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#1 2007-06-29 09:33:46

ven_aura
Member
From: Indiana
Registered: 2007-06-18
Posts: 7

Re: An Educational Video Game

Hello all, new here.  I'd almost given up that I'd get membership!

Anyway, I'm an intern at a company that develops "serious games" (we all hate the term) and the project I've been given the research for is a space game.

Considering the awesome opportunities for education and outreach in a Mars setting, that was our chosen focus (for this phase). While a finished product is going to take YEARS and probably a lot of headaches, the current research and module and some graphics phase we're in is pretty fun.

I've already done a fair bit of research already, and we've figured out the basics of the layout of the base, but there are a few things I'd like to bounce off you all.

I'm currently trying to develop a few problem scenarios within some educational standards. One idea we came up with involved mining (not strip mining, though, don't want to mess up the planet right away) and another involved the maintenance and placement of remote science stations.

The last one I'm trying to explore, though, is giving me a little trouble. And it involves life support and growing food. I've got the basics of the biology down (had to take a refresher, last time I had biology was junior high, thank goodness I have friends that major in it) but how it all works together has made me hit a bit of a wall.

So, to boil it all down, what I'd like is some up to date discussion on what's going on with life support systems for proposed colonies. Are biodome-like systems old news? What sorts of things have been proven to work with food (I know hydroponics is nifty, I did that at space camp way back in '95)? Can concepts like the nitrogen and carbon cycles be synthetically done? Anything found in nanotechnology (I know, it's a buzz word, this is an NSF grant)?

Hit me with your best sources and even previous threads (though I have been sifting through them, some really exciting discussions!) Don't worry about how complicated any of the concepts are, I'm an Aerospace Engineering student, if I don't know it, I at least have the sense to look it up. smile

And if you have anything that might help with anything involving mining or other instrumentation out there too, more information is better. I'll be fishing around in the threads when I can as well.

Hopefully that's all clear. I'll be sure to check the forum regularly.


"Never underestimate the power of a junior high science teacher."

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#2 2007-06-29 14:25:40

noosfractal
Member
From: Biosphere 1
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 824
Website

Re: An Educational Video Game

Hi ven_aura,

Welcome to New Mars.

Most plans I've seen rely heavily on abundant nuclear energy for basic life support and then handwave about greenhouses. 

Have you seen the Mars Home project?
http://www.marshome.org/documents.php
It has some details that you might find interesting.

Overall, for example, there is a nitrogen shortage on Mars, but for small populations (i.e, < a million) you can mine nitrate beds as long as you have enough energy.


If you don't want nuclear, then you'll need _large_ areas devoted to solar + storage, and maybe a wind farm for dust storms (upto twice a year, 100 days each)
http://www.memagazine.org/mepower03/mar … needs.html

I personally like this idea ...
http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlin … ar99_1.htm


I think the most likely use for nanotech is in the manufacture of strong, lightweight materials for construction.  Carbon nanotube (CNT) composites, CNT aerogels, etc.  So, fancifully, you take the CO2 atmosphere, split out the O2 for lifesupport and use the carbon to create CNT composite domes.


Fan of Red Oasis

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#3 2007-06-29 14:57:30

ven_aura
Member
From: Indiana
Registered: 2007-06-18
Posts: 7

Re: An Educational Video Game

Most plans I've seen rely heavily on abundant nuclear energy

Yes, we were going to start looking into that too (to some extent this phase is a lot of "if you have parts A, B, and C, then we can do such and such activities). But thank you for reminding me to expand my energy document. big_smile

Overall, for example, there is a nitrogen shortage on Mars, but for small populations (i.e, < a million) you can mine nitrate beds as long as you have enough energy.

Well that's quite useful. And we're not making it a very big colony, so that's very pertinent. In fact, it's more of a base than a colony, with possibly later additions of a true colony so to speak if the game concept gets accepted into the next grant phase. But I'm supposed to look at the big picture as well.

Have you seen the Mars Home project?

No I haven't! I can't believe I missed that! Great link.

I think the most likely use for nanotech is in the manufacture of strong, lightweight materials for construction. Carbon nanotube (CNT) composites, CNT aerogels, etc. So, fancifully, you take the CO2 atmosphere, split out the O2 for lifesupport and use the carbon to create CNT composite domes.

That's what I figured, that it would be more on the materials side. And I was wondering if there was some theoretical way to split the O2 out like that. The funny thing about education is they're all about starting this nanotechnology lesson plans and areas of study, but barely have anywhere to go to develop them. But that's my headache, not yours. XD


"Never underestimate the power of a junior high science teacher."

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#4 2007-06-29 18:14:50

noosfractal
Member
From: Biosphere 1
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 824
Website

Re: An Educational Video Game

I was wondering if there was some theoretical way to split the O2 out like that.

You just need energy, e.g., a high temperature solar furnace.  If you wanted to be more subtle - maybe an artificial form of photosynthesis (CO2 + light -> O2 + carbon, usually in the form of plant matter).  Or maybe not even artificial - carbon black feedstock can be made from plant matter like other petrochemicals (see biodiesel, bioplastics, etc).

** EDIT:

Here's an example of "artificial photosynthesis" ...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 … 091932.htm


Fan of Red Oasis

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#5 2012-08-14 04:03:37

hornig
Member
Registered: 2012-08-13
Posts: 22
Website

Re: An Educational Video Game

Hi,

I really hoped that they did Sim Mars (trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIJ8E4o-2Ow ), but they droped it for The Sims sad.
It would still be great to get such a game.

Best regards,

Andreas

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