Why not build breakers on a shallow section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with a floating city at its center? Seismic issues of the region wouldn’t really effect a floating city. A tsunami seems the only risk and that can be mitigated.
Am I not seeing something obviously wrong with this idea?
You make some very good points, but being contrary is in my blood. So here are my counter points. An extensive bio-survey will have to be done first; much of the sea is barren, as one of this site’s videos says. Liquefaction or “turning to mush” is something the Japanese have found solutions for, such as using gravel and increasing drainage. Lastly, there are shallow areas that are not directly on the fault lines that seem structurally sound, if still prone to quakes.
I think you need to look into the engineering of such a structure. Earthen dykes work by volume and an earthen dyke wide enough to mitigate a 30 m wave would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to construct even if you could find a shallow circle already existing to build it on. If you have to dredge the support for such a structure as well, the costs would increase exponentially.
Even a breaker that mitigates a 30 m wave may not be enough. You brought up Japan. The 2011 tsunami in Japan had 39 m waves. So in this scenario your breakers would just be a giant bowl that would fill with water.
Nothing wrong with thinking about such things, but you are likely looking at a project that would approach a funding level that a lot of Nations couldn’t afford, let alone private investors.
With our current construction model, your point is hard to argue with and what I consider the biggest stumbling block to building on the high seas in general. However, I believe there is a reach around, automation. There are already small drone boats being used for defense, why not scale the concept and create drone dredgers? Humans do cost quite a bit of money after all.
I’m sure there are issues with this idea as well, but getting third-party perspective is always the first step to making the impossible, possible.
It seems to me that all this misses the purpose of living at sea. Floating is the best defense against so many things—from sea level rise to rising temps (you can move) to better harvesting areas (sea veggies as well as fish and aquaculture products. All that may be desired is a network of common moorings for floating structures to stay about in the same place. It would be much cheaper and more robust to boot. Building new land will always be much more expensive and one of the main purposes is to keep all this affordable.
What I see are large main structures where people can bring their own boats up to docks extending our from the large structure. Maybe you do not want to bring ‘land dwelling mindsets’ onto the free and open waters of the planet.
Wilfried, I get the heebie jeebies when I think of these concepts of deep ocean bottom habitats. I think it is just tempting fate.
What I suggest for these locations - which do need to be utilised of course - is remote control/tele presence avatar-robots. I happen to think that there could well be a place for blind people controlling such machinery. This is because in the pitch black super turbidity of the ocean bottoms people who have spent their lives navigating by just touching and hearing ought to be better able to rely on just sound and haptic feedback. I think the same would apply to very deep mining kilometres underground where filled with water, but that’s a digression.
With the heavy equipment drivers safe on a floating island at the surface, the machinery could be powered hydraulically with the motive pressure piped from the surface. The super heated water from the vents would rise naturally up insulated pipes to the surface and thermal efficiency would be increased by also pumping cold water from the bottom to provide a natural heat sink. The simplest way to extract motive force from the temperature difference would be to use Stirling engines. Maybe this could be done at the sea floor but would require finding a suitable working fluid able to expand and contract with temperature changes. [Hydrogen might work or Helium but probably not at deep deep ie -4km and 400 atm pressure].
Mark from what you say here it sounds like you take 2 base paradigmas for granted.
• what gives me a fobia surley gives fobia to anyone else on the planet
• if i would not agree to living there due to fobia surley nobody will - so the project needs to be designed along my fobia
I invite you to rethink these thought lines on the base of the following facts.
• What gives fobia to one part of the population is a desireable adventure for another part - we can just work with the people who have the “adequate mindset” and leave the fobics to other activities. Think about flying, highrise living, driving a car trough a submarine tunnel, snake handling, insects, reptiles, etc… etc…
• Many activities that have been considered “nightmare situations” for our grandfathers are dayly stuff today (flying, living in an apartment 300m above street level) - living in vent base alpha will be no different.
• We are good to start the project with 0.0000000001 % of the general population of the planet - so the “opinion of the average joe” today does not really matter. Only the opinion of the key investors matters - and they have good reasons to come aboard (more than 10% capital yield).
