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#1 2004-05-19 17:42:19

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

I think there will be attempts to terraform the Moon. We know that Mars had oceans in the past. Compared to Mars, Luna has about the half of its gravity, one quarter of its surface area. To Martians - Luna is like Mars to Terrans.

Some arguments - Venus is somewhat smaller than Earth, closer to the Sun but has an atmosphere 95 times heavier than Earth's. Titan's gravity is lower than Lunar (1/7 of the Earth) but has a 1.5 bar, 200 km tall atmosphere.

Solar day on the Moon is 28 days - bad but better 116 Earth days on Venus (solar period, not rotational) and its (Venus's) terraformation is of interest.

It's not proven that the Moon can't hold a substantial atmosphere, at least for a long period. Can someone give figures? If the atmosphere can be sustained for a few thousand years, then it will be just a matter of topping it up.

Volatiles could be supplied to the Moon the same way it is proposed for Mars and other planets by asteroids and mining.

I am not saying, the Moon should be colonized/terraformed before Mars but it will happen, anyway.


Anatoli Titarev

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#2 2004-05-20 00:07:16

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi Atitarev!
    I can't find the article right now but I did read on Google, quite recently, that at least one scientist had examined the prospect of creating an atmosphere around the Moon.
    Apparently, if you could find the gases to do the job, Luna's gravity is sufficient to hold onto a low-pressure atmosphere (was it 200 mb? ... can't remember exactly) for a period of some 3000 years.

    Sorry I can't be more use to you than that!

    Getting the gases in the first place is the really tricky bit but it's surprising just how long a lunar atmosphere would last. Having thousands of years to work on replacing the escaping air, makes it sound almost feasible - at least to a technology a little further advanced than our own.
    Maybe a few 200 km diameter iceteroids from the Kuiper Belt would be sufficient to provide the raw materials(?). I would suggest bringing them in at a low angle, in an easterly direction, in the plane of the Moon's equator. This might 'hurry' our sluggish satellite's rotation rate and create a more manageable day/night cycle. [Beware of accidentally bringing them down on Earth, by the way!]

    It's been pointed out by more than one writer that a thick atmosphere on a planetoid like our Moon, with its low gravity, would allow humans to strap on wings and take to the skies. That's something I think I'd like to try!
                                           smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#3 2004-05-20 00:11:24

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

One estimate, that I may incorrectly remember, for Earth like atmosphere to substantially escape from the Moon was 100,000 years. 
-
To make Earth like comes from simulation games. In practice the effort does not justify the result. Simpler is to build a
comfortable surrounding, and shut out the outside problems.
-
Even Earth is not comfortable enough. So we try to make a small space comfortable.
-
Moon dwellings would have to be inside caves and domes. Conveniently underground, Moon dwellers might survive a nearby supernova or gamma ray burst and watch Earth's atmosphere blown away.

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#4 2004-05-20 00:52:00

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Thanks for answering, guys. So, there are no big issues with terraforming our natural sattelite, just the same old problem with financing and the will to do it.

With large deposits of ice on both poles (someone has to put them there) the atmosphere and life could be sustained much easier. Run out of gas - melt some ice - and here we go. I'm sure the thicker the initial atmosphere is the longer it will. The moon will need the water cycle too. So the Moon will require oceans. Aitkin basin (the impact crater) would be the deepest ocean (or sea) in the Solar system - 13 km deep - that's deeper than Hellas basin on Mars!

Yeah, Shaun flying over the Moon would be great fun. You could probably use large umbrellas as parachutes too, if the atmosphere was thick enough.

We'll have problem sleeping here on Earth when the moonlight is shining. With the Moon having Earth's atmosphere it would be so bright, that you could read!


Anatoli Titarev

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#5 2004-05-20 04:00:13

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

The MADMEN discussed in its own thread look promising for just this goal... Go get some Kuyper-objects, and send them to the Moon. I hope this project gets off the drawing-tables and into orbit, nuclear issues aside, this is *the* 'killer-application' that would open a plethora of possibilities...


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#6 2004-05-20 20:30:59

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

The MADMEN discussed in its own thread look promising for just this goal... Go get some Kuyper-objects, and send them to the Moon. I hope this project gets off the drawing-tables and into orbit, nuclear issues aside, this is *the* 'killer-application' that would open a plethora of possibilities...

Hi Rxke!

Thank you for posting but I didn't get how this is related to this discussion. :;):


Anatoli Titarev

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#7 2004-05-20 22:14:42

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Well, the MADMEN are mainly used to divert impact-to-Earth comets, no? Just send a couple of spare MADMEN to a comet that *isn't* a hazard, and re-route it towards the moon: voila, there you have a lot of H and O, use it as you like...


