Author Topic: ISRU techniques and uses  (Read 85239 times)

Offline RanulfC

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4446
  • Heus tu Omnis! Vigilate Hoc!
  • Liked: 814
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #40 on: 02/13/2008 03:40 pm »
Lampyridae wrote:
>I think the setup would be fairly heavy, though... robotic arms, water, nutrients,
>pressure vessel, pumping equipment plus all the analysis tools.
>Maybe enough to "bounce down" but expensive as heck to send on its way.

The 'answer' is: it depends. Now wasn't that a helpful answer? :o)
I recall a website where internet access and control was allowed over a small (about 2 feet across) circular 'garden' with a robotic beam arm and was sectioned off to allow internet users (within limits of course :o) to plant, grow, tend, and harvest plants and the whole thing was about the size of a 55 gallon drum and around150-200lbs. (IIRC)
It was connected to an outside power supply and water source along with the nutrient sources, but the ACTUAL robotic farm part was only the top 15 inches of the set up the rest being just to hold the farm in position. That was around 10 or so years ago and I've seen smaller and lighter set ups that have even included live fish for nutrient production :o)

"Size" here really IS relative on how much redundancy, and how detailed the experiment itself will be.

Hop wrote:
>Alternatively, hydroponic farming is well proven,....

Being 'technical' it's actually aeroponics, but "well-proven" is a bit on the 'iffy' side. While experiments were done there are a lot of issues still needing work and the scale expanded to working levels instead of expriment packages.

>It should be possible to process waste into part of the nutrient input.

Evirserating toilets! (That just sounds just wrong :o)
As long as the 'solution' won't clog the spray nozzles it should be fine though some 'processing' will be required I suppose.
Once you have a gravity field, (real or artifical) flood/drain, "gravity" fed systems tend to be more stable and less maintenance intensive than aeroponic systems. There are trade offs.

>This may well be easier than modifying native soil (especially before we have
>samples of the actual soil to work with!) but until you had an established
>industrial base, would likely rely on some consumables from earth.

There will be 'reliance' on supplies from Earth until your population and tech-base infrastructure are pretty large. My point was that the direction of long duration life support systems is trending back from fully mechanical systems to intergrated bio-mechanical hybrid systems because each tends to 'buffer' the other while providing effect feedback loops for what are usually 'consumable' supplies.

>Even for missions that carry their own food, there are likely benefits to crew
>moral from the occasional fresh vegetable.

There is a lot of data indicating that while most folks don't like "tending" a normal garden automated or semi-automated 'ponic set ups are rarely seen as 'chores' and rotations through tending duties and even just the fact of having "green-growing-things" around reduce tension and stress and promote a more "feeling-healthy" environment.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline William Barton

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3487
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #41 on: 02/13/2008 04:06 pm »
Quote
RanulfC - 13/2/2008  11:11 AM

William Barton wrote:
>It was mainly meant as a quip, not to stray too far OT.

Too late, deal ;o)

We could always "digress" into the variations for Venus :o)

Randy

If ever the great domed city of Venusberg is built, it will surely have a grand canal. And that grand canal will have to be named Sinus Mulierum.

Offline wingod

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1305
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #42 on: 02/13/2008 04:18 pm »
Quote
RanulfC - 13/2/2008  10:40 AM

Lampyridae wrote:
>I think the setup would be fairly heavy, though... robotic arms, water, nutrients,
>pressure vessel, pumping equipment plus all the analysis tools.
>Maybe enough to "bounce down" but expensive as heck to send on its way.

The 'answer' is: it depends. Now wasn't that a helpful answer? :o)
I recall a website where internet access and control was allowed over a small (about 2 feet across) circular 'garden' with a robotic beam arm and was sectioned off to allow internet users (within limits of course :o) to plant, grow, tend, and harvest plants and the whole thing was about the size of a 55 gallon drum and around150-200lbs. (IIRC)
It was connected to an outside power supply and water source along with the nutrient sources, but the ACTUAL robotic farm part was only the top 15 inches of the set up the rest being just to hold the farm in position. That was around 10 or so years ago and I've seen smaller and lighter set ups that have even included live fish for nutrient production :o)

"Size" here really IS relative on how much redundancy, and how detailed the experiment itself will be.

