Equipment for autonomous growth
What equipment will settlers on Mars need to be really independent from Earth on the long term? This article wants to define the Equipment for Autonomous Growth to enable a colony to thrive, entirely based upon local resources.
The initial settlement on Mars will be built with technology from Earth, involving space travel, radio link, etc. Hopefully, this initial settlement is completed with the ability to sustain itself.
In case the support from Earth stops some day due to financial or political issues, the settlers are completely on their own. In order to survive, the settlement must be equipped with technology that allows life to continue indefinitely. A growing population requires the settlement to grow as well. The limited material from Earth will be used up quickly. Unlimited growth requires technology to exploit Martian resources to build everything required.
A growing colony needs to build more and larger buildings. An initial set of machines, measuring devices, formwork etc. should be brought to Mars.
See page Energy.
This item might be disputed, but computers are surely a great help for any other technology.
The access to Earth's internet is definity not necessary for an autonomous colony, but it helps to exchange technological, scientific and cultural news, which might be beneficial for both Mars and Earth.
Every machine and every gadget has a limited lifetime. It must be replaced periodically to keep the function alive. As a principle, the equipment brought to Mars must be constructed simple enough to allow a repair and duplication from local resources. The periodic repair and maintenance process must not consume more material, energy and time than the colony can afford. Recycling is a possible solution.
Example: Repair of digging machines
Example: Repair of solar panels
Example: Repair of electronics
The most complex thing to replace is, perhaps, the computer. It needs high-tech processes and special substances to made all the electronical devices within a computer. There are two ways for coping with this challenge: Either abstain from any electronics on Mars, or find a way to produce simple electronics that can be made from local Martian resources.
- Is it possible to abstain from any electronics on Mars? This is an essential question as it may decide about the technological long term stability of a Martian colony. Alternative technologies for automation, e.g. pneumatics, may be easier to cope with.
(For discussion please see the talk page)