Mars Colonization Thread

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:51 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
ucim wrote:But in any case, I think it's very important to have a stable space infrastructure in place before setting out to colonize Mars, or anyplace in the solar system. This includes the political or commercial will to do it. This would necessarily include a vision, and I suppose that's why we're here.

Jose


It seems to me that the keystone of that is a strong orbital presence. This offers potential economic benefits such as asteroid mining (after nudging them into earth orbit,) space-based solar power, zero-g manufacturing, tourism and basic science research.

Orbital stations would provide ideal conditions for the use of low impulse, low weight craft such as ion-engine spacecraft or solar sails. You're probably going to want that before you embark on further manned exploration of the solar system.


Pretty much. Some research on that is currently happening via picosats, because they're a super-cheap way(in space exploration moneys) to test out concepts in space. Of course, those have pretty severe mass/size limitations, so for scaled up versions, we'll definitely want some orbital stations.

The same principle applies regardless, perfect stuff as cheaply as possible, burning as little money on lifting stuff far, far away. Don't test in geostationary what you can test in LEO, and likewise, don't test on mars what you can test in orbit.

Decrying profit is...whatever. Most of us are pretty okay with spending on pure research, but just ignoring efficiency doesn't seem justified.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby EMTP » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:08 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Decrying profit is...whatever. Most of us are pretty okay with spending on pure research, but just ignoring efficiency doesn't seem justified.


Recognizing that people do things for reasons other than profit =/= "decrying profit."
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:54 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Decrying profit is...whatever. Most of us are pretty okay with spending on pure research, but just ignoring efficiency doesn't seem justified.


Recognizing that people do things for reasons other than profit =/= "decrying profit."


Sorry, that was addressed to Izawwl. He's sniping at profit as a means to somehow justify ignoring efficiency altogether. It's fuzzy thinking. Whatever sort of means of reward you hope to reap, efficiency remains relevant. Dollars, knowledge, whatever.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:13 pm UTC

I was going to ask 'where do you think I'm ignoring efficiency', but EMTP beat me to it.

I have never advocated for ignoring efficiency. I've disagreed with some of the ideas here, but not on grounds of maximizing inefficiency.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby johnny_7713 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:49 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:The biggest problem Mars One or any Mars mission is going to face is money. Either you make it pay or get the government involved or both. But pouring 100 billion down the rabbit hole isn't going to happen, not without some hope of a return. Having said that I think it is possible to go and at least orbit Mars in the near term with a manned crew, which would illuminate the problems involved.


The Mars One "business model" is that the return will be that you get to broadcast their reality show and use it to sell advertising time. In other words, the benefit will be plain old marketing opportunities here on Earth, rather than being directly derived from the colony. Also, they claim to only need 6 billion, or about 1.25 Olympic Games worth of TV rights income.

I mean, I don't think any of those statements are realistic, but that's where the return is supposed to be in the Mars One plan.
In general I agree you need some sort of return, but as others have pointed out, that doesn't necessarily have to be measured in dollars.


Regarding the recyclability of 3D printed stuff. The plastic commonly used in 3D printing today is themoplastic and melts at a reasonably low temperature (relative to industrial processes). [speculation from here:]That means it shouldn't be too hard to reprocess into feedstock wire again if needed. It also means that it is unsuitable for many of the replacement parts you would need. If it's not currently made out of cheap plastic, there's probably a reason for that. 3D printing of materials other than cheap plastic is possible, but those parts would be harder to recycle, especially once you start talking about alloys with tightly controlled compositions.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:43 pm UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:Regarding the recyclability of 3D printed stuff. The plastic commonly used in 3D printing today is themoplastic and melts at a reasonably low temperature (relative to industrial processes). [speculation from here:]That means it shouldn't be too hard to reprocess into feedstock wire again if needed. It also means that it is unsuitable for many of the replacement parts you would need. If it's not currently made out of cheap plastic, there's probably a reason for that. 3D printing of materials other than cheap plastic is possible, but those parts would be harder to recycle, especially once you start talking about alloys with tightly controlled compositions.


As for the speculation, nah(I own multiple 3d printers). ABS in particular offgasses pretty significantly, so you'll see compositional changes. You can recycle it to some degree, still, but it's not just a melt and reuse in exactly the same fashion. Most printers are even particular about the formulation of ABS they use, and running the wrong one through will result in printing a lattice instead of a solid object or similarly problematic print jobs. Very touchy indeed.

You are, of course, correct about materials.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:52 pm UTC

And... again... thankfully the planet provides an abundance of CO2, which can be converted into ethylene, which is, I shit you not, the base of a huge portion of the plastics industry. You can make thermoplastics from ethylene.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:03 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:And... again... thankfully the planet provides an abundance of CO2, which can be converted into ethylene, which is, I shit you not, the base of a huge portion of the plastics industry. You can make thermoplastics from ethylene.


It's the S portion of ABS, styrene, that tends to offgas(well, most, anyway. You at least get ultrafine particles from 3d printing with any thermoplastic that I'm aware of). It's not a huge problem in casual use, you just make sure the room is well ventilated, etc, and stuff gets ditched outside, and the overall concentrations are not a big deal.

In a closed environment, greater potential for buildup occurs. Over and above the recycling issue, the resulting products can pose a health risk in higher concentrations, so if you're talking about heavy duty manufacturing on a station, you need some way to manage that. It's not unsurmountable or anything, but you're probably talking about lifting more equipment to safely deal with filtration/airflow concerns in addition to that already needed.

3d printing is cool, but it's being WAY oversold as a cure-all.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

Polyethylene is a thermoplastic, and is used in 3d printing.

Note though, you can also produce styrene from ethylene.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:55 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Polyethylene is a thermoplastic, and is used in 3d printing.

Note though, you can also produce styrene from ethylene.


All thermoplastics used in 3d printing do this to some degree. Different materials have different tradeoffs, as well. ABS gets used a lot because of strength/flexibility, despite other disadvantages. Restricting your feedstock is going to restrict the practical use.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:13 pm UTC

Oh, I'm sure all thermoplastics have pros/cons that I'm sure also run the gamut of applicability (maybe acrylics can't be used for o-ring seals, or such). The point I'm making isn't that 3d printing is a magic bullet, but that feedstocks are extremely readily available, which makes for a very useful tool.

For example, if you can manufacture plastic tubing with an extruder, you don't need to bring along plastic tubing for your hydroponics facility.

Again, to be clear, my point here isn't that this is sorcery and will solve all problems, but that it is actually a pretty useful tool, and due to Mars atmosphere, a tool whose resource consumption we don't need to ship along with the colonists, since they can manufacture it on sight
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:48 pm UTC

You can, but you're packing the material anyway, so it really doesn't save you launch weight. You're hauling along the plastic either way, plus a little excess for mistakes, measurement errors, manufacturing wasteage, etc, plus the tooling required to make it. It *might* save volume if the quantity is high enough, but overall weight is going to strictly increase.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:54 pm UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:The Mars One "business model" is that the return will be that you get to broadcast their reality show and use it to sell advertising time.
Given the apathy shown towards our existing space program, the attention span of the general public, and the multple-year extent of a single mars mission, I don't see this as realistic either.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:55 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
johnny_7713 wrote:The Mars One "business model" is that the return will be that you get to broadcast their reality show and use it to sell advertising time.
Given the apathy shown towards our existing space program, the attention span of the general public, and the multple-year extent of a single mars mission, I don't see this as realistic either.

Jose
Certainly not realistic, but it is worth pointing out that NASA has the highest approval rating of any government organization.

@Tyn: You'll have to explain your logic here - you're asserting that the weight of 3d printer + plastic feedstock is identical to the weight of 3d printer + nothing?

I'm saying you can literally produce plastic feedstock from Martian atmosphere, which saves you the trouble of bringing along your own, and you're saying that's 'not weight saving'?
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:58 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
ucim wrote:
johnny_7713 wrote:The Mars One "business model" is that the return will be that you get to broadcast their reality show and use it to sell advertising time.
Given the apathy shown towards our existing space program, the attention span of the general public, and the multple-year extent of a single mars mission, I don't see this as realistic either.

Jose
Certainly not realistic, but it is worth pointing out that NASA has the highest approval rating of any government organization.

@Tyn: You'll have to explain your logic here - you're asserting that the weight of 3d printer + plastic feedstock is identical to the weight of 3d printer + nothing?

I'm saying you can literally produce plastic feedstock from Martian atmosphere, which saves you the trouble of bringing along your own, and you're saying that's 'not weight saving'?


Producing feedstock from atmosphere is not exactly trivial. That requires significantly more weight and machinery than the 3d printer itself.

You'd need very large volumes for this to be anything like reasonable, and honestly, 3d printers are more of a prototyping thing than a mass production thing.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:14 pm UTC

Heh, since it was so commonly asked of me, I guess I'm going to turn around and say - define 'much heavier'.

The reaction to produce ethylene is quite trivial. There are even biological solutions that are even more easier, albeit less efficient.

Long term, relying on ethylene synthesis seems a pretty simple way to not require manifests being taken up with thermoplastic. Especially if you're using 3d printing to manufacture larger scale components, like piping for your aquaponics, etc, etc, etc.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:55 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Heh, since it was so commonly asked of me, I guess I'm going to turn around and say - define 'much heavier'.

The reaction to produce ethylene is quite trivial. There are even biological solutions that are even more easier, albeit less efficient.

Long term, relying on ethylene synthesis seems a pretty simple way to not require manifests being taken up with thermoplastic. Especially if you're using 3d printing to manufacture larger scale components, like piping for your aquaponics, etc, etc, etc.


It's not that the chemistry can't be done, it's that it simply requires equipment, maint, and so forth. Take your typical home model 3d printer. A Cube, for instance. It'll weigh about ten pounds, empty. This is just the printer, basic feeding bits, etc. Nothing interesting like polymerizing ethylene and extruding it to a filament. A cartridge takes about 18 hours of constant printing to run dry, and contains 320 grams of plastic. So, we're looking at a coupla weeks of continuous printing for the printer to print enough to earn back it's own weight. Add on additional time for whatever other machinery you need for retrieving materials, in accordance with weight. Increase the whole total by about 10% because sometimes print jobs go south.

But wait, you say, MUCH faster, fancier, etc printers exist. They certainly do. They also have a significantly heftier weight budget. Speed and accuracy can be traded off, but if you want leakproof pipes(leaving aside the seals for these things, and the tediousness of hooking up tiny ass pipes because the print bay is only so large), you require a degree of accuracy. And hell, you're probably going to end up junking a lot more parts if your tolerances for error are low. If you're making cool yoda heads or whatever, minor errors don't matter much. If you're doing functional crap, you toss a lot of parts.

So, how many pounds of pipe do you need for your hydroponic setup? How much time do you have to build it? What are the implications on your necessary food budget if it takes months to print the necessary pipes?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:26 pm UTC

The argument you're making here is that 3d printing doesn't even have a place on Mars. If that's the argument you want to make, then shrug, I disagree but don't think it's worth getting into.

For a full aquaponics set up, you'd need 'substantial' lengths of piping. I don't know how much, but estimates are available around this thread. It's probably not terribly heavy in and of itself, but it's fairly bulky. I'm suggesting instead of bringing x thousand feet of piping, bring one tubing extruder and use onsite synthesized plastic stock. Or, if you don't want to rely on your extruder (very valid), send the extruder on future launches when the colony is ready for expansion.

