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Mars Space Technology

Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars 107

Joseph Palaia is an entrepreneur, engineer and technologist who is working on creating the first permanent settlement on Mars. In 2009, he served as executive officer and chief engineer for a one-month simulated Mars mission at the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island in the Canadian arctic. He has played an integral role in two commercial design studies of the first permanent Mars settlement. He is co-author of technical papers on the topics of Mars nuclear power plant design, Mars settlement architecture, space economics and the economics of energy on Mars. In addition to his work on inhabiting Mars, Joseph is also the Chief Operating Officer & Director of Earthrise Space, Inc. ESI is a research laboratory whose goal is to design, build, and operate spacecraft with the help of students. They are currently working on both a lunar lander and lunar rover for the Google Lunar X Prize. Joseph has agreed to take off his spacesuit and answer any of your questions about building moon machines with students, long-term survival in space, and all things Kuato related. Ask as many questions as you like, but please confine your questions to one per post.
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Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars

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  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Friday July 13, 2012 @11:50AM (#40639553)

    With low air pressure, little in the way of concentrated water/oxygen, no arable soil, cold weather, weak sunlight, and limited natural ores and minerals--can any Martian colony ever be anything other than a constant resource sink for its earth-bound sponsor?

  • by na1led ( 1030470 ) on Friday July 13, 2012 @11:58AM (#40639639)
    Will there be subterranean facilities built, or will the base be all above ground? Seems more logical to use the Moons natural resources to protect the astronauts.
  • by cje ( 33931 ) on Friday July 13, 2012 @11:59AM (#40639651) Homepage

    One of the biggest impediments to long-term settlement of Mars is the fact that it lacks an Earth-like magnetosphere to protect surface dwellers from solar flares/CMEs and other forms of energetic particle radiation. Similarly, the very thin Martian atmosphere provides little of the protection that the Earth has from photon-based radiation (e.g., UV/X-rays, etc.)

    How much of a problem is space-based radiation for future Martian settlers, and what would be the best way to deal with it?

  • Terraforming? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Friday July 13, 2012 @12:08PM (#40639747)
    I have read that by introducing fast spreading/oxegyn producing lichens, that Mars' could be 'terraformed' into having an breatheable atmosphere within 300-400 years. If this is correct and feasible, is this dea going to be incorporated into your plans? Thank you and best of luck with this exciting endeavor!
  • biome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Friday July 13, 2012 @02:11PM (#40641031)

    To date, all attempts to create a sealed and self-sustaining biome have failed; Maintaining the air quality over long periods of time is presently an unsolved problem. At present, there's no way for your settlement to completely untether from Earth: You will need regular shipments of supplies, if only to maintain the air quality. Supplies which can only be replenished through industrial processes available here.

    How do you plan on addressing this major problem?

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