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#1 2019-01-06 06:22:46

BenVA
Member
From: Bornem, Belgium, Europe, Earth
Registered: 2018-10-11
Posts: 14
Website

A new idea for terraforming

Hello,

After watching the documentary Mars Making the New Earth | Full Documentary on YouTube, I wondered if it would be possible to do this without the super greenhouse gases, but just with the present greenhouse gases CO2 and H2O that should be in the Martian Soil.

One would need to warm the Martian soil instead of the Martian atmosphere to get the gases (CO2 and H2O) out of the ground.

When colonizing Mars we would bring nuclear reactors to generate our electrical power. But what we would do with the remaining "waste" heat is put it in to the atmosphere. Here I think it would be better to do a “reverse” geothermal process and put the remaining heat in to the surface of Mars as seen in the picture below. This process will directly “activate” the CO2 and H20 in the soil.

Geothermal

Currently we would like our reactors to be as energy efficient as possible, this is a good thing here on earth, but for Mars we can use the remaining heat as a terraforming. Also making it even possible to extract liquid water from the soil, instead of mining it.

Still I have a few questions that I wonder about:

  1. What will happen to the subsurface if liquid water exists?

  2. Will we have shifts of the soil?

  3. Will the soil shifts endangering the colony?

  4. How many systems like this would we need to fully terraform Mars up to the point humans don’t need a spacesuit? Is it even possible?

  5. Would it be possible to create a warm "layer" in the crust so we can reactivate the Martian core dynamo over many thousands of years? Together with other systems off course

  6. What will the negative effects be?

Does anybody know any good reading material on these subject?

Kind regards

Ben


I'm a Mars enthousiast, wait we all are smile

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#2 2019-01-06 09:47:55

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,455

Re: A new idea for terraforming

NUclear rediators would have a working fluid in them and would be designed to disapate that heat with a constant rate for its size and flow rate of the fuild with in it. That said we would bury the radiator and when it was turned on the effect of water and co2 would happen but its only going to last just so long until its gone dry of these. At that time its just a ground temperature warmer with local air being warmed.

One of the issues is keeping the releasal of water and gasses going. I would suggest inside a chamber the radiator attached to a plate where mars regolith soil is transported to where it is warmed, outgassing happens and then is moved to the next stage of processing. All outgassing is captured for later releasal and or use in other insitu uses. Reload and keep the process going.

Regolith soil dried can then be spun to seperate into materials of higher concentration of elements using magnetics and mass of materials plus spin speed. The collection of these can later be refined for processing. The dirt component of this can be used in a greenhouse or in the construction of buildings.

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#3 2019-01-06 10:22:20

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

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Nice to see you here BenVA.

I have a tendency to over talk, so I will keep it to a minimum.

I agree that where the potential exists to warm the interior of Mars that is preferable to just warming the atmosphere.

I had thought in the past that old frack wells could possibly be used for thermal storage on Earth, but did not think of Mars.

I myself have two other pets that I work on.  Melting ice covered reservoirs, and also the boring companies tunnels.  Perhaps there could be a family of such methods working together.

Last edited by Void (2019-01-06 10:25:14)


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

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#4 2019-01-06 10:42:48

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,124

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Ben,

1. depends on the composition of the regolith around the well site
2. yes, but any potentially deleterious effects would be highly variable and dependent upon a variety of factors
3. depends on where the colony is located, but right next to the well head probably isn't an ideal location
4. I don't think we have enough fissile materials for this to work
5. maybe with technology we don't have
6. we'll figure out what the negative effects are right after we learn how to do it
7. I believe Google can lead you to lots of scholarly articles on Mars terraforming

The consensus seems to be that we don't understand how to do this and that there may not be enough CO2 or O2, or whatever else is there, to release into the atmosphere for this to work the way it did in Total Recall.  A solar-powered orbital microwave station may be more practical for all we know since it could conceptually BBQ large swaths of the Martian surface from orbit.  It'd be larger than anything we've ever constructed in space, though.  In another century or so, who knows what will be possible.  Maybe we'll figure out how to create a warp drive by then, skip Mars terraformation entirely, and just head on over to another "Earth" in another system that comes with it's own atmosphere and magnetosphere.

