Author Topic: Most likely transport method  (Read 9644 times)

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Hooke

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Most likely transport method
« on: January 27, 2010, 11:54:32 AM »
Here is a link to a good video.    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3401/02.html
With the Algea producing Alcohol this technology would be the cheapest and removethe need for shuttle landings for anything as small as ore loads.

profit004

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 02:58:03 AM »
A space elevator on mars would be a highly efficient form of ground to space transport... and FAR easier to engineer than on earth.

A bio-fuel elevator probably will be a no go though... PV or Nuclear.. whichever weighs less.

as a side note I <3 space elevators, and want to build a game with one as the center piece.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 03:00:16 AM by profit004 »

Hooke

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 02:53:55 PM »
No need for Bio-fuel or nuclear.   Very little atmosphere means mirrors and solar panels will get it.   Use batteries to help store the energy and cover the outside in panels, you will have electrical to spare.

Hyper

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 05:17:00 PM »
Since you guys have lots of time on yer hands and we are talking transport, sink your teeth into this one.
The main colony on mars will transport things to our colony and others. Right now I have a little jump jet kinda thing but will that be the method for distance transport for a colony 10 to 50 miles away or more?
Do some research and find this out:
1 is the atmosphere capable of having a blimp? Light gas small jet propulsion
2 is a jump jet practical given the atmosphere? I.E. a hellicopter but instead of blades have it jet powered. I say jet but it wont be a jet it will have to be a propulsion system that carries it's own oxidizer
3 is transport over distance on Mars destined to be a giant truck or rail system?

Inquiring minds need to code it.....

profit004

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 09:58:46 PM »
Since you guys have lots of time on yer hands and we are talking transport, sink your teeth into this one.
The main colony on mars will transport things to our colony and others. Right now I have a little jump jet kinda thing but will that be the method for distance transport for a colony 10 to 50 miles away or more?
Do some research and find this out:
1 is the atmosphere capable of having a blimp? Light gas small jet propulsion
2 is a jump jet practical given the atmosphere? I.E. a hellicopter but instead of blades have it jet powered. I say jet but it wont be a jet it will have to be a propulsion system that carries it's own oxidizer
3 is transport over distance on Mars destined to be a giant truck or rail system?

Inquiring minds need to code it.....


Due to the ludicrously thin atmosphere, even with the reduced gravity, air travel is highly improbable.

Building an airframe light enough and large enough to support a modest cargo capacity is barely within our technical limitations currently, (Think a plane like the one that the person using pedal powered across the English channel, just with 15 times more wingspan bare minimum) and would be a seriously inefficient form of transportation. Something like this will fly, but it would need to be traveling VERY fast to generate lift....  *this one in concept is rocket powered*


It also is ultra-lightweight with fuel weighs less than 300KG... And probably does not have a payload capacity of more than 10kg.  Might be useful for long distance ultra low weight courier missions. like sending a circuit board to a far off hab... could never land safely though.. would be a one use plane. Unless somehow someone could produce a runway 10 miles long smooth as glass.

Blimps, balloons, and the like with currently known materials just will not work, their material weighs more than the buoyancy of mars's pathetic atmosphere could provide.... maybe an extremely *and I mean less than 1 micron extremely* thin form of plastic could work and at least get a thing like a child's helium balloon off the ground, but I do not see it as a form of cargo transport with current or near future technology. (displacing a cubic KM of atmosphere on mars wouldn't even provide much lift compared to the weight of the envelope even with something as light as helium in a .5 micron Mylar sheath. I am not sure it would even lift off.) However... for a parachute like effect, it could in theory work well.. Possibly a solar Montgolfiere style balloon could carry a little weight, maybe a couple KG for a ways... during the day... Once again hinging on a yet undiscovered ultra lightweight and strong material. Joe Kittinger almost made it to martian atmosphere levels on earth...  I do recommend you watch this video. Its so amazing. *mars would have been 35KM* maybe with reduced gravity, the extra upward inertia might have carried him there.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-369888258105653405&ei=0HBiS5TBBoykrALrpezRCA&q=parachute+from+edge+of+space&client=firefox-a#

Or a more spiritual and detailed view of his jump here ->
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-369888258105653405&ei=0HBiS5TBBoykrALrpezRCA&q=parachute+from+edge+of+space&client=firefox-a#docid=-3147115862843769268

Easily a video that could change your views on life if you let it.

"jump" jets (VTOL aircraft) Are nearly impossible. Since it is forced to carry it's own oxidizer, expect an endurance of 3 mins or less, even with reduced gravity....  massive fuel hog as well.  Landing is a serious concern as carrying enough fuel to slow it down from a decent is problematic after a launch *The atmosphere isn't thick enough to slow it down like with current VTOL craft* Unless the fuel to cargo ratio was moved to 500 to 1 or so with droppable external tanks, either every "landing" would result in a crater and an end to the ships life or a chute would have to be deployed.

