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#1 2019-05-16 11:14:49

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

Robot Farming.

I follow Peter Zeihan.   On occasion and quite often he points out things that seem important.
He thinks the robot farming will increase yield by 50%?
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles … -the-field

And of course I have to wonder about farming in low pressure enclosure with such robots.

Done.


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#2 2019-05-16 16:54:49

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,937

Re: Robot Farming.

Robot farming is definitely feasible on Mars. It would make a lot of sense because then you could have them operating in a low pressure mostly CO2 environment without humans having to enter the farm habs very often.There could be monitor robots, tending robots and harvesting robots.   One possibility might be for robots to remove trays and bring them back to a human-friendly pressurised environment where plants could be inspected, tended opr harvested.

There is basically a harvester robot for just about every food plant. 

In terms of raising yields on Earth, polytunnel farming is also very important as you can increase yields, reduce use of pesticides, reduce water evaportation, and reduce use of fertilisers. Polytunnel farming can be seen as somewhat indicative of farm hab agriculture on Mars.

Void wrote:

I follow Peter Zeihan.   On occasion and quite often he points out things that seem important.
He thinks the robot farming will increase yield by 50%?
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles … -the-field

And of course I have to wonder about farming in low pressure enclosure with such robots.

Done.


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#3 2019-05-17 09:29:53

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

Re: Robot Farming.

Much agreement from my end Louis.

Lets examine the most preposterous, notions.  We can retreat from them later if we wish or must.

The polar ice caps.....We know that some water can be had there, and the summers are midnight sun in nature.  The atmosphere at those altitudes is unfavorable but exists.  Carbon and Nitrogen can be had.

So then if we can provide sufficient heat, and pressurization by mechanical devices, we could hope to farm there.  Farm what?  Farm whatever you can, if you can.

I am thinking that the winters will be dreary for humans if not outright deadly.  So people visit in the summer if at all.  Robots do most of the activity, and sleep for the winter.  The methods to wake up and also survive the winter, are needing to be invented.  The ability of the enclosures to endure the winter are to be invented.  I believe that the Russians estimated that the CO2 ice cap can be 6 feet thick or so.  That is a lot of weight even in a ~.38 g gravity field.

I am not European, so I will contemplate GMO.  I think that some compromise can be acquired by inducing tolerance in whatever crops are grown, and by technological innovation.  To farm below the Armstrong Limit, as humans will not be directly involved.

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

But until crop types made tolerant, then pressures above the Armstrong limit.

It is to be remembered that in "The Land(s) of the Midnight Sun", for a period of time inside of a solar powered and heated greenhouse, the risk of frost may be kept at bay.  And there are two poles, which can be farmed each at alternate seasons.

The key to this then will to be able to with mechanical greenhouse structures, be able to achieve above freezing (And Better) temperatures, and pressures internal sufficient to avoid boiling.  To be in the liquid phase, to allow plant growth.

…..

The whole thing begs the question: "Why not seek easier options"?  Of course the temperate zone ice sheets may indeed be worth the effort.  But if you can do the poles, then you basically have Mars.  That is the reason I consider this.  And indeed, I anticipate that for each Martian year, there might be 3-6 months of optimal growing season (Inside a greenhouse).

And I addresses the Albedo method of terraforming Mars.  If you have a bunch of greenhouses on top of the ice caps of Mars, then you are given the option to hold calories of heat to Mars, even melt the ice if you wish.  Of course you would not use only this method to terraform Mars.

But Robot Farming on the ice caps, (And elsewhere).  Have a thought about it.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-17 09:45:36)


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#4 2019-05-17 13:12:56

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

Re: Robot Farming.

Well, I have had a different look at this.

I am thinking...That we could have robot farms on the poles, and also make the poles seasonally habitable for humans, and also control the water works of Mars, which is a big thing I think.  And yes make it fit into a terraforming plan as well.

What if we could make double walled spheres for this.  Pressure and thermal retaining spheres.  I choose spheres for now, until something else appears to be better.  I think that there may really be vast potentials.  Obviously we are not going to have our first settlement on the poles.  Occupation of the poles will require support from lower latitude established bases.

So, suppose you did have a double walled sphere embedded half way in the ice cap.  A relative vacuum between the two walls, so to a degree, a thermos bottle.

These can be further insulated with snow or Styrofoam.  Keep in mind that this snow or Styrofoam will have a ~5 mb relative vacuum in their voids.  This will be thermos insulation to a degree.

If "Mr. or Ms. Fusion" does not show up then I suppose we are after solar power.  This could involve solar panels mobile or not.  One thing is sure, they have to be of a nature that they can endure a polar Martian winter.

So, this then is a reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(spacecraft)

Have to have a lockdown-stow position for the solar panels, and they need to endure a Martian polar winter.

Then of course since we want to use insulation as one of our tricks, we are going to leave the idea of transparent domes behind.  In this case I am thinking Pink light LED's inside the spheres.  The spheres optimally filled 1/2 with fresh water.  Growing duckweed, and variants of it to be developed.  Other aquiculture optional.

Actually with a thermos bottle sphere with LED's in it we might be afraid to overheat.  However, these spheres (Imperial) smile say ~132 feet, ~40.2236 Meters,  in diameter

Perhaps pressurized inside, by tensile strength of the spheres, to ~1/3 bar, maybe just a bit more to allow for some Nitrogen.  Then a ~66 foot drop to an opening in the bottom of the sphere.  Giving about 1 bar pressure at that opening.

While the interior of the sphere can be nicely warm, the water below the sphere, being Arctic in nature.  So, we sink heat into the polar ice cap.  Tricky business.  We would need to understand things like ice dams, how ice masses might break loose from the bottom.  Tricky, but perhaps something that can be managed.

Here are some Earthly examples:
http://www.hugefloods.com/Ice-Age-Floods-2.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proglacial_lake

That is probably enough.

