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#501 2020-10-31 10:13:06

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

For RobertDyck ... re #500

Thanks for the follow up re Climate Change ... my post was NOT intended to comment upon Climate Change.  It was intended to observe that machinery designed to combat climate change is likely to prove useful off-Earth ....

Here is a report (probably already in NewMars archive) of a company which has designed a system capable of trapping CO2 and sequestering it to a solid.

This equipment is (hopefully)_not going to be needed if your proposed greenhouse concept proves viable for the Large Ship.  However, for a ship designed ** without ** a greenhouse, CO2 removal will become important.

There are procedures already in place in submarines to remove CO2, but I've lost track of how they work.  The method used by the company at the link below appears to be rendering captured CO2 as a solid, which (I would think) would be a valuable form in a space vessel headed for Mars, or on Mars itself, since the solid form is compact and easily stored, and readily available for use in a variety of materials.

Because of kbd512's frequent reminders about nanoscale Carbon structures, it occurs to me that the fine Carbon collected by the machine described at the link below may be suitable to input to Carbon nanoscale manufacturing.


https://www.fastcompany.com/40421871/th … ate-change

At the new Swiss plant, three stacked shipping containers each hold six of Climeworks’ CO2 collectors. Small fans pull air into the collectors, where a sponge-like filter soaks up carbon dioxide. It takes two or three hours to fully saturate a filter, and then the process reverses: The box closes, and the collector is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which releases the CO2 in a pure form that can be sold, made into other products, or buried underground.

(th)

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#502 2020-10-31 11:05:57

RobertDyck
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

Ok. We discussed this a lot. Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle used lithium hydroxide (LiOH) to absorb CO2 because it's lightest, however it's not reusable. ISS uses a reusable sorbent. Navy submarines use a tank of liquid amine. You can't use that in zero-G because it would float into the cabin. NASA developed an amine paste from that, painted on styrofoam beads. The sorbent can be regenerated by exposing to vacuum and heating. There was a long duration life support pallet for Shuttle that used this. ISS recovers CO2 for the Sabatier reactor. An alternative is silver oxide. It's heavier but more compact. EMU spacesuits had their LiOH canister replaced by Ag2O sheet metal. It's regenerated by a toaster oven. I have a paper from the 1990s about using a microwave oven to regenerate Ag2O. It requires granules instead of sheet metal.

Of course the greenhouse will reduce the load on chemical/mechanical life support. Even reduce the load on chloroplast oxygen generation. But the ship must have capacity for life support without the greenhouse.

Ps When I dated the backup controller for the life support console at Huston TX for ISS, she hadn't heard of the microwave paper. I got it from NASA's technical report server. Turns out she knew the author of the paper. But Hamilton Sundstrand hadn't heard of it either. They manufacture the life support backpack for EMU spacesuits and life support equipment for NASA's side of ISS.

Edit: I tried to link the report on NTRS, but they changed the website and now the search can't find the report. From my paper copy:
CASI Report: 96N32683
NASA-CR-201945
URC 80647
Contract: NAS2-14374
Title: Microwave Regenerable Air Purifcation Device
Authors: James E. Atwater, John T. Holtsnider, Richard R. Wheeler Jr
August 1996

Last edited by RobertDyck (2020-11-01 05:49:18)

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#503 2020-11-01 12:57:40

Calliban
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From: Northern England, UK
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

Magnesium carbonate decomposes to magnesium oxide at 350C.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_carbonate

Of course, heat is still needed to release the CO2.

Maybe a less energy intensive option could exploit the relatively high solubility of CO2 in water.  Solubility varies with pressure and temperature.


"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."

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#504 2020-11-01 13:20:16

tahanson43206
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

For Calliban re #503

Would you be willing to pursue that idea a bit?  I'm betting that RobertDyck has what it will take to provide the leadership that can inspire people around the world to help to achieve his vision.

Right now, focus has been on creating and maintaining an atmosphere for Mars habitats (and the Large Ship cabins), and for green house "cabins" that would take in CO2 from humans on board the vessel, or inside the habitats.

In a recent post, RobertDyck extended the concept to include the backup capability to remove CO2 if the green house concept fails to deliver the needed services.  I'm hoping your concept (as I understand it) might have some qualities that would make it attractive for both the Large Ship and for Mars itself.

While you're researching your idea, I'm hoping you'll find that other gases might yield to this isolation method.

***
We're in the Large Ship topic (I'm reminding myself) and molecular separation (ie, separation of molecules) is the immediate focus ...

