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Floating Colonies  

39 members have voted

  1. 1. Floating Colonies in ksp 2

    • Yes! Yes! Big floating structures.
      27
    • Yes. Small floating structures. Airships
      10
    • No.
      2


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Hindenburg is a prophetic name for such colony.

But first of all, about 1 hectare (10 000 m2) per human is required on the Earth to fulfil human needs.
And there is about (iirc) 15 t of biomass (including humus) per capita to have an agriculture.

So, even with hydroponics onboard they need a lot of hindenburgs to feed a family.

Also, an airship is just a bubble. On any launching/docking event it will jump and most probably pop.

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42 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Also, an airship is just a bubble. On any launching/docking event it will jump and most probably pop

Would graphene solve this problem?

Edited by Lo.M
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59 minutes ago, Lo.M said:

Would graphene solve this problem?

If create kilometers-sized baloons to hold in air many tons heavy platforms, these ballons will be just unstable due to wind/weather, heat flow through the balloon and thermal gradient, huge mass of gas which should be quickly heated/cooled, released, and so on to keep buoyancy neutral, and don't forget that you can'y use ballast for quick maneuvering, only manipulations with the gas.

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19 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

If create kilometers-sized baloons to hold in air many tons heavy platforms, these ballons will be just unstable due to wind/weather, heat flow through the balloon and thermal gradient, huge mass of gas which should be quickly heated/cooled, released, and so on to keep buoyancy neutral, and don't forget that you can'y use ballast for quick maneuvering, only manipulations with the gas.

We could attach large aerostat with carbon nanotubes to the soil, small ones could attach large aerostat, we would install an excellent climate system to prevent disasters, in short, it is a great challenge!:o

 

I forgot to mention that the small aerostat don't get stuck forever, they could fly to do research, tourism, rescue ...

Edited by Lo.M
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20 hours ago, crenelatedcheese said:

but whats the point of a floating colony? I was thinking one that could move quickly to get science from different places, but it would take a lot of funds and science to get going otherwise it would be too overpowered.

When you need to extract something from the atmosphere of a gas giant for a long time. You can't land because there is no surface. Just dipping in there and going back to orbit is very complicated and expensive maneuver and you would have to repeat it a lot because you can't stay there for long, before you run out of dV to get back up. Floating colony is the only way.

Edited by Acid_Burn9
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I like the idea of this and I find it to be realistic, but how would you make that work in timewarp? I think it would complicate the game alot.

I would love to see it, but it's probably too complicated

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1 hour ago, The Doodling Astronaut said:

I like the idea of this and I find it to be realistic, but how would you make that work in timewarp? I think it would complicate the game alot.

Yes. I would not like it when I went to see my colony, to know that my settlers were incinerated.:0.0:

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2 hours ago, Lo.M said:

We could attach larger structures with carbon nanotubes to the soil, small ones could attach large structures, we would install an excellent climate system to prevent disasters, in short, it is a great challenge!:o

This isn't a space elevator, you don't need carbon nanotubes. If it's a venus type atmosphere, I am not sure how carbon nanotubes hold up to the temperature and sulfuric acid.

If its a gas giant, there's no surface to attach to for practical purposes.

2 hours ago, Lo.M said:

 forgot to mention that the small structures don't get stuck forever, they could fly to do research, tourism, rescue ...

Why call them structures? It implies something static. 

I am very much in favor of various buoyant craft, from submarines to airships and more.

To the thread title, I would love colonies floating on liquids as well

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21 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

This isn't a space elevator, you don't need carbon nanotubes. If it's a venus type atmosphere, I am not sure how carbon nanotubes hold up to the temperature and sulfuric acid.

I put them on because they are too light, so the aerostat can support its weight.

24 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

Why call them structures? It implies something static. 

Sorry is my translator 

 

 

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3 hours ago, The Doodling Astronaut said:

I like the idea of this and I find it to be realistic, but how would you make that work in timewarp? I think it would complicate the game alot.

I would love to see it, but it's probably too complicated

It would require some coding for sure but it's not all that complicated, certainly simpler than stuff like brachistochrone trajectory planning and three-body physics for Rask/Rusk, which are already on the roadmap.

For example you could give them a simple autopilot and have them warp forward on that path without simulating physics. As simple as "plant a marker on the map, have them fly to that at current altitude and speed, keeping track of consumables if used" would get the job done most of the time.

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10 hours ago, Lo.M said:

We could attach larger structures with carbon nanotubes to the soil, small ones could attach large structures, we would install an excellent climate system to prevent disasters, in short, it is a great challenge!:o

Mostly, you just need to pick a target with reasonably calm and predictable atmosphere. Something like Venus makes a good target, because at altitudes you'd want to place colonies, there is not that much turbulence and shear. Keeping a structure like that "anchored" is a fool's task, but if it gets carried around the planet at a consistent latitude not too far from equator, that's good enough. There's going to be a size limit, but we have skyscrapers nearly a kilometer tall that withstand much greater wind shears than you'd expect over similar distance in Venusian atmosphere at 50+ km. So a colony a few kilometers across is very doable with modern materials. And a structure of that size would have enough redundancy in case some of the lifting cells fail. With the right approach to construction, it can be no more risk than being on a top floor of a modern skyscraper.

