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#1 2015-09-27 17:10:38

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,487

Free flowing water found on Mars?

Looks like we might be in for an interesting announcement:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science … olved.html


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

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#2 2015-09-27 20:23:23

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,892

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Water news has not been new but may hae been confirmed by other means....

past news:
Flowing Water on Mars May Cause Seasonal Streaks: Studyby Space.com Staff   |   October 24, 2012 04:36pm ET

mars-water-signs-newton-crater-gullies-110804.jpg?1349103421

The melting and subsequent evaporation of frozen salty water could cause the intriguing dark streaks, researchers said. These lines, which were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, extend down some Martian slopes during warm months and fade when winter comes.

Weird Mars Streaks Could Be Liquid Water Stains Dec 10, 2013 04:45 PM ET // by Denise Chow, SPACE.com

weird-mars-mark-02-670x440-131210.jpg

A portion of the Coprates Chasma showing dark streaks on generally north-facing slopes in northern summer and southern winter. Coprates Chasma is a huge canyon that forms part of the Valles Marineris system. Dark seasonal streaks on slopes near the Martian equator may be a sign of flowing salt water on Mars, liquid runoff that melts and evaporates during the planet's warmer months, scientists say.

Possible early word as to what Nasa will say....
Wondering about NASA's Mars mystery? We may have found the answer By Michael Pearson, CNN Updated 1:41 PM ET, Sun September 27, 2015

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#3 2015-09-27 21:07:36

Excelsior
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From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

That's awfully nice of it to just ooze out of the ground so that it can be seen from orbit.

The next step is getting to it. What more would we need to determine the extent of the deposit? If it's coming out of the wall of a canyon, can we land above it and drill down to it?


The Former Commodore

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#4 2015-09-28 01:40:44

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

What would happen is an astronaut drank it?

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#5 2015-09-28 08:30:58

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,892
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Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

What would happen is an astronaut drank it?

Too salty to drink. And muddy. One issue we discussed recently is perchlorate.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Perchlorate has been found in drinking water and surface waters in the United States and Canada. It is primarily associated with release from defense and military operations. Natural sources include certain fertilizers and potash ores. Although it is a strong oxidant, perchlorate is very persistent in the environment. At high concentrations perchlorate can affect the thyroid gland by inhibiting the uptake of iodine. A maximum contaminant level has not been set, while a guidance value of 6 ppb has been suggested by Health Canada. Perchlorate is measured in environmental samples primarily by ion chromatography. It can be removed from water by anion exchange or membrane filtration. Biological and chemical processes are also effective in removing this species from water.

Another concern I raised years ago is the possibility that Mars dust includes asbestos. Of course that can be removed with filters. I raised it because the EVA prep area needs filtration with air flow from the rest of the hab into the EVA prep area to ensure no contamination, and a means to clean spacesuits. An aerospace engineer named Janyce Wynter suggested MCP spacesuits because they're machine washable. Apollo had a major problem of contamination by Lunar fines.

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#6 2015-09-28 09:01:37

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

RobertDyck wrote:
Tom Kalbfus wrote:

What would happen is an astronaut drank it?

Too salty to drink. And muddy. One issue we discussed recently is perchlorate.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Perchlorate has been found in drinking water and surface waters in the United States and Canada. It is primarily associated with release from defense and military operations. Natural sources include certain fertilizers and potash ores. Although it is a strong oxidant, perchlorate is very persistent in the environment. At high concentrations perchlorate can affect the thyroid gland by inhibiting the uptake of iodine. A maximum contaminant level has not been set, while a guidance value of 6 ppb has been suggested by Health Canada. Perchlorate is measured in environmental samples primarily by ion chromatography. It can be removed from water by anion exchange or membrane filtration. Biological and chemical processes are also effective in removing this species from water.

Another concern I raised years ago is the possibility that Mars dust includes asbestos. Of course that can be removed with filters. I raised it because the EVA prep area needs filtration with air flow from the rest of the hab into the EVA prep area to ensure no contamination, and a means to clean spacesuits. An aerospace engineer named Janyce Wynter suggested MCP spacesuits because they're machine washable. Apollo had a major problem of contamination by Lunar fines.

The Earth includes aspestos too, why should Mars have more of it than Earth?

