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Karel1, Just know a little something
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Geology / Ecology / Engineering for science fiction

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I am designing a fictional underground colony and I need help understanding the problems of recycling air and water, and of using geothermal energy and whatever kinds of flow of water, if any, would be in the crust of a very cold planet. This planet is far enough from its star to get very little daylight, and it has no moon. It does have a molten core.

It's a terrestrial size planet, one with metals and various kinds of rocks, but no organics such as coal or oil--like Neptune with a minimal or Earth-depth atmosphere, perhaps.

 The research is the hardest part of writing, isn't it? 

I think that to make your story seem real you will need to design a world in which bioregenerative systems are in place.  Bioregenerative systems are like the systems used on space ships. 

I want you to take a look at this very interesting article that I found:

There are many challenges with a world like this.  You will have to create a heat source that will not pollute the air or burn oxygen as they are two things that will be in short supply.  Heat will be needed, though, as will light, because there is no moon.

I suggest that you hire a very good editor when you are done, particularly if you are building a world of your own so that you can be sure the story is cohesive and the facts are such that they can be believed and seen by the reader.

I happen to know a few so let me know when you are done!

I hope this has helped.  Please let me know if you have more questions.

Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Reply to tfalkner's Post: tfaulkner,
You have made a good start, but
I have already read this article, along with others about plans for building habitats on the moon and Mars and the biosphere in Arizona. (I'm pretty good at internet, and I have access to two college e-libraries.) I have read about the BIOS system built in Russia.

I need specific scientific knowledge about geology. I need to know about how large an opening can be hollowed out in solid rock--and what kind, like granite vs. limestone, and what kinds of rocks might be found on less watery planets. I need to know how rocks such as marble, quartz, granite are formed. I think they are metamorphic, but I don't know about the rocks that metamorph. There would be no shale because there would be no ocean or ponds. No oil or coal because no swamps or dinosaurs.

I need to know how deeply folks can burrow into the rock and at what point they would begin to encounter geothermal engery--that they'd get warmer rather than colder. I know that the Russians have drilled about five miles into the earth, but I don't kwow what they have found.

I need to understand about nuts and bolts of ecology, like what kinds of plants can be used to clean water in a hydroponic system. I have read about water hyacinth, nut sedge, wheat. Given enough water, which is part of the general idea, oxygen can be made. Other means of making oxygen require plants, and algae releases lots of oxygen. It is also edible if you can learn to eat it. My folks will have been VERY hungry at some point in their history.

I figure that my people will use methane, which is easily derived from biomass (sewage, dead bodies and undigestible plant fibers.) Methane burns very cleanly, releasing water and carbon dioxide. It's dangerous, being very exothermic, which means that it willexplode (I think).

I have read that almost all planets in our solar system have at least some water (even Mercury.) So I want to have an abundance of water, enough so that it is something of a problem, like in some deep mines which get flooded.

I need to know how water behaves in the crust of the earth--how does the water get to the place where we dig into the earth to make a well?

This is not a simple question. If you would like to work on it some more, I'd be interested in what you find. I realize now that I should have been much more specific about my requirements.




... city where this story takes place is fictional Silicon City. ... They are responsible for designing and working out the ... Underground with cylindrical complex on top ...

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