what is relevant to building on a new world?

what is relevant to building on a new world?

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat May 31, 2014 3:00 pm

An interesting, but fairly lengthy, exercise would be to work through 'The Knowledge' chapter by chapter and try and understand what is relevant to building a world (on an exoplanet) as opposed to rebuilding one here. My Saturday job!!!

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How to (re)build a world from scratch. Ch. 1

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:55 am

The world, as we know it, could end abruptly in a number of ways as listed in Chapter 1 of The Knowledge - that it will end is without question. Our Sun has another five billion years to live until it runs out of hydrogen at its core. As its core contracts its atmosphere will expand until it reaches as far as the Earth which will then be a very unpleasant place. Hell on Earth it will truly be. Actually, prior to running out of hydrogen at its core, the Sun will gradually warm so we have a little less than three billion years to go before things get difficult (See National Geographic article at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... e-science/)

A nearby supernova could be harmful but may not be terminal as far as we humans are concerned (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-Earth ... s_on_Earth)

So we need to find an Earth-like new home (lets call it Earth II for the sake of brevity) among the myriad of exoplanets now being discovered - what do we need to know and how can we determine the necessary characteristics? I am not considering terraforming as I am assuming we can find a suitable planet without going down that road. It is much beloved of those who wish to live on Mars but, unless you can find a way of stopping the solar wind ripping away the atmosphere, generating a magnetic field and stabilising the axial tilt of that planet your efforts will be in vain.

What we need to know (assuming we, naturally, wish Earth II to be as Earth-like as possible);
- Sun-like parent star and evolutionary state
- orbital period, rotational period, axial tilt
- presence and strength of magnetic field
- atmosphere
- geology (land, water, presence of ores, vegetation)
- presence and evolutionary state of intelligent life

(The length of the 'year' and 'day' of Earth II present some interesting problems. It is highly unlikely they will be exactly the same as Earth's so we may need to define all of our times. Further discussion when I get to Chapter 12, Time and Place).

Some of these characteristics we can determine form Earth or Earth orbiting observatories but it seems likely that we will have to send an unmanned spacecraft to Earth II, including landers, for a full assessment. Transmitting data over such vast distances is outside our present capabilities so it may be that we will have to wait for the spacecraft to return to Earth.

The evolutionary state of intelligent life on Earth II needs to be considered - what would be in our best interests? If we talk of colonisation then our previous Earthly adventures have not necessarily been in the best interests of the local inhabitants but perhaps we can do better. Along these lines we might consider (if allowed) establishing a colony or what might be called a merger. By that I mean some form of hybrid - at least some of our genes would be preserved. Our best bet is probably that life has evolved but no further than has animal life on Earth.

Only a relatively small number of Earth I's inhabitants could be transported to Earth II so what of those who would be left behind ? Actually no one need be left here to be consumed by whatever catastrophe falls upon us - if such could be foreseen that is. As soon as a settlement on Earth II (there could of course be a number of such settlements on different exoplanets) becomes established then the population of Earth I could be run down in an orderly manner. No need for mass extermination but just by preventing any new births all human life would be extinct in a hundred years or so. The fate of the bulk of the human population left on Earth to face a less than pleasant end had caused me some concern but there is no need for a painful end.
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Re: How to (re)build a world from scratch. Ch. 2

Postby Roger_Dymock » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:27 pm

Arriving on a remote planet your priorities are the same as in 'The Knowledge' i.e. shelter, food and water. It has been suggested that, prior to humans arriving in large numbers on Mars, some facilities could be landed ahead of time. This is also a possibility for Earth II but, without a detailed prior characterising of such a planet, there are problems with this approach. I am assuming that Earth II has vegetation similar to Earth and wild animals but not intelligent beings. If intelligent beings do occupy the planet then would that be in our favour or not? On Earth native populations have not fared well at the hands of colonisers - perhaps just one more aspect of planet characterisation to consider.

In the trilogy 'Red Mars', 'Blue Mars', 'Green Mars' (which I seem to have mislaid) the initial landing party was 100 so lets use the same number here. Assuming that the descent to the planet's surface from the interstellar spaceship will be by several shuttle type craft these could be used as temporary 'homes' until something more permanent can be built. Best to build in some redundancy so possibly 5 shuttles would do the trick.