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#8 2004-05-21 06:45:49

REB
Member
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 555
Website

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

According to an article I read in Astronomy Magazine, the Moon could hold onto an atmosphere for over a 100,000 years.

Whoever put it there could certainly keep it replenished.


"Run for it? Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"  -Earl Bassett

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#9 2004-05-21 08:52:22

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

just the same old problem with financing and the will to do it.

*I'm glad to see that you inject the issue of -financing- into the discussion, Anatoli.  I often wonder, when I read some of the terraforming ideas of others, just who is going to pay for all of these efforts!  Somehow the money issue often seems swept under the rug.  But I don't wish to derail the topic.

Luna is moving away from Earth at a rate of 4 cm per year (which isn't a substantial movement of course, but I have no idea if the accumulative effect will impact possible terraforming efforts in the future; I simply thought I'd mention it).

Is Luna's (geez...I almost typed "Mars' "!  I wonder why... tongue ) soil composed of the stuff we'd need to grow crops?

There's also the issue of asteroids.  If the purpose of terraforming other worlds is to ensure continuity of future generations of humans in the event Earth gets hit by a catastrophic asteroid by getting us off-Earth, Luna will likely be affected as well (such close proximity).

I'm not a big fan of terraforming as many already know (for practical reasons mostly), but occasionally I like to consider options and "chew the fat."  :laugh:

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#10 2004-05-21 15:43:01

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

The Moon is convenient, as it is, a source of raw materials, ready to be made into giant space ships. An industrial manufacturing park for the solar system, similar to the Great Lakes, for heavy industry, because of low transportation costs.
-
With an atmosphere, it would be more difficult to launch.

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#11 2004-05-22 05:57:34

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Rxke,

Yes, it's a good idea but I don't know if just redirecting asteroids to the Moon is enough, but it is cheaper, anyway.

To REB

100,000 year is plenty of time for the humanity to think about an efficient way to replenish the atmosphere. Also, as I posted before, making ice deposits should make it easier.

Thanks for your post, Cindy!

There's also the issue of asteroids.  If the purpose of terraforming other worlds is to ensure continuity of future generations of humans in the event Earth gets hit by a catastrophic asteroid by getting us off-Earth, Luna will likely be affected as well (such close proximity).

I hope we don't get such a huge asteroid that can hit both Earth and the Moon, unless it's an asteroid rain. The value in terraforming is having more living space for plants, animals and humans, not just for the event Earth gets hit. Luna is one of the few planets that could be terraformed or at least, colonized and we should use it.

MarsDog, having the atmosphere will not make launch much more difficult but even unbreathable atmosphere will make landing and flying so much cheaper. E.g. landing on Mars is at the moment much less of a problem because it has some atmosphere. Manufacturing will be much easier on a terraformed planet for everyone.


Anatoli Titarev

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#12 2004-05-22 09:47:22

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Yes, it's a good idea but I don't know if just redirecting asteroids to the Moon is enough, but it is cheaper, anyway.

Yes. It would only be the first step, of course... And it's not necc. a comet, 'watery' asteroids would fit the bill, too...

With said MADMEN, you change the orbits, so that they eventually go into (low) Moon orbit... Now set the major fraction of the MADMEN to 'slow-eject' so that the ejected mass has less 'pushing-force'. (Action-reaction, blahblahblah... Ejection speed is important in this equation.) The other small fraction, still 'boosting' MADMEN could keep the object inside orbit that way. Constantly pummel the Moon with small bits of ice, timed so that the ice lands/impacts at the poles or another chosen location, because even a chunk of 1kg. would cause quite a punch upon impact before there's any atmosphere, so you don't want to spray it all over the place, could damage or obliterate your robots, infrastructure or people on the ground with one unlucky hit...

That's the 'gentle' and definitely very slow solution, you could of course choose to impact the whole comet/asteroid, but that has its issues, too. Moonquakes, ejecta that will fly *far* in the low gravity and almost nonexistant atmosphere, ...


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#13 2004-05-22 13:27:34

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

The escaped gasses, from human activity, will form an atmosphere on the Moon, then, why not make it breathable ?
-
The goal for the Solar System should be to occupy, control and secure.
That means a large number of self sustaining space habitats.

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#14 2004-05-23 06:25:21

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

The escaped gasses, from human activity, will form an atmosphere on the Moon, then, why not make it breathable ?
-
The goal for the Solar System should be to occupy, control and secure.
That means a large number of self sustaining space habitats.

You're absolutely right, MarsDog! Although, the Moon is only 1/13 of the Earth's surface area - it's an extra solid territory, more variety, new experience. If we can live in Lunar gravity, we can live on Ganymede and Callisto - similar gravity. Plants adjusted to the solar day on the Moon could be easier adjusted to Venusian diurnal period, etc., etc.

Terraformed Moon Scenery


Anatoli Titarev

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#15 2004-05-23 18:32:19

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

The Moon can be quickly colonized, but Mars will be self sufficient first.
-
After we build several thousand large space ships from Moon materials, Mercury might become more cost effective to build
from.
-
Then, the large fleet of spaceships will be able to divert several comets a year to hit the Moon.

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#16 2004-05-31 00:05:20

mbastion
Member
From: Sydney
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 19

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi,

Luna can't be terraformed. Check out my list at:

http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/escape.html

from my website:
http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/index.html

Michael

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#17 2004-05-31 07:39:43

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi,

Luna can't be terraformed. Check out my list at:

http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/escape.html

from my website:
http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/index.html

Michael

Thanks. Yes, I read your list before and similar calcs. According to your your calculations Mars can't hold a significant atmosphere and water (hydrogen) but it's now proven that Mars had an ocean. This means it had both thick atmosphere and could hold surface water. Besides, as discussed in this topic, the volatiles could be replenished gradually as the Moon starts to lose some of its atmosphere.

Venus is much closer to the Sun, receives 80% more of the solar energy than Earth. It's gravity is 90% of the Earth but it holds an atmosphere 95 times thicker and much taller than Earth's.

Titan, although colder and further from the Sun, has only 2/3 of the Lunar mass and gravity but it's atmosphere is 200 km tall and 1.5 times thicker than on Earth.

I am not a scientist but I can only say that there are too many factors to be taken into account - albedo first of all, surface temperatures, closed cycles (water or other volatiles), contents of the atmosphere. It may also depend on how quickly the atmosphere is created and what its initial structure is. First, I see a lot of ice deposited on the poles and randomly buried underground, then when a lot of gas is released and a water cycle is created that will reflect a lot of solar light and lower the temperatures on the lit side.

Of course, if only a small amount of gas is released on Luna, it will escape into space when hit by the Sun.


Anatoli Titarev

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#18 2004-05-31 12:22:22

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

After reading mbastion's links:

Although it takes a long time to loose the Hydrogen, it takes longer still to loose the CO2 which gets left behind, as in the case of Venus. What gets left behind might be very hard to repair later. Just think of the Moon as a miniature Venus, CO2 atmosphere, H2SO4 clouds.
-
The effort and longer term consequences are not worth the short term result.

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#19 2004-05-31 16:47:10

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

After reading mbastion's links:

Although it takes a long time to loose the Hydrogen, it takes longer still to loose the CO2 which gets left behind, as in the case of Venus. What gets left behind might be very hard to repair later. Just think of the Moon as a miniature Venus, CO2 atmosphere, H2SO4 clouds.
-
The effort and longer term consequences are not worth the short term result.

Water is much heavier than pure hydrogen, even vaporized, and it builds clouds in a thick atmosphere.

If Venus was given a "good" atmosphere and enough water it would stabilize and if the water cycle is created it would stay. Same with the Moon. Too much CO2 creates a runaway greenhouse effect. What if there was only 1-10% of it originally and the rest of it nitrogen, oxygen and water?


Anatoli Titarev

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#20 2004-06-01 00:05:56

mbastion
Member
From: Sydney
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 19

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi,

>According to your your calculations Mars can't hold a significant
>atmosphere and water

Don't misquote me. I said it can't hold Hydrogen. I said nothing about not being able to hold an atmosphere.

>it's now proven that Mars had an ocean

Theorised yes, proven, no. Who apparently proved it, when and how?
HAD being past tense, the fact that it doesn't have one now clearly shows it didn't have or can't retain an ocean or atmosphere.

>volatiles could be replenished

Replenishing an atmosphere is not terraforming.

>Venus...holds an atmosphere 95 times thicker
>Titan...1.5 times thicker than on Earth

Venus: The atmosphere is not breathable, nor is it covered in oceans, so your point is mute. Titan only holds a thick atmosphere because it is -180C, hardly earth-like. You need to understand I'm not debating about whether or not an atmosphere can hold Hydrogen NOW. I'm stating whether it's able to hold Hydrogen AFTER terraforming, when it has an earth-like atmosphere.

>closed cycles (water or other volatiles), contents of the atmosphere.

Hydrogen is the lightest element. If an atmosphere can't hold Hydrogen then whether or not it can hold the other elements is a mute point, as without water you can't terraform the planet.

Michael
http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/index.html

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#21 2004-06-01 17:42:49

atitarev
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2003-05-16
Posts: 203

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi,

>According to your your calculations Mars can't hold a significant
>atmosphere and water

Don't misquote me. I said it can't hold Hydrogen. I said nothing about not being able to hold an atmosphere.

>it's now proven that Mars had an ocean

Theorised yes, proven, no. Who apparently proved it, when and how?
HAD being past tense, the fact that it doesn't have one now clearly shows it didn't have or can't retain an ocean or atmosphere.

>volatiles could be replenished

Replenishing an atmosphere is not terraforming.

>Venus...holds an atmosphere 95 times thicker
>Titan...1.5 times thicker than on Earth

Venus: The atmosphere is not breathable, nor is it covered in oceans, so your point is mute. Titan only holds a thick atmosphere because it is -180C, hardly earth-like. You need to understand I'm not debating about whether or not an atmosphere can hold Hydrogen NOW. I'm stating whether it's able to hold Hydrogen AFTER terraforming, when it has an earth-like atmosphere.

>closed cycles (water or other volatiles), contents of the atmosphere.

Hydrogen is the lightest element. If an atmosphere can't hold Hydrogen then whether or not it can hold the other elements is a mute point, as without water you can't terraform the planet.

Michael
http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/index.html

Water and hydrogen are not the same thing, are they? Water is heavier than hydrogen, even if it's vaporized. Hydrogen atoms are locked with oxygen atoms. Water vapor will build clouds in a thick atmosphere (provided the temperature range is within norm) and then precipitate. Do we need pure hydrogen for terraforming a planet?


Anatoli Titarev

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#22 2004-06-02 01:46:25

mbastion
Member
From: Sydney
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 19

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi,

>Hydrogen atoms are locked with oxygen atoms.

No, not always. Photodissociation. UV light splits water into Hydrogen and Hydroxyl radicals, which in turn are split into Hydrogen and Oxygen radicals. In the upper atmosphere they don't recombine. The Hydrogen radicals escape into space. Air pressure on Mars is very low and UV light is extreme, so the process is more intense.

http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/photo.html

>Do we need pure hydrogen for terraforming a planet?

Depends on the amount of Oxygen available. If the planet lacks oxygen then it would be easier to import H20. If the planet lacks Hydrogen, or has an excess of CO2, then it would be easier to import liquid Hydrogen.

As for Luna, the moons gravity is too low and the moon is too close to Earth to terraform.

Michael
http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/index.html

P.S. Off to the movies, so will respond to the other posts tomorrow smile

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#23 2004-06-02 07:05:03

REB
Member
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 555
Website

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi mbastion,

The first rule about being a terraformist is never say never. The second rule is that nothing is impossible.

The Moon will hold onto a thick atmosphere for thousands of years. I have seen estimates from 100,000 to a million years, but even if it is a thousands years, whoever put it there could certainly replenish it as needed (top it off every now and then).

With an Earth-Like atmosphere, the Moon would be the right distance from the Sun (Same as Earth) for liquid water to exist on the surface.

The Moon’s rotation might be a problem, but that too can be dealt with.


The Terraformist Creed;

Never say never
Nothing is impossible
We can do the incredible
We can turn night into day
We will find a way
We can build an atmosphere
And make sure life lives there
We can turn wastelands
Into green forest lands
We can do the impossible
We can do the incredible
Never say never


"Run for it? Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"  -Earl Bassett

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#24 2004-06-02 19:32:19

mbastion
Member
From: Sydney
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 19

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Hi,

Sorry for the cross-post.

I officially smile introduce the word "Caeliforming" (K-AY-LEE-forming) into the discussion. Caeliforming, translated from latin is "to create and support the sky".

Caeliforming means: to create and maintain an earth-like atmosphere (air pressure, temperature, constituents), to make a planet/moon habitable for humans.

Caeliforming can be incorporated into the Terraforming process or remain separate from it.

Significant differences between Caeliforming and Terraforming are:
*Caeliforming is modifying an atmosphere to be earth-like, while Terraforming is modifying an entire planet (including the atmosphere) to support an earth-like, terrestrial (surface) ecosystem.
*A terraformed mass has an earth-like gravity and can retain Hydrogen in it's atmosphere over a geological period.
*A terraformed mass requires little or no external atmospheric maintenance over a geological period.

Mars can easily be Caeliformed, but not Terraformed.
On a caeliformed Mars you can walk around without a face mask, but gravity would still be very low, people would live underground and H20 oceans would dry up over geological periods. The air would be fairly dry and water would be a valuable commodity.


Michael
http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/index.html

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#25 2004-06-03 05:07:22

karov
Member
From: Bulgaria
Registered: 2004-06-03
Posts: 953

Re: Terraforming the Moon - Your opinion, please

Isn`t it possible the athmosphere introduced on astronomical bodies with little H-value to be held or returned back in with electromagnetical means? I mean a concept similar to M2P2 or mag-sail, so the ionised atoms with escape velocity to be redirected back in the athmosphere?

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