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Earth Bag Building for Space

 
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Working on an idea to prototype building for space locations, as in the Moon, and Mars.

It would be reasonable to ship bags, barbed wire, and tools to some distant location and build with local materials. Maybe even ship a large 3D printer which prints with Earth bags, or Moon bags or Mars bags, etc for those locations lacking a breathable atmosphere.

So, key building materials will be local dirt and bags. Water my be lacking or in frozen form, so UV treated bags until a permanent surface coating can be placed outside.

A lot of infrastructure will have to be figured out. Mining will be a thing, and possibly a good source of building material for surface structures. Also, artificial agriculture within controlled production environments, will provide a possible work area to create things that require liquid to mix ingredients, like a surface coating for structures.

Lumber would have to be shipped in, so not a great option for window and door frames. The local solution will likely be metal beams produced from mining ore.

Read this article which provides a good summary on Earth Bag Building. https://www.lowimpact.org/lowimpact-topic/earth-bag-building/

Some issues from article to address, space will be cold in areas lacking dense atmospheres, and straw for well insulated straw-bale building is currently only produced on Earth. So, options for insulting Earth Bag structures. Earth Ship designs may be of use here using no insulation other than Windows on Sun facing side to create a dirt battery for heat on the opposing side of a structure.

Looking to replicate options to build prototypes in Southern US, and possibly Canada to test cold builds.

Looking for best designs and building materials that will either be local or reasonably easy to ship via space.
 
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Ooooh....brainstorming time!  This can be a fun thread James!

Thinking about the moon, the air pressure is negligible....around 3×10−15 atm according to Wikipedia which is a pretty darned good vacuum.  So heat will be lost via radiation and conduction down into the ground.  For radiation loss you can use a thin shiny metal foil either shipped from Earth or else make it from native materials.  For conductive loss to the ground perhaps start with a thick bed of pebbles to build on so as to limit the contact areas for conductive transfer.

To my mind the bigger issue is that of how to hold the pressure of the atmosphere you'll need surrounding you.  Probably either the ship you arrived in or a suit that you have to wear all the time.  I like the idea of building thick curved glass walls with metal frames supporting them against the roughly 2000 lbs of differential force every square foot of that surface will be experiencing.  The glass can be coated with a UV and long wave IR reflective oxide coating rather than using metal foils.  I'm not sure how thick and what elements you may need in the glass to block cosmic rays....but we'd design for that as well because the views of the landscape, the stars and the Earth would be stunning.  You wouldn't want to miss that by only living underground.  

You'd have air locks to come and go with the air in the air lock being compressed into a bottle before leaving and then being released back into the air lock before heading back into the bubble zone.

Perhaps the earth bags (to stay within topic) would be used for a supportive foundation or provide privacy between glass bubbles?
 
James Cockerham
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Greg Martin wrote:Thinking about the moon, the air pressure is negligible....around 3×10−15 atm according to Wikipedia which is a pretty darned good vacuum.  So heat will be lost via radiation and conduction down into the ground.



Should probably figure out a way to freeze the Atmosphere of Venus and then ship it off to the moon, Mars, etc, and leave just enough so it will be habitable too, and not 900 degrees with surface atmospheric pressure like the bottom of the ocean.

The theory is Venus once had oceans that evaporated as the Sun expanded. So, as our Sun expands the Earth could one day also share Venus' date. Unless we can learn to reallocate atmospheric resources further out into the solar system as that expansion process unfolds over billions of years.

The atmosphere shipping business could equal a 3 for 1 deal, or more if we can manage it.

I guess it would be smart to figure out what the bottom line is building with raw materials like dirt, sand, gravel, stone, ice, formed metals and glasses. Liquid or no liquid, temperature extremes, different atmospheric pressures and vacuum are also factors which will eventually come up to the test. Should figure out what bottom lines are within reason using current technological resources which are shippable.

Heh, beyond the inner planets and moons, then there's the astroid belt with some planetoids and other large rocks consisting of various materials which should be easy to mine and ship. After that, Jupiter's moons with a large amount of water in ice form. Could keep going, but there's enough work between here and there.

I like your input btw, very smart.
 
James Cockerham
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Reflecting a bit on ideas here. Some key points.

Shipping housing through space to some destination. Heavy, bulky, and long term settlements will probably want more comfort than a Air Tight Space RV Trailer Pod will provide.

I think most development will begin with imported temporary surface housing that will shift focus to ag production and mining. More permanent surface housing will be developed from what is scooped, tunneled and dug up from under surface, and probably integrated with certain ag byproducts, like plant fibers, etc.

Also, on the reallocation of atmospheric resources idea. By the time that would be possible, infrastructure for shipping very heavy masses around the solar system will have been developed. So, at a cost, more conventional materials would likely be accessable, and local key infrastructure will likely have had time to develop.

