Hawking the Moon and Mars

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  • #2
Jimmy Snyder
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Hawking said:
Hawking ... said that any long-term site for a human base should have a significant gravity field. That's because long missions in microgravity lead to health issues such as bone loss.
Bone loss is an issue for tourists. Is it also an issue for colonists?
 
  • #3
rewebster
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cost?----probably less than the bush-cheney war
 
  • #5
wolram
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Bone loss is an issue for tourists. Is it also an issue for colonists?

The Wiki article states that (rigorous exercise) would be necessary.
 
  • #6
Jimmy Snyder
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The Wiki article states that (rigorous exercise) would be necessary.
Does it say why it would be necessary?
 
  • #7
mgb_phys
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Does it say why it would be necessary?
I imagine it's the 1year trip in zero G that you would lose enough muscle and bone mass to be a problme when you arrive at Mars, even though it only has 1/3g.

Perhaps America is evolving into a race suitable for Mars - it's not an epidemic of obesity it's a trippling of mass ready for a 1/3g enviroment!
 
  • #8
wolram
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Does it say why it would be necessary?

I have not read all the physical changes low gravity causes, but some for zero gravity are muscle loss, bone loss, chemical imbalance and even some changes in the brain, but these are for zero gravity and in a shielded space craft, not low gravity on the Moon, i can only guess that some changes would be proportional to gravity ratio.
 
  • #9
Jimmy Snyder
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I have not read all the physical changes low gravity causes, but some for zero gravity are muscle loss, bone loss, chemical imbalance and even some changes in the brain, but these are for zero gravity and in a shielded space craft, not low gravity on the Moon, i can only guess that some changes would be proportional to gravity ratio.
Muscle loss and bone loss are issues for tourists. Are they also issues for colonists?
 
  • #10
wolram
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Muscle loss and bone loss are issues for tourists. Are they also issues for colonists?

Like i have said, i have read nothing about physical changes in low gravity, apart from the Wiki article , which suggests rigorous exercise would be needed to may be counteract bone loss.

From the article.

There is continuing uncertainty over whether the low (one-sixth g) gravity on the Moon is strong enough to prevent detrimental effects to human health in the long term. Exposure to weightlessness over month-long periods has been demonstrated to cause deterioration of physiological systems, such as loss of bone and muscle mass and a depressed immune system. Similar effects could occur in a low-gravity environment, although virtually all research into the health effects of low gravity has been limited to zero gravity. Countermeasures such as an aggressive routine of daily exercise have proven at least partially effective in preventing the deleterious effects of low gravity.
 
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  • #11
Astronuc
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Muscle loss and bone loss are issues for tourists. Are they also issues for colonists?
Somewhat. Certainly persons living extended time in zero-g would be pretty much confined to zero-g, especially if born and developed in zero-g, because skeleton and muscle would be developed for that environment.

Once on the moon, for an extended period of years, one would be pretty much confined to the moon (or zero-g) based on the bodies adaptation to reduced gravity. When people return from ISS, I believe they are carried from the Soyuz capsule. I'm not sure what is done with those returning on STS after months in space.

IIRC NASA has a exercise program to help prevent the astronauts from de-conditioning in space.

The greater problem for astronauts at ISS and in STS is the ionizing radiation.
 
  • #12
Jimmy Snyder
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I imagine it's the 1year trip in zero G that you would lose enough muscle and bone mass to be a problme when you arrive at Mars, even though it only has 1/3g.
Hawking said, and I quoted in my first post, that any long-term site for a human base should have a significant gravity field, because long missions in microgravity lead to health issues such as bone loss. But if bone loss is only a problem when you have a significant gravity field, then it is a poor argument in favor of one. Is bone loss a problem for permanent missions in microgravity?
 
  • #13
Jimmy Snyder
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The reason I bring this up is that I feel we should colonize space itself, not planets and moons. It seems a waste to pay the price to escape gravity only to run back into the barn.
 
  • #14
Astronuc
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The reason I bring this up is that I feel we should colonize space itself, not planets and moons. It seems a waste to pay the price to escape gravity only to run back into the barn.
But it's a different barn. :biggrin:
 
  • #15
wolram
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It seems in simplistic terms, we need artificial gravity before humans go on long term space flights, or humans must adapt, how far is that in the future?
I have read about the rotating (wheel) method for simulating gravity, but that would be huge.
 
  • #16
wolram
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Rotating space station.

http://www.go.ednet.ns.ca/~larry/physics/coriolis.html

For a space station 15 metres in radius (50 feet) the station must make one revolution about every 8 seconds in order that the astronauts feel 1 g of gravitational acceleration (ie. the his/her weight would be the same as that on Earth).
 
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  • #17
Danger
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Several 'hard' SF authors, including Larry Niven and Robert Heinlein, have postulated that space colonization will trigger a new phase of human evolution. With reduced or micro gravity, future generations will generally be taller and thinner (and weaker). I strongly suspect that micro gravity might also result in opposable big toes re-developing once feet are no longer needed for walking.
 
