Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hambro vacation

Currently cleaning out and restocking the habitat, getting ready for another one month submersion. So the stream will be down for the next few days while Cousteau chills in his land base. :3

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Switching ISPs

In case anybody wondered why the stream is down.

EDIT: Stream's back up

EDIT: Ongoing troubles. It may or may not be up when you look. Trying to sort it out

Monday, September 7, 2015

HamCam is back!

Found an old laptop I can't use for anything but basic stuff, so I set it up with a webcam to stream the aquarium. This time it should be permanent, as I don't need the laptop for anything else. URL: www.ustream.tv/channel/madsci9001

Friday, September 4, 2015

Work nears completion on Lloyd Godson's newest undersea habitat.

You may or may not know Lloyd Godson as the guy behind Biosub 1 and 2. The first, a simple steel box weighed down by concrete blocks, submerged 15 feet deep in a flooded quarry. The second a much slicker looking but still rectilinear enclosure, this time with windows, submerged 12 feet deep in Legoland Aquarium for two weeks. 

This time he's gone with a much more attractive, sort of geodesic looking egg with windows spiraling up the hull from two points like a double helix. Although it has legs for transport purposes it will in fact dangle from a floating surface platform (where the air compressor will be) by cables, much like a diving bell. 

I've spoken with Lloyd about his plans for the habitat. He assures me it will not simply be torn apart for scrap like nearly every habitat before it, rather he's made arrangements for it to find other uses after his one month underwater mission in it has completed. No such plans were made for prior habitats, which is why so few remain in existence. 

The conditions inside are certainly austere, but there's room for a cot, a marine toilet, a microwave and mini fridge, and other basic amenities. I expect the experience will be quite like caravan camping. This is about the best I could hope to one day build for myself, even this much living space will cost tens of thousands at least. 

One of the neat things I could do with a micro habitat like this one would be to carry out Hampture at a much greater depth than otherwise possible. You see, the air sent down to the habitat at a moon pool depth of 21 feet could then be sent from inside the habitat, using the standard aquarium air compressors I use, out via tubing through the moon pool to Hampture. 

Because the air those aquarium compressors recieve is pre-compressed, the fact that Hampture would be at ~25 feet or so makes no difference, it just has to be less than 8 feet deeper than the moon pool of the habitat. I could then use the habitat as dry space within which to surface individual modules of hampture for cleaning and resupply without having to bring them to the actual surface. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ballast containers arrive

WHOOF these things are heavy with the weights loaded into 'em. Just one weighs as much as the total ballast weight of Hambase Alpha. I've been lifting weights for the past three years, in part because a lot of my projects involve underwater stuff, which means having to lift diving weights and I wanted it to become easier. It's still heavy as shit, any more would be painful/dangerous.

They exactly match the footprint of the enclosure. I suspected they would but that assumed the new containers were precise copies of the Otterbox 3500 in terms of dimensions. They are, so it'll look nice and elegant. Also the weigh distribution will be balanced, which will make it easier to carry than it otherwise would've been.

Now I need to figure out how I'm gonna add a window to the lid without destroying it. I dunno what kinda plastic it is, whether I can drill it without it cracking, etc. A cheaper source for this model of enclosure has appeared since I bought the last one so I am not as worried if something should go wrong, except that you guys spent money on it, so I'd rather not fuck it up.

I may find out if somebody at Home Depot can custom cut a larger piece of lexan for me, otherwise the window won't take up the full lid. That'd look a little wonky. So I'm definitely gonna go for the full lid window first, and only settle for the smaller window if I absolutely have to.

Because this is right on the limit of what I can carry, I will never build a larger single module than this. It would require a crane, a boat trailer (which I'd have to build the damn thing on top of, then use temporary floats to move it on the water) or some similar method in order to transport and deploy it. Mega Hab is as big as it gets while still being man portable.

Maybe the answer is that if ever I get the chance to build a whole city of these things like I want to, there'd be just one or a handful of Mega Habs (as community centers/shared space) while most of the modules would be copies of the smaller Hambase Alpha (for individual nesting areas)

Btw, big thanks to two generous donors in particular who pitched in for the ballast containers. That's hugely appreciated and really helps accelerate this project.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Imagine if Hampture were done here

It'd be in the actual god damn ocean (with nice clear water!) but shallow enough and calm enough because the land buffers it from the rest of the sea. There's immediately nearby access to grid power for the air compressors, heaters and so forth. Wish I knew somebody in a situation like this who could take this project off my hands and continue it once Mega Hab is built.

The plan right now is to take Mega Hab with me up to Minnesota next Summer. When time and money permit I vacation in the family cabin up there on Lake Vermillion. The visibility is poor (loads of algae) but the water's deep and there's access to grid power from the cabin. I'd be able to do a 2-3 week mission and get some good footage of it.

If I can pull that off it'll be really neat. Mega Hab won't fit in the aquarium, it pretty much has to go in a natural body of water. But that's the direction I've been wanting to take this project anyway. The last time I did that was with the Mark 3 habitat, which I scrapped due to being designed in a way that made it a huge pain in the ass to move around, and the pond I put it in had no grid power so I had to run everything overnight from a big battery pack.

At some point, somehow, if I'm gonna "go big" with this project and construct a large interconnected city I need to be in a place in my life where I'm living right next to a clear body of water full time. Or I need to find somebody who already is that's willing to take the torch from me, preferably someone in Oregon. Otherwise Mega Hab will only ever be used a few times, and besides that, Hampture will never be any larger or more ambitious than what I've already got going on in the fish tank.