Colonies in space

The future is so bright that we have to wear shades. Speculations about the future.

Colonies in space

Postby Typhoon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:28 pm

[Inspired by a comment by Torchwood and monster gardener's musings.]

Image

Perhaps it is telling that the original is out of print. A pristine copy is now an expensive collector's item.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Typhoon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:31 pm

Interior of an O'Neill Cylinder:

Image

One thing is clear from the ISS. Rotation to create effective gravity via centripetal acceleration is essential for any such colony.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Typhoon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:37 pm

What we have today:

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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Enki » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:39 pm

http://liftport.com/

I met the guy that runs this company. They are trying to put a space elevator on the moon.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Torchwood » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:50 am

I have this vision, which is deeply unfashionable (re the Futurism of the Past thread) and so regarded as either nerdy and boring, or just plain crazy: that the overwhelming majority of mankind lives in outer space, and the Earth becomes a nature and history reserve, living off tourism. Why? Because the main constraints on civilisation and technology are increasingly environmental.

If so, O'Neill type colonies are the only way to do so. Of the solid lumps of rock out there, only the Moon and Mars would be suitable, and apart from being (largely or wholly) airless or waterless, we have not evolved to live at low gravity for long (you get severe osteoporosis, for a start). Moreover, they are small. As for colonising all those exoplanets in habitable zones now being discovered, well, sorry, Cap'n Kirk, warp drive isn't real, and Herr Einstein showed that it may never be possible. After all, those aliens coming the other way aren't here, or else keeping very quiet...

The main problems are not raw materials (plenty out there, no need to bring them from Earth) or even potential technology (nothing that breaks the laws of physics), but:

- why would anyone want to spend their lives in rotating tin cans, albeit vast ones?
- above all, what is the path to developing these. Most technologies start off small and gradually scale up, think of the journey from the Wright Brothers to the 747.
-
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby noddy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:15 pm

- why would anyone want to spend their lives in rotating tin cans, albeit vast ones?


would people living in a high rise apartment in a mega city of concrete,steel,bitumen and glass even notice much change except for the nicer view ? :)

- above all, what is the path to developing these. Most technologies start off small and gradually scale up, think of the journey from the Wright Brothers to the 747.


funnily enough, i was just reading this...

http://www.space.com/19151-asteroid-moo ... study.html

Capturing a near-Earth asteroid and dragging it into orbit around the moon could help humanity put boots on Mars someday, proponents of the idea say.

NASA is considering a $2.6 billion asteroid-retrieval mission that could deliver a space rock to high lunar orbit by 2025 or so, New Scientist reported last week. The plan could help jump-start manned exploration of deep space, carving out a path to the Red Planet and perhaps even more far-flung destinations, its developers maintain.

"Experience gained via human expeditions to the small returned NEA would transfer directly to follow-on international expeditions beyond the Earth-moon system: to other near-Earth asteroids, [the Mars moons] Phobos and Deimos, Mars and potentially someday to the main asteroid belt," the mission concept team, which is based at the Keck Institute for Space Studies in California, wrote in a feasibility study of the plan last year.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Apollonius » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:21 pm

Here's a newer version of one of these rotating spacecraft, as portrayed by Stephan Martiniere


Image





I notice less greenery and more machinery.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Taboo » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:03 pm

Torchwood wrote:I have this vision, which is deeply unfashionable (re the Futurism of the Past thread) and so regarded as either nerdy and boring, or just plain crazy: that the overwhelming majority of mankind lives in outer space, and the Earth becomes a nature and history reserve, living off tourism.

The main problems are not raw materials (plenty out there, no need to bring them from Earth) or even potential technology (nothing that breaks the laws of physics), but:

- why would anyone want to spend their lives in rotating tin cans, albeit vast ones?
- above all, what is the path to developing these. Most technologies start off small and gradually scale up, think of the journey from the Wright Brothers to the 747.
-


As I was writing in another thread just earlier, within a century or two, we will have to move our large-scale computing and large-scale manufacturing to space, simply because the sheer amount of energy involved would result in enough heat waste to make Al. Gore's (not-so-)wet dreams come true. Right now we're at about 0.01% of Earth's energy budget, so I expect that we'll be around 10% within two or three centuries at present exponential rates of growth. Boiling oceans = bad.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Typhoon » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:16 am

Taboo wrote:
Torchwood wrote:I have this vision, which is deeply unfashionable (re the Futurism of the Past thread) and so regarded as either nerdy and boring, or just plain crazy: that the overwhelming majority of mankind lives in outer space, and the Earth becomes a nature and history reserve, living off tourism.

The main problems are not raw materials (plenty out there, no need to bring them from Earth) or even potential technology (nothing that breaks the laws of physics), but:

- why would anyone want to spend their lives in rotating tin cans, albeit vast ones?
- above all, what is the path to developing these. Most technologies start off small and gradually scale up, think of the journey from the Wright Brothers to the 747.
-


As I was writing in another thread just earlier, within a century or two, we will have to move our large-scale computing and large-scale manufacturing to space, simply because the sheer amount of energy involved would result in enough heat waste to make Al. Gore's (not-so-)wet dreams come true. Right now we're at about 0.01% of Earth's energy budget, so I expect that we'll be around 10% within two or three centuries at present exponential rates of growth. Boiling oceans = bad.


However, this presumes that compute technology will continue to use the same heat generating silicon-based semiconductors.

I expect that semiconductor tech will continue to evolve to faster and more efficient transistors that generate less heat.

For example, first graphene based [with ballistic electrons] and later spin-based.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Taboo » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:01 pm

Sure, and people already are talking about optical computers that would skip electrons altogether.

So yes, it is all true, of course, but if you can run it cooler at the same speed, you can probably also run it faster at the same temperature.

Regardless, whether heat waste is significant or minuscule per teraflop or per kg of manufacture, the threshold will be there, and we will be drawing towards it eventually.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Ibrahim » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:40 pm

Taboo wrote:
Torchwood wrote:I have this vision, which is deeply unfashionable (re the Futurism of the Past thread) and so regarded as either nerdy and boring, or just plain crazy: that the overwhelming majority of mankind lives in outer space, and the Earth becomes a nature and history reserve, living off tourism.

The main problems are not raw materials (plenty out there, no need to bring them from Earth) or even potential technology (nothing that breaks the laws of physics), but:

- why would anyone want to spend their lives in rotating tin cans, albeit vast ones?
- above all, what is the path to developing these. Most technologies start off small and gradually scale up, think of the journey from the Wright Brothers to the 747.
-


As I was writing in another thread just earlier, within a century or two, we will have to move our large-scale computing and large-scale manufacturing to space, simply because the sheer amount of energy involved would result in enough heat waste to make Al. Gore's (not-so-)wet dreams come true. Right now we're at about 0.01% of Earth's energy budget, so I expect that we'll be around 10% within two or three centuries at present exponential rates of growth. Boiling oceans = bad.


What will they be manufacturing with this increased capacity?
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Taboo » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:12 am

I'd love to say "massive terraforming equipment for Venus and Mars, interstellar colony ships and Dyson sphere components to further increase solar energy capture."

However, going by the history of the late 20th and early 21st, I'm betting we'll be manufacturing mostly super-cute cybrid kittens.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Typhoon » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:29 pm

Taboo wrote:Sure, and people already are talking about optical computers that would skip electrons altogether.

So yes, it is all true, of course, but if you can run it cooler at the same speed, you can probably also run it faster at the same temperature.

Regardless, whether heat waste is significant or minuscule per teraflop or per kg of manufacture, the threshold will be there, and we will be drawing towards it eventually.


Not convinced.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Taboo » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:03 pm

What's there to be convinced about? Humans use energy, lose some of the energy as waste heat. Use enough energy, and waste heat becomes a significant warming factor.

The Earth absorbs about 4e24 Joules from the sun, each year.
Each year, about 3e21 Joules are used by plants in photosynthesis.
Humans currently use 5e20 Joules per year.

So plants capture about 0.1% of the solar energy that hits earth.
So currently, we are at about 10% of photosynthesis, and at about 0.01% of total solar irradiation.
Currently, we are doubling that energy use every 30 years or so.
It is unclear to me how much it would take to permanently alter the Earth's energy balance, but it could be as low as 1%, assuming it's generated from something other than solar. If so, that would be reached at current rates of growth in 200 years.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Typhoon » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:36 am

Taboo wrote:What's there to be convinced about? Humans use energy, lose some of the energy as waste heat. Use enough energy, and waste heat becomes a significant warming factor.

The Earth absorbs about 4e24 Joules from the sun, each year.
Each year, about 3e21 Joules are used by plants in photosynthesis.
Humans currently use 5e20 Joules per year.

So plants capture about 0.1% of the solar energy that hits earth.
So currently, we are at about 10% of photosynthesis, and at about 0.01% of total solar irradiation.
Currently, we are doubling that energy use every 30 years or so.
It is unclear to me how much it would take to permanently alter the Earth's energy balance, but it could be as low as 1%, assuming it's generated from something other than solar. If so, that would be reached at current rates of growth in 200 years.


The flaw in the argument is that we will continue to double our energy consumption ~ every 30 years over the next several centuries.
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Torchwood » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:18 pm

Here is a good road map on how to realistically set up space colonies:
http://spacehabitats.co.uk/
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Re: Colonies in space

Postby Typhoon » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:12 pm

Torchwood wrote:Here is a good road map on how to realistically set up space colonies:
http://spacehabitats.co.uk/


The ISS has provided a wealth of information on human physiology in very low gravity:

http://www.space.com/35492-astronaut-vi ... ssure.html

What has become clear is how much we have evolved for life on earth.
Those conditions, gravity, diurnal cycle, and other factors will have to be reproduced on any space colony.
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