So where would the shuttles land? Assuming Earth II is just that then, as did early European man, on the coast and near a river mouth would be a good place to put down roots. The sea and river are good sources of food and water and, as exploited by early man, highways for exploring the planet. Not too close to the water as we will not yet have a working knowledge of tides, rainfall and the resulting rise and fall of water levels. In addition earthquake zones are best avoided - Earth II's seismic history is something else we need to know

The landing site would need to be in the planet's temperate zone to avoid climatic extremes (or perhaps that's just the European in me thinking that way). As mentioned in the 'Arrival' post a detailed knowledge of the planet's climate prior to arrival would be essential which means we also need to understand the planet's orbital characteristics. We won't know the past climatic history of the planet until we have a thorough understanding of the planets geology. Drilling through ice caps will also tell us much about that as we have learnt about Earth's changing climate.

Planet characterisation, prior to arrival, is key to our survival so will need to be considered in a chapter of its own but just a thought here. A robotic/sample return mission, although it would take considerable time, is a possibility for complete characterisation. If robots have progressed sufficiently they might even be used to prepare the Earth II for our arrival.

Food - what can we take with us and what can we forage? What we carry with us might take two forms - what we grow on the voyage and what we store on the interstellar spaceship. We might consider growing to both eat and store during the voyage. Foraging on arrival (vegetable and animal) is problematic as we first have to decide what is edible and what is not (from tasteless to downright poisonous).

Before considering fuel we need to consider what modes of transport would be immediately available on arrival. Movement sea and river requires boats, oars and sails so no fuel as such. Solar powered vehicles are a possibility but, like any advanced technology, would soon require repairs which would be beyond our immediate capabilities. So I guess its a case of kiss - keep it simple stupid. If we can find and quickly tame horse or ox like creatures then carts are a possibility (as well as riding them of course).

Medicine - probably what we take with us. Analysing the local planets and so on to see what would be useful medicinally is a job for the future (and a skill we don't want to loose). We know about Earthly diseases but will know nothing about what is rife on Earth or how to prevent/cure them. We also have to consider more basic matters - broken bones, torn ligaments, sprains - our methods will be quite rudimentary initially. The population will grow so there will be expectant mothers and newborn babies to look after. We are going to have to relearn many long forgotten skills (as with many other aspects of life on Earth II so we had better start the equivalent of a seed bank to ensure we can practice them once again).

Their won't be any cities to cannibalise (assuming as stated earlier that intelligent life does not exist) so all our raw materials will be obtained from natural sources - stone, wood, clay for example. Working these needs tools so we will very quickly have to find replacements. Subjects for chapters 5 and 6, Substances and Materials. We might try printing rather than building a base. In 2013 ESA, working with industrial partners, proved that 3D printing using lunar material was feasible in principle. Since then, work continues to investigate the technique. The shielding against radiation provided by a 3D-printed block of simulated lunar regolith was measured, providing important inputs for next-stage designs... Soon the Agency is due to investigate another lunar 3D printing method, harnessing concentrated sunlight to melt regolith rather than using a binding liquid - http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos ... lunar_base

Power - their won't be any vehicles or factories from which to scavenge parts for generators so we will have to rely initially on what we take with us. Generating electricity from river flows and tides is well into the future so falls into chapter 8 - Power to the people. Solar power, wind power are possibilities as are fossil fuels (if they exist that is).

If we are to travel to other worlds (my theme in all of this) then longevity of technology is absolutely key. The Japanese took us a long way wrt reliability when they started talking about defective parts per million rather than the hundred as we were used to not that many years ago. Now we need to be thinking about lifetimes of many hundreds if not thousands of years to enable us to build a world from scratch on some far away world.

The size and complexity of the task is rapidly becoming apparent - we are going to have to do some very 'blue sky out of the box' thinking to get anywhere near a solution. Having said that we have a few billion years to go so who knows what we will have accompished by then.