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#7 2015-09-28 11:11:54

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

The Earth includes aspestos too, why should Mars have more of it than Earth?

It doesn't. But most asbestos on Earth is large mineral deposits, essentially solid rock that has to be ground to form the loose fluffy asbestos used to be used for insulation. But the surface of Mars has fines, wind blown sand has pulverized rock into fines. Asbestos fibres can get into your lungs. This isn't a show stopper, it just means the EVA prep area will require a fan that sucks air from the rest of the hab. The fan will duct air into a filter. I said one solution is multiple filters: first a regular air filter, then bubble air through water, then a HEPA filter. The water will catch most of the fines that get through the first filter, extending the life of the HEPA filter. And put an RV size clothes washer/dryer in the EVA prep area. See, done. Not a show stopper.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2015-09-28 11:13:06)

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#8 2015-09-28 20:09:45

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,892

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technolog … smsnnews11

Science is holding out that there are enough salt-loving microbes right here on Earth for scientists to hold out a slim hope that Mars could still be inhabited by simple, single-celled creatures.

Mars doesn't have the kind of brine we'd want to make pickles in, unfortunately. The spacecraft detected magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate, and sodium perchlorate, which really don't make the best food additives. These types of salts are highly oxidizing, which means they like to break down organic material, which would certainly make life difficult.

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#9 2015-09-29 09:15:06

GW Johnson
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Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Not all of Mars and its underground water is necessarily salty.  One site says nothing about its neighbors,  same as here.

Salt is not necessarily required as an antifreeze at Martian conditions.  I've seen liquid water at -10 F (same as -23 C) and it was freshwater.  Requiring salt to explain what you see in a transient event is a mistaken artifact of thinking only in terms of steady-state,  equilibrium models. 

I've no doubt that a lot of Mars's underground water is salty.  The same is true here,  and far saltier than our ocean water.  Underground brines here are pretty noxious when we bring them up the well.  Yet we also find underground microbes,  too.  One toxically-salty aquifer does not imply that they all are.  Why should that be true here and not there? 

All that being said,  I'm going to go out on a limb here and make two predictions.  (1) They will find life on Mars as underground microbes,  but not until men go and stay awhile and drill deep,  in lots of places.  (2) They won't find it with any of the contemplated robot probes,  or from remote sensing. 

Assuming life is found,  then ethics demands that we not terraform Mars.  Unless,  that life is so similar to ours that it would flourish under more equable conditions.  Something to think about:  such life might be an infection danger to us if it did flourish better at more Earthlike conditions. 

I keep remembering the long-discounted microbe fossils inside the Allan Hills meteorite some years ago.  That's the sort of life that our people and our instruments have to be able to detect. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2015-09-29 11:57:25)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#10 2015-09-29 12:43:01

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

This presents a problem for a number of the members on this site, because if I understand contamination policy, sites such as those may not have visits from our robotic craft, since it is not believed that those robots can be properly sterilized at this time.

So, they have you pinned down.  Even they cannot find out if there is life in those streaks.  I would say that the only way out would be to find salt in the near underground, just under the surface.  However in that case, warm summer days will not warm it enough, unless it is just below the surface.  The duracrust perhaps might work.  But then you would be entirely dependent on atmospheric humidity, temperature fluctuations that condense water, and also heat it to -10 degF or more.  They might be able to find that in areas not excluded from investigation.  (Of course it they then think it might have life, you can't visit it smile  (Yup Yup!).

The good news would be that even extremely salty conditions would support daily absorption of water into the salt, and the nighttime lows would cause a separation where the salt solids would precipitate out of the solution.  It would then be possible that in the next days warming, the less salty solution would warm up enough for microbes, but it would be a race between the microbes getting a drink, and the water either evaporating, or being drawn back into the salt solids.

As I understand it, in Chile, there are organisms living in salt under the soil.  Also I might say that there are apparently salt pans on Mars, in the southern temperate area, that are made of a more friendly salt.  I am sure that it will not be allowed to visit them, but this suggests that the salt conditions of the soil are variable, as I believe GWJohnson speculated.

As for what they have found, I would like to see it replicated on Earth in "Mars Jars", but in conditions, where a broad spectrum microbes are first added, and then the salt level is gradually elevated, up to the point where the life is all killed.  It is possible that some Earth organism would adapt, if given time.

