Difference between revisions of "Cities Skylines: Mars"
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=== Program Propagation and Commercialization ===
=== Program Propagation and Commercialization ===
== Interplanetary Travel ==
== Interplanetary Travel ==
=== Problematic of Interplanetary Travel ===
=== Problematic of Interplanetary Travel ===
=== Skyhook ===
=== Skyhook ===
==== Earth Skyhook System ====
==== Earth Skyhook System ====
Revision as of 21:55, 1 August 2020
Project Mars is the name of Mars colonization efforts commenced and maintained by WOK Industries. It was the first major extra-terrestrial settlement project, succeeding in maintaining a fixed presence on Mars as early as 2051, growing throughout the next two decades into a complex system of mining colonies, habitation domes, and dozens of smaller outposts. Marketed as a Utopia for modern man, Mars has opened up a whole new opportunity for revenue streams. WOK Industries, being it's major shareholder and investor, offers affordable transportation for selected citizens from Earth to the red planet, which many see as the only possible escape from Earth ravaged by the climate change and associated societal effects.
- 1 Background
- 2 Preparations
- 3 Interplanetary Travel
- 4 Domes and Stations
- 5 Colony Politics
- 6 Legacy
World in Crisis
With a population of 11 billion and a nearly exhausted reserves of fossils fuels, never mind the ever worsening climate, the world seemed to be headed towards disaster. Decades of poor decisions, simple-minded and shortsighted politics, have left the Earth of 2030 unprepared for what was always going to happen.
Global Economic and Climate Collapse
The year 2036 brought the first truly world changing climate events. Because of flooding, hurricanes/cyclones, and incredibly intense heat waves and droughts the majority of third world countries were completely decimated and often suffered heavy casualties, ranging into the millions over time. First world countries fared slightly better, as they had advanced technology and infrastructure in place to protect them from a slow descent into hell. After the initial shock of the Earth's environment changing, food became a large problem, as with the droughts, heat waves, and flooding, many crops and livestock had been killed off, crippling the majority of food production. The first obvious result was an immediate economic recession. As prices soared and incomes became irrelevant, many less developed regions of the world have attempted to switch to a simpler but less volatile system of bartering, sometimes successfully.
Riots and Radicalization
Soon after, civil unrest began to grow among all classes of all nationalities around the world. Protests began to break out across the world like wildfires, be it because of the dire financial situation, natural disasters, or lack of food and other supplies. Instead of uniting people, these riots further stratified the society, with the generous help of social and mass media. Over the following months, societies separated and radicalized in any political direction that promised to solve the issues everyone was facing. Populists took power on promises of instant remedies, solving nothing but pushing radicals even further. Many nations at this time decided to shut their borders, international cooperation was halted out of fear of competition for resources. Dozens of small and several large military conflicts broke out in the regions of the middle east, Siberia, as well as Central and South America. Authoritarian nations such as China and North Korea held the nations in tight control, managing to maintain some control and order, but bleeding thousands of lives in the background every day due to starvation, pollution, and other related causes. The richest of countries revisited cold war doomsday scenarios, with the richest searching for an escape from the society's problems. Extra-terrestrial colonization came back as an alternative that many considered outlandish, except for one corporation.
Corporations Rise to the Occasion
With the rising social tension, many governments which promised quick solutions began outsourcing various tasks to expensive but far more effective corporations. One of these corporations was WOK Industries, which started out as (TBA), but soon grew to become the largest subcontractor of the CCP. Witnessing its ruthless efficiency in delivering security services, healthcare, but also infrastructural solutions, foreign nations began to reach out to WOK Industries, which soon established itself in more than fifty major countries, including twelve states of the USA. These corporations soon became economically larger subjects than many small nations, maintaining control over large regions in different countries both in administration and militarily.
Extra-Terrestrial Colonization Concepts
Seeing the current conditions on the Earth, many of the Earth's wealthiest individuals and groups were seeking alternatives to the volatile, prone to revolt city centers of first world countries. Secluded locations deep within uninhabited territories were torn up my mother nature and weren't viable anymore. Living in bunker-like homes was the path many took, but no one chose, hence the search was diverted elsewhere.
First mentions of possible private colonization efforts outside of the Earth appeared in the early 2040s. Humans first looked towards Moon, for its relative proximity to Earth, which meant it was much easier to transport materials to it than to other planets. The other two alternatives were Venus and Mars, for their atmospheric and orbital properties, respectively. WOK Industries finally dedicated itself in creating a colony on one of the three bodies.
Moon was considered first and the simplest alternative to living on Earth. Although it does not have an atmosphere, it is the closest celestial body, meaning that to shuttle personnel and supplies to its surface is less costly than to any other planet. The travel time is also much shorter, measured in only days compared to months that it takes to reach Mars and or Venus. The idea was eventually discarded, since although it was close, it was limited in resources, and most importantly, it lacked water.
Venus was the second option considered for colonization, in a manner previously unseen. Instead of establishing a base on the surface of the planet, a floating colony was suggested. This was the most plausible solution, due to the extremely hostile conditions on the surface of Venus. Although there is water in the atmosphere, the project was considered far too technologically advanced to be considered for a large colony.
Mars was the third and the most serious candidate for colonization. It has water reserves under its surface, it has ore deposits, and martian regolith is suitable for construction of living structures, as well as industrial tools and systems. However, Mars doesn't have a magnetic field, exposing the surface to deadly solar and space radiation, and its atmosphere is near negligible. None the less, Mars was selected as the most suitable planet for colonization, and the preparations commenced.
In 2034, the Russian space agency, Roskosmos has merged with another government-owned Russian company, the United Aircraft Corporation, forming Rosaviakosmos. Less then a year following the merger, Rosaviakosmos was privatized due to financial reasons. Soon after, the company began searching for new directions it could develop itself, in order to become financially viable again. True turnaround came in 2040, when WOK Industries requested a study be made into the possibility of cheap interplanetary travel for future colonization efforts.
Development of Skyhook
Several concepts of large volume interplanetary travel were presented to WOK Industries, including the Skyhook, which was ultimately chosen as the best option available. Although the concept seemed outlandish to many, Rosaviakosmos engineers delivered a concept study to WOK Industries mere three weeks later, with the project name РоМeTC (Pоссийская Mежпланетная Tранспортная Cистема). RoMeTC would have a skyhook placed in Low Earth Orbit, a satellite with a counterweight and a tether that would reach down to upper atmosphere to grab spacecraft and throw them out of Earth's sphere of influence. Reluctantly, WOK accepted the somewhat nationalist name, which later become the symbol of the next two decades. It was decided to establish one Skyhook on earth reaching into low earth orbit, and another on Mars, which would be connected to the closer of its moons, Phobos.
Development of Graphene fiber composites allowed for the construction to begin almost immediately. First tests were made later that year, where the tethers were thoroughly tested on ground in a series of tension tests. Two years later, in 2042, the first satellite with a tether system was sent into the orbit. The test was a failure, and the tether broke when the satellite control system hit gimbal lock and tumbled into the atmosphere, burning up. Multiple experiments were performed, in total 12 satellites were launched, until 2047, when the actual Skyhook was launched into orbit. The mission was a partial success, the drag was much larger than expected due to unforeseen aerodynamic effects. This was resolved with an attachment, launched two months later, which included a powerful ion engine and two large xenon tanks, capable of balancing out the drag on the satellite.
Development of Nuclear Propulsion
While working on the Skyhook, it was clear that it alone could not deliver payloads to Mars at all times. With the changing relative positions of the two planets, the spacecraft needed to either accelerate or decelerate after leaving Earth's sphere of influence, while keeping in mind strict weight limits. Every gram of fuel was accounted for, as it meant that less payload, less personnel and or supplies, could be delivered to Mars. Known for its extremely high specific impulse (but also dubious environmental effects), nuclear propulsion was chosen to deliver the necessary DeltaV. All associated research was completed in the State Central Navy Testing Range near Nyonoksa, a site familiar with similar projects. It took only four years from the first prototypes to complete, self-sufficient nuclear rocket engines. The engines were first tested on an old TU-160 strategic bomber, and later launched to be tested in High Earth Orbit. Following successful tests in both environments, Rosaviakosmos developed a series of 14 shuttle craft equipped with these engines by the end of 2048.
