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posted by martyb on Thursday September 28 2017, @05:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the may-be-safer-but-not-much-of-a-view dept.

Between the lack of air and the constant bombardment of radiation and micrometeorites, humans will need some serious shelter before we can feel at home on the Moon or Mars. While inflating or 3D printing our houses could be one way to pack light for the long trip, the most efficient method might just be to move into the natural shelter that's already there. Now astronomers have systematically analyzed possible lava tubes on the Moon and Mars, and found they may be just what Red Planet realtors are looking for.

Living underground is the easiest way to escape the harsh conditions of the lunar or Martian surface, and scientists have already found a few candidates. NASA has found hundreds of deep pits in the pock-marked rock of the Moon that could make good hidey-holes from the elements, and there's evidence of sprawling networks of lava tubes below the surface.

Don't they realize this has been proven to be a bad idea?


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by FatPhil on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:34PM (2 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:34PM (#574563) Homepage
    > Even something as large as a high school gym wouldn't have any problem holding a spinning wheel for people to live on.

    An absurd statement, unless your high school gyms are hundreds of meters across.

    > And since you probably don't need a full G that makes the problem even easier.

    Easier, but still not easy, because the issue with small spinning things is not the G value but (a) the difference between G values across the length of the body, and that increases hyperbolically with the radius; and (b) the coriolis effect noticed when of trying to move "forwards" vs. "backwards", if there's too much disparity, your inner ear cannot know if you're upright or not when moving, human motion v/r must be small compared to station omega, so again that increases hyperbolically at small r.
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  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday September 29 2017, @06:00AM (1 child)

    by HiThere (866) on Friday September 29 2017, @06:00AM (#574690) Journal

    I wasn't thinking of it being the shape of a high school gym. Take the same volume and convert it into a wheel a couple of meters wide and you get a pretty large wheel. But I may have been a bit over-enthusiastic. Not much, I don't think. Of course, a couple of meters wide is still pretty claustrophobic for me.

    To my mind a high school gym is about the floor area of two basket ball courts, plus a bit for space in between them, bleachers, etc. And is about (guess) 10 meters tall. A basket ball court is 28.7 by 15.2 m, so say the floor area is 40 m X 40 m X 10 m (est) is about 16,000 m^3. Say the wheel is 4m wide, that means the area of the cross-section through the axis would be 4,000 m. This give a radius of about 63 m. That ought to be pretty reasonable. And I didn't even include enough space for the bleachers. Of course if you were really doing it you wouldn't be using a disk anyway, but rather a toroid, so the volume would give you even more space, but you'd want the ceilings to be over 2 m high, so you wouldn't gain that much.

    N.B.: I wasn't talking about this as suitable for living in long term, but rather a sort of minimal construct that would let you generate gravity while in orbit. But looking at it I think people would probably have more space than they do on the ISS.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @06:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @06:44AM (#574702)
      The minimal construct would be a small capsule some long tethers/cables (60m) and a counterweight at the other end.

      There's no need to build those huge expensive space stations people use as strawman arguments against "artificial gravity".