A necessary condition should be the inclusion of CO to the atmosphere simulant.   It would seem that in these streaks are Oxidizing salts, and the atmosphere of Mars would also tend to add CO and O2 in small quantities.  Therefore you have a fuel and several Oxidizers.  Possibly a source for metabolism. Granted they say the salts will attack organic matter, trying to Oxidizing it, but in this case, unlike Earth, an organic chemical is available from the atmosphere to balance this out.  Early Earth organisms supposedly found our Oxygen atmosphere toxic, but later organisms, turned it into an asset, or became compatible with it.

A question would be might the organisms breath the salts, and so deplete them, or would they help manufacture them, in order to attract moisture?

Anyway, I have to tell you that what I am seeing confirms my suspicion that you will not be allowed to land humans on Mars for some time, or there will be serious interference.

If you want a personed space flight program, your best bet I think under these circumstances is to piggy-back on various other themes, such as asteroid mining, and hopefully the Moon.  On top of that then finding a way to Segway from asteroids and the Moon, to the moons of Mars.  That potentially giving you multiple allies.

If you have perches on the Martian moons, then through telepresence, examination of Mars with robots, might allow it to either be confirmed and characterized, or starting with the least restricted areas, proven to be absent, finally even from the best possible cases.

I would not let the farmers (Human farmers), trick you into obsessing about a Mars that you cannot have.  The people farmers like to dangle the carrot of adventure and technological advancement and discovery in front of peoples noses, but in reality you will find that you are kept creatures, who they do not want to wander off of the farm.  Inventions and technology invented for space can be co-opted for the selfish desires of people farmers.

People farmers are civilized, (Not the great thing they will tell you), and they adore slavery, especially if it can be dressed up as something else.

Last edited by Void (2015-09-29 12:55:27)


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

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#11 2015-09-29 14:06:00

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,487

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

I basically agree with you GW.  There is no reason to think vulcanism on Mars is completely extinct in all places.  There might well be some residual activity that could heat water.



GW Johnson wrote:

Not all of Mars and its underground water is necessarily salty.  One site says nothing about its neighbors,  same as here.

Salt is not necessarily required as an antifreeze at Martian conditions.  I've seen liquid water at -10 F (same as -23 C) and it was freshwater.  Requiring salt to explain what you see in a transient event is a mistaken artifact of thinking only in terms of steady-state,  equilibrium models. 

I've no doubt that a lot of Mars's underground water is salty.  The same is true here,  and far saltier than our ocean water.  Underground brines here are pretty noxious when we bring them up the well.  Yet we also find underground microbes,  too.  One toxically-salty aquifer does not imply that they all are.  Why should that be true here and not there? 

All that being said,  I'm going to go out on a limb here and make two predictions.  (1) They will find life on Mars as underground microbes,  but not until men go and stay awhile and drill deep,  in lots of places.  (2) They won't find it with any of the contemplated robot probes,  or from remote sensing. 

Assuming life is found,  then ethics demands that we not terraform Mars.  Unless,  that life is so similar to ours that it would flourish under more equable conditions.  Something to think about:  such life might be an infection danger to us if it did flourish better at more Earthlike conditions. 

I keep remembering the long-discounted microbe fossils inside the Allan Hills meteorite some years ago.  That's the sort of life that our people and our instruments have to be able to detect. 

GW

Last edited by louis (2015-09-29 14:06:42)


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

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#12 2015-09-29 18:05:56

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

I have no desire to interfere with your dialog with GW, Louis.   However, it just occurred to me a possible type of energy source for life on Mars, perhaps a bit unlikely, but I will offer it anyway.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 … 143731.htm

As I previously mentioned, a nighttime cold low should separate a precipitant of salts and a brine of reduced salt content from a combination of the two, presumed to be produced during the warmer day.  If a life form could interpose itself between these separated materials, it might be able to generate power for itself by allowing the two to interact between a membrane.  In the process, if somehow during the night it could capture a portion of brine partially reduced of salts by cold, capture that into a vacuole inside of it's body, and if later the sunshine on the film of protective salty soil above would warm the entire organism, then that water in the vacuole might be available as a drink of water.