My point here isn't that 3d printing will solve all equipment shortages and eliminate everything on a manifest, but that an extremely useful tool is available to Martian colonists, and because plastics are pretty useful for all manner of things, and readily synthesizable on Mars, we don't need to worry about certain materials bottlenecking the colony.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby KittenKaboodle » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:53 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:And... again... thankfully the planet provides an abundance of CO2, which can be converted into ethylene, which is, I shit you not, the base of a huge portion of the plastics industry. You can make thermoplastics from ethylene.

And of course, C2H4 has got to be flammable. Since the only likely source of that H4 is water, which also contains some O, (not to mention a couple of O in CO2, sounds to me like a good start on rocket fuel production.

Oh, wait, are you talking about Mars One's new project?

While Mars one's one way trip plan is probably mostly for publicity purposes, it does make a lot of sense. By the time they scrape together enough money, many of the applicants are likely to be dead, when one scatters someone's ashes somewhere it is usually intended to be their final resting place (another plus is one doesn't really need to be too concerned with a soft landing).

Yeah, yeah, I know... But I'm wondering why this is in news, sure, Mars one selecting applicants for a one way trip to mars is "news", but wouldn't a discussion of a real human on mars project (which is really exciting) be better in say, science?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:48 am UTC

An amusing idea is to grow your piping, using bamboo. Closes the loop so to speak. Grows fast. Very useful in many applications. And can be worked with manual tools. And can be easily broken down and fed back into the system. You will run into issues with your power budget if you aren't careful, so making things will be something that you do when you have to, unless the material is cheap in terms of power. It may be the with careful planning you could make small quantities of iron and steel in situ, at least enough to make small tools and some parts, depending on your power source. I found a paper. As well as this.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby EMTP » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:45 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:It may be the with careful planning you could make small quantities of iron and steel in situ, at least enough to make small tools and some parts, depending on your power source. I found a paper. As well as this.


Just set up a little mining station on Phobos or Deimos. As captured asteroid (if that's indeed what they are) they should have metals readily available. And when you've got a nice ball of metal just take a colonist with a good arm and toss it landside*.

* I kid. Human throwing wouldn't be consistent enough. You'd probably want a little slingshot.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:11 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:An amusing idea is to grow your piping, using bamboo. Closes the loop so to speak. Grows fast. Very useful in many applications. And can be worked with manual tools. And can be easily broken down and fed back into the system. You will run into issues with your power budget if you aren't careful, so making things will be something that you do when you have to, unless the material is cheap in terms of power. It may be the with careful planning you could make small quantities of iron and steel in situ, at least enough to make small tools and some parts, depending on your power source. I found a paper. As well as this.

I have no idea how well bamboo grows hydroponically, so, maybe? Agricultural soil production is a very complicated thing on Mars requiring lots of organic matter be fed into regolith, and is probably a longer term goal. But, sure?

As for metal industries, yes, sure, of course, eventually.

I honestly get the impression morris that you're not thinking 'long term' when we're talking about long term things here. A self sufficient colony growing to the point of having it's own metal industry is totally the goal, and when you phrase it like 'it maybe with careful planning', it sort of speaks to the notion that you aren't on the same page.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby mathmannix » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:22 pm UTC

KittenKaboodle wrote:But I'm wondering why this is in news, sure, Mars one selecting applicants for a one way trip to mars is "news", but wouldn't a discussion of a real human on mars project (which is really exciting) be better in say, science?

By all means, may a Mod move this thread if there is a better spot for it somewhere else. As the person who initiated this thread, I'm fine with it becoming about either (A) Other future Martian colonization efforts and/or ideas, long after the Mars One project (and/or candidates) are dead, or (B) the hit reality TV show "Mars One!" after the Mars One project succeeds. Mods (or I) can change the title, too if necessary!
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby krogoth » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:36 pm UTC

This idea of using local metal deposits might be handy, Maybe if we could also get a few other asteroids crashed into the planet, it's more effort to pull them closer to the sun than push them out isn't it? that's a shame for the belt location. Maybe a few ice comets for extra water? comets are rare and would be hard to aim wouldn't they? hmm.

