Colonize Deimos! First Step To Space Invasion.

Space colonization has to start somewhere, and it won’t be easy.

A well known problem is radiation. It is considerable in space. On the ground we are protected not just by the magnetosphere, but by the equivalent of ten meters of water (the atmosphere, exerting a pressure of one kilogram per square centimeter). Vicious, hyper reactive dust is one problem. Astronauts’ testimony on the Moon showed their suits couldn’t have worked for another outing (from the dust, getting in all the articulations of the suits). Mars’ dust is not any better.

Gravity, or lack thereof, is also a drastic problem. In space it can be fixed: just use rotation. Although it was not tried experimentally yet, it is technologically feasible (and a familiar feature of sci-fi movies). On planets, it’s another matter: it is not clear that Mars has enough gravity for human health: we, Earth critters, evolved in the last four billion years, with Earth gravity. Trying to compensate with exercise is NOT working in the International Space Station: exercise mitigates the problem, but some of the damage to deepest parts of the femur bone seems irreversible. The flight surgeon of NASA, James Logan, MD, has thought a lot about these problems.

GlouconX, a contributor to this site, gave this link, which I found very interesting:

Mr. Logan’s solution? Colonize Deimos! Deimos is one of the two captured asteroids which Mars uses as satellites, The idea would be to send boring robots, and establish a base there, ready for occupation. Ultimately, enough space for one million people and full ecology could be dug there. One would need water: it’s not clear whether there is enough there, or not, as Deimos’ composition is unknown.other asteroid, like the dwarf planet Ceres, have water, and even massive quantities of it, 27% of the total mass, and close to the surface, as ice!

Going there, to Deimos or Ceres, in force, depends upon nuclear energy, both to go, to dig, and to stay. And since actually the nuclear fission engine is straightforward, and was tested 50 years ago very successfully, the decision is more political than technological:

From Deimos, the telerobotic exploration, exploitation and colonization of Mars could conducted… This is Dr. Logan’s message, and I agree 100%. It was long clear to me that only nuclear energy provided the energy density (by a factor of thousands!)

Deimos’ location is superior to Phobos for telerobotics operations, and it’s plenty big enough. Perhaps we could put in orbit around it a gravity generating station?

Once again, for the doubters, as president Kennedy said, we do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Actually we do them because they are harder than anything we would do otherwise. And why is hard lovely? Because we, as a species, have always tried to do harder things. We have evolved into challenge defying creatures whose minds can only properly work that way. And why thus? because that’s how we survive, as a species!

And for those who, disparaging us, claim to prefer ants, to our wonderful minds, I have an ant-eater coming their way…

Patrice Aymé


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6 Responses to “Colonize Deimos! First Step To Space Invasion.”

  1. Gloucon X Says:

    Thanks, Patrice.
    If we’re going to colonize space for the purpose of species survival we have to be immensely honest about everything. The rush to Mars advocates who dismiss the human physiology problems are not being honest. We will have to bring through artificial means the equivalent of our gravity for our bone and eye health, the equivalent of our atmosphere for radiation protection; and we will have to avoid the soils of Mars and the Moon for the sake of our lungs. If people have no chance to survive in good health long-term on a colony then there’s no point in even beginning the effort. A colony means babies. Babies bones won’t develop properly in weak or no gravity, they must not be exposed to radiation, and we don’t want damaging extraterrestrial soil particles in their lungs.
    The O’Neill cylinders were conceived to be floating in space and I notice the doctor moves them inside Deimos for extra radiation protection. A question that occurred to me is will the ground up core of Deimos or any other asteroid body be safe to use as soil especially if the particles become airborne and get into the human lung. I suppose they could grow the food hydroponically, but it would be sad if they couldn’t grow large trees. Water has been discovered on asteroids so those could be mined for water and shipped to Deimos if it is lacking there.
    Any colonies that are built will not be able to afford to have the kind of reckless social systems that we tolerate here on Earth. The hoarding instinct, that is so prominently displayed by our plutocrats, will quite obviously have to be discarded. The human chaos caused by greed obsessed actors becomes intolerable in space where cold equations rule. Perhaps the greed/competition instinct could be channeled into areas like intellectual development and compassion–societies based on intelligence and love. With all the emphasis on the technical means, few seem to focus on the social realities that will have to be dealt with. Your blog is one of the few places where social realities are being questioned and investigated.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      It has been clear for a while that asteroids will come before Mars, or even the Moon, considering the gravity wells, and now other things. The Moon maybe OK, if we can get water there (it’s around the poles, where there is perpetual light on the peaks, thus solar power.

