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ET Foam Home

Self-Fabricating Housing for Off-World Colonists
  (+12, -3)(+12, -3)
(+12, -3)
  [vote for,

Sticky resinous material infused with various materials is mixed with compressed air and encased in a hardened shell designed to crack along previously designated lines of weakness.

The eggs are sent wheeling towards the surface of any planet/moon/asteroid you intend on colonising and on impact, they crack, allowing the compressed air to expand, stretching the resin into a mass of sticky bubbles. In the low-pressure atmosphere, the compressed gas is expansive enough to form small (or possibly large) rooms. Over time and exposure to the elements, the resin hardens, leaving behind a retro-chic structure that simply has to have an airlock door and other life-support systems installed on the arrival of the colonists.

Further enhancements could be made by seeding the foam mixture with transmitters and other electronic devices.

For example, tiny manipulators that, mixed into the material before launch and activated on impact, burrow through the sticky foam to the bottom and form an array of foot-like, synchronised appendages that could allow for migration to a better location, or to group blobs together in clusters for mutual protection. These would operate much like the feet on a starfish.

Other mini components could include solar cells that migrate to the top of the blob providing a constant, if rather weak power supply to the other apparatus in the blob (which if it contained some quantity of metallic compound might allow for the conduction of electricity.)

Seeded control units could work on a principal of generating synchronised or syncopated pulses that the other components (or even other blobs) could tune into in order to provide some organisation (like the starfish feet for example)

Many of these eggs could be fired at a prospect-planet prior to colonisation.

zen_tom, Nov 29 2004

Halfbakery: Foam Hulled Spacecraft Foam Hulled Spacecraft
Some associated technology... [zen_tom, Nov 29 2004, last modified Jun 01 2010]


       Wonderful Title. I think this is another in the ZT series of foam applications in space. I also think this would be more effective than the foam hulls. [+] for the idea, but minus two percentage points for the use of the term "retro chic" ;-)
contracts, Nov 29 2004

       Thanks [contracts] retro chic may have been an indulgence too far ;) I've taken the opportunity to link to the Foam Hulled Spacecraft idea which should provide more background on the marvels of space foam.
zen_tom, Nov 29 2004

       I must say I am skeptical about this because of the likelihood of air finding many ways to escape. When it expands, it will not be airtight. It will have many tunnels of bubbles through which air can be lost. Maybe a sealant could be applied to the entire inside of the blob to make each room airtight prior to occupation. Also, why not have the egg attached to a spacecraft (which could also protect the egg from stray debris until the crucial moment). This way, the spacecraft could become an airlock itself. As soon as the spacecraft had detected a seal (it could apply extra sealant to close up any gaps) it would release the men forth into the blob. They could use a device that would excrete a sealant from thousands of little pores. When the device was coated in sealant, it would explode, covering the entire room in sealant. There would be no irregularities in the sealant upon explosion because in null-G nothing would have to touch the surface of the sealant grenade to position it. It could even use magnets to position it perfectly. There could be entire cities created from these blobs. Cool idea, I approve [+]
eupoth, May 27 2005

       <heston>Get away from me! You damn dirty seals!</heston>
justaguy, May 27 2005

       I haven't looked at this idea for a while, but think it could potentially be split into two.   

       1) The foam concept, for creating self constructing (if randomly organised) structures - and
2) The idea of the embedded devices that can arrange themselves within the structure before it hardens that work together providing functions such as mobility, communication etc.

       Not sure, but I might split these two off if I get the chance.
zen_tom, May 27 2005


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