich people.
Unfair division of wealth.
Obviously the resources and level of development in America is such that everybody could live comfortable if the wealth was equally distributed and the means of production were communally owned. With the more capable people as managers, not owners.

#5 Re: Life support systems » Indoor heating on Mars » 2018-02-10 12:02:02

Agree, but how do you insulate a whole habitat....?

In Northern Europe and most of Russia - cold regions both - the most efficient system is central heating works that heat water to the point of boiling and then pumps it out into insulated pipes and then into domestic houses, and into to water heated radiators. This system works, but the houses are insulated and the temperature is minus 20 or something, not minus 100..... The heating is achieved by burning gas or rubbish. It would be hard to achieve with only solar power or wind.

On Mars you are up against much worse challenges, and larger areas to heat, probably....

#6 Re: Life support systems » Which type of fabric would be feasible to produce on Mars? » 2018-02-10 11:04:32

Wow interesting!

Yeah, this one too - used in North Korea which needed to be self-sufficient in fabric for a while, but didn't have the climate or resources for any classic fabric production.

Vinalon - a synthetic fiber produced from polyvinyl alcohol, using anthracite and limestone as raw materials.

#7 Life support systems » Indoor heating on Mars » 2018-02-10 08:49:35

Replies: 11

What would be the most efficient way to provide adequate indoor heating, on Mars?

#8 Life support systems » Which type of fabric would be feasible to produce on Mars? » 2018-02-10 08:15:23

Replies: 4

Let's say there is a future settlement on Mars. But distance and cost of space travel necessitates a high level of self-sufficiency.
What fabric is likely to be used for clothing?

Cotton? Hardly, right? It requires lots of water and space to produce.
Silk.... Maybe, takes less space, but you need a lot of mulberry leaves!
Hemp or Linen?
Polyester? Very complex production process and requires oil.

What do you think?

#9 Re: Exploration to Settlement Creation » Living inside Mountains / Caves on Mars? » 2018-02-08 15:41:55

i loved all the info on the lava tubes and the link was super interesting.

Humanity could be on Mars already for the cost of a small chunk of the US military budget, or the annual expendiiture on soft drink ads, across the globe.
Sick priorities....

#10 Re: Exploration to Settlement Creation » Living inside Mountains / Caves on Mars? » 2018-02-08 12:16:39

Yeah, I'm thinking that it would look a bit like the blue line in the Stockholm Metro. Plus natural light from above. You could put up mirrors in a clever way and actually get plenty of daylight.

This metro is built by hollowing out the mountainous Northern bedrock with explosives. It was supposed to be able to double as a relatively comfortable cold war nuclear war shelter for a huge number of people, if needed. If this could be built in five years in the 1970s, it should be feasible on Mars in the 2030s or something, right...? Particularly since they have no planning permits or environmental concerns to consider.


#11 Re: Exploration to Settlement Creation » Living inside Mountains / Caves on Mars? » 2018-02-05 17:27:06

Fantastic responses, very interesting. How hard is it to insulate the cave so air can't escape... and keep the skylight?

#12 Exploration to Settlement Creation » Living inside Mountains / Caves on Mars? » 2018-02-04 17:17:02

Replies: 85

Is it possible that there are natural large cave systems on Mars, like on many places on Earth?
If so, would it be possible to live inside of these, and seal them off to create a human habitat...?
I.e.seal the caves off, raise temperature and actually fill with air and vegetation.
Do we have the technology for this and is it feasible?

#13 Re: Science, Technology, and Astronomy » Artificial 1g Gravity on Mars vs in Space » 2017-04-03 18:45:14

RobertDyck wrote:

A simulator like this could be built. It would be relatively small, and expensive. It would only be used to condition a Mars settler in preparation for a trip to Earth.

Thanks Rob! Yes, I was more interested in the basic how-to of it, than whether it's needed. It doesn't need that much imagination to think of future scenarios where something like that might be desirable and
Your earlier examples and this paragraph sums it up for me.

Just one thing: Would you be able to leave it while the gravity is operational? Or does the spinning mean it's impossible to leave the room while it's moving?
In terms of energy - could it run off solar power or would it need something more heavy duty?

The Expanse is awesome as a series, I like the tech and the politics - but not some of the unrealistic or annoying politically correct stuff they added. I think I missed that shot of the Mars Marines training for Earth gravity. I think there are some gaps to the logic though; like how do the Mars and Asteroid  belt societies pay for themselves; that would require space travel suddenly being dead cheap - the author never explains how that happens.

#14 Re: Science, Technology, and Astronomy » Artificial 1g Gravity on Mars vs in Space » 2017-04-02 18:49:09

Thanks for the super helpful pictures and examples....
So it doesn't need to spin amazingly fast then? Or do you work out the required speed based on size, local gravity and desired gravity?

And the person would only feel completely normal as long as he stayed within a fairly limited area of the whole chamber + leaving the room while it's operational... Or could they leave easily through the nave?

#15 Re: Science, Technology, and Astronomy » Artificial 1g Gravity on Mars vs in Space » 2017-04-02 15:07:29

Great explanations!  Do you think something like that could be designed so it's non-intrusive. I.e. so that somebody on Mars enters this 1 g gravity room and it feels exactly like they are in a normal room on Earth?

Would it be possible to get in and out of the Earth Gravity room from normal Mars gravity, while the room is operational> Or would you have to turn the gravity (i.e. spin) off to leave the room?

In that "Gravatron" ride  from the picture - you couldn't walk around, could you? You'd be constantly pressed towards whatever part of the structure it is that's moving.  I'm probably one of very few people who have never been in a ride like that at a tivoli. I never liked those spinning rides.

#16 Re: Meta New Mars » Technical Error Reporting » 2017-04-02 12:44:28

I get this message when I try to post from Firefox. I have to post from Opera  instead and it's inconvenient.


#17 Science, Technology, and Astronomy » Artificial 1g Gravity on Mars vs in Space » 2017-04-02 12:40:03

Replies: 69

Hi all, I'm really struggling to get my head around the finer details of how artificial gravity works.
For space, is there any good explanation with an illustration or example?

And what would it take on Mars, to simulate Earth gravity?  I assume it would be very energy demanding, but what would be the most practical way to do it. Let's say you wanted an area the size of a football/soccer field to have Earth gravity, how would you do it?

#18 Re: Martian Politics and Economy » Corporate Government » 2015-11-02 14:53:46

Terraformer wrote:

Well, Antarctica is in a similar political situation to Mars as well, so that's another factor suggesting an Antarctic colony should be attempted. Maybe not within the Antarctic circle, though. Settle one of the islands off the coast.

The dark winters are extremely psychologically hard though. You have to live it to understand it.
When you have one hour daylight, sometimes none at all - it really messes with your psyche.
It's even worse than extreme cold (which can also drive you bonkers - any little thing you need to do outdoors becomes a huge project.

One of the things that worries me the most about living on Mars, is the prospect possibly no natural light for months on end. And what does it do to people, to NEVER be able to go out in nature?

#19 Re: Martian Politics and Economy » Corporate Government » 2015-11-02 06:40:25

Terraformer wrote:

Actually, we *could* colonise the Arctic - and I think we *should*, to demonstrate the sort of technology that we need to colonise other planets. We have the technological ability to do so, and we've had it for decades. In fact, an intensive greenhouse farm in a remote area might be profitable, if it can provide fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, and maybe milk, to the locals. We could even establish a colony in Svalbard, given it's unique political situation. If we can make it there...

I agree. That makes perfect sense. One step at a time.
No point in daydreaming about huge settlement projects on Mars if viable settlement in inhospitable regions on earth isn't possible.

For example: To state that people would flock by the thousands to live on Mars... well.... why don't people already want to live in the Arctic or Antarctica in that case?
Neither the poorest people on Earth, nor the richest or anyone in between  -- apart from some scientists, and Arctic natives want to live there!   

And those who live in the Arctic are not running any impressive greenhouse projects; they are importing everything from milk to apples. Without huge state subsidies they'd have extremely hard lives
Including things that could probably grow there, with a bit of good will. For example, in Greenland you could probably squeeze in a crop if you really wanted to - but they are still importing everything.

I'd be much more confident if a group had a go at it to live for 5 years without outside support, on Antarctica, growing their own food and trying to make as much as they can themselves.
That would show that people can make a go of really challenging situations.
Perhaps Arctic / Antarctica isn't ideal due to the dark winters. That wouldn't happen on Mars.

High up in the Himalayas - some inaccessible place where the air is almost unbreathable might be a substitute. And remember: Mars will be 10 times harder and more challenging even than the most inhospitable place in the Himalayas! Let's not fool ourselves.

#20 Re: Martian Politics and Economy » Corporate Government » 2015-11-01 14:43:55

I agree with RobertDyck that Canada seems to be a model in terms of how it's dealing with the far North and natives. I have a high view of Canada in general.
It's cool to hear about the greenhouse projects. That's the kind of initiatives that gives me hope regarding Mars - because I think there are some parallells to the extreme conditions of the far North, and Mars. But I am aware that life in the Canadian North is not without some serious problems.

Actually - there already are two colonies on Svalbard and they are extremely expensive to run for the organisations involved. The biggest one is Norwegian and it's mainly for research along with some mining. I don't think anyone lives there permanently. They do stints of a year or two.

The other colony is Russian; mainly an old mining town. I saw a docu soap on that a while back. Workers are transient but I they are starting the option for families to settle there - but it's borderline whether it's tolerable when kids can't even play outside because it's too cold and dangerous. People couldn't continue living there after retirement, even if they spent their working life there. This town doesn't use money at all (hey Tom, it's communism, lol). Instead they have rations cards and some kind of payment system that simply subtracts the cost of stuff against their salary.

The Norwegian town uses money however. Both places have severe restrictions on alcohol: Somewhat telling that it's needed.

Both settlements are heavily dependent on shipments of food and other necessities. Nothing is manufactured locally. There have been some crises in both places when shipments didn't arrive on time - so they have cooperated at times, to avoid disaster. The Russian town had a very scary experience in the 90's when things disintegrated in Russia and the settlement was neglected. Imagine something like that happening on Mars. If people are reluctant about bringing children to Svalbard, what about Mars?

This gives a bit of a fore-taste of Mars, although Mars would be 10 times more extreme, in any way.
And if the Mars population got any ideas along the lines of the US breaking away, they could easily be forced back in line.

Although they COULD use greenhouses in the Arctic, i never heard of that happening.
Instead they have insane situations where a cucumber costs 10 USD.

Greenland is another extreme example and that is funded from Denmark. Without Danish money pouring in over Greenland, the situation would be intolerable. There is a mine or two and there are horrendous problems with alcoholism and unemployment even after spectacular welfare programs.
If Denmark ever becomes a poor country the people on Greenland would suffer spectacularly.

Russian far North, Alaska: Sky high unemployment; poor living conditions for the natives and lots of alcohol and drug abuse.

Ok- just to clarify - my nationality is not a big secret; just 1) complicated 2) not relevant to Mars and 3) decided not to state it because one person tried to attack me in an argument, using my nationality. 
I am from Finland and belong to the Swedish minority. I went to uni in Norway and I currently live in the UK. So "EU" as location is not an attempt at being secretive, just simplify.

#21 Re: Martian Politics and Economy » Corporate Government » 2015-10-31 18:43:53

It's the "corporation" wording that got me going.  Tom is right that I am extremely suspicious against corporations, particularly those that are big enough that they are able to start any kind of operation on Mars, whether mining, or running some kind of relocation service.

I just don't see how this would pan out. Homesteading on a planet which doesn't even support life?

I also come from an Arctic country and I think we know perfectly well why so few people live in the Arctic areas: The distances are huge, costs for everything gets hugely inflated, crops can not be grown at all, or only during a short period. Native population have to be propped up by central government, or they would all simply leave, alternatively live in total deprivation. None of their traditional activities are profitable in the least.
On Mars we'd have all these problems x1000

The only thing that is profitable in that region is oil/gas or mines. Even then, distances and logistics cause problems.

So given all this: If somebody just wanted to homestead, they'd be better off doing it in the frozen Arctic -  at least there, you can subsistence hunt and there is air to breathe. Technically you could run a greenhouse all summer 24/7 in the Arctic.

But on Mars, you don't even have air to breathe, and that's just the beginning. I can't see ANY way that anybody could AFFORD to homestead on Mars, given that every single thing has to be transported to Mars.

For the price it would cost them to homestead on Mars, they could buy a palace in Manhattan.

The only situation under which people would move to Mars, would be if there was something very lucrative they could do there, that would justify the expense of running the colony.

The question then is - who runs this operation?
This is where I thought you were suggested a one-stop-shop corporation, and where my suspicions kick in.

If Americans are involved - we'd have the suing culture. Things would go wrong. People would die. The company would be sued out of existance at the first mishap.

Whereas I personally would possibly trust a not-for-profit/at cost  cooperative or perhaps state owned venture.

I think the prerequisite for colonisation of Mars is:

1) Earth is over populated in the extreme. I.e. large crowded cities on Greenland, in Northern Siberia, Arctic Canada etc. Perhaps as a result of people having to flee the equatorial area due to greenhouse heating and a warmer climate making these areas uninhabitable. The situation is intolerable and people are prepared to take huge risks for a break.
2) Some natural asset is discovered on Mars that would finance the building of the colony and provide private enterprise with enough incentive to invest in Mars.
3) Some kind of user owned co-operative is set up by the colonisers that let them run affairs and control the profits from the exports.

Sorry I know this was poorly written - I don't have time to structure it properly but wanted to respond.
Basically - gutted but I just can't get it to add up.

#22 Re: Life support systems » Where on Mars do you think the first Human colony would be placed... » 2015-10-30 06:29:37

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

Is there any way to prospect for water using drones? A thought occurred to me, what if Astronauts spend some time in Low Mars Orbit operating drones drilling for water, and if they find some, they land at that site?

I like this idea.

#23 Re: Martian Politics and Economy » Corporate Government » 2015-10-30 06:28:23

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

I think an unemployment program should include a ticket back to Earth. Lets say someone loses his or her job, well he or she has until the next launch window to find another job or he or she will be sent back to Earth, this prevents a homeless population from overburdening a colony's resources, and homeless people can be taken care of much better on Earth.

Agree with Tom on this. A trip back to earth at a time of the person's choosing (within reason) needs to be included in the deal - no ifs or buts.

There can not be allowed to be be a situation where people are "stuck" on Mars because they can't afford to pay a ticket back. That could lead to some serious exploitation and a suicidal state of mind for some people.

I also don't agree with the "loan" proposition that was mentioned earlier.
When a corporation needs to relocate workers, they pay for the relocation - that's the norm in civilised societies. It's not like a private person could ever realistically finance a trip to Mars anyway - even if they worked their entire life for it, possibly!

The way I think things will turn out: A colony consisting mainly of scientists is established and runs for a decade or so. They then discover something that could possibly be profit generating to do, on Mars, while at the same time space travel is made more efficient and cheaper. Suddenly there is a requirement for regular workers.

How do you incentivise somebody to move to Mars and live under dangerous and uncomfortable conditions? The scientists did it for the love of science. But would a construction worker or miner feel the same way?  There'd likely be a gender imbalance for a while (as always happens in "frontier" situations). So to add to all the other inconvenience, a lot of male workers would be single.

Quite likely you'd need to pay these people well, rather than try to get them to sign up for some humongous loan....

Colonisation of Mars by families in search of a better life, and possible homesteading of Mars won't happen within our lifetime, if ever. Sad, but almost certainly true.

In order for that to happen, either it has to become possible to be completely self-sufficient on Mars, like homesteaders in the early days of the USA. But even then, they had shops where they bought things that couldn't be bought or produced locally.....

Or else, some extremely valuable commodity has to be found on Mars in bigger and more accessible quantities than on Earth.  Apparently that is not particularly likely to happen.

#24 Re: Martian Politics and Economy » Corporate Government » 2015-10-22 15:57:18

RobertDyck wrote:

I started this discussion with a proposal for an advanced stage of Mars settlement. When we have towns on Mars, and one city. I suggested one corporation would lead that settlement. New arrivals would be recruited the by the corporation to work as employees to mine, smelt, refine, manufacture, and farm (in a greenhouse) all the basic necessities. Cottage industry would be encouraged; after all Mars will need everything. A new arrival could work to earn enough money to build a homestead in the outback, then quit his/her job to live off the land.

Employment: If an individual has a homestead, he won't need employment. He/she could grow food in his/her own greenhouse, cook, repair life support equipment, etc. If an individual is unemployed, the corporate employment office would offer assistance. The program I suggested was job training. Aptitude testing, then interviews with employers. Once an employer agrees to hire that individual, he/she will go through job training. Once complete, the cost of job training and the cost of living while in the training program will be treated as a loan. That loan will be paid via payroll deduction. The employer will be required to keep the employee until that loan is fully paid, but the employer could assign the employee the worst jobs in the company. And the final fall-back: every ticket to Mars includes a free return to Earth.

Air: Yes, space for an apartment building the city dome will be charged rent. That rent will pay for pressure, air recycling, heat, and all the services of a city. Think of it as property tax, but it isn't a tax, it's rent. And it may not be a dome, it may be a large building like a mall. The entrepreneur could then build apartments within that space, and charge rent to tenants. In addition to apartment rent, there would be utility bills. But again, if you build your own homestead outside the big city/town dome/building, then there won't be any rent. But you will have to build your own facilities for pressure, air, heat, etc.

I see your reasoning with this, but I think you look at corporations through rose-coloured glasses. Maybe that's how the labour market works in Canada, on a good day. But the sorts of organisations that can fund a Mars colony, in my opinion, are simply not that charitable!

I don't see how they can make profits if they are going to engage in the sort of welfare state hand-holding activities that you mention.
It would be brilliant if you are right and I am wrong, but I simply don't see how it would add up.
Recall: This organisation will have the most insane logistics cost of any corporation that every existed. Just paying for the transport of their goods to the market on earth, let alone take care of the staff would cost mind boggling sums.

I don't see how it can all be profitable, even if they end up with a situation where slabs of gold can be shoveled straight from the ground, or if super rare earth minerals are laying around on the surface...
That's why I simply can't get my head around the corporation idea, and that is after I have put my political reservations aside.

Another thing I don't get: Paying rent to live in a corporate flat?! Why?
I have personally lived in a corporate flat. They took the cost straight out of my salary. It was heavily subsidised and all the service charges were included. It was very convenient even if the flat was a bit dull. And this was a bona fide mega large corporation which anyone would have heard of. So, bollocks to paying for rubbish collection/recycling etc!  Boring humdrum on Mars.... If everyone is working for the same employer it shouldn't be necessary.

To take another example, which was a large project, although less glamorous: Socialist countries: People paid next to no rent, or no rent at all, and a very large percentage lived in flats that were provided by their employer who'd add it all up. Everything included due to the setup of the economy. Unfortunately that lead to a lot of people being irresponsible and wasteful. But on Mars, that wouldn't be an option + odds are that those living on Mars would be a lot more committed to their environment.

I am strongly against replicating the sick structure from Earth, on Mars, particularly given that Mars is an environment where you can't just walk away, and where technically not even the air is free.

terraformer wrote:


It seems you would prefer everyone else pay for a select few elites to live in your idea of a perfect society...

Where do you get that from?  I haven't made any suggestions about who pays, because I think that's the big obstacle to Mars colonisation.
If not, we would be on Mars a long time ago. There simply isn't any financial motivation that is strong enough, or anyone who is motivated enough by any other reasons, to come up with the required billions and commit for decades/ I fear there may no solution to this problem within our generation...

I'm not expecting Mars to be a utopia. Just saying that it shouldn't be corporate hell --- been there, done that, but at least I've been in a situation to walk away. In Mars it won't be. And I know how evil corporations can be, and how they exploit people when they can get away with it. Sure, a highly educated top achiever from the developed world will probably be treated allright. But the minute you give corporations a free reign, they will figure out how to exploit everybody but the cream of the crops, and replace everybody they can for the cheapest and least troublesome alternative.

#25 Re: Martian Politics and Economy » Corporate Government » 2015-10-22 15:28:49

RobertDyck wrote:

martienne, yes we can have windows.

Thanks for the really helpful info about windows and how to make them radiation proof. Really educational, and I have been wondering about this.

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