Author Topic: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)  (Read 35769 times)

Offline colbourne

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #40 on: 06/06/2018 09:39 am »
What do we consider the core technologies that will be needed on Mars merely to survive when isolated from Earth ?
What is going to be most difficult ? Can we even make new LED's or other light sources.

If the base is near an ice cap, I think it would be much easier with ample, easy access to water , solid CO2  and at least for half the year great solar capacity 24hr.

Solid CO2 could be used as a fuel source  for vehicles  by  using compressed gas engines. Maybe with solar reflectors to make it melt faster for more power.

Offline zhangmdev

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #41 on: 06/06/2018 12:01 pm »
The foremost technology is energy, on which everything is depended. There is no fossil fuel to tap into on Mars. Nuclear fission and solar power needs industrial infrastructure to extract and refine minerals, to fabricate components. Those processes are energy intensive. You need a lot of energy and stuff to make machine that makes energy.

Imagine a community on Earth is completely removed from modern industrial and transportation infrastructure. It has no oil well or coal mine, no fire wood, no whale or seal, no yak dung or anything alike. How can it survive a freezing winter?


Offline Patchouli

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #42 on: 06/06/2018 11:08 pm »
What do we consider the core technologies that will be needed on Mars merely to survive when isolated from Earth ?
What is going to be most difficult ? Can we even make new LED's or other light sources.

If the base is near an ice cap, I think it would be much easier with ample, easy access to water , solid CO2  and at least for half the year great solar capacity 24hr.

Solid CO2 could be used as a fuel source  for vehicles  by  using compressed gas engines. Maybe with solar reflectors to make it melt faster for more power.

For lighting I'd go with fluorescent tube style lighting though even incandescent may be acceptable since the waste heat would be useful on Mars.

Storing CO2 under pressure and driving turbines could be a way to store solar energy though you also can split water or make methane and lox.

That said steam punk tech probably is not enough to survive on Mars instead it would be more diesel punk or atom punk level.

Though I think it might be possible to maybe reach mid 1970s maybe even 1980s level tech using native materials which is enough for most common forms of automation esp if you brought along a couple of tons of Atmega, eZ80 and Arm boards.
One thing I would recommend is all software and hardware used be open source and well documented so it can be re-purposed,reversed engineered,modified etc.
Such as if you needed a motor controller for an electric vehicle for example if the hardware was documented you could replace it with something like an Arduino Mega and some FETs.
In a worst case if something happened on Earth and the ability to send supplies was lost you could in theory make a simple CPU like an AtMega or 6502 from SSI ICs or even discrete parts.
Though I'd expect them to put forth a lot of effort in getting a working fab.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2018 11:14 pm by Patchouli »

Offline CuddlyRocket

One thing I would recommend is all software and hardware used be open source and well documented so it can be re-purposed,reversed engineered,modified etc.

This made we wonder what they'd use for documentation! Assuming computer technology databases requires too-advanced technology that leaves paper for which they'd need a source of fiber. I suggest hemp as the fibers can be used for other useful purposes (including the construction material hempcrete) and it's also a food plant. And as hemp is a form of cannabis, it is a quick-growing plant that can be reared indoors! (Agriculture is a whole field in itself as a source of low-tech products.)

Of course you also need ink!

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #44 on: 06/07/2018 03:51 am »
What do we consider the core technologies that will be needed on Mars merely to survive when isolated from Earth ?
What is going to be most difficult ? Can we even make new LED's or other light sources.

If the base is near an ice cap, I think it would be much easier with ample, easy access to water , solid CO2  and at least for half the year great solar capacity 24hr.

Solid CO2 could be used as a fuel source  for vehicles  by  using compressed gas engines. Maybe with solar reflectors to make it melt faster for more power.

For lighting I'd go with fluorescent tube style lighting though even incandescent may be acceptable since the waste heat would be useful on Mars.

Storing CO2 under pressure and driving turbines could be a way to store solar energy though you also can split water or make methane and lox.

That said steam punk tech probably is not enough to survive on Mars instead it would be more diesel punk or atom punk level.

