SaturnianBlue

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About SaturnianBlue

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  • Location Somewhere in the Laniakea Cluster
  • Interests Space exploration and colonization, astronomy, drawing, tropical weather, science fiction (the Expanse, especially), geography, history, WWII warships, the future, technology, science, and being acutely aware of procrastination... And doing little to stop it.

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  1. SaturnianBlue

    SpaceX Discussion Thread

    SpaceX's Propulsion Chief Technology Officer, Tom Mueller is speaking at the ISDC tomorrow. Since I'll be there, it's possible I could ask questions on this thread's behalf.
  2. @Barzon Kerman A NASA contest where you submit a work (usually a design proposal) related to space settlement.
  3. @Barzon Kerman Participants of the NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest (including me) are invited to the annual conference, where people in the space industry meet to discuss topics like technology, space settlement, etc.
  4. SaturnianBlue

    Show off your drawings!

    Decided to follow a tutorial on coloring faces with a sketch I already had. I'll be honest, I'm quite surprised out how well the face has turned out so far.
  5. I've been busy with preparing for the International Space Development Conference, so I haven't been able to work on IAKF for a few days, and I'll probably be busy attending the events there in a few days, so you might not see many posts for the next few weeks (with school finals on the horizon).
  6. I suppose yes. Transportation in a colonized Kerbol system might move a bit faster, but in terms of communications, there is, in the grand scene of things, practically no delay.
  7. THE DUNA SYSTEM IN A COLONIZED KERBOL SYSTEM: PART ONE Chapter XXXIV of Imagining a Kerbal Future We return to the red planet of Duna - a long time favorite destination for players of KSP. Government In thinking of government, one should consider who settles Duna. Corporations would be much more interested in developing the Mun, which has a stronger business case. As a result, some ambitious Kerbin governments, or a wealthy Elon Kerman might try their hand at colonizing Duna. With a government effort, I could imagine the settlement government resembling the colonizing government. On the other hand, a wealthy individual might do whatever they want, to an extent. In contrast to the settlements on the Mun, the early settlements on Duna will likely have more autonomy and be more self-reliant, given the light delay and travel times. Once a colony grows to a certain size, a council may be necessary. A few of the representatives might be from the Kerbin government, a few from corporations, and the majority being the actual colonists. Once settlement of Duna begins to take off, a pan-Dunan alliance or federation might be formed, making travel and other activities between the various colonies more convenient. This could eventually achieve independence. On the other hand, this might not be the case, and colonies would be controlled by various groups. Even with an alliance, there may be colonists that might start their own settlements, who remain quite independent of anyone else, except to trade. The Issues of the Duna System An issue of note that I haven’t covered that faces any colony is the choice of sticking to the old customs of kerbin, or if the new colony should start with a blank slate. This doesn’t necessarily mean a total breakaway from Kerbin. It could also be about making Duna a “fresh start” for Kerbalkind. This ideal might be a major motivation for individual Kerbals to come to Duna. Such kerbals will be especially disappointed, however, if they find that Duna is still host to a culture not unlike that of Kerbin. Perhaps such colonists may attempt to scrape together the resources for a settlement of their own on Duna. This might become commonplace on a terraformed Duna, speaking of which... To terraform or not to terraform Duna… An issue covered (through the real-life counterpart of Duna, Mars) extensively in works such as The Mars Trilogy, for example. Indeed, the direction and approach may set the course of Dunan history. Here is an exploration of certain viewpoints. In my opinion, I imagine that a couple elements from some of the approaches will be synthesized. Terraforming What will allow Kerbals to live in great numbers in the Duna system? The answer lies in terraforming. By completely changing the planet of Duna, a new oasis will be brought to life in the Kerbol system. Terraforming can very easily use the resources available on the planet for building the infrastructure to allow the project to happen. This is in contrast to settling space, which will necessitate the use of delta-V or space elevators to bring resources to the construction sites. There is something merely different about being able to walk out into the open air, instead of being trapped in a cylinder or under a dome. For one thing, there is a sense of great security without the threat of an asteroid or habitat breach resulting in asphyxiation for you and countless others. Even if certain infrastructure contributing to the terraforming efort are destroyed, the changes to the climate of Duna will surely be gradual, not near-instant. Terraforming may be a lengthy process, but certain methods can be used to make it less so. Kerbals can use genetics or robotics to allow them to walk on Duna, even if it