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#1 2016-11-22 16:30:59

louis
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Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 … 131031.htm

Great news...

Time to go start that colony...


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#2 2016-11-22 17:06:08

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=map+o … ZAeRdlM%3A

Here's a map showing the location of Utopia Planitia - top right sector if you divide the map into six squarish sectors.


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#3 2016-11-22 19:02:23

Void
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Nice information Louis.  I usually don't do activity in this section, but no-body else seems to be around.

I think the find is important to two issues.
1) Can an initial mission go there and find what it needs in order to do insitu processing, and also gather important science?  It seems like a good place for Elon Musk to get his refueling done.
2) Does it have potential to host an eventual civilization?

I think the answer is likely yes to both of these questions, also the evidence provided of the ice and the nature of the ice, is likely to be trustable.

Things I would want beyond what has been listed in your posts and their references are:
1) Don't want CO2 Snow or frost.  That could mess exposed machinery.
2) Don't want ice in such a manner where if you put water above it a vertical calf event is likely to occur.  In other words, if you had water above ~300-500 feet of pure ice, it being lighter than water it might break and float up, and water would rush down below it.  What is described in the article is a mix of ice and dirt.  If as envisioned, the materials should be heavier than liquid water.  So a basin melted could have a dirt bottom over this mix of ice and dirt with very little risk of a vertical calf event might occur (And destroy everything in the lake).
3) I would like to avoid a "Mid day lack of sun in the winter" for many reasons.  I am not sure about that one.  Perhaps the low latitude reaches of the ice mass mentioned will satisfy that wish.
4) Also it stated as being at a relatively low altitude, it of course gives some radiation protection.  And I suppose perhaps for small delivered loads the possibility of using a parachute if convenient.


Quite a deal!

Last edited by Void (2016-11-22 19:20:31)


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#4 2016-11-22 23:36:46

SpaceNut
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

From first link

The name Utopia Planitia translates loosely as the "plains of paradise." The newly surveyed ice deposit spans latitudes from 39 to 49 degrees within the plains. It represents less than one percent of all known water ice on Mars, but it more than doubles the volume of thick, buried ice sheets known in the northern plains. Ice deposits close to the surface are being considered as a resource for astronauts.

Utopia Planitia is a basin with a diameter of about 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers), resulting from a major impact early in Mars' history and subsequently filled. NASA sent the Viking 2 Lander to a site near the center of Utopia in 1976. The portion examined by Stuurman and colleagues lies southwest of that long-silent lander.

2_Viking_frost_color.jpg

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#5 2016-11-23 00:20:43

RobertDyck
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

The name Utopia Planitia translates loosely as the "plains of paradise."

Actually, Plato wrote a story about a fiction country he called "Utopia". In ancient Greek, the word means "nowhere land". So a strictly literal translation is "plains of nowhere land". Considering this is on Mars, that's kind of appropriate too.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2016-11-23 00:23:05)

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#6 2016-11-23 03:32:27

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

An appropriate name perhaps...but it was Sir Thomas More (an English statesman) who came up with the word, in the 1500s when describing his idea of the perfect society.


RobertDyck wrote:

The name Utopia Planitia translates loosely as the "plains of paradise."

Actually, Plato wrote a story about a fiction country he called "Utopia". In ancient Greek, the word means "nowhere land". So a strictly literal translation is "plains of nowhere land". Considering this is on Mars, that's kind of appropriate too.


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#7 2016-11-23 05:52:49

Antius
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

That would seem to answer the question as to where the first landing site should be.  The ice is close enough to the surface for open cast mining to be practicable, though the mass of the required equipment would no doubt be formidable.  Maybe a better alternative would be hot brine or steam injection, using the waste heat from a solar concentrator or nuclear reactor.  An air lift pump could be used to raise the liberated water to the surface.

With such an abundant supply of water, the first base could be constructed under an ice dome.  Basically, take a double walled hemispherical tent to Mars, inflate it just enough such that it forms a hemisphere and then fill the volume between the walls with water or a muddy slurry.  The water rapidly freezes, providing a solid ice dome, that can then be covered with regolith.  An ice dome 10m thick would support an internal pressure of 380mbar, about 5psi.

A dome 50m in diameter would require 56,000tonnes of water, or perhaps half as much if mixed as a slurry.  That's a lot of water either way.  Melting it would take 6GWh of heat - the output of a 1MWth nuclear reactor working for 262 days for pure water of half that time for a 50-50 slurry mix.  I wonder if we could put the reactor on some sort of trailer, and shield it using a water tank?

