Planetary Bias?


#1

I have puzzled over the inability of many to think beyond humans living on planetary bodies. Why planets? It is essentially a planetary bias because we know of no other way. All planets in the solar system are hostile to human life, well, other than Earth. Living on another planet, like Mars (the most hospitable to humans other than Earth) requires profound effort. Mars may have resources but it also is at the bottom of a gravity well. Gravity wells are serious obstacles. Between the energy used to land at the bottom of a gravity well, there is also the need to climb out of that well.

Getting humans into space requires climbing out of Earth’s gravity well. Doing so requires achieving a speed of 28,165 kmh (17,500 mph) just to reach low Earth orbit. After spending so much energy to get off the Earth only to end up at the bottom of another gravity well seems a waste of energy.

Rotating space colonies (e.g. O’Neill Cylinders) are the best of both worlds. Real estate made to order and easy access to space.

Thought?


#2

We know how to get up and down a gravity well. We know how to work in a gravity field. We know how to mine, process, and build with materials found on rocky worlds.

We don’t yet have the lifting capacity or in orbit mining, processing, and construction capability that constructing large spinning habitats would need.

So colonizing a place like Mars is possible with existing tech… or very nearly existing… where as building something like an O’Neill Cylinder requires lots more things we’ve never tried before be built at extremely large scales that the whole worlds economy can’t pay for.

O’Neill Cylinders are something you build after you’ve colonized the easy planets and have a multi-planetary economy. Or… you are desperate to leave your system…


#3

Granted, the O’Neill Cylinder is the ultimate design for space habitats and perhaps not the most appropriate example. Space habitats will evolve from the first space station that can spin to create centrifugal force. I linked my first post to the National Space Society’s page on space settlements. There are many designs that are considered “early” models.

We don’t need to send construction materials from Earth to space. Robots, drones, narrow AI, and telepresence can prospect, mine, refine and process resources from the moon and asteroids long before we need to send the first human to pre-built habitat.

Currently Mars is engulfed in a global dust storm. Just as on the Moon, dust is a serious problem for humans. Lunar dust reminds me of asbestos, and Martian dust may be just as problematic. This is just one of many problems dealing with an environment we cannot control. Let’s hope Mars Lung (mesothelioma) does not become a reality.


#4

We could send a lot of people to Mars by the time we learn how to Refine and Process resources in orbit. No one currently has any thing even in the design stages for processing asteroids.

How do you smelt in orbit? I don’t know. No one does.

Robots and drones and AI are not capable enough yet. We can get Humans there long before they become good enough.

Mars has water. Lots of water. Dust on the Moon is dangerous because it’s generated from impacts. It’s sharp and spiky. Dust on Mars I’ve heard somewhere isn’t as spiky… can’t remember where I heard that… So assuming that isn’t true and it’s just as bad as Moon Dust… you can easily deal with it be spraying yourself down with the readily available water.

Your premise as I see it is that it’d be easier to deal with the problems of orbit and complete lack of atmosphere than it is to deal with a planet. I don’t believe that to be the case. We’ve lived for millennia on planets… dealing with their problems is what we’re best at and have been doing all this time. Most everything we want to do on a planet we already have and it’s only a matter of transporting enough of it there so more of it can be produced there. Everything we want to do in orbit has to be rethought and redesigned and almost no work has gone into doing that.


#5

The simple … Or I suppose not so simple answer is we will most likely be doing both.


#6

Nearly everything we will do in space will be different. Such as Metal Fusing in Space - Cold Welding / Vacuum Welding


#7

I’m aware of vacuum welding. I’ve been wondering what the weld strength is compared to hot welding. But even if it’s a strong connection materials will have to be refined … purified… fully melted separated and recombined in desired ratios for alloys and cooled for various lengths of time before being assembled with it.


#8

I am really keen for us earthlings to start colonizing orbital space in spinning structures. It really doesn’t need much material to start. 1 maybe 2 BFR loads of mass can be enough to begin with one small(but fairly spacious) spinning station. Made on earth deployed in space. From there who knows where it will lead.

I even have an idea to get to orbit cheaper than BFR !! I know it sounds crazy but i am working it through !! and checking my ideas …
Hope to get a prototype made soon to test it out !! after I confirm my numbers !!:slight_smile: Tobi Aerospace !! :rofl: