Building a Non-Electrical Economy on Other Planets

Technological solutions used on remote space colonies need to be robust, easy to repair and ideally easy to build and maintain with local resources.

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Mars Brick Economy

While I will mostly write about Venus, there are some general observations about any planet in our solar system. We won’t have abundance of trees growing everywhere. Hence the ubiquity of wood based products would change dramatically.

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Demonstration of how stone paper is water proof

Venus Fluid Based Economy

I’ve written extensively about colonization of the Venus cloud tops before. The idea is that above the Venus cloud tops, we have earth like conditions with respect to temperature, pressure and gravity. You can live inside balloons filled with regular breathable air because they would float in the dense Venus atmosphere.

Alternative to Electrical Tools

Any modern industrial economy needs access to power tools for drilling and cutting. We need some kind of motors for lifting heavy stuff or moving it laterally.

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Example of the vide variety of air powered tools available today
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An air compressor, used to provide pressurized gas to pneumatic tools.
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Pneumatic tools are portable, since you can carry a pressured tank rather than connecting straight to an air compressor.

How to Make Computers Not Using Electricity?

So we can do tools without electricity but what about computers? Any modern economy will need it. We need computers for flight control of our Venus airships. We need them to control 3D printers, plotters, robot arms, CNC machines or other equipment we use to manufacture things.

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The Difference Engine, a mechanical computer invented by Charles Babbage.
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First general purpose, programmable computer, the Z1 by Konrad Zuse. This was an electro mechanical computer.
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A fludics based computer

Analog Computers

While not very well known today, a lot of computing in the past was done with analog computers. The Soviets used analog computer for a lot of their rocket control systems.

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The analog water computer MONIAC, use to calculate economic processes.

Interfacing Fluidics Devices With the Real World

It might not be obvious how you get a tiny device with tiny amounts of fluids flowing through it to influence the real world. However as if electronics, we got amplifiers. Fluidics amplifiers are able to let a small stream of fluids to control a much larger stream.

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Different ways a small flow can control a large flow.

Long Distance Communications

Ever since the telegraph we have used electrical wires for long distance communitions. What do you do if you don’t have metal wires to run electricity through?

Maintainability And Reliability

While a lot of electronics and electrical systems are highly reliable in the sense that they can keep working for a lot time without breaking down, they have the problem that these systems are not necessarily easy to service, repair and maintain.

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The RepRap self replicating (or almost) printer.

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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