Though I think it might be possible to maybe reach mid 1970s maybe even 1980s level tech using native materials which is enough for most common forms of automation esp if you brought along a couple of tons of Atmega, eZ80 and Arm boards.
One thing I would recommend is all software and hardware used be open source and well documented so it can be re-purposed,reversed engineered,modified etc.
Such as if you needed a motor controller for an electric vehicle for example if the hardware was documented you could replace it with something like an Arduino Mega and some FETs.
In a worst case if something happened on Earth and the ability to send supplies was lost you could in theory make a simple CPU like an AtMega or 6502 from SSI ICs or even discrete parts.
Though I'd expect them to put forth a lot of effort in getting a working fab.

So far the colonists need lights and motor controllers. 1920s cars were electromechanical. They could use a modern version of that.

The one item that has to be made using electronics is radios. So they will need transmission, reception, sound to electrical signal and signal to sound converters.

What is needed to produce a transistor? It does not have to be silicon based.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #45 on: 06/07/2018 04:36 am »
One thing I would recommend is all software and hardware used be open source and well documented so it can be re-purposed,reversed engineered,modified etc.

This made we wonder what they'd use for documentation! Assuming computer technology databases requires too-advanced technology that leaves paper for which they'd need a source of fiber. I suggest hemp as the fibers can be used for other useful purposes (including the construction material hempcrete) and it's also a food plant. And as hemp is a form of cannabis, it is a quick-growing plant that can be reared indoors! (Agriculture is a whole field in itself as a source of low-tech products.)

Of course you also need ink!

I'd go with microform as a backup archival method to digital storage since it could be read using simple optical magnification.

Offline Stan-1967

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #46 on: 06/07/2018 04:46 am »
The foremost technology is energy, on which everything is depended. There is no fossil fuel to tap into on Mars. Nuclear fission and solar power needs industrial infrastructure to extract and refine minerals, to fabricate components. Those processes are energy intensive. You need a lot of energy and stuff to make machine that makes energy.

Imagine a community on Earth is completely removed from modern industrial and transportation infrastructure. It has no oil well or coal mine, no fire wood, no whale or seal, no yak dung or anything alike. How can it survive a freezing winter?

I think of the country of Iceland when thinking through these considerations.  I think how Iceland survives is a relevant example for Mars. 
1.  Energy ==> Iceland produces most all it's power from geothermal.   It does not export any of it's power
2.  Iceland uses the energy to make building materials like raw aluminum & cement.
3.  Iceland primarily feeds itself with limited agriculture & fishing.  Excess fishing products is a export they can use for trade
4.  Tourism
5.  Other service industries & light industries ( i.e textiles, light industrial equipment, software,  )

1, 2 & 3 are of use to Mars.  Martians will have to find something useful to do in order to trade with Earth.  This reality is why Musk implied he would look to coders to colonize mars.  There is really nothing else Mars could make that people on earth could not do better and cheaper.

Conversely, Iceland must import nearly everything to be a modern European nation.  A population of around 340,000 is just not enough for manufacturing the complex world we live in.  That is the lesson I get from Iceland.  Even a million martians is not enough to generate either a modern earth civilization, or a steam punk facsimile of that civilization. 

You can't "steam punk" your survival when the entire proposition of survival requires the highest levels of technology earth can muster just to get a colony started.  Sustained trade is needed to keep the technological foundation that allows for survival.  This bodes poorly for the concept of Mars as an independent backup civilizational entity from Earth.

If a Mars colony is to be a "Plan B" to re-boot civilization, the model should not be "steam punk" self sufficiency, but rather look to preppers.  ( who have a bit of a steam punk aura about them)   They plan on just surviving long enough to while the bulk of people die off.  Once the dust settles on earth, the martian's supposedly could return & re-populate the earth.  What would steam punk preppers need to stockpile to serve as a re-boot to a civilizational collapse on Earth?





