New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: We've recently made changes to our user database and have removed inactive and spam users. If you can not login, please re-register.

#101 2014-09-25 08:09:21

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

First, I'm very sceptical of any oil on Mars. There were no forests to decay into oil. There was no peat to decay into coal. It is theoretically possible for oil to form through non-organic methods, but highly unlikely. If it did, then we would see it on Earth. More likely the black liquid you see from satellite images is just dirty water. Remember any liquid water on Mars is melted permafrost, so very salty and very dirty. It's mud.

Water can provide radiation shielding. The best way to do that is burry a habitat under dirt, then soak the dirt. Apply dirt in layers: soak each layer with water, let it freeze, repeat. This creates permafrost on top of your hab. No plastic bag required.

The pressure envelope of a hab should be something that won't melt in temperature of the hab interior. Ice melts in indoor temperature. Keeping an ice tunnel frozen, yet interior comfortable, requires dynamic temperature balance. It requires active cooling outside the tunnel, and active heating inside. That means steady heat loss. Once you insulate to reduce heat loss, then walls inside that insulation will warm to a temperature closer to the interior. You don't want your pressure envelope to melt.

Mushroom: If we did find oil on Mars (unlikely) then it should be used for plastics, lubricating oil, or other non-consumable uses. It would be far too rare to just break down, either by burning or mushrooms. Do you realize how much energy it takes to make polyethylene plastic from CO2 and water? Ethylene is polymerized the same way, but making ethylene is energy intensive. If you had oil, you could make ethylene the way we do on Earth.

That said, you could use mushrooms to break down plant waste like straw from wheat or leaves/stems from potatoes. That's another way to convert plant waste into edible food.

Offline

#102 2014-09-25 10:33:29

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

The oil I was talking about for mushrooms would be from organisms grown in a plastic bag at a low pressure.  Not harvesting the oil from them, just enhancing an organism that already accumulates hydrocarbons into itself in a significant abundance.  Then either that is a fish food, and you grow mushrooms off of the organic waste of  that process, or just apply the harvested plankton to the soil, grow mushrooms and so also enhance the soil for vascular photo crops.

I don't have a strong opinion about the sources of oil.  It is reasonable that indeed organisms captured hydrocarbons, that accumulated and was cooked into oil, but there is also reason to think that planets forming had carbon and hydrogen incorporated into their deep layers, not all of it would have been expelled during formation.  We also thiink that the Earth was hit by a Moon forming object, which would have created a magma ocean over the Earth, but not so much Mars.

If Hydrogen and Carbon bearing compounds were embedded. it can be expected that over time they might in cases be released from those compounds.  Hot hydrogen encountering Carbon compounds might generate some Methane.  Methane being trapped under a salt dome, might eventually loose some of its hydrogen which might seep out, and so leave behind a residue of oils.

That also leaves out the possibility that there was a mechanism which drew water down into the deeps of Mars.  Just like it does now here on Earth.  Water encountering Iron for instance would release Hydrogen. and the Hydrogen seeping up might do the same as I described above.

And then what if there was microscopic life on Mars in the past?  Perhaps Oil from that.

Mars having a much colder crust would not show as much evidence of oil seeps because it would not flow as well.  And then even if there were oil seeps, I am sure they would quickly be masked by air borne dust.

But with all of that I am not looking for oil wells on Mars as a plan.

I leave open the possiblity.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#103 2014-09-25 11:17:52

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

I guess to keep the discussion going, I have to point out that Mars does not have plate tectonics. Subducting tectonic plates are the means of drawing water down to the mantle and lower crust. Mars doesn't have that. In fact, Olympus Mons was formed because it never moved from its mantle hot-spot. So the volcano just continued to build up until it stopped erupting. Hawaii has a similar hot-spot, but the tectonic plate moves north-west, carrying the volcanic islands with it. As the most recent island is moved off the hot-spot, a new crack in the crust forms, starting formation of a new volcanic island. Each previous island is then eroded by ocean waves, becoming smaller. But Olympus Mons is one single giant volcano. And it appears it was an island in the ancient ocean. Sides of the mountain are extremely steep, becoming a far more shallow gradient above the water line. Not too surprising that flowing lava would harden as soon as it hit ocean water. But again, that means no mechanism for drawing water deep.

