Avalon Space Station

Mankind's Next Utopia

Animated NASA logo in which the orbit element circles the word NASA. On subsidiary pages, clicking on this graphic returns you to the NASA Home page, http://www.nasa.gov.                Image says 'NASA'.Animated NASA logo in which the orbit element circles the word NASA. On subsidiary pages, clicking on this graphic returns you to the NASA Home page, http://www.nasa.gov.

2001 NASA-Ames Space SettlementDesign Contest Grand Prize Winner

developed and proposed by

Meg O’ ConnellandNikhil Thaker

10th Grade Studentsat Eastern Regional High School, Voorhees, NJ

Advisor - FredJacques, Berlin Community School, Berlin, NJ


      Table of Contents


 

 

Introduction

" Don’t tell me that man doesn’t belong out there. Man belongswherever he wants to go—and he’ll do plenty well when he gets there."

Wernher von Braun (1912–77),German-born U.S. rocket engineer. Time (New York, 17 Feb. 1958) of spaceflights.

 

        Two years ago I left my computer technology class to work on a project in thetechnology education class next door. It seemed logical that I get involved insomething else, I was quite a bit ahead of my computer class and it was boring.Besides, the concept of designing a space settlement intrigued me. It was achallenge I had never faced before. Two weeks before the contest deadline I wastossed into a group of two. A few days later another girl from my computer classjoined our motley group. After two weeks of marathon research and coffee canschematics on my part, we sent the project in for adjudication.

        I don’t think I’ll ever forget the night I found out we won…Joe, one ofmy teammates, called at about eleven o’clock at night. For about fifteenminutes we went back and forth and even after he hung up, I didn’t believehim. The next day I walked into the tech class and, lo and behold, Joe had beentelling the truth. I was ecstatic…and felt like an idiot at the same time.

        A year later it came down to two weeks before the deadline when I suddenlyremembered that even though I was a freshman in high school I could enter thecontest. I tried to throw something together and even requisitioned a fewteammates, but it was to no avail- the contest had fallen directly in the middleof our first AP English paper. By the time the deadline rolled around we had twosentences. Needless to say, we didn’t enter the 2000 competition.

        My teammates were still hooked on the concept though, particularly my friendNikhil. Of the original Future Quest Aerospace Design firm, only he and Iremain. The others had to drop out because of scholastic taxing. Nikhil and Ialmost dropped the project as well because of our classes. After all, when oneis taking all advanced level courses, one must make some sacrifices. Still, wekept with the project in the seconds we managed to steal from our easierteachers.

        Our advisor, Mr. Jacques, my former technology teacher from grade schoolstuck with us through it. At times it was only his e-mails and the weeklymeetings that kept me on track. We had a lot of set backs…illness, my trip toCanada for the Mars Society Conference, my father’s death, advanced honorschemistry…

        Enclosed is the result of a year’s worth of combined effort, and two yearsworth of thought on my part. The short fiction at the end is essentially whathappened in all our delusions of grandeur. Names were changed to protect thesanity of the author.

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Time Systems & Climate Factors

        One of the most significant elements on all future space stations will betime systems and climate factors. For instance, there will be a major need forsimulated time. Through meticulous studies, it is quite evident that humanscontain unique biological clocks, and this dictates the way that human bodiesfunction. For that reason time- periods of daylight, seasons, and years roughlyakin to those found on Earth- must be simulated. This can be done by modulatinglight frequency, wavelength, amplitude, etc. to reflect conditions found onEarth. It is a necessity to make sure that all of the habitual factors are thesame as the ones on earth, because that is the only way that humans will feel"at home" on a foreign space station

        Then, important questions are asked. What system of time will we follow? Suchtime systems that could be followed may be American Eastern Standard, RussianSiberian, and perhaps even Greenwich Mean Time. Since the Avalon Space stationis not for a single country, but is for the entire human race as it is known, aglobal time system must be developed that will be utilized throughout thestation. For instance, light modulations and certain wave frequencies willfollow the Greenwich mean pattern. Likewise seasonal heat fluctuations will bebased on a basic four-season temperature pattern. Such is optimal for humandevelopment and lifestyle, and will minimize stress on the body. Humans need thebasic light frequencies and amounts of heat to live, for the thousands ofcenturies on Earth have molded our race into specific elemental conditions.Without optimal conditions, humans will find life on the space station asuncomfortable. However, we must strive for superlative conditions.

        It is quite apparent that simulating time and temperature changes is animportant facet to the overall living condition of the space station. Inaddition, we must simulate seasonal climactic changes as well. However, to whatextent can this be accomplished? There will be a need for some minor deviationsfrom perfect sunny weather because life simply isn’t that way. Stormy, cloudy,and snowy weather must also be simulated, because that is the way that lifetruly is on Earth. Some critics and scientists as well may see this as frivolousand a waste of valuable resources, but we are transporting life from a situationof uncontrolled stability to one of controlled stability, a task that has neverbeen attempted before with humans. The long-term effect of this lack of changeis unknown and, while they may be negligible is not something that can beoverlooked in a permanent settlement. When attempting to, as was stated above,control a randomized climate, (as that of this world), humans endeavor the roleof god, which is in itself a lost cause. Perhaps controlling nature and creatingweather is improbable, but it must be done in order to make the environment ofthe station as comfortable as possible for the inhabitants.

        But why is it really so important? Humans and other organisms, as it seems,get along without the presence of rain, snow, and other inclement weather. Thisfact may be true, but an innate attribute of humans must be taken into account.

        Psychological issues exist in the minds of all humans. Humans, as an entirespecies, are quite reluctant when it comes to change, especially change thatoccurs after a long period of time. They will, for the most part, becomeaccustomed to the simulated weather, even though they would understand that theweather is not natural. However, the idea that weather exists plays apsychological role on the inhabitants, and it makes the station feel more likehome.

