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What technology would you propose?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:40 pm
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What technology would you propose? 
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Post What technology would you propose?   Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:40 pm
There seems to be a large, 45 meter deep sea on the Mars. The sublimation of its water would have been prevented by the dust it is covered by perhaps - if the ice really is there.

Now local terraforming at that sea would cause the dust to be solved within the water and the water could evaporate and thus lost. On the other side local terraforming is required to make a martian place more friendly for human settlement.

So a technological way is to be found by which the ice could be melt but prevented from evaporating and getting lost.

What could be done? The surface of that sea has a size of tenthousands or a hundred thpusand of squarekilometers.

Please think too about starting a thread about it (technologies, problem) under the WTN XPRIZE section.



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Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:00 pm
The frozen Martian sea, large as it is, is still extremely small compared to Earth seas. And because of the extremely low pressure of the Martian atmosphere there would be no way to keep it from sublimating if it were uncovered. It would probably take a very long to completely sublimate, but it would not be lost. It would freeze out elsewhere on the planet, probably at the poles. There is a large water ice cap at the north pole that is completely uncovered in summer. There is also water ice at the south pole, but it is always covered with a layer of dry ice.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:40 pm
Local terraforming would change the circumstances and conditions at least locally. And as time goes by there may occur local terraformaing at several or many places. For these reasons technologies are required.

And if there water freezes out elsewhere instead of going lost it should be under control WHERE it does freeze out and WHEN.

This means that local terraforming or/and colonization at that sea require technologies. There is an article at space.com (will be added here in the next days by EDIT) saying that colonization of Mars may come earlier than thought previously. This is sufficient reason to think about technologies now.



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EDIT: The article is to be fopund under www.space.com/businesstechnology/techno ... 50223.html


Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:44 pm
i say stay simple, create a water canal or sort and a giant glass globe over the ice, start a biosphere around it?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:08 pm
robiwan wrote:
i say stay simple, create a water canal or sort and a giant glass globe over the ice, start a biosphere around it?
Sounds good to me.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:18 pm
You could stretch an airtight inflatable skin over an area of ice and use electrolysis to break the ice into oxygen to inflate it, the hydrogen you could store to be used as rocket fuel. You could even extract some CO2 from the atmosphere to use when inflating so you wouldn't have a pure oxygen bubble. I wonder if burying the edges of the skin would give a tight enough seal?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 7:47 pm
As far as terraforming is concerned (as opposed to short term melting), the only true way to do this is to increase the atmospheric pressure. That way, the water wouldn't sublime when it melted, solving the problem (so you could then heat the planet and have standing bodies of water).

The problem is of course, the low atmospheric pressure on Mars. Mars lost most of it's atmosphere a couple of billion years ago when it's magnetic field failed, as the iron core solidified. This meant that solar radiation was no longer kept away from the planet, and so instead struck the atmosphere, removing it (An example of a case where the term "solar wind" is very appropriate, it literally blew the atmosphere off).

So I'd say the most important thing to do is to kick start the iron core again. As for how can you do that...that's a lot harder. Fusion power would probably help though, as would having a pre-existing industrial infrastructure on Mars.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:01 pm
Sev wrote:
Mars lost most of it's atmosphere a couple of billion years ago when it's magnetic field failed, as the iron core solidified. This meant that solar radiation was no longer kept away from the planet, and so instead struck the atmosphere, removing it (An example of a case where the term "solar wind" is very appropriate, it literally blew the atmosphere off).

When I first heard that explanation, I accepted it too. But later someone pointed out that Venus also has no magnetic field, and it is exposed to a much stronger solar wind. Yet Venus has a very thick atmosphere. Now if we could just get Venus and Mars to exchange orbits. Or move part of Venus’ atmosphere to Mars.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:46 pm
Actually, if you commissioned a really really really long hose (say like an air-conditioning duct), and then stuck one end into the Venusian atmosphere and the other into the Martian atmosphere, the pressure difference would do the rest.

I'd still like a magnetic field, though. Fusion power would still be pretty nice to have, if for no other reason than to drive the electromagnets to protect the inhabitants.

If this water sea is for real, then that would be the ideal place to start terraforming, and in the exact way that Andy Hill said: stick a really big balloon (almost certainly some sort of aerogel) over the patch, pump an atmosphere in, and heat it. The only thing that remains to be seen is if terrestrial plants can grow in Martian soil.

(Idea stolen shamelessly from Kim Stanley Robinson)

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:34 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
a really really really long hose (say like an air-conditioning duct), and then stuck one end into the Venusian atmosphere and the other into the Martian atmosphere, the pressure difference would do the rest.

That won’t work. The pressure in a free column of air is the same as the pressure in a column of air of the same height confined by a vertical tube. Air in a tube to Mars would rise no higher above Venus than air in a tube that ended 1000 miles up.
It is not like siphoning water because water is an incompressible fluid and air is not. And even water cannot be moved that way because at a height of 32 feet the pressure in a column of water being siphoned drops to zero. Consider the water barometer at the Deutsches museum in Munich. It is a tube over 32 feet tall but the water only goes up 32 feet, there is a vacuum at the top.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:32 am
I have been speaking of local terraforming instead of globale terreaforming because local terraforming could be done within years or decades whereas globalö terraforming requires 500 to 600 years at least according to recent issues by scientists.

Local Terraforming seems to be more realistic not only but realistic in general because it could be based on inflatable habitats and other habitats. I would like to see this thread concentrated on that martian frozen sea and local terraforming there.

Please gather as much ideas, thoughts and technologies about that here and think about making proposals for the WTN XPRIZE and/or the Centennial Challenges of them.

The sea is a reservoir of water for humans, for living. That's the main meaning of the frozen sea and an expedition might go there because martian life seems to be most likely within that ice. For using the sea as a reservoir for drinking water technologies for removing possible martian microbes previous to consumation have to be proposed or found.

Some of the proposals seem to be interesting and realistic - please propose more ideas, concepts and so on.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:49 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
<yet another correction>


Wow. I'm on a roll, ain't I? Apparently, my physics class has left me incapable of doing physics......

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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:12 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I have been speaking of local terraforming

I like that idea too, although I wouldn’t define it as terraforming. To me, terraforming is a global change induced by some small trigger, like introducing a microorganism to alter atmospheric chemistry. A large inflatable structure is just a big artificial habitat. And with a large supply of water, it could certainly work.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:31 pm
Some of the canyons on Mars are miles deep, wouldn't the atmospheric pressure at the bottom of one of these be higher, making creating a bubble easier?

Also if the canyons were originally cut by water then there might be remnants of it there in sheltered areas to use to make your gases.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:48 pm
It is true that lower elevations have significantly higher pressure. NASA chooses low elevation locations for landings so that parachutes will be effective. Unfortunately the lowest place on Mars is the Hellas basin, which is an impact crater and not a water feature.
http://www.solarviews.com/eng/mars3d.htm


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