Anyway, OK, as this system gets going, then at each pole you have multitudes of these things, soaking up vibrations from sunlight and injecting them below the ice.  Eventually you can access each sphere at ~1 bar pressure using a submarine, link up to the hole below. smile

I guess the problems that will be most apparent are how to keep from having an undesired ice dam rupture, and how to get these devices to tolerate the environment they would be in.  I have tried to simplify the agriculture for the robots.  Duck weed, should be rather easy to manipulate with automation.  Other problems are to de-ice the surface exterior each spring.  There could be robot-automation for that as well.  It should be relatively easy to vaporize the water ice, and vacuum it up into the spheres.  Something like that anyway.

Use a method like this at lower latitudes where water is available?  Yes.

GMO, and selective breeding to make duckweed more and more diversely nutritious?  Sure.  Grow mushrooms on duckweed?  Yes.

And then whatever.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-17 13:45:47)


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#5 2019-05-18 12:55:26

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

Re: Robot Farming.

For personal satisfaction I will continue.

I do believe that ultimately to master Mars, the polar water needs be become under control.  I do not think that the Red Mars - Green Mars - Blue Mars notion makes that much sense.  Trying to turn Mars into some pseudo Earth like semi wild nature reserve, I don't think so.

In addition, I think that yes it would be very nice to attempt glass domes, I think that for Mars it makes vastly more sense to have opaque insulated devices with short path for electrical power from solar panel on the exterior, and to LED's on the interior.  That would change if Fusion shows up as a real thing.  But for now solar.

And I think that cold planet hydrological processes should be very big on Mars.

So, I suggest a set of methods.  Alright start with a geometric shell of Styrofoam.  Perforations in it as well.  Paste it up on the outside and inside with fiberglass.  Include an electric conductive matrix in this structure.  You may use the metal to help give physical integrity to the shell, but it's more important purpose is to allow the flow of electrons or holes, whatever way you want to view it.

I am sort of trying to get to something that can be relatively universal.  These geometric shells, then can be deployed as elements of a greater structure.  And as anyone who has had conversation with me knows I am partial to ice covered bodies of water.  There are good reasons for that.  Mars has water, and Mars is cold.  Ice is to be expected and hoped for on Mars.

Mars also has sunlight on occasion.  Sadly when it does, it more of less sheds most of the vibration to the skies rather than to embed the vibrations that sunlight provides into the undergrounds.  We can consider ice covered reservoirs of water as "Undergrounds".

So, the proper objective in my opinion, is to adapt to what Mars really is.  Yes, we can do a little to make Mars more like Earth, and that can perhaps be OK.  Open water oceans?  Well, really, I think we can go far beyond that.  Why do that?  You loose the surface area to occupy.  Yes, you could then have boats, but that requires a atmospheric pressure that is very distant from our chances of achievement in the realm of time, and once you do it, could your achievement be better than what is suggested in this post?

OK, for now, lets retreat from the Polar Ice Caps.  They are formidable.  That is very true.  And there are lower latitude ice sheets in the undergrounds of Mars, that should be much easier to deal with by the same methods or similar to what I have previously suggested.  We can save the polar ice caps for later when we need another very big drink of water on Mars.

What I am suggesting is that we do want to intercept solar energy.  We do want to vibrate ice until it becomes liquid phase.  We should in my opinion want discrete units of life, and yet a binding common plane for the entirety of such a reality.

Actually I will refrain from derogatory comments about your existing concepts of how to do things.  Yes I am strange.  But as an adaptation to Mars, we need to think strange.

For Mars, I think it will be unlikely to have a single plenum of reality, such as sea level on Earth.  But we could contrive to work with water hydraulics, and solar vibrations capture, to make a multi-level plenum of water pressurized realms, where we might hope to mediate differences using Boring Company tunneling technology.


Well, we shall see what sort of critters if any show up on this.


I'm actually not entirely done, but for now I am …..

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-18 13:25:40)


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#6 2019-05-18 16:01:28

SpaceNut
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Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,198

Re: Robot Farming.

The forum has hundreds of topics with the combinations of Robots or automation, food or crops, building archetecture as in verticle or arched, materials to use insitu or brought, growing types in aquaponics or air ponic, hydropnic or plain old dirt farming, above ground or below ground greenhouse or biomes, with all types of plant or animals or fish or algea or bird, and yes we have another topic that was Automating a Mars Garden or Greenhouse Architecture still on going and not finished by a long shot. Something that is common to all is the decision tree of mass and energy, Insitu or brought in whole or part as well as the equipment to accomplish its task of feeding man as well as serving as life support.

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#7 2019-05-18 17:53:11

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

Re: Robot Farming.

I agree.  However, in this post, I propose to master, a method to make a shell, and then if successful, mass produce such.  And join them into a water based travel architecture.  Something that is possible.  I know it is very strange to think about traveling around in submarines on Mars, but I think it is logical.  There is ice, ice can become water, if you warm it up.  If you intercept sunlight, you intercept vibration and if you are clever enough, you can do things with those vibration such as collect electrical power and grow plants, and you may discard the waste heat into your "Plenum Reservoir".  Then you may travel though your plenum reservoirs, and with relative ease access each of a plurality of similar sun using devices.  Should you wish for a more constant power source, then there are options.  If you like you can vent excess heat stored in your plenum reservoir(s), to generate power on demand (More or less).  And with duckweed, we are dealing with a vascular plant, which does not require soil, and will likely grow very nicely under LED lighting.  But that does not forbid other types of aquaculture or agriculture actually.  You could put rafts with soil rooted plants.  The options are immense.

Done....not really.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-18 17:54:38)


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#8 2019-05-19 08:45:26

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

Re: Robot Farming.

Ice Slabs:
https://www.space.com/30502-mars-giant- … y-mro.html
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01 … otted-mars

Thinking like an Inuit to some degree, we should be attracted to the ice, for more than just liquid water to drink.

With these slabs, we can put off mastery of the Polar Ice bodies.

Going from point A to point B, for people and materials, can be facilitated with these ice slabs.

