SaturnianBlue

Imagining a Kerbal Future: What Would the Future of Kerbals Look Like? (Chapter XVIII: Colonizing Tylo)

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We can into Eve!

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Kosmonaut said:

Eve SSTOs... wow

Sadly, all my tests haven't worked out, since even the Nuclear Lightbulb is too weak to carry a ship of any considerable payload to space... It seems that rocket launches from the cloud deck/balloon might be better.

I'd say SSTOs would only be viable with the creation of a skyhook to catch the ship at speeds where even the nuclear ramjets can achieve.

Edited by SaturnianBlue
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21 hours ago, SaturnianBlue said:

I'd say SSTOs would only be viable with the creation of a skyhook to catch the ship at speeds where even the nuclear ramjets can achieve.

The Skyhook is a great idea- perhaps you could try by greatly modifying KAS?

Have you ever thought about Mass Drivers? 

It is viable...

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Posted (edited)

57 minutes ago, Kosmonaut said:

The Skyhook is a great idea- perhaps you could try by greatly modifying KAS?

Have you ever thought about Mass Drivers? 

It is viable...

I've thought about mass drivers, but I think they would probably work best on say, Moho, where there is no air resistance.

They might still be of help on Eve, though.

Edited by SaturnianBlue

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Posted (edited)

zunCHCZ.png

Why Settle Eve

The planet Eve—the second largest planet in the (stock) Kerbol System, it is a purple jewel in the Kerbin sky. The planet is regarded as a place of “no return”, a result of the planet’s crushing readings of 1.7 g’s, 5 Bar pressure, and high temperatures at the surface.

Despite all this, there are rather pleasant locations for Kerbals to live on Eve, something quite important for starting off. First though, we will explore why one would colonize Eve in the first place.

Wn7OUq9.png

    Unwilling to face the harsh conditions of the surface, initial efforts will likely concentrate on the high peaks and the cloud layer. The Evian atmosphere appears to be mostly comprised of Carbon Dioxide—if it can be split into oxygen and carbon, not only is a supply of oxygen created for the colonists, the carbon could be converted into valuable resources such as carbon nanotubes and graphene, an excellent form of initial profit.

DvoMEXo.png

    Since the Eve’s atmospheric pressure is far less than that of Venus, per se, it might become somewhat viable to collect valuable minerals (metals, radioactive elements, etc.) from areas of high concentration, which might be found near volcanoes that could exist on Eve. That said, Eve’s large gravity well and atmosphere make it far harder to export. If anything, Eve would import minerals to refine from asteroids or from Moho. Remotely controlled mining craft would likely scrounge the surface for resources, returning to a surface base for processing, or potentially deploying a balloon to easily reach cloud settlements.

    The oceans of Eve—often jokingly said to be made of rocket fuel—could contain interesting resources. If we take the old saying quite literally, large nuclear-powered planes could deliver the rocket fuel into orbit or a skyhook (in essence, a space elevator, but one that doesn’t touch the ground), fueling long-distance ships for long voyages. Based on measurements of the sea’s density, Hydrogen Peroxide seems quite plausible. In the end, writers might as well choose the option that suits them best.

Issues

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    At sea level, the temperatures are quite high—not much compared to Venus, but still enough to make one a bit uncomfortable about going there. Therefore, I conclude that temperature is an issue, but not a major one.

    The atmospheric pressure is also quite high—at 5 atm—but nothing too unusual would is required for constructing buildings, although high winds at such high pressures could pose quite a threat. Therefore, colonies on the surface would be initially unpopular, but would eventually spread.

    One factor that might be a major challenge would be the crushing gravity of Eve, at 1.7 g’s. Such high gravity would make falling objects and simply falling quite a dangerous issue, and would be dangerous for heavy ships if their landing was quite hard. The construction of space elevators and tall things in general would be hampered, which would make skyhooks a more appealing option.

SG2I34l.png

Perhaps the engines are a little overpowered...

    Another major issue surrounding transportation between air-based colonies would be difficult—one would likely have to board an electrical propeller powered vehicle (a tiltrotor, perhaps?), which might be quite dangerous if the habitats drift around the clouds, where visibility would be poor.

    Another concern would be the availability of water for the colonists—if the oceans or atmosphere is not made from something that could be split into water, it will be very difficult to gain access, which would require the expensive process of importing water from a distant place like Moho, for example.

Advantages

    Relative to Kerbin, Eve is the closest planet to Kerbin, which results in short and low fuel transits, allowing for large loads to be moved, which will be quite beneficial in sustaining the colony. However, transfer windows are rather infrequent between the two, though the shorter orbital period allows for frequent windows between more distant targets.

t74o7Fz.png

    While the thick atmosphere makes rockets generally ineffective, it enables ships to use aerocapture, saving significant amounts of Delta-V. This allows the ship to carry heavier payloads, provided the ships are well equipped to handle the effects of reentry at incredibly high velocities.

    At an altitude of 10 kilometers, where the pressure is at 1 bar, the temperature is a rather muggy, at about 315 Kelvin (about 42 degrees Celsius or 107 Fahrenheit), but some regions could be cooler than this. In general, thin, protective suit and a mask should be all that is required for kerbal at this altitude.

    At Eve, solar power is quite effective, and although it is not as effective as at Moho, large space stations that are powered by solar power could exist, although nuclear fusion might be considered more effective. At the very least, it can be used as a reserve. However, cloud c over might prevent its use, making it quite hard to power small craft.

Designs for an Eve Colony

oKI8z5R.png             

    The first design will be that of the floating colony. This colony can float with balloons of a breathable mix, which can both act as a decent lifting gas and a last resort reserve of air in case of an accident. However, pure oxygen might also work, and it could also be better replenished by the Evian atmosphere’s vast reserves of CO2. At high altitudes, the balloon can be pressurized at the same pressure as its surroundings, resulting a slow leak despite being pressurized. The balloon’s design might resemble a zeppelin, with electric engines powering the ship when needed.


    The craft would carry a gondola that would house the living spaces. One of the objects located in the gondola might be an atmospheric scoop, collecting the air and onboard factories can reprocess it into useful products either for use in-situ or for export. All of this depends on the composition of the air, but the Gas Chromatograph experiment implies a considerable amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere, which could be used in fertilizers in the greenhouses onboard.

    On the side of the platform would be the take off zone for VTOL electric-propeller powered aircraft that would transport people between distant floating colonies. Nuclear-powered aircraft could also be used, but that would require runways, which would be quite hard to build.

    Power could be delivered through means such as fusion/fission, but wind power, geothermal power, and potentially solar power (provided the colony floats above the clouds) could be cheaper and make use of available resources.

    Mining robots could mine for resources on the surface before rising on balloons to avoid destruction and reach the floating colonies, providing resources to sustain the colony.

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    The second idea involves the surface colony. The colony will be powered by geothermal energy, since the clouds will block out solar power options. Colonists here could dig underground, but with protection from solar radiation, there would be little need to. An interesting concept for such a colony might be a geodesic dome, allowing for a view of the outside.

3EwPozf.png

This stack can carry 40mT of equipment to practically anywhere in the Kerbol System, provided they wait.

    The colony could reduce the Delta-V budget for its rockets by floating them up on balloons, and could reduce costs by having a reusable launch stage.

    The surface colony would likely sustain itself by mining large amounts of metals and eventually the colony would start processing the products in-situ. These sites could trade metals with the floating colonies in exchange for carbon-based products and oxygen.

    If these sites are built along the ocean, they could also process it’s resources.

Eve Colony Progression

dniAkxt.png

This colony has a rather dangerous reentry, since it tends to flip out, though it can certainly survive it.

    The first colonies would be dropped into the atmosphere, initially focusing on trying to be self-sufficient. These early colonies would be fairly dependent on Kerbin, but eventually the colony would be able to produce a variety of carbon based products to support the construction of more colonies.

    As the first mining efforts on the surface begin, Eve will source more and more of its resources locally, creating more complex carbon based products, some of which could be sent to other planets. The place could support the early efforts of colonizing the outer planets by acting as a refinery or a pit stop, as the ships can easily aerobrake, at which point the resources can be sent to planets such as Moho, this time with more fuel and a lower intercept speed.

    The location of colonies will slowly work its way down on the surface, starting from the cooler mountains, and eventually down to sea level. By having the processing on the surface, Eve can produce far more products than simply mining small amounts and then refining it at a cloud settlement.

    Eve could be prove to be a rather pleasant place to live, with plenty of radiation protection, provided one puts up with 1.7g’s of gravity. Eventually, there may be voices advocating for terraforming the planet. Solar shades may be set up to cool the planet, but reducing the pressure and introducing oxygen would be much more difficult.

Conclusion

    While Eve is often portrayed (quite sensibly, in some cases) as a deadly and dangerous world, the cloud layer is rather safe. In general, Eve’s economy would probably be based on resource gathering and manufacturing. Early colonization efforts might focus on locations such as the Mun or Duna, but in a kerbal future it’s likely that Eve would still have a part to play in the interplanetary dynamic.

