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Starship Earth Revisited Rapidly Erectable Geodesic Domes, Pneumatic and Tensile Structures in the Aftermath of an Asteroid Impact. ASTE 527: Space Exploration Architectures Concept Synthesis Studio Angella Johnson December 17, 2013. Asteroid Impact Energy Release.

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Starship Earth RevisitedRapidly Erectable Geodesic Domes, Pneumatic and Tensile Structures in the Aftermath of an Asteroid Impact

ASTE 527: Space Exploration Architectures Concept Synthesis Studio

Angella Johnson

December 17, 2013

asteroid impact energy release
Asteroid Impact Energy Release
  • Planet Earth is a highly complex system. An asteroid strike will abruptly and severely affect the entire biosphere and all life forms
asteroid impact immediate effect
Asteroid Impact Immediate Effect
  • Not fully known but severe
  • Large scale devastation affecting all flora and fauna
  • Volcano + Tidal Wave + Earthquake +Toxic atmosphere
severe and immediate impact on civilization
Severe and immediate Impact on Civilization
  • Especially on densely populated regions
  • Civil unrest and chaos
  • Spread of disease
  • Lack of food and water
  • High level of atmospheric pollution
  • No access to power and communication
cataclysmic events
Cataclysmic Events
  • Asteroid Impacts are a normal geologic process. Weathering on Earth and Mars quickly erases evidence
how often
How often ?
  • “City killer” are projected to occur every twenty years ! We have been lucky because Earth is a water planet and most impacts occur over oceans, away from land and populated regions.
impact aftermath
Impact Aftermath
  • Shock and heat waves destroys up to a 500 mile radius
  • Crater formation
  • Tsunami / Earthquakes / Volcanoes
  • Suborbital debris on global scale
  • Global debris and dust cover
  • Tidal Surges affect coastal cities and regions with waterways-almost all population centers affected immediately
  • Forest Fires
  • No sunlight for 6 months- 1 year/ temperature plummets
  • Nuclear Winter effects
  • Imbalance to natural fauna and flora – agriculture affected

Banda Aceh (2004)

  • Tohoku (2011)
impact on population centers
Impact on Population Centers
  • Power grid and physical infrastructure broken
  • Lack of Food and water
  • Loss of Communication
  • Public health compromised - Disease
  • Civil unrest
supervolcano cataclysmic events
Supervolcano&Cataclysmic Events

A supervolcano is capable of producing a volcanic eruption with an ejecta volume greater than 1,000 km3 or 240 cu mi. This is thousands of times larger than normal volcanic eruptions.

VEI-8: events that throw out at least 1,000 km dense rock equivalent(DRE) of ejecta.

VEI-7: events eject at least 100 km or 24 cu mi DRE.

Large hot rock and debris strewn over wide area and fires ignited

Toxic , solar opaque atmosphere similar to asteroid impact

  • What to do if we are unable to avoid asteroid impact ?
  • Preserve and protect humanity on a global scale(starting with population centers) for an indefinite period after a cataclysmic event.


  • The “Duck & Cover Concept” is explored. Critical, physical infrastructure system of city is repurposed in order to protect dense populations for six months to a year after impact.
in a nutshell
In A Nutshell
  • Combine engineering technology and architectural technology to build critical structures and infrastructures enabling human beings to survive cataclysmic events beyond our control.
historical background visionaries
Historical Background- Visionaries

Paolo Soleri- Arcology (Architecture + Ecology)

Visionary architects have designed near

self-sufficient architectures

Nader Khalili- “CalEarth”

Ron Herron- Mobile City

Buckminster Fuller- “Spaceship Earth”

Jacque Fresco- Venus Project

prediction models vs response models
Prediction Models vs. Response Models
  • No warning – not able to predict and prepare effectively
  • Every disaster has different needs
  • No location data till after event
  • For large scale devastation, evacuation is not possible
  • Broken civil infrastructure
  • Massive immediate aid request
  • Some common needs can be met with preparation.
    • Disaster assessment, stocking medicine, speedy comm. setup
energy support
Energy Support

A major challenge is finding and utilizing alternative energy sources that will support the maximum population post-disaster.