Sadly I see little air travel possible other than rocket based.. Thankfully the super thin atmosphere and low gravity does help this a little, but it will still be a fuel hog and deplete the seriously finite amount of theoretically available hydrogen on mars.  It would have to rocket up.. and deploy a seriously large chute and coast back down to the ground for maximum efficiency..

Linear induction mass accelerators could kinda toss packets of cargo between colonies... and I think a parachute could be made thin enough to work in the martian atmosphere with current technology...  Probably Mylar(tm) would work if it was made really thin. This system would never work on earth of course with our dense atmosphere but shouldn't be a real massive technical challenge on mars.

Umm.. Rail.. Too much labor required to lay down initially... But most efficient.. could be driven off of a colony's electrical system... many advantages, it will be used but not at the stage where the game plays out.

I am thinking probably automated heavy duty trucks with multiply redundant drive systems and very large wheels is the most likely short term solution... It would need a very wide stance for stability as well... a rollover would be catastrophic...(Sadly useless designs permeate pop culture... For example: This concept here involves so much wishful thinking it borders on santa clause.. Anyone trying to use this on mars will probably die or not get where they want to go... For one thing I can see it would roll over and continue rolling on an incline of 10-25 degrees depending on if those suspension joints compensated or not... A medium bump about 2.5 feet tall could flip it if they were rigid...  I have seen no practical designs rendered anywhere. )
 
Something like this traveling at a sane speed, with a wider base,and a lower center of gravity,  would be a lot better... Yes, I know it is a monster truck.. but many of the obstacles they face are similar to ones that will be on mars.
 
*Yes I know the rovers wheels were small, but they only traveled a couple feet a day and had time to plot every rock obstacle out weeks in advance. Also please note that even though they have traveled less than 18 miles total, one is currently stuck...

There will not be enough labor available for manual driving in many instances... There certainly will not be enough labor or equipment available to produce a decent road...  Every route will have to be mapped ahead of time and obstacles will have to be bypassed or traversed instead of removed...  The wheels will have to be very large... Probably diameter = 2.5-6 meters... ground clearance would need to be at least 1-3 meters, or route choices would be VERY limited... thankfully the gravity is less.. Could be done with current earth based technology... Rubber tires probably would not survive long in the cold with the high ultraviolet content.. would have to be a special material.. possibly Kevlar strengthened air tight material... possibly rubber covered with another material to protect it.. weight issues with rubber... More likely Kevlar fiber if earth made.  Wire mesh possible, however unlikely due to long term fatigue issues...  If rubber could be synthesized on mars, that would be the most likely solution, with internal bands of Kevlar or something similar (steel may become brittle) and an external coating to protect it.

I did a horrible MSpaint rendering on what could work in theory.. imagine a wheel base 2-3x the height of the vehicle, since I did not do a isometric rendering. It is necessary due to the height of the obstacles on mars to prevent a roll over.


In any event it needs to be able to traverse something like this ->


Or this *Note the tiny rover for scale of the rocks*


And this ->


Roads could in theory be made mid term by fabricating a bulldozer type machine out of martian materials, however it would be cost prohibitive to ship one in from earth... To work effectively on mars it would have to weigh more than 2x what it does on earth.  Could not be automated or telepresenced , humans can feel things sitting in a bulldozer that are required for their operation(just trust me on this, if you have driven a bulldozer, or a loader there are things you just feel and cannot be transmitted in another form)... due to the stresses the operator would probably have to be in a pressure suit all the time because a shirt sleeve cabin would be prone to critical failure. Dozers flex an incredible amount during operation, and maintaining seals would be problematic. Might be possible though.

Mag lev rail probably mid-long term solution. With no atmosphere speeds of 600kph (400mph ish for fellow Americans) should be possible with fair safety.

Sub orbital rocket, or LIM accelerator for long range, mid term solutions, until rail spreads to their area.

I see no short-term, long-range solutions for transport between colonies. All technologies I can imagine working in a martian environment would not be viable immediately on a virgin planet without sufficient access to labor, resources, or materials.  Ugly conundrum, the only solution I see is no long distance transport until the infrastructure is in place to produce some significant amounts of martian based goods. IE: All initial colonies would necessary be confined to a very small area compared to total martian surface. ( Less than 300km *2-7 days safe transport speed* apart tops)

*PS you are right about time on my hands as I realize I have spent close to 6 hours looking up and verifying things on this single post... Gah.. I wish my fiancee' was here...

