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#1 2008-04-15 12:06:56

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,108
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Re: Venus First

I'm not sure about Delta V requirements, but Venus is a better target than Mars.

  • More launch windows
    Aerobraking/capture possible
    Closer to Earth
    Solar Power Abundant
    Plentiful C, O2, H2, and N2
    0.904g
    and many more advantages.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#2 2008-04-15 13:50:55

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
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Re: Venus First

don't forget the 95 bar atmosphere, the sulfuric acid rain, the 800 K, the lack of sunlight at the surface etc.  Venus is easier, but there is no reason to go there.


-Josh

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#3 2008-04-15 13:55:25

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
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Posts: 3,108
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Re: Venus First

There's a bigger reason to go to Venus than Mars: It actually has resources that can be exported.

No, I didn't forget that. I was actually refering to floating colonies. I feel insulted that you think I am such an idiot/lunatic to suggest trying to live on the surface.

A floating colony in Venus's atmosphere would be safer than a colony on Mars.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#4 2008-04-15 14:10:36

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
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Posts: 2,513
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Re: Venus First

I apologize :cry:

but when I posted, I didn't really think about the ground, really, just my general opinion on venus a a whole.  I believe floating cities have been discussed before, the problem is that they are a bit difficult to maintain.  And there isn't actually that much H on venns, very little actually, a lot more on mars etc.


-Josh

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#5 2008-04-15 14:52:54

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
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Posts: 3,108
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Re: Venus First

There's H2 in H2SO4, remember. Enough for a small colony, with the by products being O2 and Sulpher, which can be exported for profit.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#6 2008-04-15 15:55:21

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

Lets do both!

Asteroids, The Moon, Venus, Mars, Titan, Ceres, Jupiter's moon

Set up an entire infrastructure in space..

There is no absolute ideal location for human habitation in the Solar System (bar Earth). However you can mitigate the disadvantages by trading useful resources between locations 

Venus could be a great place to live if you import certain important materials  (possibly from the asteroids/moon/Mars)

I suggest that we trade the benefits and resources of the Solar system between the various locations to even out the disadvantages. An analogy would be that of how the Earth's trade is globalised allowing people to live all over its surface almost regardless of location.

Since the Earths population is exploding, this may not be such a bad idea. 


The missions to the outer planets can be accomplished with robots and automated spacecraft.

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#7 2008-04-15 16:14:49

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,924

Re: Venus First

No. Venus is a distraction.

The feasibility of floating colonies with current technology is dubious to say the least.  The opportunities for para-terraforming are few.

Mars has its drawbacks, but overall it will make a good home for humanity and para-terraforming, using ISRU, is within our current technical abilities. 
Mars should be the focus of our efforts. We could have large scale domes on the planet within 20 years of landing, all linked, creating mile upon mile of fertile inhabitable space. It will be a kind of paradise, a playground, a new beginning.

So let's decide on Mars now. We go to the Moon first, but with a clear focus on establishing humanity on Mars.  The Moon will provide us with resources and experience for tackling Mars. 

Starting now we could have our lunar base in five years and land on Mars in ten if we were serious about it.  Within 30 years Mars could have a thriving domed human colony.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#8 2008-04-15 17:13:43

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
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Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

The obsession with Mars is just the single path fallacy.

No one is even sure anything will grow on Mars. We know nothing about the chemical make up of its soil, Whether we can protect the colony from Radiation, does it have all the right mineral deposits to support modern industry etc etc. There is a lot of uncertainty. Its certainly won't support itself for a long long time. There is practically no country on Earth that supports itself. 

If I told you to go set up a domed colony in the middle of the Sahara (Or Antartica/Attacama) - you would rightly tell me how crazy and unrealistic that was. Mars is no different and it will be no easy task as has been made out. We actually don't know that much about it.

Settling the cloud tops of Venus is no more technologically difficult than domed settlements on Mars (they are both very very difficult) 

I suggest exploring a vast amount of space before serious settlement of anywhere. When the time comes to settle, have infrastructure in place to support multiple settlements.

Space manufacturing needs some serious R&D. When the time comes, they will have to know how to make useful products in Space. I don't think anybody knows how to build a factory on the Moon or In Space.

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#9 2008-04-15 18:12:59

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,924

Re: Venus First

Gregori -

My comments on your post are:

1.  We won't be trying to produce EVERYTHING we do on earth on Mars.  There will be a strategic approach to production. We will exclude whole ranges of products which currently absorb huge amounts of energy and labour input: e.g. private cars, decorative clothing,  furnishings, food packaging, all printed material.  It's a very long list of what we don't need to produce. We will concentrate production on those items essential to life and build up our infrastructure gradually using mostly ISRU but with strategic importation from earth.

2. The Antarctic bases with their artificially lit greenhouses already provide a good analogue for Mars operations.

3. I dispute we do not know whether we can grow anything on Mars. Entrenched  hydroponic facilities with artificial lighting will provide controlled conditions for growth. The only unknown is how crops will behave in 38% gravity. Given there are plenty of foods we can grow successfully in zero g, I don't think this is going to be a problem. Entrenched facilities provide almost 100% protection against solar and cosmic radiation.

4. Why do you think it's difficult to build a factory on Moon or Mars?  All you do is take your small scale machine with you - there's your factory.
What is it you are worried we won't be able to make? It's going to be a different type of industry - not huge Toyota plants with dedicated workers, but small scale, serial production with all inhabitants participating directly in manufacture.

5.  I think we do have a fairly good idea of regolith composition on Mars. Enough to know that there is a wide range of materials available. Similarly we know that there are many of the ingredients required to make a good fertile soil.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#10 2008-04-15 19:41:32

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

Gregori -

My comments on your post are:

1.  We won't be trying to produce EVERYTHING we do on earth on Mars.  There will be a strategic approach to production. We will exclude whole ranges of products which currently absorb huge amounts of energy and labour input: e.g. private cars, decorative clothing,  furnishings, food packaging, all printed material.  It's a very long list of what we don't need to produce. We will concentrate production on those items essential to life and build up our infrastructure gradually using mostly ISRU but with strategic importation from earth.

2. The Antarctic bases with their artificially lit greenhouses already provide a good analogue for Mars operations.

3. I dispute we do not know whether we can grow anything on Mars. Entrenched  hydroponic facilities with artificial lighting will provide controlled conditions for growth. The only unknown is how crops will behave in 38% gravity. Given there are plenty of foods we can grow successfully in zero g, I don't think this is going to be a problem. Entrenched facilities provide almost 100% protection against solar and cosmic radiation.

4. Why do you think it's difficult to build a factory on Moon or Mars?  All you do is take your small scale machine with you - there's your factory.
What is it you are worried we won't be able to make? It's going to be a different type of industry - not huge Toyota plants with dedicated workers, but small scale, serial production with all inhabitants participating directly in manufacture.

5.  I think we do have a fairly good idea of regolith composition on Mars. Enough to know that there is a wide range of materials available. Similarly we know that there are many of the ingredients required to make a good fertile soil.


Actually we don't know these things. Thats why we keep sending probes there. There are huge gaps in the information. There chances nothing will ever grow in martian soil or it will need extensive treatment and processing. It could be full of salt or hydrogen peroxide or too acidic.

Hydroponics will require a lot of importing from Earth if we lack the facilities to obtain the right materials on Mars or elsewhere. It will require extensive processing. 

To colonize substantial part of space, we are going to need more than small factories, they will have to be substantial facilities to make it economical or even feasible.

Making products in space is not as simple as just putting a machine up there. It has to be designed to account for low gravity or zero g. The Weight and Volume of the Machines have to be accounted for because of launch weight limits.

All sorts of Hazards could be possible in space due to lack of atmosphere, solar radiation, sharp electrostatic dust, lo gravity. A factory would probably have to be sealed airtight (if not operated by robots). How do workers operate in a space factory? Certain materials form differently in space in partial gravity.

Machines for manufacturing in space would require specialized design.

There are plenty of locations on Earth that could be easier to exploit than Mars, but nobody is touching them with a barge pole because they're still insanely difficult and need extensive R&D.


In response to the topic of the thread, going to Venus would be helpful as H2SO4 is one of the most widely used and produced industrial chemical on Earth. Its readily available in the Venusian Clouds. It could be a huge export of Venus and would aid development of other colonies.

