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Colonization of Ceres

Posted by: SteveXE - Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:12 pm
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Colonization of Ceres 
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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:39 am
Why would you be shipping all your food out to Ceres rather than growing it there?

Mars isn't in the habitable zone either, yet people still seem to think colonisation is a good idea. Ceres gets 1/9 of Terran insolation; that's enough for crops (which max out at 100W/m^2 anyway) and for solar power to be viable.

As for it's economically important goods... I don't have an answer for that, because there isn't really any. But Mars and Venus don't have any either.


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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:02 pm
Tourism? :)

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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:05 pm
Well, depending on how low we can get the transfer times...

As a maintenance place for the nearby asteroid colonies, Ceres might work... possibly. I suppose a shipyard might fit there. There's definitely iron and carbon there to make steel, and with such a low cost of fuel and reaching orbit, I suspect we will be able to afford to make our spacecraft of steel, rather than Titanium and composites. So what if we need 300 tonnes of fuel to take 30 tonnes of cargo to Mars in a ship massing 70 tonnes, when we can afford the fuel?

Hmmm. If Ceres is resource-poor though, it still has the option that many Terran nations have done - go for the intangibles. Banking, tourism, technology etc. Perhaps Ceres will be terraformed in order that the Cerereans develop marketable expertise in dwarf planet terraforming, to sell to the colonists at Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and the Kuiper Belt...


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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:36 pm
Steel is actually a good material for spacecraft if you can get the alloy right. Even plain ol' iron isn't bad if your propulsion is up to snuff, which is what it will be by the time we are talking about "Cererean shipyards" and mercantilism. :wink: The only way you start paying a serious mass penalty is if you make your hull out of silicates (rock), but even then there are ways around that.


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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:57 pm
Well, what we know at the moment is that there's Calcium, Silicon, Magnesium, Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen and Iron available, at least... what can we make with those?

Not to discount the possibility that there may be rich deposits where metallic asteroids have impacted the surface.


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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:45 pm
I think its probably a pretty safe bet that just about all of the elements are available on Ceres and the asteroids. They may not all be in one place, but they should be common.

Most of what is on/in the Earth that we exploit today are from the like same asteroid impacts during the late bombardment period after the planet developed a hard crust that retained it at the surface (all its own heavy elements sank out of reach during accretion).


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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:25 pm
Well, I guess what matters is how much energy it takes to extract the stuff and make it into what you need. I'd imagine that it's a lot. You also have to take into account that if anything gets broken, it's a big effort to fix or replace it - especially if that thing is not readily producible in space. What's the point in mining stuff for ten years in order to make something, and breaking and disposing of so much irreplaceable tools and materials in the process, that it isn't worth it?

Wishful thinking is a great way to create a goal, but it's a stinky strategy for getting there.

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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:02 am
Less than on Earth since most of the asteroid material is still primordial. Big clumps of pure elements blown out by the long ago supernova that created them. They haven't been oxidized and modified by the weathering and chemical process on Earth (and even Mars).

Fixing stuff won't be too hard, really. The only stuff not fix or fabricatable by CAM milling machines and 3D printing are integrated electronics (yet) and they don't break that often, and when they do they are compact enough to carry spares.


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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:49 am
You can't make CAM milling machines in space - at least not readily. You would have to bring in lots of parts. This is really a lot more similar to a military operation, where everything has to work perfectly each time, you aren't able to produce things as you need it, and you have to plan that things will get destroyed.

Mining asteroids for specific materials is something that will be developed as needed - when there is a need, someone will figure out how to do it, efficiently and geared toward that specific need. It is not an end in itself, and there is no need to plan ahead.

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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:38 pm
SuperShuki wrote:
You can't make CAM milling machines in space - at least not readily.


Why not? All you need is one, designed to be made from materials found out there and then it can create copies of itself and anything else needed. There was a presentation at Space Access a few years ago where it was proposed that you could take raw regolith, pulverize it (more), sift out the iron with an electromagnet and then directly laser sinter it into parts.

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You would have to bring in lots of parts.


You have to bring lots of parts anyway.

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This is really a lot more similar to a military operation, where everything has to work perfectly each time, you aren't able to produce things as you need it, and you have to plan that things will get destroyed.


To borrow your analogy to argue the opposite, your supply lines are extremely long and with very long lead times. You will need to be able to forage and "live off the land". The only way to do that is by insitu mining, refining/processing, and fabrication. It also happens to be much more economical that way than to haul everything off Earth.

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Mining asteroids for specific materials is something that will be developed as needed - when there is a need, someone will figure out how to do it, efficiently and geared toward that specific need. It is not an end in itself, and there is no need to plan ahead.


You've contradicted yourself here. The plans have already been made. I believe there is an experiment aboard the ISS already, or will at some point, of a CNC machine designed to operate in micro-gravity that is specifically for working out the problems of creating on-need parts and manufacturing in space for the Moon and deep space missions.

I would argue that having a CAD/CAM capability on board is going to be one of those essential requirements of people traveling beyond LEO.


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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:10 pm
James G, you are underestimating the complexity, expertise, and work that goes into making things. A CNC milling machine isn't just made in the shop - it takes many, many people to make all its parts. And I have no trust in experiments at the ISS - they are not doing the experiment for a specific end that they have decided that they need, but rather what some bureaucrat has decided that they need.

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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:23 pm
LOL. Ok.

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Post Re: Colonization of Ceres   Posted on: Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:40 pm
Look, James, if you don't believe me - what happens when you have to change the design, because it doesn't work exactly correctly? What happens if there is a need to change the materials? What happens when the situation changes, and a totally new type of machine, using materials that weren't available now, is needed? Duct tape and shoestrings only work so well, and are no substitute for experience. When there is a need for it, people will decide for themselves and will invest the effort.

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