A habitation in Ceres can be the gateway to the outer solar system

In the near future, humanity has a good chance of expanding its presence beyond the earth. It involves establishing a basic structure in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), on the surface of the Moon (and in orbit) on the Moon and Mars. This presents a number of challenges, such as living in space and other celestial bodies with all kinds of potential risks and health hazards – not the least of which is exposure to radiation and low gravity in the long run.

These issues demand innovative solutions; And over the years, many have been proposed! A good example is Dr. The concept of Peka Januhunen, which is for a megasaceatory settlement in the orbit around Ceres, the largest asteroid in the main belt. This settlement would provide artificial gravity for its inhabitants, while allowing local resources to build a closed-loop ecosystem inside – effectively bringing “terraforming” to a space settlement.

Dr. Janhuen – a theoretical physicist based in Helsinki, Finland – is no stranger to advanced concepts. In addition to being a research manager with the Finnish Meteorological Institute, he is a visiting professor at Tatu University and a senior technical advisor at Aurora Propulsion Technologies – where he oversees the professional development of the electric solar wind gel (e-cell) . ) Concept he proposed back in 2006.

Exterior view of Stanford Torus. The bottom center is a non-rotating primary solar mirror, reflecting sunlight on the angled ring of secondary mirrors around the hub. Credit: Donald E. Davis

A paper describing his concept recently appeared online and is being submitted for publication in the scientific journal Elsevier. This is a concept that Dr. Januhen described as Universe Today, “[T]Distorted from a user’s point of view: creating an artificial environment near Ceres and Ceres materials, which can have similar and larger populations than today’s Earth. “

Spaces in space are a time-honored proposition and a suggested alternative to dwelling on (or in conjunction with) other celestial bodies. The first recorded example was Constantin Tsolkowski’s 1903 book, Beyond planet earth, Where he described a pinwheel station in space that rotated to provide artificial gravity.

After this Herman Poto made an extended proposal of Nik. Space travel problem (1929), von Braun Wheel (1952), and Gerrard K. In O’Neill’s revolutionary proposal The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space (1976) that for a rotating cylinder in space is called – aka. O’Neill’s Cylinder. However, all these concepts were intended for stations at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or Earth-Sun Lagrange Point.

As Dr. Januhain told Universe Today via email, a megassacentre constellation in Ceres’ orbit could take advantage of local resources to create an Earth-like state:

“They provide 1G gravity like Earth, which is essential for human health, especially for healthy adults with children with fully developed muscles and bones. Ceres has nitrogen to create the habitat atmosphere, and it is sufficient to provide almost unlimited resources. It is also small enough that its gravity is low so that it is cheaper to lift material from the surface. “

Artist depiction of a pair of O’Neill cylinders. Credit: Rick Guidance / NASA Ames Research Center

According to their study, the megasatellite settlement would consist of spinning dwellings attached to disc-shaped frames via passive magnetic bearings. This will allow for simulated gravity within the habitats, facilitate inter-settlement travel and ensure that population density remains low.

Dr. Januhen estimates that it can be kept for 500 people per km2 (190 people per mile2), While cities like Manhattan and Mumbai have a density of about 27,500 and 32,303 people per km2 (Or 71,340 and 83,660 people per mile2), Respectively. The township will initially be furnished with soil 1.5 m (~ 5 ft) deep, which can be upgraded to 4 m (~ 13 ft).

This allows for greens with orchards and trees that will produce disposal oxygen and clear the atmosphere of CO2 (Plus additional radiation shielding). Similarly, Ceres has an abundant supply of ammonia salts on its surface (especially around bright spots in the octamer crater), which can be imported for disposal and in nitrogen for use as a buffer gas Can be changed.

The planar and parabolic mirrors around the framers allow for organisms to concentrate, provide photosynthesis, and photosynthesis. While the creation of such a settlement presents many technical challenges and requires a massive commitment in resources, it will actually be easier in many cases that colonizing the Moon or Mars.

A view of Ceres in natural color painted by the Dawn spacecraft in May 2015. Credit: NASA / JPL / Planetary Society / Justin Cowart

For that matter, it would be a lot easier than the terrain of the Moon or Mars. As Dr. Januhen explained:

“Easy in some aspects (no need for planetary landings, no dust-storms, no long nights). The main challenge in all cases is probably to bootstrap the industry in a remote location – one needs some robotics and AI Is, but they’re coming into existence now, broadly speaking. “

But perhaps the most exciting aspect of this proposal is that it allows for a space lift! On Earth, such a structure is impractical (as well as extremely expensive) because the Earth’s gravity (9.8 m / s) is2, Or 1 Yes) Imposes some severe restrictions on space exploration. In short, a rocket must achieve an escape velocity of 11.186 km / s (40,270 km / h; 25,020 mph) to be free from Earth’s gravity.

At Ceres, however, gravity is a fraction of what is here on Earth – 0.28 m / s2 (Less than 3%), resulting in a migration of only 510 m per second (1.8 km / h; 1.14 mph). Combined with its rapid rotation, a space elevator is entirely possible and will be energetically inexpensive (compared to transporting them from other locations).

Of course, there is also the advantage that such settlement would be for the discovery (and colonization) of the outer solar system. With a large population and infrastructure around Ceres, ships to Jupiter, Saturn and beyond will be a stopping point to refuel and supply ships. Potential sites for the colonies may include Galilean moons, Saturn’s moons, or habitats orbiting in both systems.

This would give humanity access to the abundant resources of these systems and usher in the post-Age Age. Meanwhile, this Ceres megaconstellation would provide an Earth-like atmosphere for a large population within the main asteroid belt, which could be upgraded to make room for many more. As Dr. Januhen indicated:

“Ceres megacatétary can reach hundreds of billions of people, perhaps, so it will be enough for at least a few centuries. It is difficult to discuss the future ahead, but in general, spreads in many places are what life usually does. On the other hand, people like to live in an interconnected world, which may have some parts [all] Can be reached by traveling. “

At its core, Drs. Januhen’s concept is a marriage of space-building and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), which highlights some of the key elements of terraforming. The end result of this is a design for a scalable settlement that can allow humans. Otherwise colonize uninhabited parts of the solar system. When addressing humanity’s future in space, both challenges and rewards are clear.

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Further studies: arXiv

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