Almost delving into the realms of science fiction but what if a civilisation existed that had reached the hunter/gatherer stage? Could they be trained by an advance party to prepare the way for us? Would they be prepared to do so?
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Re: How to (re)build a world from scratch. Ch 3

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:29 am

A couple of posts under Book chapters/Chapter 3, Agriculture, have some relevance here namely, no-till farming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-till_farming) and the Svalbard seedbank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svalbard_Global_Seed_Vault). In addition the Kew Millenium Seedbank (http://www.kew.org/science-conservation ... -seed-bank) is also relevant.

However before we can consider transplanting our agriculture onto Earth II we first have to find out if that planet is suitable. On our own planet not all crops can be grown with the same success anywhere on Earth and even different soils on our home planet can be a problem. We need to consider the rearing of animals as well as the growing of crops so we will need to take an 'ark' with us as well as a seed bank. Survival will be difficult enough so those who make the trip will have to accept a very broad diet

Which brings us back to characterising Earth II. The ability of plants and animals of Earthly origin to survive on Earth II cannot be guaranteed unless we know a great deal about the climate and soil we will find there. In addition a year and a day similar to those experienced on Earth would be preferable to assist with the settling in phase. It is becoming more obvious that we need a reconnaissance mission prior to the arrival of settlers to assess the potential home and return its finding to Earth. We can assume that robots will have developed to the stage where it is possible for such a mission to be conducted in that way. For the data they collect to be relevant implies that the duration of the mission will have to be much shorter than is presently possible. What is a reasonable time I have no idea but certainly less than 100 years I would think.
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Re: How to (re)build a world from scratch. Ch 12

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:41 am

It would seem reasonable to choose an Earth II which had a similar year and day to our present home. Our bodies and any plants and animals we take with us might struggle to adapt to different cycles and we don't need to present ourselves with unnecessary difficulties. A future Martian colony would have this problem to deal with as, although the Martian days (sols) are very similar to our own (sidereal rotational period of 24.6 compared with our 23.9), the Martian year is 687 days compared with our 365.

Orbital periods (years) of exoplanets can be determined today but it may take another 20 years or so before we are able to determine the rotation rate of an exoplanet by, for example, measuring changes in its magnitude (brightness) as it rotates. We will then be able to exactly calculate the number of Earth II days in an Earth II year. It would make sense to reset the length of an hour so that an Earth II day is a whole number of Earth II hours rather than, for example, 25.4 Earth hours. Which then leads us into Earth II minutes and seconds - again we may have to reset them so that we still have 60 mins in an hour and 60 secs in a minute. A second, in SI units, is defined as 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. So, assuming we could measure that on Earth II, we could redefine the second as a slightly different number of such periods. Stars known as pulsars emit pulses of radio waves at well determined frequencies so these could be used to keep our clocks honest during the journey and on arrival. If all else fails then we would have to resort to some the very simple timekeeping methods as mentioned in The Knowledge' such as a sundial.

As mentioned in Chapter 12 of 'The Knowledge' we need to know the times of the year to sow and harvest crops. If we are to successfully transplant our crops to Earth II we need similar seasons their which implies a similar, stable axial tilt. A large moon helps to achieve such stability - for example the tilt of the Martian axis can vary by +/- 10 degrees from it current 25 degrees. Such variability on any potential Earth II would have quite serious consequences for agriculture (and human habitation). So in addition to all the other factors we need to determine if a potential Earth II has a Moon II. The axial tilt will most likely vary cyclically as it does on Earth (axial precession) but this will need long term observation of the stars to determine this. The night sky will look different (depending on how far we travel from Earth) and the celestial poles will almost certainly be in very different positions. Celestia software (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/) allows one to view the night sky from other stars or even galaxies (haven't looked at it yet but it sounds interesting).

Constructing a calendar should not be too difficult. Working out the equinoxes and solstices is a fairly simple task and we can then build the seasons around those dates. To make us feel at home we should use similar names for days and months and it would seem reasonable to count the years from our time of arrival. Longer term we would need to gain an understanding of climatic changes/cycles which can only come about by observation over long periods and building models from such measurements.

The terrain of Earth II will be totally unfamiliar to us but we could learn much from an orbiting craft or satellite - the interstellar spacecraft could fulfill this role. Such mapping would certainly be an advance over how it was first done on Earth i.e. triangulation. Back in 1735 a team of French scientists set out to measure the exact size and shape of the Earth. Their story is described in 'The Mapmaker's Wife' by Robert Whitaker and published by Doubleday.