I Boring Company technology can be coupled with this, then I see an integrated process.  Obviously if a tunnel borer could tunnel through ice and rock, then you will have mined ice for makeup water.  If the ice tunnels built can be re-enforced to not collapse, then you have both mined ice, and also given yourself a big freezer.  Conceivably these tunnels might even be able to hold Oxygen.  Not sure how well that will work, and if it is the best storage method.  I think that if their is agricultural surplus, you may then store foods long term in these tunnels.  I that case you might want to not include Oxygen.  We would not want to encourage vermin.  But it should be possible to make an enormous amount of tunnels.  Some to store Oxygen some to store food.  So now you have an enormous amount of make up water available. 


So, it should be possible to build solar powered pressurized structures which will cover a liquid water canal.  I have described such previously in this topic.  So, you may have a canal below.  I have described partially submerged diving bell structures, partially filled with air.  This then will reduce water hammer pressure, if you have subs, traveling from point A to Point B.  I suppose that those will be defined by where other critical resources are.   

Probably the canal will be ice water.  But the individual pools in the bells will be potentially warm.   I specify direct source to load through the bell walls.  Solar panels on the outside, LED panels on the inside.  So, for this intention, no long power lines of Copper or Aluminum.
The conductive metal could be stainless steel or something else.

So, then a transportation backbone could be built this way, make-up water tunnels connected to the backbone, perhaps in a ~perpendicular way.

I understand that ice water is not very attractive.  So then lets suppose that Boring Company technology, can tunnel in parallel to this ice water pathway, in rock.   Tunnels like that can be filled with tropical temperature water.   And I you want to entertain my silliness, the tube can be ~1/2 filled with this warm water, with the upper volume being air.  This is not only heat stored in water but heat stored in rocks.  And yet a pathway for small barges.  Lets say something like Voyageur, canoes as electric robots to transfer goods along the route(s).  But the tunnels are not just for that.  You can transfer air and water.  You can store heat for when it is needed most.  Global Dust Storms.

Obviously none of this stops Mars people from having rocket hoppers, and hyperloop.

If this could be mastered in the mid-latitudes, then of course you may transfer water towards the equator by way of boring tunnels, and even ice water canals.  There should be enough make-up water from tunnels in the ice, to last for quite a time, and in time have a tunnel and canal system.  Of course if you terraform Mars, there could be raging boiling rivers in the icy lands.  So, that might complicate plans.



Eventually the polar ice bodies would be tapped.


Done

Last edited by Void (2019-05-19 09:14:47)


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#9 2019-05-19 20:51:44

SpaceNut
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Posts: 16,198

Re: Robot Farming.

The growing food in a small area that will get bigger does not help if all that we plant takes up the entire area just to still have not enough to eat... so lets grow bigger plants...NASA Testing Method to Grow Bigger Plants in Space

Termed  "pick and eat" crops beyond lettuce varieties. Crops like tomatoes use a large amount of water, and pillows don't have enough holding capacity to support them.

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#10 2019-05-20 02:20:07

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,937

Re: Robot Farming.

I don't think crop size is really a big issue.

The real constraint on farming is energy. For one acre of land in a year you might need 8.3 GwHs of power just for photosynthesis. On Mars you'll need even more energy because you need to heat the farm area, deliver water and also regulate the atmosphere and humidity.

With a small colony we can no doubt provide sufficient energy for multi-layered, artificially lit farming. But for a colony of say 100,000 the energy demand would be simply too great (maybe getting towards 1000 TwHs)- so we need to move to natural light farming, possibly with reflectors to boost insolation. We'll also need cheap farm habs because so many will be required. That means for me a low pressure CO2 environment probably in some form of plastic inflatable or alternatively glassed terraces.

Last edited by louis (2019-05-20 16:32:53)


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#11 2019-05-20 06:32:16

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

Re: Robot Farming.

To start with, no objection to other crops, except for the consequences of global dust storms.  I am always looking for some bulk crop to grow.  Duckweed could do.   Apparently it can do ok with various lighting levels.  Here are some less than professional, but reasonably useful links.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/foru … -need.html
https://aquariumtidings.com/duckweed/

Care
Duckweed doesn’t require any special care, and will thrive in everything from low light to high light, and soft water to hard water conditions. It’s actually more difficult to get the duckweed not to grow, than it is to just sit back and allow it to grow on it’s own.
If you are looking for heavy growth, then provide it with a high quality, full spectrum light, with trace minerals adding during the weekly water change. The one that I personally add after every water change is Seachem Flourish Trace Elements. Also, make sure that the surface of the aquarium is completely tranquil, as even a small amount of current will slow down the growth tremendously.
Reproduction
Duckweed mostly reproduces through asexual budding, but in rare cases it may also reproduce sexually. Its reproduction doesn’t require any intervention from the aquarist, and if the conditions are right, it will reproduce on its own.

This topic is about Robot Farming.  I believe that duckweed could easily be harvested by an aquatic robot, and transferred to a processing area to be frozen.

Of course duck weed and mushrooms will not a menu by itself make.

But I mentioned global dust storms.  So, if you are trying to grow a crop and get an inconvenient global dust storm, I think you are done.  The crop dies, and maybe even rots perhaps even causing problems that way.

For Duckweed, farmed in the manner I suggested, If on Thursday there is still some light of significance, then you are still going to be able to grow duck weed.  Then in Friday, the storm is fully on, no more electricity, or very little.  Harvest the duck weed.  Freeze.  Done.

The shells I intend to grow the duckweed or other plants in would be like a vacuum thermos, so would hold heat for a time.  I'm not going to get into how to deal with potential freezing in the shell-chamber.   Normally when solar energy is available, these shells should easily overheat, however I have provided for liquid cooling of them.

……

Louis, if you read the above, you will find that the equipment I suggest will not need electrical heating beyond the LED's that light the garden.  These devices will likely be so insulated that they will tend to overheat.  So, yes you will need electric power to circulate water.  The heat could be dumped into the cold canal I suggested, or perhaps we are going to have a boring company tunnel canal where the heated water is circulated, and where the rock of the tunnel also stores heat.  Actually vibrations.