      Discovering massive water on Ceres (not on Vesta, though), just like the ice cliffs on Mars, are game changers. That all happened in the last year or so, from our dear robots…

      Any ground on an asteroid could be reprocessed using lasers (say), or some electric arcs, to solve the dust problem. Even more so on Ceres: with all the water, we could make mud (given a dense energy source, the only one known being nuclear fission).
      Social systems on Earth we have now are plutocratic from inheritance (including Putin, Xi, the Euro-American system, etc.) or tyranny (Castro, Maduro, etc…)

      I was watching 60 Minutes with Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I like her. However, not only did she start her career as a lawyer defending Philip Morris, an addictive drug company, form one of the top law firms, and then as a Congresswoman with Trump like positions, but she is actually from a (small) plutocratic family… Her maternal grandmother, Dorothea “Polly” Noonan, is a founder of the Albany Democratic Women’s Club, and leader of Albany Mayor Erastus Corning’s powerful political machine, lasting for more than 40 years. Polly bought plenty of land, long ago… Just like with Trump, or the multibillionaire (in constant dollars) JFK, or, for that matter, Jeff Bezos, or Gates, that doesn’t mean we should reject her outright. Advocacy of ideas should be considered first.

      The plutocratic effect blossoms from civilization amplifying the all too human Dark Side. So it can’t be avoided, but it has to be kept in check. As Romans did for 5 centuries. Limiting wealth, & more generally power, absolutely, as the Roman Republic imposed it, is how to do it.

      Greed is sometimes useful, as Falcon Heavy just demonstrated, making a fool of the Russians, the French, ULA, NASA, etc. First time I see an Obama policy really working, for the best (and I was against it, and I was wrong… But Musk is not Obama, but an engineer…)

      A point to be developed in a future essay (but was already mentioned many times) is that ALL human emotions have good sides and appropriate moments… When in space, greed will be overwhelmed by survival (one rarely saw greed surfacing in the polar expeditions, however tragic… quite the opposite…)

      Thanks for the compliment, BTW, and thanks for this video with Dr. Logan, I didn’t know he existed… (And his positions fit mine well; NASA should also try to develop thermonuclear propulsion, as I have advocated… but I can’t find the essay, so long ago it was… It’s easier in space than on the ground…)


  2. Gmax Says:

    Isn’t Deimos a bit far? Also the nuke thing won’t fly with PC crowd. You have to launch the damned thing.
    Something else: to determine minimum gravity, how would you do it? And how to turn around it?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Nuclear materials could be launched in innocuous pieces. Deimos has no escape velocity, so, especially if we develop faster (fission propulsion) ways, it’s an obvious base. And, once we have speedy ways, dwarf planet Ceres is obviously colonizable (especially as it has plenty of water, so no dust problem…) PC crowd will have to grow up: between CO2 and nuclear materials, especially if based on thorium, there is no choice…


  3. ianmillerblog Says:

    Deimos is interesting as a concept, but it would be very difficult to spin up, and its somewhat odd shape would not help at all. But for gravity, Mars for me is the better option. The solar particle radiation could be averted with a magnetic field at the Mars-sun L-1 position, and the particle size can be dealt with provided you have water, and that seems to be there.

    But gravity – that is another matter altogether. If Mars hasn’t got enough, and we don’t know what is “enough”, as the space station experience is at the other limit, then it is not going to work out.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Apparently the cosmic rays get stopped by the atmosphere, not the magnetosphere (that diverts the 400km/s solar wind of protons… Cosmic rays go way too fast. One needs 10 meters of water, or a few meters of dist to stop them. Lave tubes will also work…

      My idea is not to rotate Deimos. That’s too weird, even for me. One could have a ROTATING space station around Deimos to get gravity vacations FROM Deimos… Actually one could sleep there every night! Ultimately, with fancy tech, one could rotate colonies INSIDE Deimos…


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