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Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury

Posted by: zm_khalid - Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:28 pm
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Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury 
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Post Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:28 pm
If we have to put a space settlement in the sun facing polar orbit of mercury what will be its altitude and why?

If our settlement is related with mining on mercury and bringing materials on mercury. Please answer my question. I'll be really grateful. :)


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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:07 pm
If there is to be a Mercury settlement, it should be near a pole. % degrees from the pole the ground illumination is less than at Earth at noon.

Also, it appears there may be water at the poles. More reasons.

The poles are nearly 90 deg from orbital plane, so sun will be at the same angle above the horizon at all times.

So further away from the poles, a slowly moving shade could block most of the sunlight.

Look for billion year old abandoned mining equipment...


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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Thu May 19, 2011 1:45 am
There is no liquid water on Mercury, ckpooley, I think you are confused with Mars.

Mercury is outside the 'habitable zone' in its orbit around the sun, the habitable zone being the area around a star where there could be liquid water. Mercury is very much too close to the sun to have liquid water.

Mars does have frozen CO2 and H2O at the poles.

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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Thu May 19, 2011 12:00 pm
Rastaban wrote:
There is no liquid water on Mercury, ckpooley, I think you are confused with Mars.

Mercury is outside the 'habitable zone' in its orbit around the sun, the habitable zone being the area around a star where there could be liquid water. Mercury is very much too close to the sun to have liquid water.

Mars does have frozen CO2 and H2O at the poles.


I think he is suggesting that there might be mine-able quantity's of water in deep craters at the poles like there is on our moon. Maybe the latest probe will help confirm this tho i am not sure if its got enough kit to do this but the hi res pics its doing may provide targets for later investigation.

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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Thu May 19, 2011 12:43 pm
Thank you for pointing that out SANEalex, I researched it a bit after posting my comment (A durp moment, I will probably do the research before hand next time, eh?) I withdraw my comment, you are quite correct, there is infact evidence of water-ice in mercury's polar craters.


In which case a mining base would have to also be well within the crater, or submerged under the ground to avoid any of the heat from the sun.

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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Thu May 19, 2011 4:15 pm
see the Mercury fact sheet. it shows the polar tilt as 0. So the polar regions can easily be colder than the lunar poles. Even a fairly shallow crater there will never see the sun.
. http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/fa ... yfact.html .
Evidence of water was seen by radar (Aricibo?) years ago.

Because the mechanism of supplying planets with water is believed to be comety impacts, I would expect that there will be water.

The escape velocity is greater than lunar, but landing there should be easy after assuming the large delta-v of getting to Mercury is solved.


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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Fri May 20, 2011 12:33 am
Given the temperature inside the craters (about 125 Kelvin), there would be water-ice, solid, not liquid water.

When you say delta-v, you are referring to acceleration, are you not?
Can you explain what in particular you mean by: "The escape velocity is greater than lunar, but landing there should be easy after assuming the large delta-v of getting to Mercury is solved."
Then I can respond with something (:

That close to the sun you would have to have good radiation shields to protect your equipment.

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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Fri May 20, 2011 3:23 am
I meant the escpae velocity was 4.2 km/sec, more than Moon but not too difficult in view that technology to get there (close to Sun) should make 4.2 km/s in vacuum easy.

As the sun at Mercury distance is only 1.5 degrees diameter, a simple radiation shield is all that's needed for a spacecraft till it gets near Mercury. Then, if not too close, a partial secondary shield will protect from Mercury thermal radiation.

A base at the pole will see only a sliver of sun, and a directional shield will block that. The shield could be a solar array for power.

Water in a shaded crater is likely to be colder than 125 K. In any case, ice.


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Post Re: Altitude of a space settlement around Mercury   Posted on: Fri May 20, 2011 3:39 am
Yup, yup. The reason that I mentioned a radiation shield, is because I believe they are considering a probe to be sent to Europa, the Jovian moon. I want to give you the article that I was reading, but since finishing the assignment, I can't find it for the life of me.
It mentioned the use of a titanium (or titanium allow) radiation shielding to protect the equipment.
Radiation would be much stronger on Mercury due to the sun, than it would be on Europa, wouldn't it?

Anyway, that's logistics of the craft.

It would be quite easy to reach escape velocity from Mercury. I think the use of plasma thrusters such as the HDLT or the VASIMR would be valid in this situation, I think they produce enough thrust, and have good fuel efficiency.

Neat.

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