ECOSYSTEM : Ganymede, moon of Jupiter
TEAM MEMBERS: Anaïs Gagnon, Zahra Altalibi, Paula Dagher, Luca Ferrara, Francis Garnier & Annabelle Richard-Laferrière
It is the year 3030 and our solar system’s most sought out refueling station is logically located on Ganymede. It is used to stock up on air, water, food, and fuel for deep space exploration. This station serves not only for the practical purpose, but also gives the passengers a certain level of comfort after their long journey.
The station is located on a dark spot called Perrine at the coordinates 30°N/45°W. Dark spots provide a stable surface as they are older craters, allowing it to be safer. Also, this position is optimal as it has a constant view of Jupiter, but still overlooks the Sun for most of its orbit without being blocked by Jupiter which is ideal for solar power.
Ganymede is exposed to lethal levels of radiation coming from Jupiter, the Sun and space. Thus, special materials are used in order to provide sufficient protection. Silica aerogel is a transparent thermal and radiation resistant material that is used as a protective dome around the elements that are found above ground on Ganymede’s surface.
Most of Ganymede’s livable habitat will be more than 20 m below its icy surface, which greatly protects its inhabitants from radiation. For added protection, the walls of the subsurface habitat are composed of multi-layer insulation.
An atmospheric pressure similar to that of Earth must be maintained. Since there is already a source of hydrogen and oxygen on Ganymede, a shipment of nitrogen was brought in order to facilitate the creation of a breathable internal atmosphere. The right percentage of oxygen and carbon dioxide is kept using the breathing of animals and the photosynthesis plants. The quantity of plants necessary is automated and surplus of carbon dioxide or oxygen is released into the atmosphere to terraform. To aid the stabilization of the pressure, the habitat was designed in the form of a disk, as it avoids any corners. For safety reasons, the entire station was compartmentalized in case of hazardous events.
Since most of the livable habitat is below ground, Ganymede’s surface is available to install a large number of solar panels. We have assumed that the efficiency of each solar panel is about 90%. In order to power the habitat for an estimated 250 people, 35,000 m2 of solar panels are necessary. The calculations are based on the maximum consummation on Earth and a luminosity of 50 W/m2 received from the Sun at the distance of Jupiter.
The tunnels are anchored to the ice layer to ensure no movement and are coated with radiation-proof material. They are equipped with an electromagnetic ramp for the transport mechanism and with a temperature isolation mechanism.
Atmosphere, meteorological and communication station
Serves to make contact with spaceships and communicate with Earth as well as other intergalactic stations. The outer post is also equipped with atmospheric and meteorological surveying tools.
For deep space observation, a 10 m diameter telescope allows for clear images without light pollution interference. A heat and radiation protection dome allows spectators to view Ganymede’s night sky without disrupting the lens of the telescope.
The landing and launch pad is made of space grade LI-900, with a capacity to retain heat for extended periods of time, and an inorganic-based thermoelectric (TE) substance that generates electricity using this heat.
Robot repair station
The outside part of the station is maintained by fully automated robots. Even the robots have robots to repair them!
Emergency evacuation domes
For redundant safety, the evacuation domes are easily accessible by tunnels. They are surrounded by the solar farms to provide emergency energy and are distanced by a 10 km buffer.
The standardized living quarters, which vary in size whether for solo travelers or for families, were integrated in the habitat. They are well separated from the public areas, situated above them, and suit the needs of the occupants. For safety reasons, there are no kitchens in the living areas, solely bedrooms, washrooms, and a sitting area.
In order to create a place of gathering for its inhabitants, a cafeteria was included in the designs. Its flexible configuration allows it to also be used as an amphitheater or a cinema.
It is essential for the inhabitants to train in order to maintain muscle mass at a lower gravity. The gym is equipped with a pool. Swimming on Ganymede allows you to jump out of water up to 3 m like a dolphin!
Educational quarters, library, and offices
Due to the extended stays on Ganymede, many of its inhabitants travel with their families. It is therefore important that there is access to educational facilities, libraries and offices.
Medbay is fully automated to allow all injuries and diseases to be treated in Ganymede’s extreme conditions. Access to therapy and psychiatry is also available for emotional and psychological support.
The Earth’s 24-hour day cycle are projected on the ceilings throughout the subsurface habitat to give the inhabitants an Earth-like feel instead of adjusting to Ganymede’s 172 hours day.
For compost to succeed on Ganymede, there must be a balance of feedstock, temperature, and moisture. The microbes will properly breakdown the material with a good carbon-to-nitrogen ratio present. There are many advantages of composting, including the increase of nutrients in soil for vegetation growth and to replace the need of a sewage system. To dispose of the hazardous waste materials, a new technique capable of transforming non-recyclable materials into clean biofuels and renewable chemicals is adopted. The remnants are burned.
An automated farmer robot manages the free running chicken population. The chickens are easy to manage (artificial lighting, CO2 production), a source of nutrition (eggs, etc.) and can be used for composting (feces, etc.).
The automated process allows stress-free farming. The lighting used is Low-Emitting Diodes (LED) with a timer for optimum plant productivity. The plants undergo mist sprays on timed intervals as well. Sensors detect when each plant reaches consuming status and moves through an automated process down the main trunk to a delivery system to storage, the cafeteria or compost. The chickens are an excellent source of CO2 for the plants.
Water pumping and filtration system
The filtration process will allow the saline content to be removed by evaporating the salt using a self-heating material. Other potential contaminants will be removed using different techniques involving the increase in pressure, concentration, and electric potential. Water will be pumped up from a salt water layer 100m below the filtration dome. The hydraulic pump will be situation in a large insulated manhole that extends 100m deep. It will be connected to a 1m diameter pipe leading directly into the water. The pipe will be protected from frost using high insulation coatings. Once the water exits the pipe into the manhole, it will fill until it triggers the pump allowing the water to make its way vertically into the filtration system.
Water in gaseous form is passed through a tube. The difference in poles between the molecules will force the H2O to break into O2 + H2. The O2 is vented in the station for breathable air and the excess is released into the atmosphere to terraform. The H2 is liquified and stored for combustion energy needs.
Electric cables create a magnetic field when loops are made. The high-power magnets are round shaped to allow the poles to be manipulated with ease. The current and the number of coils from the wire are manipulated to allow efficient transport in horizontal and vertical planes. The cargo load is approximately 500-700 lbs and the vehicle weight 1500 lbs.