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View Full Version : An asteroid sized, self-sustained artificial colony?



Inclusa
2014-Aug-02, 06:17 AM
In Legend of Galactic Heroes, Iserlohn fortress is particularly interesting as a space technological product (It has a near fraternal twin, Geiersburg Fortress, but the productivity of this one is unknown) ; let's ignore its military aspects for the moment; being a self-sustained asteroid-sized, artificial colony that can support a population of a few million is a huge feat, even for humans after 1000 years. If such is built, it would exceed all ancient and modern wonders of the world, and we can break the confinement of planet earth any time.
Then again, planets and moons are usually better habitats than an artificial colony.
OK, as we always assume, people live inside the colony rather than on the surface. Still, we have explored the possibility of living underground.
The space colonies in the Gundam (OK, Gundam style is a popular parody of the famous Gangnam style, but this is another issue) are much less sophisticated.

Noclevername
2014-Aug-02, 06:39 AM
being a self-sustained asteroid-sized, artificial colony that can support a population of a few million is a huge feat, even for humans after 1000 years. If such is built, it would exceed all ancient and modern wonders of the world, and we can break the confinement of planet earth any time.

Such a structure with a balanced ecosystem, could only be built long after we have left the confinement of planet Earth. It would require not only a fully mature space infrastructure, but far more knowledge and experience with closed cycle artificial ecologies than we have now or in the foreseeable future.

Does this space station in LOGH require maintenance and loss replacement (asteroid mining)?


Then again, planets and moons are usually better habitats than an artificial colony.

I disagree, aside from Earth. Most other bodies have low gravity, the capacity for full health-maintaining 1G spin outweigh... whatever the advantages of planets and moons may be. Asteroids provide plenty of material resources at a low transportation cost in energy, and I don't know what other advantages a surface structure would offer.

publiusr
2014-Aug-02, 07:21 PM
I'm just glad some folks are thinking big again. Suborbital this and smallsat that just doesn't cut it for me.

novaderrik
2014-Aug-02, 07:24 PM
that's no moon...

Inclusa
2014-Aug-03, 03:59 AM
I disagree, aside from Earth. Most other bodies have low gravity, the capacity for full health-maintaining 1G spin outweigh... whatever the advantages of planets and moons may be. Asteroids provide plenty of material resources at a low transportation cost in energy, and I don't know what other advantages a surface structure would offer.

19729

This is NOT an asteroid; rather, this is a completely artificial structure around the size of an asteroid.
The only other planet in the Solar System with roughly 1G is Venus; alas, it is way to hot to be habitable. This is exactly why Mars is still considered the first stop for breaking confinement to our home world. Moon is OK if we manage to go subterranean.
If we build on the Jovian moons, we are building on ice (which isn't particularly helpful.)

Noclevername
2014-Aug-03, 04:26 AM
This is NOT an asteroid; rather, this is a completely artificial structure around the size of an asteroid.

I said asteroids could provide raw materials to build, repair, and replace material losses on a space habitat. Not that the station was an asteroid.


The only other planet in the Solar System with roughly 1G is Venus; alas, it is way to hot to be habitable. This is exactly why Mars is still considered the first stop for breaking confinement to our home world. Moon is OK if we manage to go subterranean.
If we build on the Jovian moons, we are building on ice (which isn't particularly helpful.)

Then why did you say moons and other planets were "usually better habitats"?

ravens_cry
2014-Aug-03, 08:36 PM
What is the 'size of an asteroid'? There is a whole range of sizes from less than a kilometre to 'That's not no moon!' biggies like 4 Vesta. I have a hunch that a good, self-sustained closed cycle ecosystem is going to need a fair bit of redundancy. After all, if you are get your oxygen and food recycling from biological systems, you don't want a single disease or system failure to wipe everything out, and, of course, redundancy requires space. Still, I doubt you'd need something the size of a planet to do at least an acceptable job, especially with good quarantine measures.

neilzero
2014-Aug-03, 09:44 PM
Before we can build one for more than a million humans, we need to start small and work up gradually. We can build two, both spheres. One with a radius of 3 meters and one with a radius of 4 meters. They are tethered together and spin about a bio-center quite close to the larger sphere which will have about the same gravity as Earth's moon. The smaller sphere will have about Mars gravity. The assembly can orbit Earth at about 400 kilometers altitude. Both spheres can be several layers of one millimeter, self sealing, unobtainium with thermal insulation in between the layers. If the unobtainium is not available at construction time, thicker metal can be used, but more elaborate systems will be needed to deal with air loss though holes made by space junk and micro meteorites. Three ladders, mutually perpendicular, are needed across the inside diameters of each sphere, to allow access to all the volume of each sphere. Quite a few self sustaining technologies are presently being tested on Earth's surface, but few have been space tested, so we have a long way to go. The smaller sphere has 12.56 r cubed volume = 339 cubic meters, so a population of ten is practical figuring 33.9 cubic meters per person. A high percentage of that space will be occupied by supplies and equipment.

Ara Pacis
2014-Aug-04, 04:45 AM
I'm not familiar with Galactic Heroes, can the OP explain what he's asking about?

Inclusa
2014-Aug-04, 07:25 AM
Iserlohn Fortress is a space fortress about 60 kilometers in diameter and roughly spherical in shape and 40 trillions tons in mass; its agricultural productivity allows it to support a population of a few millions continuously.
I just mention it as a potential model for human space habitat, but planets and large moons have surface to build with, though.

Noclevername
2014-Aug-05, 11:02 AM
I just mention it as a potential model for human space habitat, but planets and large moons have surface to build with, though.

I don't understand. Small bodies have material to build with that is easily accessible and can be transported to almost any place in the Solar System. So what advantage is there on a large body?

IsaacKuo
2014-Aug-05, 01:48 PM
Before we can build one for more than a million humans, we need to start small and work up gradually. We can build two, both spheres. One with a radius of 3 meters and one with a radius of 4 meters. They are tethered together and spin about a bio-center quite close to the larger sphere which will have about the same gravity as Earth's moon. The smaller sphere will have about Mars gravity.
A station of this size doesn't need to be done with fancy technology. Skylab had a diameter of 6.6m. At these scales, cylinders have compelling advantages over spheres (easier to manufacture, easier room layout and design, easier to launch, etc).

Using mostly ISS components, it would make most sense to have a rigid truss between the two modules. That way, it is easy to simply de-spin the station in order to perform docking/berthing with supply ships and expansion modules.

NEOWatcher
2014-Aug-05, 01:56 PM
Using mostly ISS components...
Maybe something resembling ISS components. I doubt the existing components can stand up to g forces as a habitat.
ISS modules were designed for the shuttle. Skylab was designed for Sat-V.
I'm sure no matter what will be built, will probably be more tailored to be a generic smaller diameter or larger designed for a specific HLV in mind.

I really don't think we are talking about different things here though. Since we don't have off -the-shelf components, anything is possible. Besides, in the context of this thread, I don't think those kinds of details are important. It's sufficient to say that the step needs to be taken.