I ran a Google search yesterday, asking how the field of molecular separation is coming along .... there were so many citations I was taken aback, but the ones that might be of particular interest for Mars habitats and for the Large Ship are technologies that allow separation at the nano-scale.  These work with individual molecules, and thus have the potential to achieve a high level of output quality.

Unfortunately (as I understand what little I could glean from the snippets) the rate of production is currently quite low.

Molecule by molecule separation procedure needs to be able to operate at the ton-per-minute scale to have much impact, but if that concept can be realized at a small scale it might be amenable to upscaling.

(th)

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#505 2020-11-01 16:24:24

RobertDyck
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

Calliban: what's the application? Ship life support? Terraforming? Amine paste painted on styrofoam beads is a lightweight reusable CO2 sorbent for a ship. It can be thermally regenerated, the CO2 filtered and pumped into a pressure tank. That CO2 can be added under pressure to pure reverse osmosis filtered water to create carbonated water. Being careful to keep that sterile, it can be added to bags of cloroplasts in water for oxygen generation.

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#506 2020-11-01 16:32:39

RobertDyck
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

I saw a SciFi TV show, one scene showed a character add a pill to a bottle of water. It turned the water to whisky. Started me thinking how to do that. There are flavour crystals now if you only want flavour. Or a tiny sqeeze bottle of concentrated liquid flavour. Ancient Rome didn't add water or sugar to wine, you were expected to mix 2 parts water to 1 part wine in your glass. That works out to the same ratio as today, but lower alcohol. But wine is now sold ready to drink. So how could we do it with stong alcohol? Something that's crystals but when you dissolve in water it forms alcohol? Perhaps a base plus an enzyme, where the enzyme only acts once it gets wet? A way to ship booze in a compact form.

Of course we can always ferment vodka from pea starch. Use vodka as a base.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2020-11-01 17:39:26)

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#507 2020-11-01 16:45:34

Calliban
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From: Northern England, UK
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

RobertDyck wrote:

I saw a SciFi TV show, one scene showed a character add a pill to a bottle of water. It turned the water to whisky. Started me thinking how to do that. There are flavour crystals now if you only want flavour. Or a tiny sqeeze bottle of concentrated liquid flavour. Ancient Rome didn't add water or sugar to wine, you were expected to mix 2 parts water to 1 part wine in your glass. That works out to the same ratio as today, but lower alcohol. But wine is now sold ready to drink. So how could we do it with stong alcohol? Something that's crystals but when you dissolve in water it forms alcohol? Perhaps a bas plus an enzyme, where the enzyme only acts once it gets wet? A way to ship booze in a compact form.

Of course we can always feent vodka from pea starch. Use vodka as a base.

I think it would be difficult for whisky, as some of the congeners are heavier alcohols and various esters.  It would be very difficult to remove the ethanol and water to distil an essence without ruining the flavour.  But flavoured vodka or gin could be done this way.  Gin is flavoured with botanicals, so essential oils could be imported from Earth for flavouring purposes.

From time to time on this board, the topic of algae and other aquatic plants are discussed as food sources for Martian colonists.  I take spirullina powder as a supplement, along with a couple of other aquatic plant powders.  They are healthy, but generally taste foul.  I eat these things as additives to porridge, to which I add molasses to hide the unpleasant flavour.  Strong and overpowering flavourings may be exactly what is needed to make these things palatable.  I cannot see any other way that it could work as a food source.


"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."

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#508 2020-11-01 17:04:42

Calliban
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

RobertDyck wrote:

Calliban: what's the application? Ship life support? Terraforming? Amine paste painted on styrofoam beads is a lightweight reusable CO2 sorbent for a ship. It can be thermally regenerated, the CO2 filtered and pumped into a pressure tank. That CO2 can be added under pressure to pure reverse osmosis filtered water to create carbonated water. Being careful to keep that sterile, it can be added to bags of cloroplasts in water for oxygen generation.

I don't know.  I threw up the idea as a potential option for atmospheric CO2 scrubbing.  It may be that amine solution is an all round superior option.  I just noted that gas solubility is temperature dependant and that CO2 is far more soluble than most other gases.  See below.
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/gase … _1148.html

One could absorb CO2 into water spray at 20C, say, pump the saturated water into a tank and heat it to 30C to release a large portion of the dissolved CO2.  The depleted water is then cooled is a heat exchanger and pumped back through the spray tank.  A simple device, but it does require a temperature difference and two pumps.

Something like this may provide a way concentrating CO2 from the Martian atmosphere.  Unfortunately, as such low pressures and temperatures, the water would need to be a cold brine to prevent excessive evapouration.  This would have relatively high pumping power due to the high viscosity of liquid water at temperatures beneath 273K.  Kind of like pumping syrup.

