Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why Not 3D Print A Future City On Mars - Thoughts on How

Anyone into science topics has noted that the 3D printers are here now and all the applications will be coming forth in years to come. Some are already here, things like rapid prototyping. Interestingly enough, there is a really interesting project underway to put 3D printers in all the high schools in the country. As these students learn how to use this technology, they will obviously take all those applications into all the industries and future professions. This will be a great enabler of productivity across the entire spectrum of our economy - it's absolutely brilliant.

Okay so, you do know little bit about 3D printing and that is good, because I'd like to give you a way out concept, as in printing a human colony on Mars. Now then, I put a little bit of thought into this, not more than an hour, but I like to explain what I've come up with here. First, if we were to put a machine inside of a crater on Mars, then we could dig down around the edges in the soft sand. We could inject that sand with a water-like chemical which would harden it, and then begin the process of 3D printing in the center area of the crater.

We can control this from Earth, via satellite relay and give instructions to the robotic system to build the city within the crater. The machine would scrape off that each and customize the structure. As it completed each section it would wrap the entire progress with a Graphene sheet or coating. This coating would be zapped with energy to harden and keep everything in place.

Then more sand could be brought from the interior walls of the crater for the next level and so on. The energy to zap the graphene coatings would come from the static electricity from the friction of the wind and electromagnetic energy.

Now then, before you think this is a kooky idea, because it's not could actually work, there was an interesting article in the January 2006 edition of Popular Science titled; "Just ADD WATER - Slightly Wet Sand Makes the Most Robust Structures," which started with a question in the sub-title; "Why do some stand castles stand firm until swallowed up by the rising tide, while others fall over instantly?"

The article then talks about several famous research papers on this topic of science, namely a report in "the Journal of Natural Physics entitled; Maximum Stability of a Wet Granular Pile." It turns out as the Popular Science article discusses that;

"A good swift kick will destroy the sturdiest silicon dioxide fortress in seconds, but a well-engineered sand edifice must possess the ideal sand-to-water ratio."

Once the basic structure was there, and the form we needed it, and it was covered with graphene, then robots could come in and dig out the interior, and wallpaper the walls again with the graphene coating. The multi-layered walls on the outside would collect energy, and also act as windows now then, if you'd like to discuss any of this I hope you will please contact me by e-mail. Until then, think on it.