Nuclear Energy: fusion or fission technology for energy

Solar Energy : Preferred but due to impact this might not be feasible

environmental support system
Environmental Support System

Water and Air

Extracted from the outside polluted air filtration, recycling

From plants in the manmade biosphere

Atmosphere regeneration - by decomposing water and chemicals, gas mixtures as in spaceship


Intensive farming - Algae and other plants grow inside the shelter

CEAC Antarctica food chamber

Hydroponics, Aeroponics, Aquaponics, physico chemical foods

Bacteria-Based Water Filter

The OutbackTM Water Purification


This four stage gravity powered water filtration system. It eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses (E.coli,Cholera, Hepatitis and Polio)

  • The filtration system is portable and purifies water in less than 24 hours. The bio-reactor system uses dirt-dwelling bacteria to clean water and munch the resulting toxic sludge.

Vertical hydroponic garden system for food source – Controlled Environment Agriculture Center

3d printing dehydrated foods
3D Printing & Dehydrated Foods
  • Due to terror threats around 2011, FEMA ordered 1 billion in dehydrated food.
  • Emergency Food Rations- prepared 2400 and 3600 calorie food bar (Quakekare).
  • Ingredients are analyzed, product is synthesized using 3D printing.
emergency medicine
Emergency Medicine
  • National Center for Disaster Medicine & Public Health
  • Immediate assistance to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
  • Post traumatic stress could compromise the immune system of many survivors which will lead to illness.
  • Quarantine those who might pose a threat to the majority
  • Center for Disease Control(CDC)
triage emergency assistance
Triage/Emergency Assistance

Triage-sort and assist the wounded and ill in an emergency fashion after asteroid impact.

ice postdisaster psychological stress
ICE/ Postdisaster Psychological Stress
  • Architectural solution should address the socio-psychological concerns (ICEs-Isolated and Confined Environments) due to the extreme conditions
  • “Trends of Probable Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in New York City after the September 11 Terrorist Attacks”-American Journal Epidemiology (Vol. 158, No 6)
  • “The Epidemiology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after Disasters” –Epidemiologic Reviews (Vol.27, 2005)
  • Satellites for global coverage
  • Portable VSATs
  • Cell infrastructure broken
  • Radio for local coverage
buckminster fuller spaceship earth
Buckminster Fuller- Spaceship Earth

Architectural Design Concept:

Geodesic domes can be used to offer an initial line of defense against the elements (dust, pollution, etc. ) after an asteroid impact.

merits limitations
Merits/ Limitations
  • Merits
    • Take advantage of existing space technology and generate profit
    • Reduce dependence on natural resources for sustainable development
    • Supplement Planetary Defense Strategies
  • Limitations
    • Large amount of investment in a short period, for US

400K*0.3Billion/4=30 Trillion,

    • Global, national consensus Reliable shielding materials and methods that can withstand large impact shock and after effects over long periods
    • Rapid, large population evacuation strategies
    • Only applicable to city centers
  • “Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response." Astronomy Jan. 2009
  • Bronstert, A. (2003), Floods and Climate Change: Interactions and Impacts. Risk Analysis, 23: 545–557. doi: 10.1111/1539-6924.00335
  • Atmospheric science: Enigma of the recent methane budget, Nature 476, 157–158 (11 August 2011)
  • D.F. Doerr, Interaction between exercising humans and growing plants in a closed ecological life support system, ActaAstronautica, Volume 36, Issues 8-12, October-December 1995,
  • Extreme Climate Control Membrane Structures, 2006, Volume 54, 151-174, DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-4604-9_9
  • Sui Pheng Low, & Xiu Ting Goh. (2010). Exploring outer space technologies for sustainable buildings. Facilities,28(1/2), 31-45
  • Shaping Climate Resistant Development report
  • "Climate costs." Nature 461.7261 (2009): 150. Academic OneFile. Web. 13 Dec. 2011
  • Frank Ackerma, The Cost of Climate Change, NRDC REPORT 2008
Questions ??
  • Thank you for your time & attention!