I am in favor is transparent greenhouse experimentations.  However in every case, any means to grow crops will require machinery.

One thing I don't like is that transparent greenhouses will tend to give up their vibrations to the Martian sky, especially at night.

But that is not to say don't work on them.  But I proposed a system which I think could be demonstrated to have some merit.

As for energy of any of these systems, we have several distant possibilities: Fusion, Fission, Geothermal, and Solar.  I don't believe that any are really ready to go a all except we may hope solar.

You have refocused me though.  I now see that indeed, it may be a greater task to get as much electrical power as desired.  More and/or better solar power systems preferred.

I think you will have to admit that I have moved in the direction of adaptation to Martian ground realities.  In my mind I have no way to tally the relative cost of a glass greenhouse system or what I have suggested.  They are all machinery, and will cost.  Will be benefits offered in various cases of method provide sufficient benefits?

Done

Quote Louis: post#11

I don't crop size is really a big issue.
The real constraint on farming is energy. For one acre of land in a year you might need 8.3 GwHs of power just for photosynthesis. On Mars you'll need even more energy because you need to heat the farm area, deliver water and also regulate the atmosphere and humidity.
With a small colony we can no doubt provide sufficient energy for multi-layered, artificially lit farming. But for a colony of say 100,000 the energy demand would be simply too great (maybe getting towards 1000 TwHs)- so we need to move to natural light farming, possibly with reflectors to boost insolation. We'll also need cheap farm habs because so many will be required. That means for me a low pressure CO2 environment probably in some form of plastic inflatable or alternatively glassed terraces.

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

Quote SpaceNut: post#9

The growing food in a small area that will get bigger does not help if all that we plant takes up the entire area just to still have not enough to eat... so lets grow bigger plants...NASA Testing Method to Grow Bigger Plants in Space
Termed  "pick and eat" crops beyond lettuce varieties. Crops like tomatoes use a large amount of water, and pillows don't have enough holding capacity to support them.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-20 06:56:12)


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#12 2019-05-20 12:04:28

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

Re: Robot Farming.

Alright, brace yourselves.  I have some good stuff I feel.
I have been toying with thermos bottle structures for Mars.
I am shifting from a sphere, to an elongated structure resembling a bacteria.
http://www.biologydiscussion.com/bacter … logy/54746
Probably more elon-gated than their diagram. smile

For now I will suggest making them with a double fiberglass wall, and squirting something like polyurethane between the walls.  That intended to swell to fill that space, and during the swelling I intend that a lower pressure be present if possible so that the voids will be partially vacuum in relationship to the intended interior pressure of the double shell.

What I am after is a double wall, and yet a air vacuum between the walls, and yet a springy fill of a poly urethane like substance.

The outer shell can have tensile bands around it if that is needed for more strength.

As the outer shell will be at Martian ambient pressure, and the top of the inner shell will be at 1/3 bar more or less, I do not expect toxic gasses to enter the chamber where biological activity can occur.  If venting happens, it will be to Martian ambient, and might even serve as a greenhouse gas.

It is intended that the double shell will have two features on it's bottom.  An entry hole, and snaking around the entry, a shallow diving bell place where an air pocket can exist.

These could be very large devices, so, I expect that a frame with wheels, and jacks are needed to install it in a ice and dirt filled trench.

For illustration, we could seek to string these into a North>South line.  So although previously installed units would already likely have canal water under them, and yet be locked into the ice, the new ones extending the line would be installed in an icy trench, and then when installation integrity was sufficient, the ice below it could be melted.

In this new scheme, there could be a more temperate water below these shells, by various thermally protective means.

I have mentioned makeup water tunnels.  I would cut them on the east and west side of the line.  Of course energy is needed to melt the ice and add it to the canal, as demands require.

I would attempt to turn these tunnels in the ice into reservoirs for Methane and Oxygen.  Of course you would need to overcome permeability, and also would have to have reasonable assurance that the tunnels can be shored up enough so as to be expected not to collapse.

Just for giggles, I will say that the East Tunnels would be made to contain Methane, and the West Tunnels be made to hold Oxygen.
Perhaps a 1/3 bar.  For the Oxygen, that could be breathable.  For the Methane, at least your blood will not boil without a full EVA suit.

As I have mentioned before, I want to use vibrations multiple times if possible.  I also want to create a method that has staying power against adversity, such as a Global Dust Storm.  I also want to conserve more valuable metals such as Copper and Aluminum.  Therefore I intend to embed a frame of conductive materials in the double wall fiberglass enclosure(s).  This possibly to add strength, and also to convey an electric current between the outside of the device from solar cells, into the enclosure's insides to LES's.

So, you take the vibrations of sunshine, convert them to an electric current, then shine useful light onto plants that can use it.  Then the plants convert some of that light into calories and fibers, ect.  But much of the light eventually ends up as thermal energy,  And for that we have an interior somewhat filled with water at the bottom.  As it is intended to be highly insulated, it should overheat.  But you can moderate that heat by flowing the interior waters in exchange of an under structure canal of cooler water.  Perhaps not so cool that a person in a wet suit could not tolerate it.

We previously had a discussion of the limits of solar panels.  I really guess that if you are going to use flat solar panels, then you need enough to present the illumination inside of the chamber as you want.  It is notable that at a basic level, power will not be stored as electrical energy, but it could be.  For instance if you had a battery pack, you might store a little.  Or since I have described the storage of Methane and Oxygen, like Blue Moon, we could have fuel cells.  They could provide energy for needed purposes on a more constant scale.
Of course then perhaps in each shell, you will need the potential of installing method to generate Methane and Oxygen.  However if you wanted to you would just extract Oxygen from the chambers, and for Methane you would extract biomass and process it into Methane.

So, you would over time build chains of these things with canals under them.

…..

Now as for Robot Farming.  While we can use passive solar electric panels, I am very interested in Heliostats once again.  They are relatively simple robots after all.  That is if you make one of them you should be able to mass produce so many of them.  And they can point to low temperature solar panels, or very high temperature solar panels, or in fact to thermal solar collectors.  They can be ganged to multiple tasks of that source.  Maybe even to bake sintered bricks on occasion.

.....

Beware! I am going to  quote the Book of Dr. Zubrin, which I am reading.  "The Case for Space".  Page #57 About orbital solar power.  The surface of Mars is not Orbital Solar power, but I can use some of the arguments to my advantage.
Quote:

In space, solar energy is available twenty-four hours a day, not masked by the dulling effect of Earth's atmosphere.

That's not all true for the surface of Mars, but indeed the atmosphere other than dust storms, probably lets in more spectrum to the surface of Mars.

Moreover, while most terrestrial solar arrays are fixed in orientation, an orbital solar array can track the sun.

Somewhat true for the surface of Mars as well.  At ~.38 g and with only minor winds, the problems of Heliostats may well be manageable at a reasonable price of efforts.

Avoiding the atmosphere increases the effective solar brightness by a factor of about 1.5,

Well for Mars that is debatable.  Obviously during dust storms, you are somewhat or entirely in trouble, as far as accumulating more vibrations from the sunlight.  However, for high temperature solar cells, you may use U.V. to boost the output it appears.  And Mars currently has that U.V. available at the surface at this time.

while the ability to track the sun multiplies the average power produced by the orbiting array by a factor of Four.

I don't expect Mars surface units to get all of that advantage, just some of it.

Thus, when both advantages are considered, an orbital solar array can produce a time-averaged output about  six times greater per unit area than it's counterpart fixed in orientation on the ground in an equatorial desert.

So, I get that.  Mars has attenuated light by distance from the sun, and dust storms and a slight atmosphere.  Also it has a day night cycle on the equator, and seasonal sunlight at the poles.

So where he claims ~6x1 for a potential benefit, I am going to roughly guess, 2x1, or maybe 3x1.  If the materials for Heliostats can be available at a cost reasonable, then Heliostat robots may well be a good way to go.


Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-20 12:53:40)


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#13 2019-05-21 09:57:51

Void
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Re: Robot Farming.

I am going to review the ice slabs again, and then propose other modifications.
https://www.space.com/30502-mars-giant- … y-mro.html
Quote(s):

A giant slab of ice as big as California and Texas combined lurks just beneath the surface of Mars between its equator and north pole, researchers say.
This ice may be the result of snowfall tens of millions of years ago on Mars, scientists added.

The ice the scientists found measures 130 feet (40 m) thick and lies just beneath the dirt, or regolith, or Mars.


https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01 … otted-mars
Quote(s):

What Dundas saw that day, and subsequently found at seven other sites, are steep cliffs, up to 100 meters tall, that expose what appears to be nearly pure ice.

Now, Hubbard wants NASA’s human exploration program to look for similar cliffs closer to the equator. “What’s the cutoff point?” he asks. He hopes the next surprise will be ice closer to the martian tropics.

So, the scale of the ice is very good for what is wanted.

I now think that I will anticipate that these growth chambers can be completely submerged and held down by ice and soil piled on.  To bring electric power to the interiors, I suggest something like a dorsal fin on an Earth aquatic animal.  I suppose that something like bones of metal can hold it up, and serve other purposes as well.

In the case where it is desired to use no Heliostats and have static racked solar panels tilted in general to the sun, that is an option.

However, I am going to tilt full on from this point to advocate Heliostats to shine light as desired on a vertical dorsal fin.  Solar cells on both sides.  This can collect electricity, and flow electrical current through the metal spines.  And in certain constructed variations, the metal "Bones" can also be pipes.  A fluid which would resist freezing at night could be used, and you could use this dorsal fins to also collect thermal energy as the solar panels heat up.  And perhaps to even also be boilers.

And at night the dorsal fins can be radiators, and perhaps electrical energy could be generated in this way particularly at night, in winter,  and during global dust storms.

So, although I can understand because of historical thinking canal methods are not going to be easily accepted for Mars, I feel that they are absolutely ideal for Mars.

The resource of the ice is enormous, and with a canal system under build and expanding, will for a long time not even scratch to total amount of ice very much. 

And as I have said previously, if it all does get tapped, then there are the polar ice caps.

And lets remember that we can associate Boring Company tunnels in rock with this matrix to build.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-22 11:38:49)


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#14 2019-05-21 18:07:44

Void
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Re: Robot Farming.

The methods  of the previous post, may be quite useful on several other worlds.

Luna
Mercury
Callisto
Ganymede
Moons of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Typically places where the axis is not very tilted.

Also Ceres is a candidate

The unknowns are habitability per gravitational reactions, and the availability of a full spectrum of required materials.  Nitrogen for instance.
In some cases perhaps it can be drilled for ??? Callisto???  In other cases perhaps brought in from asteroids.

In the cases where worlds do not have that much water, then storage of energy as heat perhaps would be done with salts or molten silicon or whatever.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-22 11:39:55)


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#15 2019-05-22 11:44:24

Void
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Re: Robot Farming.

OK, I guess I will post again.

First I will review the underground water canal.  I do feel that if you injected Hydrogen (Taken from water), into the water, and also injected raw Martian atmosphere, you can expect to create the Methane that is desired.  Of course if you got Hydrogen from water, then I would expect that you got Oxygen as well.  This is potentially a relatively Copper and Aluminum conserving process.  You can put the solar cells outside.  Have a local device to split water.  Serve the water to the machine.  Split it, and with pipelines, conduct the Oxygen and Hydrogen to where you want them.

It is likely that microbes will facilitate the creation of Methane.  The canals may also facilitate the creation of Nitrous Oxide.  Both of these are greenhouse gasses.

……


If review of the previous posts are conducted, you may notice mention of tunnels in ice, where we would want to reduce permeability and sage and collapse.  I also mentioned the boring company tunnels.  The tailings may be incorporated into bricks per Boring Company existing strategies.  We could hope to use biodegradable plastics to glue the tailings into such bricks.  But if they are made into roman arches to hold up the ice tunnels, we can hope that our concerns about collapse and sag will be addressed.  We can also anticipate a hinderance of permeability for the gasses Oxygen and Methane.  If that and the ice above does not work well enough then we may consider a spray on coating.

I anticipate that these propellant holding chambers, will be kept cold, so that the ice above does not tend to melt.  Therefore although the glue for biodegradable plastics for the bricks, suggests a limited lifetime, the actions of microbes to digest the plastic will be seriously very slow in my opinion.

……

For Louis and others, I then would seek to link this facility to various above ground activities.

First of all, instead of "Hard Airlocks" I would incorporate "Barometric Airlocks".  That is, using a water column to mediate the passage from higher pressure dwellings out to the Martian surface.

But I would offer further buffering.

We may want transparent greenhouses where the interior pressure is just a bit above the "Armstrong Limit".  To me this indicates that many plants can be grown, and that humans with a spacesuit malfunction have greater chances of survival.  So, then a barometric airlock which at its higher pressure end is somewhere between 3.675 to 14.7 pounds per square inch, can then terminate at the other end with the air pressure of ~1 PSI, in a "Armstrong Limit" greenhouse.

The next move then perhaps could be to go from the "Armstrong Limit" greenhouse to a slightly pressurized shed.  In this case I am anticipating that the "Shed" is for robots to shelter in at night.  It's pressure may be something like Martian ambient to say ~15 MB.

To get to ~15 mb, perhaps you have fans on, doors closed.  The shed might be a bit leaky, but leaks will be plugged as is necessary and identified.  So then to get out from the "Armstrong Limit" Greenhouse to the "Robot Shed", you may use any airlock method you like.  If it is a traditional metal type airlock, then fine.  Each time you do it, some water vapor and some atmosphere goes into the "Shed".  You may want to recycle it, and it may well be possible when the "Shed" is at 15 mb.  But we already have means of getting a lot of "Makeup Water", and from that lots of Oxygen, so maybe we are not going to be that fussy.


……

Toxic Mars?  Well, you are putting "Robot Sheds" <> "Armstrong Limit Greenhouses" <> "Barometric Water Airlock"  <> to "Habitat".

Robot sheds can include sweeper robots.  Overalls and such.

Armstrong Limit Greenhouses can include a shower or bath while you are in your EVA suit. 

Barometric Water Airlock is again a bath.

Then into your Habitats, I suppose you might want to monitor if you are getting toxic things into the Habitat, but I am thinking that it is rather addressed.  Perhaps some medications to deal with it?

……

Now for the members who don't like living underground.  There is the ISS Copula.  At the minimum, a Mars house might have one in it's attic, on top of a tubular house that is connected at the bottom with the canal and/or Boring Company tunnels.  And from there we can experiment in high differential pressure transparent structures.  I am going to suppose that it is an art to learn.  Mushroom Houses, GW, sure, lets look at that also.  Gorge places per Louis?  Yes, lets see if that can be done.


Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-22 12:10:16)


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#16 2019-05-22 12:12:18

Void
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Re: Robot Farming.

I expect to try to explain how this could fit into a rapid terraform of Mars next.  Tired now.

Done.


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#17 2019-05-22 17:42:39

Void
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Re: Robot Farming.

So for the methods mentioned previously icy permafrost, is of a big importance.

So, then I will quickly say that I favor an Oxygen rich terraforming of Mars. 

I feel that the adaptive methods I have mentioned are of great value but they are centered on utilization of icy permafrost, using it as bounds for canals and other bodies of water.  So, if such a material culture were developed, we might want to limit damage to it from terraforming.  That is my opinion anyway.

For Oxygen dominated atmospheres, I guess I could think of 3 pressure levels:

-Enough for an Ozone layer, and for the existence of periodic water on the ground even in the form of frost.  This would be enough to allow some alpine plants and Antarctic plants to grow, Algae, and Cyanobacteria as well.   At it's higher levels of pressure, say ~11-16.5, it would probably allow snow, and daily melts in some locations, and boiling raging ice water streams and maybe even rivers.  Therefor possibly ponds and lakes as well. Probably mostly ice covered.

-Armstrong limit pressure, which I believe is ~1 PSI?  Anyway at this pressure with an Ozone layer, it would be rather easy to glass over large areas and grow certain crops I suspect.  Also a EVA suit failure may be more survivable, and also you may be able to have your EVA suit draw Oxygen from the atmosphere.

-Unprotected survival.  In other words, unless you froze to death, or starved, or died of thirst, you could survive for long periods without extensive protective gear on the surface.  If an atmosphere largely of Oxygen, the I guess that would be 250-330 mb of pressure.  Better have good clothing though, cause the nights and winters will be cold.

To do this, we need the added Oxygen:
-To start with some can be created within the underground habitats I have suggested, and released to atmosphere.  But it might be lost at an excessive rate, so we may wish to have an artificial magnetic shield for Mars.

-We may also find methods to raise the RH% of the Martian atmosphere, in hopes that that water vapor will be split by U.V.  Raising the RH% could be done with greenhouse gasses, and also by emulating the natural processes that inject water into the high Martian atmosphere for the same reason.  We anticipate that we can prohibit excessive Oxygen loss rates with a artificial magnetic shield for Mars.

The big hope then is to reduce U.V. to 1/40th of what it is now.  In German experiments, Lichens were able to grow in sheltered spots in an otherwise simulated Martian environment.  The day night thermal cycle was enough to water the Lichens with frost or even dew.

So at that point then you have a surface biosphere.  A rather weak one, but a start.  And that biosphere can release a bit more Oxygen as well.  You continue, until you have an even better Ozone layer.  I presume here that by these means of adding Oxygen to the Martian atmosphere, an Ozone layer may be possible.  I do understand that if you have snows, you may remove some of the Chlorine out of the atmosphere.  Chlorine is an Ozone killer.

So, over time it is hoped a greater and greater thickness of Oxygen.

I shy away from a CO2 atmosphere.  I feel that we do not actually have proof of the existence of enough CO2 for it.  And we cannot breath CO2, unless we want to suffer and die.