Gravity counterweighted habitats become more efficient as enclosed volume increases, as you always need about 10t of material overlay to counteract internal pressure.  The ultimate limit is the compressive strength of the ice.

Last edited by Antius (2016-11-23 06:17:57)

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#8 2016-11-23 06:15:50

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Would the mass be formidable?  If you pre-land robot mobile water miners and processors two years in advance, and they  were producing  say 10 kgs of water a day, that would provide 7 tonnes at the surface, available for immediate use. 

Is 10 Kgs a day really that difficult an ask if the regolith is 50-85% water ice?

Let's take a worst scenario and suggest it's only 25%, that still means processing only 40 kgs of regolith a day. I can imagine say a one tonne vehicle going round and with the help of a microwave beam to loosen up the top soil, taking up 1 kg scoopfuls. That's only 40 scoopfuls a day required. Maybe it would have a heat chamber capable of taking 10 kgs - so 10 scoopfuls to a load.  Process in 30 mins?  Why not?  Empty out the dirt.  Water is boiled out and condensed into an internal container - internal container can hold maybe 200kgs of water, which is then emptied, pumped out into a pre landed reservoir (probably an inflatable kept at above freezing with PV power) every few sols. Whole thing could be PV powered. 

Antius wrote:

That would seem to answer the question as to where the first landing site should be.  The ice is close enough to the surface for open cast mining to be practicable, though the mass of the required equipment would no doubt be formidable.  Maybe a better alternative would be hot brine or steam injection, using the waste heat from a solar concentrator or nuclear reactor.  An air lift pump could be used to raise the liberated water to the surface.


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#9 2016-11-23 06:33:30

Antius
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

louis wrote:

Would the mass be formidable?  If you pre-land robot mobile water miners and processors two years in advance, and they  were producing  say 10 kgs of water a day, that would provide 7 tonnes at the surface, available for immediate use. 

Is 10 Kgs a day really that difficult an ask if the regolith is 50-85% water ice?

Let's take a worst scenario and suggest it's only 25%, that still means processing only 40 kgs of regolith a day. I can imagine say a one tonne vehicle going round and with the help of a microwave beam to loosen up the top soil, taking up 1 kg scoopfuls. That's only 40 scoopfuls a day required. Maybe it would have a heat chamber capable of taking 10 kgs - so 10 scoopfuls to a load.  Process in 30 mins?  Why not?  Empty out the dirt.  Water is boiled out and condensed into an internal container - internal container can hold maybe 200kgs of water, which is then emptied, pumped out into a pre landed reservoir (probably an inflatable kept at above freezing with PV power) every few sols. Whole thing could be PV powered. 

Antius wrote:

That would seem to answer the question as to where the first landing site should be.  The ice is close enough to the surface for open cast mining to be practicable, though the mass of the required equipment would no doubt be formidable.  Maybe a better alternative would be hot brine or steam injection, using the waste heat from a solar concentrator or nuclear reactor.  An air lift pump could be used to raise the liberated water to the surface.

Remember you need to get through the layer of surface regolith.  But I take your point - for an initial mission requiring perhaps 50 tonnes of water for propellant production and crew requirements, mass requirements could be quite modest.  I cannot see it being very easy to coordinate a small mining operation from Earth with two-way communication times of up to 40 minutes.  If anything goes wrong, there is no one that can correct even the simplest mechanical problem - the whole operation just stops.  If you are confident about being able to access the ice, why not begin the mining operation when the crew arrive and let them operate it in real time?

I was thinking of something on a grander scale, jumping the gun, so to speak.  Could we use the water to create large pressurised spaces more affordably than bringing tensile polymer domes from Earth?

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#10 2016-11-23 11:21:16

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Yes, I think you would have to give a time allowance for breaking the regolith surface and I think microwave beams would help to do that efficiently by warming the top soil.

I'm not convinced we need the propellant production for Mission 1.  I would prefer to pre-land the propellant if required. In any case the crew will be there for 2 years. Once there, with a robot rover/digger they could easily excavate tens of tonnes of raw material for propellant production.

We have efficient driverless cars. I really do not believe it is beyond our capabilities to create robotic water-ice miners and processors that operate completely independently of Earth control.  As you land them in a pretty flat, rock-strewn area their job is going to be pretty simple.  1. Move/push rock and  boulders out of way.  2. Heat top soil.  3. Take off top soil layer.  4.  Dig out ice rich soil 5. Process (automatically).  5.  Repeat at intervals.

As for more ambitious use of water - well yes I would like to see some experimentation.  I've wondered if ice could be used to create air lock doors. Pressurised ice chambers might be useful for some storage.

Antius wrote:
louis wrote:

Would the mass be formidable?  If you pre-land robot mobile water miners and processors two years in advance, and they  were producing  say 10 kgs of water a day, that would provide 7 tonnes at the surface, available for immediate use. 

Is 10 Kgs a day really that difficult an ask if the regolith is 50-85% water ice?

Let's take a worst scenario and suggest it's only 25%, that still means processing only 40 kgs of regolith a day. I can imagine say a one tonne vehicle going round and with the help of a microwave beam to loosen up the top soil, taking up 1 kg scoopfuls. That's only 40 scoopfuls a day required. Maybe it would have a heat chamber capable of taking 10 kgs - so 10 scoopfuls to a load.  Process in 30 mins?  Why not?  Empty out the dirt.  Water is boiled out and condensed into an internal container - internal container can hold maybe 200kgs of water, which is then emptied, pumped out into a pre landed reservoir (probably an inflatable kept at above freezing with PV power) every few sols. Whole thing could be PV powered. 

Antius wrote:

That would seem to answer the question as to where the first landing site should be.  The ice is close enough to the surface for open cast mining to be practicable, though the mass of the required equipment would no doubt be formidable.  Maybe a better alternative would be hot brine or steam injection, using the waste heat from a solar concentrator or nuclear reactor.  An air lift pump could be used to raise the liberated water to the surface.

Remember you need to get through the layer of surface regolith.  But I take your point - for an initial mission requiring perhaps 50 tonnes of water for propellant production and crew requirements, mass requirements could be quite modest.  I cannot see it being very easy to coordinate a small mining operation from Earth with two-way communication times of up to 40 minutes.  If anything goes wrong, there is no one that can correct even the simplest mechanical problem - the whole operation just stops.  If you are confident about being able to access the ice, why not begin the mining operation when the crew arrive and let them operate it in real time?

I was thinking of something on a grander scale, jumping the gun, so to speak.  Could we use the water to create large pressurised spaces more affordably than bringing tensile polymer domes from Earth?


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#11 2016-11-23 12:39:24

Void
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Autonomous robot equipment is certainly a skill worth acquiring.  I also think that Lewis could be right, for the first visit, preposition the supplies, visit, confirm the ground truth, and then move on to Insitu further.

Antius, I found this (Again), and suggest that it maybe somewhat parallel to what you propose, except I believe they will use the tensile strength of plastic bubbles to retain atmospheric pressure.

So that's something I have been looking for a long time.  I could never find out if ice would block U.V.  Now I know that it can.  That really makes things much better for growing plants, either in air or water.

http://cloudsao.com/MARS-ICE-HOUSE
Quote:

Why ice? Water ice is an effective radiation shield, diminishing both ultra-violet solar and galactic gamma rays to safe levels with only a 5cm thick shell. Ice is translucent allowing natural daylight to stream into the dwelling connecting inhabitants to circadian cycles necessary for maintaining healthy bio-rhythms. The translucency gradient of the ice shells can be modulated to achieve transparent windows allowing for views of the Martian landscape beyond, which has been proven to improve crew morale and psychological well being. Water ice is abundant in the northern latitudes and easily extracted as it's covered by only 30cm of loose regolith.

Lewis said:

Pressurised ice chambers might be useful for some storage.

What I would be looking for now would be a location where a significant layer of this ice/dirt/rock still prevails, but where a elevated "Bluff" of solid rock was just adjacent.  This would allow you to build above ground installations without having to fear the foundations will sublimate from under it or even melt.  This might allow for your "Canyon" habitats.

Possibly a premium rock of course would be sandstone.  I also hope for sandstone layers under the thick ice/dirt/rock layer.

Since you were on this bluff (I hope), but the edge of the ice deposit was very near, you could interface to ice tunnels, and so, dig them by warming.  Possibly melting, but even a evaporative digging would work.  Of course you would extract the water and use it according to need, but so produce a tunnel network, which might be stable for a time without warping.  Gravity of Mars being less, and the ice very rather cold.  But perhaps over time supports needed.

Over time, using tunnels such as this for hyperloop travel to other "Bluff" communities?  Some tunnels as you have said for storage.  Storage of solid objects?  Storage of Oxygen?  Storage of Methane?

Then if you had an underground/Ice Hyperloop network throughout the frozen "Sea", each of those relatively closer to some item desired/required such as a mineral.  I believe that Elon Musk indicates that Hyperloop would work without a tube on Mars, so you could simply hyperloop connect with tubeless tracks to those mineral locations, or you would use tubes, because it would allow you to transfer Hydrogen bearing substances to those mining locations.