is only partially terraformed. Effects On the surface, the main effect would be apparent—even if terraforming is only partially carried out, there would be large open farms and forests, in addition to lakes and seas. If genetic tweaks are implemented by much of the populace, we could see Duna become isolated from Kerbin, as it will be more difficult for them to interact in an environment that suits both of them. Since this approach is the one that takes the most action against the current state of Duna, it is likely to also be the one that sees the most opposition, which could manifest itself in various ways, with the extreme being outright sabotage of terraforming infrastructure. Paraterraforming Paraterraforming is the technique where pressurized habitats are built, eventually covering the planet. By changing Duna, we can more gradually make Duna more habitable. While terraforming is a lengthy process, paraterraforming allows some habitation very quickly, and according to demands and need. As a result, there will be more interest in supporting the project, since results can be seen relatively quickly. Second, paraterraforming is more efficient. While terraforming Duna requires the entire atmosphere to be changed, paraterraforming only requires enough atmosphere to fill the entire enclosure, which may be only a few kilometers high. This would allow it to be better adjusted according to the needs or taste of the population as well. Third, there is simply a better place for terraforming—Laythe, which is already quite similar to Kerbin, and therefore takes far less effort to terraform. A kerbol system-wide organization, if given the choice of dedicating their resources towards terraforming Duna or Laythe, would most likely choose Laythe. Lastly, paraterraforming has better control of what is affected on Duna. If life is discovered on Duna, then we can simply avoid covering that area, while terraforming might destroy it or require an enclosure to be built. As a result, paraterraforming provides Duna with a more effective alternative to traditional terraforming. Effects For both this scenario and the terraforming one, Ike is likely to be relatively unsettled, being host to robotic mining and manufacturing sites, connected to Duna by space elevator, but little more. Dunans in this scenario are unlikely to tweak themselves, aside from adaption to the gravity—going outside will mainly be for sightseeing, after all. As a result, Duna wouldn’t become isolated as quickly. This scenario is likely to yield Duna the highest surface population early on, since terraforming doesn’t provide new living space for most of the project’s duration, while the following approach is unlikely to give Duna much of a surface population at all. Settle Space Admittedly this is the one I favor the most, and the one I was simply able to rationalize the best. Indeed, the surface has resources, but living there requires one to put up with low gravity, and terraforming the place will be a lengthy process of many hundreds of years. Better option lie with cities in the space around Duna, where Dunans should instead live. The first main advantage of settling space is that there is a much quicker return-on-investment. As a result, you can slowly build more habitats to meet demand, while with terraforming, much of Duna is uninhabitable for the majority of the project. Another threat for terraforming is the potential for interstellar travel to become increasingly more viable. Instead of having to considerably change a world to live on the surface, colonists may instead have to wear minimal gear even when they land, and only a little effort may be required to make the planet fully habitable. As a result, the terraforming project may become an invalid white elephant before it even reaches completion. Second, space habitats have very high climate control. Both terraforming and paraterraforming are physically incapable of changing the gravity on Duna without some absurd measures. On the other hand, a space habitat only has to adjust their spin speed. Third, space habitats will be less expensive, consume far less resources, and be considerably safer. For example, terraforming may require comets to enter the atmosphere of Duna, which could be quite dangerous for ground inhabitants, if the trajectory is miscalculated. That comet may only contribute a slight bit to the overall terraforming effort, while that same comet could probably provide the water for entire cylinders. This would preserve natural features...like this. Fourth, we would preserve Duna as we know it. Many landscapes and wonders may be destroyed or affected in the process of terraforming, and even paraterraforming may also end with a similar result, since air can escape into the atmosphere, for example. Some sites can be preserved, but landmarks that may come to be of greater interests later on might have already been destroyed. In conclusion, it is clear that living in space is the way to go, not living on Duna. This does not mean that we cannot carry out activities on the world itself, of course—surely there will be mining installations and tourist sites. By settling space, Duna can dedicate its resources to asserting its power. Effects For one thing, this approach would probably lead to Duna becoming host to the second most space habitats, following only Kerbin. The planet itself would probably remain the same way it has always been, perhaps with only a few domed cities, not much more. The main export material for Duna will be