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#5 2019-01-06 23:53:51

BenVA
Member
From: Bornem, Belgium, Europe, Earth
Registered: 2018-10-11
Posts: 14
Website

Re: A new idea for terraforming

SpaceNut wrote:

NUclear rediators would have a working fluid in them and would be designed to disapate that heat with a constant rate for its size and flow rate of the fuild with in it. That said we would bury the radiator and when it was turned on the effect of water and co2 would happen but its only going to last just so long until its gone dry of these. At that time its just a ground temperature warmer with local air being warmed.

One of the issues is keeping the releasal of water and gasses going. I would suggest inside a chamber the radiator attached to a plate where mars regolith soil is transported to where it is warmed, outgassing happens and then is moved to the next stage of processing. All outgassing is captured for later releasal and or use in other insitu uses. Reload and keep the process going.

Regolith soil dried can then be spun to seperate into materials of higher concentration of elements using magnetics and mass of materials plus spin speed. The collection of these can later be refined for processing. The dirt component of this can be used in a greenhouse or in the construction of buildings.

I never thought of it this way SpaceNut. But wouldn't it be difficult to "mine/excavate" frozen soil? I even saw a youtube commercial about electric excavators from Volvo last. Her is the Link to the YouTube list.

Kind regards

Ben


I'm a Mars enthousiast, wait we all are smile

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#6 2019-01-07 02:50:22

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,862
Website

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Years ago I wrote a thread: Amazon books - sponsor the Mars Society
I don't think the Mars Society has the sponsor deal any more, but the books are relevant. Here's a good one...although the price is now, um, what!?!

Terraforming: Engineering Planetary Environments
513MSkGr-ZL._SL500_SR63,100_.jpg

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#7 2019-01-07 03:00:58

BenVA
Member
From: Bornem, Belgium, Europe, Earth
Registered: 2018-10-11
Posts: 14
Website

Re: A new idea for terraforming

RobertDyck wrote:

Years ago I wrote a thread: Amazon books - sponsor the Mars Society
I don't think the Mars Society has the sponsor deal any more, but the books are relevant. Here's a good one...although the price is now, um, what!?!

Terraforming: Engineering Planetary Environments
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513MSkGr-ZL._SL500_SR63,100_.jpg

Maybe they should make it a sticky smile


I'm a Mars enthousiast, wait we all are smile

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#8 2019-01-07 03:16:56

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,862
Website

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Chris McKay et al wrote a paper on terraforming Mars. The premise was we know how to cause global warming here, why don't we do it deliberately on Mars? His initial work included CFCs, which do cause global warming, but also destroy ozone. Not a good idea. Once Mars has an oxygen atmosphere, UV light from the Sun will cause O2 to form ozone. UV also breaks down ozone, so ozone will build up until equilibrium. The final equilibrium depends on how much O2 in the atmosphere. If you start with the same partial pressure O2 as Earth, final ozone should result in surface UV being the same as Earth. But that's only if you don't flood the atmosphere with CFC, which destroys ozone.

I did a calculation once. Using figures from the textbook above, which cites the paper by McKay. If you build 10 sites on Mars to mine fluorine minerals to feed chemical plants to produce PFC and SF6 (super greenhouse gasses), and each site has 4 ore processors with the same capacity as ore processors in Alberta's tar sands, and if you operate those ore processors 24/7 (continuously), then it should take 13 years to produce sufficient super greenhouse gasses to terraform Mars. In practice there would be time building those facilities, and the first facilities would start operating as soon as completed, not sit idle. And facilities would never operate continuously for 13 years, there would be down-time for maintenance and repairs. But this gives you a ballpark figure.

Once those gasses are in the atmosphere, it would take more time to warm Mars. Remember, the gasses act as a blanket, the heat still comes from sunlight. A planet is a very big thing to warm. Once it is warm enough, that heat will sublimate dry ice and melt water ice, so once a "tipping point" is reached, Mars will continue to warm itself by releasing CO2 and H2O until a new equilibrium is reached.

