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Будни космического колонизатораPost inspired by conversations about the colonization of Mars and space exploration in General. We are talking about the current state of Affairs. Without hotly my favorite fiction and vague predictions. That's as if tomorrow it will be necessary to develop a plan and be ready to move.

Logic dictates that a colony on Mars can be either Autonomous or not Autonomous. Yes, degree of autonomy may vary, but in General, two main types of colonies. Let's try to understand what purpose are the colony.

One of the main arguments in favor of colonization is protection from extinction in the event of future disasters on Earth. From this point of view, not Autonomous colony, in case of problems on the Ground, will also feel the effects of these problems and may die if they cease delivery. Thus, we come to the necessity of creating a fully Autonomous colony, at least in the future, otherwise, the game is not worth the candle.

Let's look at what should be in the Autonomous colony, and what difficulties will have to face. For example Mars.

Raw materials

First of all, for a full life in its modern form, we need a variety of materials, how to build proper housing, and for everything else. A huge part of what we use, somehow tied to fossil. To assess the scope, you can trace the chain multiple products to the source of raw materials.

So, what we need "for happiness"?

Metals: iron, aluminum, copper, titanium, gold, platinum, silver, lead, lithium, tin, mercury, and it is far not the full list. Of course, the need for each metal will be very raznitsa, but the need will be in each of them. A separate item uranium. He put it mildly, is also useful.

And what with nonmetals? Yes and nonmetals practically all right. On the tree we're not talking about it will have to forget how about building materials. Oil is needed, methane will be useful. Not even for use as fuel, and for the synthesis of plastic, without which our life would become much more difficult. I'm not a big specialist in chemistry and dare not to speak for everyone, but, as far as I know, many plastics are synthesized from ethylene and benzene, or other derivatives of oil, or methane gas, or coal. From hydrocarbons not to leave. Or, if there is not needed, it will be necessary to invent or to apply other methods of synthesis of what is available.

Mining operations will require mines, wells, installation, quarry equipment. Moreover, it should be noted that those developments that we use on Earth for many years, most likely or will not work at all, or will require significant changes and adaptation to the conditions of Mars.

Speaking roughly, ideally, we would need to get all the things that we extracted the Earth. With some amendments by the number. Because, for example, all the coal and gas we will not need the power plant of this kind of fuel will not function as blast furnaces, for example, which would otherwise require huge costs of oxygen.

Let me remind you that all this diversity will need to find on kolonisierung planet, and to establish not only production but also processing. With the production of all kind of clear mountain business we have developed enough. Yes, first you need to bring a lot of equipment, very heavy equipment. Which, let's say, already adapted to Martian conditions. Next, we will be able to expand the base at the expense of already produced and recycled resources, but this will require not only raw materials, even if recycled, but also a lot of additional equipment that would be needed in the manufacture of parts, components, etc.

Under this section, put a fat check in front of inputs and draw a decent number in the minimum population of the colony to provide all of this workforce. Do not forget about the minimum throw-weight. And you should begin to be in a big way. Progress with stone axes will not work - axes there's no need.


Since we started saying that everything should be in the same colony, need to talk about the industry. Will be necessary, both light and heavy. Machines, ranging from small to huge, furnaces, rolling mills, enrichment plants, with their centrifuges and all the rest, and so on. I think that it is not necessary to explain what the industry. All this should be built from the same raw materials that we produced in the previous section. The paradox is that for the production of many tools need these tools. And technological chain for the production of only one cog in any machine can be so complex and intricate...

A separate item electronics. Plants for production of electronics, too, will need to transfer from the Ground or build anew, but on the basis of the delivered equipment. Think about the necessity of such production is not subject to doubt.

100500 other industries, which now we do not even think, but we need, the products of which one way or another we will be forced to use. Production of furniture, food, clothing. We decided that the colony would be Autonomous, that we will be in place to make everything that we produce on the Earth. From a small paper clip until most of the rockets that are launched into space.
Put a tick opposite the power supply and add the minimum population.


First, let's look at the Earth, how we on Earth, are useful resources. Somewhere deep, somewhere empty. Hardly production of all raw material resources will be made in the meter from the place of accommodation of the colony. Of course, before the founding of the colony, it is better to think over where to place it. And the place to choose taking into account the nearby reserves necessities. But whatever it was, and transport needs.

The peculiarity is that at all desire the good old internal combustion engine in our migration. Well, okay! You might say. And they are right, but only partly.

Lyrical digression. What feature in the burning of hydrocarbons? The peculiarity is that for conventional combustion of hydrogen, we need hydrogen and oxygen. On Earth we do not have to think about getting oxygen, we take it directly from the atmosphere. If we stay on the ice, we must think about ensuring not only hydrocarbons, oxygen, which also have to carry. And if you calculate the energy intensity of gasoline with regard to transport a total of oxygen required for combustion, it will not be so great.

The same applies to the battery. They also happen reaction involving a pair of substances, which have to carry. But it gradually goes - air-zinc elements, for example, have such high energy intensity including due to the fact that the second component - the air that a transport is not necessary. Even the people themselves, by the way, also belong to the genus "devices"that oxidize carbon and hydrogen absorbing food and returning back carbon dioxide and water vapor.