        Growing seasons and conditions must be taken into account. For instance, leapyears must still come and go as they always have. Furthermore, there must be agradual transition between seasons. Temperatures must change regularly between,perhaps, winter and spring, and summer and fall. All of these are pivotalelements that make up life that we live everyday; these elements must also bethe same in the space station.

        Even though the space station is such a leviathan like ship, we must takeinto account room for equipment of all sorts. For instance, where will theselarge weather producing machines be placed?

        Space hasbeen allocated for climate control, atmospheric affairs, and waterprocessing. These three systems will work together to produce the desired "psuedo-weather"that has been spoken about. Ordinarily, crop watering would be required- this iscovered by rain. Likewise, atmospheric cleansing/ scrubbing would be required-this will be covered by the various processes (wind, rain, air currents) thataccount for this naturally on Earth.

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Why go and build a city in Space?

" Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed toremain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed toremain a tadpole. "

William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. The Adding Machine,"Civilian Defense" (1985).

 

        The human impetus has always been to explore that of the unknown. First,humans explored the land, water, and then the moon. The final frontier is thelimits of space. Unequivocally, humans will continue to explore space and pushonward towards settling its dark depths. The human race has reached a point inits history when all other frontiers have been conquered and the only remainingchance is to grow and change, and this growth must occur in space. Anotherreason to explore the bounds of space is to outlet populations. Earth’spopulation has grown exponentially, and in the years to come it will continue toincrease.

        Going to space is not a new concept. Since the early 1960’s, men and women(and dogs, rats, chimps, microbes, plants) have ventured into space, wavingtheir nations’ flags. Space journeys have been a privilege for only a selectfew. The average blue-collar worker has next to no chance of getting into space.Soon, however, this could change. Whole cities will exist in space for realpeople- the ones that have watched from a distance for so long. The averagelaborers will have a greater chance to get into space because the cost willlower (see financial section).

        In no way do I mean to say that at the snap of the fingers Dick and Jane willbe living next to John Q. Public, Monty Hamilton, and Ramona Fish Sandwich inouter space. A good deal of preparation and testing will have to be performedbefore actual inhabitation by settlers is possible. Astronauts and Cosmonautswill have to run preliminary tests et cetera to assure safety. These astronautswill undoubtedly live in the preliminary stations for months, testing out eachindividual facet of the station. There must be complete assurance that life canexist on these stations.

        "But what does the human race stand to gain from New York being shotinto space," you may ask. First of all, this is not just a New York City orLost Angeles in space. Avalon is not really analogous to any existing terraincities. There are no sky-scrapers, no taxi cabs, and the people from all overthe world. So it’s New York with out the big buildings and cabs? No. Perhapsthe best analogy would be the ancient Greek city-states. Each city was capableof operating in autonomy from the others, but still had relations with them.

        As for what we stand to gain from this project—everything. As with anyfirst time adventure, it’s all learning. There have never been any long-term(more than a year) extra-earth excursions. Advances in science, education, andthe humanities can be expected. Scientists will take immense amounts ofmeasurement, studying the physics of space and the moon in more in depthscrutiny. We will be able to discover new secrets of the universe, and newinterests of space will develop. Children will be able to explore space withoutlimit, because scientists will find answers to questions that were once thoughtunanswerable. For instance, we will be able to study nearing comets, the moon,and perhaps even Mars and the asteroid belt. Information about the universe willbecome unleashed.

        A long-term space settlement presents a challenge. New technologies must beexplored and trails blazed. If our society does not undertake this new challengesoon, our technology will stagnate, a risk more frightening than any of therisks intrinsic building and living in a space colony. Technology must increasefor this project to become a success. Looking back at history, humans havealways increased the caliber of technology as the decades passed. However, theonly real time that humans failed was the Middle Ages, when little intellectualthinking happened. However, with the technology that will be introduced to ourspecies, they will make Avalon a reality will be well worth it.

        However, there are risks in everything we do. When you get in the car to gosomewhere, you run the risk of getting in an accident. When you open your e-mailyou run the risk of getting a virus. Most analogous to this situation though, isa baby taking its first steps. That baby runs the risk of falling and gettinghurt. Yes, that baby could even die if it hit its head. But we still encouragechildren to embark on that first journey of discovery. Everything we do duringthe day (or night) includes risk up to a certain degree. Even when we go throughour everyday schedule on Earth, we subliminally make the correct decisions,avoiding taking any risks. For instance, as we play football in a field, we makesure that there is nothing on the field that will injure you. However, as yourun with the football, you are taking the risk that you may stumble upon theground and break a bone. Even more, risks are taken in every thing we do.Driving up a steep road faces us with dangers. If the break fails, we may comecrashing over the cliff, and possibly dying.

        The same is true of being in space. It can be done, we know this from Apollo,Mir, Skylab, and the shuttle missions. We’ve crawled long enough, and now itis time to walk. Risks may involve astronauts going out into space, riskingtheir lives for the space station. But we must take this next step.

" No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth,the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resumingoperations on this front and that, but man’s front embraces the wholeuniverse. "

Henry Miller (1891–1980), U.S.author. Sunday after the War, "Reunion in Brooklyn" (1944).