RED stacks extract energy from the ionic difference between fresh water and salt water. A stack consists of alternating ion exchange membranes -- positive and negative -- with each RED membrane pair contributing additively to the electrical output. Unfortunately, using only RED stacks to produce electricity is difficult because a large number of membranes is required when using water at the electrodes, due to the need for water electrolysis.

Using exoelectrogenic bacteria -- bacteria found in wastewater that consume organic material and produce an electric current -- reduces the number of stacks needed and increases electric production by the bacteria.

I confess that this is all rough guessing, but since my income does not depend on it, no harm done, perhaps time wasted through.

So, in my mind not entirely out of the question.

And as I mentioned in my previous post, perhaps the CO in the atmosphere might give such an organism the ability to cope with the Oxidative nature of those brines that are the topic of this thread.

Optimistically of course.


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#13 2015-09-29 18:16:34

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,892

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Some of the early soil life detections indicated that hydrogen peroxide might be the antifreeze that life would make use of and that with salts do make an energy source of sorts simular to a battery and with the mineral salts I would expect that to be what life would use.

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#14 2015-09-29 18:53:04

Excelsior
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From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

I guess this is the point where we have to decide if it is more important for us preserve human life by taking up residence as many places as possible, or potentially sacrifice ourselves in exchange for the warm and fuzzy feeling that only affirmative action for germs can provide.


The Former Commodore

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#15 2015-09-29 19:02:38

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Spacenut,

Enjoying this conversation.

Hemoglobin and CO poisoning

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning

For us a possible death, but on Mars, for an organism living in a Oxidative salt solution, perhaps a wonderful thing.  I would think such organisms would have to balance this out, so as not to destroy the salt, that would provide the moisture.

Excelsior,

Something is better than nothing.  Without moralists, and exolife scientists on board of a plan, there will be a real danger that the librarians in bathrobes (I cloak it) will be able to draw the entire human race into dark ages, which of course they love.

Having asteroids now, and perhaps the Moon, and the moons of Mars, is better than having nothing.  Plus, discovering and learning about such a life form will be immensely valuable, and yes actually, if there are aliens watching, or for our own spiritual sake, we should consider how history would judge us if we do not find our best posture in this.

Having the objects I mentioned, in time, and perhaps not that much time, many other worlds will become available.

Having something is better than having nothing.

Last edited by Void (2015-09-29 19:08:04)


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

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#16 2015-09-29 19:17:33

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Its a stupid UN treaty! What's the point of sending probes somewhere if we can't send them somewhere there may be life? I think the UN has outlived its usefulness. I would be very interested to find out what life may exist on Mars, that means sending probes to where that life may be.

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#17 2015-09-29 19:42:45

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

I apparently am responsible for indicating that.  It was something I read recently. 

Actually, I have since read, that they could be allowed to send a machine, but the rigors of sterilization would be very very expensive.
Further, our machines would not actually be able to work in the areas where the water is found.  Too hard to land on and too rugged for the rovers.

It may be possible that more accessible water will be found in areas that machines could explore.


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

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#18 2015-09-30 05:09:27

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,487

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

I am sure there all sorts of possibilities. On earth there are certainly organisms that can metabolise iron oxide, rather than needing oxygen from the atmosphere. Likewise there are ice worms that live in ice.  It isn't that difficult to imagine an organism able to melt ice through chemical energy is it?

Void wrote:

I have no desire to interfere with your dialog with GW, Louis.   However, it just occurred to me a possible type of energy source for life on Mars, perhaps a bit unlikely, but I will offer it anyway.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 … 143731.htm

As I previously mentioned, a nighttime cold low should separate a precipitant of salts and a brine of reduced salt content from a combination of the two, presumed to be produced during the warmer day.  If a life form could interpose itself between these separated materials, it might be able to generate power for itself by allowing the two to interact between a membrane.  In the process, if somehow during the night it could capture a portion of brine partially reduced of salts by cold, capture that into a vacuole inside of it's body, and if later the sunshine on the film of protective salty soil above would warm the entire organism, then that water in the vacuole might be available as a drink of water.

RED stacks extract energy from the ionic difference between fresh water and salt water. A stack consists of alternating ion exchange membranes -- positive and negative -- with each RED membrane pair contributing additively to the electrical output. Unfortunately, using only RED stacks to produce electricity is difficult because a large number of membranes is required when using water at the electrodes, due to the need for water electrolysis.

Using exoelectrogenic bacteria -- bacteria found in wastewater that consume organic material and produce an electric current -- reduces the number of stacks needed and increases electric production by the bacteria.

I confess that this is all rough guessing, but since my income does not depend on it, no harm done, perhaps time wasted through.

So, in my mind not entirely out of the question.

And as I mentioned in my previous post, perhaps the CO in the atmosphere might give such an organism the ability to cope with the Oxidative nature of those brines that are the topic of this thread.

Optimistically of course.


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

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#19 2015-09-30 10:35:11

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Certainly Louis, err.. Apparently smile

http://www.damninteresting.com/warm-blooded-plants/

In this case stored fuels providing the heat in the spring to melt snow not sure if the Oxidizer is stored or breathed:
sskunk.jpg

Thermogenesis is rare in plants, but does occur in several species of Arum, and in the philodendron, as well as the skunk cabbage. The heat generation of these thermogenic plants is not trivial, either. Recent measurements of the titan arum “Ted”, at UC Davis, showed the inflorescence— the flower-like structure of the arum— could maintain a temperature of 32 degrees Centigrade (90 F), well above the surrounding air temperature of 20 C (68 F). The skunk cabbage can do even better, maintaining temperatures as high as 35 C, even when the air temperature is below freezing.

If a organism saw an advantage in getting a drink of water, perhaps it would expend stored energy.  That could be Hydrocarbons previously manufactured, or stored Oxidizer, perhaps the salts, and also from the atmosphere, perhaps CO and O2.  How the O2 would be collected is not understood, since Hemoglobin would be clogged with CO.  But perhaps some different variation of the theme.  So potentially stored energy, and real time obtainable chemical energy.  Plus of course a solar contribution.  On the surface.

I have seen articles citing water from ice contacting salts, or aquifers, or humidity from the air acting with the salts to provide water.

I have not seen addressed the humidity inside of rocks and soil, particularly the pore space in rocks, and also the "Void" spaces between discrete items composing regolith.  Those pores and voids I think should have some type of median humidity, and the deeper you go as a rule the more steady it should be.

A sort of averaging of extreme humidity variations in the air, and on the surface.

So, the conduction of water vapor through the medium of the soil.  This being driven by various forces.  For instance higher humidity donating to lower humidity areas in general.  Also there should be a skin effect on the particles, where moisture may have an affinity for some more than others.  And of course ionic forces.  I suppose there might be other, but I think I have said enough.

So, without liquid aquifers, can you have vapor aquifers?  Might your vapor aquifers communicate with salty or not salty aquifers deep below?

Does vapor coming up replenish a fresh water permafrost, and can salts on the surface permeate that, creating a wick, and under certain temperature conditions, cause the salt wick to become hydrated?

Are some locations more prone to leak humidity upwards to the surface?  Do some locations absorb humidity into the soils and send them elsewhere?

Now with or without life in them these things are of interest.  Since the Equator of Mars is most habitable except for water, we are interested in a source of water there, with life or without life.

Can you create more such?  Can you enhance them?  That is if water vapor is moving upwards in an area, can you place down salts on the surface to collect the vapors?  What if you put a glazing over that, and change the temperature profile?

Nice stuff, I think.

Last edited by Void (2015-09-30 10:51:32)


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

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#20 2015-09-30 15:33:27

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Should they try to land a water tower and drilling rig on Mars? That way they could drill for water, and the water tower would provide water pressure for the astronauts so they could take a shower and have a bath. What about septic systems for flushing the toilet?

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#21 2015-09-30 17:02:01

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,487

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Energy on Mars for a few early colonists is not a problem - so the easier solution is to pressurise the water mechanically (using electric power from PV panels) rather than try to land a water tower!

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

Should they try to land a water tower and drilling rig on Mars? That way they could drill for water, and the water tower would provide water pressure for the astronauts so they could take a shower and have a bath. What about septic systems for flushing the toilet?