On Mars this focus does not pass - batteries will have to carry with them, but that's not all. Lithium batteries cannot be recharged at negative temperature and at an average temperature of -50 C is already a problem. For heating of the batteries is also need for additional measures.

Now imagine a dump truck and a battery for it. I for some reason the battery can only see in the back. I believe that taking the batteries may not be quite advantageous and convenient, so I have to build a contact network and to ride the trolley buses and electric trains." Or all the same, all to carry, and the oxidant and fuel, but here we must assume that there will be more profitable.

Aviation in this rarefied atmosphere and electric seems very dubious proposition.

Missile technology. Starting at a lower gravity naturally will require less energy, but the oxygen, which is not now rarely used as an oxidizer in rocket to get will be much harder. For example, splitting the water. Energy consumption it will be more of the energy that produces a rocket engine for all time of its work. And therefore not the best option, again.
Put a tick opposite of energy supply. Another fatty tick.


The house needs. What to build them sort of understandable. Small nuance - almost zero pressure from the outside and a very decent inside. Let it be no one atmosphere, and let 0.3 and pure oxygen to save partial pressure. Let 0.3 kilograms per square centimeter. 3 tons per square meter. It seems to be not much. Suppose, for maximum strength, we will consider constructions of pipe.

Duraluminium tube with a wall thickness of 3 mm diameter of 3 meters burst pressure of 4 of the atmosphere. If I made a mistake in the calculation is correct. Not a very large margin, when it comes to life. A large structure will require even more stuff. Much more.
One more thing - an increased level of solar radiation, which also have to defend ourselves. It is also expensive. Moreover, it is not clear even uome, how large.

Warming is also expensive. Despite the low density of the atmosphere to cool design will be, and this promises a loss of condensate, with all the consequences.

Inevitable as corrosion (General atmosphere of pure oxygen is cool), damage due to various accidents.
Depressurization with high probability will lead to easy death. On this, tight bulkhead, with hatches instead doors would be appropriate. In General it is very similar to the aircraft. The conditions are similar.

Year-round heating, life support systems, lighting - all this calls for a decent energy costs.
It should be noted that if a man use pure oxygen, plants need nitrogen. Accordingly, or the pressure should be lifted to maintain the partial pressure of oxygen, or to have a different atmosphere in different compartments. The air-locking, suits for greenhouses and so on.


There is water. Already good. But in what form? At the poles like glaciers are, but there is not quite comfortable, as in winter, because of the very low temperature overboard and during melting of carbon dioxide caps. At the equator liquid water there, and glaciers are not. To drill a well and to pump water, or nacarat from the river probably will not work. Have to melt, filter, throw dried breed. Similar to the extraction of ore with further enrichment, isn't it? To live on the equator, and to deliver water from the South pole? Far and therefore expensive.
Yes, with time, a balance will be established, and the consumption of external water will be reduced, but it will still be due to loss and growth of the colony. Yes, and the first time water will need to get a lot. Now think about what on Earth with our oceans and rain, there are areas where people are suffering from water shortages.

As if we had no hope, and this is another tick on the energy costs.


It is clear that all have to grow. And the plants and animals. If animals we need not so much the big premises as the cost of food, then that's plants will be required field, and very large areas, as a population, we understand that we have very many.

All of this have to cover, I do not think that the plants will be happy solar radiation, and light from the Sun is not enough, not even speaking about the period during dust storms.

For fish production will require large swimming pools, lighting, filtration plant. Again - space and energy costs. It all seemed more or less clear, aeroponika works now, fish successfully grown in captivity, all these systems have been backported. To grow only have the diversity, to provide different conditions for different cultures.

How will feel plants, animals and fish in a reduced gravity environment - question. It is clear that with the trees just will not be easy, they wind right, they're fragile grow, and what will grow at low gravity (and of any size) - question.


Starting from medication, which is very-very much, and they will need to produce, and most of them will have to produce that in principle on Mars does not exist, and ending with the scanners, which, by the way, quite a lot of weigh.
Energy is necessary not so much, but skilled personnel is very much relevant.

Will also play a role totally different conditions. The composition of the atmosphere, food, gravity. As all this in the long term will affect people, to health which need to apply the measures? It's not even a year in orbit with the prepared food. This is the whole life.


As the energy of the sun's surface gets half way or the other from half to full capacity it will be necessary to compensate. Most likely full power from the sun will have to hide. This lighting of gardens and space heating. What on Earth is "self" - filtration of wastewater, irrigation, regeneration of oxygen also it will be necessary somehow to compensate. Plants need about 250 Watts per square meter (fond hydroponics, don't let lie).

Let the daylight hours 12 hours half. For different types will need different conditions, to whom more light can lower whom longer whom shorter. On average take 125 Watts per square meter. Let one Teplice we night, another day. Constant power - all the same 125 Watts per square meter. Per square kilometre, it will require 125 Megawatts. It was only light.

