Curiosity on Mars. AMERICA, FUCK YEAH.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by failboat, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. mongrel Member

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  2. failboat Member

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  3. Anonymous Member

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  4. Anonymous Member

    ^^^ I lolled hard, thanx ^^^
  5. failboat Member


    Most recent teleconference, Thursday, October 4, 2012:
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    Latest teleconference, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012:
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  7. failboat Member


    Latest Teleconference, from Thursday, October 18, 2012:
  8. failboat Member

    Latest Teleconference, from Tuesday, October 30, 2012
  9. failboat Member

    Latest Teleconference, Nov 2, 2012:
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  10. Does anyone else think a "green Mars" (terraforming) idea is fucking stupid? If so or if not, why or why not?
  11. failboat Member

    If humans are going to be living on Mars for as long as we've been a species on Earth (we're talking the hundred thousand-year to million-year time scale here); if we are seriously considering settling there as an interplanetary species to be the next frontier, or the next step in our evolution; then I think it would be stupid NOT to work on terraforming Mars.

    There are 3 main problems, which are all linked. There is no atmosphere; it is bloody cold; and there is no magnetic field to protect whatever atmosphere we give it from the solar wind. Solve these problems, and life will want to live there, and greening Mars is as easy as transporting the life from Earth and waiting.

    Giving the planet an Earth-like atmosphere, with a significantly higher fraction of greenhouse gases, would warm it significantly; and warming the planet significantly causes trillions of tons of frozen carbon dioxide from Mars' poles to sublime into the atmosphere, which helps the process along. It also melts Mars's water, which once again is able to exist as a liquid on the surface with the higher atmospheric pressure. Martian valleys, lowlands, and craters will fill with water. Water vapor is another greenhouse gas, so its reentry into the atmospheric/hydrospheric cycle further warms Mars. A lot of ways have been proposed to warm up Mars, from nukes to asteroid impacts. Asteroids might be the fastest and most efficient way to do it; I think it would be unethical, and that it lacks finesse. One of my favorite ideas is having robotic manufacturing (perhaps self-replicating) spacecraft mine an asteroid or two for metals and materials, which spacecraft would then construct a giant reflector in orbit around Mars to increase the amount of incident sunlight. Such a structure would have to be large - like the size of Texas - so constructing it in space is the only feasible manner of doing it; however, it could be Mylar-thin, so the mass involved, while considerable, isn't prohibitive.

    It's probably easier to take the atmosphere out of Mars's rocks than it is to bring it with us. The most abundant element in Earth's crust is oxygen - nearly 47% by mass. Oxygen is also the most abundant element in Mars's crust. We'll want metal when we settle Mars; lots of metal. We can send robots ahead of us, which can construct refineries to smelt Martian ores. As crustal rocks are rendered into metals, the oxide minerals will give up oxygen. If areas are warm enough, and if water is available - from orbital reflectors or asteroid impacts or whatever - then photosynthetic plants could be doing this job too.

    I've heard a few ideas for giving Mars a magnetic field. One involves wrapping the planet in enough coils of wire to make it (with the planet's core) into a solenoid - not very realistic, in my opinion, but it should work, and fairly quickly. You could also give Mars a satellite (or several) of sufficient mass and in a proper orbit to cause enough tidal friction on the planet to melt the core - a low, fast retrograde orbit would be favorable to this, although such an orbit would be unstable, and the satellite would need to be pushed up periodically. The relatively fast rotation of the planet would get the melting/molten core spinning, and you'd have a magnetic field. A molten core restarts vulcanism, and volcanoes on Mars emit still more greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from carbonate rocks. Said satellite also contributes to the heating of Mars. There are several asteroids in the asteroid belt that are hundreds of kilometers in diameter, and which would serve nicely. If we can get them to Mars, then I presume we have the smarts and know-how to keep them in orbit. If the asteroid belt is too far to be feasible at first, then perhaps Phobos and Deimos, Mars's moons, might be a convenient start.

    Getting the asteroid from the belt to Mars is a fun problem. Land on Ceres or Vesta (with robots, maybe), and construct a railgun (or several) and a small smelting operation. Load the slag into the railgun, and use the recoil as propulsion. Resulting metal is used for further construction operations, or to make railgun shot, or to build more railguns. Humans may need to rendezvous with the asteroid/space station, to initially put it into orbit; or they may need to set up semi-permanent shop there, to keep it in orbit around Mars when it arrives, and to goose its orbit.

    The first generations to live on Mars will probably have to live in bubbles or underground, as the projects I've described all take a very long time. Whether we end up using the ideas I've described here, or others, I think the problems are understood well enough, and the solutions are close enough at hand, that they can be solved by humans and robots working cooperatively over the course of some centuries, with real results and great strides toward habitability coming within centuries or millenia.
  12. Restarting the magnetosphere sounds interesting, but there's pretty much no way to increase the gravity on Mars to anything approaching one Earth g. Without that, you still run the risk of losing lighter gases in the atmosphere. Domes and subterranean habitats are the most logical ways to go, with a bias towards subterranean for radiation shielding. One serious concern is how the human body will be able to withstand living in .376g long term, though the effects of that could be mitigated through time in a centrifugal structure similar to how pilots of fighter jets are trained to prevent G-LOC.
  13. failboat Member

    Titan's gravity is lower than Mars, but its atmospheric pressure is greater than Earth's. Gravity isn't the only factor influencing the quantity of atmosphere; solar radiation is what gives gases enough energy to escape. In any case, losses of atmosphere will be gradual, and humans living there would be able to deal with atmospheric losses faster than they occurred by outgassing crustal rocks. You can also bring in mass from outside. Deimos and Phobos are in the trillions of tons; if they are about half oxygen, then that's a lot of atmosphere replacement.

    The extreme terraforming route calls for sending most of the asteroid belt to Mars first, to beef up Mars's mass. I didn't mention it, because I don't like the messiness, or the amount of time it would take to redirect so much mass, or to wait for Mars to cool down after all of the impacts. Scratch that. The reason I didn't mention it - and I know I've looked these figures up before, but I had to look them up again to remind myself - is that the mass of the asteroid belt is less than 1% of Mars's mass, so it wouldn't significantly increase Mars's gravity.

    Rather than extreme terraforming, I think it's more likely that Martians would be turning to the asteroid belt periodically to bring back suitable rocks for atmospheric replenishment.
  14. Re: Titan, also, by virtue of the square-cube law alone, the solar wind is significantly weaker on Titan than it is on Mars. Also, Saturn's magnetosphere provides some protection, and that's not counting when Titan is in Saturn's shadow. All that said, I still think domes are the smarter, more efficient option, because solving the radiation problem would be even more difficult than solving the outgassing problem.
  15. failboat Member

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  16. failboat Member

    For comparison, on Earth the surface atmospheric pressure is around 100 kilo Pascals, or 100,000 Pascals.

    Latest Teleconference, Nov 15, 2012:
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  18. A.O.T.F Member

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  19. SParc Member

    Attracting funding could be difficult as these projects are unlikely to show a profit before the next presidential election.
  20. I'm saying what should be done, not what I expect will be done at any point in the next two or three decades. That's a shame, because most of the tech needed is off the shelf or even old today.
  21. Anonymous Member

    I'm enjoying this thread. Thanks to those who are carrying it.
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  22. failboat Member

    I thought I should post an update as to how Uwingu is doing.

    On Sept. 26, 2012, their $75k crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo concluded successfully.

    On Nov. 5, 2012, they launched their first space funding product, which encourages the public to donate for the right to name and vote for the names of exoplanets.

    It's the only item on their main page:
    Here's their press release about it:

  23. failboat Member


    Latest Teleconference, Dec. 3, 2012:
  24. failboat Member
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  25. failboat Member


    Latest Teleconference, 1/15/2013
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  26. failboat Member

    JIM GAFFIGAN & SARAH SILVERMAN: StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson - Curiosity Mars Rover

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  27. Anonymous Member

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  28. Chad Daddy Member

  29. Anonymous Member

    Program: NOVA

    Episode: Earth from Space

    Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth.
    Duration: (1:52:52)
    Premiere Date: 02/13/2013
    Episode Expires: Never
    TV Rating: TV-G
    Closed Caption
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  30. DeathHamster Member

    "We're sorry but this video is not available in your region due to right restrictions."

    Holy fuck! I used to be a paying PBS subscriber back when NOVA was worthwhile. Screw you and your Pledge Breaks too!
  31. Anonymous Member

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  33. DeathHamster Member

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  35. failboat Member

    Latest Teleconference, 2/20/2013:
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  36. failboat Member


    Latest Teleconference, 3/12/2013. Includes analysis of drilled rock sample:
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  37. Anonymous Member

    I hope you watched it on YouTube while you had the chance, because that video I posted earlier has been taken down.

    However, the Discovery Channel did a program using the same material as NOVA on PBS, only they cut it down to 90 minutes. They even called it "Earth From Space." Here is is:

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  38. Anonymous Member

    Latest Teleconference,

    This presentation was part of a larger event

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  39. Anonymous Member

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