Author Topic: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)  (Read 24819 times)

Online rakaydos

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #140 on: 07/10/2018 01:26 AM »
I think the most key technoligy for mars self sufficency is to turn raw martian resources into solar panels and greenhouses.

Mars's biggest problem is that it wastes all the energy it recieves. Earth has organic solar collection covering a significant portion of it's landmass, and humanity has leveraged that stored energy since we learned to use fire. It's going to take forever for mars to catch up, but the sooner it starts, the better.

Offline MikeAtkinson

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #141 on: 07/10/2018 06:11 AM »
Using 3D ink jet printing you can print organic semiconductors.  This includes logic and displays and memory.  It's not fast logic. It's not really hi-tech.  It is slow but it works.
Lots of search and research paper references.  Here is one from Parc.
https://www.parc.com/content/attachments/3d-printed-electronics.pdf

Are there any 3D printed electronics in general use? I would be very cautious of taking research (which by its nature is cutting edge) and saying this is low tech.

The technology to manufacture 3D printers and organic semiconductors and control the printing process is what 1980's level? 2000's level?

Online rakaydos

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #142 on: 07/10/2018 05:14 PM »
Using 3D ink jet printing you can print organic semiconductors.  This includes logic and displays and memory.  It's not fast logic. It's not really hi-tech.  It is slow but it works.
Lots of search and research paper references.  Here is one from Parc.
https://www.parc.com/content/attachments/3d-printed-electronics.pdf

Are there any 3D printed electronics in general use? I would be very cautious of taking research (which by its nature is cutting edge) and saying this is low tech.

The technology to manufacture 3D printers and organic semiconductors and control the printing process is what 1980's level? 2000's level?
I'd be careful taking "general use" as anything but "the cheapest way of doing something." 3d printed electronics probably cost more per board than mass produced boards, but for a small colony with a 2+ year supply chain, the flexibility outweighs the extra cost.

As for 3d printers themselves, Inkjets are an ancient technoligy, but it took forever for someone to have a brainstorm that the joker who kept printing the same page on top of itself may be onto something.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #143 on: 07/13/2018 07:27 AM »
Yes, I think its about pursing the ability to be self-sufficient, not the actuality of being self-sufficient.
Like all things it's going to be a lot easier to do this if the decision to do it is designed in from day 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. 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 #144 on: 07/13/2018 07:30 AM »
I'd be careful taking "general use" as anything but "the cheapest way of doing something." 3d printed electronics probably cost more per board than mass produced boards, but for a small colony with a 2+ year supply chain, the flexibility outweighs the extra cost.
An example of how the economics of Martian settlement start to diverge from Earth economics. Flexibility of product being more important that the ability to churn out massive numbers of it.

Quote from: rakaydos
As for 3d printers themselves, Inkjets are an ancient technoligy, but it took forever for someone to have a brainstorm that the joker who kept printing the same page on top of itself may be onto something.
Well as a technology they certainly date from the late 19th century for graph recorders.

Actually making an FET needs different patterns printed on the same sheet of paper.
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. 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 johnfwhitesell

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #145 on: 07/13/2018 10:59 PM »
Yes, I think its about pursing the ability to be self-sufficient, not the actuality of being self-sufficient.
Like all things it's going to be a lot easier to do this if the decision to do it is designed in from day one.

That's really, really not true.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #146 on: 07/14/2018 07:56 AM »
Yes, I think its about pursing the ability to be self-sufficient, not the actuality of being self-sufficient.
Like all things it's going to be a lot easier to do this if the decision to do it is designed in from day one.

That's really, really not true.
It's a Wiki article on JIT.  What are you trying to say? It's not very well researched and makes no reference to the work of W. Edwards Demming and the idea of continuous improvement, one of the drivers for what became JIT.

The thesis of this thread is that a lower technology level means its easier to build the whole supply chain to support that technology level or at least to minimize the number (and type) of items that cannot be made on Mars.

However since you don't seem to believe the settlement even needs to be able to feed itself (even at a basic level) you presumably don't see any need to limit technology either.

Let me repeat at $300/Kg a 50g candy bar is $15 in freight. A pre packaged meal (because you don't think Mars needs to be self sufficient even in basic food) will make every meal the equivalent of going to a high end restaurant.  MRE's are not generally viewed as gourmet cuisine by anyone who's actually eaten them.  :(

People don't think about this because everyone on the ISS is basically a civil servant, and their meals are the equivalent of a subsidized (free actually) staff canteen (who could afford to eat when its $20 000+/Kg ?)