 

 

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Mathematical Quick Reference Sheet

Population: 10,000

Major Radius (R): 322 m

Minor Radius (r): 181 m

Gravity (g): 0.98

Air Pressure (atm): 0.5

Energy/Person (kw): 1.3

Area/Person (m2): 73.55356252160001

Surface Area (m2): 2,288,548.8288000003

Volume (m3): 2.0801866900640002x 102

Shielding (Mt): 10.573324612479999

Water daily (t): 200

Food daily (t): 31

Oxygen mass (kt): 50.9645739065680006

Nitrogen Mass (kt): 76.44686085785202

Structural Mass (kt): 163.18686674480002

Solar Panel Area (m2): 238999.9

RPM: 1.6654738051622915

 

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Regenerative Life Support- Colony-Wide Approximates

Mathematical Quick Reference Sheet

Inputs (kg per day)

Oxygen: 8300

Dry Food: 6200

Water in food: 1500

Food Preparation water: 7900

Drinking water: 16100

Oral Hygiene water: 3600

Hand and face wash water: 18100

Shower water: 54400

Clothes wash water: 124700

Dish wash water: 54400

Toilet flush water: 4900

Outputs (kg per day)

CO2: 10000

Water from respiration and perspiration: 22100

Urine: 15650

Urine solids: 595

Hygiene water: 63150

Evap Hygiene water: 4400

Clothes wash water: 121850

Evap. Clothes wash water: 6000

Evap. Food prep water: 400

Dish wash water: 54050

Evap. Dish wash water: 300

Feces solids: 276.25

Feces water: 915

Sweat solids: 175

Toilet flush water: 4920

Flatus: 14500

 

Element or Compound

Amount

CO2

1355.75

Oxygen

536.5

Methane

746.75

Hydrogen

2385.25

Nitrogen

9352.5

Hydrogen Sulfide

0.03625

 

Note: We must take an Ancient Roman approach to the design of our settlement.It will be created with a specific population in mind, and will have limitedexpansion. At this time, Avalon can support up to a maximum of 14,710 people,however our target population is slightly less, 10,000. An ideal startingpopulation would be between 8000 and 9500. This station will be located atLagrange point 5, also known as L5. We will be building the entire Avalonstation in space. Materials, such as metals and other tools, will be transportedinto space and the construction will take place just outside of Earth’satmosphere and orbit.

 

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Avalon: Mankind’s next Utopia

" No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth,the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resumingoperations on this front and that, but man’s front embraces the wholeuniverse. "

Henry Miller (1891–1980), U.S.author. Sunday after the War, "Reunion in Brooklyn" (1944).

        As a race, we have conquered almost every frontier set before us. The earth’soceans, jungles, and hidden treasures have, for the most part, been explored andexploited. Unfortunately, the boom of progress in the past few generations haspresented the human race with an important challenge. We face problems with overpopulation, pollution, deforestation, and dwindling natural resources, each athreat in its own right, but potentially catastrophic when compounded with theothers. The Earth’s population will become so great that eventually, we willhave no room to move. Everywhere we turn there will be another human being;there will be nearly no free room to move anywhere. Earth’s population is,currently, nearly six billion (plus or minus) people. China already has apopulace that exceeds that of the health rate of any other nation in the world.Birth control is becoming a must in this country, because the government iscontrolling the population. Another such country is India. India is bereft ofriches, and it is only a barren land home to a vast populace. Everywhere, eventhrough the streets, people lie everywhere.

        There is a solution to the populace problem. An infinite amount of spaceexists outside the earth that can be exploited to the benefit of all mankind. Sojournsto the moon, Mars, the Jovian satellites, and other intra-solar bodieshave revealed countless streams of data about our "block" in thegalactic "neighborhood".

         But what good is saying that asteroids can bemined for iron if you do not act on it? Of what use is all our knowledge andtechnology if we do not use it?

        Terrain/Space Developments Inc. proposes that we wait no longer. Usingexisting technologies, it is possible to construct a permanent, self sustained,orbital space settlement. The pages following will detail our plans for theAvalon space missions.

 

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Section I: The Designs

 

        Scores of variables, spanning every area of science and technology, areneeded for this space station. There are no questions, building a spacesettlement this large will involve incredible amounts of time and money, but theimportant thing is, it CAN be done.

 

Just how big is BIG is this spacestation?

        Ten thousand people need a lot of space to live. So do the businesses theywork at and patronize every day. When we look at our life on Earth, we thinkthat ten thousand people is nearly nothing. However, to build an entire spacestation that will host these ten thousand people is a greater task to undertake.The designs for Avalon call for a major radius of 322 meters and a minor radiusof 181 meters. This gives a surface area of 2.3x106 m2 anda volume of 2.08 x 1016m3. About 1/5 of this is habitablewith 0.98 G. The structural (approx.) mass  will be 1.632x102kt.

See diagram II for more.

 

 

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What about Growth?

 

        On Earth, when cities get too small, we build on them. In space, however, itis impractical and extremely difficult to just add on. Completely new buildingmust take place because adding onto space stations (where we would be buildingupon space and not land like we do on Earth) is quite difficult. If we wanted tobuild an addendum to the space station, millions of millions of dollars wouldhave to be allocated, because special building is simply quite costly. We wouldneed to be able to transport all sorts of metals and tools to the station, andfrom there, we would need astronauts to go out into space and build. Since thiswould deplete our funds, it is almost an impossibility. However, we have beenprovident, and some space has been earmarked for expansion. However there is notenough for this to be taken for granted, and this space MUST beused wisely.

        To cope with this problem, a certain Ancient Roman technique is suggested.The Romans build their cities for a given number of people and no more. Insteadof starting with 10,000 people, we can start with a smaller population of 8 to 9thousand. This will make initial adjustments, calibrations, and tests easier, aswell as allow for generations of growth. After we have made correctcalculations, decisions concerning the population problem may be attacked. Asthe population reaches the mark of nine or ten thousand, building will takeplace, and we will eventually reach equilibrium in the population.

 

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The Donut Shape

        The shape of the space station is a donut shape, called a Torus. The Torusspins around an axis of rotation to create a feeling of pseudo-gravity. Avalon’sdesigns call for a rotation speed of 1.665 (rounded) rotations per minute. Themajor radius is 322 meters. Pseudo-gravity must be created, because theinhabitants must feel a sense of gravity in order to become comfortable there.

        Now, domed shapes hold and distribute heat far better than squared offshapes. A toroidal (Torus shape) station minimizes the amount of wasted spacewhile optimizing usable space and hab zone. A sphere, for instance, will requirea lot of energy and have a smaller hab zone than a Torus. When in space, we muststrive to minimize the amount of space used in the station, because the cost ofbuilding everything is quite great. Therefore, it is clear that with a Torusshaped station is the most suitable

        Avalon’shabitat zone is about 1/5 of the total volume. Another 1/5 is allottedfor pseudo-weather systems, atmospheric monitoring/scrubbing, and electricalsystems, all of which will function well in a low- G environment.

