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#76 2008-01-10 15:27:17

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

This looks like a good idea to me..skilifts on mars  big_smile  But you really don't have to transport much/anything from earth.  Martian soil is (I think) about 12% aluminum by weight, with a decent amount of silicon as well (SiO2) mostly in Al2O3.  So if you seperate that into Al, Si, and O, you could make Silumin, my favorite space alloy (wikipedia it), and make pretty much anything out of it.  I could see a monorail, maybe.  Or the tracks could just be ruts in the regolith, the opposite of trains on earth.

On another note, what are these annoying fines made of anyway?


-Josh

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#77 2008-01-11 12:42:27

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

What about magnetic roads? They could be made of Steel (FeO2 + CO2= 2 O2 + Fe + C that would be used to make steel). It wouldn't matter whether they were covered in soil as long as it didn't block the mag field. You would then have magnetic lines that craft could levitate on.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#78 2008-01-11 13:37:11

JoshNH4H
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

I believe that someone already proposed that.  The problem is that it's a very active system, the rails have to work or the whole thing is gone.  That system is also more expensive, and more likely to malfunction.  Did I mention that it needs o alot of electricity?

But to answer the question of the topic, "could trains provide for martian needs?" The answer is yes, 99% of it.


-Josh

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#79 2008-01-11 14:10:21

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

I believe that someone already proposed that.  The problem is that it's a very active system, the rails have to work or the whole thing is gone.  That system is also more expensive, and more likely to malfunction.  Did I mention that it needs a lot of electricity?.

My idea doesn't need any electricity. The idea is the magnets are permanent (hence steel as the magnetic material). And it doesn't use rails.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#80 2008-01-11 15:00:37

JoshNH4H
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

would 'substrate' be an accurate word for you, then?

The substrate would be complicated, and somewhat prone to being damaged.  Besides, steel isn't a magnet.  (I believe it's paramagnetic, or attracted to magnets)  You would need Fe3O2, or lodestone, to accomplish that.  (BTW, iron comes as Fe2O4 or FeO, not FeO2.  Lodestone is a natural mineral.  But the thing  with mars tech is that it has to be almost infalliblee.  This is where trains come in.  We have 204 years of experience with trains as of this year, and it is a tried, true, and pretty efficient system.


-Josh

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#81 2008-01-11 17:01:57

MarsRefresh
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From: Spokane, WA, USA
Registered: 2007-11-19
Posts: 48

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

That's what we want to see on Mars: one line from Base 1 to Mine 1 then the increase in capital, efficiency, raw materials can be used to build a line to Mine/Base 2 (along with lots of other things).

You mentioned elevated trains or raised roadbeds, but did you ever talk about aerial ropeways?

They are oeconomic to transport to mars (low mass, low volume); easy to move where needed (terminals, ropes, and gondolas); and can be set up even over demanding grounds like glaciers and rocky fields.

The  ropes would be made of carbon nano tubes enforced polymers, so the distance between terminals could easily be 10 km. The gondolas could be even thethered airships. The solar energy collectors would be installed at the terminals.  The robot technology you will need for the installation of grids between the landing sites (cargo and crew) and the big power plants can be used to build the aerial ropeways.

What exactly do you mean by areal ropeways? (Mind you, I'm a historian not an engineer.)

Also, has anything useful ever been made out of "carbon nanotubes enforced polymers"? I've heard the term floated, but is it still a speculative technology? By extension will they be producable on Mars? Ten km long cables seem pretty fantastic, even under Mars gravity. That's a lot of tensile strength.

The solar energy collectors would be installed at the terminals.

Why, to power the whole system? Please explain.

The robot technology you will need for the installation of grids between the landing sites (cargo and crew) and the big power plants can be used to build the aerial ropeways.

I'm not following you here. What robot technology?

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#82 2008-01-12 05:43:44

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Steel is magnetic. It's iron that isn't. You can use an Iron core to increase the magnetism of an EM, but ifyou use a steel one it [the core] remains magnetised.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#83 2008-01-12 09:47:53

Dragoneye
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From: Romeoville, IL
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Steel is magnetic. It's iron that isn't. You can use an Iron core to increase the magnetism of an EM, but ifyou use a steel one it [the core] remains magnetised.

steel is not naturally magnetic. how ever it CAN be magnetized. if we are to magnetize steel i believe we are better off doing it here then shipping parts off to there....

I still dont think a rail system would be best for say the first 5+ years of being there on mars even with about 100-200 people there.

our best bet on that planet is something a bit more flexible like different sized purpose built cars.

as far as power, dont worry i'll be releasing some info on my company this comming year hopefully about what can and more than likely will power everything out there on site.