So the process is both favorable to a startup and a large scale up.

And of course the scientific community should offer support for the reason that the tunneling will reveal much scientific history of Mars.  $$$ Support?

Last edited by Void (2016-11-23 13:02:29)


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#12 2016-11-23 13:05:37

Void
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Just a brief supplement to my last post.  Due to the information which indicates that water ice will block U.V., I feel very sure that by making polar ice covered seas and lakes, a pathway to a biosphere is best implemented.  This might be achievable with an atmosphere not that much thicker than the existing, and of course by directing heat under the insulation of a protective ice layer.

This also suggests to me that life on Earth could have had such a protection in the oceans and other bodies of water on the ancient Earth, when after all the sun was much less radiant.


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#13 2016-11-23 13:54:16

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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

I would like some seismic data as well. There could be salty mud under the pressure of the overlying icy deposit.
And wouldn't you love some boreholes?

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#14 2016-11-23 17:41:26

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Viking 2 landed in Utopia Planitia:

https://tools.wmflabs.org/geohack/geoha … rk_dim:100

Wikipedia notes that:

"All samples heated in the gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GCMS) gave off water."

Viking's location was far to the north...we might well want to be a lot further south.

Last edited by louis (2016-11-23 17:43:16)


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#15 2016-11-23 21:47:05

SpaceNut
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wikimolautopia.jpg

http://redplanet.asu.edu/?p=21291
SHARAD finds ice deposit in Utopia Planitia with as much water as Lake Superior

I am reminded of the Robotic Arm scoop onboard the Pheonix lander for scouping up the regolith as part of what could be a base design for the demonstrator to flesh out the water manufacturing equipment for a future manned mars mission.

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#16 2016-11-24 04:38:49

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Maybe about 18 N  and 130 E would be about right - at the southern tip of the plain?   

I guess, it's partly a matter of how you conceive the Mission 1 base. Is it going to be the core of your settlement or a launch pad for exploration from which Rovers can scout out the ideal settlement location?  I think I lean a bit to the latter point of view.  However, I wouldn't want to be too far away from rich iron ore and basalt deposits.

And, yes, the Rover technology of scoop and heat is already there, so I don't think it would take much tweaking to turn that into an industrial process water-mining robot rover. I can't recall any "scoop and heat" failures in the past.  So it is probably a pretty reliable sort of technology, though I guess for water mining it would be high intensity.


SpaceNut wrote:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wikimolautopia.jpg

http://redplanet.asu.edu/?p=21291
SHARAD finds ice deposit in Utopia Planitia with as much water as Lake Superior

I am reminded of the Robotic Arm scoop onboard the Pheonix lander for scouping up the regolith as part of what could be a base design for the demonstrator to flesh out the water manufacturing equipment for a future manned mars mission.


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#17 2016-11-24 10:07:57

GW Johnson
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

I'm no expert in Mars geography,  but isn't Utopia Planitia a big bay off the now-dried-up northern ocean basin? 

If so,  it makes me suspect there would be lots of frozen water down under any of that old ocean bottom. 

GW


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#18 2016-11-24 11:39:48

Void
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

GW Said:

I'm no expert in Mars geography,  but isn't Utopia Planitia a big bay off the now-dried-up northern ocean basin? 
If so,  it makes me suspect there would be lots of frozen water down under any of that old ocean bottom. 
GW

I am no expert of course, either.

I will speculate that the ability of Mars to have snow may be a factor. 

This is related to atmospheric I recall.  One article I read indicated that if a CO2 deposit in the south pole were vaporized, and the atmosphere reached 11 mb, it would be possible for it to snow.  The lower elevations will have a greater air pressure, and so I presume it is more likely that snow could be deposited at low elevations.

The article Louis posted seemed to indicate that the ice deposit is millions of years old.  This then raises the question in my mind, how did the rocks get on top of the ice?  Volcanic eruptions?  In the last millions of years?  Or something else?

Last edited by Void (2016-11-24 12:01:15)


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#19 2016-11-24 12:48:58

SpaceNut
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-bl … -mars.html

http://www.space.com/34811-mars-ice-mor … erior.html

The ice layer, which spans a greater area than the state of New Mexico, lies in Mars' mid-northern latitudes and is covered by just 3 feet to 33 feet (1 to 10 meters) of soil.

mars-water-ice-utopia-planitia.jpg?1479851105?interpolation=lanczos-none&downsize=640:*

Data gathered by SHARAD during 600 MRO passes over Utopia Planitia revealed the deposit between 39 and 49 degrees north latitude. The layer ranges in thickness from 260 feet to 560 feet (80 to 170 m) and is made up of 50 to 85 percent water ice, researchers said. (The remainder is dirt and rock.)