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#11 2008-04-15 20:51:03

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Venus First

In 1961 Carl Segan published the first serious scientific paper about terraforming. He suggested terraforming Venus by seeding the clouds with algae. He thought algae would grow, drop into the lower atmosphere where they would incinerate, accumulating a layer of carbon. This would convert CO2 into carbon dust and oxygen. That idea was proposed when Venus was thought to have a 6 bar surface atmosphere, now that we know it's 92 bar this won't work. The pressure of oxygen would be sufficient to spontaneously ignite the carbon, burning right back into CO2.

However, that paper got me thinking. When I was in high school (long after 1961) I thought we could genetically engineer a microorganism to produce a large, heavy molecule compound composed almost entirely out of carbon and oxygen in the ration 1:2. That would sequester CO2, both the carbon and oxygen. Once the total pressure on Venus is low enough, then seed with cyanobacteria (the modern scientific name for blue-green algae). That would generate oxygen.

In high school I thought of a ring molecule with the formula C3O6, consisting of a hexagon ring with alternating oxygen and carbon atom. Each carbon atom would have an extra oxygen double bonded. My chemistry professors in university didn't want to be bothered examining whether such a molecule would be stable, they suggested simply looking up in books to see if someone already synthesized it. I'm good at thinking and analyzing, not pouring through dusty tomes just to catalogue someone else's work. But this is now the age of the internet, I was able to find it with a search engine. A long single chain polymer rather than a ring molecule, but with the same unit group, does exist. It's called polyanhydride, and is co-polymerized with various other monomers to create various industrial chemicals. The properties of the chemical depend on the other thing in the polymer. If you alternate polyanhydrade with some other thing, then polyanhydride, then another of the other thing, etc., the resulting long chain polymer will be dominated by that other thing. That is, the other thing chemically reacts. Polyanhydride itself is a stable molecule that doesn't react much.

Great! Wonderful! That's what I want, a molecule that will drift down in the current atmosphere of Venus without breaking down, and once Venus is terraformed the chemical will not be toxic. Something that is basically an inert plastic would be wonderful.

So that's it, just genetically engineer an anaerobic microorganism that creates polyanhydride as part of it's metabolism, then excretes it via exocytosis as dust particles.

The depth of this polyanhydride dust would be deep. This reminds me of the old TV sit-com called Alf. The lead character was supposedly from a planet called Melmac, which is a brand name for a plastic called melamine resin.

Of course you realize this means you have to terraform Venus first, before you colonize. That's the catch. How long with even fast growing microorganisms take to convert most of the CO2 in Venus' atmosphere into a solid dust? If you genetically engineer the microorganism right, the limiting factor will be energy. Chlorophyll requires one magnesium atom per molecule, but retinal just uses CHON: carbon hydrogen oxygen nitrogen. Retinal is the photodye used by halobacteria, and the photosensative chemical in the retina of human eyes. It will colour microorganisms purple. Go through the entire proteome (all the proteins) to ensure they just require materials found in the clouds of Venus. If you genetically engineer it right, energy from sunlight will be the limiting factor. That would be the fastest, but how long would that take?

We discussed the idea of a spacesuit for Venus. It's possible but cryogenic coolant to keep the suit a reasonable temperature would limit time on the surface. A space shuttle to descend to the surface of Venus and back into orbit would have to make maximum use of its atmosphere, and have incredible energy density. The only way I can see one working is with a nuclear jet engine. That is solid core nuclear fuel elements creating the heat to expand intake gasses; no hydrocarbon fuel. A Venus habitat would require massive cooling, requiring a nuclear reactor to power the air conditioner.

Possible, but if you're cooped up inside almost all the time, what's the point of going to Venus. Again, a Venus colony can be done but you have to terraform first. Mars has the advantage we can colonize now and terraform later.

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#12 2008-04-15 21:03:39

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,794
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Re: Venus First

Uh, Gregori, this is the Mars Society. Them's fight'en words!

