Monday, November 30, 2015

Earthside - Simple arched structures using preformed blocks

This is an example of Earthside technology that could be applied to building structures on bodies with gravity, particularly the Moon or Mars.

Lock Block is a company that makes custom-engineered concrete blocks for building arched tunnels or structures. They do other things, but their zipper truck arch process is what interests me.
Here's a video of the process in action; there's no explanation in the audio track.
Here's a somewhat longer video with explanation.

In case you don't want to watch some random youtube videos I'll explain the concept after the jump:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Life Support - Menu planner

{Update: values presented here are quite wrong thanks to a pair of errors recently discovered.}

 As part of a larger effort, I have produced a spreadsheet that can be used to see the nutritional values of a menu on a weekly average basis. For a number of reasons detailed below it will be of limited usefulness to most people, but it can be adapted to track one's own diet with some effort.

I release the sheet as CC-SA, free to use but without any warranty express or implied. This does not constitute medical advice. No attribution is necessary, since anyone wanting to use it would have to put in some effort to make it presentable. Fine print after the jump.

Update 25 November 2015:
Broke the menu section into men, women and children (using 90th percentile height / weight).
Added a separate section detailing space and feed inputs for fish and livestock (fish still in progress).
Current version is nutritionally complete, though the fat balance is heavily weighted toward saturated fats as a consequence of using dairy.

Headline 1 from this is that it takes only 9.5m² per person using stacked grow racks. I expect this to increase slightly as I introduce less efficient grains and a wider variety of fruits and greens, but should easily stay within 12m².
Headline 2 is that the animal feed was within 15% of the agricultural waste already being produced, meaning the nutrients added from animal sources requires almost no additional hydroponic support. The difference can be made up with Spirulina from the waste processing system and excess milk.

The downside is that you cannot reasonably include pork or beef unless your population is at least 5,000 or so.
Also, fish turned out to be less space-efficient than chicken after considering pond space for breeders.
Further, far more milk is produced than is necessary; this could be powdered and used in animal feed or could be polymerized into PLA plastic.