Offline

#104 2014-09-25 14:10:22

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

That appears to be true.  However this just in:

http://www.space.com/27256-earth-water- … n-sun.html

While it is true water would boil off of lava exposed to the surface for instance, I might suggest that for some planets the accumulation of mass may not be that hot of a process, at least not at first when the cores are small, before you get big collisions.

So to me this means the possiblity of hydrated minerals and carbon materials being burried under layers deep down.

So, then over time emerging in eruptions, from down deep, and in some cases Hydrogen seeping upwards from very deep, and encountering Carbon compounds.

But I am not really all that interested in arguing the point.  Either Oil will be found on Mars or not.  I think the facts on how planets form and behave over time are too unknown to engage in a further push of the idea on my part.

What I am more interested is generating a biological oil that can be rendered into tar, and to be able also create Mineral Wool.

With those two things, I think structure can be built that will be sufficiently stable to allow buildings to be constructed in ice tunnels.

Ice tunnels may be easy to construct because you would need a laser, and to vent the vapors to atmosphere.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#105 2014-09-25 16:37:58

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Mineral wool is made from rock, not tar. At least the stuff I know.
Roxul Comforbatt
BrockWhite

Offline

#106 2014-09-25 18:17:08

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

I want to study making tar from organic materials such as plankton grown in plastic bags.  If the bugs were like those propposed to make bio-fuels, then from that could come Tar, a glue.

Minearal wool does come from rocks.

If the Martians had those two technologies along with the ability to make ice tunnels and pressurize them, then they could make parts from Tar impregnated Minearal wool.

Not a fantastically strong material, but a replacement for Tar Paper.  If thick enough walls could be made from it.  Not to hold pressure, but to isolate a heated interior from the cold atmosphere of the ice cave.  Of course if you have mineral wool, then you can insulate such tar-paper shacks.

Grow plants inside using a artificial light source.

I reason that this level of technology would be less demanding than to construct shelters from stone, plastics, metals and glass.

Having mastered tar paper and mineral wool, they could also have heated workshops where they could begin building the machines and processes for a higher level technology such as glass, plastics, metals and stones.

For instance, instead of landing heavy equipment, perhaps beeds of metal could be hard landed and those turned into machines by such methods available (3D Printer).

But if a metal resource were obtainable locally instead, all the better.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#107 2014-09-25 19:47:13

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Well, I was part of the Mars Homestead Project, phase 1 - Hillside Settlement. My bias is toward that. Bruce MacKenzie argued for masonry Roman arches before Robert Zubrin did. In fact, Robert Zubrin picked the best ideas from everyone who presented at the Mars Society. His ideas for Terraforming came from Chris MacKay and Martyn J. Fogg. Since Bruce was the original organizer for Mars Homestead, of course we include masonry. But I argued that pressure finds a way out. With nothing but mortar between bricks, and dirt above, pressure would find a pencil thin hole and leak out. So they said we would spray a sealant on the inside of the masonry wall. Ok. That works. Doesn't have to hold much pressure, the masonry will do that. In fact, pressure will press it against the bricks.

So there's an alternative, but similar to what you're talking about. Brick walls with barrel arches and groin arches, buttressed with regolith on the sides, and more than enough regolith on top to counter the pressure. I still like the idea of cutting into a hillside, building the masonry in the cut, then pushing down from the hill dirt to backfill around the masonry. Then push more down to pile on top.

One limit with masonry is when you get close to the hill. You will need a door. Without thick piles of regolith against the wall to hold pressure in, a brick wall would burst out. So alternatives were fibreglass, aluminum, or steel. Structural fibreglass is actually glass fibres soaked with resin. Fibres can be woven to form a cloth, or loose. According to Wikipedia, common resin is epoxy, polyester or vinylester. We chose fibreglass for tunnel leading from masonry to hill edge and a door. And more fibreglass for apartments, so each could have a window.

Masonry sealant would have to form a strong, stretchy, air-tight film. I envision spray painting it on. What would you use?

Offline

#108 2014-09-26 06:04:17

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Well, I maybe could be leading you astray from a clever plan.  I would not want to be that person.

I think if it could prove true that you could pressurize a ice/Permafrost tunnel, and probability of security was on your side, then do that.  But it must be tested.

Your technology as described spans the 21st century to Roman technology. (With added Inuit issues).

What I want to explore is 21st century to just better than mud huts.

If it proves to be stupid then let the judgement hold against it.

Any plan must actually work!  Even I would not hold ego above preformance.

I would hope for a network of ice tunnels with a door that can be open or closed, the network either pressurized or not.  When not, then bring in necessary bulk resources and do major construction. 

If closed, then grow crops, and make workshop accomplishments.

But if it is false for safety then don't do it at all.

If it works then plan for a higher technological level on the planet.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#109 2014-09-26 16:20:38

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

The Mars Homestead Project has a lot of very good people. One was a student of architecture. His master thesis was our project. He did get is master degree in architecture from this. I gave technical arguments like everyone has read here, as did others on the team, but the architect turned it into detailed plans. And an artists turned the plans into beautiful works of art. I'm proud of what we did.

I know, posting art work from a professional artists isn't fair. An artist who isn't me. But it's so good! Note the solar collector domes on the hill, reflecting sunlight into light pipes that lead to a diffuser at the apex of each groin arch.
normal_MHP-4FC-Image001.jpg
normal_MHP-4FC-Image029.jpg
An apartment living room. But this looks like a hardwood floor. Some members argued for growing trees specifically for wood, so we could do this. Some argued for bamboo. I think granite, terracotta, ceramic tile, etc. There is calcite and dolomite in Mars regolith, but I don't know about limestone. Marble is metamorphic, formed by recrystalization of calcite and/or dolomite. I don't know if we'll find marble on Mars. Travertine is a form of limestone formed in hot springs. Not likely on Mars. What Mars minerals would be asthetically pleasing?
normal_MHP-4FC-Image026.jpg
And back to the point of this discussion: a greenhouse. I think the artist put a Canadian flag on the worker's shoulder because I argued so much for the greenhouse. But I still argue for all greenhouses to use ambient light, with artificial light only as an emergency backup during a dust storm. Not burried under regolith.
normal_MHP-4FC-Image024.jpg

Last edited by RobertDyck (2014-09-28 14:50:08)

Offline

#110 2014-09-26 21:04:31

Decimator
Member
Registered: 2011-11-20
Posts: 39

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Granite is both attractive and durable.  If it's available, it's an excellent material.

Offline

#111 2014-09-27 16:08:37

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

The mass of the heavy equipment to mine Granite or to process the rocks into a refining process for iron or other smelting operations is well beyond the landing capability.

images of quaries equipment
http://www.coalsurfacemining.com/mining … pment.html
http://www.slabcomg.com/html/quarry.html
http://crushermachineforsale.com/Soluti … pment.html

qtk1.jpg


stone-crusher.gif


mill.gif

Offline

#112 2014-09-27 19:34:54

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Developing equipment for Mars is usually a matter of starting with equipment we have here on Earth, then miniaturizing. We can miniaturize granite handling. For one thing, equipment linked is for large industrial operations. For Mars, we would have a small settlement starting with a dozen people. Attachments to a skid-steer loader could cut and handle a single kitchen countertop. Or floor tiles. Think small.

Iron: mine hematite concretions. They're right on the surface. And for more, burried hematite concretions are hard and embedded within soft sedementary rock. That's easy to separate with a rock crusher and tumbler. Start small, with surface concretions only, then build the crusher and tumbler from locally produced steel. And hematite is pure enough to smelt with the direct iron method, which is very efficient. It produces steel directly in one step. Direct Iron requires crushing the hematite with a stronger crusher before smelting. A small hematite crusher and smelter would be delivered via cargo lander. A nuclear reactor to produce heat for it would be delivered via another.
mars%20blueberries.gallery_thumbnail.jpg

Cement: Portland Cement Again think small. All ingredients necessary are in normal Mars regolith. However, Portland Cement requires higher concentration of limestone. Limestone is a mixture of two minerals: one white, the other grey. Calcite is CaCO3; dolomite has half the calcium replaced by magnesium: CaMg(CO3)2.

Offline

#113 2014-09-27 20:35:44

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

When I got out of high school, I got a job working in a  hematite processing plant.  I never worked in a pit.  Then I quit and went to two years of school, and worked in a Taconite plant for 10.5 years at some type of technical level.  I have real experience.  Not all of it but parts of it.

Pretty cool that hematite place.  It was the precursor for tacnite processing.  I also worked where they developed the technology for taconite.  But I was not the inventor of any of it.  I consider that I am rather priveleged however.  Too bad I can't spell real good. smile  I am a bit bent just now, but I will try to behave.

However, I am certainly not the end of knowledge of the subject.

That's a pretty little girl in the pretty picture that you provided.  I hope she does not end her life with a red foam coming out of her mouth and nose.

No time for good spelling just now.  Wasn't made for it.  Have concepts but communication is not my long suit. 

First of all, people going from Earth to Mars to live will need a parent who will exist for a time we hope, that being the human effort on Earth to support the introduction of humans.  No gaurantee that there will be more than one shot at it.  Maybe not even that.  If it happens, it has to count. 

The tropics of Mars seems to indicate a merciful place, but as I see it habitation of it will require the mastering of stone, metals, glass and plastics.

Sure, if you can bring them in from Earth, if Earth will pay the bills, then you are champion.  But I think it will be a long shot if humans even get a chance at Mars at all.

So, is there any other possibility?  As I see it you have said nuclear reactor(s).  Good.  Mars is likely to be a killer world.  Better be strong, better have a good plan that does not depend on favors from a world you don't really know very well.

So, here is a "Proposed" alternate plan:

Find a location where there is stable ice.  A layer perhaps 100 to 200 feet deep (No time for metric just now).  That's equivalant to a rough estimate of 900 to 1800 mb of potential counterpressure.  Was it the pathfinder that pushed dust off of ice in a polar region?  Well find what you want, drop 2 to 3 minimal sized nuclear reactors onto that location in fair proximity.  Ideally they could melt their way to bedrock, but maybe that's not a real option.  I hope it could be.

Now if desired they with robot abilities support a biological process either chemical driven by H2, O2, and perhaps CO2 (I hope) alternately or as a supplement, a light driven process in a melted environment under 100 t0 200 feet of ice, to provide some biomass and Oxygen in some manner, then bring in the humans.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#114 2014-09-27 20:47:44

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

In this case they arrive in a summer to a very nasty place, but a place that has water and 2 to 3 small nuclear reactors.

Perhaps it would be wise if at least one nuclear reactor was on the surface to help them survive initially.

Their objective would be to burrow down 100 to 200 feet (Like mice) to get to the other one(s).

Ice may be more stable on Mars than Earth.  The gravitation is 1/3 approximately, and the historical temperatures, the ambient is much lower at the places where large deposites exist.

A less mobile ice body.  Less Mars quakes we hope as well.

Now, if they get down there, the floors of their habitation are rock.  Some of my ancestors (And much earlier some of "Our" ancestors) lived in a home dug in the side of a hill).  A dirt floor.  They made it more or less, but moved on.

Building with rocks:

If you have a location under 100 to 200 feet of ice, and some nuclear reactors, you have chances on Mars I think.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#115 2014-09-27 21:02:35

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

I don't trust ice or rock not to fall on my head, but I have proposed a plan where they can.  Anyway, in Antarctica they do build tunnels that are somewhat stable over a lifetime or part of a lifetime.  They usually put in supports, but Earth has 1 gee of gravitational force, Mars has 1/3. (More or less).  Any initial habitation of Mars will be a nasty gamble.  But maybe we can have odds on our side anyway. 

So, If you have a tunnel system, to some extent, the pressurization of it may act against the warping of it, the deformation of the ice. 

Rocks.  they exist on Mars obviously. on the surface and perhaps at the bedrock level under the ice.  If your floor of habitation is bedrock and you can find rocks to make walls with then you have bettered your situation.  Now if you can make tar and mineral wool and so a analog of tar paper, can you make a roof on top of your rock walls?  Above that perhaps an ice roof.  Maybe you can give that ice roof some resistance from deformation by applying a frozen layer of mineral wool and frozen water, maybe.  An arch formation may not hurt your purpose.

Anyway Ice, nuclear reactors, tar, mineral wool, and of course in the summer as you may be capable of, solar driven biological processes, solar driven power to expand your powers, and we might hope, the ability to master glass, metals, and plastics.

That's my best offer.  If you have a better one, then good.  I will praise you.

Last edited by Void (2014-09-27 21:03:15)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#116 2014-09-27 22:56:18

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Ice tunnels. Ok. Did you read the book "Red Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson? The "rebels" hid by building a community under the south polar ice cap. They used a hose with hot pressurized Mars atmosphere to melt a tunnel into one wall. Remember the south ice cap is 3.7km thick, and has a relatively vertical wall at its edge. This story had them dig deep into the ice cap, then hollow out a large dome under the ice. This created a town sized space with dirt floor. They stabilized the dome with something sprayed onto the ice. I forget what the book said. Then a nuclear reactor placed on the dirt in the centre created warmth. It was kept relatively cold, just a few degrees above freezing, so the ice roof would stay frozen. Their homes were then heated. The spray coating on the ice ceiling was air tight, they pressurized the entire volume. So individual homes did not require pressurization, or individual air recycling. They grew trees in the dirt, to help recycle air. But had a chemical/mechanical oxygen recycling system anyway. Since the space was cut at dirt level, and the dome is so thick, the ice roof was completely opaque. Required artificial light. Obviously where the tunnel reached the melted open space, there was a pressure bulkhead and airlock. The tunnel was so long that you required a vehicle to drive to the outside.

Ah! Found a website about the book. Everything's online these days. The community was called Zygote. The book claimed the south polar ice cap was dry ice, so easy to carve out. They sprayed water to create a layer of water ice as the ceiling. But that's a fiction book, in reality according to the ground penetrating radar on Europe's orbiter Mars Express, most of the ice is water ice.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2014-09-27 23:45:22)

Offline

#117 2014-09-28 08:06:49

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

The question of Developing equipment for Mars is usually a matter of starting with equipment we have here on Earth, then miniaturizing but rather one of what companies are doing this for mars. Short answer, none unless its via a NASA contract for some lander such as Pheonix...

Offline

#118 2014-09-28 09:28:58

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Well, I think it's a way off before any serious hardware will be created specific to a human occupation of any duration.

I think that in very old SciFi, I also noted references to occupation of a polar ice cap.  I don't think the technical specifics were well defined.

It is not entirely a bad idea, but I would rather seek lower latitudes where possible where the thickness was sufficient.  Can a counter pressured ice tunnel hold pressure without a supplemental lining?  It might be tricky and risky.  But any initial occupation will be short on resources desired from Earth.  An ice tunnel would certainly give radiation protection, and to some extent moderate temperatures within.  I am hoping that a high humidity would help to seal leaks, and that some ice layers would be very old and very stable not moving like a glacier. 

So, I am looking for low hanging fruit at first.

In my attempt to justify myself, I recall that the orbiters can see where meteors have hit ice layers, and disturbed the layer of soil above.  I know that with the present atmosphere, they don't slow down enough not to shatter if they strike ice free surface.  Also, if they are of a significant size they are likely to melt and become embedded in rock/soil and so harder to extract.  Of course I am wanting Iron/Nickle objects.  But I speculate that such an object slowed a bit by the atmosphere and then striking a layer of ice perhaps 100, 200, 300 feet deep might distribute much of it's momentum by vaporizing ice and scattering it's shattered shards.  It is also thought that periodically this ice layer is evaporated and moved to the equator, and then it comes back again.  So if this were the pattern such Iron/Nickle objects might then lay on top of the ground, under the ice.
The environment might not be very reactive to them due to the lack of liquid water and the cold temperatures.  So, I would hope that in selecting a site, such a set of objects would be found prior, magnetically. 

Also, if a person wanted to wish for a generous situation, you might hope to actually have a worthwhile ore body of some kind identified within a reachable distance limit.
Blasting with explosives might not be friendly to a ice tunnel, so, I might hope it could be mined some other way.  That could be a problem.

I have seen that it is proposed to extract Oxygen from atmospheric CO2, and that will also produce poisonous CO.  However if that is further reacted with H2O, then Hydrocarbons.  The wonderful tar I want, and presumably by default lighter oils and gasses.  I would not feel that these would all have to be toxic to humans, but some toxic results would have to be handled.  And so the Mushroom farms I have spoken of.  If you have Oxygen, and a oil of some kind and some soil, then apparently you can hope to grow mushrooms, if you warm the mix up a bit.  No lights needed except for planting, inspection, and harvesting.  Natural mushrooms would be of some value.  However, I should hope that some genetic engineering could produce varieties that have an expanded nutrition.  That's a hope, not reality at this time.

Of course if you have a nuclear reactor and pressurized plant houses with artificial lights, you could also improve the diet (I think you would need some of that).

So, if this were done, your early skill set would begin to work metals, and would work stone, mostly under the ice.  You would be reliant for the most part on nuclear reactor(s),
You would have Oxygen and Hydrocarbon production.  You could grow some food from chemicals (Mushrooms), and some under artificial lights.

I would think your next move would be to develop the manufacture of plastics.  Having that then you might have plastic liners for more ice tunnels (To expand space, and also perhaps get more meteor iron/nickle.

Obviously you should have sufficient water resources.

You might then consider having some surface greenhouses, but unless you could develop glass, the window method would be plastics, I suggest low pressures, balloons held inside of some kind of a mesh cage, and a "Tarp" sheet with UV protection over that as a start.  They would obviously only operate in the summer.  Further I am sure it would be good to have some small above ground habitats built at that point.  Small windows, but a place where humans could get out of their suits, periodically, and be in the presence of growing things (In the summer I think). 

As for glass, what would you suggest?

Last edited by Void (2014-09-28 09:46:53)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#119 2014-09-28 20:31:01

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

I do see that when man is able to go even on the first mission he has gone to stay or why bother at all...

Sure the first crew will return to Earth but the follow on attempts will be for much longer periods.

Man must setup house just not for a visit but for long term exploration and colonization.

Man must dig in hard to stay and survive as if earth was not there.

Offline

#120 2014-09-29 08:26:39

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Well, my words come at a low price.  I guess you get what you pay for. smile

I seem to recall that Elon Musk might think that a dome with water in it, water mined was a plan.  (My best memory of a vague article).

So, he must not be thinking equator.

Anyway I hope someone like him is able to bend the rules, and get more to Mars cheaper.  Then maybe not everyone on Mars has to start off as a ice age Morlock.  There can be the Eloy smile

Seriously.  I prefer a better plan than what I can make.

As groups humans tend to be insane and stupid, with occasional lucid moments.  So I have a need to agree with you.  If we ever catch the human race in a lucid moment, where they will contribute to and not damage a plan to go to Mars, it should be exploited.  But such a lucid moment may not have much duration.  And then as you have said the people on Mars will be on their own, or even worse have to fight off idiotic meddling from a Earth culture that has again lapsed into stupidity.