So, here on Earth as for easy to ship building materials that integrate well with local resources. Military bunkers and Earth Bag housing would be a good model to follow.

To simulate space building, options can be artificially limited to what is found directly in the local earth, in large scale artificial indoor grow setups, and from the lighter weight, shippable/mail-order supply chain as it currently exists.

A good target to prepare for would be a boat with a small crew that is ocean worthy which could set sail and land on a barren island and have everything onboard to get started with long term land development. Probably an island near the artic would be a good test site, to simulate resource availability.

The lighter weight the better for shipping purposes, along with long term comfort that exceeds what is available from RV type housing or converted shipping container housing. Perhaps Earth Bag building integrated with converted shipping container housing.

Some ideas to stew on anyway.
 
James Cockerham
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Kind of like the shipping container idea, and imagine a small electric tractor and some solar panels would be a good idea to add to it's contents along with rolls of poly bags, poly sheets, tools, etc.

Will need to investigate shipping container sizes, relative to current rocket payload capacity, and see what can fit. I imagine one, to several shipping containers worth of items and material.

Would also be worth investigating tractor trailer, cargo helicopter, and small ship capacities to give the research project a broader range of more immediate applications.

Finding the best payload for various destinations would be a great idea. Figuring out the most optimal tractor size, and ways to relocate shipping containers with it once containers are emptied in order to repurpose them would be a smart way to go.
 
James Cockerham
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Expanding on the shipping container idea. On Earth, container contents could be designed for all the different climate zones, and environment types like forested, grassland, desert, or ice. To pack a chainsaw or not.

Some designs could later be adapted for various space environments, with a shippable solution.

Will be a lot of work testing the various configurations of container contents and end goals once unpacked within a specified window of time.

Contents of a container, once unpacked and setup, should support total self sufficiency for an indefinite period of time. I know that things like batteries and solar panels have a limited life. So, things like that will need to be addressed. Will mail order for replacement parts be accessable, or will local infrastructure be developed within in a product's lifecycle that will serve as a replacement?

Goal of shippable "Permies-in-a-Box" for any destination type. Should identify key common contents that would serve universally in any environment, and then break down modules that can be custom-tailored, optimized on-demand for available resources at specific destination sites.

Humm..
 
James Cockerham
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Need to calculate through experience the total expected output of container contents, and human resources once deployed within one growing season. That will be interesting data, and longer-term forecasts can be made from there before actual experience happens.
 
James Cockerham
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Looks like a couple of 40 foot Intermodal Cargo Containers would be shippable on modern space rockets, with total weight under 130,000 lbs. Shippable weight wise, but will need to check volume.

Think I'll start working on a bill of materials to ship within one and two 40 foot containers. Which are around 10,000 lbs each empty. 20, and 10 foot containers are also readily available.

Guess refine contents, unpacking processes, and property development, a lot, in different environments until things are perfected and the load as light as possible, while also being time efficient once opened and applied to locally available resources.

May setup a public git list for documentation and bill of materials.

I also imagine that rocket transport will use standardized containers similar to air craft shipping containers eventually.

To make prototyping readily available to a larger group of volunteers, will focus on Intermodal Cargo Containers for Earth based test sites using more conventional cargo. Space will not be cheap, requiring custom items made on a small scale at first, but testing on Earth can use more reasonably priced items from the mass production supply chain.
 
James Cockerham
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Shipping container is tempting to integrate into design, say two 40 ft containers with one converted into two bedroom housing and the other setup to house utilities, equipment, and shelving for storage.

Issue is moving containers around on-site, requiring specialized equipment, and hard flat surfaces to operate on. Depends on terrain, flatter areas it my be cost effective, but hilly or mountainous areas without quality roads, it my be better to have things shipped to a convenient area, unload, and relocate materials to desired area, before returning a container to a shipping company for reuse as it's original intended purpose.

I'm sure that in space, shipping will be concentrated to dense settlement areas with all required infrastructure sent. Space travel will have to drastically come down in cost before more remote, small time private shipping business happens.

 
James Cockerham
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So, back to Earth bags. The Space Helmet, Earth Bag Model.. A collage of related topics.
IMG_20201003_022857_784.jpg
Earth Bag Helmet
Earth Bag Helmet
 
James Cockerham
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A proposed terraforming method to create more of an atmosphere on Mars.

https://www.space.com/elon-musk-nuke-mars-terraforming.html

I think if Mars where going to have an Earth like atmosphere, it would have it already, and nuking it isn't a permanent solution, plus you just spread radio active material all over the place.

Planetary resources should be reallocated. Jupiter took a lot of material away from Mars during formation, so it is smaller. The surface temp of Mars during the day around the equator can be around 70 degrees fahrenheit. Could just locate chunks of ice in the astroid belt and send them to Mars to let them melt until atmosphere is dense enough to rain and snow.