Dome Habitat Experiments
Having found a contractor for the development of the inter-planetary supply chain to Mars, WOK Industries was finalizing its colony design. Together with WOK Industries, several international corporations have dedicated themselves to the project, such as the South African Vapour Fibre, Mexican Roca Roja Incorporated, Japanese Happīrokku, but also the Chinese corporation Hóngxīng Technologies. Each was given a respective role in the colony design, according to their specialization, such as water treatment, software solutions, mining operations, etc.
The design of the colony was rather straightforward. Rather than terraforming the entire planet, a colossal dome of steel and composite glass would be built over a suitable crater and allowing for a manageable environment. The crater would provide several benefits, namely, easy access to the different ores found on Mars. However, this design was only simple in theory, but not in practice, hence WOK Industries decided to build a series of domes on Earth first, in varying environments, from Oceania to Siberia. In total, there would be 11 scaled down Domes constructed on Earth before the first began construction on Mars in 2055.
Simulating Mars Environment
The environment of Mars is challenging to say the least. Temperatures range from 293K to 120K, the atmosphere is nearly negligible, unable to shield the surface from UV radiation. There is nearly no noticeable magnetic field on Mars, due to a stationary core, far colder than that of Earth. While most of the testing domes were placed in normal conditions, four were placed in the coldest locations available, in Alaska and Siberia. These domes were testing systems of air filtration, water purification, recycling, oxygen production, systems not directly exposed to the outer elements. Two extra domes were constructed with another dome around them, to test the true conditions of Mars. The outer dome sealed off the Earth environment, and maintained a near-vacuum with the second, inner dome, with a temperature varying around 200K.
Dome X12 Air Circulation Failure
Dome X12 was the first testing dome constructed after the colonization of Mars began, in 2056. It was supposed to bring major changes to the design, with a completely new air filtration system, and an experimental system that would be capable of changing heavy water into regular, non-toxic water. However, soon after its launch, the new air filtration system started to develop faults. First it was suggested it could be a software error, so the control systems were rebuilt and upgraded. The real fault though was in a valve component that was responsible for allowing excess CO2 from inside the dome to be expelled into the outer environment of Mars. With the valve not working, the system wasn't able to get rid of all the CO2 and it steadily rose, ultimately resulting in a failure. The air filtration system was never redesigned, since the flaw was so substantial a new full design would be cheaper.
Remote Construction Trials
Since the domes were such complex structures, they would be built over a long time period. It was decided that the simplest option was to sent out a series of drones and remotely operating machinery that would start and complete large part of the construction before the first settlers arrived. Part of this process would have been gathering martian regolith as well as different ores, that would be used to forge the structural beams of the dome, as well as gather materials necessary for forming the large translucent panels that cover the dome. To test this ability, tests were made in deserts in New Mexico, and one even on a WOK Industries - owned outpost on the moon.
Program Propagation and Commercialization
With the design complete and construction under way, WOK Industries had to gather personnel for the colony, and make it financially viable. The colony wasn't just supposed to provide an escape for the wealthy, but it was also going to have to generate revenue to keep itself afloat and WOK Industries in charge. The already mentioned class of the elites from earth formed the first form of income. For this reason, each residence Dome was separated into the upper and the lower levels.
The upper levels of the colony where they would reside were reminiscent of an oasis. Marketed as the first other-worldly wonder, WOK Industries promised the most luxurious apartments, shops, parks, and many other amenities, including spas, restaurants, and theaters. For the selected few, this was a chance at a second life, far from Earth's problems, a new frontier to discover, and conquer. However, the costs of these luxuries would only partially be covered by what the residents had to pay. Another source of income would be scientific research, where the scientists and researchers would share the upper levels with the elites, although their stay would be paid for by other large corporations and government organizations.
The lower levels were the largest source of income, and also the biggest cost saving effort made by WOK Industries in the entire project. Densely packed large populations of people gathered from all over the Earth would be promised a better life on Mars, a chance to escape the more and more problematic Earth. For many, it was a way to escape not only the larger issues that were threatening the world, but also their personal issues, leaving their past behind. However, upon coming to Mars, it became very clear what kind of life was awaiting them, and even worse, that it would be near impossible to get out of it alive. The reason being that the lower levels were working manual jobs only, almost purely for food rations and practically no money. The main source of income are mining operations outside of the main dome, where the lower level personnel would work for years upon years without end, gathering the materials that are needed back on earth or anywhere else in the solar system.