In case you haven’t heard, Boeing has been having battery troubles with its new flagship Dreamliner aircraft. The batteries have occasionally been catching fire, and the planes are now grounded until they determine what the issue is.
Hopefully they’ve figured this out already, but there’s one big difference between their on-the-ground tests, and a live flight – the passengers.
I wonder if they’ve tried plugging in a couple of hundred randomly selected laptops into the passenger , and seeing what happens to the electrical system then?
Sounds silly? What if one (or half a dozen) of them has a bad battery, or an electrical short circuit?
This is the final post in the Mars Colony Administrator’s Handbook series. For part one, please see here.
A brief word about science: I’ve avoided discussing planetary science in this series, because it has been covered so well, in so many other places. The traditional vision of a trip to Mars, in the guise of a 1980’s US/USSR joint mission, revolved heavily around the idea of sending a small group of people, for a relatively short period of time, with largely scientific objectives. This is completely different from the various colonization concepts that have circulated in recent years. Regardless of why people go to Mars though, a lot of serious scientific work will be done. The advantages of having a large number of people present, along with a well-equipped laboratory, are immense. We cannot conceive yet of the discoveries that will result. Continue reading →
If computing is ubiquitous, then why do I need a cellphone?
This isn’t a new idea, really. I’ve come across it before in SF novels. Its worth gaming out what the world will look like though. I say “will”, because this scenario looks inevitable. Continue reading →
The Mars colony will be planned in great detail, years in advance. It is impossible for the colony administrators to anticipate everything though. Vast stockpiles of spare parts, and a regular supply chain will help, but certain items will need to be manufactured locally. It is important to remember that issues that are trivial irritants on Earth – a blocked toilet, for example – can become life threatening emergencies in space, or on Mars.
In the previous post, we discussed how legal, jurisdictional and economic issues can effect the future health of the colony. You can also begin at the first post here. Continue reading →
The administrators of the first Mars Colony will need to be expert in more than just science. Legal and economic factors will have a huge bearing on the success of the colony. Without a firm legal basis, the colony will have difficulty attracting investment, and private individuals may think twice about participating. Without a vibrant economy, the colony could turn into a ghost town. Continue reading →
The Mars Colony Administrator’s Handbook will continue shortly! I’m currently estimating that there will be another 5 – 6 posts, covering topics from manufacturing to emergency services. Much of this is already written, and I’m editing it as quickly as I can. I apologize for any delay.
If anyone from Discovery reads this – wouldn’t these posts make a nice documentary miniseries? For one thing, it would be a great excuse to visit McMurdo Station, as well as other cool and out of the way places. 🙂
One of the nice benefits of blogging is the people that you meet. I especially want to mention the enthusiastic space community at moonmars.com (go sign up!) and the wise folks at the Lifeboat Foundation’s Facebook group.
Some readers of the series from these two groups posed a couple of questions that I had anticipated answering in the conclusion. I think now that they’re too important to leave until then. Continue reading →
Ensuring that a Mars Colony has a solid supply chain will be a difficult task. The average distance between Earth and Mars is around 225 million kilometers, and transit times – even with greatly improved rockets – are several months. Light itself can take nearly half an hour to travel the distance, depending on how far apart the two planets are. And there is little margin for error, as tens of thousands of lives will be at stake.
In part 4, we discussed how the colony will generate energy, obtain raw materials, and ensure that the right mix of colonists are picked. Or you can start from the beginning, here. Continue reading →
Administering a future Mars colony is going to be a tough job by any measure – not least because some of the decisions required are going to be controversial. Some of the toughest decisions will revolve around resources such as energy, mining raw materials – and picking the right people to join the colony.
In part 3 of this post, we discussed how the colony will keep supplied with air and food. You can also read the introduction here.