reply to post by Xcathdra
Spend $3T on establishing lunar colonies, mining, and laboratory spaces.
Spend $3T on building two one-hundred year ships with a few dozen launches by the proposed Space Launch System:
You choose build the 100 year ship?
You're usually more lucid than this.
Everything that has been accomplished is based off of something prior that was improved.
Yes, so let's build the most ambitious space vehicle to date using launch and assembly methods that have been around since the 1960s. No need to
improve that by thinking of ways we could better accomplish this stuff.
Testing systems like life support, navigation, propulsion, communications etc etc? We already started / invested time into those projects the
moment we took to the sky, to trains to cars to ocean vessels to the space program etc etc..
What are you going to eat?
"Well, aim - that's simple, we'll build hydroponics setups and eat off of that."
You're talking about a purely vegetarian diet - notoriously troublesome and problematic for people, as our digestive system evolved to be omnivorous.
But, it is about all that's practical spare for some lab-grown meat ideas that people on ATS seem to despise. Either way - there's a few
additional considerations to this.
How are you going to contain evaporation and moisture in that environment? Every drop of water is vital - not only that it remain in your water
cycle, but also that it stays off of electronic components and doesn't promote galvanic corrosion.
How are you going to process human waste? 50% of our waste, roughly, is bacteria. You're going to have to process that waste and feed it back into
your hydroponics setup. There's also issues of what to do with hair (where some of your food is going), skin cells, body oils, etc.
You figure that you're trying to design a ship to last as a self-contained ecosystem for 100 years. A crew of 20 people would shed absolutely huge
amounts of skin cells during that time. You also have to figure that each of these crew are going to have to have one child to raise and train to be
crew, themselves - which raises your number needing support mid-way through the trip from 20 to 40.
That raises a host of other issues. Clothing - education - concerns over prenatal care and development in space, the list goes on.
And what to do when you have your first-generation of crew still around when the second generation reaches the age where it's time for them to
procreate to ensure the continuation of the mission? Now you'll have 60 - unless you have the first generation euthanize themselves.
In the mean-time - you have a ship that has been running non-stop for 60+ years. You have farms, possibly some algaes and other single-celled
cultures that you have kept biologically active and contained for that same amount of time. A reactor or two that have been operating the same amount
of time. Engines with volatile superconducting coils that may not have been running constantly - but will need to be periodically checked and
The life-support and sustainment issues are a far cry from air conditioning on a train or cabin pressurization in an aircraft.
Even the ISS cannot even begin to approach the challenges this 100 year ship faces. It's constantly resupplied by rockets from Earth. Food and
water are continually resupplied - though water is recycled (and looks yellow due to chemical processing of urine - yummy).
There are times when its not about the money, but the accomplishment itself - A phyric victory if you will.
So, you're saying that setting up industry and human support infrastructure on the moon would be less of an accomplishment or victory than building a
100 year ship to fly to another star system and .... do what?
Die an entropic death? Crash land on some planet that has an oxygen atmosphere in the hopes that there's some kind of future for them?
Or find that we already got there because we, later, set up proper space industries and research programs and stumbled across an FTL drive system?