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#84 2008-01-12 10:14:27

Terraformer
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

We can make steel there though, then magnetize it.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#85 2008-01-13 04:28:44

hjs
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From: Europe, Germany, Bavaria, Muni
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

An Aerial Ropeway is the connection by ropes (wires, cables etc) between   
at least two terminals (to load and unload). The cars can be fixed or temporary coupled and be moved either by the running rope, or by the motorized car itself. There are many different solutions. 
 
Thethered High Altitude Platforms up to 20 km and more have been studied and found feasible. Thether samples were built and tested to 100.000 lbf breakstrength. The mentioned Carbon Nano Tube rope technology is today still experimental (max. length 20 cm!).
   
Yes, the whole system can be operated by solar power, because of its low energy needs to move the cars on the rope mainly in the flat plains. The towers at the terminals will be constructed to hold big parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar radiation onto sterling engines (generators). 

In the long range exploration on Mars the power will be supplied by big generators, landed sometime before the first crew will arrive. For safety reasons the landing sites will be miles distant. Though you need some robots to connect the (heavy) power cables to the habitat.
These robots can be instructed to install the aerial ropeways. Actually the power cables put between supporting pylons could be used as an Aerial ropeway. 

The important point of aerial ropeways is they are movable without loss of material. In mountain areas they are temporalily installed for taking out the cut trees (logs).

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#86 2008-01-13 07:41:32

Terraformer
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

I just have this vision of a planet completely criss-crossed with wires lol.

Ariel ropeways could also be used for moving electricity from, say, the powerstation to the mine. Again, the materials are already on Mars. The first colony/hab should be geared towards producing more colonies from Mars' resources.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#87 2008-01-13 18:07:41

MarsRefresh
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From: Spokane, WA, USA
Registered: 2007-11-19
Posts: 48

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

An Aerial Ropeway is the connection by ropes (wires, cables etc) between   
at least two terminals (to load and unload). The cars can be fixed or temporary coupled and be moved either by the running rope, or by the motorized car itself. There are many different solutions. 
 
Thethered High Altitude Platforms up to 20 km and more have been studied and found feasible. Thether samples were built and tested to 100.000 lbf breakstrength. The mentioned Carbon Nano Tube rope technology is today still experimental (max. length 20 cm!).
   
Yes, the whole system can be operated by solar power, because of its low energy needs to move the cars on the rope mainly in the flat plains. The towers at the terminals will be constructed to hold big parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar radiation onto sterling engines (generators). 

In the long range exploration on Mars the power will be supplied by big generators, landed sometime before the first crew will arrive. For safety reasons the landing sites will be miles distant. Though you need some robots to connect the (heavy) power cables to the habitat.
These robots can be instructed to install the aerial ropeways. Actually the power cables put between supporting pylons could be used as an Aerial ropeway. 

The important point of aerial ropeways is they are movable without loss of material. In mountain areas they are temporalily installed for taking out the cut trees (logs).

Yes, this sounds very feasible. Does each gondola have an electric motor that draws electricity from the line? How much energy does this take?

These robots can be instructed to install the aerial ropeways.

So have the robots drag the heavy steel suspension cables out along the route and then hoist them into place? How would the terminals be built? Steel Frames?

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#88 2008-01-14 05:29:29

hjs
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From: Europe, Germany, Bavaria, Muni
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Posts: 15

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Yes, this sounds very feasible. Does each gondola have an electric motor that draws electricity from the line? How much energy does this take?

Make your choice: come with your buggy, rover or Marssuite only, hook on the rope rails (single or double line) and move on the rope powered by yourself. Or use a cabin with all comfort waiting at the terminal, push the button an go, battery powered or by electric feed cable running parallel.

Energy needed depends on the landscape profil, unless you build very straight connections with high towers. In the plains only resistance from rolling gear is to overcome. Start from a higher point at the terminal , let it run down the hanging rope and up again to the next terminal or pylon.  Use the windforce with a sail, the weight from a counterbalanced cabin coming down on a round running rope etc.

So have the robots drag the heavy steel suspension cables out along the route and then hoist them into place?

Yes, the coming CNT (carbon nano tubes) wires will by far not be as heavy as steel. (japanese patent is pending already!!!)

How would the terminals be built? Steel Frames?

The terminals can be built as simple poles or tripods, ankered with ballast from the grounds there. Or made of sticks and plates out of iron, alloy or Silumin. Production of those materials is very energy consuming. Though every construction/building should be made of multi reusable parts.

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#89 2008-03-16 07:22:37

DonaldSpace
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

No, the rails transmit electricity to the trains to drive them, thus making them much much lighter and more efficient since they need not carry their power plant with them.

How do you deal with dust on the tracks, for example Mars Sandstorms ?

