Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mars Colony Prize - semifinalist

My submission was selected as a semifinalist. As a result, a lightly updated version of the paper will be included in a book distributed by the Mars Society. I've just sent off the formatted document to the editor with barely a day to spare.

The submissions I've read so far are excellent; the book will be well worth picking up once it comes out. The Society plans to release in dead tree and e-book formats.

I had the chance to meet a fellow competitor (Dr. Jeff Greenblatt, Emerging Futures LLC) in person at this year's ISDC. He is a well-deserved finalist.  Finalists will be presenting at the Mars Society Convention at the University of Southern California, October 17-20 2019.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mars Colony Prize - my submission

Greetings,

 I have submitted a paper for the Mars Society's Mars Colony Prize competition. My supporting data is available as well.

I'd like to think I had a somewhat novel approach. I also know for sure that I delayed completion and didn't turn out my best work; the underlying concept is sound but I feel the paper itself didn't drive to a convincing conclusion. No matter; it is done now.

Comments, corrections and complaints welcome.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Menu planner update - significant errors discovered

A Reddit user over in r/ColonizeMars (u/3015) caught multiple errors in my menu planning sheet. (thread) These affected power, area and volume calculations. I've corrected these errors; the sheet is updated anywhere it is linked.

The per-person volume is still about 45 m³. The sheet now tracks 'tray' area and 'floor' area separately, with estimates of floor area required for a set of ceiling heights.

Most important is the power requirement for lighting. This increased significantly, from 5.7 kW per person to 22 kW per person.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Project Destiny: Habitats and Food, part 2

This is a topic post referring to Purdue University's project Destiny.
Here is my introductory post for the series.
The subject is section 7, Mars habitats. By necessity, section 8 (Food Production) is also discussed.

Due to the broad scope of this section, I've broken it into three separate posts. This post discusses living spaces. Part 1 discussed life support.

 Headline results:
No net change to costs. Per capita living space increased by 2.3x, while per capita hydroponic space about doubled. I present two alternatives to the 'cylinder farm' approach, each with pros and cons. Basalt fibers would be used as rockwool insulation to reduce heating requirements.

Details after the jump.


Project Destiny: Habitats and Food, part 1

This is a topic post referring to Purdue University's project Destiny.
Here is my introductory post for the series.
The subject is section 7, Mars habitats. By necessity, section 8 (Food Production) is also discussed.

Due to the broad scope of this section, I've broken it into three separate posts. This post discusses life support.
Part 2 discusses the actual structures and habitable volume.

 Headline results:
 $265.52 billion in savings (74.5%) by using industrial equipment instead of legacy ISS hardware. By using an integrated biological life support system with advanced air composition management, nutrient cycles are almost completely closed and a straightforward route for makeup mass is available from Martian resources.


Details after the jump.



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Project Destiny: Interplanetary Communications Network

This is a topic post referring to Purdue University's project Destiny.
Here is my introductory post for the series.
The subject is section 4, Interplanetary Communications Network.

 Headline results: I believe that the cost of this system can be reduced by nearly 50% without altering the underlying performance assumptions.

Details after the break.

Purdue University's project Destiny

Purdue University's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics recently released a feasibility study of Elon Musk's Mars colonization plan. I recommend a look at their full report and appendices if you have some time on your hands and an interest in colonization.

This was a student-run project in collaboration with Dr. Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Andy Aldrin, completed in a single semester. Given the time constraints and the scope of the project, the results are remarkable. While the final report could have used a good science editor's advice, look deeper. The underlying approach is sound, and there is a wealth of details on techniques for designing everything from a water tower to an interplanetary communications network.

At around 1,200 pages for the two primary documents, there is a lot of ground to cover. The entire end to end architecture for putting a million people on Mars within 100 years and keeping them alive is explored. I intend to write a series of posts addressing key points of the study in detail. I have not contacted any member of the team, so this is unsolicited and in no way meant to impugn their work. Their results are very impressive.