*Side note, I have no actual experience in any of these things so my ideas can and possibly are wrong in some instances... I am a farmer and a janitor (would like to be a Network admin but no one will hire me =/ )using google to tell me how things work and what kind of conditions and environments there are... there are just common sense things that I see(like when something is susceptible to rolling over, how to drive a bulldozer,front end loader, ect)...  Still farmers arn't dumb, and you better be thankful for that every time you eat a meal =p


« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 02:20:53 AM by profit004 »

Schmidtrock

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2010, 08:42:55 AM »
Great post Profit! Well done. I agree with your research and think we will be regaled to ground transport.

Expanding on your earlier space elevator idea. I wonder if some sort of fixed orbit outpost could be a
destination for the space elevator.  Transport packages could be hoisted up to the outpost where it
could then be outfitted with some sort of delivery shell. Wouldn't need much in the way of propellant just robust landing gear, airbags, parachute/foil etc. and a decent solid state navigation module.

thedubman

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2010, 09:48:58 AM »
My Real Life job often involves the logistics of moving 1000's of metric tonnes of soil/stone/rock whatever, from pit to job vice versa- Luckly for me the infrastructure of road/rail/river network is allready in place and all it really involves is a bit of traffic management/police control and a few phone calls to haulage firms and permissions from councils etc..

On MCO in its current state, I imagine the mass of material would be scaled down to the 10's or 100's of tonnes per 'shift'.. for me the only viable solution to move materials of that mass, to distances of 1-100KM would be to use a series of scaled up transport truck rovers, in a convoy..

I agree with profits cleverly researched work at all of his points, but the reality of having a simulator to work with means the we can bend the rules and 'cut corners' and still be able to have a complex and challenging series of events to simulate the way a problem is solved.. without simulating the actual mechanical workings of each system.. ie simulating a road build would involve a whole simulation programme in its self..

In a series of events, the haulage solution could be solved by.

1. Players would have to survey a route, to define shortest and most efficent paths (not up hills all the time!)
2. Routes would have to be cleared of obsticales, and a roadway would have to be placed. As profit says, a bulldozer would have to be manned. And building of a road in MCO could be simplified as clearing a path and compacting the road (maybe a purpose built rover that has blade and compaction unit). There is a hell of a lot of science in building a road on earth in civil engineering terms (load factors, angular dispacement, expansion, soil compression matrix over time, caustic voids etc etc) so in gaming terms it could mean that the road building rover is driven, and behind it a 'road' is produced. MCO roads would make transporting faster and that if transport rover goes off the 'road' it slows up and gets damage..
3. If transporting for long distances , I would imagine that the transport rover convoys would be automated- so a series of becons would be placed to direct the traffic.
so, the transport rovers are at one colony, they are filled with materials and when ready, the order is given for them to start they journey, after a period of time they reach there destination and are unloaded (maybe manually driven from there end destination point to loading/unloading area).

This could lead to some interesting missions including the survey, actually building the road (long range roading building would need the rover to be able to carry a lifesupport system and a means of generating more o2, power, etc- or maybe drops could be inplace for pickups and refueling). So more interesting missions including emergency rescue (road building rover breaks down) and/or transport rovers breaking down, getting lost/stuck/ recovery..etc.

But, to simplfy even further, you could have a large transport rover, fill it, enter coordinates of destination- u get message 'transport truck is leaving' away it goes finding its own way there in the shortest route, when rover has arrives at the designated place, you get message 'the transport rover has arrived at such and such'.
I'm guessing that would be easiest to code. But I dont code, I build stuff!

« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 10:02:01 AM by thedubman »

Xorekis

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2010, 10:20:48 AM »
But, to simplfy even further, you could have a large transport rover, fill it, enter coordinates of destination- u get message 'transport truck is leaving' away it goes finding its own way there in the shortest route, when rover has arrives at the designated place, you get message 'the transport rover has arrived at such and such'.
I'm guessing that would be easiest to code. But I dont code, I build stuff!

Actualy this suggestion is easier to code.  But these are all great suggestions. 


1. Players would have to survey a route, to define shortest and most efficent paths (not up hills all the time!)
2. Routes would have to be cleared of obsticales, and a roadway would have to be placed. As profit says, a bulldozer would have to be manned. And building of a road in MCO could be simplified as clearing a path and compacting the road (maybe a purpose built rover that has blade and compaction unit). There is a hell of a lot of science in building a road on earth in civil engineering terms (load factors, angular dispacement, expansion, soil compression matrix over time, caustic voids etc etc) so in gaming terms it could mean that the road building rover is driven, and behind it a 'road' is produced. MCO roads would make transporting faster and that if transport rover goes off the 'road' it slows up and gets damage..
3. If transporting for long distances , I would imagine that the transport rover convoys would be automated- so a series of becons would be placed to direct the traffic.
so, the transport rovers are at one colony, they are filled with materials and when ready, the order is given for them to start they journey, after a period of time they reach there destination and are unloaded (maybe manually driven from there end destination point to loading/unloading area).