Last edited by Calliban (2020-11-01 17:05:46)


"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."

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#509 2020-11-01 17:36:50

RobertDyck
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

Calliban wrote:

I think it would be difficult for whisky, as some of the congeners are heavier alcohols and various esters.  It would be very difficult to remove the ethanol and water to distil an essence without ruining the flavour.  But flavoured vodka or gin could be done this way.  Gin is flavoured with botanicals, so essential oils could be imported from Earth for flavouring purposes.

We could grow potted juniper in the observation deck. Definition of gin is vodka base flavoured with botanicals, and the dominant flavour must be juniper berries. smile

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#510 2020-11-01 18:30:34

SpaceNut
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#511 2020-11-02 07:29:55

tahanson43206
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

For RobertDyck re topic .... as this topic advances, details needed for a real-world implementation are showing up and then fading into the wake of the forum archive.  It is necessary for the design details to be archived somewhere.  This forum architecture is not ideal for the purpose, but it should be possible to use the existing structure with a bit of adjustment by all parties.

What I have in mind is a topic parallel to this one, with a title the same except for a suffix such as "Specifications".

This topic needs to remain open to constant improvement of ideas, so it is necessarily fluid.

However, the atmosphere specification worked out by you and GW Johnson would appear to be worth fixing.

I have tried to record the few details that seem to be reliable, but even those records are rapidly fading into the dim recesses of the archive.

(th)

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#512 2020-11-02 09:48:12

tahanson43206
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

As a follow up to earlier mention (by RobertDyck) of a transparent aluminum material ...


http://www.surmet.com/technology/alon-optical-ceramics/

ALON® or Aluminum Oxynitride is an amazing and unique transparent advanced ceramic that is polycrystalline (made from powder) with a cubic spinel crystal structure. In the popular media and in the Star Trek community, it is commonly referred to as Transparent Aluminum. Surmet is the only company globally, that manufactures ALON®.

Taking over the development of ALON® from a laboratory demonstration stage in 2002, Surmet is proud to announce the commercial availability of ALON® in large volumes and in really large sizes. Over the last 12 years, Surmet has invested large sums of monies to build up its vertically integrated optical ceramics manufacturing capability. Surmet gratefully acknowledges US DOD funding help in this accomplishment. Creating such a capability required a great deal of patience and attention to detail, and complete commitment, as the return on investment for new technology materials is a slow, uncertain  and painstaking endeavor.

(th)

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#513 2020-11-02 19:57:24

SpaceNut
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

This is the material which was used for the shuttles windows as well as for the ISS cupola node windows.

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#514 2020-11-02 22:38:20

RobertDyck
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

I tried to convince NASA to use it for Shuttle windows. They didn't. They used the same material as X-15 windshield. Shuttle was built in the 1970s, ALON was developed in the 1980s. They didn't retrofit. Micrometeoroids caused pits in the glass of Shuttle windows; they didn't even use power tools to remove the pits, they hand ground the windows.

Whenever I spoke to an engineer who worked on Shuttle, I raised this issue. They all said management wouldn't listen to them, they certainly wouldn't raise an issue from me. They said hand grinding meant a lot of manual labour, at a high price per hour. And contractors got paid cost-plus, so the more cost, the more profit to them. So changing to a window material that would eliminate hand grinding is not something contractors would accept.

There was an announcement that cupola windows would be ALON. I posted on this forum as well as emails asking them to use ALON. But they didn't. There was a recent media announcement that NASA was considering changing cupola windows to ALON, after they had to replace outer panes.

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#515 2020-11-03 18:25:36

tahanson43206
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

For all supporting the Large Ship topic ...

The article at the link below goes into some detail about how waste water is treated by cruise ships.  The special circumstances of waters around Alaska and the Galapagos Islands requires the highest standards.  Apparently the largest cruise ship has been built to achieve a zero landfill output.  If correct, that is a remarkable achievement.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/lifesty … 13512.html

The Large Ship will have to operate at this level of performance, or very close to it.

(th)

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#516 2020-11-03 19:22:17

RobertDyck
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

Wikipedia: Aquaponics

Many plants are suitable for aquaponic systems, though which ones work for a specific system depends on the maturity and stocking density of the fish. These factors influence the concentration of nutrients from the fish effluent and how much of those nutrients are made available to the plant roots via bacteria. Green leaf vegetables with low to medium nutrient requirements are well adapted to aquaponic systems, including chinese cabbage, lettuce, basil, spinach, chives, herbs, and watercress.