And I only want to heat the planet up a certain amount.  I prefer that most of the Permafrost continue to exist.  It is a great asset for the technologies that I have mentioned.

So, while Oxygen would be propagated to Mars, we would choose to remove Carbon at a useful rate, to provide Carbon compounds of technological use, such as biodegradable plastic to glue brick together with, bricks to be installed in frozen situations.


So the question arises.  Can most of the permafrost be maintained with a Mars with a ~250-330 mb atmosphere?

Well, we already know that the Earth requires 1 bar of a Nitrogen/Oxygen mix to be like it is.  Mars could be Earth like thermally (Somewhat), with a 2 bar mix of Nitrogen/Oxygen, or a 1 bar mix dominated by CO2.  The greenhouse effect can also be tweaked using other greenhouse gasses.

So, I think that with a 1/3 atmospheric pressure, and some greenhouse gasses, we could get it warm enough to suit our purposes.

And in my case, I would want to maintain conditions for permafrost on most of the planet.  Exceptions could be very low latitudes, and low altitudes.

As I have said already, if you want farmland for sensitive Earth crops at that point you should be able to glass over immense areas to add a local warming effect.

But I also think that it would be grand to have mostly on Mars a Alpine and Tundra vegetation.

Eventually farming could be redefined.  Try Reindeer moss.  Marginally a food even now.  Not a great food, but a start.  I used the name I read when I was young.  No it is not a moss.  Rather a Lichen.

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

Alpine versions might do OK on the Mars I have described.  GM does not scare me, so while it would be nice to have wild versions growing, I would also want to domesticate different types to be more nourishing, tasty, and faster growing.

I anticipate that some faster growing varieties could become symbiotic with humans in a farming scheme, where growth factors such as fertilizers, can be applied, and the variety can absorb them.  I don't expect that wild varieties would respond well to fertilizers.

……


I will finish off by again mentioning the potential of a moisture diode effect.  I anticipate that it may be possible with careful terraforming to create a situation where, water vapor rising in the day condenses into clouds, fogs, and ice fogs on the night side.  This then would be like a nighttime blanket to ward off frosts.

Problems with achieving this would be heavy snowfall that might persist into the daytime side, reflecting sunlight off of the planet.  In other words, while we want the blanket, we do not want condensed materials to persist too far into the daytime, as we want to accumulate the sun's heat.  That balance needs some study.


But I think we would want a goldilocks zone.  And in this case too hot is when too much of the ice sheets melt.  Too cold of course is if you cannot have a running biosphere of life on the surface.

Trees?  Well I seem to remember that 50 DegF for I think about 2 weeks is needed to grow a high latitude forest.  That may well be possible on Mars, with its likely warm summer days, and cool, or (oops), frigid cold nights.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-22 18:19:30)


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#18 2019-05-22 20:26:20

Void
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Posts: 3,011

Re: Robot Farming.

Oh, just one more thing....

In the underground canals, if you do introduce Hydrogen and Raw Martian atmosphere, and otherwise provide microbes what they need.... and in the case where these Microbes can use the CO2 and H2, for their metabolic processes, then the result should be a build up of Methane, Nitrogen, and Argon.  By Henry's laws about dissolved gasses these should build up sufficiently for them to come out of solution and produce gas bubbles in the top of the liquid part of the canal.  So then to take that and compress it.  Then you may do whatever other process to that result that suits you and is within your actual reach technologically and economically.

Done.


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#19 2019-05-24 05:07:23

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Re: Robot Farming.

The room I'm in was suddenly illiuminated by sunlight reflected off a loft window about 200 metres away. The illumination was so bright, it served as confirmation for me that reflectors will work well on Mars (especially given the lack of cloud). 

I wonder whether the reflectors could be mounted on self drive robot rovers that track the sun and the required angle of reflection.


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#20 2019-05-24 10:21:26

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

Re: Robot Farming.

I think so Louis.  I anticipate that the motorized Heliostat robots would pivot on a base.  However I think that there could be "Fork Lift" robots that that would move those heliostats from time to time per location to get the best results from seasonal changes of sun position.

The "Targets" of the focus can be greenhouses, solar panels and a new thing I encountered that NASA is apparently working on.  The device would convert the Martian sunlight spectrum to Green and Orange, and then the light would be passed to underground locations, by some type of optics, perhaps fiber optics?  Well, I am going to see if I can locate that article again when I have time.  Sounds pretty good to me.

For now though there is this: 
https://www.space.com/ancient-water-ice … -mars.html
So, it would seem, very deeply buried ice.  At those levels we could even think that some melting could occur, maybe.

Of course there is some evidence that the rift valley also holds huge amounts of ice, but of course that can be completely untrue.

This is why I support the preservation of permafrost, at least most of it on Mars.  For one thing we should want the opportunity to have continual examination of these layers.  Also, a muddy permafrost melting process on Mars would make much of the planet unstable, and even unusable.  I rather think that the low latitudes and low elevations can perhaps be melted, but that for the bulk of the planet, we should think to adapt to permafrost. 

Short on time, maybe more later.


Done

Last edited by Void (2019-05-24 10:33:25)


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#21 2019-05-31 03:18:42

Shambu31
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Re: Robot Farming.

Excellent thread..!!!

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#22 2019-05-31 19:35:18

Void
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Re: Robot Farming.

Shambu31,

Glad to see you here.  Also, of course happy that you accept the materials as worth a read.

I often try to use things several times.  For instance the vibrations of energy.

But as Mars is a hard nut to crack, and yet there is so much of it, if you do manage to "Pick the locks", then you have a whole lot of lot of.

So it will require effective efficiency, and capabilities.