edit to avoid double post:Would it be worth bringing asteroids back to the moon for harvesting? Completing it on the moon, I like the idea of deliberately crashing them into the moon, but it might be just as easy to throw them into orbit and bring them down to earth in a shuttle or something like that.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:49 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:An amusing idea is to grow your piping, using bamboo. Closes the loop so to speak. Grows fast. Very useful in many applications. And can be worked with manual tools. And can be easily broken down and fed back into the system. You will run into issues with your power budget if you aren't careful, so making things will be something that you do when you have to, unless the material is cheap in terms of power. It may be the with careful planning you could make small quantities of iron and steel in situ, at least enough to make small tools and some parts, depending on your power source. I found a paper. As well as this.


Well, bamboo does at least grow fast, so that's a point in it's favor.

As for how well it grows hydroponically, it is commonly sold in small shoots in cups of water. You can grow it extensively in such a fashion. I have one such in my kitchen. There are probably few easier things to grow in such a fashion.

The question is really how much of the necessary stuff bamboo needs to grow has to be trucked with, and how much can be conveniently sourced on site.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby mathmannix » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:56 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, bamboo does at least grow fast, so that's a point in it's favor.

As for how well it grows hydroponically, it is commonly sold in small shoots in cups of water. You can grow it extensively in such a fashion. I have one such in my kitchen. There are probably few easier things to grow in such a fashion.

Lucky Bamboo (aka Chinese Water Bamboo) is not the same as bamboo. They are unrelated.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:06 pm UTC

Huh, I as not aware of that. Not sure how difficult it is to grow Bamboo proper hydroponically, then.

That said, a strict hydroponic system might not be necessary. Mars soil isn't exactly earth soil, but it might be cultivated into a useful growing medium with time. This isn't necessarily *easy*, but if we're building a plan for settling another world(which actually, does sort of sound like fun), I suppose we should compare all the options and lay out what's necessary to test theories for completeness.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:07 pm UTC

Long term planning is a product of short term goals. Metal working is important. It should come early, not later. For instance, mining regolith will wear out whatever tool you start with. The sooner you can make some of those things the better it is. If you do this thing, colonizing Mars, the sooner you don't have to import something the better you are.

When I speak of planning carefully, it is in terms of knowing exactly what you need and the order you will need it in. For instance it may be that rather than a 3d printer you end up taking something like a CNC machine first. Because it can do more, with a greater range of materials. It can literally make the tools to make the tools. Your moving to a point called self sufficiency and a short term goal, like turning ore into metal, is one of the first of a long list of things you need to do to get to that point. It's so simple that it is easy to forget. And to be clear, I'm not talking about a metals industry. I'm talking about the village blacksmith. Using what he has on hand to accomplish what he needs to do.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:36 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote: Mars soil isn't exactly earth soil, but it might be cultivated into a useful growing medium with time.
Heh, that's an understatement. The capacity of Martian regolith to become a growing medium is on par with the capacity of crushed granite to become a growing medium, for a comparison.

morriswalters wrote:Long term planning is a product of short term goals. Metal working is important. It should come early, not later. For instance, mining regolith will wear out whatever tool you start with. The sooner you can make some of those things the better it is. If you do this thing, colonizing Mars, the sooner you don't have to import something the better you are.
I mean, sure, I suppose, but metal working requires some pretty heavy machinery that while I think is feasible medium->long term, I have avoided talking about due to people's and your insistence that much more attainable short term goals are infeasible.

morriswalters wrote:And to be clear, I'm not talking about a metals industry. I'm talking about the village blacksmith. Using what he has on hand to accomplish what he needs to do.
As am I. Like, this whole time. The point, again, is not to land a fully functioning ready to go Martian city that is ready for hundreds of thousands of new colonists to come be bus drivers and stock brokers on, but to gradually, incrementally, steadily, build upon a small habitation center. Once you can indefinitely self-sustain, say, 100 people, you can start them laying the groundwork for expansion. This means carving out bigger habitats, managing larger mining/construction/greenhouse operations, surveying (or analyzing robotic survey data) for future sites, etc.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:42 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote: Mars soil isn't exactly earth soil, but it might be cultivated into a useful growing medium with time.
Heh, that's an understatement. The capacity of Martian regolith to become a growing medium is on par with the capacity of crushed granite to become a growing medium, for a comparison.


Right. Sizeable amounts would be quite challenging to produce, and unfortunately, would likely also require significant transport weight.

morriswalters wrote:Long term planning is a product of short term goals. Metal working is important. It should come early, not later. For instance, mining regolith will wear out whatever tool you start with. The sooner you can make some of those things the better it is. If you do this thing, colonizing Mars, the sooner you don't have to import something the better you are.
I mean, sure, I suppose, but metal working requires some pretty heavy machinery that while I think is feasible medium->long term, I have avoided talking about due to people's and your insistence that much more attainable short term goals are infeasible.


Depends on what we're talking about. Basic metal forming is mostly a hand tools thing at the kind of scale we're talking about initially...but fairly solid, heavy hand tools. So...you do need a certain critical level of metal deposits to make it worth bothering with over just packing finished products from home.

*shrug* really, there's so very much Martian surface that is barely explored or essentially unexplored at all, that I don't think we can be confident of finding the best spots for natural resources. More robuts cruising around is probably a safe initial bet.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:51 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Right. Sizeable amounts would be quite challenging to produce, and unfortunately, would likely also require significant transport weight.
Transport weight? I don't understand what you're saying - Martian regolith is on Mars. You would create soil on Mars by crushing it up and mixing in water and organic materials (and worms), and letting it cure for a while (6mo? 1yr?).

Soil is probably pretty useless in the short term, though it could serve as a large respiration buffer for your habitat. That might actually be a great solution for the oxygen toxicity issue.

Tyndmyr wrote:Depends on what we're talking about. Basic metal forming is mostly a hand tools thing at the kind of scale we're talking about initially...but fairly solid, heavy hand tools. So...you do need a certain critical level of metal deposits to make it worth bothering with over just packing finished products from home.
Odd - I feel the tools required to produce or repair quality hand tools would be significantly larger than simply packing replacement hand tools.

Tyndmyr wrote:*shrug* really, there's so very much Martian surface that is barely explored or essentially unexplored at all, that I don't think we can be confident of finding the best spots for natural resources. More robuts cruising around is probably a safe initial bet.
I agree that robotic rovers are probably the best bet, though I think people over estimate how much a rover can do without a human. Which isn't to say we should ignore rovers, by any stretch of the mind. But, like you said, there's so very much of Mars out there, and it's a planet that formed under not terribly dissimilar conditions as our own planet formed, it seems sort of silly to presume that there's no metal deposits to make use of on it.

Martian regolith is chockfull of Aluminum and Magnesium (and other shit too). Maybe we should start looking at non-iron bearing alloys.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:06 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Right. Sizeable amounts would be quite challenging to produce, and unfortunately, would likely also require significant transport weight.
Transport weight? I don't understand what you're saying - Martian regolith is on Mars. You would create soil on Mars by crushing it up and mixing in water and organic materials (and worms), and letting it cure for a while (6mo? 1yr?).

Soil is probably pretty useless in the short term, though it could serve as a large respiration buffer for your habitat. That might actually be a great solution for the oxygen toxicity issue.


Organic materials, really. That's the heavy bit. We're presuming a plentiful source of water, I suppose, otherwise the scenario looks incredibly bleak. But...there's nothing in regolith for worms to eat. Topsoil has a lot of organic materials in it, so building that volume is going to require extensive weight.

Tyndmyr wrote:Depends on what we're talking about. Basic metal forming is mostly a hand tools thing at the kind of scale we're talking about initially...but fairly solid, heavy hand tools. So...you do need a certain critical level of metal deposits to make it worth bothering with over just packing finished products from home.
Odd - I feel the tools required to produce or repair quality hand tools would be significantly larger than simply packing replacement hand tools.