Hop wrote:
>Alternatively, hydroponic farming is well proven,....

Being 'technical' it's actually aeroponics, but "well-proven" is a bit on the 'iffy' side. While experiments were done there are a lot of issues still needing work and the scale expanded to working levels instead of expriment packages.

>It should be possible to process waste into part of the nutrient input.

Evirserating toilets! (That just sounds just wrong :o)
As long as the 'solution' won't clog the spray nozzles it should be fine though some 'processing' will be required I suppose.
Once you have a gravity field, (real or artifical) flood/drain, "gravity" fed systems tend to be more stable and less maintenance intensive than aeroponic systems. There are trade offs.

>This may well be easier than modifying native soil (especially before we have
>samples of the actual soil to work with!) but until you had an established
>industrial base, would likely rely on some consumables from earth.

There will be 'reliance' on supplies from Earth until your population and tech-base infrastructure are pretty large. My point was that the direction of long duration life support systems is trending back from fully mechanical systems to intergrated bio-mechanical hybrid systems because each tends to 'buffer' the other while providing effect feedback loops for what are usually 'consumable' supplies.

>Even for missions that carry their own food, there are likely benefits to crew
>moral from the occasional fresh vegetable.

There is a lot of data indicating that while most folks don't like "tending" a normal garden automated or semi-automated 'ponic set ups are rarely seen as 'chores' and rotations through tending duties and even just the fact of having "green-growing-things" around reduce tension and stress and promote a more "feeling-healthy" environment.

Randy

Ranulf

No problem, just bring a few Dope growers onboard, they have the technology.



Offline Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4450
  • Liked: 204
  • Likes Given: 410
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #43 on: 02/13/2008 05:19 pm »
Since to even get someone on mars alive means you also likely developed a space reactor of several hunderd KW it should be entirely possible maybe even easier then it was for the mother craft to make a version of said reactor that can operate on the surface of mars.

Any kind of serious ISRU will require power and lots of it no less then 30KW though for food it might just be easier to bring it all as someone earlier said it's only 5T but ISRU still can be useful making lox methane fuel for the mars ascent vehicle and the mars surface rover.

I'd still include a green house but the mars mission but mostly for psychological reasons and research the mars surface stay times I have in mind only are a 6months to one year vs 500 days the risk just goes off the scale trying such a long stay for the first missions.

As for propulsion I feel gas core nuclear or VASIMR are the best bet Solar Ion or Solar VASIMR thanks to a recent breakthrough in solar cell tech by NERL it is now an option if politics is an issue and chemical is a last resort best not attempted to be honest it shouldn't unless you really do want to fly a battle star galactica mission  as you will need enough delta V to return at any mars earth alignment vs closest approach or just land enough spare parts backup systems etc that you can cover every possible conceivable failure that can happen in 500days I'm using real life ISS and MIR experiance as an example which means everything in the life support must have duplicates.

I think the best way to get rid of solid wastes might be to simply vaporize it the resulting CO,H2O,and N2 are useful propellants or can be used to generate oxygen the required power is just 1500KW for 1.5 hours when compared to the rest of the spacecraft this is nothing and a minor issue.
This is sorta what I have in mind http://incinolet.com/.

A few KWh to make a big problem disappear is a perfectly acceptable price to pay.

url for the solar cell that makes solar electric propulsion an option now.

http://solarhope.wordpress.com/2007/08/16/silicon-nanocrystals-for-superefficient-solar-cells/

Offline wingod

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1305
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #44 on: 02/13/2008 06:56 pm »
Quote
Patchouli - 13/2/2008  12:19 PM

Since to even get someone on mars alive means you also likely developed a space reactor of several hunderd KW it should be entirely possible maybe even easier then it was for the mother craft to make a version of said reactor that can operate on the surface of mars.

Any kind of serious ISRU will require power and lots of it no less then 30KW though for food it might just be easier to bring it all as someone earlier said it's only 5T but ISRU still can be useful making lox methane fuel for the mars ascent vehicle and the mars surface rover.