Offline maitri982

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #47 on: 06/07/2018 04:51 am »
3D printers would be a must.  Both plastic extrusion and metal sintering.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #48 on: 06/07/2018 05:55 am »
What do we consider the core technologies that will be needed on Mars merely to survive when isolated from Earth ?
What is going to be most difficult ? Can we even make new LED's or other light sources.
Excellent  question. Probably not.
Quote from: colbourne
If the base is near an ice cap, I think it would be much easier with ample, easy access to water , solid CO2  and at least for half the year great solar capacity 24hr.

Solid CO2 could be used as a fuel source  for vehicles  by  using compressed gas engines. Maybe with solar reflectors to make it melt faster for more power.
More resources always help and expansion engines are fairly viable.
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 stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #49 on: 06/07/2018 05:57 am »
The foremost technology is energy, on which everything is depended. There is no fossil fuel to tap into on Mars. Nuclear fission and solar power needs industrial infrastructure to extract and refine minerals, to fabricate components. Those processes are energy intensive. You need a lot of energy and stuff to make machine that makes energy.

Imagine a community on Earth is completely removed from modern industrial and transportation infrastructure. It has no oil well or coal mine, no fire wood, no whale or seal, no yak dung or anything alike. How can it survive a freezing winter?
This is why reports about Methane bearing ice (Clathrates) are so exciting. Suddenly Mars has an energy source beyond solar and much easier to access than nuclear.
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 stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #50 on: 06/07/2018 06:01 am »
For lighting I'd go with fluorescent tube style lighting though even incandescent may be acceptable since the waste heat would be useful on Mars.
You'll need to either make glass or have heating capable of soft forming it. That takes glass blowing skills or some very heavy molds otherwise.

It's not the product, it's the whole supply chain behind the product that's tough.
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 stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. 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 #51 on: 06/07/2018 06:51 am »
For lighting I'd go with fluorescent tube style lighting though even incandescent may be acceptable since the waste heat would be useful on Mars.
You'll need to either make glass or have heating capable of soft forming it. That takes glass blowing skills or some very heavy molds otherwise.

It's not the product, it's the whole supply chain behind the product that's tough.
For use in non-pressurised areas, I guess you do not need the glass. Just have CO2 plasma lights. Alternatively lighting could be a side effect of the production of oxygen from CO2.

https://www.differ.nl/news/new_regime_in_dissociating_CO2_for_clean_fuels
« Last Edit: 06/07/2018 06:56 am by colbourne »

Offline su27k

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #52 on: 06/07/2018 01:04 pm »
Conversely, Iceland must import nearly everything to be a modern European nation.  A population of around 340,000 is just not enough for manufacturing the complex world we live in.

Only under the Earthly condition that shipping a 40' container with 25t of cargo to Reykjavik only cost you a few thousand dollars and takes about a month. Now increase the shipping cost by 1000x, and shipping time by 6x to 26x, see if importing everything still makes economic sense. I bet the population will suddenly find manufacturing most of the stuff locally makes a lot more sense.

Offline high road

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #53 on: 06/07/2018 09:37 pm »
Conversely, Iceland must import nearly everything to be a modern European nation.  A population of around 340,000 is just not enough for manufacturing the complex world we live in.

Only under the Earthly condition that shipping a 40' container with 25t of cargo to Reykjavik only cost you a few thousand dollars and takes about a month. Now increase the shipping cost by 1000x, and shipping time by 6x to 26x, see if importing everything still makes economic sense. I bet the population will suddenly find manufacturing most of the stuff locally makes a lot more sense.

which means they will have different job priorities, a lower standard of living and steady emigration to Earth, and/or a heck of an exportable service or product. But steampunking it already assumes a lower standard of living.

It's physically not possible to do everything from scratch with a few hundred thousand people, which means doing something means doing less of something else. Building production chains for low mass, high tech stuff is still more expensive than buying these from earth whether you need it to survive or not. But needing it to survive is quite a good reason to pay that premium.

Offline CuddlyRocket

I'd go with microform as a backup archival method to digital storage since it could be read using simple optical magnification.

Yes. And a self-sufficient survival colony is going to need a library. At a minimum a science and engineering library; though ideally also containing cultural material. The Arch Mission Foundation would probably produce one if asked (they're doing one to be launched to the Moon in the near future consisting of millions of pages of text and images stored as analog microfiche on thin sheets of nickel).

