Author Topic: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)  (Read 8325 times)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #80 on: 06/11/2018 07:58 PM »
It sounds to me like available raw materials will be the most limiting factor. We know how (or can figure out how) to build almost anything, if the right raw materials are available.
Tooling is right behind that though... closure is important.
If (as the thread seems to be presuming) you need indefinite operating life without resupply then in principle anything that depends on something never wearing out is a weak link.

It's not necessarily the big items that are the problem. They can probably be built up a section at a time.  It's the small items. Grinding wheels, cutting tools etc.   
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #81 on: 06/11/2018 08:48 PM »
It sounds to me like available raw materials will be the most limiting factor. We know how (or can figure out how) to build almost anything, if the right raw materials are available.
Tooling is right behind that though... closure is important.
If (as the thread seems to be presuming) you need indefinite operating life without resupply then in principle anything that depends on something never wearing out is a weak link.

It's not necessarily the big items that are the problem. They can probably be built up a section at a time.  It's the small items. Grinding wheels, cutting tools etc.   

That is why the tooling needs to be able to build the replacement tooling.

Offline Lar

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #82 on: 06/11/2018 10:47 PM »
It sounds to me like available raw materials will be the most limiting factor. We know how (or can figure out how) to build almost anything, if the right raw materials are available.
Tooling is right behind that though... closure is important.

Sure. But you can build tooling on Mars, or ship it there from Earth. Shipping tooling (even very heavy, expensive, complicated tooling) is a lot more efficient than shipping raw materials, for most industries.

I don't mean tooling in the sense of presses to stamp out rover fenders.

I mean closure. The tools you must have to make the tools to make the tools to make the tooling. The very precise things that are hard to duplicate with less accurate things (how do you make a new micrometer if you don't have a precise way to cut or measure?)

The chemicals and elements you need to make the raw stock that you need to make things out of... etc.

Steampunk ideas take the tech level down but closure is still a hard problem although somewhat easier.

If you can get the last .1% of mass from earth, you can always get the really hard to come by things but if you're talking about an earthly apocalypse, you can't.

That is why the tooling needs to be able to build the replacement tooling.

That's the closure problem in a nutshell. I think we can and will solve it to get to 99.99% closure but that last bit is hard.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2018 10:49 PM by Lar »
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Offline DistantTemple

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #83 on: 06/11/2018 11:35 PM »
snip...
The upside is this reduces the (very) large number of unique parts.
The downside is they are no longer COTS parts, they are bespoke "Mars grade" systems.

Beyond tables and chairs most things will have to be "Mars grade" rather than COTS. Although many "Moon grade" items may work.
OK this is the opposite of "steam punk"... but relevant to the discussion.
Because of: 1. the different availability of metals and raw materials, and 2. the vastly different "environment" equipment will have to survive and function in on Mars (or the moon) different technologies appropriate to Mars will develop.
OK electronics and computation won't diverge much, and equipment that can only be used in a pressurised environment, may not need to diverge quickly, but so much equipment will need to survive the vast "outdoor" daily (or shaded/sunlit) temperature changes, and cope at low pressure, be sealed against abrasive dust ingress, and cope without air for cooling.
So making "Mars grade" or "space grade" items will have to be commonplace, and will therefore be much cheaper, as it will be mass produced.
Also the availability of low pressure, and low and zero gravity manufacturing, may change the costs, qualities, and availability of some products. I think semiconductors, and optic fibre will be made in orbit.
So the whole tree from the tool that makes the tool, to finished products will diverge from present day Earth systems.
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #84 on: 06/12/2018 02:47 AM »
{snip}
That is why the tooling needs to be able to build the replacement tooling.

That's the closure problem in a nutshell. I think we can and will solve it to get to 99.99% closure but that last bit is hard.

See if we can send 200 years worth of the 0.01% in a 1 tonne mass.

If they want any more restart the Earth.

Offline envy887

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #85 on: 06/12/2018 01:40 PM »
It sounds to me like available raw materials will be the most limiting factor. We know how (or can figure out how) to build almost anything, if the right raw materials are available.
Tooling is right behind that though... closure is important.