water ice from the poles, for use in the space habitats. The Dunan physique would remain similar to that of Kerbin, having spent most of their time in similar environments. WIthout the relative isolation that living in different g forces might present, Dunans may feel more closely associated with Kerbiners, and this might delay the growth of a unique Dunan identity. In this Duna system, we will see a highly developed Ike. Ike would provide much of the material for the habitats, since it will be the most accessible source, especially since most habitats will orbit at Duna synchronous orbit just like Ike, in order to allow space elevator access to the surface. The demand for its resources will turn Ike into a single massive industrial center. In the far future, Ike might be deconstructed completely, having been converted into O’Neill cylinders. As I discussed in the previous chapter, there would likely be a lot of Kerbals headed off for other planets, and unlike the Mun, they may not come from corporations. It would be no surprise if many of them settled on Duna. This could be problematic in the eyes of the local authority in charge of Duna. For one thing, they may be unable to build enough housing areas to place the new arrivals in, perhaps forcing them to be temporarily located in bare minimum habitats, or altogether restrict travel from Kerbin. War Invasion Ike would be a major strategic target to bombard or conquer for an invading fleet. Ike, as a nexus between Duna and the rest of the Kerbol system, will store lots of resources in warehouses, including reaction mass, and life support—necessary for maintaining the fleet. Even if the resources are destroyed when Dunan forces escape Ike, it means Duna cannot use them, and they lose a key access point to space. While it is important, Ike is a difficult place to invade, and for that matter maintain control of—surface defenses on Duna will have little problem striking the fleet stationed there. Capturing Ike results in a reduced need for large, vulnerable supply ships like this one If a conflict begins on Ike, it is likely to spread or garner action from the rest of the Duna system. First, Ike is simply much closer to its home planet than the Mun is to Kerbin, making what happens on Ike of more immediate relevance to the people down on Duna. The proximity would also intertwine the two worlds, quite literally it a space elevator is built between them. Invading Duna itself would be not too difficult if the invaders had control of the space elevator. However, the cable will be almost certainly destroyed by the defending Dunans, forcing any invasion to rely on dropships. In a populated world like Duna, an invasion will be difficult, just like on Eve. However, an invasion force here will have full visibility of the ground, making orbital bombardment strikes more accurate and effective. In addition, the invasion force has no laser submarines to be worried about, and will not be hampered by higher-G forces. Fighting Between Space Settlements Two warships patrol the space around the settlements under siege If fighting ever breaks out against/between space settlements, the attackers will probably rely on a siege or blockade to force the settlement into surrender. Outright destroying a habitat with potentially a large amount of civilians on it would be hugely controversial, while an invasion is also likely to end badly, as the invaders may find themselves fighting a large, armed population. Fighting Between Ground Colonies One difference a ground battle on Duna might have compared to one on Kerbin is that aerial, close-in reconnaissance drones would be more difficult to use. The thin air will force designs to use large wings that would be easily detectable and consequently vulnerable to destruction. In general, however, I cannot think of any more major difference in ground warfare compared to Kerbin, aside from the fact that vehicles will have to be airtight and better-suited to low gravity. War Scenario: Introduction Let us start off with a classic—the Dunan War of Independence. Duna has been unified under the locally-based Dunan Congressional Authority, in order to reduce trade barriers. This has worked well for the various nations of Kerbin, as it has reduced the need for settlements to produce everything they have to, and has made business overall easier. However, this would only harm Kerbin powers if the DCA declares independence, since it will be an organized movement. Duna’s population has begun to bloom, and its industry is on par with the continental powers on Kerbin. The population has now reached 80 million, the majority residing in space settlements in the “Ike Belt” and on the planet itself, in massive cities under “tarps” and domes. Duna and the DCA are also closely associated with various asteroid colonies, which provide most of the resources that Duna cannot provide itself. At this point, Kerbin has begun to lose a lot of population to emigration—not a huge amount percentage wise, of course, but unfortunately, many of these Kerbals tend to be young or quite skilled. It has not helped that the DCA has campaigned heavily around the Kerbin System for new immigrants, offering various incentives for a fresh start. As the red planet grows ever more independent from Kerbin, the calls for independence grow slowly louder… Thanks for Reading! Next: The Duna System In A Colonized Kerbol System, Part Two
  8. Any thoughts on Dunan cultural values and customs that might logically arise?
  9. SaturnianBlue

