1.1. Propulsion Systems
1.2. Power Supply
5. Life Support
Thrusters (HT) will be used that provide speeds of 40 km/sec, many times faster
than chemical propulsion systems. In particular, the X3, developed by NASA and
the US Air Force will be used. They work on the principle of creating plasma.
The propellant, usually xenon, is accelerated by an electric field that removes
its electrons, thus creating plasma. This plasma is ejected at high speeds.
This propulsion system has hope of ferrying humans to Mars in twenty years.
used will be Room-Temperature-Vulcanized (RTV) silicone. They are cured at room
temperature, as the name suggests, under pressure applied by vacuum bags.
there is another, more natural alternative that requires research. The tiny
water bacterium Caulobacter crescentus is thrice as sticky as superglue,
withstanding forces of up to 5 tons per square inch. They are the first to
inhabit a wet area. This may be used by material scientists to make surgical
glue. They respire in an anaerobic manner, and may be a saving grace in the
experiments that will be conducted by biological engineers in Phase I, namely,
mutating these bacteria for the harsh conditions in space. A problem, however, is
that of the adhesive failing in space as that isn’t the habitat for these
for the settlement will be a titanium-zirconium alloy to strengthen the body of
material used for thermal protection will be Kevlar, which can withstand
temperatures of up to 300?C. A secondary option would be Nomex® Felt Reusable
Surface Insulation (FRSI), offering rejection of temperatures up to 371 ?C. Another
option is Vectran™, five times stronger than steel and similar to Kevlar. However,
this may not be enough to counter the somewhat unpredictable temperatures in
space. Therefore, some of the thermal protection system (TPS) used in many
spacecraft missions by NASA will be used at appropriate parts. The materials
included will be:
Strain Isolation Pad (SIP): Isolate tiles from the surface. Used for
preventing stress failure.
High-temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (HRSI) Tiles: Made of LI-900 Silica tiles. Used
in undersurfaces for temperatures up to 1260?C. Density: 0.144 g cm-3
Reaction Cured Glass (RCG): Used in HRSI to increase heat rejection
Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC): Used for temperatures up to 1510?C. They
may be used in lesser amounts due to their density.
Low-temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (LRSI) Tiles: Used for temperatures up to
649?C. A white coating maintains the outside temperature for thermal control
Elastomer: It is a flexible copolymer (product of the unity of two monomers) and
fills the gap between tiles so that these areas won’t be vulnerable to the high
temperatures (tiles must be placed apart to avoid tilt-to-tile contact). That
is why these are also called gap fillers.
Fibrous Refractory Composite Insulation (FRCI): Used to provide durability and
protection, and also to prevent it from weight reduction or coat cracking.
Toughened Unipiece Fibrous Insulation (TUFI): High-temperature black versions
used in limited amount on the underside (due to greater weight) and
low-temperature white versions used on the upper.
this, there may be Ultra High Temperature Ceramics (UHTCs) that withstand temperatures of up to 3000?C.
Again, research based on these materials is still in progress. Also, further
research will be done in the first phase of this project.
A polyethylene/boron nitride
composite has proved
to be an absorber of low energy neutrons, or radiation. The boron nitride
increases adhesion between surfaces of different materials. It will be present
in 2% wt. ratio.
The total CSA of
the cylinder is 62.83 million m2. Out of this, 30% has already been
taken for biological purposes. So, 70% is remaining. Out of that, 40%, that is,
25,132,000 m2 will be used for residential purposes. The remaining 30%
is allowed for expansion.
We will divide the
area into 4 quadrants. So, each quadrant will have an area of 6,283,000 m2.There
will be 5 wards in each quadrant, having an area of 1,256,600 m2.
There will be 3 and 4-bedroom houses for living. Each house will have 2 floors.
Each 3-bedroom house will have an area of 150 m2 and each 4-bedroom
house will have an area of 158 m2. Each quadrant will have 125,000
people and each ward will have 25,000 people. They will be divided into 12,500
3 and 4-bedroom houses each. Streets will follow a grid pattern.
There will be arterial roads and minor roads. Arterial roads will be 3-lane.
Minor roads will be 2-lane. Each lane will have a width of 3.5 m. So, arterial
roads will have a width of 21 m and minor roads will have a width of 14 m. Each
ward will have seven parks. Only arterial roads will connect the quadrants.
Arterial roads will be ‘parallel’ to the base and minor roads will be
‘perpendicular’ to the base. Each junction will have a traffic signal.
Lengthwise, they will be separated by 1 km and breadthwise, they will be
separated by 200 m. Therefore, there will be 5 arterial roads and 37 minor
roads. They will take up an area of 4.4 million m2. Housing will
take up 15.4 million m2. Administrative buildings will take up .
Parks in each quadrant will take up , and the total area left will be .
microgravity areas will be in the middle. These areas are inhabitable; however,
there is one use for these areas. They can be used as recreational area
to offer a unique experience that is hard to simulate on earth. It will be used
as a moneymaking platform. There will be different types of sports
played, and some will be made up. Some microgravity games are capture the
flag, laser tag, and space games like football, basketball, etc.
The docking area
will be on either side of the connector (the part that connects the two
cylinders), so two shuttles can dock at a time. These will be non-rotating,
meaning that there will be no gravity, to allow for proper docking as gravity
docks may cause space shuttles to crash while docking.
Cycle of Gases
Here, the main
aim is to form a closed loop; in other words, a cycle of the atmospheric gases.
Another secondary aim is to make the system natural. So, we have to incorporate
plants and trees (mainly) into the system.
So, we will
start by placing the agricultural area in the industrial area i.e., the second
cylinder. This is done for the following reasons:
Plants can grow in low-gravity
areas. However, the gravity will be sufficient enough so that the equipment doesn’t
Plants may not be leguminous
i.e., able to fix nitrogen into usable forms by themselves. To make up for
that, placing them in the industrial sector will give the plants easy access to
fixed nitrogen (by industrial fixation).
To circulate this
oxygen to the upper levels or the habitation areas, pipelines or vents will be
used. This oxygen is given out by plants as they perform photosynthesis. The
carbon dioxide will be supplied to the plants from the habitation areas, where
people will exhale carbon dioxide, by another vent system.
When the plant
dies, it releases ammonia. This is also a problem for habitation if it starts
to accumulate in an area. Yet another vent system will supply this ammonia, but
only to the industrial area, where the ammonia can be decomposed into nitrogen
and hydrogen by the reverse of Haber’s Process (2NH3 —–> N2
+ 3H2). The nitrogen can be used to maintain atmospheric
composition. If not, they can be used to make fertilizers like urea, to
preserve food or be used in pharmaceutical industry. The hydrogen can be used
as a fuel or for running vehicles.
Another way is
to use some of the carbon dioxide and the hydrogen in the Sabatier Reaction (CO2
+ 4H2 —–> CH4 + 2H2O) to generate
water and methane. The water will then enter the water recovery system and
become safe for consumption. The methane can be used as a cooking fuel and it
will give out carbon dioxide and water (CH4 + 2O2
—–> CO2 + 2H2O). This will continue the cycle.
humidity levels are 40-50% relative humidity. This will be maintained by the
venting system. When the humidity is low, sensors will automatically detect
this and an automated system will eject some water in the oxygen circulation
vent, which will be ultimately released into the air. When the humidity is
high, some amount of the water vapour will be harvested by sucking some air and
condensing water vapour by passing it through a condenser. Again, an automated
system will kick into action when sensors detect the rising humidity levels.
The humidity depends on the seasons (explained below).
recommendations by ASHRAE Standard 55-2013 is 20-24?C in winter and 24-27?C in
summer. These temperature conditions will be maintained by conditioning the air
before releasing it. They will also be maintained for 4 months each, and the
two-month intervals will have 23-26?C temperature range, to give the feel of
the seasons, as on earth.
emergency measures, it is better to divide the area for easy location of the
emergency. The residential cylinder is divided into four quadrants each. An
emergency manager and team are allotted to each quadrant to help the people in
times of emergency. Practice drills can be followed for the given emergencies
To shield the
settlement from space debris, we will use a Whipple Shield. This was invented
by Fred Whipple. A bumper layer is installed covering the space settlement, and
when the meteorite strikes, the energy is dispersed over a large area, hence
withstanding the impact. The meteorite breaks into smaller fragments. It is
advantageous because it is light, and the energy transferred onto the shield
can be harnessed (put your thinking caps on!).
In case a fire
breaks out in a quadrant, the lighting in that quadrant will change to yellow.
Sprinkler systems will activate and alarms will alert emergency teams, which
will reach the destination, dousing the fire with appropriate chemicals,
according to the class of the fire. People in that quadrant will locate the
nearest oxygen/air supply cylinders and assemble in safe houses, where a count
of the people will be taken.
In case there is
a problem with the active air supply system, a sensor will detect airflow and
hence detect the area required to be repaired. The lights in the quadrant will
turn fluorescent green. Robots will repair the system. People in that quadrant
will locate the nearest oxygen supply cylinders and assemble in safe houses,
where a count of the people will be taken. A passive system will kick in, which
is a ‘duplicate’ of the active system. The ‘real’ active system will be blocked
at all points of egress and entry, and the components of air will be directed
to the passive system.
In case of a
puncture, the area affected will be sealed. People (if any) will be evacuated
after they locate the nearest oxygen supply cylinders and assemble in safe
houses in other quadrants, where a count of the people will be taken. The
lights in the affected/nearby quadrant will turn red. Robots will repair the
punctured area externally. The people in the next quadrant will be given
surplus accommodation, which is present in every quadrant. If the time isn’t
enough, full evacuation may take place, with people disembarking the settlement
using an Interplanetary Vehicle (IPV) or space shuttles.
electricity flow is suspended, the settlement is said to be in a state of
blackout. Emergency light kick in, and all people assemble in a certain area
(where the emergency light is, of course). A head count is taken. Rescue and
Salvage teams will use searchlights to recover important documents and retrieve
lost people (if any). Robots will try to identify and correct the cause of the
situation. If they can fix it, normality will be resumed. If not, an IPV or
space shuttle will transport the people to earth and the project may be
suspended and decommissioned depending on the gravity (no pun intended) of the
In case of a
disease epidemic, the affected quadrant will be quarantined. Lights will glow
yellow/black in layers to alert the people. Medical teams will arrive at the
quadrant, and simultaneously, unaffected people will be evacuated to
neighbouring quadrants. Doctors and nurses will treat the patients in
isolation, so that the disease may not spread.
In case of a
riot, the affected quadrant lighting will glow blue, as this is said to have a
calming effect. Police forces will bring ordinance, and will use physical
violence as a last resort. Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) will be used to
distract the mobs. The guilty will be detained and counselled.
problem is with a bigger Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). However, the settlement
is in LEO and hence will be safely diverted from such flares.
If there is a
cyber threat, an anti-virus program will be written and implemented by using
Artificial Intelligence (AI). Lights will turn silver. There can be manual
‘checkers’ of the program, to foolproof it. The active system will be shut down
and an offline system will kick in, accessible only in select areas, which have
Data Storage Failure
In case of a
data failure or corrupt file, a cache will be used that shows earlier saved
copies. Copies saved to the initial data storage system are automatically saved
to the cache in thirty-second periods, so that a ‘latest’ copy is available,
especially for the researchers.
and water contamination will be taken up with the biological engineering team.
One of the
biggest challenges in a settlement is to provide sufficient (and even surplus)
water to suffice the everyday needs of people. The WHO estimates that a minimum
of 15 litres of water is required per person per day. That’s approximately 4.5
million litres of water per day. Adding in the buffer requirement and
experimental requirement, it would be 4.6 million litres of water per day
(values can change). To attain such an amount, we need to recycle every drop of
unused water, even urine. An initial supply of 7 million litres will be carried
in the initial stages so that we can ‘start’ the water retention systems.
There are two
ways to manage water:
Reduce water usage
Recycle used water
These are the
mainstay of the water recycling system. Let us define their working explicitly:
The main area
where reduction of wastewater takes place is the bathroom. Here are the
features of bathrooms that will be in use in the settlement: