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#1 2018-02-10 08:49:35

martienne
Member
From: EU
Registered: 2014-03-29
Posts: 146

Indoor heating on Mars

What would be the most efficient way to provide adequate indoor heating, on Mars?

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#2 2018-02-10 11:37:20

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 12,204

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

The issue is the insulation levels to keep the habitat isolated from the mars cold as well which is the driving factor in heating.

Heat pumps could make use of the thermal gradient of atmosphere temperatures and mars regolith to create what we need frrom energy to make the system work the same as it does here on earth.

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#3 2018-02-10 12:02:02

martienne
Member
From: EU
Registered: 2014-03-29
Posts: 146

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

Agree, but how do you insulate a whole habitat....?

In Northern Europe and most of Russia - cold regions both - the most efficient system is central heating works that heat water to the point of boiling and then pumps it out into insulated pipes and then into domestic houses, and into to water heated radiators. This system works, but the houses are insulated and the temperature is minus 20 or something, not minus 100..... The heating is achieved by burning gas or rubbish. It would be hard to achieve with only solar power or wind.

On Mars you are up against much worse challenges, and larger areas to heat, probably....

Last edited by martienne (2018-02-10 12:02:52)

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#4 2018-02-10 12:55:54

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,430

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

There have been numerous discussions about habitats on other threads, but the most effective way in which to insulate and protect the inhabitants of a habitat is by burial or heaping regolith over it. Thick regolith adds protection from solar flare radiation, and is the most abundant resource available for utilization. We've also had numerous "discussions" about power sources, but when all requirements are totaled up, nuclear seems to be the answer. Surplus reactor heat can conceivably be utilized by heating water to be distributed to habitats and workshops for this purpose.

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#5 2018-02-10 13:56:18

martienne
Member
From: EU
Registered: 2014-03-29
Posts: 146

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

Oldfart1939 wrote:

There have been numerous discussions about habitats on other threads, but the most effective way in which to insulate and protect the inhabitants of a habitat is by burial or heaping regolith over it. Thick regolith adds protection from solar flare radiation, and is the most abundant resource available for utilization. We've also had numerous "discussions" about power sources, but when all requirements are totaled up, nuclear seems to be the answer. Surplus reactor heat can conceivably be utilized by heating water to be distributed to habitats and workshops for this purpose.

Thanks for the summary, I get it...

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#6 2018-02-11 12:58:21

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 12,204

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

Once we do have man exploring close up and can drill into the mars surface we may find thermal vents and underground hot spots to tap into for this energy that will be needed....

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#7 2018-02-11 19:58:12

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 2,301

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

Spacenut Quote:

Once we do have man exploring close up and can drill into the mars surface we may find thermal vents and underground hot spots to tap into for this energy that will be needed....

That would be wonderful.  What I have been reading lately is that Mars formed fully before the Earth did.

And we notice that it is not really the same as Earth.  There are some similarities, but it might be a mistake to assume that Mars is a close analog of Earth.  That could be good for our wishes or bad.  What I am saying is that since Mars is a different animal, perhaps indeed warm spots down below.  We can hope.  One thing about Mars not having apparent tectonic plates is that its interior cannot shed heat that way.  While it is a tiny planet and expected to be cold, perhaps its interior is stratified by the upper layers being of lighter materials, and so perhaps like an Antarctic dry valley lake, it is a heat retaining object, more so than the Earth.

Could humans get at near surface hot spots?  We don't know yet obviously.  I am tempted to say that perhaps lava tubes may be nearer such things if they exist.

Last edited by Void (2018-02-11 20:02:36)


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

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#8 2018-02-12 09:37:35

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 825

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

Slightly concerned about the suggestion that reactor waste heat is transmitted by water circulation. If an ice plug were to form the circulation would be stopped, leading to an overheating power plant. The coolant in such a system must not freeze at the lowest temperature it could possibly face.

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#9 2018-02-12 10:19:51

IanM
Member
From: Chicago
Registered: 2015-12-14
Posts: 228

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

elderflower wrote:

The coolant in such a system must not freeze at the lowest temperature it could possibly face.

Water has the odd tendency to have its freezing point DECREASE with increasing pressure. So in theory we could pressurize the pipes to stave off freezing, but that seems a bit dangerous, especially since we'd have to lower the freezing point to a whopping -150C. We can use a different liquid, but very few materials are liquid at both -150C and room temperature, thought that might not be relevant so long as it's never a solid. We can also see how much the regolith would shield the pipes from such temperature extremes.


The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. -Paraphrased from Tsiolkovsky

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#10 2018-02-12 12:14:58

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,430

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

Oops! In my post # 4 this thread, I used the term "water," which is really not the only heat transfer medium possible. Regardless, the rate of circulation is also a consideration, as well as the insulation on all related plumbing. Just consider that the well-know commercial motor oil, Mobil # 1, doesn't begin to experience viscosity changes until minus 45 degrees C. This is still a liquid at normal room temperatures and much higher. There are other similar synthetics that have extreme low temperature performance exceeding Mobil # 1 in their temperature envelopes.

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#11 2018-02-12 13:33:25

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 2,301

Re: Indoor heating on Mars

This could be the advantage of a reactor being in a lava tube.  Higher and more steady temperatures.  Perhaps Antifreeze would be sufficient in that situation.

Also, I would think that if you made an "Igloo" type structure above the endangered parts and used some radiant heat you could improve things.

But RobertDyck is correct however that we most likely want a first settlement near the equator with ideal circumstances.

But if SpaceX with BFR is the first instance of settlement, I would expect solar power to be dominant for that settlement, at least at first.


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

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