For heating of such capacity may not be sufficient, for earthly homes, the cost of 100 watts per square meter is not very much, sometimes more. Sometimes less. But on Earth there is no such place where it happens at night-100. Let for good measure will be 150 Watts per square meter. One requiring gigawatts reactor enough to 6.6 square kilometers, if you count only on electricity and 21.3 square kilometers of heat. We don't all need in the form of heat, but some of the energy can be extracted in this way. Not to drop it.

It costs only for compensation of solar energy. What on Earth we receive the gift. Think about it: nothing. All other costs are borne from the top. Production, transport.

How many people will be able to provide one square kilometer of greenhouses, I can't say. Exactly it is clear that the population density in cities here is suitable weak, as in the whole planet. For example, the population density in Germany - 229 people per square kilometer. This means that serviced by one reactor site will live, roughly 3,500). But this is only an assumption. At desire it is possible to calculate more precisely. In the current conditions at nuclear power plants, there are approximately fifteen hundred people on each unit. I.e. at our 1000 Megawatt, on one reactor should 1500 people only a staff. Excluding extraction of fuel and everything else.

Energy will need a lot. What are our options? Solar energy is good, no clouds, but there is a change time of day, time of year, dust storms, and energy, as such, is twice less, than on Earth. To compensate only the fraction of energy that we spend for reimbursement of lack of sun, you will need to have solar panels on the area more than double the illuminated area. Not very attractive.

Wind power in such rarefied atmosphere will perhaps also not too effective. Wave and tidal, for obvious reasons - by. Coal and gas to burn will not work - oxidant not.

Peaceful atom? Out almost the only option. You only need somewhere to get fuel and enrich it.

And this raises the main question - will converge if the flow rate of the loan. It is obvious, that cost of human resources is much larger than on Earth, and hence the energy needed a lot more. Therefore, raw materials needed to produce more. And here is another question - whether the people in conditions of increased costs just to feed themselves. It may be that in order to ensure the functioning of the colony would need more man-hours than can practise living in colonies of people.
Will there be enough resources to development? Roughly speaking, have delivered nuclear fuel for a reactor. It is enough for one campaign. Will there be enough energy that reactor to ensure the life of the colony during the campaign taking into account the need to mine and enrich uranium for the next boot?

Social characteristics

Limited, a constant risk to life, enclosed space, hard work, the level of psychological tension will definitely be high. Will need some measures for maintaining of order management, in General, everything is the same as on Earth.
The colonists can be very diverse, squeeze the world's population. As for the submarine. Only there with military bearing and discipline, often compatriots, and here the full range, and often warring people. Warring in the earth, almost greenhouse, compared to Martian conditions. And each bring democracy. Military dictatorship is not too attractive for visitors.


The final touch is the people. Colony need some way to settle. Let Musk will take all comers for only $499* thousands of dollars. What is this number? This 41 year in 1000 dollars per month. Yes, there are some people who can afford it, not gathering to fly all your life. But in the colony will be needed, including not millionaires, which, by the way, will need a multiple of ten times more than the so-called intelligentsia. Miners, Steelworkers, mechanics, fitters, shoemakers, in the end. And you want them to be very many, but if they will not, no one will do their work, and hence the future.
So, after all, who will pay for their delivery? Option: to borrow money to fly to Mars, quickly earn there and give back? Will it succeed?

Not Autonomous colony.

For example, we gave up the idea of independence as unable to get everything necessary or not converged energy balance, does not matter. Most of the resources delivered from the Earth. We all know that it is expensive. The main question - how to pay?
Well here are a colony, receives it from the earth, some good, it is necessary for them to pay? Something needs to produce and send to Earth. Let the cost of delivery will be about 5 000$ a kilo. Not so much (?), but this is based on calculations Mask from Earth to Mars. But on Mars, we will have a shortage of fuel. This is already a departure from the original installation without fiction" and "available today". But even say so. Not so much on Earth things are worth so much money per kilogram. And shouldbut to be cheaper. Taking into account production.

The third option is the last

The third option is a colony, which feeds the Earth. Like space stations, only much further and in more content. Quite a may exist, but so long until one who pays for all this Banquet, do not run out of money, or interest in what is happening. And what then? Oxygen on holidays, water for the weekend?

I do not mean to be pessimistic, I call to try to realize, and perhaps to calculate all the difficulties and costs to estimate how much have real prospects of creating a colony on the same Mars.

PS If you think of the Martian conditions on Earth, this is possible only in case of very serious accidents. The loss of the atmosphere and magnetic field, water, reduce the solar flux is difficult to imagine the conditions in which this can happen. A collision with a large celestial body? So now there are people who are engaged in working through scenarios in this case. Change the trajectory, crushing and so on. Nuclear winter?
But most importantly, if we have all these difficulties can be overcome on Mars, what they are going to do the same thing on Earth? Territorialnye, waste treatment, mining, independence from internal resources - why not implement it in the framework of the Earth? Global warming is nothing compared to the formation of the atmosphere from scratch. The energy crisis - children's games, compared with compensation of missing energy of the Sun. And so on. At the moment, humanity cannot solve the problem completely different order.

Author: frig
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