The issue I see here is replayability.  It would be very cool to do this, Survey, clear objects, lay road, etc.   But in MCO, once done, its done,  so today it would be fun, but tomorrow there would be nothing to do.  But what if we could add maintenance or something?  A while ago I read SCI-FI book about a group of colonists that had to move from a northern colony to a southern colony half a world away.  The big thing was having to deal with obstacles on the transport road, like floods, sandstorms burrying the road, earthquakes destroying parts or creating crevises, etc.    What if we added something like that, were the MCO colonists have to keep the road/path clear every day or the convoy can never get there or leave?


Xorekis

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2010, 10:24:20 AM »


I think Hyper and I need one each of these as personal rovers on mars.


thedubman

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2010, 11:47:27 AM »
@ Xorekis, yes that is true.. once its built its built- maybe if a route was created with repeater beacons, which themselves could fail and/or need maintenace. Beacons could be added or moved so larger scale or more efficent routes could be planned.. failures of the beacons or transport responders and/or in severe sandstorms could make the transport get lost (runs for a while then if loses transponder signal stops). Giving the players missions to plan for recovery of such problems. I like to imagine MCO to have these kind of problems occur, its fine and dandy to have a perfectally set up and smoothly running colony, but in a gaming sense what would that leave you too do..
Another strongpoint of MCO for me is the problems that occur and how the players react and solve the issues,.. if MCO needs anything it needs to be 'difficult' to re-create the difficulties of colonising Mars- Make MCO hard to survive, thats what I think..

Keep up the great work guys, cant wait for 4.02/03 test!!!

Hyper

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2010, 12:06:02 PM »
The big issue for us to code any kind of transport is if I can get a truck or a train to come to the site where the game is played users will want to drive a rover back down the road and the way life is they would just drive off the edge of the game world. I would like to think that a train or tram would be added later in the game after the colony reaches a certain stage ( Simon lights up like a christmas tree here) but the game/code issue is running off the world. Open for suggestions here....

Xorekis

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2010, 12:13:22 PM »

One thought I had, was to add tunnel enterances that the convoy appears from and disappears to.  I guess another point would be to allow the convoy to past the furthest point a player can, and either vanish or appear around a hill.  Another way, would be to fade it in or out at the extreams.

thedubman

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2010, 12:42:02 PM »
I get it now, you are saying that another colony would be in another 'zone' or game world..
A large transport vehicle gets filled then drives off to the edge of the game world/zone and then appears in the next world/zone (would this be same server?) having a animated vehicle/train, which requires no player interaction would work well..

problems with train, it would need a track, which would need laying(building) and if raised would block off acesses over it. A tunnel sounds like an easy way out (but tunneling is a pig of a job, I helped build the Channel tunnel rail link from stratford bridge, London which went under the River Thames- cost millions and involved hundreds of pepole and specialist machines).
 I understand (kinda) the limits of simulating such things must be real tough- My views are completely from a gamers and game buyers point of view. And what would impress me and what would say to me ''hey thats cool, I like how they thought of that''

So to me a 'vanishing' truck or transport would give a sense of realisum, and I guess allow for less work for you guys.

@hyper, maybe if the train track or ground base mono-rail started near the edge of the game world, players could transport material to the 'station' via transport truck- load up train, you get a bit of animation as train dissapears into the distance in the nogo zone, players return transport truck back to colony.. at the other zone, the train arrives at there 'station' from nogo zone (after a period of time), unload, and return the goods back to there colony.. you could say tacks are layed automanously between zones, once enough material is gained. This could work for tunnels too, ie tunnels between zones..
« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 12:48:12 PM by thedubman »

profit004

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2010, 01:27:42 PM »
It's kinda gamey, but oblivion does this with people entering houses to good effect....

Just have the rovers fade out when they reach the border of the colony map.

It's not that harsh of an effect, and gamers will accept it.
 *I can not remember one person who complained about people fading away when they entered a house instead of opening the door and going inside and using 10x the graphics power and memory.

Just put a sign post to mark the way to the other colony, and to differentiate it from any other spot along the edge of the map.

As for road building... I really don't think martian colonist will be doing that near where we are in the colonization stage.. There just isn't enough infrastructure to support it. Tunnels are certainly out from a realism standpoint.
I have this feeling that real martian colonists at the simulators stage will have to lump it and drive on some of the nastiest terrain available.  Maybe the area immediately around a  hab will have been cleared, but I kinda don't think there will be labor, equipment,life support, or fuel to make an actual road.

geoffcartwright

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Re: Most likely transport method
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2010, 02:48:14 PM »
check out the article on aircraft on the red planet site which is extremely relevant and interesting to this discussion.
http://www.redcolony.com