Mostly, you just make hand tools with other hand tools when you're at that tech scale. But yeah, if you're only doing one or two, it's easier to just pack spares. That's what I was saying.

Tyndmyr wrote:But, like you said, there's so very much of Mars out there, and it's a planet that formed under not terribly dissimilar conditions as our own planet formed, it seems sort of silly to presume that there's no metal deposits to make use of on it.

Martian regolith is chockfull of Aluminum and Magnesium (and other shit too). Maybe we should start looking at non-iron bearing alloys.


I'm not presuming no metal deposits, but you'll need an area with fairly rich deposits. As rich as possible, to minimize necessary processing and work to produce it. Civilizations on earth are incredibly frequently co-located with concentrations of resources, pretty much need that wherever you're going. Water is basically a must. Metals are pretty essential.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:52 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:*shrug* really, there's so very much Martian surface that is barely explored or essentially unexplored at all, that I don't think we can be confident of finding the best spots for natural resources. More robuts cruising around is probably a safe initial bet.
That there red color is ferric oxide. It seems to be common. Can you make iron or steel without coke, the answer is maybe. If you can't then you have a problem. If you can then you can mine the surface with a broom. You don't have to make anything, but self sufficiency would kinda make it seem like you either better to be able to make something or you better be able to buy it, from money you have. This is why MIT's post docs said the resupply of spare parts would take up so much of the transit coming from earth. Things break. You can have the best regolith scooper money can buy until it doesn't work,and then it's junk. But if you can't process regolith, what do you do?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:25 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:*shrug* really, there's so very much Martian surface that is barely explored or essentially unexplored at all, that I don't think we can be confident of finding the best spots for natural resources. More robuts cruising around is probably a safe initial bet.
That there red color is ferric oxide. It seems to be common. Can you make iron or steel without coke, the answer is maybe. If you can't then you have a problem. If you can then you can mine the surface with a broom. You don't have to make anything, but self sufficiency would kinda make it seem like you either better to be able to make something or you better be able to buy it, from money you have. This is why MIT's post docs said the resupply of spare parts would take up so much of the transit coming from earth. Things break. You can have the best regolith scooper money can buy until it doesn't work,and then it's junk. But if you can't process regolith, what do you do?


Well, the oxide, you don't really want for most things. It has uses, sure, but generally, you use flux and such to avoid oxidization of iron while you're smelting it. Flux can be like, limestone or something. Not enough of a metalworker to know a complete list. But, in theory, you could find necessary components somewhere on mars, maybe. Not sure. Obviously, you need heat. Probably some kind of quenching substance. Coke is just charcoal make from coal. You could, I suppose, use other sources of coal. Maybe wood grown on the surface, but maybe I'm just extrapolating from too much minecraft. It's likely significantly more complicated. And anyways, growing wood is slow. Likewise, the heat required is pretty intense, and you'll need significant airflow for a smelting operation.

It's not necessarily impossible, but difficult at minimum. And further data about what's around will give us a much better idea of what's possible.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Organic materials, really. That's the heavy bit. We're presuming a plentiful source of water, I suppose, otherwise the scenario looks incredibly bleak. But...there's nothing in regolith for worms to eat. Topsoil has a lot of organic materials in it, so building that volume is going to require extensive weight.
What do you mean that's the heavy bit? That's the human and food waste you generate on Mars. That's the whole fun thing about hydro/aquaponics - you generate organic materials/waste in the process. The worms eat the food waste and human waste the colonists produce on Mars.

morriswalters wrote:That there red color is ferric oxide
Well, that's a small part of it.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:40 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Organic materials, really. That's the heavy bit. We're presuming a plentiful source of water, I suppose, otherwise the scenario looks incredibly bleak. But...there's nothing in regolith for worms to eat. Topsoil has a lot of organic materials in it, so building that volume is going to require extensive weight.
What do you mean that's the heavy bit? That's the human and food waste you generate on Mars. That's the whole fun thing about hydro/aquaponics - you generate organic materials/waste in the process. The worms eat the food waste and human waste the colonists produce on Mars.

morriswalters wrote:That there red color is ferric oxide
Well, that's a small part of it.