I'd still include a green house but the mars mission but mostly for psychological reasons and research the mars surface stay times I have in mind only are a 6months to one year vs 500 days the risk just goes off the scale trying such a long stay for the first missions.

As for propulsion I feel gas core nuclear or VASIMR are the best bet Solar Ion or Solar VASIMR thanks to a recent breakthrough in solar cell tech by NERL it is now an option if politics is an issue and chemical is a last resort best not attempted to be honest it shouldn't unless you really do want to fly a battle star galactica mission  as you will need enough delta V to return at any mars earth alignment vs closest approach or just land enough spare parts backup systems etc that you can cover every possible conceivable failure that can happen in 500days I'm using real life ISS and MIR experiance as an example which means everything in the life support must have duplicates.

I think the best way to get rid of solid wastes might be to simply vaporize it the resulting CO,H2O,and N2 are useful propellants or can be used to generate oxygen the required power is just 1500KW for 1.5 hours when compared to the rest of the spacecraft this is nothing and a minor issue.
This is sorta what I have in mind http://incinolet.com/.

A few KWh to make a big problem disappear is a perfectly acceptable price to pay.

url for the solar cell that makes solar electric propulsion an option now.

http://solarhope.wordpress.com/2007/08/16/silicon-nanocrystals-for-superefficient-solar-cells/




Solar Electric propulsion for moving heavy payloads from LEO to LLO is already and option now with the existing cost of solar panels.  An intrinsic problem with silicon is its poor radiation tolerance in comparison with multijunction Group IV semiconductor technologies.

Offline hop

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3359
  • Liked: 490
  • Likes Given: 849
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #45 on: 02/14/2008 01:14 am »
Quote
RanulfC - 13/2/2008  8:40 AM
Hop wrote:
>Alternatively, hydroponic farming is well proven,....

Being 'technical' it's actually aeroponics, but "well-proven" is a bit on the 'iffy' side. While experiments were done there are a lot of issues still needing work and the scale expanded to working levels instead of expriment packages.
My assumption, based on the proposal to convert soil (and the fact the thread is about ISRU), was we were talking about doing this on the ground. Hydroponics (and many related techniques) in gravity is well proven, from hobbyist to medium industrial scales. It requires pretty specific conditions to be economically attractive, but that isn't the question here.

There is plenty of engineering required to translate that to something you could ship to another planet, and some open questions about reduced gravity, but the same is true of any method.

I agree that aeroponics in microgravity is still experimental, but the experiments run in the "lada" greenhouse for many years on Mir and ISS provides pretty convincing evidence that it can be done. As you mention, it has been reported that the crews generally enjoyed having green things around and tending them.

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10751
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 3049
  • Likes Given: 1231
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #46 on: 02/14/2008 01:53 am »
I'd be really curious to see a composting experiment on Mars. My wife and I make our own compost for the vegetable and flower gardens all the time. It's not that difficult. I'm fairly sure however that it would need to wait for a crewed mission because it's vegetable matter that you feed the compost with. That would be the byproduct of human presence (who didn't eat all their spinach?). Seriously, I think that is one of the activities colonists are going to really need to cultivate (pun intended). Agriculture is going to be a basic necessity and composting has to be a major contributor, no matter how small the beginning. Coffee grounds, tea, leafy vegetable matter, egg shells, water and heat. And of course a few red worms will really help. By the way, I wonder if red worms would contribute to neutralizing the Martian soil?

Don't be so quick to laugh. Bringing all our food with us will be fine for a while, but if there is ever going to be any kind of population, we will simply have to grow the majority of our food right there on Mars. We will need to seriously begin to examine all kinds of possibilities on how to do that. Consider everything; dismiss nothing until it is proven to be non-viable.

Soil conversion is going to be key to human survival on Mars. We really need to figure out how to do that.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline RanulfC

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4446
  • Heus tu Omnis! Vigilate Hoc!
  • Liked: 814
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #47 on: 02/14/2008 04:33 pm »
clonton wrote:
>Soil conversion is going to be key to human survival on Mars.
>We really need to figure out how to do that.

One of the links I posted earlier had some information on soil building for Mars:
http://www.newmars.com/wiki/index.php/Soil

Which leads to this site a bit later in the article:
http://chapters.marssociety.org/or/cemss/marsoil.html

For obtaining (or making as it where) Mars soil simulants. (Without the chemical make up though)
The group doing the work by the way is working on the "Controlled Ecological Mouse Support System"
http://chapters.marssociety.org/or/cemss/index.html

Some other good links are here:
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/publications/newsletters/lpib/lpib85/plants.html

http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=285
(Quite an interesting forum on soil conversion)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline khallow

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1956
  • Liked: 6
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #48 on: 02/15/2008 07:55 pm »
Quote
clongton - 13/2/2008  6:53 PM

I'd be really curious to see a composting experiment on Mars.

Should be pretty simple. It probably needs some oxygen, initial warmth, and insulation. You might also need to worry about toxic metals like chromium contaminating the compost. But other than that, it's probably just as simple as on Earth to do.
Karl Hallowell

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8680
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 404
  • Likes Given: 181
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #49 on: 02/15/2008 11:12 pm »
Mars's atmosphere contains a lot of CO2, is there a way of turning this into soil?  Possibly using microbes.

Offline tnphysics

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1073
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #50 on: 02/16/2008 01:49 am »
Plants convert it into food.

Offline neviden

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 411
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #51 on: 02/16/2008 12:04 pm »
I also see ISRU the key to sustainable space transportation system. There are actually three different things under this topic:

1) Food. Food seems like hard to achieve, but itís actually the easiest. All you need is space, light, air, water and few nutrients and things will grow. We do that all the time on earth and the key to achieving that is to make things as ďearth likeĒ as we have on earth. We even do it regularly on Antarctica and that is as alien as it can possibly be. http://www.antarctichydroponics.com/

2) Propellant and gasses. H2O, O2, CO2, N2, H2,.. Gasses that we would use to move things around and fill structures so we could live inside of them. This is trickier, but if we find chemicals bound in some material, then we generally need energy and some specialized machinery, but both of those things are quite solvable.

3) Construction material. This could be nothing more complicated then thick metal plates that could be then welded together to make airtight and structurally sound structures either in space or on planets or moons. This should be the easiest and has potential to give the most benefits, but it somehow gets totally neglected. You should get lots of iron, aluminium or titanium out of any dirt if you ignore energy costs.

And we can ignore energy costs on Moon or in orbit. Just concentrate solar radiation and presto: lots and lots of heat. Process any material into gasses and metals, pour metal into thick plates. Weld solidified plates into structures. On Moon/Mars that would be big box, in orbit that would probably be big drum. On Moon/Mars you already have gravity in orbit you could create it by rotating a drum. Put appropriate gasses inside, install cables and lights and you have food. Once you have lots of safe space, propellants and gases, water and food, then we donít really need to bring all that much from Earth.

We would need (20 mT?) smelter that could make iron plates on Moon/In orbit and a robot (20 mT?) that could move those plates around and weld them together. That doesn't seem to me that hard to make, especially since this could save billions..

Offline Kaputnik

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2847
  • Liked: 491
  • Likes Given: 464
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #52 on: 02/18/2008 08:31 pm »
Quote
neviden - 16/2/2008  1:04 PM

I also see ISRU the key to sustainable space transportation system. There are actually three different things under this topic:

1) Food. Food seems like hard to achieve, but itís actually the easiest. All you need is space, light, air, water and few nutrients and things will grow. We do that all the time on earth and the key to achieving that is to make things as ďearth likeĒ as we have on earth. We even do it regularly on Antarctica and that is as alien as it can possibly be. http://www.antarctichydroponics.com/

2) Propellant and gasses. H2O, O2, CO2, N2, H2,.. Gasses that we would use to move things around and fill structures so we could live inside of them. This is trickier, but if we find chemicals bound in some material, then we generally need energy and some specialized machinery, but both of those things are quite solvable.

3) Construction material. This could be nothing more complicated then thick metal plates that could be then welded together to make airtight and structurally sound structures either in space or on planets or moons. This should be the easiest and has potential to give the most benefits, but it somehow gets totally neglected. You should get lots of iron, aluminium or titanium out of any dirt if you ignore energy costs.