Also, atmospheric pressure of 170 millibar is enough for a person to walk outside without a pressure suit. You would have to breathe pure oxygen, and that breathing gas (O2) would require high humidity to prevent low pressure from quickly dehydrating your lung tissue. A person in their prime (late teens to early 40s), healthy and strong, and gone through high altitude training. At 300 millibar, anyone can do it, even senior citizens. Would still require pure oxygen. The textbook cites 2 papers written by different authors, which estimate Mars surface pressure once all dry ice is sublimated. Both papers were written before Mars Global Surveyor, so need updating. One paper estimate final pressure at 200 millibar, the other 300 millibar. Since then Europe's Mars Express used ground penetrating radar to map subsurface ice. It measured the south pole is not permafrost, the ice is too clean. It's a polar ice cap covered in a thin skiff of wind-blown dirt. And it's 3.7km deep! In places it extends to 60° latitude; it's huge! And there's a large deposit of dry ice embedded within the water ice. I haven't found anyone willing to recalculate the Mars CO2 budget based on latest information. What would the final surface pressure be?

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#9 2019-01-07 13:06:33

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,367

Re: A new idea for terraforming

"When colonizing Mars we would bring nuclear reactors to generate our electrical power"

Musk and Space X have explicitly committed to PV power for the Mars settlement. It's part of Musk "brand image", so I can't really seeing him committing to nuclear power reactors. Not to say that nuclear power wouldn't be theoretically useful in terraformation.  But I think the job of heating up Mars can be done more efficiently by solar power satellites reflecting insolation on to the Mars surface and through production of greenhouse gases.

One thing I wonder about is whether it would make sense to dig trenches on Mars, thus exposing more of the surface area to such reflected insolation?  Would that increase outgassing? I've no idea.   



BenVA wrote:

Hello,

After watching the documentary Mars Making the New Earth | Full Documentary on YouTube, I wondered if it would be possible to do this without the super greenhouse gases, but just with the present greenhouse gases CO2 and H2O that should be in the Martian Soil.

One would need to warm the Martian soil instead of the Martian atmosphere to get the gases (CO2 and H2O) out of the ground.

When colonizing Mars we would bring nuclear reactors to generate our electrical power. But what we would do with the remaining "waste" heat is put it in to the atmosphere. Here I think it would be better to do a “reverse” geothermal process and put the remaining heat in to the surface of Mars as seen in the picture below. This process will directly “activate” the CO2 and H20 in the soil.

https://www.edenproject.com/sites/defau … ration.jpg

Currently we would like our reactors to be as energy efficient as possible, this is a good thing here on earth, but for Mars we can use the remaining heat as a terraforming. Also making it even possible to extract liquid water from the soil, instead of mining it.

Still I have a few questions that I wonder about:

  1. What will happen to the subsurface if liquid water exists?

  2. Will we have shifts of the soil?

  3. Will the soil shifts endangering the colony?

  4. How many systems like this would we need to fully terraform Mars up to the point humans don’t need a spacesuit? Is it even possible?

  5. Would it be possible to create a warm "layer" in the crust so we can reactivate the Martian core dynamo over many thousands of years? Together with other systems off course

  6. What will the negative effects be?

Does anybody know any good reading material on these subject?

Kind regards

Ben


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

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#10 2019-01-07 13:43:10

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,172
Website

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Before we do anything, we need to know what sort of outgassing we can expect - what will be released, and how much.

Fortunately, we should be able to do that with quite a small, inexpensive mission. A big mirror should do the trick, and an infra-red spectrometer to analyse the plume. Perhaps cheap enough that the Mars Society could run a kickstarter campaign for it - particularly if Musk offers a free launch piggybacking on any spare payload.


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

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#11 2019-01-07 17:47:47

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,455

Re: A new idea for terraforming

BenVA for post #1 the hydrology question is still in need of an answer to which we can send Bruce Willis and team to Drill Baby Drill...


Drill2.png



I agree with Terraformer in getting a piggyback ride to mars would be the way to go in as cheap as we can but its going to be small in size something along the cube sat's size that just were there to support insights landing...

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#12 2019-01-07 18:11:37

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

Re: A new idea for terraforming

What about something big that "Starship" could bring to Mars?


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

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#13 2019-01-08 04:04:58

BenVA
Member
From: Bornem, Belgium, Europe, Earth
Registered: 2018-10-11
Posts: 14
Website

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Louis,

I believe a lot can be done with solar panels but what do you do when you have a long lasting dust storm?
I can't see musk provide power for weeks to even months on end with his battery packs.

Or you must be able to beam power from orbit if that is possible with a dust storm.

louis wrote:

"When colonizing Mars we would bring nuclear reactors to generate our electrical power"

Musk and Space X have explicitly committed to PV power for the Mars settlement. It's part of Musk "brand image", so I can't really seeing him committing to nuclear power reactors. Not to say that nuclear power wouldn't be theoretically useful in terraformation.  But I think the job of heating up Mars can be done more efficiently by solar power satellites reflecting insolation on to the Mars surface and through production of greenhouse gases.

One thing I wonder about is whether it would make sense to dig trenches on Mars, thus exposing more of the surface area to such reflected insolation?  Would that increase outgassing? I've no idea.


I'm a Mars enthousiast, wait we all are smile

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#14 2019-01-08 04:22:28

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,367

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Leaving aside the issue of terraformation and solar power satellites for a moment, I think all you do is you produce methane and oxygen (which you are going to do anyway, if you are Space X, to make propellant) and you then burn the methane in gas turbines to produce electrical power if your PV power goes low during a dust storm. Then you are not dependent on solar power during a dust storm. However, I think people need to understand that a dust storm is not a total black-out of insolation. For most dust storms you are still going to get 40-80% of normal insolation. I think dust storms are more of an issue for natural light agriculture really.


BenVA wrote:

Louis,

I believe a lot can be done with solar panels but what do you do when you have a long lasting dust storm?
I can't see musk provide power for weeks to even months on end with his battery packs.

Or you must be able to beam power from orbit if that is possible with a dust storm.

louis wrote:

"When colonizing Mars we would bring nuclear reactors to generate our electrical power"

Musk and Space X have explicitly committed to PV power for the Mars settlement. It's part of Musk "brand image", so I can't really seeing him committing to nuclear power reactors. Not to say that nuclear power wouldn't be theoretically useful in terraformation.  But I think the job of heating up Mars can be done more efficiently by solar power satellites reflecting insolation on to the Mars surface and through production of greenhouse gases.

One thing I wonder about is whether it would make sense to dig trenches on Mars, thus exposing more of the surface area to such reflected insolation?  Would that increase outgassing? I've no idea.


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

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#15 2019-01-08 04:46:44

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,149

Re: A new idea for terraforming

Planetary size trenches would require identification and exploitation of existing weaknesses. I suppose you would be looking to start the formation of new canyons, thereby exposing fresh substrate. Your only chance of success in this, in a reasonably short term, would be the use of thermonuclear weapons. I know of some folks who have these, and some who almost certainly do but aren't saying. Neither group will give them to anybody else! Attempts to make your own are likely to be curtailed.

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#16 2019-01-08 09:44:54

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,367

Re: A new idea for terraforming

I guess it depends how serious you are about it. A billion small diggers working for 10 years could probably dig 2 metre high and one metre wide trenches (with spoil height) which would amount to 365,000 billion kilometres of trenches in length (assuming they could dig 100 metres a day - using Earth time here!).  If that created 4 sq metres of surface area for every one sq metre dug up, that would be 1,460,000 trillion square metres.  That comes to 1,460 million square kms - over ten times the surface area of Mars!  So you would have to scale back your billion diggers! 

Anyway, I think it does show that you could do a lot with roving robot vehicles.  Might be better to have them just heat up regolith.


elderflower wrote:

Planetary size trenches would require identification and exploitation of existing weaknesses. I suppose you would be looking to start the formation of new canyons, thereby exposing fresh substrate. Your only chance of success in this, in a reasonably short term, would be the use of thermonuclear weapons. I know of some folks who have these, and some who almost certainly do but aren't saying. Neither group will give them to anybody else! Attempts to make your own are likely to be curtailed.

Last edited by louis (2019-01-08 10:45:12)


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

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#17 2019-01-08 11:43:18

Spaniard
Member
From: Spain
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 63

Re: A new idea for terraforming

If the goal is Terraforming, is a wasteful idea. Using to make greenhouses, for every kwh you spend into create the gases you trap a lot more from sun light. A lot more efficient any idea instead direct brute force warming.

But if the goal is to make things (massive manufacturing), certanly we could turn Mars into a gigant factory where there was so many nuclear energy as sun (fusion in the future) as much as allow the waste heat up to warm up Mars to Earth levels.