Try reading Robert Zubrin's book "The Case for Mars". It has a description of how you can make construction materials from resources on Mars. Since it was written, Mars probes have found a lot more permafrost than anyone expected. That's a water source. There's everything you need to grow a colony on Mars. And you don't need a giant dome, just pressurized habitats. Connect habitats with corridors, but you can walk outside with a spacesuit.

A mechanical counter pressure (MCP) spacesuit doesn't require cooling. Cooling is by sweat; in space it would require 2 litres of drinking water for an 8 hour EVA, but since Mars has an atmosphere and it's cold, I expect a lot less water loss. Since an MCP suit is fabric, it can be machine washable. On the dusty surface of Mars, it's the right suit. You only need O2 bottles, regenerable CO2 sorbent, and lithium ion batteries. A light-weight, dexterous, easily maintained suit. Again, the right suit for Mars.

So yea, we can establish a permanent settlement on Mars now. The only issue is money. Or more to the point, how do we make a profit by settling Mars? The cost to develop the A380 Airbus demonstrated billions of private investment money is available, if there's a profit to be had. So how do you make a profit?

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#13 2008-04-15 21:08:18

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

We discussed the idea of a spacesuit for Venus. It's possible but cryogenic coolant to keep the suit a reasonable temperature would limit time on the surface. A space shuttle to descend to the surface of Venus and back into orbit would have to make maximum use of its atmosphere, and have incredible energy density. The only way I can see one working is with a nuclear jet engine. That is solid core nuclear fuel elements creating the heat to expand intake gasses; no hydrocarbon fuel. A Venus habitat would require massive cooling, requiring a nuclear reactor to power the air conditioner.

Possible, but if you're cooped up inside almost all the time, what's the point of going to Venus. Again, a Venus colony can be done but you have to terraform first. Mars has the advantage we can colonize now and terraform later.

Well, there is always the possibility of a floating colony and surface installations

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#14 2008-04-15 21:18:25

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

Uh, Gregori, this is the Mars Society. Them's fight'en words!

Try reading Robert Zubrin's book "The Case for Mars". It has a description of how you can make construction materials from resources on Mars. Since it was written, Mars probes have found a lot more permafrost than anyone expected. That's a water source. There's everything you need to grow a colony on Mars. And you don't need a giant dome, just pressurized habitats. Connect habitats with corridors, but you can walk outside with a spacesuit.

A mechanical counter pressure (MCP) spacesuit doesn't require cooling. Cooling is by sweat; in space it would require 2 litres of drinking water for an 8 hour EVA, but since Mars has an atmosphere and it's cold, I expect a lot less water loss. Since an MCP suit is fabric, it can be machine washable. On the dusty surface of Mars, it's the right suit. You only need O2 bottles, regenerable CO2 sorbent, and lithium ion batteries. A light-weight, dexterous, easily maintained suit. Again, the right suit for Mars.

So yea, we can establish a permanent settlement on Mars now. The only issue is money. Or more to the point, how do we make a profit by settling Mars? The cost to develop the A380 Airbus demonstrated billions of private investment money is available, if there's a profit to be had. So how do you make a profit?



Uhh water is not the thing you need for a colony. Its important, but its not everything we need. Money is also not the only problem.

Research on Mars is still a young and ongoing field.

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#15 2008-04-15 23:40:46

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Venus First

I could give you a long list of resources we can extract from Mars: oxygen, nitrogen, argon, nitrate fertilizer, soil (regolith + nitrate fertilizer + certain plants = arable soil), steel, aluminum, magnesium, glass, gypsum (wall board), fibreglass, plastics of all sorts, bricks, cement/concrete, and others. Steel smelting requires carbon monoxide and hydrogen, there's either hydrogen or carbon required for every one. Which is why water and a CO2 atmosphere are so valuable.

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#16 2008-04-16 01:47:43

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,924

Re: Venus First

I agree with Robert.  There is enough knowledge available now to say that all the resources required for a permanent substantially self-supporting community are available on Mars.  We know also from the Mars Rovers operating in a very difficult environment - out in the open on the move - that solar power can supply our energy needs.

I think we also have enough knowledge on how to get there, though it will be difficult.

Longer term,  if there is to be large scale development we probably do need some trade impetus.  One possibility is gold trading. If there are sufficiently rich veins of gold exposed on Mars mining might be quite easy.  The ore could be processed on Mars and pure gold exported back to earth.  If we can get the transport costs down to say $5,000 per Kg, this could become quite feasible.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#17 2008-04-16 02:15:25

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

Longer term,  if there is to be large scale development we probably do need some trade impetus.  One possibility is gold trading. If there are sufficiently rich veins of gold exposed on Mars mining might be quite easy.  The ore could be processed on Mars and pure gold exported back to earth.  If we can get the transport costs down to say $5,000 per Kg, this could become quite feasible.

There you have if it! IF? We don't know this yet. It could be possible but know one knows. There needs to significant work done to characterize the geology and mineralogy of Mars surface. Mars may have some of the right elements for life, but that doesn't necessarily mean it has them in the right condition or the right mix. This is the shit we need to know before we settle it permanently.


I could give you a long list of resources we can extract from Mars: oxygen, nitrogen, argon, nitrate fertilizer, soil (regolith + nitrate fertilizer + certain plants = arable soil), steel, aluminum, magnesium, glass, gypsum (wall board), fibreglass, plastics of all sorts, bricks, cement/concrete, and others. Steel smelting requires carbon monoxide and hydrogen, there's either hydrogen or carbon required for every one. Which is why water and a CO2 atmosphere are so valuable.

No one is sure is in what amounts and how recoverable all those elements are. Extraction could be extremely extremely expensive and require an insane amount of energy. Its not as easy as, well the elements are there.. On Earth, there is going to be a water shortage yet there are trillions of the tonnes of stuff covering most of its surface! Desalination is expensive smile

I'm not saying we can't eventually colonize Mars, just that there are finer details that need to be looked into before its possible.

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#18 2008-04-16 03:27:38

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,847

Re: Venus First

Gregori, living on Mars unlike the Earth will be for a long time a very Hi-Tech enviroment. Our domes and Habitats will be very efficient in keeping air, water and other essentials in, as well as keeping what we dont want out.

We know that there is water present and that we can make air out of the materials there all we need is energy and all our plans are to send to Mars with our colonists the ability to generate a lot of energy and to indigiously make devices there that could generate more.

Earth does have a fresh water problem and a lot of it is down to our making but we also have a real energy problem in that we dont make enough to be able to deal with our water shortages.

To categorise and research the mineralogy of Mars will be the work of decades we are still studying it here on Earth and it has been one of our most important sciences since Hugh Miller did a lot of the basic work we all draw on. We do know a lot about Mars but until we get people there we are reaching a plateau of knowledge that requires human eyes to look at and see where to go next.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#19 2008-04-16 04:29:34

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

Gregori, living on Mars unlike the Earth will be for a long time a very Hi-Tech enviroment. Our domes and Habitats will be very efficient in keeping air, water and other essentials in, as well as keeping what we dont want out.

We know that there is water present and that we can make air out of the materials there all we need is energy and all our plans are to send to Mars with our colonists the ability to generate a lot of energy and to indigiously make devices there that could generate more.

Earth does have a fresh water problem and a lot of it is down to our making but we also have a real energy problem in that we dont make enough to be able to deal with our water shortages.

To categorise and research the mineralogy of Mars will be the work of decades we are still studying it here on Earth and it has been one of our most important sciences since Hugh Miller did a lot of the basic work we all draw on. We do know a lot about Mars but until we get people there we are reaching a plateau of knowledge that requires human eyes to look at and see where to go next.

I totally agree. big_smile

I'm dead excited about what phoenix returns in may, and the MRL in 2010.

Eventually, Human explorers will have to go there. I don't think we'll have an autonomous colony for a long long time. It will probably be a lot of research stations for a few decades. When it does happen I think we should have a solarized space manufacturing infrastructure in place to trade useful resources between different solar system bodies.   

I reckon that other places in the solar system should also be inhabited concurrently as its easier to get useful materials from them and transport to other locations than from Earth. If enough R&D is done, a lot of manufacturing and mining could be based in space like on the Moon and Asteroids. Manufacturing LOX, Metallic Space Craft Parts on the Moon would be an example. Some Spacecraft would be too large to launch of Earths surface with current technology, but they could be easily lifted of an  Asteroid or a Moon transporting useful materials in bulk.

Venus happens to have one of the most useful industrial chemicals floating around its atmosphere, so eventually settling there could be a very wise idea.

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#20 2008-04-16 05:33:04

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,108
Website

Re: Venus First

RobertDyck

Why would floating colonies not work?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#21 2008-04-16 07:10:58

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,924

Re: Venus First

Grypd makes the important point that recycling will be very important on Mars. With sufficient energy (and we will have that in abundance), we will be able to devote a  lot of resources to recycling. All metal - iron , steel, copper, aluminium etc will be recycled. 

I don't myself distinguish between a "research station" and a colony.  They are both human settlement.

I think if you taken into account recycling, vastly reduced consumption of end products, abundant energy and known resources then there is nothing to stop us going now. In fact that's a possible thread - could we go RIGHT NOW!


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#22 2008-04-16 07:40:30

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,108
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Re: Venus First

Ah, energy. The most important resource in existence. When you have enough energy, anything is possible. It doesn't matter whether all the water is salty, if you have enough energy you can desalinate it. It doesn't matter whether the water is locked up in complex molecules, all you need is energy.

What does Venus have that Mars doesn't? Oh, boundless amounts of... ENERGY!


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#23 2008-04-16 08:04:55

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Venus First

RobertDyck

Why would floating colonies not work?


If colonizing mars with enclosures can work, then floating colonies on Venus can work. Its mostly a challenge of engineering and logistics, not a physics problem.

The only big problem with it is that much of the structural Material and life support for the colony would probably have to be obtained from asteroids/moons etc Other than that, its probably a good place to live and grow food.

Getting those materials from Asteroids and moons shouldn't be a big problem given their low escape velocities.

For this to become possible, significant space infrastructure needs to be in place, like space manufacturing, communications and giant cargo ships. A lot of automation maybe necessary.     

Atm, obtaining it from the planet's surface would be too difficult, but that situation could change in time. Eventually the surface will exploitable.

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#24 2008-04-16 08:24:53

Commodore
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From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Venus First

While I think floating Venusian cities is not a near term solution, exploiting the atmospheric gases from orbit is an important step in inner solar system exploration.

The nice thing about it is doesn't require significantly different orbital infrastructure than it does to exploit and distribute Martian ISRU fuels, plus the additional volatile gases not found in easily exploitable and even exportable quantities on Mars, plus the the orbital mechanics that make whatever is gathered useful in Earth-Moon ops.

The trick is harvesting the stuff and returning it to orbit, which is bound to cost less that the Martian surface ops. Probably just a large tanker that fires short burst to an elliptical orbit, and then aerobrakes back to the original orbit, sucking up the soup as it goes. Then it returns to the space station to unload, were the soup is processed. Rinse and repeat.

When the time comes to go to Mars, build the space station that supports Earth-Mars transits with Martian fuel, and build two (we'll probably have one in LEO by this time). Use the first for the first transit, and leave it there. Send the second in the next couple of launch opportunities, swap out the crews, orbital and surface, return to Earth, then send it to Venusian orbit. Send a follow up cargo shot with all the different equipment, and add them there. From then on out, crews at both planets can be swapped out on much smaller, faster, cheaper ships, refueled at their destination. With 90% identical orbital hardware, we spread out the development cost, possibly reducing it by the much needed economy of scale, get more bang for our buck, and learn all about a another planet, and make future ops cheaper.

Mars opens up the asteroid belt and beyond. Venus opens up Mercury, and theres still a host of science that can be done at Venus. I'd like to see them use extracted materials to build a sun shade. How big does one have to be before you can start to see an effect the atmosphere? Over the ensuing decades a couple of these can be built that can solve the problems with Venus, we can freeze the atmosphere, and then fix the long day.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#25 2008-04-16 08:27:55

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,108
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Re: Venus First

The only big problem with it is that much of the structural Material and life support for the colony would probably have to be obtained from asteroids/moons etc Other than that, its probably a good place to live and grow food.

What, other than Nitrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, Sulpher, and Hydrogen, do we need?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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