End of Chapter VIII
 
Thanks for Reading!
 
Next: Chapter VIIIa—Colonizing Gilly
Edited by SaturnianBlue
Added note about terraforming
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We can Into Gilly!

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30 minutes ago, Laythe Squid said:

We can Into Gilly!

And for a small world, it's quite an interesting one. :) 

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Nearly finished writing the Gilly chapter, what do you think about effectively turning Gilly into an O'Neill cylinder?

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What about building a giant ring around Gilly, rotating for gravity and with easy access to the surface...

 

Well

 

Not that giant...

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On ‎5‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 2:02 PM, Kosmonaut said:

What about building a giant ring around Gilly, rotating for gravity and with easy access to the surface...

 

Well

 

Not that giant...

Yeah, Gilly is kinda... tiny.

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You could have the ring  spin match the day cycle of gilly and then access to the surface would be easier

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Kosmonaut said:

You could have the ring  spin match the day cycle of gilly and then access to the surface would be easier

I guess it would be sort of be like an orbital ring but at a Gilly-Stationary orbit?

With Gilly's gravity, I don't think you'd need much effort to reach the surface anyway though...

Edited by SaturnianBlue
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Sadly unable to finish the art and stuff for the chapter, but all I have to do is the O'Niell cylinder drawing. Here's my depiction of the surface colony. 

onDz1LY.png

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On 5/11/2017 at 9:03 PM, SaturnianBlue said:

Sadly unable to finish the art and stuff for the chapter, but all I have to do is the O'Niell cylinder drawing. Here's my depiction of the surface colony. 

onDz1LY.png

I told you that we can into Gilly!

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Posted (edited)

69tttG1.png

Why Settle Gilly

    Gilly—the smallest moon in the entire stock Kerbol system. Despite it’s small size, it is an rather valuable world, especially for Eve.

L6P82QN.png

    As Gilly is most likely a captured asteroid, it is stocked with resources, which would attract numerous mining operations. “What resources?” one might ask—it depends. Based on the calculated albedo of Gilly (credit to @OhioBob's Kerbal Astronomy thread for the number), which is 0.15, it is most likely an M-Type or an S-Type asteroid. If Gilly is an S-type (stony), it will not have much water or valuable phosphorus for agriculture (unlike a C-type). However, this factor is made up with a rich supply of metals (including that Eve colonists may not have access to in large quantities, especially when surface mining is restricted to temporary robot mining operations). If Gilly is an M-type, this would bode even better for colonists—the asteroid is made mainly of metal, making it even better to start mining operations.

nQQu8V8.png

    Supporting Eve colonists is even better when taking into account that it takes as low as ~200 M/s of delta-V to send a ship towards the Evian atmosphere.* Therefore, it would also mean that a small mass driver is all that is required to send large payloads towards Eve.

*This varies—by quite a bit

Issues

DfOTUyp.png

Jeb jumped to a height of 212 meters—the jump lasted a total of 5 minutes.

    As Gilly is such a small asteroid, it has no atmosphere—exposing settlers to radiation and therefore requiring more protective measures than colonists on Eve would. While the moon has very little gravity, this is solved easily with rotating habitats. Additionally, the low gravity may make it possible for large ships usually used in space to rest on the surface, and directly take on fuel and cargo.

    An issue less affected by environmental factors is that Gilly mining operations will be threatened by one thing—mining on Eve’s surface. Since it is likely that the main importer of Gilly’s resources will be Eve, mining on Eve would eventually try to force out Gilly on the market. Surface colonies on Eve would use their own resources, leaving only the sky colonies as the main point of competition. At this point, Gilly might use its resources to produce products, utilizing zero-g manufacturing to their advantage, or turn to other forms of revenue.

Colony Designs

n7lO81k.png

    Early settlement would be based around mining the resources on Gilly, with the main living spaces being spun up to provide gravity for the health of the residents. With no atmosphere, these would have to be well protected from radiation.

    The colonies could use solar power at Gilly, as there would be few disruptions such as clouds that are prevalent on Eve. Additionally, air, water, and likely soil are imported to support the colony.

    Any autonomous mining craft could easily use small thrusters to travel around this truly small world, even with a large load of metal. Then, ships leave to deliver supplies to Eve.

zIG4zxB.png

    For a far late-stage Gilly colony, there is a far more ambitious project—an O’Neill cylinder (more precisely something like an “asteroid terraria”, depicted in the novel 2312). Several kilometers wide and even longer, the colony would take up a significant portion of Gilly’s interior. The O’Neill cylinder contains a fully habitable interior and spins to create artificial gravity. However, the “cylinder” part of this design would have to be separated; integrating one into the Gilly would spin the little moon into pieces—instead, the cylinder is separated from the asteroid itself by some means. Despite being separate from the asteroid, the habitat still receives protection from radiation and debris, except for the entrance. A central beam provides light to the entire structure, and can be slowly turned off/on to represent sunset or sunrise.