 

 

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Pseudo-Weather

 

        Any time you take humans (or any other animal, for that matter) from theirnatural habitat, you must account for psychological effects as well asphysiological. For instance, you do not stick a rhesus monkey in a polar deserthabitat. Likewise you cannot take a human and place them in a zero gravity,light-less habitat. Some sort of climate must be simulated and minorfluctuations must be included in the equations.

        In order to explain this idea of psychological referencing and effects, letus take the example of a plant. Plants naturally bend towards sun light andwarmth, because that is how they gain nutrients. Also, plants need water, forwith out this, nearly no biological processes may occur. Even so, giving a plantplenty of sun light and water are ideal conditions that plants want. However,what happens when someone does not give enough water, or sun light? Let us saythat we put this same plant in a closest. Even if the give the plant water, sunlight is not present and the plant will grow little, or even not at all. Thiseffect can be called a psychological effect, because this is how the plantdictates its life.

        The same may be applied for humans. Humans need food, water and sunlight tolive. Changing the temperature slightly, or the amount of food, will cause merediscomfort, but will not kill the being. However, without food, the human maycompletely die, even if given the right amounts of sunlight.

        Therefore, rainfall simulations will allow easy distribution of water tocrops and cleansing of the atmosphere. Dirt and dust particles will stick to thewater droplets, making work easier for the air scrubbers, extending their lives.The atmosphere will "move" all around and an effect of weather willbecome evident to the inhabitants.

                                                                                                       

 

 

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Getting Power to the Station

 

        The main solar array is located in the center of the facility, the "holeof the donut". It is a hexagon with a total area of 101431.2679 m2.This is not enough, however, as the settlement requires 128999.9 m2of solar panel area to provide the allotted 1.5 kilowatts per person. Therefore,it is necessary to put solar cells on the inner hull (see diagrams III &IV). This will account for the remaining 27568.6231 m2.

        The exterior solar cells (ECSs) are raised at a 60°angle so that light not absorbed will be reflected onto the interior solar cells(ISCs). This "residual energy" will be absorbed, maximizing energyintake and production while minimizing the use of exterior hull space.

        Energy collected from the solar array will be stored in power storagefacilities throughout the settlement- basically large batteries. In times ofemergency, this will be the only source of power. Even though at first glance,the amounts of energy going into these batteries seem nominal, energy receivedfrom the sun is quite powerful. This energy alone with allow the space stationto operate fully and functionally.

 

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The Neighborhood Setup

        Many plans call for divisions in business, education, et cetera. Avalon is,quite literally, a floating city. Municipal facilities, research facilities,homes, businesses, parks, and schools are together. Roads network locationstogether. Much like on earth, people will be able to go from place to placefreely and without hassle.

        Community buildings, as in the ones mentioned above, will exist in all of theneighborhoods. People will still be able to attend churches and masses, and notto say, football games. Neighborhoods will be much like the ones that we havetoday. There will be suburbs and, as mentioned, buildings. For instance, therewill be schools, ranging from elementary school to college for all students.

        Once again, our reasons come from a psychological consideration. Peoplecannot be expected to work well in an environment that separates and classifiesthings. Life, sadly, is not a heterogeneous mixture. People must be together,especially in the neighborhood setups that have existed since the Ancient Romanperiod. People need to feel as though they are all equal to others, and livingin communities engenders this idea deeply.

 

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And how are these people getting around?

 

        There will definitely not be any fossil fuels on this space station. Thereason for this comes from our own, perhaps mundane, problem.

        Fossil fuels on Earth have polluted our environment. The ozone layer isdepleting, and we simply overuse everything. Throughout the last century, thecar was one of the most important inventions. At first, large cars were built.These cars in turned spat out terrible mileage for the gallon because of theirexcessive size. Nevertheless, we kept utilizing fossil fuels. Cars soon becamesmaller, more economical. We started receiving better mileage for the gallon,and they were even at a point declared environmentally safer than before.However, humans kept depleting the Earth of fossil fuels. Then, as the art ofmaking cars increased in popularity, SUV’s were introduced to the Earth. Theselarge, monster like cars outputted terrible mileage for the gallon. However,this time no one cared. People still, even to this day, use these cars and thefossil fuel problem will one day kill our very species.

        Therefore, we must turn to a different source of energy for use on the spacestation. Electric personal and public transportation is a viable solution to theproblem of transportation. People on the space station could use carselectrically powered, instead of gasoline powered. More people would be able touse these cars without destroying the unstable condition that the space stationwill be in. Public transportation can be accessed in the same way. For instance,large trains or busses will be able to take large amounts of people. 

        With anincrease of public transportation, there will be less traffic on the streets ofAvalon, and the economy will be overall safer.

        However, the use of electricity will create a strain on the electricitysupply. The station will somehow have to gain extra amounts of energy, which isnearly an impossibility. It is quite difficult to transport energy through spaceto the station. So what is there to do?

        Personal transportation will come in the form of bicycles and small electricgolf carts. Public transportation will be made like that found in Toronto,Canada, where electric street-cars take the place of taxis, busses, and subways.This will clear up many of the problems that even we have in our society today,and on the space station Avalon.

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Construction

        When dealing with an orbital colony of this size, the only viableconstruction method is extra-terrain-orbital construction. This will be aninternational endeavor with such players as the United States, Canada, Japan,and Russia.

        Canada will contribute robotic construction equipment. The Canadians areknown for their experience in robotics. They are responsible for the arms on theAmerican shuttles, as well as some of the equipment used in the building of theInternational Space Station.