Sure. But you can build tooling on Mars, or ship it there from Earth. Shipping tooling (even very heavy, expensive, complicated tooling) is a lot more efficient than shipping raw materials, for most industries.

I don't mean tooling in the sense of presses to stamp out rover fenders.

I mean closure. The tools you must have to make the tools to make the tools to make the tooling. The very precise things that are hard to duplicate with less accurate things (how do you make a new micrometer if you don't have a precise way to cut or measure?)

The chemicals and elements you need to make the raw stock that you need to make things out of... etc.

Steampunk ideas take the tech level down but closure is still a hard problem although somewhat easier.

If you can get the last .1% of mass from earth, you can always get the really hard to come by things but if you're talking about an earthly apocalypse, you can't.

That is why the tooling needs to be able to build the replacement tooling.

That's the closure problem in a nutshell. I think we can and will solve it to get to 99.99% closure but that last bit is hard.

The same way you do it on Earth. Send the most precise things available, that are needed to create the most precise things available. It's not like a self-sufficient Mars colony is only going to have one micrometer, or one scanning electron microscope. It will need all the complex industries from Earth, from chemicals to agriculture to electronics.

Without a local highly concentrated energy source, I think it's rather unlikely that a low-tech martian civilization is even possible.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #86 on: 06/12/2018 08:20 PM »
The same way you do it on Earth. Send the most precise things available, that are needed to create the most precise things available. It's not like a self-sufficient Mars colony is only going to have one micrometer, or one scanning electron microscope. It will need all the complex industries from Earth, from chemicals to agriculture to electronics.

Without a local highly concentrated energy source, I think it's rather unlikely that a low-tech martian civilization is even possible.
That is the big enabler of industrial society. Charcoal gave way to coal, which gave way to coke and oil.
This is why Methane Clathrates are such a potential game changer.

They turn Mars into an energy rich (provided you can generate O2) environment, rather than an energy poor one.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline colbourne

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #87 on: 06/13/2018 03:21 AM »
The same way you do it on Earth. Send the most precise things available, that are needed to create the most precise things available. It's not like a self-sufficient Mars colony is only going to have one micrometer, or one scanning electron microscope. It will need all the complex industries from Earth, from chemicals to agriculture to electronics.

Without a local highly concentrated energy source, I think it's rather unlikely that a low-tech martian civilization is even possible.
That is the big enabler of industrial society. Charcoal gave way to coal, which gave way to coke and oil.
This is why Methane Clathrates are such a potential game changer.

They turn Mars into an energy rich (provided you can generate O2) environment, rather than an energy poor one.
But producing oxygen will take energy, so you can hardly consider methane as an energy source.

The available long term energy sources on Mars are :-
Solar
Wind, but very low air density means a massive windmill would be needed.
Possibly geothermal, but Mars is mainly inactive.
I presume there will be nuclear energy potential rocks, if we can find them.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #88 on: 06/13/2018 05:58 AM »
The same way you do it on Earth. Send the most precise things available, that are needed to create the most precise things available. It's not like a self-sufficient Mars colony is only going to have one micrometer, or one scanning electron microscope. It will need all the complex industries from Earth, from chemicals to agriculture to electronics.

Without a local highly concentrated energy source, I think it's rather unlikely that a low-tech martian civilization is even possible.
That is the big enabler of industrial society. Charcoal gave way to coal, which gave way to coke and oil.
This is why Methane Clathrates are such a potential game changer.

They turn Mars into an energy rich (provided you can generate O2) environment, rather than an energy poor one.
But producing oxygen will take energy, so you can hardly consider methane as an energy source.

The available long term energy sources on Mars are :-
Solar
Wind, but very low air density means a massive windmill would be needed.
Possibly geothermal, but Mars is mainly inactive.
I presume there will be nuclear energy potential rocks, if we can find them.
The low tech methods is to pump as much atmosphere into  tent as possible and put some plants inside it to let them convert the CO2 to O2, freezing out the CO2 for reuse

Higher energy processes using focused sunlight are certainly possible. It's the splitting of the task from 2 reactants to one that need to be made that makes things a lot easier.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline CuddlyRocket

Without a local highly concentrated energy source, I think it's rather unlikely that a low-tech martian civilization is even possible.
That is the big enabler of industrial society. Charcoal gave way to coal, which gave way to coke and oil.
This is why Methane Clathrates are such a potential game changer.