 What revenue streams do you see Mars generating that will allow settlers to pay for such goods? 
Do you still think self sufficiency is over rated?

If people are serious about Mars being "Humanity's backup" then resilience is a pretty important capability.

The problem is once you're committed to Silicon electronics if you want real supply chain resilience you need the whole Silicon mining/purification/crystal growing/doping/etching/imaging chain and all the sub chains to make all the consumables (photo resist chemistry is quite complex and HF is pretty nasty stuff, OTOH maybe there are reasons to go to a completely "dry" fab line other than lower line width) to do so.
« Last Edit: 07/14/2018 08:08 AM 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 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 CuddlyRocket

I think that because setting up a permanent crewed base, let along a small colony, is going to be an engineering challenge due to the existence of many unknowns (let alone the unknown unknowns); that the initial efforts are going to involve using as much high technology as possible in order to maximise the odds of success.

However, once such a base/colony is set up, people are going to start thinking about how to save money! And not just people on Mars; those paying any bills on Earth will also be interested. And given, as pointed out, the high freight costs of importing stuff to Mars from Earth then import substitution is bound to be an area considered. And what they will be looking for is things that can be produced on Mars that might not be as good as the imports but which are cheaper and good enough (at least for certain uses).

Later, Martian authorities will probably make it a specific policy to end reliance on Earth. Partly to guarantee survival; partly to assert independence, and probably because it's to the benefit of local economic interests.

Such substitution is likely to involve less sophisticated, probably considered obsolete, technologies - because they require less of an industrial infrastructure. But each successful substitution creates its own industrial infrastructure, which will gradually improve in capability.

From the point of view of those who want to see a Martian colony; it could well assist such colonists if one could think of potential such substitutions well in advance. In fact, you could adjust what is sent to Mars to make it easier for such substitutions to take place!

Offline johnfwhitesell

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #148 on: 07/15/2018 10:53 PM »
It's a Wiki article on JIT.  What are you trying to say? It's not very well researched

The funny thing about counter-examples is that you just have to show the counterexample to satisfy the burden of proof.  Your claim that it's easier to plan out your sufficiency ahead of time in ALL cases is belied by the fact that JIT is very common in all manner of necessities.  There is no person in my city who is tasked with making sure that we have a stable supply of bread and toilet paper, those are just ordered according to the state of inventories and manufacturing responds to demand.

Let me repeat at $300/Kg a 50g candy bar is $15 in freight.

And once again, unless the BFR is the last spaceship ever built, this is fallacious.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #149 on: 07/15/2018 11:31 PM »
Yeah, there are better, cheaper possible modes for sending stuff to Mars than inside a BFS. And FWIW, Musk's 2016 figure is <$140/kg, not $300.
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Offline speedevil

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #150 on: 07/16/2018 12:48 AM »
Yeah, there are better, cheaper possible modes for sending stuff to Mars than inside a BFS. And FWIW, Musk's 2016 figure is <$140/kg, not $300.

A zeroth order calculation indicates the fuel cost for 15km/s delta-v with an ISP of 370 needs 62kg of propellant to land one kilo on Mars.
That would be pretty much a hard limit of on the order of $3/kg or so.
Considering dehydrated food, that's around $3/day or so.

Another limit would be the cost of locally grown food under lights.
In this thread, beginning with the assumption of $130/kg I came out with a price of around $0.3/kWh for electricity based around commercially available components and a 20 year life.

Add LEDs, and this works out to on the order of $30/day for food, growing plants under artificial lights.
For $100/kg, you can get quite a varied diet locally, run from artificial lights, feeding some to animals.

If you can in fact grow plants in some form of greenhouse, as seems quite likely, this would come down quite a lot.
Though the above is deviating somewhat from the point of the thread.


Online Robotbeat

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #151 on: 07/16/2018 01:21 AM »
Isp could be somewhat more than 370s, up to 4.7 and theoretically 5. I think for these high energy trajectories, it makes a lot of sense to use hydrolox (and start very oxygen-rich in the beginning to save energy since oxygen is nearly free). If near stoichiometric, that could be pretty cheap. Theoretically, if hydrogen gets as cheap per unit energy as natural gas is now (which is, if we admit it, less outlandish than most of the rest of our claims here), it could be even lower than $3/kg to Mars, potentially about $1/kg. Energy costs, at least.

