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#1 2017-10-14 22:25:36

Komiyama
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2017-10-12
Posts: 8

Global warming as terraforming method?

I was watching a documentary on colonising Mars earlier today in which someone discussed taking the methods we use on Earth for global warming and using them on Mars to modify the environment. It's an interesting idea and certainly better than nuking the planet as Musk suggested, but I'm wondering if the colonists would have the wherewithal to cease (or at least significantly curb) such practices once they are no longer necessary. We seem to be having that issue here on Earth.
All that being said, I have absolutely no background in geology or environmental studies, so if someone wants to refute my argument or propose something more efficient, please do. I'm here to learn just as much as I am to spout off on what little I really know about the Mars project.


Earthling. Unprofessional writer. Bromancer.

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#2 2017-10-14 22:59:52

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

There have been many a thought on how to warm mars and to create a thicker atmosphere but the loss rate via solar wind means a constant replacement of it as its the lack of a substantial magetic field that is the issue to allow it to stick around.

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#3 2017-10-14 23:02:03

Komiyama
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From: Earth
Registered: 2017-10-12
Posts: 8

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

SpaceNut wrote:

There have been many a thought on how to warm mars and to create a thicker atmosphere but the loss rate via solar wind means a constant replacement of it as its the lack of a substantial magetic field that is the issue to allow it to stick around.

That makes sense. Thanks!


Earthling. Unprofessional writer. Bromancer.

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#4 2017-10-15 02:57:10

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,599

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

But before people get the wrong idea...that sort of loss rate is taking place of tens of thousands of years isn't it? ...plenty of time to think of ways of protecting the Mars atmosphere...eg with an artificial electromagnetic sphere.

SpaceNut wrote:

There have been many a thought on how to warm mars and to create a thicker atmosphere but the loss rate via solar wind means a constant replacement of it as its the lack of a substantial magetic field that is the issue to allow it to stick around.


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

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#5 2017-10-15 04:55:47

Dao Angkan
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Registered: 2017-08-23
Posts: 4

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

Mining and manufacturing greenhouse gases will take up quite a lot of energy resources, which would be better spent on other projects if no longer needed.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 … 02306/full

If artificial greenhouse gases are used to warm Mars, then compounds containing chlorine or bromine would not be desirable because both elements catalytically destroy ozone. Fluorine-based compounds (e.g., SF6 and perfluorocarbons) are therefore of particular interest for the warming of Mars. In addition, it would be desirable to have gases with a strong greenhouse effect and a long lifetime. For practical reasons, the gases must be composed of elements readily available on the Martian surface. In this study we have focused our modeling efforts on four gases that satisfy these criteria: CF4, C2F6, C3F8, and SF6. The relative global warming potential (GWP, with respect to CO2) of these compounds in Earth's present atmosphere are estimated to be 5700, 11900, 8600, and 22200, respectively [Houghton et al., 2001], and they have extremely long lifetimes in Earth's atmosphere: 50000, 10000, 2600, and 3200 years, respectively [Houghton et al., 2001]. On Mars, these lifetimes may be longer due to the reduced solar flux reaching Mars, but might be shorter due to the less effective UV shielding of the CO2 atmosphere compared to the O2 and O3 in Earth's atmosphere. Accurately estimating the lifetime of these gases on Mars is difficult (as it is on Earth). For example SF6 is discussed by Ko et al. [1993]; it may not be destroyed by UV that penetrates the Martian CO2 (>200 nm), but may be destroyed by electron capture and ion reactions. Ramanathan et al. [1985] state that for CF4, C2F6, and SF6 (and presumably for C3F8), the loss rate is due to extreme UV and electron capture removal in the ionosphere. In this case the lifetimes on Mars could be much longer than on Earth due both to the reduced solar flux and the absence of a magnetosphere. A detailed analysis of the lifetimes of these gases on Mars remains to be done.

Once the desired level of greenhouse gases is achieved only a small amount is required to "top up" as they have extremely long lifetimes on the order of thousands or tens of thousands of years.

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#6 2017-10-15 17:03:51

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,599

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

Yes I think that's right.

Dao Angkan wrote:

Mining and manufacturing greenhouse gases will take up quite a lot of energy resources, which would be better spent on other projects if no longer needed.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 … 02306/full

If artificial greenhouse gases are used to warm Mars, then compounds containing chlorine or bromine would not be desirable because both elements catalytically destroy ozone. Fluorine-based compounds (e.g., SF6 and perfluorocarbons) are therefore of particular interest for the warming of Mars. In addition, it would be desirable to have gases with a strong greenhouse effect and a long lifetime. For practical reasons, the gases must be composed of elements readily available on the Martian surface. In this study we have focused our modeling efforts on four gases that satisfy these criteria: CF4, C2F6, C3F8, and SF6. The relative global warming potential (GWP, with respect to CO2) of these compounds in Earth's present atmosphere are estimated to be 5700, 11900, 8600, and 22200, respectively [Houghton et al., 2001], and they have extremely long lifetimes in Earth's atmosphere: 50000, 10000, 2600, and 3200 years, respectively [Houghton et al., 2001]. On Mars, these lifetimes may be longer due to the reduced solar flux reaching Mars, but might be shorter due to the less effective UV shielding of the CO2 atmosphere compared to the O2 and O3 in Earth's atmosphere. Accurately estimating the lifetime of these gases on Mars is difficult (as it is on Earth). For example SF6 is discussed by Ko et al. [1993]; it may not be destroyed by UV that penetrates the Martian CO2 (>200 nm), but may be destroyed by electron capture and ion reactions. Ramanathan et al. [1985] state that for CF4, C2F6, and SF6 (and presumably for C3F8), the loss rate is due to extreme UV and electron capture removal in the ionosphere. In this case the lifetimes on Mars could be much longer than on Earth due both to the reduced solar flux and the absence of a magnetosphere. A detailed analysis of the lifetimes of these gases on Mars remains to be done.

Once the desired level of greenhouse gases is achieved only a small amount is required to "top up" as they have extremely long lifetimes on the order of thousands or tens of thousands of years.


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

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#7 2017-11-12 11:13:26

knightdepaix
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Registered: 2014-07-07
Posts: 100

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

Can fluorine atoms be generated or mined on Mars?

Last edited by knightdepaix (2017-11-12 11:13:42)

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#8 2017-11-14 11:48:21

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 521

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

I would expect that fluorite will occur on Mars, but I haven't seen a report of a definite deposit yet. Fluorine generally occurs as CaF2 which is a very stable compound and is moderately abundant in the earth's crust.

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#10 2017-11-15 05:56:38

knightdepaix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-07
Posts: 100

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

RobertDyck wrote:

Terraforming gasses are perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride. That's CF4, C2F6, C3F8, C4F10, and SF6. chloro-fluoro-carbons (CFCs) destroy ozone. You don't want that. Ozone will spontaneously form from oxygen and UV from sunlight. So once you build an oxygen atmosphere, that will form ozone. The trick is don't do something stupid to destroy it. The larger molecule perfluorocarbons are minor tweeks, only small quantities if needed.

We probably won't find any geological deposits of argon. But with greenhouse gasses, we don't need 1 atmosphere pressure. We can make do with a lot less. We will need 170 mbar partial pressure O2 minimum; ideal is 200 mbar partial pressure O2. 1 mbar partial pressure CO2 would be 2.5 times what we currently breathe on Earth, but we could easily withstand that. Plants would appreciate the extra CO2. Add current Mars trace gasses (Ne, Xe, Kr), but swamped in the new atmosphere. Perfluorocarbons will tend to float to the upper atmosphere, but SF6 could linger near the surface. But it would most likely be a trace gas. Water is also a trace gas. Would be nice to have a buffer gas to reduce the rate of fire. Would be nice to have total 300 mbar pressure on Mars. Current nitrogen provides 0.189 mbar, and current argon provides 0.112 mbar. So we need something to add roughly 98 mbar partial pressure. Released nitrogen would be nice, but what if there isn't enough on Mars?

On Earth, methane is a trace gas: 0.00018% by volume. Do we produce more? It's a medium greenhouse gas, more powerful than CO2 but not as powerful as perfluorocarbons. Pure methane is colourless and odourless, it doesn't smell like farts. But it's flammable, so you probably don't want more than trace amounts.

RobertDyck wrote:
knightdepaix wrote:

can fluroine be located or made?

Various fluorine minerals exist on Earth. Geologists expect to find them on Mars as well. Haven't heard a report yet, but all geologists I spoke with say it's just a matter of time before a Mars probe finds some. Commons ores: fluorspar (CaF2), fluorapatite (Ca5(PO4)3F) and cryolite (Na3AlF6). The last one is a catalyst to smelt aluminum.

knightdepaix wrote:

My own question is if perfluorohydrocarbons destroy ozone. I believe not.

You're correct, the answer is no. Chlorine destroys ozone. CFC containes chlorine but PFC does not.

The above is reposted information  on fluorocarbons.

An idea of mine to generate fluorine atoms is linking their generation with other processes.