And we can ignore energy costs on Moon or in orbit. Just concentrate solar radiation and presto: lots and lots of heat. Process any material into gasses and metals, pour metal into thick plates. Weld solidified plates into structures. On Moon/Mars that would be big box, in orbit that would probably be big drum. On Moon/Mars you already have gravity in orbit you could create it by rotating a drum. Put appropriate gasses inside, install cables and lights and you have food. Once you have lots of safe space, propellants and gases, water and food, then we donít really need to bring all that much from Earth.

We would need (20 mT?) smelter that could make iron plates on Moon/In orbit and a robot (20 mT?) that could move those plates around and weld them together. That doesn't seem to me that hard to make, especially since this could save billions..

A 4m cylinder with some shelves inside doesn't sound hard either. But when it's called Destiny and is part of the ISS it ends up costing $1.2bn.
Unless there is some massive paradigm shift, I just can't see industrial-scale regolith-processing apparatus being even remotely affordable.

Also I think there is a gross underestimation of the operating costs of the equipment. It is simply not true that once an ISRU plant is set up it will generate X amount of Y material with no further costs. Regolith processing will take its toll on machinery, and there are always costs associated with operation, maintenance, repair, and eventually replacement. The number of usage cycles and total output of an ISRU plant relates directly to the cost of the materials produced, and these must be weighed up against materials brought from Earth.
"I don't care what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do"- Gene Kranz

Offline mwfair

Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #53 on: 02/18/2008 09:28 pm »
Your mass list also needs to include the energy production.  Smelting stuff takes energy, which requires equipment that must be accounted for in the mass budget.
Mike Fair

Offline mwfair

Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #54 on: 02/18/2008 09:34 pm »
I think the first in situ resource that should be utilized is the mass of the stuff itself.  Ballistic and radiation protection measures primarily rely on simple mass.  Flywheels are mass only, the material properties serve little purpose.  So some mention should be made of starting ISRU prototypes, not with gas or metal production, but with simple devices for rew protection and energy storage (e.g. lfor unar night or peak load leveling)
Mike Fair

Offline wingod

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1305
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #55 on: 02/18/2008 09:41 pm »
Quote
Kaputnik - 18/2/2008  3:31 PM

Quote
neviden - 16/2/2008  1:04 PM

I also see ISRU the key to sustainable space transportation system. There are actually three different things under this topic:

1) Food. Food seems like hard to achieve, but itís actually the easiest. All you need is space, light, air, water and few nutrients and things will grow. We do that all the time on earth and the key to achieving that is to make things as ďearth likeĒ as we have on earth. We even do it regularly on Antarctica and that is as alien as it can possibly be. http://www.antarctichydroponics.com/

2) Propellant and gasses. H2O, O2, CO2, N2, H2,.. Gasses that we would use to move things around and fill structures so we could live inside of them. This is trickier, but if we find chemicals bound in some material, then we generally need energy and some specialized machinery, but both of those things are quite solvable.

3) Construction material. This could be nothing more complicated then thick metal plates that could be then welded together to make airtight and structurally sound structures either in space or on planets or moons. This should be the easiest and has potential to give the most benefits, but it somehow gets totally neglected. You should get lots of iron, aluminium or titanium out of any dirt if you ignore energy costs.

And we can ignore energy costs on Moon or in orbit. Just concentrate solar radiation and presto: lots and lots of heat. Process any material into gasses and metals, pour metal into thick plates. Weld solidified plates into structures. On Moon/Mars that would be big box, in orbit that would probably be big drum. On Moon/Mars you already have gravity in orbit you could create it by rotating a drum. Put appropriate gasses inside, install cables and lights and you have food. Once you have lots of safe space, propellants and gases, water and food, then we donít really need to bring all that much from Earth.

We would need (20 mT?) smelter that could make iron plates on Moon/In orbit and a robot (20 mT?) that could move those plates around and weld them together. That doesn't seem to me that hard to make, especially since this could save billions..