Farming directly with human waste is a bit dodgy. You probably want to cycle through animals in that chain. Not saying you *cant*, but contamination presents higher risks for human -> human transmission than cross species. Granted, manure presents a possible health risk regardless, but minimizing risks to your health/food supply seems pretty important.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:43 pm UTC

Certainly - I recommended using tilapia and chickens earlier in this thread. Chickens are particularly great because of how high the nitrogen content of their poop is. They're also thankfully pretty small, and also lay eggs. I wouldn't suggest starting with something like cattle.

But even if you irradiate human poop to reduce it's pathogenicity, you can still use it as a source of organic material for composting. I assume a long term colony wouldn't just be wasting (literally) all that human waste.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:51 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Certainly - I recommended using tilapia and chickens earlier in this thread. Chickens are particularly great because of how high the nitrogen content of their poop is. They're also thankfully pretty small, and also lay eggs. I wouldn't suggest starting with something like cattle.

But even if you irradiate human poop to reduce it's pathogenicity, you can still use it as a source of organic material for composting. I assume a long term colony wouldn't just be wasting (literally) all that human waste.


Right, you'll pack it as food, and convert it to waste via human. Still has to fly in as mass somehow, but you might as well do it that way. Basically, all yer organic mass has to fly in with you, or be converted from sunlight via photosynthesis. And that's...slow.

Cows are definitely right out, at least initially. Poor food conversion efficiency, and the necessary scale of the operation would be brutal. Chicken vs Tilapia probably depends on available water supplies, habitat space available, etc. Can stack fish up like cordwood in a properly maintained pond, artificial or not, but you're definitely not gonna want to fly all that.

Also, googling iron results indicate that Mars probably has nearly 10% iron in the crust. This sounds really high, until you consider that earth is about 5%. So, it's richer than earth, but not stupidly richer. Relative concentrations should still matter. Wiki has a fun page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ore_resources_on_Mars regarding other interesting resources as well.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby speising » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:57 pm UTC

what's with all that tilapia? a fish i never heard about until our cantine started to serve it a few moths ago. has that fish somehow especially useful properties for mars?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Right, you'll pack it as food, and convert it to waste via human. Still has to fly in as mass somehow, but you might as well do it that way. Basically, all yer organic mass has to fly in with you, or be converted from sunlight via photosynthesis. And that's...slow.
Except for all the food you grow on Mars... And 'slow' - leafy greens can be produced on a 5-8 week basis. Lots of stuff that can be grown hydroponically has a maturation time on the order of 1-3 months. Tilapia are fully grown in about 4 months.

Again, I'm not suggesting you do this to START, but it's something you can easily and quickly start up to begin producing organic materials, freeing up future shipments for things like replacement parts or larger structures/tools for future endeavors.

Tyndmyr wrote:available water supplies
Mars has extraordinarily sufficient water supplies.

speising wrote:what's with all that tilapia? a fish i never heard about until our cantine started to serve it a few moths ago. has that fish somehow especially useful properties for mars?
It's commonly used in aquaponics for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it's hardy, and can survive a pretty wide range of temperature, pH and water conditions. Secondly, the fry are tiny, and pack on weight rapidly. Thirdly, it's non-aggressive, so won't murderize all the other tilapia. Fourthly, it consumes just about anything, and converts it into lean protein. Fifthly, it grows rapidly, reproduces plentifully, and tastes pretty good. Sixthly, nitrogenous waste from tilapia can be easily converted by nitrogen fixing bacteria into stuff plants crave.

I first heard about it through a friend who was a fan of hydroponics, and joined the Peace Corp. He got set up doing something building aquaponic facilities throughout some part of Africa, because it could be done by literally digging a large pit, filling it with water, and hooking some pipes to it.
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