Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Going to Mars (Geocities Rescue)

Going to Mars (and beyond) requires two things, a vast expansion in space infrastructure and breakthroughs in propulsion.

Space Infrastructure
International Space Station Alpha is currently in orbit and behind schedule. It is dependent upon the now grounded NASA Space Shuttle for its completion. I suggest we think much bigger and build a real space infrastructure consisting of a series of space stations at various orbits around Earth, the Sun and Mars. They are all to be capital financed, as suggested previously, and to some extent all rely on funds from space travelers and the inhabitants themselves (who establish permanent residency in space with their families).

The space station of the future is self-sufficient in terms of food production and waste management. It spins so that it has its own gravity. There are tourism facilities, spacecraft and satellite maintenance facilities and scientific facilities, all of which are revenue generators. Each station has its own internal economy and social infrastructure, including restaurants, hotels, banks, entertainment, retail, schools, social services and religious institutions. If station facilities are part of a larger institution or chain, that entity pays for transport and housing of personnel, as well as salaries. People even retire in space, possibly living on lower gravity levels. Lunar colonies are quite attractive to the elderly, since they are at one-sixth earth’s gravity. Lunar colonies and those in close earth orbit have, as a primary function, the building of space ships and other colonies. It is much cheaper to blast unmanned craft into orbit at high boost than to launch manned craft with completed modules, as we do now, provided you have a workforce that wants to live in space.

The station operational staff is under orders, with officers and crew. The commander of any space station or colony is Colonel (excuse the pun) and has some sort of transport assigned to it for near station operations. There are also escape pods in case an evacuation is necessary.

The following space stations are proposed, leading a trail of breadcrumbs to Mars:

BETA: Building platform for ships and colonies

GAMMA: Low earth orbit station with artificial gravity

DELTA: Depot point to which unmanned supply ships and catapulted material are launched to and transported from.

EPSILON: Advanced building platform for ships and colonies

ETA, IOTA, KAPPA: Geosynchronous stations at 120 degree intervals

LAMBDA: L-5 Space Colony

MU, NU: Lunar Colonies

OMICRON, PHI, RHO: Stations in solar orbit between Earth and Mars to serve as emergency facilities and solar system observatories at 120 degree intervals. Possibly stationed on asteroids if in the asteroid is in a regular orbit.

SIGMA, TAU, THETA: Arosynchronous stations over Mars for study and colonization.

UPSILON: Low Mars Orbit station

ZETA, XI, OMEGA: Martian colonies. Martian satellite colonies are also developed.

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