Daedalus Station, space habitat
Daedalus Station consists of a space habitat focused on self-construction. The future of humanity inevitably passes through the colonization of space. Our post-industrial society needs a huge amount of natural resources for its maintenance, especially the increasing consumption of rare earths, essential for the manufacture of electronic components. Being these elements scarce and concentrated in few deposits whose exploitable reserves are estimated to finish in less than a century.
On the other hand, global warming will possibly reduce the habitable extent of the planet, waiting for a bleak future for the next generations. A world without easy-to-exploit mineral deposits, and climatic instability. The only way for our society to continue to develop as it has been until now is to be able to access resources from outside the Earth.
In a single metallic asteroid a few hundred meters in diameter there is more iridium than everyone who has been mined to date. The problem is not natural resources but access to space mining. That is why I think that the future of humanity is not in the colonization of other planets, but in the creation of space habitats. Which would have easy access to enough minerals and energy to sustain our development for thousands of years, even more if we consider Transneptunian objects. More than enough time to colonize other star systems.
The contest Xplor OR1GYN from competitions.uni It seeks to propose an internationally commissioned space settlement for the year 2040, which houses a community in orbit and serves to supply fuel for future space missions.
Daedalus station, named after Daedalus the father of Icarus, aims to be the starting point of space colonization and testing center for space mining. It is situated in the low orbit of the earth, at 1500km altitude. This allows it to be protected from radiation by Van Allen Belts.
The first phase of the project would replace the International Space Station, and would have similar dimensions. The difference with the ISS lies in the concept of scalability. The current space station will be discarded in its entirety once its useful life is finished and thrown into the ocean. The idea of the Daedalus is to allow the growth of the station and the recycling in situ of the old modules. This is very important, since to build a self-sufficient space habitat it is necessary to be able to undermine and process material in the orbit since sending material from the Terra is very expensive and it would take hundreds of thousands of launches.
The Daedalus Station space habitat is designed with artificial gravity from the start, as the lack of gravity creates serious health problems and complicates the work of astronauts. The first phase of the project would be made up of a 32 m diameter toroidal station with a gravity of 0.143g. The objective of the first phase is to sow the seed of a self-sufficient space habitat, which is why current technological viability is sought. Soyuz modules have been considered as transport vehicles and emergency capsules due to their reliability and low cost.
The ultimate goal is to reach phase 7, the last phase of expansion, in which the toroidal station becomes a cylinder of 448 m in diameter that would have a gravity of 1g in its outermost layer. The dimensions have been taken based on The Kalpana One Orbital Space Settlement Revised.pdf
Larger dimensions of diameter and length of the cylinder cause instability and wobble in rotation. These cylindrical habitats would have enough space to house a human community in the outer layers and agricultural and industrial areas in the inner layers. Having in the nucleus the area where the mineral extracted from asteriodes and comets would be processed.
For the supply of energy, solar satellites that would transmit energy through microwaves have been thought of.
In short, what has been tried to conceive with this project is the seed of the next step in human evolution.