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Going Underground on Other Planets?

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Wed May 16, 2012 2:16 pm
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Going Underground on Other Planets? 
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Post Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Wed May 16, 2012 2:16 pm
Watched this:
http://designtaxi.com/news/352531/New-Y ... he-Future/

Could help ideas for populating some other worlds? Away from UV rays etc

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Wed May 16, 2012 7:25 pm
Can you get enough light in though? Insolation on e.g. Mars is quite low already, and those fibre optic cables are not that efficient. A glass roof might work better, or do it like in Red Mars and dig a trench, then build into the side of it.

Or go to the Moon instead, there's as much light as on Earth there. The day/night cycle might get interesting there though. The Moon doesn't have seasons (it's tidally locked to Earth, so its axis of rotation is perpendicular to its orbital plane). So you would get something like a two-week growing season, followed by two weeks of darkness. Arctic plants could probably stand that, so that would work.

There's an issue though: how would you dig the hole? Diggers are kind of heavy, and their engines need oxygen...

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Wed May 16, 2012 8:21 pm
id have thought there would be all sorts of caves on the moon, but im not an expert so im only guessing :P

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Wed May 16, 2012 9:15 pm
There is some evidence of caves (empty lava tubes) on the moon, but we have no clue about how common they are.

If you put your base at the Lunar poles, you can rig solar collectors/reflectors up on the ridges that receive perpetual sun.

Easiest method is to roof over craters, seal, and pressurize it. Lots of them to choose from, in all sorts of diameters. You can use mostly insitu materials.

All have been proposed for decades now.


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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Wed May 16, 2012 9:17 pm
Rob Goldsmith wrote:
id have thought there would be all sorts of caves on the moon, but im not an expert so im only guessing :P


I think there have been photos of volcanic tunnels that have collapsed on the moon so it is logical to assume that are some that have not collapsed and are indeed underground caves. And iirc some are only partly collapsed so would make good candidates for either the fibre or red mars option. Tho you can do the same light trick a bit more efficiently with inverted clear and mirrored parabolas and tubes of silvered mylar that reflect something like 99% of light gathered, above ground they look a bit like fat space age mushrooms or toadstools. The crude ascii diagram below should help you imagine it.

Code:
/--m--\
\ww ww/
  | |
  | |
  | ------
  --------

The m w 's are meant to represent mirrors and the tubing below is mirrored mylar that acts like a fibre optic cable without the fibre to attenuate the signal.

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Wed May 16, 2012 9:55 pm
iirc I read a few months ago that there is an infrared survey of the Moon being done to find lava tubes. As the terminator passes, the roof of a tube changes temperature faster than the surrounding terrain. About 200 had been found.

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Thu May 17, 2012 5:30 pm
But how much radiation would your roof block? Compared to a few meters of regolith, maybe not so much. And aren't craters usually rather shallow? You'd need a small and deep one.

The issue with caves is how to make them air tight, at least if you want lots of volume. You could of course put a habitat inside them at least at first, and take your time closing them off, but still. You might need scaffolding, and figure out some kind of material to close the seams. Lunar concrete?

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Sat May 19, 2012 3:15 am
Lourens wrote:
But how much radiation would your roof block? Compared to a few meters of regolith, maybe not so much. And aren't craters usually rather shallow? You'd need a small and deep one.


With the low gravity, you can get away with more on the Moon than on Earth engineering wise. Mega structures become easier and you can support much greater masses with less reinforcement.

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The issue with caves is how to make them air tight, at least if you want lots of volume. You could of course put a habitat inside them at least at first, and take your time closing them off, but still. You might need scaffolding, and figure out some kind of material to close the seams. Lunar concrete?


We won't really know until we get people and bots down there.


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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:15 pm
So how far underground could we dig with current technologies on the moon?
What about Mercury, Ceres, Vesta?

:)

It is always more fun to ask questions in forums than just googling things.

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:52 am
I like the idea of going down into europa with a robot! Bet you get big alien fish in there!

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:36 pm
box wrote:
So how far underground could we dig with current technologies on the moon?
What about Mercury, Ceres, Vesta?


If what we think of their composition is right, cold cored, relatively stable and low gravity, then it should be possible to dig to any depth and for volumes that are not possible on Earth.


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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:20 pm
Nice! Offworld dwarven caverns here we come!! :D

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:52 am
More like kilometers in diameter open air cities.


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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:41 am
It will be awesome! :)

Let's go!

Anybody has a couple of trillion dollars up their sleeve?

I am also imagining large ten or even hundred kilometer sized green-blue bubbles with large fins of green. This is in the habitable zone around the Sun so between Venus and Mars.

The outer shell is made of a transparent layer to keep the inside pressurized, then there is a layer of water, then an inner transparent layer. Then there is the inner volume of highpressure atmosphere to keep the bubble from collapsing under it's gravity. I am not sure the size constrains on this design.

But the idea is to have a bubble that has a sunlit interior while the inside is also protected from UV and high energy particles coming from the sun. I am not sure about how to shield from cosmic rays, but maybe the high pressure atmosphere might do the rest of the work.

At any rate, instead of small and closed spaces our habitats could be vast open volumes where one can just float around. :)

The fins are large surface area needed to utilise solar power. It is made of solar panels and tubes that circulate algae rich water. The algae harvested for food production and they recycle the CO2. The outer shell could have a marine ecosystem living in it to be harvested for sushi. :P

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Post Re: Going Underground on Other Planets?   Posted on: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:56 pm
Mars may have some unusual geology to take advantage of. Also it seems that Mars may still be pretty warm underneath, while it lacks a magnetic field there are a couple of pictures kicking around that show flows down a hillside which claims it may be from warming coming from the depths. Maybe even some surface thermal activity?
With the planet being hit hard by a planet-sized object a couple of billion years back who knows what kind of caves were formed by gas,water ect. We know Mars had surface water...where did it all go?
Earth volcanoes have cave and lava tube structures.. Mars has the solar system's largest!


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