  • #18
Jimmy Snyder
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It seems in simplistic terms, we need artificial gravity before humans go on long term space flights, or humans must adapt, how far is that in the future?
How would humans need to adapt? There are already humans spending long periods in the ISS. Sure they have problems when they come back to Earth because of the bone loss. What I am trying to figure out is what problems do they face before they come down. Is bone loss an issue for them while they are still in orbit. If yes, then what are they. If not, then why should we expect that space colonists would suffer?

Astronuc, gravity is the fire. Both barns are burning. For instance, the plan to ship materials for a Mars mission to the Moon, assemble them there and then lift off from the Moon to go to Mars is ridiculous. Assemble the materials in low space orbit and take off from there.
 
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  • #19
wolram
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Several 'hard' SF authors, including Larry Niven and Robert Heinlein, have postulated that space colonization will trigger a new phase of human evolution. With reduced or micro gravity, future generations will generally be taller and thinner (and weaker). I strongly suspect that micro gravity might also result in opposable big toes re-developing once feet are no longer needed for walking.

Would these people still be classed as human or a subspecies?
 
  • #20
Danger
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Would these people still be classed as human or a subspecies?

Depends upon the time-scale. They'd certainly be human for several generations, since the DNA wouldn't change. I'm not even sure what 'sub-species' means. To become a 'new' species, they'd have to be isolated from the rest of humanity for hundreds or thousands of years, or encounter some radical mutagenic influence such as radiation or genetic engineering.
 
  • #21
Jimmy Snyder
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For a space station 15 metres in radius (50 feet) the station must make one revolution about every 8 seconds in order that the astronauts feel 1 g of gravitational acceleration (ie. the his/her weight would be the same as that on Earth).
I assume that Hawking is talking about large-scale colonization. This would require structures of extremely large size, on the order of miles in diameter. A much smaller angular velocity would be required.

I got a lot of my ideas about life in space from this book when I was 7 or 8 years old, a little over 50 years ago. Because of this book, I knew that ships for long voyages could be lofted to Earth orbit for assembly and so avoid a great many problems with vehicles that lift off in gravity or atmosphere. For instance, as shown here, there is no need for an aerodynamic body. Also, ratio of payload to fuel is much higher, the need for rapid acceleration is gone, and the materials are reusable because they don't experience reentry.

http://dreamsofspace.nfshost.com/first.htm" [Broken]
 
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  • #22
wolram
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How would humans need to adapt? There are already humans spending long periods in the ISS. Sure they have problems when they come back to Earth because of the bone loss. What I am trying to figure out is what problems do they face before they come down. Is bone loss an issue for them while they are still in orbit. If yes, then what are they. If not, then why should we expect that space colonists would suffer?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weightlessness

Seems we may develop a propulsion system

Following the establishment of orbiting stations that can be inhabited for long durations by humans, exposure to weightlessness has been demonstrated to have some deleterious effects to health. Humans are well-adapted to the physical conditions prevailing at the surface of the Earth. When weightless, certain physiological systems begin to alter and temporary and long term health issues can occur.

The most common initial condition experienced by humans after the first couple of hours or so of weightlessness is known as space adaptation syndrome or SAS, commonly referred to as space sickness. The symptoms include general queasiness, nausea, vertigo, headaches, lethargy, vomiting, and an overall malaise. The first case was reported by cosmonaut Gherman Titov in 1961. Since then roughly 45% of all people to experience free floating under zero gravity have also suffered from this condition. The duration of space sickness varies, but in no case has it lasted more than 72 hours. By that time the astronauts have grown accustomed to the new environment. NASA measures SAS using the "Garn scale", named for United States Senator Jake Garn, whose SAS during STS-51-D was so severe as to be ranked 13 on this scale.

The most significant adverse effects of long-term weightlessness are muscle atrophy and deterioration of the skeleton, or spaceflight osteopenia; these effects can be minimized through a regimen of exercise. Other significant effects include fluid redistribution, a slowing of the cardiovascular system, decreased production of red blood cells, balance disorders, and a weakening of the immune system. Lesser symptoms include loss of body mass, nasal congestion, sleep disturbance, excess flatulence, and puffiness of the face. These effects are reversible upon return to Earth.

Many of the conditions caused by exposure to weightlessness are similar to those resulting from aging. Scientists believe that studies of the detrimental effects of weightlessness could have medical benefits, such as a possible treatment for osteoporosis and improved medical care for the bed-ridden and elderly.
 
  • #23
Jimmy Snyder
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Would these people still be classed as human or a subspecies?
If we advance to the stage where we can reach other stars, then it is natural to assume that we will evolve into a variety of species. It is unrealistic, in my opinion, to assume that they will not be antagonistic toward each other.
 
