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Possible Problem martian dust - how to handle it?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:13 pm
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Possible Problem martian dust - how to handle it? 
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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:43 pm
A suit in one large piece would indeed prevent the most dust come inside it. But still i think a shower would the most effective method of cleaning the spacesuit, while the astronaut is still in it. That should solve the problem of dust ever getting in the suit, even when opening it since the dust is either wet (no dust anymore) or washed away.

That leaves the toxic wast then. Chemistry is another of my low-knowledge points but by centrifiguing, electrolyse or boiling it, may have the desired effect to a certain point. If this is not possible with leightweight just consider dumping it. Problem with that is that you're gonna loose a lot of water by doing it. So in that case you really want a supply of water from Mars itself.

Is someone on this forum knowledgeable with chemistry regarding H2SO4? I will google something up regarding this.

That's Sulfuric acid btw.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfuric_acid
Some good reading there.

It might be used for electrolysis:
http://scienceclarified.com/El-Ex/Electrolysis.html

"Sulfuric acid is one of the most important industrial chemicals. More of it is made each year than is made of any other manufactured chemical; more than 40 million tons of it were produced in the United States in 1990. It has widely varied uses and plays some part in the production of nearly all manufactured goods. The major use of sulfuric acid is in the production of fertilizers, e.g., superphosphate of lime and ammonium sulfate. It is widely used in the manufacture of chemicals, e.g., in making hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sulfate salts, synthetic detergents, dyes and pigments, explosives, and drugs. It is used in petroleum refining to wash impurities out of gasoline and other refinery products. Sulfuric acid is used in processing metals, e.g., in pickling (cleaning) iron and steel before plating them with tin or zinc. Rayon is made with sulfuric acid. It serves as the electrolyte in the lead-acid storage battery commonly used in motor vehicles (acid for this use, containing about 33% H2SO4 and with specific gravity about 1.25, is often called battery acid)."

Quote from http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0861351.html


To come back to the short circuiting, apart from good insulating, a cage of Faraday might also be used. Either as for the habitats or just in smaller versions.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:04 am
I am not sure which way H2SO4 is got. May be that one step is H2SO3, may be that alternatively that that one step is 2 H2O + SO2 or so.

Regarding the term Sulfuric acid - I am avoiding the term because there may be misunderstandings. In German H2SO3 is called "schweflige Säure" which would be sulfuric acid in English while H2 SO4 is called "Schwefelsäure" which would be Sulfuracid in English if trnaslated directly.

As far as I know the way to H2SO3 is quite different to the way to H2SO4.



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Post    Posted on: Sat May 24, 2008 11:56 am
The article "Life Found Where You Least Expect It" ( www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080522-a ... robes.html ) might be gi´ving a hint to an exotic way that would fit into presnet approaches and concepts to involve the nature, copy it or the like.

The article says that
Quote:
The answer came in the form of tiny microbes that reacted with the rocks and then gave off heat. It wasn't much — just enough to raise the overall temperature and make the environment more liveable.

So just by colonizing an area under the ground, the microbes made it habitable for other forms of life. They're like construction workers, building comfortable homes for others. Of course, the microbes weren't trying to make conditions better — it's just a happy side-effect of their natural processes.

The researchers also found that the acidic conditions they were expecting had been neutralized by metals, making the water safe for life. The microbes aren't involved in this process, although they do benefit from it.


So metals might be applied to neutralize acids. The article sounds a bit as if water also would be required - but this perhaps is no problem.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:15 pm
It seems a bit as if the toxicity of the martian dust is a matter of the region -since Phoenix has found soil that doesn't contain toxic components as far as is known up to now.

In that proximity to the martian north pole and at that latitude the dust and soil may be untoxic perhaps.

Might this also mean that the toxic dust hides non-toxic dust beneath it? And that it might be removed using baggers and the like? If it has regional origins this tends to seem to be a chance to me.



What about it?



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:30 pm
FWIW, my gut reaction is that the dust is abrasive like a fierce desert storm, but not like moon dust, since mars has an atmosphere. The potential toxicity of the dust is probably not going to be a big problem, as long as protective measures are taken.

Techniques for keeping hazardous materials away from the human body are well developed here on earth. A mars base would need an airlock and explorers would need space suits anyway because of the extreme temperatures and the unwelcoming atmosphere. Adding a shower to the airlock to clean off dust may be a good idea regardless of toxicity.

Now that water has been found, all that remains is to put some rugged hardware and brave souls down there :)


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:31 am
Why not wear a one piece coverall over the top of the spacesuit to keep the dust out of its joints? This then could be removed once the astronaut is in the airlock and cleaned more easily than the spacesuit itself.

I was thinking of something along the lines of a rugged version of the type of thing worn in clean rooms on Earth.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:08 pm
Thats an idea. But pressure suits aren't exactly form fitting or very flexible. I doubt someone could don or remove this oversuit by themselves and having someone else do it for you is very tedious (like dressing a big bulky child). Also you would kick dust up that could settle back on the suit as you are taking the cover off.

They will probably just settle for a good wipe down with electro-static chharged wands and brushes. Maybe restricted and filtered air in the airlock room.

The only real way to keep the dust out is to never bring the suit inside the habitat module at all. You have anthropomoric telerobots that stay outside and are operated remotely.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:15 am
The ideas about the space suits are interesting and relevant and I would like to read more of them.

But the dust might damage equipment etc. and also contains hydrogen and oxygen and other elements that are of interest for propulsion, life support, production and mor.

Under www.wissenschaft.de there is an article today telling that in the californian lake Mono Lake bacteria have been found that do photosynthesis using Arsene. They don't need Oxygen to do so and turn Hydrosulfur into Sulfur and Sulfates if I understand correct.

The article refers to Thomas Kulp (US Geological Survey, Menlo Park, USA) et al.: Science ( www.sciencemag.org ) Vol. 321, page 967.

Such bacteria might process martian dust then.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:41 pm
The equation you're looking for is SO3 + H2O = H2SO4.

Spacesuits need not be so bulky. MechanicalCounterPressure suits are a way of reducing the size.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:54 pm
There is also the possibility that Martian dust might contain trace amounts of kryptonite meaning there will be dangers if Superman is part of a future crew.

Seriously, way to much of the space industry is career scientists looking for their next cushy research project.

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