A analytical perspective, and debate of planetary colonization.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Einhanderc7, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    Apr 22, 2016
    Since I noticed a alarming amount of derp flooding the forums as of late I figured I post something to get people to productively think for a bit.

    I wish to initiate a discussion, and possibly a debate related to the topic of colonization of other planets. Granted we have individuals such as Elon Musk trying to throw money at the problem. (Which I think is a very unwise choice.) But I am more interested in the science and "how to" of the topic.

    Some talking points:
    • How to actually reach a location either within, or outside our planetary system.
    • Technology required for such a feat and its implementation.
    • The beginning of a colony and its construction. (How would it be built such as prefab or local material.)
    • The relocation of population to facilitate such a feat, and their continued survival planet side.
    • Possible unforeseen requirements to colonist survival and safety.
    • Thoughts and theory of vehicles for such a project.
    • Population traits and skills required to facilitate the function of a colony.
    • Anything else that comes to mind :).

    I would appreciate if people who posted to this subject would take a moment to consider the topic at hand before randomly posting a 2-3 sentence reply, mostly because those responses won't really add anything to a topical discussion other than reflexive feelings.

    Also for once there is actually some gain here as well, as NASA is always listening to input from those of us outside of the agency to prime their own missions and science. Who knows if we figure something out that would actually be a fairly big deal that could actually help humanity. (Not that it really matters, but its something I suppose.)

    From my perspective to accomplish such a task would require generations of prep work not just with the manufacturing of the required materials but for the population as well. I submit that any population that intends to be launched into space would have to receive a great deal of training. I'm not just talking about the individuals who would fly such a mission but for those who aspire to live on another planet.

    Maybe the Trans-human route is the optimal option, or maybe double downing on a different philosophy will yield better concepts to increase the chances of success.

    From what I can tell us at NMA are a crafty and adaptable bunch, most of us are hardy and enjoy thinking outside of the box when it comes to survival. I'm sure you all won't let me down if you apply yourselves.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, expand your minds and increase the space of knowledge you call power.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  2. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    Definitely an interesting topic to think about. I can't really contribute too much to it outside of the fact that it would be a logistical nightmare with existing technology.

    Take a mission to mars for example. It takes about six months but then you have to wait 18-20 months in order to re-align the planets to make a return trip efficient. 2.5 years just to ferry back and forth.

    I imagine initial space travel for establishing colonies (and attracting settlers) is going to be a lot like how it was centuries ago when people were juggling the prospect of travelling to the "New World." Will be kind of cool to see advertisements for settling on Saturn's moon (Titan[?]).
  3. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Aug 16, 2010
    Interplanetary colonisation is a huge can of worms indeed.
    First we have to convince people that it's worth the money, but let's say that part is taken care of.
    Then we need to get people and material to another planet. For spaceships, the most important measurement is Delta v, and it tells you how much your spaceship can change its velocity. And since you need certain velocities to get up to and leave Earth's orbit, you need a certain Delta v to get from here to another planet. Obviously the hardest thing to do is to get into LEO in the first place, which requires up to 10,000 m/s Delta v. After that you need to get into a higher orbit from where you can get into transfer orbits. Getting into escape orbits requires another ~4700 m/s, but from there the whole solar system is in range more or less equally. The transfer orbit to the Moon requires as much Delta v as a transfer orbit to Mars, although the latter obviously takes a lot longer.
    "Taking longer" is the biggest problem, of course. A voyage taking several months is quite an issue in space, because the human body doesn't like being in free fall for so long. So for extended voyages you need artificial gravity, i.e. rotation, which adds a lot of mass and structural integrity to the ship, requiring more fuel and so on to get the Delta v... It's hard. If only we had some sort of stasis chamber, or crygenic sleep or whatever you wanna call it. That way you can save all the mass for food and accomodation for the duration of the voyage, which would be nice.
    So anyway, a spaceship for colonisation would be huge. You probably need about 1000 people to create a viable gene pool (less if you do some careful breeding). You need supplies. If the planet already has a similar biosphere to Earth things might be easy for settling down quickly, but if you have to terraform (like Mars) you can't really be all that self-sufficient for a long while.
    A colonisation mission would probably involve a LOT of supply drops even before the colonists arrive, just to make it more economical.

    I recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy for an interesting and scientifically sound take on it. Especially Red Mars deals with the early colonisation.
    Also, this page.
  4. valcik

    valcik So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Dec 20, 2008
    International team at MDRS in Utah, U.S. has undergo successful simulated mission to build a small colony on Mars this year. Team led by Slovak commander Michaela Musilova tried to live in Martian conditions and build a self-sufficient habitat from plastic bricks 3D-printed at the place:
  5. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Could we not simply let robots do all the stuff for us?
  6. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Aug 16, 2010
    Probably, but getting all of the equipment and colonists over there is still gonna be a problem. The biggest problem, really. You can solve most things with machines and whatnot, but you need to get them there. So an endless stream of supply drops before the first colonist gets there, and then it would be advisable to try and get basic infrastructure going. Mining, production, everything to be as self-sufficient as possible. Interstellar travel takes LONG, and it is unlikely that a colony in another solar system is gonna get much supplies from Earth, because it's just too expensive.
    Also, unless you have REALLY smart AI robots can't do everything. And you can't remote control them, especially not in another solar system because even if you can get communication to work (which is not trivial at all) there'll be a delay of several years.
    Of course, if you have really smart AI you can do the whole Von Neumann dance and colonise the galaxy in a few hundred years with seed ships. Send out a bunch of Von Neumann probes that land on a planet and get cracking on terraforming, mining, and so on, then produce copies of themselves that travel to more planets and do that again. Then send out seed ships with human embryos or sleeper ships or whatever you fancy and have a plethora of key-ready worlds waiting for you.
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  7. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Go to youtube and type in 'Humans need not apply'. I feel we're really getting there ... unless of course we don't terminate our self before it happens.
  8. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    Instead of extensive training, i would assume that most settlers would taken from prisons or amongs homeless. Instead of sending the elite, they would probably send those the society wouldn't miss should they die on the way or be stuck there. Not unlike the actual settlers during the conquest of America and other lands. I would assume that it would be about settling on the exo-planets, since terraforming would take much more time, ressources and skills and, should the settling become a thing, those who send them (probably private companies, since the official governments are already falling) would be in a hurry to send their settlers to exploit the ressources. If it isn't an exo-planet, exploiting the ressources would still be a priority over terraforming, as you don't need it to mine the field, just proper equipment.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  9. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    Apr 22, 2016
    I honestly don't believe an obscene amount of automation in the form of robotics is required. I say that because even if you ship all those colonists their with these high tech gadgets; how will they replace/maintain them?

    It is my opinion that the colonists will need to be equipped with a wide array of multi purpose tools. And it will be up to them to locate the materials locally and fabricate what they require. Granted that would make surviving on a hostile and unknown world very difficult if not impossible, but in the long run this would allow those who landed to become self sufficient. (at least to a survivable degree)

    Without self sufficiency there can be no colony, mostly due to the danger of not being resupplied from Earth.
    The colonists would literally need to build everything outside of their initial drop resources to prosper and grow.

    Also lets not forget about the scary radiation that is everywhere in space. Lets take Mars for an example, this planet barely has a magnetic field to protect itself from solar winds let alone a solar flare. So shielding would need to be developed for not just the colonists, but their equipment as well. (Both in route and on the surface)

    There is also the degradation of the vacuum of space can have on the ship the colonists use to get to their location. For example cold welding, that is a real danger in space since there is no mass to distance like alloys and metals apart. A bit of friction and some wear of a joint and suddenly something can go seriously wrong since something got cold welded in place on the flight over.

    From a landside point of view the colonists would also need to worry about variables like what is in the local environment. Lets use Mars again in this example, Mars has a lot of iron oxide and nasty acids blowing around on its surface. Without special equipment those same materials will erode space suits, metals, and cause hell with electronics. Ever want to live in a sand blasted nuclear hellscape? Well if so pick Mars. However not all planets are created equally. Lets contemplate Venus for a moment.

    With Venus it is theoretically "possible" to have colonists live on floating dirigibles in the upper atmosphere where there the air pressure is survivable. While I do lack additional information on the feasibility of such an option I do know NASA pondered on this for quite some time, mostly as a manned observation post. Just imagine our own Bespin.
  10. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Aug 16, 2010
    I don't think cold welding would be much of a problem. Most of the outside of a ship will be sealed and unmovable, anyway, and the parts that are supposed to move are coated with vacuum-proof lubricant.

    Yeah, it's been thought about. It's theoretically possible to float on bags of breathable air on Venus in upper layers of the atmosphere where the air is not all that terribly corrosive.
    The problem with Venus and Mars is that right now there's just no real benefit of going there, so nobody would want to pay for it.
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  11. lolpop109

    lolpop109 Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 14, 2016
    When I think of this I guess the real thing I would be worried about is how to build maintenance stuff. Like say you wanna build a shed its not as simple as going to cut down a tree. I know you could bring seeds with you but its would take ages for it too grow so therefore everything has to made out metal. Yeah probably not a big deal but with out wood you can't make alot of things.

    I think it be so hard to maintain a population living there because you because of the limit to natural resources. I guess the people who go there will in some aspect be living in the stone age.With out fire etc Witch if you think about is crazy. I know they work out people surviving there but getting people living well that something different I think
  12. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    I am not sure if this really deseves it's own topic, but I have read that NASA is going to do a press conference in a couple of days about xenoplanets.

    Maybe we are one small step closer to something great now :D? ALIEN PLANETS MAYBE?!


    Nasa will hold a press conference on Wednesday to present a “discovery beyond our solar system,” leading to speculation that the announcement will involve planets capable of sustaining life.

    The agency has offered no details on the upcoming presentation other than that it will involve “exoplanets”.

    Astronomers have been studying such planets, which orbit stars other than the sun, for clues as to whether, and where, life could exist beyond the earth.

    Nasa has analysed dozens of planets that orbit sun-like stars at similar distances as the earth to the sun.

    The first earth-like planet to be discovered was, Kepler-186f, a rocky planet that lies within the so-called “habitable zone” and is similar in size to earth. The Kepler space telescope has now located many more such planets.

    At a press conference earlier this year Nasa announced the discoveries of 1,284 new planets, nine of which were in the “habitable zone”.

    “One of the great questions of all time is whether we are alone in the universe,” Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at Nasa’s headquarters in Washington, said at the time.
  13. Shouldn't we, uh, be a hegemony for that? Or the settlers super indoctrinated to the unethical point? If they were individualistic and egocentrical, aside from not contributing to the colony, if a single one of them went and killed or hurt others, that'd be a 1%-0,001% depending on the avaleible transport; a pretty dramatic amount of the population as the guilty could go on or be in detention. A 0,0001% of the current Earth population would be 7,13 million people.

    That goes for effort conjoining too. Hardly think the rest of the nations would be cool with China or the US conquering other planets they could have, but the colonists not sharing origin, culture and nationality could lead to a messy Tower of Babylon-like situation.
    Aaand getting together like, 10 million of near brainwashed (or super trained!) settlers? Not that many countries can cough up that amount of people

    "Join the Holistic Empire! Those machines are just like the ones that train Kung Fu in The Matrix, but these turn you into a complying worker ant!"
  14. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Aug 16, 2010
    Depending on the type of planet the first settlers will likely be very disciplined scientists and engineers. Especially when it's a planet requiring terraforming.
  15. Where do we get ten million experts from without home going to shit? *looks at a racial group* hmmmmm...
  16. Supreme Shah Ismail

    Supreme Shah Ismail Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Sep 17, 2016
    A manned mission to mars there and back is viable with current technology and 2030 is a ridiculous date. NASA needs some serious funding and direction.

    The truth is as complicated, expensive and messy it may be its absloutley necessary for future generations. The sooner we start the better.
  17. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    Apr 22, 2016
    You make some solid points, but I believe there is an answer what is available in the environment. Lets use Mars again as an example, colonists could use the soil around them to literally make mud/adobe buildings. While this is not ideal, it does provide a viable material for construction of something like a shed or domicile.

    In this case the colonists would need some kind of binding agent, preferably not water but that remains an option as well. But what if it was possible to turn the acids in the soil into the binder? You would be surprised the magic chemistry is capable of. (I am not a chemist, merely speculating.)

    The reality of it though is that the colonists will need to be completely self reliant otherwise they will perish. They will need to bring everything that will sustain life as well the tools required to fabricate other items for maintenance and growth.

    A good way to look at is the way you see structures built in games like C&C. Modular prefabricated structures would be a great benefit if sent before the colonists landed. I'm sure if a reasonable amount of resources were dedicated before the colonists arrival they would be fairly well off within the means of survival.
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  18. valcik

    valcik So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Dec 20, 2008
    According to the report I linked in my previous post, they'll more likely process the IN SITU resources in order to create filling for 3D printers:
  19. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

    Ok not as awesome as I hoped I mean they just discovered some "rocks" in a so called habitable zone but they could be simply that, just rocks floating in space, but still really not bad news! Not bad at all! Earth sized planets that might have liquid water on them. A lot of it is just speculation right now.

    I think, it's just a matter of time before they might find some that could have some potential live on them.
  20. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Aug 16, 2010
    The amount of exoplanets found so far in our rather close vicinity really begs the question of Fermi's paradox.
    There definitely are a LOT of planets in the universe, and the fraction of those that can support life that we can easily understand (meaning that the conditions aren't too far off from Earth) should be quite high. Mind you that detecting exoplanets, especially small, Earth-sized ones is really hard, so there are more than we think out there.
    So what is the reason we haven't made contact yet? Are we extremely lucky that there have been a few million years of nothing too big crashing into our planet or a gamma ray burst frying everything? Are we perhaps one of the first spezies in the universe actually reaching sentience and looking at the stars with wonder? That would be kinda depressing, but at least it would mean that maybe humans will form the first galactic empire, which would kinda rule.
    Even more depressing would be that since sentient life similar to us probably only has one chance at reaching the stars. If a species depletes its easily accessible natural resources before it reaches the stars or suffers a major social collaps it's very much fucked, because it would have to go from medieval to shiny chrome fusion future without going through fossile fuel. Maybe sentient species like us are rare already, and maybe we all are prone to self-destruction? That'd suck, and mean that the Dung Ages are the end result of all the smartypants species in the universe.
    Or maybe the vast emptiness is just too, well, vast to cross. Maybe it's just not reasonable for any species to try and cover a few dozen lightyears just to spread their shit on a new rock. Maybe it's easier to just build a Matrioshka brain out of your own star system and live forever in a computer simulation.
    That would suck.

    Well, my hope is that we survive long enough to tame the forces of physics enough so that we can actually reach other stars.
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