Talk:Equipment for autonomous growth
Open Issue: "abstain from any electronics"
- 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.
- I'm not even sure what the question means, can you please elaborate? Peter 20:17, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
- I think what is meant (Rfc, correct me if I'm wrong) is that is it possible for colonists to live in an established colony (I can't even remotely see how this is possible for early settlements) with the bare minimal of electronics (apart from life-support systems I assume) - a minimalist existence (akin to "Areophany" as established by the character Hiroko in the novel Red Mars)? -- Ioneill 22:08, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Please let me explain a little. What mean is not to abstain from any automation on Mars, only abstain from electronics. The things we are used to do with electronics are not really bound to the flow of electrons and the creation of semiconductors. Moreover, you can do automation with exactly the same functionality and precision by means of pneumatics for example. I have learned this during my apprenticeship many years ago. We have constructed complex circuits with flowing air instead of flowing electrons. This technology seems to be almost forgotten, and people tend to think of electronics as the only way of doing automation. Here on Earth it is easy to go to the electronics merchant and buy a handful of transistors and rectifiers. But on Mars? I am afraid the settlers can not afford to build a transistor factory with all the costly technology required for making a transistor out of sand. May be it will be possible some day, but perhaps not now. This applies consequently for silicon based solar panels, also. And it might be hard to maintain a communication link between Mars and Earth, for it might be impossible to build an electronic radio transmitter. Sure, we will use electronics during the initial installation of the first settlement, but this is not what I mean with this open issue. Instead, I mean the autonomous growth afterwards.
What I intend with this open issue is to pose this problem and to make people think about possible alternatives. May be it is possible to build a transistor factory on Mars, may be it is not. In the latter case we need an alternative, or else we have no autonomous settlement. -- Rfc 08:31, 26 November 2007 (UTC)