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

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#22 2015-09-30 17:10:41

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,487

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

You raise some v. interesting thoughts there Void.  I am sure we could begin producing some sort of basic food in the existing Martian atmosphere if we put our minds to it.   One thought that occurs to me is that once you have rotting organic material in a rock space you immediately raise the temperature.

However, (a) we need to get there and (b) we may just find it easier to grow food on Mars in a earth-analog pressurised environment.

Void wrote:

Certainly Louis, err.. Apparently smile

http://www.damninteresting.com/warm-blooded-plants/

In this case stored fuels providing the heat in the spring to melt snow not sure if the Oxidizer is stored or breathed:
http://cdn.damninteresting.com/wp-conte … sskunk.jpg

Thermogenesis is rare in plants, but does occur in several species of Arum, and in the philodendron, as well as the skunk cabbage. The heat generation of these thermogenic plants is not trivial, either. Recent measurements of the titan arum “Ted”, at UC Davis, showed the inflorescence— the flower-like structure of the arum— could maintain a temperature of 32 degrees Centigrade (90 F), well above the surrounding air temperature of 20 C (68 F). The skunk cabbage can do even better, maintaining temperatures as high as 35 C, even when the air temperature is below freezing.

If a organism saw an advantage in getting a drink of water, perhaps it would expend stored energy.  That could be Hydrocarbons previously manufactured, or stored Oxidizer, perhaps the salts, and also from the atmosphere, perhaps CO and O2.  How the O2 would be collected is not understood, since Hemoglobin would be clogged with CO.  But perhaps some different variation of the theme.  So potentially stored energy, and real time obtainable chemical energy.  Plus of course a solar contribution.  On the surface.

I have seen articles citing water from ice contacting salts, or aquifers, or humidity from the air acting with the salts to provide water.

I have not seen addressed the humidity inside of rocks and soil, particularly the pore space in rocks, and also the "Void" spaces between discrete items composing regolith.  Those pores and voids I think should have some type of median humidity, and the deeper you go as a rule the more steady it should be.

A sort of averaging of extreme humidity variations in the air, and on the surface.

So, the conduction of water vapor through the medium of the soil.  This being driven by various forces.  For instance higher humidity donating to lower humidity areas in general.  Also there should be a skin effect on the particles, where moisture may have an affinity for some more than others.  And of course ionic forces.  I suppose there might be other, but I think I have said enough.

So, without liquid aquifers, can you have vapor aquifers?  Might your vapor aquifers communicate with salty or not salty aquifers deep below?

Does vapor coming up replenish a fresh water permafrost, and can salts on the surface permeate that, creating a wick, and under certain temperature conditions, cause the salt wick to become hydrated?

Are some locations more prone to leak humidity upwards to the surface?  Do some locations absorb humidity into the soils and send them elsewhere?

Now with or without life in them these things are of interest.  Since the Equator of Mars is most habitable except for water, we are interested in a source of water there, with life or without life.

Can you create more such?  Can you enhance them?  That is if water vapor is moving upwards in an area, can you place down salts on the surface to collect the vapors?  What if you put a glazing over that, and change the temperature profile?

Nice stuff, I think.


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#23 2015-09-30 18:49:33

Void
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Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

In the case Martian life is considered not to be an issue:

This would be a new way to do things.  I would not support atmospheric extractions at the equator with the water source that is implied.  This is due to unfamilarity of producing food that way, and also, such a method seems likely to consume too much water.  Should someone find a waterless way to extract O2 and CO drirectly from the atmosphere that is effective, then things could be reconsidered.
Your item (a) would be facilitated because the equator is more accessible I believe in many ways, from orbit, and also the climate being more steady and mild, more repeatedly and consistantly less of a challenge.  Of course dust storms are a potential disruption.  Some have minimized the effects, but consideration should be given.  If the initial habitation is less of a challenge, then you don't need to haul as much material to Mars by rocket, so your (a) item is helped along that way.
I support your (b) as in RobertDyke thinking along with others, since for a rather dry location with water recycling, such a greenhouse would seem to make sense.  Ice covered lakes would not.  If ever they can occur at higher latitudes later.
However I will support the supplementation of (b) for a couple of reasons.
(1) Tom suggested a water tower.  Storage of course, and strangely enough it is not that silly.  I suggest transparent bags with pressurization where spirolina might be grown.  Perhaps some other microbe could be considered.  As for the tower, a pile of rocks.  Place the bag on top of it.  Use sun tracking mirrors to add photons to the bag, it being the focus.  Of course don't overheat it.  There would certainly be various add on devices for this, and the question exists on how to relate this device to your "Hab", but the fact is you want spare water tanks, in case you loose, or taint, your other sources of water.  This reservoir will then be available to provide food, and perhaps Oxygen.
(2) The Mars suggested by the supposed water find suggests that the equator may have a number of oasis situations around it.  So although it might be good to have wheeled robot carts to move things from one community to another, I suggest a rocket powered aircraft with redundant systems, to move people and emergency parts around to locations of resources, and also useful work.  I would prefer that the fuel be CO, and of course O2 as the Oxidizer, but I will leave it to the rocket people who live there to live their life the way they want.
Splitting 2CO2 into O2 + 2CO (Is that right?) would be a dry process, and so not burden your limited water supply.  Those chemicals could be stored rather easily I think.  For a hopping aircraft, and for fuel cells at night, and during dust storms.  But for this now, I would say that once you have your storage filled, and if you have power generating capacity to make more of the chemicals, you might try to grow food in tanks where organisms eat those chemicals.  What you would get for your effort I would leave to speculation.  Perhaps a food for humans, perhaps a feedstock for plastics.
So, it would be wonderful to try to distribute small groups of people around the equator, and of course preferable that they might find the minerals they need to form some type of early industrial structure.
After that I suggest putting a nuclear powered mega-city somewhere there is a massive amount of accessible ice.  That city would then generate the greenhouse gasses for terraforming, perhaps even as a side effect of manufacturing items for human use.  That city would not have to tightly recycle water.  I have suggested a possibility for that in the terraforming section under the "Lakes" area.  I am currently thinking it would work really well, if there were actually a very deep deposit of fossil ice near the equator.  Otherwise it would have to be made on a glacier at higher latitudes.

Certainly not going to be the last words anyone will speak on the subject, but I suppose you wanted some words.  I think I have rolled back
considerably from some of my more fantastic notions.  This is because I think I can recognize the previous work by others does appear to fit well with an equator with many small sources of water around it.  (I hope).

Last edited by Void (2015-09-30 18:56:10)


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#24 2015-10-01 13:24:54

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Louis, I hope you don't mind be posting on this thread.  Let me know if it is a problem for you, no bad feelings if so.
Alright, I pretty much figured this would happen.

http://phys.org/news/2015-10-mars-life- … hreat.html

So, the game is on.  While I support the morality of making stringent efforts to not contaminate Mars with Earth life, if there is a reasonable suspission of indignous life, I also believe that this situation will be used as a political football by entities which might want to exploit it for there purposes.  I believe that it is true that during the settlement of the America's at least one colonizer had a policy as shown here.  "If the natives come to you peacefully, then enslave them.  If they run away then kill them."  I do not believe that this is a current practice that I am aware of in the America's, but I do know that their are many peoples, both in my country, and even more so outside of my country who don't respect the personhood of others.  Some of them do in fact have doctrins that proscribe the formula mentioned above, or at least they are to block us from escape/expansion.  The notion being that we are to be subordinated.
And then again I also think there are always people who want to scrap other peoples projects.  Sort of the strip the copper out of the buildings mentality.  Some people like to make a profit by causing shipwrecks.
So, because I would like the question of life on Mars to be answered as soon as possible, I will attempt to propose a possible method that perhaps wiggles through the barriers reasonable people (Scientists, moralists), and our foes will place in the way.
I propose a multi-robot method.
1) Using catapult and fishing technology (Rod and Reel), I suggest a method to extract samples by forward casting into a presumed habitable area, and to deliver it to another robot by reverse catapulting it away further from the extraction site.  This particular robot, could be highly sterilized since it will have much less sensory devices on it.  How it gets to it's working location is open to options.  I presume several possiblities.
2) A mobile robot will at a distance go an get the samples, and take them away for analysis.  Taking them away might be; a) The lab is on the rover, b) The rover takes the samples to an even more remote lab, c) A sample return to orbit option.
In the process of casting the sinker might be a sample collecting device, or perhaps a cotton swab of some kind would be used, or something else.
The fish line and sample device would have the greatest level of sterilziation, but I assume that that entire casting and catapulting robot will be very sterile.
On Mars inertia is the same but gravity is .38 I believe, and of course air resistance is much smaller than on Earth.  I also presume that the robot that casts and catapults will be really well made, if the study of those technoligies on Earth done correctly.

