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Showing posts from December, 2012

Mars: More about Farms

Maybe the people who are seriously considering a one-way colonizing trip to Mars have thought this through, but I don't think that regular folks have any idea how much space is necessary for food production per person.   How big of a garden do you need to feed yourself?   How long between planting and harvest?  Remember... you can't go to the store if you run short. Greenhouses and hydroponics are well established and understood and I'm sure that the production rate information is out there.  Remember... you can't just order another tanker load of hydroponic nutrient mix. I looked around and found this... "1 square foot will yield roughly .112 lbs of winter wheat or .107 lbs of spring wheat. For 4 cups of flour you would need to plant roughly 9 square feet." For sake of argument, assume that using hydroponics the per foot yield is doubled.   So 9 square feet will get 8 cups of flour...  in about three months.   Or somewhere between 4 cups and 8 cups.   A

Mars: Second, People have to Live.

I said, first, the Pascal Dome.   Drop a huge chunk of ice and cover it up. The second thing for a Mars Colony is to understand that PEOPLE HAVE TO LIVE. The assumption that colonists will have to be vegan (not just vegetarian) assumes a lot of things about what can actually be produced usefully in greenhouses.  Seeds are inefficient.  Grains.  Nuts.  Anything that takes a full growing season to ripen into the form we want to eat it.  Anything that grows on trees or vines is inefficient.  Anything perennial or seasonal is going to be inefficient and expensive.  It will still need to be done, however, and trial and error (also expensive and inefficient) to see what grows well.  And even then, the food results will be an occasional treat to break the monotony of rabbits and rabbit food, ie., salads and rabbit stew. Bread?  Only on Sol Prime bozo.   The most reasonable thing for Mars is a paleo-diet. Rabbits are probably the most obvious first livestock and staple protein source.

Mars: First, a Pascal Dome

I'd probably have to write a best selling series about colonizing Mars in order to get anyone to call it a Pascal Dome, but whatever... we've got Dyson Spheres and O'Neill Colonies, why not a Pascal Dome? The idea is simple...  1. Send a robot probe or two out to find a BIG  ice rock, either in singles or a cluster, boost the ice to Mars.  2. Crash it into the planet making a nice new deep crater that is, coincidentally, got that big chunk of ice water in the middle of it.    3. Cover the crater with a dome or even a air tight fabric cover before the volatiles are lost. This reservoir of (mostly) water then supports an initial colonial development cluster; A town.  Housing, agriculture, life support and manufacturing is built around the contained crater. Over time, possibly over decades...  1. The pressure and air quality under the dome is adjusted to something that is human breathable.  2. The temperature can be adjusted within the dome to something comfortabl

Writing Character Arcs?

I’ve been re-read-skimming the Liaden Universe novels, as I tend to do when I’m out of romances. And while I think that the characters have “arcs” they also have… character. And in a sense I think that character is impervious to arc. Or something like that. My husband was talking about Tenchi and how he likes Tenchi so much and I suggested that Tenchi’s super-power was attracting all the most powerful female destructiveness in the universe to himself and neutralizing it (they all fall in love with him… guy’s got a harem.) My husband disagreed and said that Tenchi’s “power” was that he always did the honorable thing. Always. And I realized that this was also the case in the Liaden books. The characters aren't perfect, but they have character and care for honor and when push comes to shove there is no question, not even hesitation, they are compelled. And I think that, as flawed as Miles Vorkosigan is, that this is also the character dynamic in those books and for Aral and Cord

Union Goons

Union goons also trashed a man's hot dog cart for the crime of feeding capitalists. No doubt he deserved it, and also deserved to be called racial slurs on account of he was a black man making a buck with his own business and hired to feed capitalists. There is a donation portal at the link so he can get a new cart.