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#1 2019-04-11 12:04:26

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 2,819

U.V. protection.

I am currently looking at Cerium Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, and Zink Oxide.

There seems to be mention of adding Calcium with Cerium Oxide.  Unfortunately Cerium Oxide is a rare earth.  However perhaps it will prove obtainable in space.  Maybe Mars, maybe an asteroid.

Titanium is available in the "Sand Dunes" of Mars.  How to process it to useful products, I don't know.

The methods apparently involve "Nano" sized particles of these substances which allows for greater transparency, and also "Lacing" the substances into window glass.

That's about all I have for now.  However it enhances the possibility of indeed providing greenhouse local improvement to land on Mars.  That is a big thing to me.

For agricultural productivity on Mars, I have tended in the direction of artificial light.  However if window glass can  be produced which provides several enhancements to environment including U.V. control, and if that can be done for a reasonable cost, then it is worth more attention.

First of all, I have to stipulate that I always want to separate gross agricultural production from aesthetic needs.  To impose aesthetic needs and human safety needs upon gross agricultural productivity is to needlessly raise up the cost of production, and to tie our hands as to innovation.

The international space station "Cupola" is primarily for aesthetic purposes in my opinion.  It would be stupid to engineer to that level to grow "Crops".  Except that for aesthetic purposes, it could be OK to put plants suitable into such aesthetic happy zones,, especially if they could also serve some special other purpose.

There are several pressurization situations that appeal to me at this time.

250 mb, 70 mb, 16.5 mb, and > 5.5 mb.

250 mb would allow someone in a MPC suit to be reasonably safe???  It should only need to be a bit above 250 mb in normal use, but in a greenhouse depressurization situation are options of survival available???  I am only starting to ponder this.  Maybe a balloon suit is best for this situation.  Normally only 80 mb differential pressure, but in emergency depressurization the suit would allow egress.

For 70 mb, many crops could be grown (Perhaps).  Humans in this environment???  Maybe telepresence preferred.

For 16.5, this could be the early terraform pressure for Mars as average surface pressure.  So, quite convenient, if you can grow something worth the trouble.  Aquaculture favored I think.

For > 5.5 mb, I am thinking that the greenhouse would again include some limited artificial pressurization above ambient pressure (~5.5 mb), perhaps fans used to pressurize during certain parts of the day.  Aquaculture-cold preferred.

For lower pressures we can suppose selective breeding and genome editing to produce variants tolerant of less friendly conditions.

The advantages of low pressure methods, is to reduce engineering requirements.  However to justify that the "Crops" must  be productive in those conditions.


Last edited by Void (2019-04-11 12:26:53)

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


#2 2019-04-11 15:08:25

From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,642

Re: U.V. protection.

Void wrote:

Titanium is available in the "Sand Dunes" of Mars.  How to process it to useful products, I don't know.

Did a search for published papers on sand dunes. Found this: Download Publications List (PDF) This is a list of publications from the Curiosity rover team. Some papers require a payment, some are free. One free paper is Sand Mineralogy Within the Bagnold Dunes, Gale Crater, as Observed In Situ and From Orbit. Scroll down to "Table 1. Mineral and Amorphous Abundances for All Loose Sediment Samples Measured to Date by CheMin, and Highest‐Likelihood Abundances as Estimated From CRISM". This has numbers, minerals in Mars sand samples. Most do not include titanium minerals, but a sample called Rocknest includes two columns: Crystalline and Xtal+Amor. These are mineral phases, ilmenite for the first is 1.3% by weight, the second column 0.9% by weight. This isn't a lot; I was hoping for highly concentrated ilmenite. Furthermore, uncertainties are 1σ.

Ilmenite is FeTiO3. Processing from Wikipedia:

Most ilmenite is mined for titanium dioxide production. In 2011, about 47% of the titanium dioxide produced worldwide were based on this material. Ilmenite and/or titanium dioxide are used in the production of Titanium metal.

Titanium dioxide is most used as a white pigment and the major consuming industries for TiO2 pigments are paints and surface coatings, plastics, and paper and paperboard. Per capita consumption of TiO2 in China is about 1.1 kilograms per year, compared with 2.7 kilograms for Western Europe and the United States.

Ilmenite can be converted into pigment grade titanium dioxide via either the sulfate process or the chloride process.

Ilmenite can also be improved and purified to Rutile (TiO2) using the Becher process.

Ilmenite ores can also be converted to liquid iron and a titanium rich slag using a smelting process.

Ilmenite ore is used as a flux by steelmakers to line blast furnace hearth refractory.

Ilmenite sand is also used as a sandblasting agent in the cleaning of diecasting dies.

Ilmenite can be used to produce ferrotitanium via an aluminothermic reduction.

Plants using the Sulfate Process require ilmenite concentrate (45-60% TiO2) or pretreated feedstocks as suitable source of titanium. In the sulfate process Ilmenite is treated with sulfuric acid to extract iron(II) sulfate pentahydrate. The resulting synthetic rutile is further processed according to the specifications of the end user, i.e. pigment grade or otherwise.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2019-04-11 15:43:54)


#3 2019-04-11 16:54:48

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 2,819

Re: U.V. protection.

Thank You Robert.  Very nice.

As per Titanium in Martian dune fields, I was running on memory, which is not without the possibility of fault.  My understanding was the dune materials could supply Iron, Titanium, and ???Chromium???.
But I will take corrections.

Here is a link that may help a bit: … 17JE005455

3 Dune Sand Composition and Physical Properties
The Curiosity rover is also equipped with numerous instruments dedicated to understand the elemental and mineralogic composition of the surface—these were employed to better understand the Martian sand at Gale crater. This investigation is actually critical because prior missions that studied loose soil and regolith have commonly referred to those samples as being equivalent to a global sand population, despite those occurrences varying in particle size distribution and not being associated with potentially mobile aeolian bed forms. Those low‐albedo “soil” measurements at landing sites appear globally homogeneous with respect to elemental and mineralogical composition (e.g., Brückner et al., 2008; McSween et al., 2009). This was not the case for elemental sand compositions studied at Bagnold, which represent an end‐member for Martian surface materials. There, evidence was found for mafic mineral enrichment with elevated Mg, Si, Ni, and Fe levels relative to typical Mars soils (Cousin et al., 2017; Ehlmann et al., 2017; O'Connell‐Cooper et al., 2017). Interestingly, felsic elements were anticorrelated with particle sizes leading to a coarser mafic fraction (e.g., olivine and pyroxene) (Johnson et al., 2017; O'Connell‐Cooper et al., 2017). Other spectral and compositional trends attributed to aeolian partitioning were discussed and provide important context for laboratory and remote studies. While C species and N species are some of the highest in Gale, Bagnold sands were substantially depleted in H, S, and Cl. Two notable volatile reservoirs were also revealed from the collective studies of sandy deposits at Gale crater. Bagnold dune sands show a distinct amorphous component from Si‐enriched, hydroxylated alteration products along with glasses of various origin (e.g., impacts melt and/or volcanic) (Ehlmann et al., 2017). In contrast, previously studied inactive Gale sand deposits possess amorphous components of low Si along with adsorbed and structural H2O but associated with finer particles (<40 μm), which the Bagnold dune field lacks (Leshin et al., 2013).
There was little surprise that the mineralogical composition was dominantly basaltic with plagioclase, olivine, and various Ca‐Mg‐Fe pyroxenes accounting for the crystalline phases—magnetite, quartz, hematite, ilmenite, and anhydrite were also found at lower levels (Achilles et al., 2017). These major mineralogic constituents were known and can be quantified from orbital visible shortwave‐infrared spectroscopy of local dunes but not with great precision (Lapotre, Ehlmann, Minson, Arvidson, et al., 2017; Rogers & Bandfield, 2009; Seelos et al., 2014). The Curiosity campaign also provided a unique opportunity to rigorously assess the uncertainty associated with orbital methods by comparison with in situ analysis. Mineralogic abundances derived from orbit are within 13 wt % of local measurements, where deviations are likely explained by the poorly constrained abundance/grain size trade‐offs that yield high unmixing uncertainties from the orbit‐based method (Lapotre, Ehlmann, & Minson, 2017; Lapotre, Ehlmann, Minson, Arvidson, et al., 2017). Nevertheless, the broader perspective of Bagnold dunes from orbital analysis relative to the spatially limited rover campaign shows that compositional variations are likely due to aeolian fractionation and mixing of multiple sand sources (Lapotre, Ehlmann, Minson, Arvidson, et al., 2017), as has been proposed for other Martian and terrestrial dune sites (Chojnacki et al., 2014; Fedo et al., 2015; Fenton et al., 2016). This sorting may be more effective on Mars than on Earth, because Martian sand is less likely to have been exposed to chemical weathering or extensive transport (i.e., it is less mature), potentially resulting in more mineralogically heterogeneous bed forms and sandstones (Lapotre, Ehlmann, Minson, Arvidson, et al., 2017).
Some of these compositional trends are merely reflecting the fact that the Gale sands are extremely well sorted, as they are frequently mobile. The grain size analysis conducted by the Curiosity team revealed rounded to subrounded particles ranging 50–500 μm (mode ~125 μm), while samples lacked smaller silt and dust size fractions that are common to Martian soils (Cousin et al., 2017; Ehlmann et al., 2017; Ewing et al., 2017). This latter trend is evident in the uniformly low levels of S, Cl, and Zn, which are all common to measurements of Martian dust compositions (e.g., Brückner et al., 2008). Measurements made of Gobabeb sediments represent the lowest yet S and Cl content measured on Mars and another compositional end‐member.

I note that Ilmenite, and Magnetite are listed as content.  Those alone as you have demonstrated could be useful.

And then I took a look at Ilmenite.

lmenite, also known as manaccanite, is a titanium-iron oxide mineral with the idealized formula FeTiO
3. It is a weakly magnetic black or steel-gray solid. From a commercial perspective, ilmenite is the most important ore of titanium.[4] Ilmenite is the main source of titanium dioxide, which is used in paints, printing inks[5], fabrics, plastics, paper, sunscreen, food and cosmetics.[6]

Weakly magnetic should do just fine.  Magnet methods to separate these from the other then. So then after beneficiation of the ore by magnetics and perhaps other methods, the processes you mentioned could maybe obtain useful products.


Materials added a bit later:

OK this is what was in my memory:

Dark sand dunes are common on the surface of Mars. Their dark tone is due to the volcanic rock called basalt. The basalt dunes are believed to contain the minerals chromite, magnetite, and ilmenite.[55] Since the wind has gathered them together, they do not even have to be mined, merely scooped up.[56] These minerals could supply future colonists with chromium, iron, and titanium.

I read it on the internet, so it must be true smile  Well, I hope so.

Done Done

Last edited by Void (2019-04-11 17:25:58)

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


#4 2019-04-11 18:19:48

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 14,594

Re: U.V. protection.

Magnatite is good for manufacturing of generators and motors which are critical for expanding man's foot print on mars.

The moon has quite a bit more of the titanium for the possible path of commerce as well.


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