That is my opinion.  That is why I try to go for the less glorious and less tra-la-la concepts of how humans can take root on Mars.

Last edited by Void (2014-09-29 08:32:58)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#121 2014-10-02 22:07:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

I have stumbled across a very nice document Advanced Life Support Baseline Values and Assumptions Document ,happy reading all 173 pages....

Offline

#122 2014-10-17 08:45:01

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

I will present this as well as I can.  I do understand that like all systems it will be subject to degrading over time and exposure to the elements.

Knowing that I can already think of concerns.  However the first step is to conceive of doing something and then hope to do it much better.

Plastics have already been considered for greenhouse construction, and water has also been mentioned.  To that I will add clear or translucent oils.

I don't see this as a "First" greenhouse option, (But it could be considered), but as a potentially highly expandable greenhouse which may be well adapted to some locations on Mars, and which would require no glass, and very little metals.

The plan calls for a trench in the soil of Mars,

Within that place a large long plastic bubble made of a suitable type of plastic.  It will not have to put up with extreme temperature changes and will not as a rule be exposed to U.V. wavelengths.
This balloon is to be filled with water.

Above that place smaller long balloons of plastic crossways.
These balloons will be filled with water or oil.

If oil, then they can serve as reserve fuel tanks for a future need.  Perhaps a global dust storm.
Otherwise they are to serve as a transparent to translucent insulating window.  Performing the function of blubber for a whale.

Above those cross member balloons, place a plastic tarp specifically to block UV light and to serve as a sacrifice layer for abrasive dust.  It will be changed out periodically as needed.  It will be subjected to temperature extremes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lethbridge

This device upgraded with modern methods:
http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7124

See posts 2014-10-04 16:42:02 & 2014-10-06 03:25:05

I suggest a combination arm method where at the upper arms would be a triple seal.  A simple representation of that would be you are in a bag suit, but your arms are in counter pressure apparatus.  Around the transition point on the upper arms you have a cork stopper (This is for visualization only, I would expect something much more sophisticated).
Your long term suit is a box on a robot arm, it has ports for the arms that the "Corks" can be pushed into for a seal.  So your arms (Or I prefer your best arm only) are outside of the box.  But this is not so stupid if you also put a bag suit for the arms on the outside also joined.  So your arms are in a pressurized bag suit and also inside of counter pressure suiting for the arm.  Then unfortunately your circulation will be cut off if you don't depressurize the arm bags.  So you do depressurize them  You pump the air from these arm bags into the box you are in.  Now you have your counter pressure protected arms in a vacuum. 
There is an inconvenience involved, certainly you now have both the counter pressure arm covering and the depressurized bags around the arms, to impede your sense of touch and your grip.  But you are not fighting to clench your hands against the pressure of a bag suit. During work with your arm(s) deployed, you are in the bag suit protected by it, and you are also having your arms protected by the counter pressure measures.  You are also protected by the box and the bag arm/gloves.  So you have double pressure protection.
Arm retraction:
In an emergency it might be possible to pull the cork out pull your arm into the box, if the cork were designed well.  Then you would have to hope the arm/bag did not burst from sudden pressurization.  However the ports that you put your arm through could also have hinged spring loaded doors that would shut.  I even if the box depressurized, you would still be in your hybrid bag suit and it might keep you alive.
But for normal arm retraction you would simply re-pressurize the arm bags, and pull your arm(s) out, and the port doors would spring shut.  (The arm/glove bags should still protect the pressurization of the box even if the doors fail.

So, I contemplate a long canal like structure where sunlight enters through the layers.  A partial counter pressure of water and (water or oil).
If it is entirely water, then the typical maximum temperature at 39 Degrees Fahrenheit / 3.88889 Degrees Centigrade.
If the cross member balloons are oil filled, then higher temperatures are possible.
The special suit would allow a person to function in such an environment, being basically a submarine with arm ports.
There will have to be a hydrocarbon industry on Mars, so this can fit in.  There is also sufficient water.
If the system were to overheat, then you can simply pull a partial vacuum on some of the water and draw out vapors to be compressed into usable water.
The plants which could be grown might be microscopic, or arctic pond plants, or with higher temperatures perhaps Elodea or other warmer water pond plants.
This would fit in with your plans for personal cleaning with water, not T.P.
It would be useful in the support of large communities, where what I suggested previously for personal hygiene involving freezing and T.P. substitute would be suitable for outposts.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#123 2014-10-17 14:13:20

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/italian-firm-a … es-1470226

http://3dprint.com/17179/wasp-3d-printed-houses/

Mud would have limited value on Mars.  Quality mud not being that likely, and it's strengths being poor.

However if you do have a green house that can be low pressure and can grow a plant that will provide suitable fibers, and have a binder, then I can see where this could be useful to make complex artificial wood objects.

I don't have a better plant, so I will mention Rhubarb leafs, but I would want something with a waxy surface and then remove the wax with a solvent.  That might suit air filled
greenhouses.


But if you could have water filled greenhouses, perhaps like iin my previous post;
Even better if possible, I believe that Elodea was originally a terrestrial plant before adapting to fresh water.  I suggest that it might be possible to get it to regress to some degree where it provides plant fiber, celulose.  I am thinking of genetic engineering of course.

A upgrade wasp printer might be good for fiberglass, if you can make that.

Last edited by Void (2014-10-17 14:14:54)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#124 2014-10-17 17:46:36

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Plant fibres suggested by others in Mars Society forums: hemp, bamboo, rattan. For wood, a strong argument has been made for bamboo. It grows fast, and is very strong. Rattan has basically the same husk as bamboo, but bamboo is hollow with a plate at each node, while rattan is solid.
7_culm%20split.jpg
Ratan is a grass. While the husk is hard like bamboo, the interior is much softer, very fibrous, often split into strips. Furniture made of these strips is called wicker.

Hemp is a very tall fibre. It has been used to make very strong paper; the Declaration of Independence was printed on hemp paper. Hemp can be woven to make clothing, or rope.

Offline

#125 2014-10-17 17:56:02

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

If you want an oil to fill balloons, you could use mineral oil.

Wikipedia wrote:

A mineral oil is any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of higher alkanes from a non-vegetable (mineral) source, particularly a distillate of petroleum.

The name mineral oil by itself is imprecise, having been used to label many specific oils over the past few centuries. Other names, similarly imprecise, include white oil, liquid paraffin, pariffinum liquidum, and liquid petroleum. Baby oil refers to a perfumed mineral oil.

Most often, mineral oil is a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum-based products from crude oil. A mineral oil in this sense is a transparent, colorless oil composed mainly of alkanes and cyclic paraffins, related to petroleum jelly (also known as "white petrolatum"). It has a density of around 0.8 g/cm3. Mineral oil is a substance of relatively low value, and it is produced in very large quantities. Mineral oil is available in light and heavy grades, and can often be found in drug stores.

There are three basic classes of refined mineral oils:

paraffinic oils, based on n-alkanes
naphthenic oils, based on cycloalkanes
aromatic oils, based on aromatic hydrocarbons (distinct from essential oils)

In the 1950s-1970s, nuclear test devices often had a window with two pieces of glass filled with mineral oil between the panes. The oil would absorb radiation, yet the oil was completely clear. If your goal is radiation protection, then why not use the same thing?

http://www.epchem.com/product_liquid_paraffin.html

Merkur (Sasol Wax) and EPOIL (in-house by EPChem) brands of white oils are available in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and technical grades and in various viscosities. These Merkur and EPOIL grades are suitable for use in personal care products, pharmaceutical balms and ointments, etc.

EPChem also offers Shell Risella X and Ondina synthetic white oils. These white oils have extra high purity, PAH content at only ppb levels, high UV and thermal stability levels and a low volatility rate. It is therefore very stable in colour and odourless. It is suitable for use in personal care, adhesive, polymer compounding and the production of gel candles.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2014-10-19 12:21:17)

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB