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#1 2016-09-17 11:45:51

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,562

Snow Melt Lakes On Mars 2-3 Billion Years Ago. … ought.html

Huge Mars Lakes Formed Much More Recently Than Thought … l?ITO=1490

So to me this indicates a lot of things.
-Mars and Earth were able to swap spit for a very long time, implying that Mars/Earth may have/had a similar microbe life tree.
-It also suggests a pathway for terraforming at a colder temperature, with quicker results, or results at all.

Last edited by Void (2016-09-17 11:50:59)

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


#2 2016-09-28 13:31:12

Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,261

Re: Snow Melt Lakes On Mars 2-3 Billion Years Ago.

If there are remnant ice masses protected by layers of volcanic and Aeolian dust, how can we locate them without sending people? Most manned mission proposals need water for fuel and oxidant manufacture so we have to find suitable resources before we send humans.  I still like my idea of dropping iron balls from orbit and observing the ejecta on impact.


#3 2016-09-29 21:31:24

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,562

Re: Snow Melt Lakes On Mars 2-3 Billion Years Ago.

Well, yes, I also like looking at all the options.

The equator is relatively gentile, as far as death traps go.

The Mid latitudes seem to offer ice under dirt in places, but really, then you have sacrificed the advantages of the equator.

If there really is fossil ice in the Mariner Rift Valley, and equatorial places like it, then it needs a really hard, hard look.

But to master the planet in the end you want to control the polar ice condensation points.  (At least I think). … orth-pole/ 

I have no problem supporting your impactor analysis of lower latitude suspected ice bodies, but I regard such as stepping stones to mastery of the polar ice caps.  If humans cannot eventually master them, then it is pointless to think of them expanding into the colder zones of the solar system.

Other methods to analyze ice bodies after your method could include probes that melt their way downward into ice bodies to gain more information of what is included in such a structure.  Similar to proposed probes to Europa, why not?

Easier actually perhaps, I presume.

Again: … orth-pole/

Combined, the north and south polar ice caps are believed to hold the equivalent of two to three million cubic kilometers (0.47-0.72 million cu. miles) of ice, making it roughly 100 times more than the total volume of North America’s Great Lakes, which is 22,684 cu. kms (5,439 miles).

So, in actuality aren't we talking about the mother-load of water on Mars?  Isn't that the heart of potential life on Mars, it could be mastered?

So, what if we embraced any form of power that could help us to "Master" that environment?

Granted, I think the first settlements on Mars have to be in as mild a climate as can be found.  Temperature + Water, are the two major issues.  But eventually, when the Martian branch of the human race grew up, mastery of the poles would yield great power on the planet Mars.

I don't much like the potential toxic consequences of the use of fission power on the poles of Mars, but I also recognize that it potentially provides a reasonable path to success in mastering the poles.

I also think that fusion power will eventually be in the grasp of humans.  That will provide a far better mastery of the polar ice caps of Mars.

Imagine, two seas under ice at the poles of Mars, CO2 expelled from both into the atmosphere, ice covered canal/rivers being drawn/pumped from each to lower latitudes.

Yes, I like your exploration methods, but the ultimate purpose is to get to the mother-load.  I think you have something very good to offer, towards that purpose smile  Bud.

Last edited by Void (2016-09-29 21:49:05)

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


#4 2016-09-30 10:41:01

GW Johnson
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,103

Re: Snow Melt Lakes On Mars 2-3 Billion Years Ago.

Ice mining:  this depends upon the physical layout of the deposit.  It will be subsurface,  or it would have sublimed away.  The question is whether this is a massive vein of mostly-ice meters thick,  or dipersed lenses and thin layers of fractional-meter dimension.

Why is this important?  Because the difficulty of your extraction methods depends crucially upon it. 

In the case of a massive deposit many meters thick,  you can drill and extract great volumes up your well using injected steam.  This is a process you can bootstrap up to large scales easily,  and the equipment is not very heavy or extensive. 

In the case of dispersed small-dimension ice bodies,  you are forced to strip mine.  You will need lots of giant,  heavy machines to move great volumes of material,  and you will need to build a huge facility to process enormous volumes of material,  netting a far smaller yield of water. 

In the case of moisture frozen between soil particles (something widespread),  you do the same strip mining,  but it's even less attractive:  another order of magnitude more volume to process,  with another order of magnitude more machines and facilities,  and for another order of magnitude less yield. 

So how do you find a site with a massive deposit that you don't have to strip mine?

Remote sensing as we know it simply cannot do this job.  That track record we all know.

Impactors have some potential,  but unless they are very large,  they do not dig very deep.  Unless they dig deep,  there is simply no way to distinguish the massive deposit from the dispersed small-dimension stuff. 

No way to choose between what amounts to "fracking" versus strip-mining. That puts your initial base design in a real quandary:  what do we have to bring,  when only worst-case assumptions can guarantee survival?   Remember,  a dead crew because of a bad management decision is very likely to kill your effort!

That gets us down to the same old techniques that are the only reliable ground-truth in petrochemicals and water recovery for 150 years now:  drilling. 

You're going to have to drill to see what's really underneath the surface,  and you need deep-drilling capability to learn anything useful!  At least 10 m,  preferably 100 m.  If I had my druthers,  I'd go for 1+ km capability,  based on our experiences here looking for both oil/gas and water.   

Now,  can that be done with a robot probe?  Because if it can,  remember that Musk will be sending Red Dragons all over Mars every 2 years starting in 2018,  he says.  It may well be that drilling for water is exactly what he has in mind,  when he says the Red Dragon 1-way unmanned probes are the pathfinders for locating where he will send his big ship. 

If so,  he needs a robot drilling rig he can deploy from a Red Dragon.  Nothing like that exists yet,  as far as I know.  And there's not much time left to get something ready.  First trip is only 2 years away. 

Anybody know anything about robot deep-drilling rigs?


PS: it really does amuse me that Musk's IAC presentation on his plans for Mars,  seem to have left NASA and the other government agencies standing there looking like incompetents.

PPS:  I also read Zubrin's critique;  it was pretty weak.  Shows evidence of not thinking outside the disposable TMI injection stage "box" very well.

Last edited by GW Johnson (2016-09-30 10:50:32)

GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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


#5 2016-09-30 11:16:24

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,562

Re: Snow Melt Lakes On Mars 2-3 Billion Years Ago.

I will add some things, for speculation, since I am amateur in status, and quite often, what I propose is based on materials I have read.

I most prefer something as you propose, steam extraction.  I don't like the notion of trying to break apart solids, and then move them to a process vessel.  I think that it would be very hard to do or impossible.  Maybe it might make sense for a particular short stay mission, for drinking water, but not for industrial scale settlement water.

But there is this possible option for the ice dispersed into regolith situation.  Still it would in my opinion be best used as an early method on a substantial deposit of slab ice, before you set up your steam extraction method.

Microwaves: … water.html
(I know "Mars One" is not likely to be a good reference).

I see your point about getting certainty, but that would have to come after you sorted through the many possibilities/options/necessities.

I was just hiking at an old mining site a few days ago.  It was done about 110 years ago.  The weird thing about it is they built a railroad to it from Canada, hauled 1 load of ore, and then abandoned it, because easier and better ore was found elsewhere not far away.  I would think we should want to think with broad examination with a light brushing, and then go into deeper and deeper methods as a process of elimination is applied to sort down to just a small number of options.  Having a fairly high certainty of success, if you finally send a crew, and a way to pull out if you are wrong.

The way to increase the certainty of ability to pull out would be to preposition supplies by a effective/efficient method.

I have had my eye on "Wax" as a substance that could be hard landed on Mars, and still perhaps have value.

Here is where I risk really annoying you G.W.

Wax Fuel Gives Hybrid Rockets More Oomph
Paraffin-based fuels could allow safer, hybrid designs to rival the best liquid-fueled rockets … more-oomph
Here is a claim in the article:

How good could such hybrid rockets get? Russia’s kerosene-fueled RD-180, which powers the Atlas V launch vehicle, is the gold standard for heavy lifting today. With enough investment, hybrid motors could be developed that would approach that engine’s impressive specific impulse at a fraction of the cost.

The reasons I like wax, is perhaps it can be hard landed, and if you don't like to burn wax in your engines, I would think it would be possible to convert it in part to for instance Methane.  Methane might be harder to store however.  Also, I would think that if you burn wax in Oxygen, you can get water vapor out of the exhaust, and condense it out for human use.  I expect that the Oxygen would be extracted directly from the atmosphere by some process to be proven first.

Anyway returning to the prospecting methods, I will speculate on what I would currently consider as a good progression.
1) Radar from orbit (Already partially done) + The advice of experts in glacial processes and geology.
2) Iron ball probes perhaps per elderflower.
3) I personally want to consider the inclusion of combustible metals in subsequent balls, with the intention of creating explosive combustion on impact.  I am speculating that this may at least provide a minimum estimate for the thickness of the ice, If it can be reached.  It might also suggest what the contaminants are as well.
4) Send several mobile robots that can work together to do 3D seismic surveys.
5) Send human crews with prepositioned exit supplies to the most favorable site(s).  (With or without using hard landed wax).


Last edited by Void (2016-09-30 11:50:27)

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


#6 2016-11-26 06:08:39

Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,261

Re: Snow Melt Lakes On Mars 2-3 Billion Years Ago. … 00x600.jpg
Would that be a plume drifting SW over Heart Lake, or does it just look that way due to an image artefact?


#7 2020-08-22 21:01:39

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,923

Re: Snow Melt Lakes On Mars 2-3 Billion Years Ago.


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