Bryan Bishop wrote:
> From: Eric Hunting <erich...@gmail.com>
> ... As I've been finishing the section
> on Avalon in TMP2, I've come to realize there is great and overlooked
> potential in the concept of telerobotic pre-settlement as a means to
> cultivate public interest, support, and participation.
Sounds like a great idea to me. :-)
From the days I was more like Bryan: :-)
"Self-Replicating Space Habitat graduate school purpose and plans from 1988"
As I wrote at the introduction to that page:
The good news is that now, twenty years later, all or most of the hurdles
have fallen that otherwise needed leaping before being able to
comprehensively design self-replicating space habitats, and all the computer
and informational resources I thought I needed then are now available for
cheap or free. For example, for only a few thousand dollars, I have the
equivalent of an early 1990s supercomputer in my office with terabytes of
storage and a high speed color scanner and a network connection and access
to Google and Wikipedia and so on. So, what I outlined in the 20th century
is more and more doable in the 21st century for less and less cost. So, item
13 (the major goal) is now approachable without needing to do much on the
other prerequisite items listed. ...
13. Using all the above resources that will be created over the next five
years, I would like to go through several iterations of designing and
prototyping a self replicating habitat with constantly increasing levels of
closure. Closure is the amount of processed goods that must be imported into
the system for it to replicate. Examples of early bottlenecks will be
computers. I hope to have 95% closure by mass in the first prototype, 98% in
the next, 99% in the next, 99.5% in the next, 99.9%, and finally 100%. This
will be over the next ten years. The specific cost for this development will
be 10 million dollars. NASA, SSI, the UN, and various other sources may
contribute towards this. An essential first step will be a feasibility
analysis so I have the figures and documentation to convince others that
this project can really succeed. This first analysis will take six months
and cost $10,000.
One aspect to this, consider it a pre-pre-settlement, :-) is to develop
realistic computer simulations first. There is little obvious difference
from the human interface point of view of a very realistic simulation and
teleoperation. So, one can do a lot of work towards this process more
cheaply in some ways (not all ways) using simulation. Those simulations in
turn can help with risk assessments, logistics planning, and systematically
uncover areas of uncertainty, as well as serve to document knowledge and
plans. Simulations may be of little interest often to the practicing
experienced engineer or scientist with a machine shop and plenty of raw
materials at his or her disposal, but for most of us, including myself, that
is, sadly, not the case, and all we have is a computer and an internet
I've been feeling that a realistic simulation testbed for these sorts of
ideas might in turn help drive the development of standards for
manufacturing information. So, there is a valuable design reason to have a
simulation if only for that reason of driving standards development.
There are, of course, a lot of free and open source 3D virtual environments
these days. The thing that is missing there is a physical simulation model
complex enough to be interesting (so, it reflects chemistry and physics
somehow) but still simple enough to be runnable on current personal
computers (or at least, networks of personal computers).
This is the biggest, best funded effort I know of right now starting in a
somewhat similar direction (at NIST):
"Sustainable and Lifecycle Information-based Manufacturing"
Objective 3: Develop validation, simulation and testing methodologies for
information models and standards
The following tasks will be undertaken to achieve this objective:
* Develop model-based validation and testing techniques for sustainable
and lifecycle information-based manufacturing.
* Develop the necessary extensions of current discrete-event simulation
concepts and tools to incorporate attributes and metrics for the simulation
of various sustainability aspects in manufacturing enterprises and supply
chains. With the extensions, demonstrate the simulation of representative
aspects of sustainability, for example, simulating regulatory compliance (e.
g., RoHS, REACH, WEEE) and voluntary standards compliance (e. g., ISO 14000).
* Create test scenarios in the context of sustainable manufacturing for
globalized manufacturing networks by validating information model standards
for interoperability of tools and systems. Develop a testbed that validates
the different aspects of the work conducted throughout this project by
applying metrics for the performance of specific applications or procedures
for sustainable and lifecycle information-based manufacturing.
The appeal of simulation is to a different audience than hands-on types, so
I'm not discouraging your larger efforts towards real hardware. Real
hardware would be necessary for validating any simulation anyway. I'm just
suggesting this simulation aspect as a complementary thing.
Note that some organizations, like the Mars Society, have been focusing on
mock space missions already, but the focus there that I have seen in the
past was not on building a sustainable and growable-from-local-resources
infrastructure, even though they are interested in those topics.