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3blake7

Terraforming Venus in 600 years for $60 billion

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3blake7    1

I am a amateur but had some free time and was curious about immortality and population growth. I created a spread sheet with a guesstimate of population growth with immortality. Population Growth. I did some ballpark numbers and found that our entire planet would be transformed into a continuous cityscape in a thousand years. I then played around with subterranean cities, with a million people, a storefront floor, with floors that are discrete such as one for trash and sewage, another for electricity and communications lines, another for residents only, etc. It could even have like 15 floors of hydroponics that use LEDs and carbon dioxide enrichment. This would make us scale-able for longer without destroying all that is green upon the Earth. Based on some ball park numbers, it could be profitable now with a large capital investment. There is also floating and submarine cities. Anyways, moving onto the topic, terraforming Venus.

 

I have put together a spreadsheet, Terraforming Venus.

 

The plan calls for building a StarTram with a 300 ton payload capability, which could cost anywhere between 60-100 billion USD. Once the StarTram is built, which would take about 20 years, we would send remote control, automated construction equipment to the moon. We would send a Surveyor, Excavator, Hauler, Loader, Feeder, Crusher, Separator, Smelters, Mold Caster, Part Caster, Grinder and Assembler. Each machine would weigh about 300 tons and have a 1 megawatt Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. For the first 18 years, the mobile, self-replicating moon factory will mine iron, aluminum, manganese, carbon, nickel and thorium. They would build more of themselves. Once they finished self-replicating, they would begin building a Venus Sunshade, a Venus Spacescraper and 250 million 20 gigaliter supertankers propelled by magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, powered by 10 gigawatt liquid fluoride thorium reactors. It would take about a 100 years for the moon factory to produce that much steel and thorium. The Venus Sunshade would be deployed and the Venus Spacescraper would be landed. Then the 250 million supertankers would move water from Ceres to Venus and carbon dioxide from Venus to Mars. I believe this is the quickest method.

 

I would really appreciate feedback on this, I put some time into it and don't really know anyone with expertise or interest in this particular hobby.

 

Thank you,

Blake

post-111822-0-08689300-1431951271_thumb.jpg

Edited by 3blake7

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3blake7    1

The moonbase page, the part for calculating the feeder, crusher, separator, hauler, loader and excavator might be way too conservative. I calculated it for each element independently. Regolith has a little bit of everything so there would be some synergy. It could be divided by 4-5. I originally did it with the intention of mining ores richer with the desired element but we don't even know if rich deposits even exist. It could all be regolith.

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pavelcherepan    124

Moving to other planets won't help with overpopulation, because initially only a limited number of colonists would be able to come and once the colony becomes big enough and starts to have population growth, only limited amount of newcomers will be able to arrive due to limited resources.

 

How do you plan to move carbon dioxide? Wouldn't it be easier to get stuff from near-Earth asteroids. Mining and processing regolith is awful and can only be feasible if nothing else is available.

 

Energetically, going to NEOs is slightly more demanding than the Moon, but your output will be better. Plus in the initial stage you want your self-replicating robots to increase in number quickly, and that is easier to do when metal is more readily available and easier to process.

Edited by pavelcherepan

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3blake7    1

Supertankers, thats what the moon factory will be building.

 

To be honest I assumed the moon would have richer deposits, some besides regolith. From what I've been reading, it might all be regolith, 20 km of regolith. If that's the case then mining asteroids would be more efficient. I will have to do some more research. It could very well be more practical to mine thorium on the moon and the rest in the asteroid belt.

Edited by 3blake7

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3blake7    1

Moving to other planets won't help with overpopulation, because initially only a limited number of colonists would be able to come and once the colony becomes big enough and starts to have population growth, only limited amount of newcomers will be able to arrive due to limited resources.

 

How do you plan to move carbon dioxide? Wouldn't it be easier to get stuff from near-Earth asteroids. Mining and processing regolith is awful and can only be feasible if nothing else is available.

 

Energetically, going to NEOs is slightly more demanding than the Moon, but your output will be better. Plus in the initial stage you want your self-replicating robots to increase in number quickly, and that is easier to do when metal is more readily available and easier to process.

 

I updated the spreadsheet to go to the asteroid belt instead of the moon, to get hydrogen from Jupiter to combine with the O2 from CO2 instead of mining water from Ceres and I am dumping the excess Nitrogen on Mars. Here is the v2 spreadsheet. This reduced the number of supertankers I needed and you were right, the asteroid M-Type asteroids are so pure that I can skip the Crusher and Separator in the process and go straight to the Smelter.

 

Terraforming Venus v2

 

As for moving people into orbit, the StarTram would move the first self-replicating machines, which will self-replicate for 22 years to a big enough industry to produce a Venus Sunshade, Venus Spacescraper and the 60 million supertankers in 100 years. After that it will be free to mass produce space stations. So after 122 years, the StarTram will be decommissioned and replaced with an Antarctica Spacescrapper, which would be 100 km tall and be able to launch hopefully 400 million people into orbit a year, just enough to counter population growth. The industry in the asteroid belt will be able to keep up with that. Other supplies would have to be sent up as well, like computer processors, seeds, etc. Since I am no longer using Ceres for Venus, Ceres can be used as a source of water and oxygen for the space stations.

Edited by 3blake7

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MigL    492

Your estimates for population growth are unrealistic.

 

Why not just 'seed' Venus with anaerobic microbes which will trap the carbon of the atmosphere in biological forms.

This will ultimately result in an oxygen rich atmosphere and large oil and gas resources in several million years.

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John Cuthber    3183

Your estimates for population growth are unrealistic.

 

Why not just 'seed' Venus with anaerobic microbes which will trap the carbon of the atmosphere in biological forms.

This will ultimately result in an oxygen rich atmosphere and large oil and gas resources in several million years.

Specifically, the microbes that survive in sulphuric acid at a few hundred centigrade.

Ironically, if I was looking for bugs that survive in those conditions, one place I might look is err, Venus.

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3blake7    1

Your estimates for population growth are unrealistic.

 

Why not just 'seed' Venus with anaerobic microbes which will trap the carbon of the atmosphere in biological forms.

This will ultimately result in an oxygen rich atmosphere and large oil and gas resources in several million years.

Population growth projections are with immortality. As far as the possibility immortality goes, you can refer to this thread.

 

If you wanted a lot of Methane, you could go with the Sabatier reaction but that would require transporting more Hydrogen from Jupiter, plus you have to deal with all the Methane, which is greenhouse gas. Instead, with the v2 spreadsheet, I went with a CO2 -> O2 + C using a laser or heat + catalyst.

 

A million years with microbes is a long time, lol

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MigL    492

I would look for them in the cones of active vulcanos, John.

Or at least use the microbes that I found there as precursors and genetically engineer some for use on Venus.

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3blake7    1

What would microbes need?

 

Instead of moving all of the Nitrogen to Mars, I was thinking about getting extra Hydrogen from Jupiter then using the Haber–Bosch process to make Ammonia which would react with the CO2 under the pressure and heat of the atmosphere, the Bosch–Meiser process, forming Urea. That would fertilize the whole planet.

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3blake7    1

Nice! One minor quibble, you do not seem to have included the very likely development of fusion power which would facilitate the venture.

Thanks! I thought about it, I was just thinking that liquid fluoride thorium reactors are simpler and could be more easily built to last. I think fusion power would be extremely complex and fragile.

 

I updated the spreadsheet to terraform Mars and Luna too. It wasn't that much extra effort after building up the industry.

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You're so right. Wonderful thread, obviously a labor of love. I am a LFTR fan but I think the power output of fusion should enable very robust construction and the lighter weight of fuel would be advantageous. It would be nice to compare these bad boys in the flesh, wouldn't it? Are you familiar with the Project Rho website?

Edited by Harold Squared

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3blake7    1

ORIGINAL POST is obsolete.

 

I made this YouTube video of Mars being terraformed.

 

 

I plan on rendering a new version that spins slower so you can see the changes more easily but I wanted to ask a question someone else suggested. They were wondering if the ocean would be reddish in the beginning before the atmosphere was replaced with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere. If you look a pictures of Mars the sky and ground are red, would the water be reflecting the red and appear more red?

 

I know terraforming is a huge undertaking. I have a spreadsheet where I did the calculations for terraforming Venus and Mars.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gXUkVvdsvDMAcoRa-QjDw633MYGjqjJW5h6VEpKy-30/edit?usp=sharing

 

To summarize the approach:

 

  1. They designed an Autonomous Self-Replicating Industry, that could collectively self-replicate (not individually).
  2. They released Thorium powered ASRIs on moons and in the asteroid belt to self-replicate, increasing their industry's size exponentially until their industrial capacity reached the pre-determined threshold.
  3. The ASRI built an aerostat for Uranus to mine Deuterium and Helium-3 for Fusion Power Plants.
  4. The ASRI was also released on ice moons to build Fusion based factories that convert ice into Hydrogen and Oxygen fuel.
  5. The ASRI mined the raw materials to build a Sunshade for Venus, which would cool the planet and eventually turn it's entire Carbon Dioxide atmosphere into a liquid ocean.
  6. The ASRI also mass produced Supertankers that use Hydrogen-Oxygen rockets (the only fuel abundant enough to meet the demand).
  7. Supertankers moved Hydrogen and Oxygen from the ice moons to the orbits of Venus and Mars.
  8. On Venus, the Hydrogen was used to convert Carbon Dioxide into water.
  9. Excess Nitrogen was transported from Venus to Mars.
  10. Oxygen was made from excess Carbon Dioxide.
  11. Supertanker exhaust (water) also helped create oceans.
  12. Some Urea was made from excess Nitrogen, Shriebersite was also saved from mining and both were used to fertilize.
  13. Solar powered electromagnetic shields were built at the L1 points to protect the atmospheres from solar radiation.

This approach required two things really: commercially viable fusion power plants and an autonomous self-replicating industry. CERN seems convinced that fusion could be viable and I think self-replication is inevitable (humans are self-replicating machines after all).

 

I think the biggest potential problem is actually supertanker traffic jams. I'm not sure how many supertankers you could have landing and taking off per hour on Venus. How many can you have in orbit? I am saying 600 years to finish but it could be longer or shorter depending on how many supertankers you can do without collisions. The industrial effort required is gargantuan by Earth standards but I think self-replication changes the game so that's okay, you can't really look at it through a lens of present day economics.

 

This is really the only relevant research I could find:

  1. http://www.orionsarm.com/fm_store/TerraformingVenusQuickly.pdf
  2. http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/TerraformSRS1983.htm
Edited by 3blake7

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Sensei    600

One of the largest problems with Venus is that it receives ~90% more energy than Earth.

Irradiance 2600 W/m^2, instead of Earth's 1370 W/m^2.

 

You can calculate it reversing inverse-square law:

[math]E_e=\frac{P_0}{4\pi r^2}[/math]

Ee=1370 W/m^2 on Earth at 150 mln km (150 bln m) distance from the Sun.

 

[math]P_0=E_e 4\pi r^2[/math]

P0 is total power released by the Sun (energy per second).

 

Then, calculation of irradiance of other planet at distance r' will be possible using:

[math]E_e'=\frac{P_0}{4\pi r'^2}[/math]

Edited by Sensei

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3blake7    1

For Venus:

 

I figured the sunshade would have like shutters and would just block some of the light constantly. Maybe even do an artificial day-night cycle so half the year you have Earth-like light cycles and the other half the year it's constantly dark.

 

I have no idea how that would effect the weather but I think the right mechanisms are in place and it could be tuned to be "just right". I would assume there would still be a super-rotation like air current around the equator, equalizing the temperature between the day and night side.

 

Another idea I read about was to have a series of mirrors in orbit and you could have an artificial day-night cycle on the night side too.

 

For Mars:

 

I guess the best solution for Mars would be to have more green house gases. No idea how much I would need though. Maybe higher CO2 levels or Methane from Titan.

 

I was just thinking, Mars needs an atmosphere with more mass compared to Earth, since there is less gravity. The atmosphere would be a little over twice the mass of Earth, which would trap more heat? Maybe too much? You might not even need more greenhouse gases to warm it up.

Edited by 3blake7

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koti    118

As much as I like these kinds of divagations I can't help to notice that the stuff you guys wrote so far would't go into billiions imo. Considering that the US military budget for 2018 is 827 billiion, the things said here would go into tens or hundreds of trillions USD. And would need to be done in cooperation between countries over the period of decades.

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3blake7    1

As much as I like these kinds of divagations I can't help to notice that the stuff you guys wrote so far would't go into billiions imo. Considering that the US military budget for 2018 is 827 billiion, the things said here would go into tens or hundreds of trillions USD. And would need to be done in cooperation between countries over the period of decades.

 

To start it, you need to build a hundred machines, that make up an entire industry like: Surveyor, Excavator, Hauler, Loader, Feeder, Crusher, Separator, Smelters, Mold Caster, Part Caster, Grinder, Molecular Manufacturer and Assembler. You would also need to launch them into space using really big rockets or a Star Tram. According to the star tram site, they estimate a cost of 60 billion USD for their gen 2. I have no idea how much the Autonomous Self-Replicating Industry would cost. A lot of those machines are already available in mobile form. A molecular manufacturer isn't possible yet, but it's only a matter of time. IBM for instance is already working on 5 nanometer transistors. A neuron in the brain has a diameter of 120 nanometers for comparison. Here is a proof of concept nanofactory by the leading expert (also awarded an honorary doctorate from MIT):

 

I think it could be done for like 100 billion USD. Once it starts mining, refining and self-replicating, it would grow into an industry worth hundreds of trillions (or more) and if you do a price estimate of terraforming using present day economy prices, it would be absurd, but this is self-replication, which changes everything. You only need to pay for the transportation into space and the seed machines. No one owns the asteroid belt or moon, so you don't have to pay for that.

Edited by 3blake7

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koti    118

 

To start it, you need to build a hundred machines, that make up an entire industry like: Surveyor, Excavator, Hauler, Loader, Feeder, Crusher, Separator, Smelters, Mold Caster, Part Caster, Grinder, Molecular Manufacturer and Assembler. You would also need to launch them into space using really big rockets or a Star Tram. According to the star tram site, they estimate a cost of 60 billion USD for their gen 2. I have no idea how much the Autonomous Self-Replicating Industry would cost. A lot of those machines are already available in mobile form. A molecular manufacturer isn't possible yet, but it's only a matter of time. IBM for instance is already working on 5 nanometer transistors. A neuron in the brain has a diameter of 120 nanometers for comparison. Here is a proof of concept nanofactory by the leading expert (also awarded an honorary doctorate from MIT):

 

I think it could be done for like 100 billion USD. Once it starts mining, refining and self-replicating, it would grow into an industry worth hundreds of trillions (or more) and if you do a price estimate of terraforming using present day economy prices, it would be absurd, but this is self-replication, which changes everything. You only need to pay for the transportation into space and the seed machines. No one owns the asteroid belt or moon, so you don't have to pay for that.

 

Considering that the ISS cost around 150 billion and considering that this project would be significantly more complex and timely I think it will be orders of magnitude more than 100 billion.

I hope you're right though...if you are, it would mean that it could be done privately without government support which would make it more plausible.

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Carrock    27

Considering that the ISS cost around 150 billion and considering that this project would be significantly more complex and timely I think it will be orders of magnitude more than 100 billion.

I hope you're right though...if you are, it would mean that it could be done privately without government support which would make it more plausible.

An investment with no return for 600 years. Ten years with no return maybe.

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Area54    103

 

Considering that the ISS cost around 150 billion and considering that this project would be significantly more complex and timely I think it will be orders of magnitude more than 100 billion.

The main return we got from the ISS was to learn that Russian rockets are better than American ones. That's quite an expensive lesson.

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3blake7    1

An investment with no return for 600 years. Ten years with no return maybe.

It could become more likely with immortality, people will be around to see it completed. There are already researchers working on it, like the modified virus that activates the gene that causes cells to produce the telomerase enzyme. With AI, molecular manufacturing and other automation technologies, eventually there won't be any jobs left. I think we will either become a welfare state or maybe an education state, where everyone gets paid to go to school and can study anything they want. It's hard to say how culture will change with all the new capabilities and technologies coming down the pipeline. Look at how profoundly electricity and the internet changed our society.

The main return we got from the ISS was to learn that Russian rockets are better than American ones. That's quite an expensive lesson.

I watched the Cosmodrome documentary which was about exactly that. Soviet rockets were decades ahead of American rockets but no one knew that until after the USSR collapsed and some Russian rocket scientists showed them to American scientists. Before that the rocket scientists in America considered it impossible to do a closed cycle, which is routing the exhaust from the turbo pump back into the nozzle's combustion chamber so you get some thrust from it and don't waste it. Here is an explanation:

 

One of the rockets NASA is using is actually the Russian rocket. I watched a congressional hearing with Elon Musk trying to get a contract with the Air Force and he used the sanctions on Russia for hacking the election to make the case that his competitor would have difficulty importing the Russian made rockets.

 

I just thought it was funny because every now and then all the experts will believe something that turns out not to be true. It's like the belief that the universe was stable, not expanding or contracting, even Einstein believed that and dismissed another scientist that believed the universe was expanding. Then a third scientists found evidence that supported the expanding universe hypothesis and the entire theoretical physics community accepted it and changed their views. I wish politics was like that :doh:

 

Considering that the ISS cost around 150 billion and considering that this project would be significantly more complex and timely I think it will be orders of magnitude more than 100 billion.

I hope you're right though...if you are, it would mean that it could be done privately without government support which would make it more plausible.

 

A lot of that cost is the cost of transporting it from Earth into orbit. Most existing rockets could launch 1 kg into orbit for ~$18000, Space X's reusable first stage rockets might bring the cost down to $1200/kg, and the Star Tram site is making the claim that they could bring it down to $40 per kilogram.

Edited by 3blake7

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