In post #13, I describe a combinational device to deal with energy.  I believe I have found a way to add utility to it.
Quote the (Me):

In the case where it is desired to use no Heliostats and have static racked solar panels tilted in general to the sun, that is an option.
However, I am going to tilt full on from this point to advocate Heliostats to shine light as desired on a vertical dorsal fin.  Solar cells on both sides.  This can collect electricity, and flow electrical current through the metal spines.  And in certain constructed variations, the metal "Bones" can also be pipes.  A fluid which would resist freezing at night could be used, and you could use this dorsal fins to also collect thermal energy as the solar panels heat up.  And perhaps to even also be boilers.
And at night the dorsal fins can be radiators, and perhaps electrical energy could be generated in this way particularly at night, in winter,  and during global dust storms.

Now, I am changing the dorsal fins, in some cases into "A-Frames", and perhaps Quonset huts.

If the metal beam-duct-conductors could be a place to place solar cell panels-solar thermal collector-radiators, then they could form a frame and by placing the solar cell panels-solar thermal panels-radiators, then a "Shed" is formed, as an additional utility.

Why sheds?  Well possibly to shelter certain robots when outside conditions are harsh.  Also, perhaps as work areas, with a buffered environment.  While you would need a pressure suit, you may not be exposed to as much toxins, and the temperatures may be moderated.  The U.V. may be excluded.  Lighting 24/7 may be turned on, provided it is in a maintained condition, and you have the electrical power to run it.  A workperson, would have access to power outlets to run power tools.  And the worker might be on an umbilical, for life support.  I will not specify the nature of the suits, except that they could be of various kinds.

Certain types of automated production lines could be in them as well.  I really hate to see waste heat not re-used, but in some cases this might be the way to go, and it is possible that in some cases waste heat could be shunted to a thermal storage device.

These could be used with or without heliostats.  They could be places above the canal structures, or not.

If they are above the canals, then at night or during dust storms, the sheds would serve as radiators, and it would be hoped that electrical power would be available from this process at night, during dust storms, and perhaps even during the day, if you use special materials that will radiate certain wavelengths to the sky.  However during a day, I would expect that they would serve to collect electricity directly from solar panels, but also heat as well.  Particularly if heliostats boost the received light.

These "Canals" and the structures above them, would provide good shelter for sensitive robots, and avatar telepresence machines in adverse conditions such as nighttime, winter, and dust storms.

I think that Heliostats can be relatively small brain robots, which would more or less work like clockwork.

The "Forklifts" that would reposition them seasonally, or by current demand, would require some oversight, perhaps by A.I.

And then about "avatar telepresence machines".  I think it will be very sensible to have such, so that a person can "Put On" a second body, and walk or scurry about on the Martian surface in a virtual reality sort of a way, from safer quarters.

Walking or scurrying about would be options as to what kind of a second body you would have.  It could be like a human, an ape, a dog, or something developed as adaptive to the raw Martian environment.

And it might not be just sight, but touch, and sound, and feelings or temperature.  Of course if it touched dry ice, you would not want to simulate the discomfort that dry ice would cause the human body.  In general, it's feedback of discomfort, would be adapted to make the user aware of the do's and don'ts of the environment.

While at least at first EVA suits will be common, I will suppose that after time, the skill in invention and manufacture and experience will make going out in the Martian environment rare for business, and more for entertainment.

That is, until levels of terraforming have been completed, if that is possible.

Thanks again "Shambu31" for stopping by.  I am sure we all look forward to you visiting again. 

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-05-31 20:07:25)


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#23 2019-06-03 12:46:57

Void
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Posts: 3,011

Re: Robot Farming.

I have thought of something for the support members that I want to also be conduits for fluids, and also conductors for electricity.

Their use is to facilitate energy exchange devices on the surface of Mars, and to communicate energy exchanges with built structure below the surface.

This was in part prompted by another member indicating the opinion that Metals will be hard to have on Mars, at least at first.  (Kbd512, I believe).

The surface apparatus desired would be perhaps "A-Frame" sheds formed, (In parts), by solar panels and such supports as I will suggest making.

I have no concern or shame in saying that this is a tentative build method which in the future may have to be modified by learned facts about Mars.

I would like to use pure metals, and with them be able to deal with high temperatures induced in high temperature solar panels, but for now, I will step back to be more reasonable.

The primary materials for these fluid conducting, electron (Or hole) conducting support members might be:
1) PVC piping with an upper thermal limit of 140 DegF. (60 DegC).
2) A metal electroplated onto the PVC.  Primarily on the outsides.
3) A fiberglass layer over the outside of that.

I am not at all sure that you can electroplate onto PVC, but I would like it if you could.  I believe you can electroplate onto plastic by two methods.  A roughened surface on the plastic, or a conductive paint.

I would hope that you could use something like dune materials to get the metal ions you would need.  Cannot be certain of it.  I also don't know how susceptible the electroplated metal would be to corrosion in contact with a water base fluid.  It is not desired that it would corrode.

Also, as PVC can be pieced together with glue, and pipes cut to length, I guess there would need to be an electrical "Jumper" method to provide a continuous flow path for electrons or holes.

For now I will nominate compressed raw Martian atmosphere as the fluid to flow through the piping, and exchange heat.  That would do for conducting heat from the surface to a thermal reservoir, presumably involving water.  I will not limit the use of condensation of CO2, to be in a power loop generating electricity during mid day heat by dissipating heat from the reservoir to the Martian sky.  However those would be higher pressures than I prefer.  Instead, I am thinking of boiling something like an alcohol, into a CO2 gas of proper pressure to allow boiling of the fluid, and then condensation of the alcohol, or Ammonia, in the pipes.  And no I have not yet considered what reaction the boiled and condensed fluid would have on the PVC.

I am just forming an outline of asperations.  Reality and experiment will dictate the modifications needed.

And don't forget the roof of the sheds will be primarily of solar panels, so electrical power would come from there.  And Heliostats could be used to increase the amount of heat and electricity that could be collected by the solar panels which are also radiators in the night or during dust storms.


I think that's enough.


Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-06-03 13:04:19)


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#24 2019-06-24 19:09:43

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Re: Robot Farming.

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#25 2019-06-24 19:33:52

Void
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Re: Robot Farming.

Very nice start.  I have read that robots are projected to make agriculture 50% more productive.

Done.


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