They turn Mars into an energy rich (provided you can generate O2) environment, rather than an energy poor one.

Would be nice if they could find a source of silane (SiH4) as that will burn in carbon dioxide! But given its chemical nature it seems unlikely there would be large deposits of it so probably best not to plan on its availability! :)

The available long term energy sources on Mars are :-
Solar
Wind, but very low air density means a massive windmill would be needed.
Possibly geothermal, but Mars is mainly inactive.
I presume there will be nuclear energy potential rocks, if we can find them.
The low tech methods is to pump as much atmosphere into  tent as possible and put some plants inside it to let them convert the CO2 to O2, freezing out the CO2 for reuse

The plants could also be used to make biofuels.

Offline envy887

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #90 on: 06/13/2018 11:05 PM »
Without a local highly concentrated energy source, I think it's rather unlikely that a low-tech martian civilization is even possible.
That is the big enabler of industrial society. Charcoal gave way to coal, which gave way to coke and oil.
This is why Methane Clathrates are such a potential game changer.

They turn Mars into an energy rich (provided you can generate O2) environment, rather than an energy poor one.

Would be nice if they could find a source of silane (SiH4) as that will burn in carbon dioxide! But given its chemical nature it seems unlikely there would be large deposits of it so probably best not to plan on its availability! :)

The available long term energy sources on Mars are :-
Solar
Wind, but very low air density means a massive windmill would be needed.
Possibly geothermal, but Mars is mainly inactive.
I presume there will be nuclear energy potential rocks, if we can find them.
The low tech methods is to pump as much atmosphere into  tent as possible and put some plants inside it to let them convert the CO2 to O2, freezing out the CO2 for reuse

The plants could also be used to make biofuels.
Biofuel is just converted solar energy. And I don't think it's concentrated enough to make low tech self sufficiency possible, at least not with a massive level of effort that would just as easily enable high tech self sufficiency.

Offline DistantTemple

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #91 on: 06/14/2018 10:54 AM »
snip...
The plants could also be used to make biofuels.
Biofuel is just converted solar energy. And I don't think it's concentrated enough to make low tech self sufficiency possible, at least not with a massive level of effort that would just as easily enable high tech self sufficiency.
For a long time plants will be high value, because transparent pressurised structures are high value. To grow (sun)light is "needed" as the input to photosynthesis.

There has been a lot of discussion about sunlight being insufficient on Mars for the effective growing of plants for food, and that sunlight needs to be supplemented or replaced by LED's etc, using electric power from... Nuclear, solar, chemical storage, battery storage, etc. (to increase intensity)

So unless large transparent structures can be made very cheaply, and plants found, or engineered, to grow sufficiently prolifically under sunlight, and without (much) energy input, biofuels can not be a (significant) way of capturing solar energy for input into the Mars "economy".

Edit: Having read john smith 19 (2018-06-14, 23:19:25) below I have changed my mind! Some Bio-fuels, and definitely O2 are possible.

« Last Edit: 06/14/2018 11:22 PM by DistantTemple »
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Online guckyfan

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #92 on: 06/14/2018 12:44 PM »
Small transparent structures will do. Very small like pipes for algae to produce large amounts of biomass. But even for a lot of crops plant tunnels of 1m or less can be used.

Offline robert_d

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #93 on: 06/14/2018 01:22 PM »
Remember that less cloud cover on Mars gives a higher equivalent daily surface energy amount than just using the simple solar insolation rate.  That also could be supplemented by relatively simple flat reflective mirrors in Aresynchronous orbit.  In future, space based power might make sense if the raw material can be taken from Phobos or Deimos.

Offline Tulse

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #94 on: 06/14/2018 02:29 PM »
Does the current dust storm (and threat to Opportunity) indicate that nuclear power will be required for a settlement?  Is there any reasonable way that a solar-powered base could make it through what Opportunity is experiencing without a huge amount of impractically heavy battery backup?

Offline envy887

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #95 on: 06/14/2018 02:49 PM »
Does the current dust storm (and threat to Opportunity) indicate that nuclear power will be required for a settlement?  Is there any reasonable way that a solar-powered base could make it through what Opportunity is experiencing without a huge amount of impractically heavy battery backup?

No.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45597.msg1830804#msg1830804

Offline CuddlyRocket

Does the current dust storm (and threat to Opportunity) indicate that nuclear power will be required for a settlement?  Is there any reasonable way that a solar-powered base could make it through what Opportunity is experiencing without a huge amount of impractically heavy battery backup?

No.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45597.msg1830804#msg1830804

There were two questions posed. From the link you gave I think you meant no to the first and yes to the second?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #97 on: 06/14/2018 10:19 PM »
Would be nice if they could find a source of silane (SiH4) as that will burn in carbon dioxide! But given its chemical nature it seems unlikely there would be large deposits of it so probably best not to plan on its availability! :)
I know of no geologic process that makes Silane. Given it's quite an energetic compound it's difficult to believe it can be made and survive to accumulate.
I wouldn't pin any plans on finding large reserves of it either.
There has been a lot of discussion about sunlight being insufficient on Mars for the effective growing of plants for food, and that sunlight needs to be supplemented or replaced by LED's etc, using electric power from... Nuclear, solar, chemical storage, battery storage, etc. (to increase intensity)

So unless large transparent structures can be made very cheaply, and plants found, or engineered, to grow sufficiently prolifically under sunlight, and without (much) energy input, biofuels can not be a (significant) way of capturing solar energy for input into the Mars "economy".
Well for converting CO2 to O2 even single celled plants being dripped over racks could work.
The serious energy release comes when the O2 is burnt with the Methane from the Clathrate deposits.

LED's are definitely not "Steam Punk." They are high tech, involving large volume thin layer (possibly monatomic) depositions in Ultra High Vacuum. It's not so much the chambers. It's the pumps (to get the pressure) and the instrumentation to monitor and control the process that's tough.

If you're seriously looking at Victorian grade tech then you'd be looking at the Ytrium/Thorium gas mantle. Incorporating a piezo ignitor would make each one self contained and eliminate matches.

Modern versions of this are still being made (without the Thorium of course) and are much brighter than a straight flame. It would mean plumbing in a gas supply, in the way mains wiring is installed in modern houses, and of course people are much more aware of Carbon Monoxide poisoning than they used to be (but we also have better cheap detectors).

PV cells are also trouble. So concentrators focusing sunlight to boil a fluid to drive generators (not necessarily a turbine) would also be at the appropriate technology level.

Again it depends if you're talking literally Victorian era tech or merely a short hand for "Several generations  behind now"

BTW one of the tenants of the "Appropriate Technology" movement for developing countries is that while the final device may be low tech it can be developed with all the tools of modern design IE CAD, FAE, CFD, IR video etc.  Using evolutionary algorithms to "breed" a better design of combustor (for example) would be completely impossible for Victorian science to do (and barely understand).

Today it's a case of setting up the models and evolutionary process, then running them on a rack of (virtual) Azure or AWS servers.

"Low tech don't mean no tech," as William Gibson observed.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline colbourne

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #98 on: 06/15/2018 01:12 AM »
I am not suggesting that they should try to get by with Victorian technology. I am trying to plan a Mars base that could survive and develop with out support from Earth.
I just thought that by using much simpler and maintainable systems, would provide a better chance of succeeding.
It might even be possible to have a totally electricity free base, although it would be very uncomfortable.

If solar panels and LEDs could be made on Mars they should be used. I think solar panels could be made without silicon wafers by simply painting surfaces with layers of the necessary materials.

Can oxygen be made more energy efficiently from other minerals found on Mars than from water or CO2 ?

Offline RonM

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #99 on: 06/15/2018 03:23 AM »
The serious energy release comes when the O2 is burnt with the Methane from the Clathrate deposits.

There was a paper saying that methane clathrate deposits on Mars are possible, but where is the evidence that they really exist?

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