        Launch costs will beexorbitant, no matter what method is used. Russia iscurrently offering once nuclear missiles as rockets to carry payloads into lowearth orbit (LEO). As these can run thousands of dollars cheaper than a launchfrom the United States and money is always a large issue, Russian cooperationwill be imperative.

        This will undoubtedly be expensive. To imagine that all will be paid in cash,in full, is foolhardy and nonsensical. Cooperation must be bought by favors. Forinstance, Canada could use this project to advance their foundling spaceprogram. Russia will rid themselves of nuclear missiles and regain a foothold inspace. China can get its name on a major international project, as well as theuse of Avalon for their solar system exploration projects. Private businesseswill get patents, technology rights, and exposure in return for their goods andservices. Monies can also be obtained from colonists and such institutions asHollywood and Broadway. Disney on Ice in space? Sure. Aliens XXII in situ? Noprob, Bob. Resources will not be a problem.

        By now I’msure you’re asking, "So what is costing so much?"Safety precautions as well as fundamental necessities involved in living inspace are not cheap. The hull of Avalon is best constructed of titanium, as theshuttle as most other spacecraft are. This metal is light and durable, as wellas quite available. As anyone who as ever bought titanium glasses can tell you,though, it is rather expensive. Approximately 2.30 x 10 6 m2of titanium will be needed for the outer skin alone. This is, most likely, lessthan what will actually be used.

        Shielding, thankfully, is an easier hurdle to jump. Not much easier, buteasier all the same. Lunar regolith has been proven an excellent guard againstradiation. IT is light, making transport easy. The missions to the moon will beexpensive, but not without meaning. While the regolith insulation is beingcollected, a small mining base can be established on the moon so that onceAvalon is operational, it can immediately begin element mining.

        The computer components for Avalon, from all the important life supportsystems to the communication ware to the colonists’ personal microcomputerswill be produced in the United States by companies such as IBM, Microsoft, andHewlett Packard (to name a few). These names are often associated with quality,and more often, cost. Why not go with cheaper, nondomestic systems from Japanand China? For one thing, the American based technology firms are known to bemore advanced and second, they are more user friendly.

        Avalon’s solararray presents a particular problem in that to power thestation with an average of 1.5 kw per person, approximately 1.289 x 105m2 of solar sell surface area is needed. Ordinarily one would expectto find the array in the center of a toroidal colony and that is where the bulkof our array is located, as noted in diagram III. Unfortunately, this onlyaccounts for 1.01x 105 m2. To solve this problem wepropose raising the central external solar cells or ESCs thirty five degrees sothat what incoming energy is not absorbed is reflected to internal solar cells,or ISCs lining the inside of the toroidal curve. This will maximize energy absorptionand even allow fro extra energy to be stored in backup power cells.All in all, 2.75 x 104 m2 will be needed for the ISCs.

 

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Government and Economy

        Many would expect that, as an American design firm, we at Future QuestAerospace Inc. would recommend a democratic, capitalist PoliEcon system as foundin the United States. In the situation under consideration, however, such apolitical and economical system is impractical and illogical. Instead, wesuggest a limited democracy with a socialist economy.

        First of all, what do we mean by a limited democracy? It will be much likethe early United States where leaders were chosen by a small group of citizens,the Electoral College. A hand full on leaders, one president-like figure, asecretary of economy, secretary of science, secretary of technology, andsecretary of education will be elected every six years by the Electoral College.

        As can be imagined, trying to manage a large scale Federal Government with apopulation base of ten thousand would be impossible. The number is simply toosmall. Even with large populations, the system can fall apart as wasdemonstrated this past November with the race for President of the UnitedStates.

        Socialism is avaguer term. Many equate it with communism and, in some cases,"evil". These are farther from the truth than the claims of those whosay they were abducted by flying Elvises in pink tutus. Socialism is aneconomic system in which the government controls the means of production whilecitizens retain their basic rights. With a small population base, socialism is afar more practical approach to economy than capitalism. 

        The wheels of capitalistbusiness require millions to turn and, even then, things fall apart asdemonstrated by the American Depression of 1929 and, more recently, the economicrecessions of the late 20th century. In a closed, microcosmic systemlike a space settlement, control is needed.

        These decisions will not please everyone, but the goal is to compromise tobenefit the greater good, not to cater to a single nationality. This may soundidealistic, but the simple fact of the matter is, Avalon is meant to further thehuman race as a whole and to do that, socio-economic and political barriers mustfall.

 

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Education

        Most parents will agree, when moving to a new place, education is a primeconcern. In Avalon, all levels of education will be covered from elementaryschool to graduate school. These will be free to all citizens of Avalon andavailable to any who wish to attend- for a small tuition fee, of course.

        How can we make education free? As the government controls the economy, moneynormally spent on running businesses and paying competitive prices will gotoward education. It will be free only to the tax paying citizens of Avalon andtheir dependants, but non-residents can enroll in colleges and universities fora price to be determined at a later date.

        Overall, the education problem is quite difficult to attack, and it is themost important. People who wish to live in the space station will undoubtedly beconcerned with the prices for education. The government shall primarily pay fortuition, and this in turn will lower the cost for education throughout thestation. Children, and even adults, of all ages will have as much of a chance tolearn as the people of Earth.

        Even in today’s society, education is a major issue. Sundry politicalparties are formed for the question of education. Why is education such animportant idea? Throughout history, the role of man in the society has changedgreatly. In the beginning, we were mere barbarians, Neanderthals, fighting andkilled the beasts that we needed to eat. Life was quite simple in a time backthen. 

      However, evolution was the key of human life as we know it, and intellectbecame a crucial need in society. For instance, a look at the Renaissance andMiddle Ages will completely explicate this situation. Through the Middle Ages,there was little, next to none, improvement in the society. There was astagnation of thought and action, for the Church dictated everyday life.However, as the Renaissance, or the rebirth, occurred, a blast of knowledge wasunleashed in the world. No longer did the rich or religious lead the economy,but it was the poets, artists, and intellects that assumed this position. Fromthat point onwards, intellect has been the focal point of our towns and cities.Education is at a high, because people of all levels of society want theirchildren and family to have a chance to succeed – and this chance is withknowledge and intellect. Therefore, it is evidently essential that Avalon have alarge education network, where education and all sorts of information will beexposed to children and adults.