Still like the freezing/extraction of Venus' atmosphere idea better for the point of 3 human friendly atmospheres out of one, Venus, Moon, Mars.  

I think until a human friendly atmosphere exists, people will be forced to dwell underground and in metal structures which are airtight, able to handle interior and exterior pressure differences.

So, kind of dead in the water without atmospheric pressure, unless Earth bags can be used to create an airtight structure which can withstand extreme pressure differences indefinitely.

Found these wiki articles which have a lot of good information. There are different proposals for going about terraforming. So, might look at best directions in relation to permaculture.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming_of_Mars
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming_of_Venus
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming

So, until atmosphere happens, we're at permaculture in a insulated glass bubble with a protective coating to protect from solar radiation. These bubbles of permaculture would have to be manufactured and shipped, with inhabitants being trained in use of the Permies bubble's contents in regard to their current operating environment.
 
James Cockerham
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Another good wiki article.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_colonization

What would the point be of it all?

Short-term, the wireless transmission of energy from very large solar satellites beamed to any location in Earth would do away largely with dependence on fossil, and nuclear power.

Long-term, creation of a solar system wide civilization to survive indefinitely. I imagine each colony would produce it's own evolutionary line of humans, and given long enough, they would be noticably different than their ancestors. I think one such lineage to evolve would be humans who live entirely in space for their lifetimes. Those will be the ones to leave our solar system, as at current propulsion speed it takes tens of thousands of years to make it to the nearest stars.

So, human infrastructure in space currently requires lots of people to support the artificial life support systems.

To narrow the scope of what from Permies can be applied short-term, would be natural life support systems for human life in hostile environments.

So, some bubble thinking here, and a hostile environment can be many things, even a local toxic political environment. I'm not going to live full time in a nuclear submarine if I don't have to. So what from Permaculture can I take with me and apply anywhere? I also see that Permaculture with purely artificial systems has to be applied more holistically, system wide to work in the bigger picture on extremely long time scales and evolutionarily with biology.
 
James Cockerham
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Made a summary clipping of points to indicate research direction on this topic.

The first point would be to develop a shippable permaculture infrastructure supporting 100% home ownership of those of legal age and older.

The second will be to virtualize core components from the shippable permaculture infrastructure for testing in various environments which tend to be hostile or simply lacking the resources to be supportive of life.

James Cockerham wrote:
Wikipedia which is a pretty darned good vacuum.


So, here on Earth as for easy to ship building materials that integrate well with local resources. Military bunkers and Earth Bag housing would be a good model to follow.


Will need to investigate shipping container sizes, relative to current rocket payload capacity, and see what can fit. I imagine one, to several shipping containers worth of items and material.


Some designs could later be adapted for various space environments, with a shippable solution.


Will be a lot of work testing the various configurations of container contents and end goals once unpacked within a specified window of time.


Think I'll start working on a bill of materials to ship within one and two 40 foot containers. Which are around 10,000 lbs each empty. 20, and 10 foot containers are also readily available.


May setup a public git list for documentation and bill of materials.


Issue is moving containers around on-site, requiring specialized equipment, and hard flat surfaces to operate on. Depends on terrain, flatter areas it my be cost effective, but hilly or mountainous areas without quality roads, it my be better to have things shipped to a convenient area, unload, and relocate materials to desired area, before returning a container to a shipping company for reuse as it's original intended purpose.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_colonization


What would the point be of it all?


Long-term, creation of a solar system wide civilization to survive indefinitely. I imagine each colony would produce it's own evolutionary line of humans, and given long enough, they would be noticably different than their ancestors. I think one such lineage to evolve would be humans who live entirely in space for their lifetimes. Those will be the ones to leave our solar system, as at current propulsion speed it takes tens of thousands of years to make it to the nearest stars.



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James Cockerham
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Read that it currently costs around $640 per pound of cargo to launch into near Earth orbit, and they expect that soon they'll be able to reduce cost to $20 per pound.

Will focus on packing high value items in regards to long-term human life support, and things that are critical for utilizing local raw material. Think aircraft cargo containers would be a good target to fill and deliver to test sites.
 
James Cockerham
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After looking at options, as far as growing things, I think the ice moon Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, would be a good target to develop for.

It has the largest water ocean in the solar system, more than Earth.

So, I guess Earth bags would be out as a building option. Perhaps, igloo type building with ice blocks. Radiation issues with Jupiter, and even with a magnetosphere, two months on the surface of Ganymede would be a lethal dose of radiation exposure. Would have to tunnel into the ice for protection, and/or find a way to shield surface structure interiors.

Heard one estimate that the ice crust is 500 miles thick before reaching liquid, then rock, then molten mantel and core.

I'm sure that once they get through the ice, actual nuclear submarine living would be possible. Which smells like Russians.

I guess possible test sites for ultra light Permies in a box for living in an ice bubble will be artic islands near both poles.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganymede_(moon)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Antarctic_and_Subantarctic_islands
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_in_the_Arctic_Ocean

An entirely artificial bubble of life within and on ice.

One reason for targeting a water ice moon would be strategic control of water supply, and food production. Who likes sea food?
 
James Cockerham
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I think overall, the moon will be a manufacturing base to launch things needed elsewhere since it has no atmosphere making heavy things less difficult to get off it's surface.

Astroid mining will be a thing. So, Ceres will likely be a place to process raw material, and manufacture items.

Mars and Venus will likely become Terraforming projects to create habitat for life. Mining will be a thing once launching extremely heavy payloads is cost effective.

The ice moons further out in our system are probably the most habitable places beyond Earth since they have a large amount of the key ingredient of life as we know it, with no thick atmosphere to pass through in order to access it.

The mining and manufacture of things will take awhile before things equalize and systems are perfected. We don't even have that perfected on Earth currently.

Terraforming projects will also be awhile before results and feedback happen. Who knows the biological impact?

I also think there will be a common solar system wide governance regulating transportation. Other than transportation, other areas will most likely be the responsibility of local government.

One thought to ponder will be the permanence of a solar system wide transportation system, and culture surrounding it.

In that regard, development of modular, shippable land development containers will be a smart path of research in my opinion. All the various destinations possible would require specific modules to optimally support human life.

Will start by researching specific modules for my local climate zone 6 with forested woodlands, and isolate what can be universally adapted in other zones, or even in artificial environments.

Pretty sure I'll setup project management software to track results and long term output. Going to have to limit my focus on what I have resources to manage personally, document and share a framework others can apply in order to have a complete module list for every climate zone and eventually the extraterrestrial options as well.

Will work on it.

 
James Cockerham
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I think perhaps something like the Straw-bale Earthship idea would eventually be viable with outputs from a large green house infrastructure.

Pretty sure an average space colony will have more straw output than used tires. Straw material is a good insulator, but have no idea on it's ability to withstand extreme pressure differences with relative vacuum outside. Perhaps Earth bags can be used to add some meaningful thermal mass in key areas or to reinforce the Straw-bale structure by adding a protective relatively thin thermal mass shell to the insulator.

https://permies.com/t/40810/Strawbale-Earthship
 
James Cockerham
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Pretty sure any surface structures in space locations with little to no atmosphere will be built within an artificial bubble of atmosphere at first, until some sort of terraforming happens.

Possibly look at production outputs within the Biosphere project as a material base to build with.

https://biosphere2.org/

So, building within a big pressurized structure would be a likely option, but not an option available at first until the infrastructure to build within is created.
 
James Cockerham
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Found this idea to turn a moon crater into an enclosed dome.

Once the idea is applied and perfected, other domes can be constructed, leaving the soil beneath available as a test site for traditional Earth based systems of permaculture practice.

From what I see so far, the lunar soil would need to ferment under Atmospheric pressure in the presence of liquid water and microbial life before it would be able to grow something directly, other than mullein.

https://space.nss.org/shackleton-dome-is-a-domed-lunar-city-possible/

Not sure what optimal designs would be for materials from local manufacturing. Titanium beams, and 3 meter thick glass. I guess titanium beams in place of wood, and thinner glass for windows and greenhouse glass for structures under the dome. Maybe a titanium structure for Wofati or Earthship design.

On Mars, I read it has toxic soil, but no reason a similar dome idea couldn't work there.
 
James Cockerham
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Contemplation of permaculture content in space, kind of recontextualizes what Permaculture is.

I would say permaculture is local, as what maybe permanent culture in one area, maybe not be applicable in another. A few things I see as universal permanent culture, solar system wide would be a common transportation system, language, communication systems, historical records, and perfected, reasonably flawless governance.

Errors in management could reduce the permanence of a system wide civilization, like the lands of milk and honey in biblical examples as they are today. The rate at which we consume resources will need to optimized to sustain life, system wide at least until our star runs out of fuel.
 
James Cockerham
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Going to reread permaculture materials (it's been 10 years) to determine what is scalable over long durations of time and change.

I have a software project to match Permies forum topics to any development property of interest, that's on Earth. Going beyond Earth is a different story for now requiring a lot of basic life support infrastructure that's entirely artificial.

Going to work on modular recipe card decks of permaculture that work better with software. Will work on a core deck which is universally applicable, and niche decks which are only applicable under certain conditions, like the climate zones for example.

Will probably rewrite this topic for clarity and post in more appropriate areas.
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