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moon VS mars


ravener
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id go to the moon. first of all regolith is rich in oxygen. it also has iron, and aluminum as well, both useful structural materials, as well as silicon for the fabrication of solar cells and glass. the stuff is already pulverized for you, so you just have to collect it. this saves you the mass of rock crushing equipment. i figure use some kind of electrostatic or mechanical system can be used for its collection. robots can collect and bag the stuff long before humans arrive. this serves 3 purposes. first is obvious, it clears the landing site of all of that annoying dust that screw with airlock seals. second, you can just sandbag your habitat modules for radiation shielding as soon as you arrive. finally its ready to be processed for resource extraction. you could magnetically separate out all the iron from the stuff, and use it as a material for dmls 3d printers for making hardware, or you can feed it into a furnace with o2 and make steel (idk where the carbon would come from, we might need to bring it).

another thing robots can do is sinter lunar basalt into bricks, this can be used for construction/radiation shielding. you might eventually start using lunacrete for more permanent structures, depending on the availability of water. concrete is porous but these structures can be sealed with epoxy coatings brought from earth. there are also now several projects to allow 3d printing with concrete, so smaller structures and prefab parts can be created. it might even be possible to construct tunnel boring machines to create well shielded underground complexes for permanent habitation. you might also bore circular tunnels to encase subterranean centrifuges for earth-like gravity.

with stuff to build with, you need people to build things. that requires life support. we can already inhabit space for months at a time without resupply. if you can resupply some of those materials locally from the moon, that would extend the habitability of the colony. we might develop some radiation hardened crops for growing in surface domes, or just grow regular plants underground with hydroponics.

then the moon base becomes the gateway to the rest of the solar system. mars included. you can construct prefab habitats on the moon and drop them all over the solar system. these would be large spare no expense units to help bootstrap other colonies at a much faster rate. the advantages of having a manufacturing center outside of earth's gravity well are huge.

Edited by Nuke
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what did we learn from biosphere 2?

actually, we rearned quite a lot:

-dont bring insects if they arent nessecary.

-dont mess around with biomes you dont need

-have more plants per person

-every plant should be useful

there were a lot of things that was made ineficcient in biosphere 2.

for example there werre a lot of emphasis on animals and insects for some reason. the carbon cycle wasnt very well thought out either at the carbon sink was a lot weaker than the carbon source.

if i were to change somethging i would have enough plants to feed a 50% larger population than the one living in the colony/biosphere.

plants that dont need insects for bearing fruits are preferable, this means leeks and potatos are pretty good as food sources.

if you need a larger carbon sink, grow grass. grass doesent need insects to spread (on the surface it is already on) and without insects or any polination it wont spread to places we dont want it. this should also be done in a separate room from the potatoes, as this would be the "scrubber" while the potato would be a food source. this means the air in the grass room must be breathable while the air in the potato room may have a lot higher carbon content than is safe to breathe (to make for better growing crops)

if the air in the colony has too little carbon it is easy to just burn some previously grown plant matter in the growing rooms (no reason to fill the whole colony with CO2 if you just need it in the growing rooms right?

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i think they should rerun the biosphere experiment, but in an open loop fashion (and of course after dealing with the roach problem). this time keeping close tabs on what gets imported to maintain the health of the participants. this will give us an idea of what the required isru output would need to be to maintain a habitat. im also convinced you could have a microbial ecosystem that can do much of the heavy lifting for you. algae are nature's co2 scrubbers, and they can run on light. for every waste product we have, there is a germ that converts it to something useful. the only actual plants you should be growing are food crops.

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I'm really curious about how efficient it would be to use spirulina and other micro algae as both CO2 scrubber and food source, and some fungi/bacteria for waste disposal.

Sure, eating only Spirulina might not be the best for your health and morale, but if a bioreactor of a few cubic meters and a power supply for leds is all you need to support a crew of several people in terms of O2 and food, self-sustenance becomes much easier to achieve.

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