Offline colbourne

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #55 on: 06/08/2018 04:25 am »
Conversely, Iceland must import nearly everything to be a modern European nation.  A population of around 340,000 is just not enough for manufacturing the complex world we live in.

Only under the Earthly condition that shipping a 40' container with 25t of cargo to Reykjavik only cost you a few thousand dollars and takes about a month. Now increase the shipping cost by 1000x, and shipping time by 6x to 26x, see if importing everything still makes economic sense. I bet the population will suddenly find manufacturing most of the stuff locally makes a lot more sense.

which means they will have different job priorities, a lower standard of living and steady emigration to Earth, and/or a heck of an exportable service or product. But steampunking it already assumes a lower standard of living.

It's physically not possible to do everything from scratch with a few hundred thousand people, which means doing something means doing less of something else. Building production chains for low mass, high tech stuff is still more expensive than buying these from earth whether you need it to survive or not. But needing it to survive is quite a good reason to pay that premium.

We are assuming here that self-sufficiency is necessary because trade with Earth has become impossible. Obviously whilst Earth can provide goods, Mars can use the production lines of Earth, to make life much easier.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #56 on: 06/08/2018 12:00 pm »
{snip}
Though I think it might be possible to maybe reach mid 1970s maybe even 1980s level tech using native materials which is enough for most common forms of automation esp if you brought along a couple of tons of Atmega, eZ80 and Arm boards.
One thing I would recommend is all software and hardware used be open source and well documented so it can be re-purposed,reversed engineered,modified etc.
Such as if you needed a motor controller for an electric vehicle for example if the hardware was documented you could replace it with something like an Arduino Mega and some FETs.
In a worst case if something happened on Earth and the ability to send supplies was lost you could in theory make a simple CPU like an AtMega or 6502 from SSI ICs or even discrete parts.
Though I'd expect them to put forth a lot of effort in getting a working fab.

This boy has found a way of making chips in his garage. A Mars base will only need a few chips a week.

https://archive.li/1Cy97

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #57 on: 06/08/2018 04:08 pm »
This boy has found a way of making chips in his garage. A Mars base will only need a few chips a week.

https://archive.li/1Cy97
Again, the problem is not that it cannot be done (obviously it can)

It's a question of wheather or not the setup can be replicated either to increase production or as a backup.

Because if it can't then when the "Alpha" system finally dies that's it. No more chips. Ever.

Again. It's not the parts. It's the supply chain that can make  those parts (or IRL the machines-that-make-the machines-that-make-the machines-that-make the part).

He's hoping to build a 4004. Great. That will be a very personally satisfying achievement for him and in the process he will learn a great deal about how actual IC mfg works.

But can he build a set of chips that can take over the system driving his projector?
Or the HV electronics that drive the microscope?

Power electronics is more on the analogue side of chip mfg, which is a lot more demanding on reproducible chip properties.

He'd be better off duplicating the LS741181/182 devices and cloning the CPU of a PDP11.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2018 08:50 pm by john smith 19 »
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 stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #58 on: 06/08/2018 04:39 pm »
Instead of electronics I imagine electromechanical (like punch cards) or clockwork mechs with a drum like music box or a punch sheet like a player piano.

They're not up to the task of keeping a Mars civilization alive.

A player piano has no input, just an output.  Electromechanical systems can be used for that (though they are much slower and require much, much, much more maintenance).  But many control functions of modern machinery depend on complex reactions to sensor input.  And those sorts of control systems are very difficult and slow when done electromechanically.

I think it's easy to underestimate how ubiquitous and critical fast, small, cheap microprocessors are throughout our modern industrial base.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #59 on: 06/08/2018 05:06 pm »
I think of the country of Iceland when thinking through these considerations.  I think how Iceland survives is a relevant example for Mars.

Iceland survives by doing lots of trading with the rest of the world and by having a much more human-friendly environment than Mars.

Anyplace with breathable air is far, far easier for humans to survive in than anyplace without breathable air.

Instead of Iceland, think the top of Mt. Everest for an analog on Earth.

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