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Colonizing the Solar System - University of Antarctica


Stashed in: Moon!, The Multiverse, The Universe, Mars!, Antarctica

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Experts at the University of Antarctica break it down:

Space. Yesterday it was science fiction. Tomorrow it will be reality.

A billion years ago, life emerged from the seas to the naked stone of land. 150 million years ago, it spread from the land to the empty skies. Where will life go next? To another wasteland waiting to be turned into a paradise: space.

Here are 60 years of imagining life's conquest of space. Turning these visions into reality is up to you and me.

Moonbases

What Von Braun, Ley and Bonestell first postulated in both, The Conquest of Space (1949) and Conquest of the Moon (1953), that the lunar surface would be permenantly [sic] inhabited by mankind by the end of the century, was taken up in 1975's World Book Encyclopedia Science Annual.

What form would the infrastructure on the Moon take? The Annual's nice portrait shows pods as pieces of an ever-growing base constructed over time and sailed to the Moon. Doubling as pieces of the new lunar base, these pods each serve different functions, including agriculture: a greenhouse, and indeed all farmland, would be required to be indoors.

moonbase

Each pod has a specific function. Utilitarian? Yes. Without the comforts of home? Hardly! Rolf Klep's pods, which pre-date the previous by over twenty years, imagine a furniture style that is "totally '50s" functional taken into space.

moonbase

The moon has fuel!

William K. Hartmann's painting shows some of the things astronauts could do on day trips from a lunar base. What king of goals would they have? According to Miller, Hartmann and Lee, they should have the following goals, followed by the 'greater good' they serve in parentheses:

moonbase

  • use lunar resources to make the colony self-sustaining (to ensure humanity's long-term survival)
  • demonstrate human ability to work in an airless, low-gravity environment (helping us leap-frog to NEOs and Mars)
  • settle the issue of water (it would mean life-support for Moon and space cities)
  • establish routine production of oxygen (to support interplanetary spaceflight)
  • utilize titanium, aluminum, etc. and harness lunar basalt and glass (to establish commerce and economic support of the lunar colony
  • probe lunar origins, determine the structure and nature of lunar geology (helps to understand all worlds)
  • protect lunar historical sites like Apollo XI landing site, Lunik crash site

Mars

spaceship

landing

Athletic prowess is required on Mars, its lower g atmosphere at the same time makes carrying weight easier. Astronauts will no doubt carry extra weight sometimes to make their bodies feel like they were back on 1G Earth. Unlike on good ol' Earth, however, they can take off the pounds and run like the wind.

expedition

In Arthur C. Clarke's, The Exploration of Space (1951), the Mars colony 100 years in the future was envisioned to be a neo-classical paradise with boulevards and roundabouts in a series of domes.

While, frankly, a totally inefficient use of scarce resources, what better way to make a "place" than this? Hello tourists! The buildings are made of local materials- Marsite?

terraform

Just over the horizon, just under ground. Mars can't grow food from its rocky non-soil, but that never stopped some good ol' yankee ingenuity. Here at NASA's Ames Research Center, plans are being drawn up like this for in-situ resources use.

resources

Chesley B.'s sunset on Mars calls us to remember that Mars has blue sunsets as we have red, and red skies as we have blue in daytime.

In the distance is Phobos, much smaller than our Moon is from Earth, but still visible. To there we stop one last time.

martian sunset

University of Antarctica has to be a joke, right? (The website marches right up to but doesn't quite go over the line of collegiate satire.)

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