But I agree hard to get below $3/kg to Mars in energy costs.
« Last Edit: 07/16/2018 01:22 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline johnfwhitesell

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #152 on: 07/16/2018 02:12 PM »
If they could source the fuel off-earth using a low isp-method, the fuel costs could be lower then that.  I tend to think that such ideas are putting the cart before the horse but if we are talking about far enough in the future that the cost of fuel itself is significant it seems appropriate.  If a high-isp low thrust engine could be used to ship water to cis-lunar space from elsewhere in the solar system, the cost of fuel in orbit might be lower then the cost of fuel on earth.  So then your primary cost is getting to orbit, once that happens getting to mars would be pretty cheap.

Offline speedevil

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #153 on: 07/16/2018 09:46 PM »
the cost of fuel in orbit might be lower then the cost of fuel on earth.
If that was to happen in LEO, it can only be marginally lower, or it becomes economic to sell that fuel on earth.

Offline johnfwhitesell

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #154 on: 07/16/2018 11:39 PM »
Well I was thinking of LH2 which would be difficult to land.

Offline colbourne

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #155 on: 07/17/2018 01:23 AM »
I would have thought fuel costs are irrelevant to this thread. The thread is concerned with making Mars self sufficient, so that it can be an arc for Earth, and the crew can survive and flourish if contact is lost.
I do agree that it would be worth shipping as much from Earth as possible to enable Mars to become self-sufficient if needed, and it sounds like silicon wafers and packaged chips  would be worth while to give approx. 100 years grace rather than having to build the whole production line from scratch.
We need to determine what is the critical infrastructure that is needed to survive independent from Earth, allowing a Mars colony to survive and grow with no support. Hopefully this situation will never arise and luxury , high tech goods from Earth can be used as required, but Mars is not a second chance for mankind if it can not survive unassisted.

Offline MikeAtkinson

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #156 on: 07/17/2018 09:29 AM »
Perhaps it is best to think of things in terms of dates and technology levels.

Steam-punk is normally thought of as about 1900's level technology - steam power, basic chemical industry, no automation, simple electrics, telegraph and telephone.

1950's level - internal combustion engines, electric motors common in production, sophisticated chemical industry, advanced electrics and simple electronics (valves and reed relays), only analog feedback control automation, no digital electronics or computing, radio, tv and telephone.

[n]2000's[/b] level - internal combustion and electric motors, computing, digital communication (lasers and fiber optics), plastics, ceramics, composites and advanced materials, advanced automation, complex supply chains, sophisticated biochemistry.

It is also helpful to distinguish between technology that is mostly based on knowledge and so could have been applied at an earlier time. For instance plant breeding (in an organised way), drip irrigation and fertilizer use although started around 1950's could be done by 1900's technology.


Offline john smith 19

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #157 on: 07/17/2018 06:29 PM »
The funny thing about counter-examples is that you just have to show the counterexample to satisfy the burden of proof.  Your claim that it's easier to plan out your sufficiency ahead of time in ALL cases is belied by the fact that JIT is very common in all manner of necessities.  There is no person in my city who is tasked with making sure that we have a stable supply of bread and toilet paper, those are just ordered according to the state of inventories and manufacturing responds to demand.
And you don't expect that is going to change, despite the fact there will be a single supplier of goods and if the goods are not on the ground will not be there for the next 26 months?

Quote from: johnfwhitesell
And once again, unless the BFR is the last spaceship ever built, this is fallacious.
I see. BFR has not flown yet, not carried a single paying passenger to Mars, but you've already scrapped it and are designing the next spaceship.

It must be so nice to have a mind so unconstrained by any sort of practical realities, like recovering the development cost of a vehicle.
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. 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 johnfwhitesell

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #158 on: 07/18/2018 12:22 AM »
I see. BFR has not flown yet, not carried a single paying passenger to Mars, but you've already scrapped it and are designing the next spaceship.

We were talking about far enough in the future that thousands of people are living on Mars.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2018 02:06 AM by johnfwhitesell »

Online rakaydos

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Re: Steam Punk Mars (Self Sufficient Survival through Low Tech)
« Reply #159 on: 07/18/2018 01:35 AM »
I see 1950s tech as a good target to aim for. Von Braun wrote a book about a mars colony, and it should be possible to close the loop on 1950s tech easier than 2020 tech.

First things first- Transistors and vacuum tubes, not integrated circuts and chips. Printed circuts are a LOT less specialized than photolithography equipment, and most of the electronics needed for a low tech base dont really require massive processing power. Imported modern computers are nice, but the local production can be '40s tech or earlier. You still need a chemical industry, metallurgy, glass blowing and vacuum pumps, but none of that needs intensive computing behind it.

What else is needed for a 1950s tech local production base?

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