    Another concept (@Kosmonaut’s) would be to build a ring around Gilly—which eliminates the need to have to separate the colony in the asteroid, though it would need to protect itself from outer space.

Gilly Colony Progression

kkNWf9C.png

    Gilly would act as a lifeline for the early days of Eve colonization, and would thus see a major presence early on. Initially delivering by rocket, mass drivers would become the preferred transfer method. Trading carbon-based products and air with metals, these colonies would become quite dependent.

As the Eve colony expands onto the surface, the Gilly colony would transition to creating products on its own. In addition, Gilly might even become a tourist attraction for Evian vacationers willing to experience the near-miniscule gravity.

Perhaps with the aid of many ambitious groups, a O’Neill cylinder could be built, which could attract and easily support elderly Evians, and many more who wish to live in a lower-G environment while living in near-idyllic conditions...

End of Chapter VIIIA

 

Thanks for Reading!

 

Next—Colonizing Kerbin Orbit

Edited by SaturnianBlue
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Kerbin orbit! Maybe a space elevator, and it could have parts if the Mun delivered to make a miniature moon as an attraction. And of course some huge hangars for rocket construction!

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Kerbin Orbit...What would be a source of profit there?

Ideas:

  • Large "nets" scoop up cosmic dust which is processed
  • Solar power arrays
  • Tourism
  • Mining passing  asteroids
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15 minutes ago, Laythe Squid said:

Kerbin Orbit...What would be a source of profit there?

Ideas:

  • Large "nets" scoop up cosmic dust which is processed
  • Solar power arrays
  • Tourism
  • Mining passing  asteroids

I think the nets could be used anywhere, though i'd imagine Kerbin would work for this. 

I'd think that fusion/fission might work better at Kerbin, but solar might work for stations in Kerbin orbit which couldn't afford to operate a large fusion plant.

I think tourism would definitely work—a space elevator could get kerbals up to a station for the weekend, where they get to experience zero-g!

Asteroids mining would work, especially if they can be cheaply moved—small stations could be built on these asteroids, where they send off refined metals to larger stations!

 

20 minutes ago, Skylon said:

Kerbin orbit! Maybe a space elevator, and it could have parts if the Mun delivered to make a miniature moon as an attraction. And of course some huge hangars for rocket construction!

Great idea! I was definitely thinking about space elevators—people/resources could be sent up to build/fuel spaceships, which could depart for various targets around the Kerbol system.

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Gilly now seems like Eros from The Expanse...

Spoiler

be careful it doesn't fill with a mysterious blue particle and start accelerating toward Kerbin at over 30g

 

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6 minutes ago, Kosmonaut said:

Gilly now seems like Eros from The Expanse...

  Reveal hidden contents

be careful it doesn't fill with a mysterious blue particle and start accelerating toward Kerbin at over 30g

 

Use of the Kepstein Drive must be strictly regulated!

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2 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

Use of the Kepstein Drive must be strictly regulated!

Definitely don't let Jeb strap one on his three-man yacht, so to speak...

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7 hours ago, SaturnianBlue said:

 

7 hours ago, Laythe Squid said:

Kerbin Orbit...What would be a source of profit there?

Ideas:

  • Large "nets" scoop up cosmic dust which is processed
  • Solar power arrays
  • Tourism
  • Mining passing  asteroids

 

I'd think that fusion/fission might work better at Kerbin

 

Fusion or fission might work better, but what I meant was having large arryas that besam power to the ground for money...like a bill.

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21 hours ago, SaturnianBlue said:

 Any autonomous mining craft could easily use small thrusters to travel around this truly small world, even with a large load of metal.

How about one of @Just Jim's Doodlebugs?

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2 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

How about one of @Just Jim's Doodlebugs?

I need to catch up on this one, sorry..... but are we talking Gilly?  If so, yeah, a Doodlebug style should work great getting around on Gilly... the only problem is Doodlebugs are really small, so you could only add a small tank or 2 to haul stuff around in, or it might end up really off balance.

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16 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

I need to catch up on this one, sorry..... but are we talking Gilly?  If so, yeah, a Doodlebug style should work great getting around on Gilly... the only problem is Doodlebugs are really small, so you could only add a small tank or 2 to haul stuff around in, or it might end up really off balance.

Well, we can always scale it up!

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