  • #24
Jimmy Snyder
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Thanks.
The most significant adverse effects of long-term weightlessness are muscle atrophy and deterioration of the skeleton, or spaceflight osteopenia; these effects can be minimized through a regimen of exercise.
That's not enough of a reason to go to the moon if you ask me.
wiki said:
Russian scientists have observed differences between cockroaches conceived in space and their terrestrial counterparts. The space-conceived cockroaches grew more quickly, and also grew up to be faster and tougher.
Figures.
 
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  • #25
LightbulbSun
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Is terraforming Mars a practical concept at this point? Or would that take too long?
 
  • #26
Jimmy Snyder
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Is terraforming Mars a practical concept at this point? Or would that take too long?
We've got the time. But I would prefer to dismantle the thing for parts. You could mold the materials into any shape you wanted at the expense of blowing a small percentage of it away at extremely high velocity. The SF author Larry Niven suggests a ring in the book Ringworld. Perhaps we should examine astronomical data for evidence of small jets of material.
 
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  • #27
Laura1013
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There are advantages to colonizing a planetary body (Moon, Mars, etc.) rather than just colonizing space itself, aside from the gravity issue. All resources needed to build a space station would most likely come from Earth, and would need to overcome Earth's gravity to get there. But colonies on the Moon can utilize abundant lunar regolith. Mars has ice which we can mine for water instead of shipping water from Earth to a space station. It's also easier to expand a colony on a surface than it is to expand a space station (just look how long it takes to add modules to the International Space Station).

On the other hand, planetary bodies have their own problems that space does not, for example, troublesome lunar dust.

In response to the article about Hawking, I think he's completely correct, and he's ahead of his time. I wish more people would think more long-term (hundreds of years) than worrying solely about their own lifetime, a single presidential administration, or even the current fiscal year.
 
  • #28
wolram
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Is it ice though?

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/28may_marsice.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #29
Jimmy Snyder
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There are advantages to colonizing a planetary body (Moon, Mars, etc.) rather than just colonizing space itself, aside from the gravity issue. All resources needed to build a space station would most likely come from Earth, and would need to overcome Earth's gravity to get there. But colonies on the Moon can utilize abundant lunar regolith. Mars has ice which we can mine for water instead of shipping water from Earth to a space station.
No question there needs to be a small community of miners on moons and planets. But their purpose should be nothing more than to shoot material up to the space colony. There is something called a mass driver that can be used for the purpose. I see the entire operation automated to the point that trips to the Moon from the space colony would be little more common than trips to the ISS from Earth are now.

It's also easier to expand a colony on a surface than it is to expand a space station (just look how long it takes to add modules to the International Space Station).
The way I see it, there would be a building up phase in which accomodations are made for everyone to move to the colony. Earth would be abandoned except for mining activities. In other words, adding modules might be difficult, but would be a constant ongoing activity. Once everyone was moved off the Earth, and up to the colony, further increases in size could be done on a more leisurely basis. Anyway, during the building up phase, if you are waiting for an apartment to become available in the colony, I see nothing gained by going to the moon and waiting there. You would have to be lifted twice. Wait your turn here on the Earth.

The advantage of space is not just escaping lunar dust. You escape gravity. That's the leading cause of death among falling-Americans.
 
  • #30
wolram
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I have never thought about but, how would industry function in an enclosed environment?
 
  • #31
H.M. Murdock
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The reason I bring this up is that I feel we should colonize space itself, not planets and moons. It seems a waste to pay the price to escape gravity only to run back into the barn.

It d be better to have a sort of colony in Mars because a problem with having some sort of colony right in space is the fact that even the smallest rock out there could shatter a ship. On Earth that dosetn happen because we have our atmosphere, but in outher space it is a difference issue.
I guess that we must get more tecnology, theoricaly there may exist some stuff like a bubble of a repulsive gravity or soemthign like that that could protect the spaceship.
Thre are also theoretical ways to bend spacetime in order to make faster than light travels. but for now that is more science fiction than reality for us.
Also chemistry should improve more in order to make life in space more confortable.
 
  • #32
Jimmy Snyder
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I have never thought about but, how would industry function in an enclosed environment?
You can find some well thought-out ideas here:

http://www.ssi.org" [Broken]
 
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  • #33
Jimmy Snyder
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It d be better to have a sort of colony in Mars because a problem with having some sort of colony right in space is the fact that even the smallest rock out there could shatter a ship. On Earth that dosetn happen because we have our atmosphere, but in outher space it is a difference issue.
All you need is a bulky envelope.

Edit. Hey wait a minute. What planet besides Earth has a suitable atmosphere?
 
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  • #34
George Jones
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Darn, no commas omitted accidentally from the title.

I thought Hawking was going to the Moon and Mars.
 
  • #35
wolram
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You can find some well thought-out ideas here:

http://www.ssi.org" [Broken]


For producing energy, i did not see anything about producing all the necessities for human life, apart from food and water we need clothes and means to make things that wear out,
how would you get rid of the heat generated?
 
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