That puts the deposit's water volume roughly on a par with that of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, which holds 2,900 cubic miles (12,090 cubic kilometers) of the wet stuff.

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#20 2016-11-24 13:03:27

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Interesting, isn't this where one of the Viking space probes landed? Utopia Planitia? Okay, we have a site for a possible space colony. 10 meters of ice will provide as much protection from cosmic rays as Earth's atmosphere. This is in Mars' "temperate zone" 45 degrees is the same latitude a New York City on Earth.
Utopia_Planitia.jpg
Just two things remain, getting there and 0.38 times Earth's gravity. Under a dome, we can replicate Earth conditions except for gravity, without using centrifuges.
crater_cam_32.jpg

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#21 2016-11-24 15:18:51

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Of course people on Mars will be able to wear lead weighted body suits and shoes to provide at least some bone-preserving replication of 1G. They could also sleep in 1G centrifuge capsules.

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

Interesting, isn't this where one of the Viking space probes landed? Utopia Planitia? Okay, we have a site for a possible space colony. 10 meters of ice will provide as much protection from cosmic rays as Earth's atmosphere. This is in Mars' "temperate zone" 45 degrees is the same latitude a New York City on Earth.
http://www.daviddarling.info/images/Utopia_Planitia.jpg
Just two things remain, getting there and 0.38 times Earth's gravity. Under a dome, we can replicate Earth conditions except for gravity, without using centrifuges.
http://www.bryanversteeg.com/wp-content … cam_32.jpg


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#22 2016-11-24 21:58:56

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

It is useless to sleep in a 1-G centrifuge, because you sleep lying down and the weight is taken off those bones, plus there is wear and tear on the centrifuge. Either 0.38 G is enough or its not. Whether people can live permanently in 0.38 G will determine whether we can have a colony, or we can genetically engineer human beings to live there.

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#23 2016-11-25 09:10:56

louis
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

Are you sure about that? It's not just bones at a macro level we are talking about but cells at a nano level. Anyway, I would also hope that 0.38 is "good enough".  Certainly in terms of bone stressing, with weighted suits and shoes I would think it is.

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

It is useless to sleep in a 1-G centrifuge, because you sleep lying down and the weight is taken off those bones, plus there is wear and tear on the centrifuge. Either 0.38 G is enough or its not. Whether people can live permanently in 0.38 G will determine whether we can have a colony, or we can genetically engineer human beings to live there.


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#24 2016-11-25 10:13:59

Antius
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

louis wrote:

Are you sure about that? It's not just bones at a macro level we are talking about but cells at a nano level. Anyway, I would also hope that 0.38 is "good enough".  Certainly in terms of bone stressing, with weighted suits and shoes I would think it is.

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

It is useless to sleep in a 1-G centrifuge, because you sleep lying down and the weight is taken off those bones, plus there is wear and tear on the centrifuge. Either 0.38 G is enough or its not. Whether people can live permanently in 0.38 G will determine whether we can have a colony, or we can genetically engineer human beings to live there.

Yes.  Bed rest reliably simulates the effects of weightlessness on the bones and cardiovascular system and is often used in peer reviewed studies as a proxy for weightlessness.  Really, you want full gravity in situations where people are going to be walking or performing physical work.  Spend six months in micro-G and so far as your body is concerned, you have spent six months laying in bed.

Take a look at this:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540860/

This leads me to believe that people who are active in Martian Gravity, will tend to be healthier than those leading a sedentary life in Earth gravity.  If you are sitting or lying most of the day, bone metabolism is severely impacted regardless of gravity level.  This certainly gives me pause for thought, as I sit behind a desk pumping out word documents for much of the time that I am awake.

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#25 2016-11-25 10:17:14

SpaceNut
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Re: Time to go! As much water as Lake Superior- MarsColony Green Light!

The sleep studies already show that prolonged bed rest which is in a 1 G is the same as the effects of microgravity. So sleeping on Mars will be only a little worse than that of sleeping on Earth. Its the remainder of the clock that we are worried about and with the propper levels of exercise on Mars, I think we can stay very healthy on the Mars Surface.

Now back to Tom's crater dome garden by the way thanks for that link, how do we get there from a starting point of zero materials premade for its construction?

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