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#18 2019-01-08 11:59:24

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,367

Re: A new idea for terraforming

You might be right.  Hopefully within the next couple of decades we will see a Terraformation Insititute set up on Mars which will investigate all these techniques. I have previosuly suggest that perhaps laying down simple (transparent) plastic sheeting, weighed down with rocks would deliver more outgassing. A sq. km. might need 100 tonnes of plastic. I'm basing that on 100 grammes per sq. meter.  So to cover half the planet would require 72 million x 100 = 7200 million tonnes.  Current world production on Earth is around 350 million tonnes per annum. So 3500 million tonnes in ten years... On that basis, it's not impossible to get towards that sort of figure. What effect that would have, I don't know, but I think trying to create giant greenhouses would be far more challenging. 

Spaniard wrote:

If the goal is Terraforming, is a wasteful idea. Using to make greenhouses, for every kwh you spend into create the gases you trap a lot more from sun light. A lot more efficient any idea instead direct brute force warming.

But if the goal is to make things (massive manufacturing), certanly we could turn Mars into a gigant factory where there was so many nuclear energy as sun (fusion in the future) as much as allow the waste heat up to warm up Mars to Earth levels.


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

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#19 2019-01-08 21:44:46

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,455

Re: A new idea for terraforming

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/High_Scho … ric_Layers

The ozone layer is found within the stratosphere at between 15 to 30 km (9 to 19 miles) altitude. The thickness of the ozone layer varies by the season and also by the latitude. The amount of ozone present in the ozone layer is tiny, only a few molecules per million air molecules.

th?id=OIP.GT6q_bHSPQ1-vTJkAtxSggAAAA&w=148&h=150&c=8&rs=1&qlt=20&pid=3.1

125px-Atmosphere_layers-en.svg.png

Earth's radius can have several values, depending on how it is measured; from its equatorial radius of about 6,378 kilometres and its polar radius of about 6,357 kilometres.

Mars is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth's volume and 11% of Earth's mass, resulting in about 38% of Earth's surface gravity.

Mar's radius can have several values; from its equatorial radius of about 3,396 kilometres and its polar radius of about 3,376 kilometres.

Clouds of water ice hover at altitudes 20 to 30 kilometers, and clouds of carbon dioxide form at approximately 50 kilometers

http://mathscinotes.com/2012/10/earth-a … e-to-mars/

The surface pressure on Mars is equivalent to the range of pressures on Earth at altitudes between ~30 km and ~60 km.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. … 009539.pdf

Peak of Olympus Mons: 30 pascals (0.3 millibars)
Hellas Planitia: 1,155 pascals (11.5 millibars)

even at the bottom of Hellas we will need to have a dome over it to be able to do this

robinson-crusoe-on-mars-007.jpg?resize=460%2C276

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#20 2019-01-20 11:52:56

BenVA
Member
From: Bornem, Belgium, Europe, Earth
Registered: 2018-10-11
Posts: 14
Website

Re: A new idea for terraforming

My idea is to use the "waste" heat and putting it in the soil, the only energy you need to put in to this project is drilling of the heat exchanger and transport it. Prefarably I would even use the drill rods as the heat exchanger and keep it in the ground. No hassle to pull them out and put the heat exchanger in. This way the waste heat will not be put in to the atmosphere where it will dissipate and have allmost no effect, but when you put it in the soil, you will even have more outgassing of CO2, H2O, ... that are also greenhouse gasses. No where near as powerful as CFC's, but you have the extra pro's like: more mine-able regolith, less CFC's needed, ... .

Kind regards

Ben


I'm a Mars enthousiast, wait we all are smile

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#21 2019-01-20 17:40:56

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,455

Re: A new idea for terraforming

ground radiant heat observencing dissipation.

Sure reactor heat will be higher and over a greater period of time to dissipate into the ground but its the same function.

https://www.radiantec.com/about-radiant … scription/

Solar RADIATION HEAT TRANSFER

The heat must go away from the working fluid and that is what a heatsink does.
http://www.ti.com/lit/an/slva462/slva462.pdf

https://celsiainc.com/heat-sink-size-calculator/

Plus what we are calling geo energy and heatpumps

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