Monday, 8 Mar 2021

Dwarf planet satellite could be first human space colony as scientist snubs Mars

Plans for millions of people to live on a "mega-satellite" orbiting Earth's closest dwarf planet have been revealed.

A study has claimed a massive asteroid, considered a minor planet, found between Mars and Jupiter could be perfect to support human life.

Scientist Pekka Janhunen said settlers could build a disc-shaped world that mines water and raw materials from the space rock Ceres via a space elevator.

They would live in thousands of 6.2-mile long cylinders that can house 57,000 people and gardens linked together with magnets, reports Live Science.

The physicist from Finnish Meteorological Institute has snubbed SpaceX chief Elon Musk's plans for a Mars space colony by saying a flat world reminiscent of Sir Terry Pratchett's discworld books would be better.

He said two mirrors on either side could capture sunlight to used to grow crops and trees.

They would be planted in five-foot beds of soil brought from Ceres via a 636-mile-long cable with natural light from the sun used to nurture the vegetation.

His paper says the 590-mile wide space rock is rich in both water and nitrogen, which is necessary for air and is set to be peer-reviewed.

  • NASA finds new planet with 'three suns' and super-rare corkscrew orbit

Ceres is close enough to the Sun for water to melt and named after the Greek god of agriculture following its discovery in 1801.

Janhunen described his vision in his recently published his paper on arxiv.

He said: "We choose Ceres as the source body from which the building materials are mined.

"The primary reason is that Ceres has nitrogen, which is necessary for the settlement’s atmosphere.

"We choose to orbit Ceres so that the settlement remains physically close to the source body.

  • Mars Rover takes awe-inspiring panoramic snap to celebrate 3,000 days on Red Planet

"This ensures that the material transfer time in the construction phase remains relatively short."

He said Ceres has enough water to fuel rockets to bring raw materials to the satellite but a space elevator would be better: "Ceres is water-rich, so it would also be possible to make H2/O2 propellant and use rockets to lift the materials.

"We prefer the space elevator, however, because it needs much less energy per lifted mass."

  • NASA picks up signal from one of Jupiter’s moons in mystery space bombshell

Janhunen also wrote that Mars has a "smaller surface area than Earth, so the impact to the financial economy would be limited."

He said one of the biggest challenges to his plan was the energy required to lift raw materials from Ceres into the orbiting space ship.

But more cylindrical homes could be added to the satellite "allowing for near unlimited expansion".

Ceres is the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system, the smallest known to man and the largest object in the asteroid belt.

Nasa's Dawn spacecraft is currently flying to Ceres after leaving the asteroid Vesta in 2012.

There is high interest in the mission because Ceres is seen as being a record of the early solar system.

Source: Read Full Article

Best News