As was done on Earth we would need to fix zero longitude (the first settlement seems reasonable) and then establish the coordinates of other settlements and major features. The equator and equivalents of the Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle would also need locating.
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How to (re)build a world from scratch. Appendix A

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:15 pm

a) Bring together required Earth II characteristics mentioned in other chapters
b) Review what is possible today from ground base observatories, orbiting satellites and spacecraft which have visited other planets in the Solar System

Required Earth II characteristics

An article in Astronomy Now indicated that plate techtonics is essential to life on Earth and therefore a requirement for an exoplanet to be considered as inhabitable by humans. See;
- http://www.astrobio.net/news-exclusive/ ... -for-life/

http://www.astrobio.net/ looks quite an interesting site.

Current and future capabilities

ESA's SMOS satellite
ESA’s S(oil) M(oisture) O(cean) S(satellite), http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Obser ... Earth/SMOS, has clocked up more than one billion kilometres orbiting Earth to improve our understanding of our planet’s water cycle. Marking its fifth birthday, all the data collected over land and ocean have been drawn together to show how moisture in the soil and salinity in the ocean change over the year.

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) (http://tess.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html) is an Explorer-class planet finder. In the first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey, TESS will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, orbiting a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. The principal goal of the TESS mission is to detect small planets with bright host stars in the solar neighborhood, so that detailed characterizations of the planets and their atmospheres can be performed. TESS is scheduled to launch in August 2017.

ESA's GOCE satellite
Although not designed to map changes in Earth’s gravity over time, ESA’s extraordinary satellite has shown that the ice lost from West Antarctica over the last few years has left its signature. More than doubling its planned life in orbit, GOCE spent four years measuring Earth’s gravity in unprecedented detail. Scientists are now armed with the most accurate gravity model ever produced. This is leading to a much better understanding of many facets of our planet – from the boundary between Earth’s crust and upper mantle to the density of the upper atmosphere. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Obser ... m_ice_loss

Hubble Spitzer and Kepler Space Telescopes,
Astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Kepler Space Telescope have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapour on a planet outside our Solar System. The planet, known as HAT-P-11b, is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest exoplanet ever on which water vapour has been detected. The results will appear in the online version of the journal Nature on 24 September 2014. http://sci.esa.int/hubble/54681-clear-s ... -heic1420/

Sentinel -1A
Although it was only launched a few months ago and is still being commissioned, the new Sentinel-1A radar satellite has already shown that it can be used to generate 3D models of Earth’s surface and will be able to closely monitor land and ice surface deformation. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Obser ... tor_motion

Sentinel-1A has added yet another string to its bow. Radar images from this fledgling satellite have been used to map the rupture caused by the biggest earthquake that has shaken northern California in 25 years. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Obser ... earthquake

ESA's CryoSat mission
Measurements from ESA’s CryoSat mission have been used to map the height of the huge ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica and show how they are changing. New results reveal combined ice volume loss at an unprecedented rate of 500 cubic kilometres a year. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Obser ... s_and_loss

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite.
The mission, scheduled to launch this winter, will collect the kind of local data agricultural and water managers worldwide need. SMAP uses two microwave instruments to monitor the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of soil on Earth's surface. Together, the instruments create soil moisture estimates with a resolution of about 6 miles (9 kilometers), mapping the entire globe every two or three days. Although this resolution cannot show how soil moisture might vary within a single field, it will give the most detailed maps yet made. See http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?r ... ly20140818

ESA's CHEOPS exoplanet mission
CHEOPS (http://sci.esa.int/cheops/) is targetted to launch by December 2017. It will target nearby bright stars that are already known to have exoplanets in orbit around them. The science goals of the CHEOPS mission will be to measure the bulk density of exoplanets with sizes/masses in the super-Earth – Neptune range orbiting bright stars. With an accurate knowledge of masses and radii, CHEOPS will set new constraints on the structure and therefore on the formation and evolution of planets in this mass range. CHEOPS will perform first-step characterisations of super-Earths, by measuring the radii and densities and identifying planets with significant atmospheres as a function of their mass, distance to the star, and stellar parameters.