 

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Public Transportation

        In a small, isolated environment such as Avalon, the typical busses, cars,and trains will be impractical. The pollution they cause would suffocate thecolonists within a week and the power needs would overwhelm the station’scapabilities. Smog and pollution would unmistakably be presented as a newproblem to the station for two reasons. First of all, the pollution created bythe "fossil fuel" powered engines would have no where to escape,because the station is a closed environment. Unlike the space station, Earth hasa vast atmosphere, where excess pollution and smog can diffuse, therefore notcongesting the lands that we live on. However, the space station is a man-madestructure that has limited space, and the pollution would undoubtedly"suffocate" the inhabitants. Another problem with fossil fuel enginesis the fossil fuel itself. It would be quite difficult to transport fossil fuelsfrom Earth to the space station.

        As a solution to this transportation problem, we propose, "golfcarts", run with Ford’s new hydrogen engine or a similar system. Thisengine is quite economical, and it will not pollute like the fossil fuelengines. Even more, the engine can be used for both personal and publictransportations, making them a valuable asset to the neighborhoods and economieson the space station. The only byproduct (other than heat that is created by theengine) will be water—drinking water. For added efficiency, condensers can beattached to the exhaust pipe to collect the water vapor so that, at the end ofthe day the water may be used for practical living purposes. 

In turn, this watercan be used to drink from by people, and it can be used to do any other jobs.For instance, washing dishing and perhaps even cars could be two of these uses.

 

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Recreation and Public Works

        Everyone needs to have fun. To misquote an old saying, "All work and noplay make humans a dull race." Neighborhoods on Earth are scattered withnumerous parks, movie theaters, and the ilk. It is known that Friday andSaturday nights are large social gathering times. As is definitely a way oflife, all people want to have some sort of excitement in their lives. Therefore,we propose that parks, movie theaters, museums, concert halls, arcades, andstores are only a few of the recreational facilities allowed for in the designplans for Avalon. With these recreational activities, life will go on as usual,much like the life that we have here on Earth. As has already been stated,humans don’t life change, and this is quite understandable. We want everydaylife on the station to be much like the life on Earth, and we want theinhabitants of the station to be as comfortable as possible.

        As far as public works are concerned, Avalon’s sewage treatment facilities,electric, and water systems will be as good, more likely better than those foundon earth. The systems will be concentrated beneath the "ground" andabove the "sky", in between the shielding and the inner roof and thefloor of the Torus. The space station needs to salvage all of the room that itcan, because with ten thousand people living on the station, there is not muchmore room left. Therefore, we propose to keep these treatment plants "aboveand below" so that we will be able to maximize the amount of space on thestation. Also, it is quite uncomforting to actually see these treatment plants.For instance, even on Earth we tend to frown upon sewage plants of treatmentcenters that pass our eye. 

Therefore, it is perhaps wanted by the people thatthese treatment plants and facilities be built away from the eye of the people.For more, see time/weather and purification systems.

 

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"An Avalon Fiction Story"

 

February 14, 2009

        The office was small and simple, a single room with just enough room for adesk, three chairs, and a floor lamp. Black words were painted on the glasswindow of the only door to the office reading "Future Quest AerospaceTechnologies". A silhouette appeared before the glass and the doorknobjiggled as the door was pushed open.

        "Bills, bills, credit card, bills, hate mail..." A young woman ofaverage height with long dark hair entered and kicked the door shut behind heras she muttered to herself. The envelopes identified as bills were tossed into awastebasket near the door, the credit card was tossed on the desk, and the hatemail was opened. The woman laughed as she flopped down in the threadbare officechair behind the desk.

        "Where do these people come from," she muttered, flicking on thecomputer. "For some reason they think searching for extraterrestrialintelligence is evil." Marion Glen was currently employed by SETI, theSearch for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and was working part time for acompany she’d founded to make a little extra money. So far all the designcompany had brought her was more and more bills.

        The freshly out of grad school astrophysicist/engineer picked up her phoneand dialed absently. Tuesday was the day of the week she usually called herpartner Hari in Massachusetts. He’d taken a teaching position right out ofcollege, a choice Marion quite often scoffed at. She refused to be a teacher,even if it meant breadlines and unemployment checks. 

Even during grade schoolshe had loathed and despised teaching classes in her school’s version ofgifted and talented.

        "Professor Seldon, please," she told the directory operator whenthe phone was finally answered. A few minutes later Hari’s familiar voiceanswered on the other end.

        "Hello?"

        "Hey Hari. You busy?"

        "Not at the moment. Why?" Marion noted a door being shut in thebackground.

        "I just got a fax from NASA. Our proposal is being considered."There was silence on the other end of the line for quite some time and Marionhad the distinct impression Hari was fighting the urge to whoop for joy...or askwhen she’d last had an appointment with her psychiatrist. "It’s forreal, trust me. But we’re to meet the big wigs for lunch on Tuesday."

        "That’s two days from now. I have classes to teach."

        "May I suggest postponing them? This is quite important considering we’vebeen working towards this since high school." Marion removed her glassesand rubbed her eyes tiredly. For her it had been almost a life long pursuit, aquest started in the eighth grade undertaken at first for personal amusement andlater for the greater good of humanity. She called it Avalon, named after theutopian island she hoped to make it. Hari had joined the cause late theirfreshman year and even after high school they’d corresponded, perfecting theirdesigns as each gained more knowledge in their respective fields.

        "Of course, of course. I’ve got a class now, but I’ll call you backthis evening."

        "Sure thing, man. Talk to you." Marion replaced the receiver in itscradle and sat back in her chair. Things were beginning to look up. A clockbeeped on her desk, alerting the woman to the beginning of her shift at thearray. She was late...and that meant no coffee tonight.

~*~

        Marion paced outside the office impatiently. Few expectant fathers couldrival her display of anxiety as her proposal was reviewed within. A man satnearby with his head resting on his hands and his arms resting on his knees. Hishead snapped up and the woman stopped pacing when the door cracked open.

        "Just running to Starbuck’s for some coffee. You want anything?"

        "CarmelMachiato," Marion replied, running a hand nervously throughher dark hair. "Hari?"

        "Darjeeling for me," the man replied quietly, returning his head tohis hands.

        "I’ll be back in about a half an hour." The coffee boy nodded andleft the waiting room. Tension mounted in the silence, and Marion’s pacingaccelerated at a fevered pitch.

        "Sit down and relax,"Hari bade her, gesturing to a seat acrossfrom him. "You’re acting like they’re posting final grades forEngineering."

        "This is the final grade for Engineering. I’ve been working on thissince I was thirteen." Marion sighed and looked towards the large oak doorsthat concealed her fate. "Do you know what it’s like to finally see a petidea come to light?"

        "Don’t get your hopes up, Marion. You just finished grad school."Marion shook her head and flopped down in the stiff plastic chair.

        "Har- I’ve been waiting for this day since grade school. It’s mylife." The waiting room door opened and the coffee boy peaked in.

        "OneMachiato," he announced, handing the grande coffee to Marion."And a Darjeeling." Hari accepted his tea gratefully and took a fewslow sips.

        "Do you think they’re done yet," Hari inquired, setting his teaon the glass topped table and sitting up straight.

        "Probably. I’ll ask when I take the coffee in." The coffee boycracked open the door and slipped into the office quietly. He did not emergeagain for almost ten minutes. neither Marion nor Hari so much as looked up whenthe coffee boy came back out.

        "They’re ready for you." Marion rose slowly and straightened herblack khakis and turtleneck before approaching the room. Slightly more calm,Hari rose, grabbed his tea, and followed Marion into the office.

        What is it about wood paneling and black leather furniture that is sointimidating, Marion wondered as she went to stand at the far end of theboard table. They’re like the Round Table Council at the trial of Lancelotand Guinevere.

        "We have reviewed your proposal mister Seldon, miss Glen. And I mustsay, it has aroused interest amongst our number. You have won the contract.Congratulations." Marion and Hari hugged, both almost in tears withexcitement. A long road lay ahead, and the journey would not be easy.

~*~

November 5, 2014

        "Twelve thirty-two a.m." the computer droned, causing a dark hairedwoman to look up from her lap top and rub her eyes tiredly. Sighing, amber eyesrolled towards the nearby porthole. The moon was full in few- if her guess wascorrect that meant the unit was about half way through its rotation.

        "Marion," a male voice interrupted. The woman glanced at the liquidcrystal display screen and noted the blue flashing ‘Incoming Message’ alert."Still awake?"

        "Of course I am, Hari," Marion replied tiredly. "We haven’teven started full hab yet and things are hiccupping."

        "Better now than when civilians are on board."

        We are civilians Marion didn’t remind him. Hari Seldon had hisdelusions, just as any other person did.

        "What’s wrong?"

        "The scrubbers are acting up. It’s nothing major. I’m gonna run upand fix ‘em as soon as I get some sleep."

        "Are the computers working all right?"

        "Of course they are. Didn’t Coop design them?" Marion sighed andblinked sleep from her eyes. There was no way she’d be able to run thesettlement and oversee construction of the other modules if she didn’t getsome sleep, and soon.   "Hey man, I’m gonna get some sleep. I’ll get backto you in the morning."

        "Not too late. It’s minus five here. You have a habit of forgettingthat. I also have a press conference." Hari paused. "That reminds me.Don’t forget the conference on Friday with the arrival of the firstsettlers."

        "Yeah. And let’s pray nothing goes wrong. Night." Marion closedthe window, lowered the screen of her lap top, and shuffled over to her bed. Theinterior designers had made the quarters too Star Trek-ish, Marion thought, butthey’d gotten many complements on the lay out. At least in this case formfollowed function. The low G sporting facilities intended for one of the otherhabs, currently under construction, were absolutely hideous. Still, theinvestors had to have some say.

        "Twelve fifty a.m." the clock reported. It was greeted with onlythe sound of snoring.

~*~

November 7, 2014

        "Today marks a great step forward for mankind." Marion watched onthe main television in her office on Avalon as Hari gave his address. She’dwritten the speech, well, the core of it. He’d added flourishes to it, and atthe end all that remained hers were the parts where she waxed poetic, and theallegorical section of Arthurian background. "No longer are we stranded onour small planet. Today a contingent of every day citizens of the human raceembarks on a momentous journey to the stars. Keep in mind that these people arenot rocket scientists, and they are not professional astronauts or cosmonauts.The men, women, and children you see before you are your neighbors and yourfriends." 

He went on for some time longer, speaking about the station andhow nations from all over the world had come together to build it, and how itwas only the first step towards their ultimate goal of a second earth.

        "Good luck andGodspeed." The door to the ‘StarBus’ was shutand the loading scaffold pulled away as the engines engaged. Around the worldaction stopped to watch the liftoff. Some stations had ‘guest experts’ comeon and attempt to put the technology behind Avalon into simple terms. Otherssimply fixed their cameras on the ship or panned around the launch site. OnAvalon, Marion was showering and preparing for the arrival of the settlers.

        "You pulled that off quite nicely," she said told Hari over thesatellite view phone. She had picture turned off on her end as she dressed."Rambled a bit in the beginning, though."

        "I just wanted to make sure I got my point across. About how long do youthink it will be before they arrive?"

        "Two, maybe three hours. The in flight movie is The Right Stuff,right?" Marion wrapped her hair in a towel and flicked the picture on."You can change, you know."

        "What?" Hari looked down and chuckled. "Oh. The suit. It’scomfortable."

        "Whatever. You’ve got weird tastes in clothing. Anyway...I’m justgoing to wear my jump suit today. If I’m not comfortable, I’ll look like anit on television." It was a shame, really, that after all her work Marionhad to worry about appearances more than anything else, but such was life in thetwenty-first century. "I look credible as an engineer and astrophysicist,right?"

        "Stick the pencil in your hair like you used to do." Marion blinkedin confusion and complied. "Much better. Hey, I have to run to some postlaunch things. Have fun. Are you going to be coming back down for theholidays?"

        "Probably not. The first year or so is going to be rough around here.Tell everyone at home I said hi, though. See you ‘round, man." The screenwent dark when Marion turned it off and she began blow-drying her hair.

~*~

        "Welcome to Avalon," Marion said as the last of the settlers foundtheir seat in the hall. "My name is Marion Glen, and I am the engineer ofthe settlement you are now standing in. Twenty years ago I entered a contest forspace settlement design with a habitation unit called the Norseman. My team tookfirst place for our age group. Two years later I entered again with my friendHari Seldon, whom you all met before embarking on your great journey. I must sayhere and now that I am considerably less eloquent than he, so you’ll be out ofhere in a few moments, free to settle into your homes. I simply want to bid youwelcome, and wish you the best of luck. There are materials in your homesoutlining the basics of life here, you’ve all seen it before when youcontacted our Terrain representatives. We have taken the liberty of stocking yourpantries with everything you should need for the first few weeks until youbecome accommodated to your surroundings. And if you have any questions at all,my office is number thirteen on the intercom."

        The years ahead would be a challenge, but Marion was ready for them. Rightnow, she felt like she was ready for anything.


Appendix


 

Avalon Diagrams





 Special thanks to Nihar Gala and Karyn Frohbergh fortheir technical assistance with the drawings and HTML work.


 

Works Cited

 

1. SCORE (Self Contained Off-world Residential Environment); Nyssa Stephanie Rene Woods;Jacksonville, Illinois 1997

2. The Babylon Project; Thomas Beatty and David Peters; Greenwich High School 1998

3. In the future, you might be talking to your oven; Kevin Maney; Gannet News Service;March 1999

4. Spaceships of the Mind; Nigel Calder; Viking Press, 1978; 

5. Future Quest; PBS 1995

6. Colonization of Space (Chapter 1); http://wciece.NASA.gov/Services/Education/SpaceSettlement/75summerstudy/Chapt1.html;01/03/10

7. Formulas, Facts, and Constants; http://science.nas.nasa.gov/Services/Education/SpaceSettlement/designer/tables/html; AlGlobus, Tugrul Sezen, and Bryan Yager; 00/11/05

8.  Human Needs in Space (Chapter 3); http://science.nas.nasa.gov/Services/Education/SpaceSettlement/75SummerStudy/Chapt3.html;Al Globus, Tugrul Sezen, and Bryan Yager; 00/07/12

9. Physical Properties of Space (Chapter 2); http://science.nas.nasa.gov/Services/Education/SpaceSettlement/75SummerStudy/Chapt2.html;Al Globus, Tugrul Sezen, and Bryan Yager; 00/07/12

10. Gravity; http://science.nas.nasa.gov/Services/Education/SpaceSettlement/designer/gravity.html;00/07/13

11. Assembling a World-Class Orbiting Laboratory, Science Activities andFuture Exploration; http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/fel/science.html;Kim Dismukes, Radislav Sinyak; 00/6/14

12. Regenerative Life Support- Inputs and Outputs; http://ucs.orst.edu/~atwaterj/io.htm;James E. Atwater, 1996

13. Colonies in Space; http://www.ucolick.org/~patrik/Av3/so16/node4.html;[email protected]; 99/06/02

14. Technology in Your World Second Edition; Michael Hacker and Robert Barden;Glencoe-Mcgraw-Hill New York, New York 1992

15. Newtonian Laws of Motion; Extract from ‘History of the Universe’ CD-ROM;1997 Ransom Publishing

16. American Civics Fourth Edition; William H. Hartley and William S. Vincent;Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1983

17. Microsoft Encarta Reference Suite 1999; 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation.

18. The Norseman; Joe DiLauro, Abby Kin, Megan O’Connell, and Kimberly McBride;Berlin, NJ 1999

19. Sun Never Sets, For Long, On Fast-Spinning, Water-Rich Asteroid;            http://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/~ostro/KY26/JPL_press_release.text; JPL Media Relations Office 1999; 00/11/08

20. URC Advanced Life Support; http://users.quake.net/~umpqua/als.htm;UMPQUA Research Company 1998

21. Life Support Systems; http://www.marsacademy.com/lss.htm;00/06/12

22. International Conference on Environmental Systems; http://ucs.orst.edu/~atwaterj/ices.htm;James E. Atwater 1996

23. Advanced Life Support; http://advlifesupport.jsc.nasa.gov/;NASA Johnson Space Center; 00/06/12

24. Cylinder Space Settlements; http://lifesci3.arc.nasa.gov/SpaceSettlement/designer/sphere.html;Al Globus,              Tugrul Sezen, Bryan Yager

25. Report of the Workshop on Biology-based Technology to Enhance HumanWell-being and Function in Extended Space Exploration; Anne Simmons 2000; 00/10/15

26. Regolith Rockets, A gateway for cheap access to deep space; Mr. Jocelyn Boily 2000;From Lecture at the Third International Mars Society Convention, Aug. 10-132000

27. A Conceptual Model of a Robotics Laboratory to Search for Life inMartian Subsurface Water and Permafrost; David C. Gan and Lawrence Kuznetz 2000;From Lecture at the Third International Mars Society Convention, Aug. 10-132000

28. The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993 byColumbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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Curator: Al Globus
NASA Responsible Official: Dr. Ruth Globus
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
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