So, I presume a fairly large set of isolation distances.
 
As for the sample return option, I suggest that that be part of a personed visit to Phobos and/or Demos, to attempt to find samples of rocks, in particular rocks thought to have been ejected from Mars over the history of the existance of those moons.  This of course will lay the groundwork for a future around Mars, with or without the existance of life on Mars.
Such a  set of coordinated methods might meet broad support, but you will never get support from those who's intention is to trip you up.  Some of them might pretend to support you, but of course you will also have to be on gaurd for sabatage.
The entire spectrum of potential human intentions have to be watched and considered.

Of course I am also expecting that more accessible sites of brine hydration will be found to practice this method on if the method proves to be worthwhile.

Last edited by Void (2015-10-01 13:26:31)


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#25 2015-10-01 15:00:41

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Free flowing water found on Mars?

Void wrote:

Should someone find a waterless way to extract O2 and CO drirectly from the atmosphere that is effective, then things could be reconsidered.

Dr. Zubrin and his company came up with a means to extract CO2 directly. Mars at night is almost cold enough to freeze CO2 into dry ice, so his approach was to freeze it: "Mars Atmosphere Carbon Dioxide Freezer" (MACDOF). Every night it would open and allow atmosphere to flow through, accumulating a block of dry ice. It may be dry ice frost. Every dawn it would seal shut, and warm. Freezer coils would reverse to be heating coils. Dry ice would sublimate to form CO2 gas, and since it's in a sealed container it would self-pressurize.

O2 is more problematic. You can run CO2 through direct carbon dioxide electrolysis. It has to be heated to +900°C, and electric charge across a thin wall catalyst. O2 passes through the thin wall, CO2 and CO does not. About 80% of CO2 is converted to O2 and CO. Remaining CO2 and CO are dumped into the Mars atmosphere. Since CO is a natural component of Mars atmosphere, this is not a contaminant. The process takes quite a bit of power. Since the electrolysis and Sabatier system for ISPP would not produce enough O2 to burn with methane for rocket fuel, this system always was part of ISPP for Mars Direct.

You can extract a small amount of O2 from soil by heating. It breaks down perchlorates into normal salt, releasing O2. A useful emergency procedure, but wouldn't produce sufficient O2 for regular production.

Void wrote:

I suggest putting a nuclear powered mega-city somewhere there is a massive amount of accessible ice.  That city would then generate the greenhouse gasses for terraforming, perhaps even as a side effect of manufacturing items for human use.

I did a calculation. Dr. McKay et al did the first calculation of greenhouse gasses necessary. Martyn J. Fogg wrote a textbook on terraforming. If you built 10 sites across Mars, each with 4 ore processors, and each running continuously 24 hours 39 minutes and 35.244 seconds per solar day, 7 days per week (it's so much easier on Earth to say 24/7), and each ore processor working with as much ore per hour as a processor in Alberta's tar sands (aka oil sands), then it would take 13 years (Earth years). So construction time plus 13 years of flat-out operation. After greenhouse gasses are emitted, you still have to wait for the planet to warm. Greenhouse gasses act as a blanket to trap heat in. Accumulating heat from the Sun and warming the surface of Mars will take time. Phase transition of dry ice to gas will consume a lot of heat. Phase transition of water ice to liquid will also take a lot of heat.

My point is don't expect just one city to be enough. Expect this will require at least 10 sites with large open pit mines, and mining trucks as big as the giant mining trucks of modern mines. Powering all that will take a lot, so each site will require at least one nuclear reactor. That means active mines for thorium. The big city will have to mine resources and manufacture equipment to build the trucks, excavators, ore processors, chemical plants, and power plants.

So expect one big city supporting multiple industrial sites. Each industrial site constructed on a major body of fluorine ore. That fluorine used to make PFCs and SF6: super greenhouse gasses.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2015-10-03 08:37:08)

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