A 4m cylinder with some shelves inside doesn't sound hard either. But when it's called Destiny and is part of the ISS it ends up costing $1.2bn.
Unless there is some massive paradigm shift, I just can't see industrial-scale regolith-processing apparatus being even remotely affordable.

Also I think there is a gross underestimation of the operating costs of the equipment. It is simply not true that once an ISRU plant is set up it will generate X amount of Y material with no further costs. Regolith processing will take its toll on machinery, and there are always costs associated with operation, maintenance, repair, and eventually replacement. The number of usage cycles and total output of an ISRU plant relates directly to the cost of the materials produced, and these must be weighed up against materials brought from Earth.

The modules built by Alenia are a fraction of that cost.

There are paradigm shifts out there already, that have been tested on the ground, many of whom have become standard in the mining industry today, that will make ISRU viable on an industrial scale.  

Of course there will be operating costs.  There is already some interesting work going on in that area as well.  NASA is not completely flaking on this but I have to be careful not to call attention to things that might get cancelled.



Offline wingod

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1305
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #56 on: 02/18/2008 09:42 pm »
Quote
mwfair - 18/2/2008  4:28 PM

Your mass list also needs to include the energy production.  Smelting stuff takes energy, which requires equipment that must be accounted for in the mass budget.

You need to read the paper that was the first stab at the problem.



Offline RanulfC

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4446
  • Heus tu Omnis! Vigilate Hoc!
  • Liked: 814
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #57 on: 02/18/2008 09:42 pm »
Materials processing in orbit, on the Moon or Mars or where ever is not going to be a 'easy' as many have assumed nor even as 'easy' as it is here on Earth due to environmental concerns and material compatability issues within an enclosed environment.

I've always felt that one of the 'main' take-away lessons from Bio-Sphere II was that no matter how smart your planning, no matter extensive the knowledge base you draw on, not asking the right questions or just plain assuming some parameters can turn around and bite you in the butt. Hard and deadly if you're not on Earth in some cases.
(The highly skilled and knowledgable contractors who built the concrete of BS-II had been taught that concrete can take up to 10 years to fully 'cure' and that this process absorbes both moisture from the air but also absorbes OXYGEN! But since none of them have worked anywhere but on Earth this was a 'minor' factiod that never comes up. Unless of course your building a SEALED environment where the process is going to use up the oxygen inside also :o)

Most materials, including most metals and all plastics, 'off-gas' during their lifetimes, how much and what types of gasses are given off are dependent on a lot of factors and this needs to be taken into consideration when your planning on using 'local' materials to make your materials. More than 'food' I suspect a real colony or base setting is going to be growing a LOT of vegitation and only a small portion of it for actual consumption purposes. Phitomining (think I got that right) for contaminants will probably require algae production with processed water and air from the facility, especially given the forseen problems with Lunar and Martian dust due to extended inhalation and the need to 'decontaminate' people and equipment that come inside the base.
(Luckily we already have a process in place to seperate and use such a waste stream of algae: http://www.changingworldtech.com/ )

Bamboo will probably be a large 'crop' simply because of it's versatility. Construction materials, cloth types, rugs, floor coverings, even as additives in place of carbon fibers, (a lot of manufacturers have resorted to using bamboo in place of CF due to the world wide shortage) for advanced materials is possible with bamboo as a base. But this is all going to take actual get down and do it experimentation and development which is neither apt to make one famous or get you grant money pouring in.

Along with the machinery issue of ISRU all the above is actually going to have to be looked at, researched and prototyped here on Earth first before we send it off to orbit, the Moon or Mars, but we already know of folks doing a lot of work with this stuff down here right now. It is getting the data from all the various sources such as environmental experimentation work, sustainable energy and materials work, and waste processing experiments that have been done here on Earth under thousands of various 'interest' groups gathered together, collated, processed, and assembled in such a way so that we can actually see what still needs to be done that is going to be hard. But it is a process that is going to need to be done and soon to make available solutions and process' that are available without massive duplication of work and redundancy in process that don't benifit the ISRU process as a whole.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline wingod

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1305
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #58 on: 02/18/2008 09:53 pm »
Quote
RanulfC - 18/2/2008  4:42 PM

Materials processing in orbit, on the Moon or Mars or where ever is not going to be a 'easy' as many have assumed nor even as 'easy' as it is here on Earth due to environmental concerns and material compatability issues within an enclosed environment.

I've always felt that one of the 'main' take-away lessons from Bio-Sphere II was that no matter how smart your planning, no matter extensive the knowledge base you draw on, not asking the right questions or just plain assuming some parameters can turn around and bite you in the butt. Hard and deadly if you're not on Earth in some cases.
(The highly skilled and knowledgable contractors who built the concrete of BS-II had been taught that concrete can take up to 10 years to fully 'cure' and that this process absorbes both moisture from the air but also absorbes OXYGEN! But since none of them have worked anywhere but on Earth this was a 'minor' factiod that never comes up. Unless of course your building a SEALED environment where the process is going to use up the oxygen inside also :o)

Most materials, including most metals and all plastics, 'off-gas' during their lifetimes, how much and what types of gasses are given off are dependent on a lot of factors and this needs to be taken into consideration when your planning on using 'local' materials to make your materials. More than 'food' I suspect a real colony or base setting is going to be growing a LOT of vegitation and only a small portion of it for actual consumption purposes. Phitomining (think I got that right) for contaminants will probably require algae production with processed water and air from the facility, especially given the forseen problems with Lunar and Martian dust due to extended inhalation and the need to 'decontaminate' people and equipment that come inside the base.
(Luckily we already have a process in place to seperate and use such a waste stream of algae: http://www.changingworldtech.com/ )

Bamboo will probably be a large 'crop' simply because of it's versatility. Construction materials, cloth types, rugs, floor coverings, even as additives in place of carbon fibers, (a lot of manufacturers have resorted to using bamboo in place of CF due to the world wide shortage) for advanced materials is possible with bamboo as a base. But this is all going to take actual get down and do it experimentation and development which is neither apt to make one famous or get you grant money pouring in.

Along with the machinery issue of ISRU all the above is actually going to have to be looked at, researched and prototyped here on Earth first before we send it off to orbit, the Moon or Mars, but we already know of folks doing a lot of work with this stuff down here right now. It is getting the data from all the various sources such as environmental experimentation work, sustainable energy and materials work, and waste processing experiments that have been done here on Earth under thousands of various 'interest' groups gathered together, collated, processed, and assembled in such a way so that we can actually see what still needs to be done that is going to be hard. But it is a process that is going to need to be done and soon to make available solutions and process' that are available without massive duplication of work and redundancy in process that don't benifit the ISRU process as a whole.

Randy

You know they said the same thing about how hard it was going to be to do EVA's, until we started actually doing a lot of them and figuring out that it was not as hard as was originally feared.  That is one of the main take away lessons learned that are applicable here.  The station crew and the Hubble servicing teams have gone far beyond anyone's expectation back when they were having this big huge foodfight over EVA's that almost killed the space station program.  Naysaying is fine, but at least consider that you might be wrong and with that consideration, consider what there is to be gained.

Actually with biosphere II it was the CO2 drawdown that got them not anything related to oxygen.  

Of course the hardware is going to have to be prototyped but guess what most of it is already being used on the Earth.  It makes no sense to design hardware for a gravitational field 6 times as heavy as the one that the equipment is going to operate in.  Conceptually and functionally just go to any random mine and you can figure out what to use on the Moon.  The hardware will be different and there will be differences due to the vacuum of space but in the lunar polar regions the thermal environment is quite reasonable in comparison to the equatorial areas and dust, which will be a problem can be dealt with as well.

There has been an tremendous amount of work done on this already and if you want to track it down, it is on the NASA NTRS server.



Offline Mobius Stripper

  • Member
  • Member
  • Posts: 18
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: ISRU techniques and uses
« Reply #59 on: 02/18/2008 10:05 pm »
Quote
A_M_Swallow - 15/2/2008  6:12 PM

Mars's atmosphere contains a lot of CO2, is there a way of turning this into soil?  Possibly using microbes.

I would probably bank on there being existing microbes on Mars. The key is to finding them and then cultivating them and making them more prosperous than they are currently. But that is a long ways out.

Tags: