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#251 2022-06-06 15:14:15

From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 2,331

Re: Colonizing / terraforming small asteroids

kbd512 wrote:


How much energy would we have to provide to internally power a 50km diameter artificial moon habitat?

It would take a lot.  I think it depends on population.  The average human requires about 10MJ of food energy per day.  To grow that using artificial light implies a power expenditure of 10kWe per person, 24/7.  So a population of 1 million would need a power source of at least 10GWe just cover food energy.  If we develop more efficient ways of producing food, maybe it could be less.  To power an ecosystem, which involves other plants and animals, it would be somewhat more.  Huge energy requirements only become affordable in systems that combine both high power density and economy of scale.

KBOs and outer planet moons are deep cold, on the order of 50K.  To heat a single cubic metre of ice from 50K to 300K and melt it, would require about 1GJ of energy.  Let us assume that we start with a 1GWe reactor, producing 3GW total heat and all waste heat from the power source goes into the ice.  Such a reactor would melt 95 million cubic metres of ice each year.  It would take 10.5 years to melt 1km3 of ice.  Once melted, the insulation provided by tens of km of overlying ice would effectively trap the heat within the core of the body.  To melt out a cavity say 20km in diameter, would take 44,000 years using a 3GWth energy source.  Eventually, a steady state will be reached, under which thermal conduction through the ice balances heat addition from the interior energy source.

Such aquatic habitats are in many ways less than ideal for humanity.  Any habitat under the ice woukd be in close to zero gravity.  But the ice would trap in both heat and dissolved gases.  Provided there is an effective way of recycling all nutrients, the ecosystem should last for as long as the energy source remains operational.

Last edited by Calliban (2022-06-06 15:26:44)

"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."


#252 2022-06-06 18:12:14

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 5,355

Re: Colonizing / terraforming small asteroids

Of course I will intrude.  Right away I have thought about adding metal and ice structure.  And I do not rule that out, but for now I am very interested in your presentation here.

This caused me to think of Mercury, and then Io.  Both are pretty much considered beyond means, but maybe it is just that we don't have the method yet.

One thing is true, both of these are potentially huge engines of power, therefore for extreme rewards perhaps we might consider new methods.

Query: "utube, colonizing mercury"

Response: … 9811af4c3f

It seems that few or none are those who considered colonizing IO.  So I get to be a major crazy.

So, for Mercury it is pretty up front.  The planet has lots of Carbon it seems, and water ice of significance in it's polar shadows.  So to make useful machines that run on solar energy seems obvious.  Balloon Shells?  Maybe.  Venus has Nitrogen to offer.

For IO, radiation is of course a terrible problem.  I recall that some people, (A Russian), have considered a machine that might knock particles out of the magnetic field.

Isaac Arthur has suggested the humans may build an augmentation for the Earth's magnetic field.

If we anticipate the chances that the human race may become very powerful and advanced, could they make magnetic bubbles to protect certain locations in the orbits of Jupiter?

Sulfur is supposed to be a good building material resembling metal in a vacuum.  IO can offer Sulfur.

Shells, once built can offer some form of radiation protection perhaps, as well.

If I understand it properly the tidal energy of the moons of Jupiter, where it exists, is primarily from the spin of Jupiter.  A vast energy source that should take a long time to run down.

It is obvious that IO is hot because of it for most of its body except much of it's surface.  This then is energy potential, I am sure.

Then for the moons of Jupiter, I feel that tethers that reach out into space can generate electric power by the passage of the spinning magnetic field of Jupiter past the moons.

Could IO be converted into shells of worlds, and even then harvest energy of the spin of Jupiter?

Well, it is sort of roughed in at this point.  Granted, there are huge burdens to get to that point. 

But if we are going to have a solar civilization and perhaps eventually even more than that, this one looks like a treasure chest to me.
But it will be very hard to domesticate such a thing.


Last edited by Void (2022-06-06 18:50:18)



#253 2022-07-27 07:19:16

Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,796

Re: Colonizing / terraforming small asteroids

After analyzing data from the spacecraft’s historic asteroid sample collection, OSIRIS-REx teams have discovered that the surface of Bennu is extremely loose and that the Sun causes asteroids to regenerate their surfaces much faster than Earth … 2450459648

There was also a Nuke Bennu thread around here somewhere on newmars


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