Last edited by knightdepaix (2017-11-15 12:12:07)

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#11 2017-11-15 06:10:40

knightdepaix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-07
Posts: 100

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

elderflower wrote:

Excess neutrons are essential to compensate for losses of neutrons from the reaction. Otherwise the reaction would die down instead of being a chain reaction. The excess of neutrons over losses is absorbed to stabilise the reaction at the desired level so that it neither runs away leading to meltdown, nor dies out from loss of too many neutrons.

What chemical element can possible be used for neutron absorbent? Global warming on Mars need fluorine atoms. Martian atmosphere has plenty oxygen atoms, from carbon dioxide or minerals. Can the isotope oxygen-16 be regulated to take three neutron per atom to yield oxygen-19? O-19 has 26.464 second half life of beta decay to fluorine-19.

How much fluorine-19 atoms does global warming need? Let us assume 30 half-lives for only 9.3132257e-10 amount of oxygen-19 left, 793.947 seconds or just over 13 minutes are needed. The manufacture of fluorine-19 from oxygen-19 can be a batch production. In essence, a nuclear fission factory on Mars uses imported actinides for primary power generation. In a separate and secondary process but in the same loop, fluorine-19 is made, is used to replacing oxygen in martian atmospheric carbon dioxide and generate the oxygen-16 starting neutron absorbent. Energy is also generated for power generation.

My worry is about how effective oxygen-16 is taking up neutrons and nuclear radiation pollution of the manufactured fluorocarbons that would be liberated into martian atmosphere.

Last edited by knightdepaix (2017-11-15 12:19:03)

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#12 2017-11-15 18:32:43

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

Are you thinking of creating a UV interative layer simular to the ozone layer via the use of the florine?

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#13 2017-11-16 04:10:45

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 521

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

If O16 were happy to take up 3 neutrons to form O19 which would then decay to F19, there would be a fluorine problem in reactors which use oxide fuels, of which there are plenty in service and being decommissioned.

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#14 2017-11-16 21:51:23

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

I am wondering if we can harness the excess neutrons from the nuclear reactors if we placed them onto of a mountain with it setting inside of a bowl shaped reflector that would focus the flow of the nutrons into a layer of Flourine and Other such which would create a small barrier for incoming radiation.

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#15 2017-11-17 08:47:47

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 521

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

If fluorite, or fluorapatite is reasonably common on Mars, as seems likely, mining this is going to be a lot easier than going for transmutation. Industrial use of these minerals is well established on earth and their chemistry is well characterised.

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#16 2017-11-17 10:23:59

knightdepaix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-07
Posts: 100

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

elderflower wrote:

If fluorite, or fluorapatite is reasonably common on Mars, as seems likely, mining this is going to be a lot easier than going for transmutation. Industrial use of these minerals is well established on earth and their chemistry is well characterised.

I concur with this idea; however is there any way of trasmuting oxygen-16 to fluroine-19 using neutrons from the nuclear fission of imported actinides at power generation factory on Mars? If possible, that transmutation solves in one "stone" the disposals of neutrons, disposals of oxygen atoms in Martian mining of not just fluorite, fluorapatite but also extraction for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and resources of fluorocarbon chemicals for global warming.

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#17 2017-11-17 11:43:45

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 948

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

knightdepaix wrote:
elderflower wrote:

If fluorite, or fluorapatite is reasonably common on Mars, as seems likely, mining this is going to be a lot easier than going for transmutation. Industrial use of these minerals is well established on earth and their chemistry is well characterised.

I concur with this idea; however is there any way of trasmuting oxygen-16 to fluroine-19 using neutrons from the nuclear fission of imported actinides at power generation factory on Mars? If possible, that transmutation solves in one "stone" the disposals of neutrons, disposals of oxygen atoms in Martian mining of not just fluorite, fluorapatite but also extraction for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and resources of fluorocarbon chemicals for global warming.

Not on any practical scale.  A 1GWe nuclear power reactor fissions about 1te of uranium each year.  If one neutron per fission is used in transmutation, then a 1GW reactor will produce 77kg of flourine per year.

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#18 2017-11-17 11:56:34

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 521

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

...assuming a very high efficiency of neutron use. In practice most of those neutrons will do something other than combine with Oxygen.

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#19 2017-11-17 21:38:23

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: Global warming as terraforming method?

Since man needs shielding we can up the output of them via isolation on the mountain top and via using a reflector to change where the excess neutrons would go all for just being a little bit cheap on the mass to mars.

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

Make the reflector insitu, just bring the reactor and place it inside the bowl shape.....

https://www.isis.stfc.ac.uk/Pages/neutr … n12224.pdf

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