How many times have you, have I stuffed away ideas as “not feasible”? As “to crazy”, “weird” or my personal favorite: “probably not good”? How many ideas we had and keep having disappear forever after getting one of those labels above?

When mars.one[1] first became public I dreamed up a whole story of being the last one on the planet fighting alone for survival using engineering and science skills to make it. In the end the main character of my story modified a cargo rocket to get into orbit and once there even had to leap from it to the vessel that brought him back to earth. At the time I didn’t think it was interesting enough story to write down…until “The Marsian” came out last year.

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In 2012 I came across a video made by Markus Kayzer[2] in which he 3d-printed a pod from desert sand using only the concentrated power of the sand. I was amazed. This was a possible way to set up a solar based economy. My mind spun wild. Could we maybe even print whole dunes to keep them from moving and create a basis for revegetating the desert? I soon dismissed the idea as to crazy, to complicated and not feasible. Until 2 month ago a colleague of mine send me the link describing the winning entry of a Slovak architect to the Archiprix 2015. The name of the project: Sandwright[3]. The concept envisions the 3d-printing of dunes to slow there movement and create shelter and room for revegetating the desert.  It looked different from the concept I came up with back in 2012 and solved a number of issues my concept had. I had a blast.

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I started researching the topic again and searched unsuccessfully for my notes and sketches from 2012. So I dug again into the works of Markus Kayser[4] and tried to find as much related material as possible. In one of the articles an old science and engineering magazine was mentioned. Modern Mechanix[5]. A magazine that ran for the better part of the 20th century. Research revealed a blog rehashing the magazine articles and not long after the referenced article from June 1933 was found[6]. The basic concept of sun melted sand has been around for quite a while. And this is not the only concept. A bit of browsing through the blog revealed many ideas that have only been picked up and really developed recently. Harvesting wave energy[7] for example. Or remember that HyperLoop concept that Elon Musk pitched and in that way pushed for development? Turns out he is by far not the first[8]. Especially funny for me was the discovery of an inflatable solar collector[9] for satellites with the caption “It’s a giant space condom”. A friend of mine is putting together a project proposal that involves an inflatable solar collector. His response: Cool, suits the penis rocket[10].

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Digging further around I found more inspiration for my solar obsession[11]. Now my mind foaming with ideas. There were so many concepts involving solar thermal energy that it makes one wonder what the world would look like if fossil fuels hadn’t become so dominant.

sand

But I guess in the end its about visions and ideas unable of being too crazy. Concepts and ideas may seem stupid or complicated at the time. Maybe you lack the confidence to believe in them. But others might not. Most things aren’t realized because they are unfeasible but because you can’t find the people sharing your kind of crazy.

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[1] http://www.mars-one.com/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsk-24UYFs0

[3] https://www.behance.net/gallery/20326693/Sandwright

[4] http://www.markuskayser.com/

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanix_Illustrated

[6] http://blog.modernmechanix.com/sun-melted-sand-for-auto-roads/

[7] http://blog.modernmechanix.com/putting-natures-power-to-work/

[8] http://blog.modernmechanix.com/a-powered-trains-in-glass-tubes/

[9] http://blog.modernmechanix.com/inflatable-solar-collector/

[10] http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/151124064409-new-shepard-rocket-1024×576.jpg

[11] http://blog.modernmechanix.com/solar-furnace/1/#mmGal

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All pictures that are not my own are linked to the source where I found them. Please contact me in case you are not sufficient or miss credited. I would/will do the same. 🙂

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