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#90 2008-03-16 07:25:05

Terraformer
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Beamed power? Having the trains wire touching the track in such a way dust will settle around but not block it from touching the track?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#91 2008-04-17 13:24:55

GuyMontag
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From: Spokane, WA
Registered: 2008-02-15
Posts: 5

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

What exactly do you mean by areal ropeways? (Mind you, I'm a historian not an engineer.)

Also, has anything useful ever been made out of "carbon nanotubes enforced polymers"? I've heard the term floated, but is it still a speculative technology? By extension will they be producable on Mars? Ten km long cables seem pretty fantastic, even under Mars gravity. That's a lot of tensile strength.

Check out the new show about loggers on the History Channel (37 in Spokane). They use something similar to move logs up the mountain.

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#92 2008-04-17 14:03:46

GuyMontag
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From: Spokane, WA
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Posts: 5

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

K eep  IS imple  S tupid

All this talk of Maglev trains and autonomous vehicle convoys etc.. is not very useful. Any significant transportation system used on Mars will need to be produced largely IN SITU. A simple big, heavy and ugly Steam locomotive and its rolling stock can be produced almost 100% out of abundant local resources (Iron, Silicon, water).

Rails: Steel(iron)
Fuel: Silane (SiH4)*
Boiler: Steel(iron)
Working Fluid: Water
Wheel sets: Steel(iron)
Rolling Stock Super stucture: Steel(iron)
Ties: Reinforced Mars Concrete (the only mildly tricky part)

*Burns in Mars Air

Electric Trains would be more efficient to operate but then you need mass quantities of copper for wiring. In addition you would need 24hr power so you could run at night.

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#93 2008-04-18 05:08:52

Terraformer
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

While we're on this topic, MarsDrive and the Moon Society have teamed up to investigate using trains on the Moon and Mars.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#94 2008-04-18 12:19:06

louis
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

I agree with KISS.

And I would add -

We aren't at this stage talking about huge populations or huge resource utilisation. So let's start small. A railway does not to be big. It could be an ultra light narrow gauge railway (like the little railways used at fairs to give kids a ride).  We're not going to be in any particular rush on the moon or Mars. It'll be fine if it can transport say 500kgs at 20MPH. That'll be fine.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#95 2008-04-18 22:07:30

Commodore
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From: Upstate NY, USA
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Yours going to want the build tunnels over them, to keep the dust from getting all over the rails.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#96 2008-04-19 05:10:13

JoshNH4H
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Instead of steel, I think that space based applications should use silumin.  Most of my info is from Wikipedia, but it is an alloy of aluminum containing up to 22% silicon.  It is a conductor.  It is pretty strong, and easy to make with natural martian materials. 

Information on silumin:

Wikipedia (stub):http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silumin
Forum at finishing.com: http://www.finishing.com/455/87.shtml


-Josh

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#97 2008-04-21 11:36:01

GuyMontag
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From: Spokane, WA
Registered: 2008-02-15
Posts: 5

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Aluminum is VERY energy intensive to smelt. That is why they tend to place aluminum production in places where power is cheap, like the Pacific Northwest U.S. where Hydro power is cheap.

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#98 2008-04-29 09:48:57

GuyMontag
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From: Spokane, WA
Registered: 2008-02-15
Posts: 5

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Yours going to want the build tunnels over them, to keep the dust from getting all over the rails.

Do to the thin atmosphere on mars, dust/sand storms are not very powerful. Dust and or sand dunes will not be even a minor problem for railroads on mars.

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#99 2008-04-29 14:19:22

JoshNH4H
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Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

I don't think you take the possibility of corrosive  dust on the rails seriously enough.  I would suggest something like this for the 'rails':



    ___________________________
   |...................................................|
   |...................................................|

The wheels would go on the outside.

Besides, burning Silane in CO2 leaves solid products.  I would suggest that CO2 (very high heat capacity) is heated to high temperatures, then put in an insulated container.  When using this as a heat source for a steam engine, the working fluid could be H2S, N2, CO2, Ar, or more or less any heavy noble gas.  I would suggest H2S for 3 reasons:  1) SO3 6% of regolith  2) Low heat capacity 3) if you smell rotten eggs, run.  A CO2 Heat battery at constant volume running at 0 C temperature environment could hold 30 MJ/Kg, if operated at 1000 C.  It's linear, so 500 C holds 15 MJ/Kg, and 2000 C holds 60 MJ/Kg.  But this is heat energy, remember.


-Josh

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#100 2008-04-29 19:34:51

dicktice
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Trains on Mars - Could a rail system provide martian need

Mightn't a Sterling externally heated sealed hot-air engine (of yet to be determined configuration) be more suitable for the railways of Mars, than the type of steam engine you propose?

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