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Keycon Consuite
A convention hospitality suite at Winnipeg's science fiction and fantasy convention. An opportunity to promote our club, and show fans some real science.
Mars Chemistry Set
A kit for students, provides as outreach. Chemistry experiments include several reactions described on this website.
Dish Array
Promar is project Mars, a large array of dishes to receive telemetry from NASA probes to Mars.
Terraforming: Building Soil
Converting bedrock into arable soil. A technique that can be used in Manitoba as well as Mars.
A greenhouse is a simple technology that holds the promise to provide a continuous supply of all the food Mars astronauts or colonists will need. The current focus is the enclosure itself. What materials will withstand conditions on Mars? How to control temperature? Additional questions are atmosphere constituents and soil nutrients? What soil content levels are toxic to crops? What crop sequence can process native Martian regolith into soil that can sustain food-bearing crops? What crops will provide human nutrition requirements?
Analysis of Mars soil from probes sent so far. What do we have to work with, how can it be processed to form arable soil? How can Mars atmosphere be processed to form suitable greenhouse air? How will soil processing help greenhouse air?
Space Activity Suit
The SAS is also known as an elastic leotard. In the science fiction book Red Mars, it is called a Walker. This environment suit protects the astronaut from vacuum by elastic compression rather than a full pressure envelope. The first prototype was built by NASA and published in the Journal of Space Medicine April 1968. A copy of the article is available here.
Spacesuit Helmet
A head-worn helmet is an integrated crash helmet, providing more safety when climbing cliffs on Mars or riding an open rover on rough terrain. The principle argument against it is that it "looks silly". That's hardly a valid design decision for flight hardware. Such a helmet has space flight experience on Mercury and Gemini. An MCP spacesuit neck solves the problem of a stiff suit neck when inflated. For those who obsess how it "looks" it has even been used frequently in science fiction.
Mars Roadrunner
The Roadrunner is a microprobe built by the Mars Society to be sent directly to Mars. This will be the first privately funded probe to another planet.
Existing Russian rockets
Russia developed the Energia rocket to lift their copy of the Space Shuttle. Rather than mount the main engines on the shuttle orbiter, they mounted the main engines on the external fuel tank. This made the fuel tank and strap-on boosters work as a stand-alone rocket with the Buran shuttle as just cargo. The Energia rocket has a lift capacity of 88 metric tonnes to Low Earth Orbit. Although it is no longer in production, launch facilities remain intact and the rocket itself can be brought back into product relatively inexpensively. Furthermore, the Russian corporation had developed engineering designs for a larger version that could lift 170 tonnes; more than enough for Mars Direct.
Chloroplast based Life Support
A life support system that converts carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and carbohydrate provides more than 97% closure. Human metabolism converts carbohydrate and oxygen back into carbon dioxide and water. The chloroplast based system uses the basic process of plants to produce food without dependency on a greenhouse.
Martian materials & resource extraction
What Martian resources exist, and how do you extract them into usable products? This is a list of smelting and processing technology to make basic materials for construction, fuel, etc.
How to make plastic from CO2, water, and salt. Intermediates are useful chemicals like antifreeze.
Plant tissue culture
Producing food onboard an interplanetary spacecraft can reduce the consumables required for the trip, but a greenhouse or even a hydroponic farm would mass too much. Tissue culture has the promise of growing only the edible part of food: orange pulp without the orange tree; beans without the stalks, stems, leaves, roots, buds, or pods of the bean plant. This would also eliminate the soil, lights and infrastructure of a greenhouse. Plant hormones would be required, grown either with genetically engineered bacteria or the tissue could be modified to produce its own. The culture would feed on sugar, so it would require a sugar source. Although this would be more expensive than a greenhouse, the mass reduction makes it applicable to a spacecraft.
Asteroid mining has the promise of large and very rich resources for any space construction industry, and export to Earth. Asteroid miners will need supplies. This provides a market for products from a Mars colony. What asteroids are out there? What resources are available? What asteroid types hold what concentrations of which resources? How do you extract those resources?
Hurricane proof house
Advice to our neighbours to the south who live on the Gulf coast. How to build a hurricane proof house.
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