Other plants, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, have higher nutrient requirements and will do well only in mature aquaponic systems with high stocking densities of fish.

Plants that are common in salads have some of the greatest success in aquaponics, including cucumbers, shallots, tomatoes, lettuce, capsicum, red salad onions and snow peas.

Some profitable plants for aquaponic systems include chinese cabbage, lettuce, basil, roses, tomatoes, okra, cantaloupe and bell peppers.

Other species of vegetables that grow well in an aquaponic system include watercress, basil, coriander, parsley, lemongrass, sage, beans, peas, kohlrabi, taro, radishes, strawberries, melons, onions, turnips, parsnips, sweet potato, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and eggplant as well as the choys that are used for stir fries.

Concentrated human urine from the sewage system can be used to augment nutrients available to plants. And a little dried powdered human feces can be soaked in water and composted, though it will have to be heated to kill any disease, then maintained quite warm (possibly electrically heated) to decompose to compost. With mature fish, human feces should not be necessary. How popular will fish be for passengers? It will be the only fresh "meat". Other meat will be frozen or canned.

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#517 2020-11-05 10:29:05

tahanson43206
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

For RobertDyck re #516

Thanks for continuing development of the food supply and waste treatment track for the Large Ship.

The article at the link below is about investigation of hibernation.  I doubt hibernation will be practical any time soon, but it ** is ** interesting.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/astronauts-c … 06380.html

Phoebe Southworth
Thu, November 5, 2020, 10:04 AM EST

Being cooped up in a confined spacecraft for a long period of time could take its toll on their physical and mental health, according to Prof Vladyslav Vyazovskiy, who is leading the research.

He said these "huge implications" could be mitigated if astronauts were put into a "state of stasis", and said further investigation is needed to establish what effect this might have on their brains.

"Hibernation is a fascinating biological phenomenon. Sometimes it is confused with sleep because when an animal is hibernating it looks like it is sleeping, but it's a fundamentally different state," said Prof Vyazovskiy, an associate professor of neuroscience at Oxford University.

"Imagine you had to take a very long-haul flight to Mars, for example, and how much fuel, water supply, air you'd need to take along. If you were awake all the time, there are also huge implications for mental health, spending so much time in a highly confined environment - so it would be really advantageous to put the astronauts in a state of stasis.

The antidote to mental deterioration is activity that is meaningful and challenging.  In the absence of hibernation, a plan for a human expedition to Mars (including provision for a two year wave-off event) could include provision for a course of study that engages each traveller for the entire duration of the journey. 

The effectiveness of this technique has been explored by the Russians, as reported by a Russian speaker in the recent Mars 2020 Convention.

(th)

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#518 2020-11-08 06:42:46

tahanson43206
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

For RobertDyck re topic .... The National Space Society has two chapters in Houston.  Both are attended by members from the aerospace community.

The leader of the North chapter asked if there were smaller aspects of the Large Ship project that might be pitched to members of the chapter, to see if anyone is interested in helping. 

An item that is on the critical path is proof that your vision of a vessel that rotates without bearings is practical.  Verification of the concept could be proven with software using physics capabilities of gaming software, or a small scale model to be flown in space, preferably on the ISS.

I'd appreciate your thinking about what specific problem you'd be interested in having someone from the Houston North chapter help to resolve.

If the rotate-everything concept is not viable for a space vessel intended for flight and not just duty in LEO, the sooner we determine that the better.

(th)

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#519 2020-11-08 08:40:04

SpaceNut
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

Which is why the Mars Gravity Biosatellite or Translife experiment which is in a separate folder topic was so important as it was a rotating unit to prove out gravities effect on a small scale.
Last I knew MarsDrive was the holder of all of the information which had been developed for the project but even they have gone from a blog/ forum web posting to just facebook entity.

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#520 2020-11-08 08:58:05

tahanson43206
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

For SpaceNut re #519

Thanks for the tip about MarsDrive .... I'll investigate it.

There might have been a person or two who worked on that who would be willing to help with RobertDyck's project.

I am looking for opportunities to move from discussion to real-universe practical exercises.

There are thousands upon thousands of just-retired engineers and scientists in every related field, and they are not getting any younger.

The time to catch such a person is just after they've retired, and while they still have reserves of energy and creativity to bring to bear on problems that interest them.

The archives of this forum contain examples of the kinds of contributions such persons can make.

Since this is the Large Ship topic, I am hoping we can think of ways to recruit people with the knowledge, experience and generosity of spirit to help address the thousands of decisions that must be made before one of Quark's friends will sink a dime into the endeavor.

