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45 votes

Sending rockets to space will eventually consume all of our resources?

Most of the propellant expended in sending a spacecraft to Mars immediately returns to Earth -- the fuel and oxidizer are combusted, combining into (typically) water vapor, CO2, and other simple ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
39 votes
Accepted

Ultimate fate of rocket propellant in space?

Presumably you are asking about engines that are used once a space vehicle has escaped the Earth's gravitational sphere of influence, or is close to that point. Rocket exhaust during launch becomes a ...
David Hammen's user avatar
31 votes

Why is it so hard to build a closed-loop ecological life support system?

It is not so much 'hard' as it is an expensive area of research that is challenging to justify funding for. Biosphere 2 proved a number of things, some of them about humans but but most significantly ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

Why is it so hard to build a closed-loop ecological life support system?

To answer another facet of your question that others have looked over, is the question of why it is so easy to do with much smaller "ecosystems in a jar". You would think a larger system ...
Anthony Khodanian's user avatar
13 votes

Ultimate fate of rocket propellant in space?

No need to theorize. Astronomers have studied this problem for centuries, as there are natural objects that emit conspicuous plumes of rocket exhaust. We call them comets. The exhaust forms two "...
John Doty's user avatar
  • 3,364
11 votes

Sending rockets to space will eventually consume all of our resources?

There is far more material to be gained from space exploration than will be lost from Earth in collecting it. A primary reason to explore space is to exploit mineral and organic resources that occur ...
johnDanger's user avatar
8 votes

Is wind-power a viable backup power source for Mars One?

Yes, to an extent. A few key facts: While the atmosphere has 1% of the pressure of Earth's, it consists primarily of carbon dioxide (MW = 44) much more than nitrogen (MW = 28). Thus the effective ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
7 votes
Accepted

Is space habitation a technology problem or is it really just a mass (cost) problem?

While more mass/more budget would solve some/many problems, there are still space-habitation related issues that can't sustainably be solved by throwing mass at them. First, volume. We could easily ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
5 votes

Is wind-power a viable backup power source for Mars One?

Partial answer, it would be much harder than on Earth. GIF: A windy day on Mars, remember that Mars' gravity is less than Earth's so the wind isn't as strong as it might appear. Archived from the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes

Sending rockets to space will eventually consume all of our resources?

Eventually, NASA is planning on making a moon base and they will then make rocket fuel out of the water there. We could also make fuel out of the oceans which would solve this problem. Here are some ...
Tom J's user avatar
  • 65
3 votes

Why is it so hard to build a closed-loop ecological life support system?

I suspect that the main problem is lack of knowledge concerning all of the possible feed back loops that might occur under different circumstances and all of the possible interactions and competitions ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,560
3 votes

Could asteroid mining benefit human kind?

Put simply, the more we can find and/or make in outer space, the less reliant space settlements will be on regular shipments from Earth. It currently costs an average of \$10,000 to \$25,000 per ...
Aristocratic Jack's user avatar
2 votes

Is wind-power a viable backup power source for Mars One?

YES, during Martian dust storms: While all the other answers discuss wind conditions generally, they fail to point out that wind power would peak right when backup power is needed the most, during a ...
johnDanger's user avatar
2 votes

Long term sustainability of Space Flight

What are some of the known risks towards long term sustainability of manned space missions? What are the limited resources that could keep us sadly grounded? These days there aren't any special and ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
Accepted

Sending rockets to space will eventually consume all of our resources?

It's a fair question - and unfortunately the answers here circle around but don't quite aim straight at the nail of what I think the OP is after, which is fundamentally about rocket fuel. Because, no ...
The_Sympathizer's user avatar
2 votes

Most energy efficient food production for sustainable human life support

To answer this question, we first need to consider what is needed to sustain people in space. If we assume that we can't limit our crew to keto eaters, then (according to a presentation by Bryce Meyer ...
phil1008's user avatar
  • 5,634
1 vote

Why is it so hard to build a closed-loop ecological life support system?

Answer: Because the biochemistry of life is really, REALLY complicated. Spacecraft engineering, by comparison, is really easy. Engineers can design systems which are isolated from each other and are ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 22.1k
1 vote

Is space habitation a technology problem or is it really just a mass (cost) problem?

There are many technological problems to overcome. Here are some: A) What may be considered a first step to a sustainable colony in space is something of the scale of a Stanford Torus. The proposed ...
Galerita's user avatar
  • 1,139
1 vote

Sending rockets to space will eventually consume all of our resources?

The problem that you have to 'waste' matter to travel to space is one that is simply not solvable for the current rocket technology. There are technologies that will allow acceleration in space, like ...
UrasGungorPhys's user avatar
1 vote

Long term sustainability of Space Flight

Your question is very broad, which is why it might be better suited to Worldbuilding.SE . There's a big difference between no longer being able to reach and operate an orbiting lab, and not being ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar

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