    Weather Chat Megathread

    5 days before the official start of the 2018 Pacific Hurricane Season, Tropical Depression One-E has formed! Just one year and one day since Tropical Storm Adrian set the record for the record earliest formation in the East Pacific.
  10. SaturnianBlue

    A Thread for Writers to talk about Writing

    What is everyone's approach to designing characters? I plan on making a character profile for each of the major characters, but I don't have a clear focus on what I should include.
  11. SaturnianBlue

    A Thread for Writers to talk about Writing

    How do all of you go around thinking about culture of Kerbals, and more specifically that of certain areas of Kerbin?
  12. THE KERBIN SYSTEM IN A COLONIZED KERBOL SYSTEM: PART THREE Chapter XXXIII of Imagining a Kerbal Future The Kerbin System: An All-Exposition Short Story Ahead of you, an arcology stands like a mountain, tapering off until it becomes nothing but a thin line stretching into the skies. Only 30 minutes before, you were up in the north, boarding the vactrain that has taken you here, at the equator. Behind the massive arcology, Kerbol shines with great radiance. You stroll your way into an elevator barely larger than the front section of the vactrain car. This, thankfully, is not the elevator to space, the one you’ve longed to take. The Mun has gone around a few times since you filed your application, and it has finally been accepted. You’ve had enough of the people down on this orb—life is well and good on Kerbin, but there’s little to do aside from living your days out in VR realms. The Spaceside Dream, they called it. Out in space, where everyone around isn’t so ancient and absorbed by matters on Kerbin, where distinction is more equally achievable by anyone. The massive elevator cabin is just ahead, but of course some horrendously long security complex stands in your way. The process is quite literally straightforward, as you simply walk in a line as the system scans everything on you and your little case. The cabin that awaits you at the end of the tunnel is clean, if especially cramped. Each of the two cabins on the lift are two floors tall, one cabin on each side. The floor is roughly rectangular, with rounded edges. There’s a good 40 seats, most of them filled up. You stow your little case into the booth above, and settle into the “window” seat. Most of the fellow kerbals on the ride are quite young. As you sip Mystery Goo™, you find yourself discussing the reasons for coming on the ride. All of them seem to be coming to space for reasons similar to yours—to escape the planet that’s holding them back. You ask them where they’re headed. “Me? I’ll probably buy a hole on one of the Kerbostationary toruses. I want to visit Kerbin every once in a while, I just don’t want to live there.” “I’m heading out to Minmus. I hear the hotels there are overbooked and all, but I’ll probably spend a few nights there for a planet to head off to after that. I’ll probably ask some people who’ve come from those planets and ask them what’s up.” “My destination is the Rockomax Cylinder out near the Mun. I love the scenery of Kerbin, it’s the people that are messing it up. The cylinders might take some getting used to, but the scenery is basically the same, right?” “Laythe. No need to worry about a meteor smashing my dome and sucking the air out!” “Well, I’m off for the Edball Kerman—” “The interstellar spaceship?!” everyone else cries out. He seemed quite taken aback by the response, to say the least. “Yeah. It’s not like I’m close to anyone on Kerbin, and I just know the Kerbol system will be uninteresting sometime. On the other hand, working with a group with the purpose of settling new worlds! Now that’s what I’m looking for.” Pointing towards you, one of them asks, “So, where are you headed?” “Well… I’m in no rush to leave the Kerbin system. I have a few credits to spend, I want to visit the worlds ‘round Kerbin first-hand before picking.” Crossroads Station expands into view. Concentric rings spin in unison, and a long beam sticks out of the core—the dock. Puffs of white eschew from thrusters on little ships. Three of them merge on a much larger ship, which appear to have backward-placed, pitch black wings and shining fuel tanks at the bottom. Huddled on the upper half are multi-colored shipping containers with corporate