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#521 2020-11-08 14:59:23

RobertDyck
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

Projects we can start now:

  • life support: isolate chloroplasts using the standard undergraduate university biochemistry laboratory experiment. Prove chloroplasts undergo photosynthesis, produce oxygen. Chloroplasts normally only last 20 minutes. I want a change: do the experiment in a sealed glove box filled with CO2. Ensure the chloroplasts never touch oxygen. Once isolated, place them in a plastic bag with sterile water. The water has to be sterile because isolated chloroplasts will not have an immune system, won't be able to defend themselves from single cell organisms or viruses. Bacteriophage is a category of virus that infects bacteria. Yes, the fictional disease on Star Trek Voyager called "Phage" is based on something in real life. But on Earth, a phage only infects bacteria, which is why it's often called bacteriophage. A chloroplast has a ring of DNA called a plasmid, it can be infected by a bacteriophage. So ensure the water is sterile. Carbonate the sterile water. This can be done by placing water in a bottle with CO2, leave it for at least an hour, idealy several hours, say 8 hours. This is how soda pop is created, but pop normally has sugar and flavour added. This won't; just sterile water and dissolved CO2. The idea is to increase the CO2:O2 ratio to prevent oxygenation of ribulose biphosphate (RuBP). My assertion is chloroplasts will last much longer.

  • life support phase 2: use a special plastic for the plastic bag. The plastic must be transparent to visible light so that light for photosynthesis can get in, but instead of normal plastic I want a semipermeable membrane. This will allow O2 to get out, but not CO2 or larger molecules. Ideally not water either. Use an aquarium water pump to circulate water inside the bag, and a fan to blow air across the outside of the bag. The idea is to promote removal of O2 from the water. You want the water to retain high CO2 and low O2 to ensure low oxidation of RuBP. Besides, this is the oxygen generator, so you want the O2 to get out. Another refinement: use an ultrasonic sealer to seal lines in the plastic bag, creating channels for the water like an air mattress. Don't seal entirely across the bag, but leave one end open, so water will flow through channels in a zig-zag pattern. With a channel in the bag to direct water back to the start. Have an outlet for water where a hose connects to the aquarium water pump, and an inlet water a hose from the pump returns water back to the bag.

  • life support: would it be good to add loose fibreglass batting inside the bag? Completely transparent, not the yellow or pink stuff used for insulation. Again, you want light to get to the chloroplasts. Apply a transparent adhesive to the batting, so chloroplasts stick. That way water circulates in the bag, chloroplasts stay put. So you don't have to worry about the pump destroying your chloroplasts.

  • asteroid mining: the organization PERMANENT has developed means to refine metals from a metal asteroid. They use the Mond process to harvest highly refined nickel, then use a higher pressure and temperature to harvest iron. Then higher temperature and pressure to harvest cobalt. All extremely pure; this is the processes that refineries use on Earth to purify nickel. PERMANENT says they found a way to use it to harvest platinum group metals. The Mond process uses pure carbon monoxide gas (CO), but I believe some platinum group metals require addition of some fluorine gas. Let's get details how to do this.

  • asteroid mining: how to extract gold and silver. The Mond process won't work on them, so how can this be done in a simple, cost effective, and reliable way that fully automated equipment can do at the asteroid site? Gold and silver are difficult to separate from each other, so don't even try. If you end up with 98% gold/silver alloy, with the other 2% by mass being industrial metals (copper, etc), then good enough. That can be transported to Earth, refined here.

  • asteroid mining: how to extract chrome and molybdenum? These are required for Inconel 617; the alloy NASA identified for a metal heat shield. We will want the asteroid to produce Inconel and form aeroshells to transport precious metal bullion to Earth. That's for money to fund construction of the large ship. The Large Ship itself will need radiators just like ISS, and they're made from Inconel; so that's a second use for the alloy. Stainless steel 300 series is composed of iron, carbon, nickel, and chrome, that's all. But that will require chrome. So how do we extract chrome and molybdenum from an asteroid?

  • asteroid mining: review of meteorites. Yup, meteorites we can hold in our hands on Earth. I treat them as a fair sample of Near Earth Objects. The easiest asteroids to mine will be Near Earth, the ones that orbit the Sun closer than Mars or Venus. Meteorites are a fair sample of those, and metal meteorites are a sample of metal asteroids. How much precious metal is in meteorites? How much chrome, molybdenum? Do meteorites have any aluminum? Maybe not; metal meteorites are the core of a small planetoid that broke up. The process that caused molten iron and nickel to fall to the core will have caused light elements like aluminum and magnesium to float to the surface. But it doesn't hurt to ask. Or to check in samples of meteorites we have on Earth.

  • Moon mining: we can mine the surface of the Moon for aluminum. A good igneous ore is anorthite. Lunar surface is mostly aluminum silicates, are there deposits of highly pure anorthite? Are there deposits close to the lunar poles were we can find water ice? Aluminum on Earth starts with bauxite ore, but that's the result of millions of years of a tropical rain forest. There's no tropical rain forest on the Moon, so no bauxite. Smelting bauxite starts with disolving in strong alkali, draw the liquor into a second tank were pH is neutralized with a weak acid. Smelting anorthite simply reverses this: disolve in strong acid (hydrochloric), then draw into a second tank and neutralize with a weak alkali (ammonia). The second tank requires a shower head in the top to prevent crystals forming above the water line, but that's easy. At least easy on a body with gravity, such as the Moon. When pH is close to neutral (doesn't have to be perfect) crystals of aluminum hydroxide precipitate out, collecting at the bottom. From this point the process is the same as on Earth: those crystals are scooped out, rinsed off, then calcinated. That means they're heated above the boiling temperature of water, but not so hot they melt. On Earth air is blown across to provide oxygen, but on the Moon we'll have to provide oxygen. This oxygen combines with hydroxyl from the aluminum hydroxide crystals, resulting in steam. The process on the Moon can recycle that steam. Crystals become aluminum oxide (alumina). Then use electrolysis to smelt alumina into aluminum metal. Here's a question: Can we make alumina oxide sufficiently pure to make ALON windows? The alternative is to smelt into aluminum metal, then deliberately oxidize back into aluminum oxide. That would be highly wasteful, so can we make sufficiently pure aluminum oxide directly?

  • Moon mining: design automated equipment to mine Moon ore. Run the whole process to harvest ore, produce aluminum oxide ground to fines.

  • Moon mining: ALON also requires aluminum nitride. This will require smelting some aluminum metal. That metal will have to be reacted with nitrogen some how to produce aluminum nitride (AlN) powder. That also has to be ground to fines. I assume nitrogen will have to be transported from Earth. What's the best way to produce AlN on the Moon?

  • asteroid mining: propellant production. The best source of propellant in space is a carbonaceous chondrite asteroid. One astronomer told me any C-type asteroid orbiting closer than Mars will have boiled off all it's volatiles long ago. That includes water ice and dry ice. Another astronomer isn't so sure; very large asteroids may have retained ice deep inside. The asteroid 3552 Don Quixote is dripping in water ice; it has a coma like a comet. It's faint, but it's there. However, that asteroid is in the main belt. Is there a closer source of water ice and carbon? Remember, we'll need carbon monoxide (CO) to mine the metal asteroid. Carbonaceous chondrite asteroids contain tar, clay, other hydrated minerals as well as water ice and dry ice. They also have pebbles of rock embedded in that soft stuff. Well, Alaska found permafrost is as hard as concrete, that's frozen wet mud. The temperature of objects in space is much colder than Alaska, so they'll be very hard. "M-type" asteroids are metal as far as we can tell with spectra from telescopes on Earth. They're called "metal" after they're confirmed, but that requires landing a probe and collecting samples. "C-type" are carbonaceous chondrite as far as we can tell with telescopes. Both moons of Mars appear to be C-type. Do they have water ice? Do they have tar? They could be idea sources of rocket fuel and carbon monoxide. Actually, it may be easier to transport dry ice and water ice to the metal asteroid, process at the metal asteroid to form CO. But still, the moons of Mars may be ideal. How do we verify volatiles?

  • welding in space: how? We will need to assemble a very large structure. I doubt grinding edges smooth and just pressing will produce a reliable weld. Heating to welding temperature has it's problems, because the vacuum of space will keep it hot a very long time. So how?

  • aquaculture: design a complete system for the Ship. For 1,000 passengers and 66 crew, how much veggies will we need? What vegetables? Can we grow all salad and veggies on the ship? How big with the aquaculture greenhouse be? Remember this is design to travel from Earth orbit to Mars orbit and back. We will have full sunlight 24/7. Mars orbit gets 47% as much sunlight as Earth orbit, but space doesn't have Earth's atmosphere to absorb/block light. After filtering out harmful UV, expect a ship in Mars orbit will have 53% as much light as the surface of Earth. But that's the surface of Earth in the tropics at high noon, when the Sun is directly overhead, not angled at all. And perfectly clear sky with no clouds at all. And very low humidity. I'm trying to say sunlight in space is very bright. And it's completely reliable 24/7. With light like that, plants will grow very well! The ship will be oriented so one side of the greenhouse is always facing the Sun. You may want to put a mirror wall on the forward side of the greenhouse, the side away from the Sun, so it reflects sunlight back in. And yes, we want to use sunlight, not artificial light.

