Saturday, February 24, 2018

Narrated Walk-through of the Equatorial Colony

A new 36 minute video has been posted here on YouTube, and is also now at the top of the video list at the bottom of the website's main page. In it I talk about the equatorial moon colony's radiation barriers, light funnels, heat radiators, moon stairs, and various other things. The colony was rendered with realistic lighting to really get across the tremendous impact of having a glazed roof that also protects against radiation. The 3d model now has a digital sky containing a sun that lights it very much like the sun actually would. It also has an Earth in the sky that does the same. This video is the first one to really make some important points clearly about why the colony is the way it is, and what it would really be like to be there.

I found it challenging keeping the video down to a reasonable time while covering all the main points. The live fly-through conversational approach did help keep it engaging. I have already received helpful feedback that will inform updates to the colony. I got the dynamics of the human centrifuge wrong and based on that information will be tilting the outer wall of it to be horizontal to the direction of artificial gravity when the centrifuge is at full speed. Moving naturally wouldn't be as difficult as I claim in the video. There would be a gradient to the strength of centrifugal force between your head and your feet, and it would take training to move very much while on it without getting dizzy and nauseous. The one shown would rotate at about 8.5 rpm. Basically, I'm adopting the optimism of Al Globus that people can be trained to function in that environment with no symptoms, as explained in this paper by him and Theodore Hall. In later habitats, there will be space for centrifuges with longer arms to reduce these issues. It may be that exercise on them will need to be limited, and time on them is instead best used doing sedentary activities. It is an area where we know very little indeed. The centrifuges are probably needed though, so they stay.

I also had a long conversation in our chat room on space.stackexchange about solid waste. My Russian friend with the biophysics degree convinced me it should all be incinerated in a separate structure, and the gases and residues collected and stored. Ashes and charcoal get incorporated into soil production, carbon dioxide is released into the hab at whatever rate the plants can take it up, any excess carbon dioxide is used in any one of a range of useful chemical reactions to produce important products for the colony. Making those models will follow after several others that are higher priority, but they are now on the to do list.

I can talk about this stuff forever, and will if you don't stop me, so any other feedback is very welcome.

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