emblems emblazoned through shining displays. As you enter the station, you are again greeted by another security tunnel—as a fragile space station, security is of the utmost importance. Crossroads is first and foremost a transportation hub, so there are few residential units. However, you decide to take a look at the few that do. They’re compact, to say the least. Just large enough for the necessities and a place to rest, and cramped enough for practically nothing else. Your interface recommends the direct flight to Jebediah City on the Mun. Why not, you think, and a pod slides you off to the dock. Your mass, and that of your case are both measured with great precision. Then they charge an extra fee! You recall some advertisement by Chung Atomics saying something about “every gram counts.” Apparently this saying is the law, out in space. You strap into a rather flimsy looking flight couch, and the gravity cuts away. After some slight nudges, the gravity returns, though hardly at the strength before. You consult your interface, and begin some reading on Jebediah city… A shining city in the hill awaits you. Well, more a lava tube, but same thing. After landing at the spaceport and taking the pods down the tunnel, a grand park sprawls in front of you, surrounded on all sides by massive skyscrapers. “Local time,” so to speak, is 1:29. A mere few seconds later, the orange glow on the horizon shifts gradually to a sky blue, and a completely artificial kerbol broadcasts its light upon the city. Also at this particular moment, an adbot flies past expounding the “decadent nature of Kerbin” and how this replication of a Kerbin morning was a reminder of a declining empire, one that the Mun should distance itself from. It is quickly drowned out by the praises of the governing Rockomax Kerbodyne Corporation heralded by much more sophisticated adbots with shinier holograms. That singular adbot has you thinking: what do the people out here think of Kerbin? You approach a slightly older kerbal in a rather comfortable Rockomax jumpsuit. The interface greets you with a quick profile, a citizen of Kerbin, but part-time worker on behalf of Rockomax Kerbodyne. He appears to do the same for you as well. “Hello!” “Hi! Would I be right in guessing that you’re looking for some questions about the Mun?” “Well, yes.” “Ah. There’s a great amount of you Kerbals from Kerbin fumbling about. First question?” he asks equal parts bored and looking for a surprise. “What do you think of the Mun?” “It’s where I work for a good hundred days, fly back to Kerbin to spend some of the earnings just enjoying life, then flying back up again,” he says, in a well-rehearsed manner. “Have you ever thought about living here?” “No, there’s more to do down at Kerbin that just doesn’t exist in a work city like this one.” he continues, “and as for the few cities that are mainly for living, a concerning amount of them want to become totally independent from Kerbin, which to myself just doesn’t seem sound!” “Thanks for your input.” “Good luck! Hope you find a good place to live.” Now you feel rather tempted to travel to the “living cities”, that he described. Astra Point appears to be one of them. After shooting across the Munar lowlands on a maglev, the covered domes of this city come into view. After getting out of the station, you meet a long-time resident of the Mun. “The Mun? Well it is quite a nice place. Enough unlike Kerbin to be distinct from that world, but close enough so that you can talk to anyone there, if need be.” “Anything of note on living here?” “As with anything on this particularly big rock, any sort of resource usage is heavily restricted. Some places in the city are rather austere for that reason, I must say.” “Reminds me of the space station I passed through on the way over to the Mun.” “I guess that’s a general rule for space living, unless you happen to be wealthy.” “What about Kerbin?” you ask. “Well, I must admit I don’t think much of it.” she continues, “We depend on it for trade and entertainment, but even this city by itself is fairly self-sufficient. Much of the tourists are rather annoying… I’m not talking about you, more the stupidly-rich ones who act as if they own this land, which sadly they do! There’s a reason I left Jebediah City; that and those annoying adbots!” Before you choose your next destination, you feel an urge to gaze at the Munar surface. At Airlock 12, locally known as the “tourist hole”, you are suited up by the tourist-specialized robotic helpers, who remind you to “keep your helmet on at all times”. After jumping whole meters into the air (your interface reminds you “into the vacuum” is more technically correct), you stumble and fall over, but with practice you become used to it. The tour route leads you to an odd looking contraption. Produced right here on the Mun, it is the first known example of a drink rocket launcher, capable of using the strange properties of Munar drinks to propel bottles off the low-gravity world, before slamming into this same world a few seconds later. Once the tour is complete, you stumble back into the airlock, and with a whoosh, air is blasted into the chamber, and immediately thereafter your suit is scrubbed and cleaned vigorously. As you step out of the chamber and back to the city, you suddenly notice just how sterile the airlock area is—the people of the Mun do not fool around when it comes to the dirt here. You’ve never seen Kerbin as nothing more than a marble before. You’ve arrived at the mint ice cream world, Minmus. The mint ice cream world, not just in appearance, but for the largest mint ice cream factory known to the Kerbol system. No ice cream you’ve ever tasted has such a high creaminess to it; you’ve also never seen an ice cream with such a high priceyness to it, either. This seems to be quite the theme of this part of the station, with its sleek, bright corridors and vegetation right from Kerbin, and not any of the miniature trees you’ve seen earlier. Especially near the spaceport, you notice some interesting decor and strange customs; as the main gateway to the rest of the Kerbol System, the local culture has taken inspiration. After some distance, you begin to find the more “normally priced” areas of Minmus, but even here, the housing units are filled up and still rather expensive. You visit one last location before choosing. The Wernher von Kerman cylinder. Here, the artificial Kerbol does not arc its way across the sky. Instead, it is simply located at the center of the cylinder section, its light radiating in much the same way as the equatorial Kerbol. The gravity is uncannily familiar—you weigh just the same on Kerbin, but something simply feels a little different... Here, the consensus on Kerbin is a little like that on the Mun. They are even more dependent on Kerbin for resources and business, and complain a little about the people of Kerbin, who they see as rather unappreciative of their relative safety and lack of perspective. As for the station itself, it is a somewhat different feeling from Crossroads, due to the cylindrical nature of the settlement, and because the station is less tourist-oriented. Now you choose where you want to live; where will it be? Role and Conclusion It seems as if the role of Kerbin is the perceived heart of a powerful but dying empire, as its residents look more inwardly and gradually lose influence with the rise of the space states. The Mun might be the “space factory” of the Kerbin system, using its vast resources for construction and manufacturing to the rest of the system. Minmus is Space Macau/Hong Kong ( @MatterBeamhas pointed out, however, that the Channel Islands are a better analogy for their proximity to the home country)—a spaceport bustling with tourism mostly independent of Kerbin, but very much dependent on it for protection. The orbitals would be mostly dependent on Kerbin for their economy and resources, but even they might try to wean themselves away. Overall, the Kerbin system will remain central to Kerbal civilization—but there is no doubt that they will be in for a time of upheaval. Thanks for Reading! Next: The Duna System In A Colonized Kerbol System, Part One Questions for the next chapter: What issues might confront a colonized Duna system? What might a Dunan government be like, and how might it interact with other worlds? Over what causes might Duna fight? What would you like to see in the next chapter, that isn't present now?
  13. As for radiation, putting enough dirt/material between a equipment/Kerbals should be enough to keep them safe. Comms-delay shouldn't be too extreme for Duna, but it would certainly make Dunans more isolated and more distinct from Kerbin, when compared to an equivalent Mun colony.