  • aquaculture: toilets will process urine to extract water. Grey water will pass from urine processor to water processor to become potable. Concentrated human urine will be available as a nutrient for hydroponics or aquaponics. What has to be done to that urine to make it suitable as a nutrient? How much urine? Will humans on the ship produce more urine than hydroponics & aquaponics can use?

  • radar: there are objects in space. They're very rare, but exist. Can we design a radar system for the ship to detect meteoroids and asteroids too large for the micrometeoroid shield? Can we detect them far enough away that the ship can avoid them?

  • manoeuvring: Write a computer simulation for the ship. I envision engines for mid-course manoeuvres, these engines will be attached to hub. With engines pointed in every direct, if you want to thrust say toward counter clockwise around the Sun then wait until one of the engines is pointed in the correct direct and fire a short burst. Then as the ship rotates, the next engine will come into alignment, so fire it. Then the next, etc. This allows mid-course corrections while the entire ship rotates, without stopping or slowing rotation. Since engines will fire a short burst, pulse engines are appropriate. I mentioned the microfusion thrusters from a paper I got from NASA. It's a detailed paper, but they didn't build a prototype. I'm not asking NSS to build a functioning prototype fusion engine, but just write a computer simulation of a ship with pulse engines. Also note, the main engine used for TMI must remain pointed perfectly at the Sun at all times. That's to ensure radiation shadow shielding protects the habitation ring.

  • advocacy: lobby the US government to launch the Centrifuge Accommodation Module for ISS. This module was paid by Italy, built by Japan. It was ready for launch, in the staging building at KSC. Shuttle was cancelled without launching it. It's currently an outdoor display in Tokyo. I want to launch it. I was designed to be delivered by Shuttle, but we can do it today with an Atlas V rocket, and service module from Cygnus to rendezvous with ISS. The station's arm would grab it and berth to a CBM port just the same way as Cygnus normally does. The only difference is the pressurized cargo module of Cygnus is replaced by a full-size station module: the Centrifuge Module. This is too small for an astronaut to climb inside the module, but is sufficient for small mammals: laboratory mice, guinea pigs, etc. This is a fundamental of science that ISS was built to do. We have discussed whether Mars gravity is sufficient; this can be tested.

  • advocacy: lobby a test of artificial gravity with astronauts. Attach a crew space capsule (Dragon, Starliner, Soyuz) to a cargo ship filled with garbage (cargo Dragon, Cygnus, Japanese HTV, Progress), and spin to Mars gravity. Connect with a tether so the two craft can be separated enough to produce gravity while spinning a low enough RPM to be tolerable to humans. Do this with both crew spacecraft and cargo ship that went to ISS, but are finished their mission and ready to return to Earth. Move significantly away from ISS before starting the experiment. A major part of the experiment is to prove they can manoeuvre while rotating. This can be done by firing thrusters to pull on the tether, never push. You can't push on a string. Change orbit. The change doesn't have to be much, just enough to prove you can. Idea is to simulate a mid-course correct enroute to Mars. Cygnus, HTV, and Progress are normally filled with garbage when their mission is done; they de-orbit, burn up in the atmosphere, then crash in the ocean. The reason I want it filled with garbage is in case something goes wrong. If you have to sacrifice one spacecraft to save the other, which is a no-brainer. This is the next logical step after Gemini 12. Gemini 12 attached to an Agena target vehicle and spun, using spin for stabilization. Gemini 12 was in November 1966; we can't do as well today?

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#522 2020-11-08 15:30:47

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 7,252
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Re: Large scale colonization ship

I went to a local burger restaurant yesterday. Due to COVID-19, all seating was closed, but you could pick up an order for take-out. The dining room has 58 seats, kitchen was 12 feet by 20 feet. That includes the order counter with cash register. Work it out: that's 4 square feet per dining seat, not 5. smile However, that did not include washrooms, pinball machines (I don't remember seeing anyone ever play), or the office that they seem to use as a storage room.

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#523 2020-11-08 16:20:57

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 10,394

Re: Large scale colonization ship

For RobertDyck .... re #521

Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful reply to the NSS inquiry.

I'll pass it along.  From a human relations standpoint, please note that the chapter leader has been working to provide opportunities for young people (Junior High (US)) age to participate in space related communications.  If (by any chance) you have experience (or contacts) with that sort of outreach effort, it would surely be of interest.

(th)

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#524 2020-11-08 17:30:31

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 7,252
Website

Re: Large scale colonization ship

tahanson43206,
so it wouldn't be appropriate to ask for genetic engineering to add genes from cyanobacteria to the chromosome of peas that is used to make a plasmid for chloroplasts. I would like to add all 3 pathways to recycle 2PG. In plants such as peas, the process is partially done by chloroplasts, many steps are done by mitochondria and peroxisome. Chloroplasts have 85% of genes of cyanobacteria, so giving them genes from the original from which they came is appropriate. This should (hopefully) make peas grow faster. That would be an excuse to get funding. The real reason I want to do it is so isolated chloroplasts will continue to function for a long time; ideally 6 months before needing replacement, although 3 months would be nice.

But you want a junior high project. Um... Cutting up a cardboard model of the big ship is more elementary school level. Sounds kindergarten, but adding detail of cabins on the habitation ring sound more like elementary school. Would hydroponics and aquaponics be appropriate? What foods? How much do we need? Can we grow all salad and vegetables on the ship?

Here's a silly question: would people accept starch pudding? Instead of mashed potatoes or french fries? I tried a few batches, fiddled with cooking protocol to get a pudding texture. Found it difficult, but did it. Cook too little, it's as thin as water. Cook too much, it forms hard rubbery lumps. Starch and water had no flavour what so ever, but adding traditional bread yeast and letting it ferment for 3 days, then cooking in a microwave oven produces the flavour and aroma of freshly baked bread. I added yeast nutrient purchased from a store that sells supplies for home made wine.

Another test: yeast with fruit juice, cooked in the microwave oven in 2-bite muffin moulds. No yeast. I used frozen concentrated fruit juice, mixed using the recipe on the juice can: 1 can frozen juice, 3 cans water. Mix starch, cook in microwave oven. Result is gel candy. No sugar, no preservatives. I found the candies cannot be kept in a refrigerator; after a day or two the juice separated from the starch. This left juice liquid in the bowl, candies became white and tasteless. These home made candies are healthy because they're just juice and starch, no sugar or preservatives. Have to be eaten the same day. More mild than jujubes. I made some with strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, orange, and grape. Was careful to select frozen fruit juice that was just juice. Idea is to simulate growing fruit in a greenhouse on Mars, make your own candy.

I used Corelle brand soup bowls because they're actually made of Pyrex glass. That's the same glass as laboratory glassware, but sold as residential soup bowls.

This experiment could show students the scientific method. Add more starch, less starch. Higher temperature on the microwave oven, or lower. More time, or less. Log every attempt, record results. This will show out to create a protocol that works. Creating a pudding texture was tricky. When I made gel candies, I tried adding more or less water to the concentrated fruit juice, the only mix that worked was as recommended on the can.

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#525 2020-11-08 17:32:55

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 7,252
Website

Re: Large scale colonization ship

Or there's home made potato chips. (British call them crisps.) Fresh raw potatoes cut with a "Mandolin" vegetable slicer. This creates chips. "Par cook" them by boiling; just until they become translucent but still quite firm. I found you do have to "paint" them with a little vegetable oil. Sprinkle salt before baking. This results in plain potato chips; you can cook flavours. For salt and vinegar, when you boil use a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar, and dissolve salt in the water. You will still have to sprinkle salt before baking. If you want it to be more Mars relevant, use sea salt. This simulates salt made from Mars soil.

For dill pickle flavour, crush 1 clove of garlic and boil dill (aka dill weed) in the water/vinegar/salt mixture first to extract the flavour. Then boil sliced potatoes in that. Bake them in the oven, and sprinkle salt when they come out.

Another flavour: red current. My idea. smile Again stuff we can grow in a greenhouse on Mars. Add fresh red currents to water with a little salt, no vinegar. Or dehydrated red currents; they will have to be simmered longer to rehydrate and steep the flavour out. Red currents are a tart, sour berry high in vitamin C. You can use black currents, but they aren't as tart. Sprinkle a little salt before baking. An alternative is chilli powder; still add salt to the water, but instead of salting the chips before baking, sprinkle with chilli powder.

However, I don't envision potatoes grown on the ship. The question is whether we can make stuff with pea starch to replace potatoes? Since the chloroplast oxygen generation system will produce copious quantities of pea starch as a byproduct.

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