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6 hours ago, K^2 said:

Mostly, you just need to pick a target with reasonably calm and predictable atmosphere. Something like Venus makes a good target, because at altitudes you'd want to place colonies, there is not that much turbulence and shear. Keeping a structure like that "anchored" is a fool's task, but if it gets carried around the planet at a consistent latitude not too far from equator, that's good enough. There's going to be a size limit, but we have skyscrapers nearly a kilometer tall that withstand much greater wind shears than you'd expect over similar distance in Venusian atmosphere at 50+ km. So a colony a few kilometers across is very doable with modern materials. And a structure of that size would have enough redundancy in case some of the lifting cells fail. With the right approach to construction, it can be no more risk than being on a top floor of a modern skyscraper.

Where do I sign up? Way things are going down here, moving to Cloud City on Venus sounds like a pretty attractive proposition right about now...

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I suppose 'in principal' floating in an atmoshere is not much different to floating on, or in, an ocean.  You just need to get your bouyancy and pressure tolerances right.

Although there is a distinct change in density on boundary between the surface of an ocean and the atmosphere, which makes staying at that level much easier.

I don't expect large floating/flying colonies to be a 'stock' thing, but airships could be a possibility.

Edited by pandaman
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1 hour ago, pandaman said:

I suppose 'in princioal' floating in an atmoshere is not much different to floating on, or in, an ocean. 

It's totally different because:
1) You need a 1 000 times larger balloon.
2) The air is not as viscous as water, so the platform is highly unstable.
3) You still need a lot of water and resources, but don't have them next to the ship even close.

The floating cloud islands are good when you have a magic or a cheap teleportation technology.

Edited by kerbiloid
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2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

The floating cloud islands are good when you have a magic or a cheap teleportation technology

For transportation we could use an airplane with the ability to engage in a skyhook, today we have planes that take off from ships, I don't know why it wouldn't work on an aerostat.

 

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2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

It's totally different because:
1) You need a 1 000 times larger balloon.
2) The air is not as viscous as water, so the platform is highly unstable.
3) You still need a lot of water and resources, but don't have them next to the ship even close.

The floating cloud islands are good when you have a magic or a cheap teleportation technology.

The platform isn't necessarily unstable at all. It depends on wind shear, and as others have pointed out, there are zones in atmospheres where that isn't a problem.

As to resources, you can certainly extract stuff from the atmosphere itself. What stuff depends on the composition obviously, but in principle it isn't any different from extracting stuff from the surface of an inhospitable planet.

I don't know how realistic a proposition a floating colony is, but from where I'm standing it isn't much less realistic than a surface or underwater colony -- and a sight more realistic than, say, crewed interstellar travel.

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36 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

I don't know how realistic a proposition a floating colony is, but from where I'm standing it isn't much less realistic than a surface or underwater colony

Depending on environment, surface might even be worse. I'll take harsh UV and slightly toxic atmosphere of Venus, but at room temperature and pressure at which I can comfortably hold my breath, over a deadly cold, near vacuum, space-harsh radiation, and toxic soils of Mars. If you got a sizeable leak in a dome on Mars, you need to evacuate immediately. If you got a leak on Venus, you can casually stroll to the nearest office, get some tape, and go back and cover it up, then alert the maintenance. If a large section blew out on Mars, you're dead. No second chances. If your habitat got compromised on Venus, you hold your breath, walk over to the next one, and take a shower. Fact that Venus has gravity very similar to Earth's is a bonus. There is just no contest over which one is more suitable for habitation.

There are additional challenges for a Venusian colony, of course, but I wouldn't even list structural challenges in top five. Water's the biggest one for a mostly self-sustained colony, honestly. The best source for it is sulfuric acid haze, which requires refining to turn it into water, and even that is scarce at altitudes that are comfortable for living. If you need water for anything beyond drinking, your best bet is probably detachable zeppelins that descend to lower altitude, collect sulfuric acid, and bring it back up to be refined into pure water. Next one is minerals, which you aren't getting any from the atmosphere, so recycling better be top notch. And no matter how well you manage, for growth, you'll have to rely on shipments of metals and minerals. Surface mining is, technically, an option, but asteroid mining seems like a more realistic path to real growth at scale on Venus. Still, a permanent outpost is viable with infrastructure we have now, similar to how we run polar stations here on Earth. You can get enough water for day-to-day operations of colony from the atmosphere and simply import food and any materials needed for expanding the colony. Personally, I like that a lot better than building underground bunkers on Mars to protect you from cold, vacuum, and radiation with no guarantees that the water situation will actually be better, given the toxicity of soil and scarcity of ice.

Edit: Oh, another nice thing is that we don't really have to launch anything to space to do proof-of-concept. We can build a prototype research station in Earth's atmo to see how well it would function. Earth's weather is actually more harsh at comparable pressure-altitudes, but we have a lot of advanced warning with our forecasts, so I think it can be turned into a fair test.

Edited by K^2
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3 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

It's totally different because:
1) You need a 1 000 times larger balloon.
2) The air is not as viscous as water, so the platform is highly unstable.
3) You still need a lot of water and resources, but don't have them next to the ship even close.

The floating cloud islands are good when you have a magic or a cheap teleportation technology.

Actually, I would say the 'principal' is basically the same...

The vessel needs to be the right density in proportion to the 'medium' - helium balloon in air, submarine in water etc. 

But yes, the technical challenges however can be very different.

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