• You also bring up the interesting hypothesis that due to safety issues exploration in general will be done "remote control"...
• I beg to differ - taking risks, longing for adventure, looking out for frontiers, is part of the human nature, part of what we are. Many of us have a “go where no one has gone before” mindset - the guys who want to do everything “remote control from their couch” are probably a minority of the global population. I would bet that there will be no “lack of pioneering volunteers” in vent base alpha.
OK, 150 atmospheres pressure - maybe, and when the gloss has worn off and the process starts to seem a bit humdrum, will everybody involved still remain constantly vigilant and careful and not succumb to the temptation to cut corners? We know the answer to that.
But are you seriously saying that you want to risk lives and huge investments by having people working in bottles at 400 atm of pressure which is what you get 4km down where many of the spreading centres are located? Are you volunteering?
I think a comparison with the NASA space shuttle program is apposite: apparently the fine print of the project definition settled for something like a 0.1% failure rate, and that seems to have been quite accurate. With spectacular results: 2 hulls lost with all aboard each time.
Now it seems to me that if the engineers and their bean counting masters had built the airframes with titanium instead of aluminium in the important places at least one of those disasters would have been mitigated.
Based on saturation diving operations, it looks like the limits are as follows:
Compressed air: Nitrogen narcosis limits you to around four times Earth's atmospheric pressure.
Any gas mix: Hydreliox was used for the current depth record; insomnia and fatigue issues appear to limit you to around 65 times Earth's pressure regardless of gas mix.
Engineers made the pilot’s chamber spherical because the shape can be both strong and light. They also made the steel 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) thick to withstand the crushing pressure of the deep. If they had made the chamber a cylinder, by comparison, the hull would have needed to have been three times as thick to stand up to the pressure. The hull, complete with its hatch and viewport, was tested twice before the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition in a pressure chamber at Pennsylvania State University to an equivalent full-ocean-depth pressure of 16,500 pounds per square inch (1,138 bars). It passed both tests. Twenty-two strain gauges attached to the sphere gave data that indicated the sphere could withstand up to 140 percent of the test pressure without buckling.
Interesting that your mind went there. And indeed outer space is inundated with light and lethal solar radiation; which looks awesome in movies like The Martian.
The Deep Ocean only needs to deal with pressure to yield a friendly contained habitat.
An interesting resurce comming from the mid atlantic ridge nobody has been talking about so far is Helium 3 it may be a way to achive fusion energy in our lifetime and was suggested to be mined from the surface of the moon…mid ocean ridge mining may give easy access to this energy crisis key element . (compared to moon mining)
3He can be used in fusion reactions by either of the reactions 2D + 3He → 4He + 1p + 18.3 MeV, or 3He + 3He → 4He + 2 1p+ 12.86 MeV
That is a misleading statement - suggesting that technology is not ripe… The reality is different HE3 fuel is incredible rare (currently there exist only 4 kilograms of it on earth) - the feasibility of the technology is shown - nobody with a little insight doubths that once the fuel would become available we would have fusion engines on the market within a year or two… The problem to solve is not in the technology of the reactor - that is a piece of cake - the problem to solve is get a fuel supply - (moon surface was suggested - but mid ocean ridge might be an easier source) . At the moment the technology is not developed as it makes little sense (at the moment) to develop a detailed technology for a almost non existent fuel. - that is DIFFERENT - and that difference is important as it leads to a different evaluation of the “potential value of vent base alpha in leading mankind to a better future” (which is the thread topic here)… more about HE 3 fusion reactor
He3 is also a waste byproduct of nuclear reactors. and released into the atmosphere fairly regularly. It is also a decay product of tritium, which can be made in Fusors, as well as the bombardment of Lithium with neutrons.
Your claim to: [quote=“ellmer, post:20, topic:1667”]
only 4 kilograms of it on earth
is patently false.
Some He3 is available on Earth. It is a by-product of the maintenance of nuclear weapons, which would supply us with about 300 kg of He3 and could continue to produce about 15 kg per year. The total supply in the U.S. strategic reserves of helium is about 29 kg, and another 187 kg is mixed up with the natural gas we have stored; these sources are not renewable at any significant rate.