NASA's Orbital Carbon Observatory-2
The OCO-2 Project primary science objective is to collect the first space-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the precision, resolution and coverage needed to characterize its sources and sinks and quantify their variability over the seasonal cycle. The ocean covers 71 percent of Earth's surface and affects weather over the entire globe. Hurricanes and storms that begin far out over the ocean affect people on land and interfere with shipping at sea. And the ocean stores carbon and heat, which are transported from the ocean to the air and back, allowing for photosynthesis and affecting Earth's climate. To understand all these processes, scientists need information about winds near the ocean's surface.

NASA's ISS-RapidScat
See http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/
Launches to the International Space Station Autumn 2014 and will watch those winds with a tried and true instrument called a scatterometer. Since satellite scatterometers began collecting data in the 1970s, their soundings have become essential to our understanding of Earth's ocean winds.

The Swarm mission, consisting of 3 satellites, was launched in November 2013 and designed to last for 4 years. It was designed to measure the magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere. This will lead to better understanding of the processes that drive Earth’s dynamo, which currently appears to be weakening. By studying the complexities of Earth’s protective shield, Swarm will provide a clear insight into processes occurring inside the planet. Along with measurements of conditions in the upper atmosphere, a better knowledge of the near-Earth environment and the Sun’s influence on the planet can be realised.

Earth's magnetic field serves to deflect most of the solar wind, whose charged particles would otherwise strip away the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. One stripping mechanism is for gas to be caught in bubbles of magnetic field, which are ripped off by solar winds. Calculations of the loss of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of Mars, resulting from scavenging of ions by the solar wind, indicate that the dissipation of the magnetic field of Mars caused a near-total loss of its atmosphere. Suggestions that we might terraform Mars are thus questionable. An exoplanet may well be in the habitable zone but it will also need a magnetic field if we are to survive there.

Very Large Telescope (VLT), Chile
Using a Cryogenic high-resolution Infrared Echelle Spectrograph (CRIRES) astronomers have determined the rotation rate of Beta Pictoris b. This planet, 16x larger and 3000x more massive than Earth, completes one rotation in eight hours. Obviously not habitable (for Earthlings) but an Earth size planet with a similar rotation rate to ours is most desirable.

European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
The E-ELT has embraced the quest for extrasolar planets — planets orbiting other stars. This will include not only the discovery of planets down to Earth-like masses through indirect measurements of the wobbling motion of stars perturbed by the planets that orbit them, but also the direct imaging of larger planets and possibly even the characterisation of their atmospheres. See http://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/e-elt/

The future of spectroscopic life detection on exoplanets by Sara Seager was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and can be read at http://www.pnas.org/content/111/35/1263 ... 36912a0266.

The discovery and characterization of exoplanets have the potential to offer the world one of the most impactful findings ever in the history of astronomy—the identification of life beyond Earth. Life can be inferred by the presence of atmospheric biosignature gases—gases produced by life that can accumulate to detectable levels in an exoplanet atmosphere. Detection will be made by remote sensing by sophisticated space telescopes. The conviction that biosignature gases will actually be detected in the future is moderated by lessons learned from the dozens of exoplanet atmospheres studied in last decade, namely the difficulty in robustly identifying molecules, the possible interference of clouds, and the permanent limitations from a spectrum of spatially unresolved and globally mixed gases without direct surface observations. The vision for the path to assess the presence of life beyond Earth is being established.

'Is There Life Out There?' by Sara Seager can be found at http://seagerexoplanets.mit.edu/ProfSeagerEbook.pdf

Are planetary systems real?
Not all exoplanet discoveries have turned out to be real. Computer modelling has shown that some of them are unstable and thus planets could not exist in the proposed orbits. A paper 'Testing proposed planetary systems - to destruction' by Horner, Wittenmyer, Marshall, Hinse and Robertson appeared in the 2014 August issue of the RAS publication Astronomy and Geophysics.

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft

MAVEN ( http://mars.nasa.gov/maven/) monitored the effect of a coronal mass ejection causing atomic carbon, oxygen and hydrogen to escape to space as researchers expected. An example of what happens when solar energetic particles hit a planet without a protective magnetic field.
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How to (re)build a world from scratch. Ch 4

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:59 am

I don't seem to have quite got the hang of this as I have just lost my input for the second time!!! Much of what is relevant here is described in The Knowledge, Chapter 4.

Cooking is key and lighting a fire shouldn't be that difficult as long as we have Ray Mears along !!! We would need the proper cooking utensils but could probably get away with natural methods for a while (e.g.spit roasting). We can of course cook outside but a house with a chimney would be preferable. Cooking obviously requires fuel - wood to begin with until other sources become available (coal, gas, electricity by various means). Initially the minimal amount of pollution produced by a very small population should not be a problem but needs to be monitored and given greater consideration in future years.

More questions than answers;

What do we cook ? Living off the land would be our first port of call but we need some clever scientists to tell us what is edible and what is not - plants, fish, animals (need to catch the latter before we can eat it - Ray Mears again.

Would the soil of Earth II be suitable for any seeds/plants we might take with us ? Are there plants for us to cultivate such as wild wheat and rice ? Are there wild animals we could domesticate (for eating, clothing, working and transport)?

Preservation of food by drying, salting should be fairly easy (another good reason for setting up shop by the sea from where we can obtain salt).

As to clothing - fibres, wool and animal skins can be used. Production of cloth by weaving is described in the aforementioned chapter but use of animal skins for clothing and footwear isn't covered. Being a country boy whose father worked on the land all his life I don't have any problems with using animal products.
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Re: How to (re)build a world from scratch. Ch 9

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:01 pm

On Earth II it would take a long time to recreate the technology and infrastructure to replicate what we have on Earth. Would we want to, for example, go down the petrol/diesel engine route? Possibly we would choose electric/fuel cell methods for providing the energy for propulsion. It will take some time to get to a position where we can assemble engines (internal combustion, gas turbine, electric) and find and refine the fuels (oil based, biofuels, nuclear) to power them. As described in chapter 9 of 'The Knowledge' methanol can be processed from wood - another reason for locating the first settlers near to a forest and,for ease of access to the sea, on the coast. Initially we would probably rely on our own two feet and horse (or whatever animals we could tame) drawn transport overland and wind/oar/current powered craft on the water. It would be advantageous to take to the air as soon as possible for both longer distance travel and survey work.

To make full use of the air and seas we would need to map for example; prevailing winds, jet streams, currents and tides. As Barry Cunliffe explains in his book 'Europe between the oceans, 9000BC to AD1000', traders were navigating their way around the Mediterranean using a combination of currents and winds many hundreds, if not thousands, of years BC.
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Re: what is relevant to building on a new world?

Postby Strongbow » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:43 pm

Hi Roger,

Thank you for your really informative posts! I've really enjoyed them.

Do you see another alternative method of fuel/energy ? Maybe something explored previously on Earth 1 that might work there, perhaps?
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Re: what is relevant to building on a new world?

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:02 am


Thanks for your comments. Most of what I have written is based on current knowledge so who knows what fuels we might use in the future. One that comes to mind that hasn't been pursued as far as I know is usng a satellite to focus the suns rays onto photocell arrays on Earth. This is quite advanced stuff so might take a while to set this up on Earth II.

Your comments prompted me to trawl the net and I picked up the following;
Algae-based fuels
Algae-based biofuels have been promoted in the media as a potential panacea to crude oil-based transportation problems. Algae could yield more than 2000 gallons of fuel per acre per year of production. Algae based fuels are being successfully tested by the U.S. Navy. Algae-based plastics show potential to reduce waste and the cost per pound of algae plastic is expected to be cheaper than traditional plastic prices.

Hydrogen is an emissionless fuel. The byproduct of hydrogen burning is water, although some mono-nitrogen oxides NOx are produced when hydrogen is burned with air. Extracting hydrogen from water is described on P228 of The Knowledge.

10 alternative fuels are listed at;
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-effi ... -ideas.htm Not at all sure how serious some of them are.

Not so long ago peat was burned for fuel and still may be in some remote regions. See; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/448229/peat

Geothermal energy
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_energy
Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. The geothermal energy of the Earth's crust originates from the original formation of the planet (20%) and from radioactive decay of minerals (80%). The geothermal gradient, which is the difference in temperature between the core of the planet and its surface, drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy in the form of heat from the core to the surface.
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