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#1 2019-06-16 11:44:18

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

Mars Sculptural Manipulations

We have several things for Mars that can be sculpted.  The atmosphere, the ices, and the soil and rocks.  Here I am going to work on such manipulation potentials. 

While the urge to have a wild and "Natural" Mars, is one of the polarities of human cycles it is also silly, as a natural Mars is what it is now.

If we want it to be natural like Earth smile actually we are "Gardening" it.

The polarity of cycles, are where the public wants nature to be completely wild, and where we want it to be manipulated as in a garden.  The gardening extreme is artistic in it's nature and so also is the "Natural" notion.  These I was told a long time ago, cycle in the collective human psyche, and can be tracked by the nature of the art produced at extremes of the cycle.

This comes from post #40 of "Life on Mars"/"Life on Mars:

Hmmm....I guess the batteries thing must have bubbled up from a memory.  A good one.  I recall this some time back, but this link is reasonably recent.  It is a very good read. … on-on-mars
Naturally Occurring Batteries' on Mars May Hold Clues About Life's Origin
Changing the paradigm of biological life.
In the competition to be the biggest scientific cliché, right behind “The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” comes the phrase “Carbon is the building block of life.” But beyond the boundaries of Earth, life may be pieced together following a different set of rules.
The race is on to figure out what, exactly, those rules might be, and a new a study published today in Science Advances by the Carnegie Institution for Science, is starting to find answers. In the paper, researchers determined that Martian carbon was essentially made by a naturally-occurring battery. It’s a significant step forward in figuring out exactly how organic Martian compounds came about, since biology isn’t responsible. Led by senior staff scientist Andrew Steele, the group analyzed three Martian meteorites, Tissint, Nakhla, and NWA 1950, and showed that the organic compounds found inside match those of compounds previously found on Mars rover missions.
“It’s a scientific result using state-of-the-art instrumentation made on two planets, really,” Steele tells Inverse in an email.
What Meteorites Reveal
So why study meteorites? Of course, examining a rock here on Earth is a lot easier than making the 54.6 million kilometer (or 33.9 million mile) trek to the red planet (although that’s not stopping Elon Musk from taking on the challenge).
This is a mosaic image of Mars created from over 100 images taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.
“Meteorites allow us to use state of the art instrumentation that could never fly to Mars such as Synchrotrons, transmission electron microscopes and secondary ion mass spectrometers,” says Steele. “This allows us to look at these samples at the nano-scale that was necessary to detect and understand the process as well as ensure what we were looking at was Martian.”
Steele’s group identified that these organic compounds were made by non-biological methods, classified as abiotic organic chemistry, in previous research from 2012. But by applying advanced techniques in microscopy and spectroscopy, the group delved into the formation process, eventually discovering that a naturally-occurring galvanic cell may be responsible for the creation of organic compounds. The minerals in Martian rocks, when met with a salty brine, formed energy in a process that’s not unlike Earth-bound efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Carbon layers are found between the "tines" of the material. The texture is created when the volcanic minerals of the Martian rock interact with a salty brine and become the anode and cathode of a naturally occurring battery in a corrosion reaction, potentially creating enough energy to synthesize organic material.
“Basically, energy is released during the corrosion process that enables chemical reactions to happen,” Steele explains. “The hypothesis at the moment is there is enough energy to split water and the released hydrogen ions can react with CO2 dissolved in the brine to make organics.”
The process could translate to other locations with the right mix of igneous rock and brine, opening the door to understanding other solar bodies like Jupiter’s moon, Europa, or Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.
What Does Non-Biological Carbon Tell Us About Biological Life?
It sounds counterintuitive. Naturally occurring batteries? Non-biological organic material? Discoveries like these show us exactly how much we don’t know about what life on other planets could look like.
So, that lake could be a currently occurring version with electrical current currently flowing
It raises the possibility that life could be supported, but so far says to me, at least that the lights were on, and may currently be on, but it looks like nobody is home.
The non-consumption of CO and O2 in the atmosphere says similar to me.  I am rather thinking that a fungi should be able to make it there, in places where the humidity rises high enough.  If it did not have the capacity to process CO and O2 itself, and it was a fungi of a Lichen kind, then I anticipate that it could have made a partnership with a cyanobacteria which could assimilate CO and O2.  But I guess that supposes a planet kind enough to have allowed that to develop, or panspermia from Earth that sent such a symbiotic organism to Mars.  Since so far we don't see it, and the CO and O2 are not properly consumed, that is a strike against such life being probable on Mars.
So, after all maybe lights are on, but nobody is home.
With that processed, I am more comfortable with the SpaceX plans.  But I can see a squeak of a chance that they could put down somewhere where it is unlikely that a life supporting process is available.  I am thinking Equator.  Dry Equator.  I should think that an automated Starship, could provide transport to machinery which could in a relatively easy way, determine if there is a probability of life.
And I am not saying I won't support them if they do not take this step.  I am just saying that I would if they did.
One thing that seems apparent about the Viking probes, in hindsight is they did two things wrong.  First of all dumping the samples into a over hydrated broth with water was a no-no.  In the deserts of Chile, the result of an unusual rain, was the death of microbes that are very adapted to the dry.  And the other thing has been read by me, that said, heating the results would destroy the organics, as perchlorates when heated with organics will Oxidize them.
So, try again, I think.
But however whoever goes to Mars does it, I am very warm now about the cold poles of Mars.  Of course bases in more temperate areas first.
But, it would seem to me that the poles would be likely to provide the raw materials to terraform Mars if we partially melted them into big relatively fresh water lakes.  There may be many energy sources to do this and also it is likely that if you got it going, the corrosion process would help quite a bit.
We have the possibility of deflecting asteroids to polar impacts.  Quite a task.  I am guessing not until fusion energy is available.  You could then use fusion energy to melt the polar ice caps, but the asteroids could provide rocks to corrode.
The bedrock of the areas under the polar ice caps could be shattered to start up the corrosion battery process.  You could control to a degree the gasses put into the polar ice cap water.  CO2, Nitrogen, Argon, Oxygen, CO, and others.  Just simply pump Martian atmosphere into it.  And while doing that pumping, of course you would heat the gas which would heat the water.  A side objective is to vaporize the dry ice in proximity, while releasing Methane, and lets hope adding some Nitrous Oxide.  Hydrogen and Nitrous Oxide will likely occur at the lake bottom from contact with corrosive fluids.  Salts?  Well there should be some, and if the mix is not stirred by wind and waves, you have chances of making the bottom water layer very briny, and warm.  Corrosion heaven.
And Isaac Arthur has spoken of putting lighting units in water like that, say for Europa.  So I accept that as a reasonable objective.  Lets put them into big giant lamp fixture diving bells.  Those filled with water, and so the light shines into the water.  The upper layers will be cold but much fresher.  You could put a bottom on them, allow the water in the bottom to become warm, and cool it by circulating that warm water's heat into the lake.  The bottom and sides should function as a simple heat exchanger.  And inside a nice place to do aquatic gardening.  More heat into the lake.
I did mention fusion energy, but I will take a look at solar energy as well.  Solar cells do better if not overheated anyway.  Maybe they will have to be special though, because it will be very cold.
They have to be placed on a good surface through because the Phoenix Landers solar panels got destroyed by the winter.  Perhaps likely the accumulation of about 6 feet, (The Russians have previously suggested), of CO2 ice.  That problem previously haunted me.  But I think I have the fix.
I am thinking conifer tree shape.  Adapted to the North on our planet, South in South America as well, I think.
So, then steep conifer shaped cone enclosures.  Solar cells fixed on the outside, wiring passing into the inside.  Using the cone itself as a ground plane for the electrical circuit.  And the cone serving as a shelter for sensitive robots at times, a door being available for that.  A thermally insulating base, so there will be no worry about melting the ice.  I think the cones won't get that warm anyway.  And at that location no need for heliostats, because the light reflecting off of the surrounding ice will tend to bounce onto them as well as the direct sunlight.  However if someone wants to get fussy about it then put down a reflective foil on the ground around them.  Space them out appropriately to the solar flux situation.
Although it may be trickier than it would seem, and testing and engineering would be needed, the hope would be that with a steep cone, the accumulation of condensates would not damage the cones or the solar panels affixed to them in the winter time.  As I am now more confident that Aluminum for wiring can be attained with reasonable trouble on Mars, the electric power from the cones would be passed down to the diving bells I previously mentioned.
Do I then say lets not inhabit the rest of Mars?  No, actually lets do it all, provided we are satisfied that nobody is home.
In this system there would be no electrical power storage required, (But still an option), rather the waste heat would go into the lakes, though the "Diving Bell - Light Fixtures.  And that waste heat could then generate power to the degree you wanted to dissipate the lakes heat to the universe.  The cones above the ice would be radiators as well as their other previously mentioned functions.
One variation of the solar panels on the cones, would be that they would be sun following.  During the Martian summer, they would rotate around the cones, following the sun.  That will make them a little more vulnerable to winter damage, but perhaps there is a way to lock them down in a braced way for the winter.
I think that is rather good.
Oh yes no reason other than "Make-Up" water that you could not do this to temperate area ice sheets.  And at first the "Make-Up" water could come from the local area.  Later from the poles in a planet-wide system.  And with conduits-tunnels-canals, it should be possible to establish such as this even on the equator.  Solar panel method needing revisions at that location.
Last edited by Void (Today 12:37:59)


Last edited by Void (2019-06-16 11:48:36)

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


#2 2019-06-16 11:48:21

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

Re: Mars Sculptural Manipulations

So, sculpting requires tools.

I will borrow many of these from previous encounters here from other and previous members, and also outside input from articles read.

An idea that comes from articles is a magnetic field placed in the "L1" location of Mars to protect it's atmosphere.  I have had trouble seeing how it can stay there, if it is pushed by the solar wind and by photons.  So, far, I may continue to have insufficient understanding, but I can see that, you could extend tethers out beyond the bow shock sunward side, which is going to be compressed anyway.  Those can be made more robust than you would if you were trying to propel a spacecraft, because your objective is to maintain a position.  So, they will have a life span of use and will have to be replaced periodically as the space environment will be erosive.  If I do have a reasonably sound understanding of this, they would oppose the tendency of the solar wind and photon momentum to move the assembly out of "L1".  They might also generate electricity.

And this device could not only generate electricity, and a magnetic field, but manipulate to a degree the distribution of photons to some of the locations of Mars.  The object could include movable mirrors that would redirect some photons from their natural targets to targets of choice. 

A possible option would be to monitor the Martian atmosphere conditions where atmospheric thermal losses might be prone to happen, and if possible reduce the amount of thermal energy, but reducing the photons received at that location.  I am not sure how much latitude this device would have for that.

Another possible option is to reduce the formation of CO2 frost in the winters, although other terraforming options such as greenhouse gasses should be included as well for that.

The next level down is the manipulation of the location of water ice, and liquid water, and I suppose water evaporation.

The next level down would be the manipulation of regolith.  This could be traditional methods we use on Earth, to use dams for instance to manipulate liquid water.  It could also include digging a deep hole with manipulated impacts of asteroids.

The terraforming of Mars to create a new "Wild" Earth does not strike me as wise.  After all, we would intend to use Mars, and that would not be it's best use.

Atmospheric displacement is already present, and that in parts, is caused by the topography of Mars.  The regolith is a certain way.  Hellas being the lowest, Olympus Mons the highest.  The southern hemisphere being the highest on average, and the Northern hemisphere being the lowest on average.

As for the contribution of water ice and water to displace atmosphere, we have elevated polar caps, and slabs of ice mostly in the "Temperate" latitudes.  These displace atmosphere now.

Should we go for the simple "Just warm Mars up notion, Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, we very likely would have the potential to displace atmosphere in ways that are not optimal for the human use of Mars.  We would potentially average out the atmosphere more than it is now, by filling deep basins with water.

A human desire in my opinion, if Mars is to be manipulated, would be to have some place where you did not need a pressure suit.  The best option for that, would be Hellas, and if necessary, also digging a big hole, which you probably would prefer to limit the water levels in.

So, if you are going to redirect photons, one use would be to use them to keep relatively dry the low spots of interest.  Evaporation.  The use of dams to redirect water flows also be of potential value.  Those dams could be of regolith and/or ice where possible.

Water travel is said by Peter Zeihan to reduce transport costs of bulk materials to about 1/12th or more relative to land transport.  So, although probably an investment to arrange, in some cases an objective worthy of such an investment.

Tunnels could also be used for manipulating liquid water flows.

Hellas has been mentioned as a low area to restrict excessive water flow to.  But there are other potential locations elsewhere as well.

Ice piles do not have to be unproductive either.  I have proposed a method to make them useful as bodies of water, most likely covered by an ice layer, and bounded most likely by ice dams.  Those ice dams could be re-enforced with regolith where there is a danger of collapse.

And this brings us to a human problem.  There are a distribution of humans, so who are individualistic, and some more wishing to direct an apex pyramid culture or a vandal horde.  We would have to calculate how to minimize this sort of activity.  Reduce rewards for it's accomplishment.

There are cultural heritages, where the rewards of collecting tribute, outweigh the rewards of doing useful work.  We can use such types for policing needs, but they have to be limited from the option to strangle the cultures involved by extracting tribute for nothing of value produced.

I guess that lays some potential foundations.


Last edited by Void (2019-06-16 12:27:09)

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


#3 2019-06-16 15:02:31

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

Re: Mars Sculptural Manipulations

The use of other mirrors in orbits circling Mars would also have merit, to add to the total photon budget for Mars.

Aiming at solar arrays in various locations.  The intention to aim them at solar arrays in low spots to both augment solar power, and yet to heat the air, and also promote evaporation of excess liquid water.  And also to aim them at solar arrays on ice covered bodies of water to augment solar power, and to liquify and warm water below, as stored energy.


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


#4 2019-06-17 17:44:45

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

Re: Mars Sculptural Manipulations

Let me begin by expressing regrets that I am posting so often.  I seem to be in a manic state just now.  But the article I am going to link to is important for understanding Mars, and for a possible future terraforming of Mars.  So, please put up with me for a bit. … -mars.html

Meteor 'Smoke' May Spawn Cotton Candy Clouds on Mars
By Nola Taylor Redd an hour ago Science & Astronomy 
Thin Martian clouds may come from specks of dust, the remains of destroyed meteors.

A computer simulation shows middle-altitude clouds on Mars. (Image: © Victoria Hartwick)
Cotton candy clouds in the middle atmosphere of Mars may owe their life to dying meteors.
New research suggests that the atmospheric destruction of meteors creates tiny particles of dust that can seed the thin clouds. The discovery may help solve the mystery of how the wispy clouds grow in the middle atmosphere, improving scientists' understanding of the Martian climate both of today and in the past.

"Clouds don't just form on their own," Victoria Hartwick, a graduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder and lead author on the new paper, said in a statement. "They need something that they can condense onto."
Related: Watch the Clouds on Mars Glide by in This Curiosity Rover Video

On Earth, water molecules stick to tiny grains of sea salt or dust blown into the air until they form the white wisps visible from the ground as clouds. But Mars lacks sea salt, and scientists haven't been able to explain the presence of midatmospheric clouds by studying dust particles on the Red Planet.
Nevertheless, Mars and Earth have another cloud seed in common. Previous studies have shown that dust from destroyed meteors, known as meteoritic smoke, may help build clouds near Earth's poles. Hartwick and her colleagues investigated if meteoritic smoke could similarly create the clouds that hover in the middle atmosphere of Mars, below other known types of clouds.
"Our model couldn't form clouds at these altitudes before [we included meteorite impacts]," Hartwick said. "But now, they're all there, and they seem to be in all the right places."
The research was published today (June 17) in the journal Nature Geoscience.
A glimpse of ancient Mars

Scientists have already cracked the secret of a different Martian cloud type. Forty miles (65 kilometers) above the Red Planet's surface, clouds of carbon dioxide ice float through the atmosphere. These clouds form as mineral dust is swept up from the surface, allowing water molecules to attach to the material and grow clouds.
But circulation models have struggled to explain the thinner clouds that lie from 18 to 37 miles (30 to 60 km) above the surface, in the middle of the atmosphere. These thin, cotton candy-like clouds are smaller than most Earth clouds, but they could dramatically affect the Martian climate.
Each day, 2 to 3 tons of meteorites, most of them relatively small, crash into the Martian atmosphere. As the heated passage through the atmosphere tears these meteorites apart, they spew a significant amount of dust into the air.

An unusual rock spotted by NASA's Curiosity rover appears to be a meteorite. Much smaller meteors may be seeding the Red Planet’s atmosphere to allow wispy clouds to form.

To determine if meteors burning up in the atmosphere could serve as seeds for the tenuous clouds, Hartwick and her colleagues combined data taken from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) satellite with massive computer simulations that mimicked the flows and turbulence of the planet's atmosphere. The researchers found that including meteoritic smoke in the simulations created clouds and conditions similar to those observed on the Red Planet.
The new simulations also revealed that the thin clouds could cause significant temperature fluctuations, of as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). When a pole reaches its winter months, changing air temperatures and pressures increase the amount of meteoritic smoke, which in turn pushes the low-hanging clouds higher than in simulations without micrometeoroids. The thin, meteoroid-built clouds of the middle atmosphere also strengthen the twice-daily temperature oscillations in the middle atmosphere, as well as the large-scale atmospheric circulation, the authors wrote.
The discovery could help reveal information not only about the weather conditions on present-day Mars but also about the planet's past climate. Ancient Mars was a warmer, wetter world, with water running across its surface. How the planet lost its water remains a mystery.
"More and more climate models are finding that the ancient climate of Mars, when rivers were flowing across its surface and light might have originated, was warmed by high-altitude clouds," study co-author Brian Toon, who studies clouds on Earth and beyond at the University of Colorado Boulder, said in the same statement. "It is likely that this discovery will become a major part of that idea for warming Mars."

There's a Strange Cloud on Mars Right Now, and It's Just Hanging Around
950-Mile-Long Cloud Spotted Over Martian Volcano. And It Has Staying Power.
Follow Nola on Facebook and on Twitter at @NolaTRedd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
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So, it seems to me that this could support the Mars Vapor/Cloud diode for warming Mars.  Ideally on the sunlit side sunlight would result in ice clouds vaporizing, and on the dark side, vapors going to themally protect the planet with clouds.

The nice thing about this is you may be able to do the majority of the manipulation by seeding the atmosphere at that level either with dust from the surface.  Some sort of mass driver I suppose, or you seed it from Phobos or Demos dust.

You might make the effort to inject more vapors, with an artificial dust devil.  Perhaps with hot water prepared, simply run it though a turbine to generate electricity, and make a water spout of sorts, but it will not carry liquid water.  That is also another way you could inject dust perhaps, so long as it does not cause premature cloud forming before it reaches the level you want.

The response may be the elevation of general temperatures, and the vaporization of CO2 for the polar ice caps.  The response for that could be more elevated temperatures, and we hope greater sublimation of surface ice, some of that perhaps being able to rise up to that high level.  And then with the polar CO2 vaporized, we can hope for a 2 or 3 fold rise in atmospheric pressure, and that should allow snows that are more familiar to us here on Earth, and sufficient pressure for snow melts, and the snow melts should allow for temporary streams of water.

I am against pushing this to the point where raging rivers would occur.  Don't in general want to substantially melt most of the high latitude and high altitude permafrost.

So, it may be that it will be possible to throttle this whole thing with dust for nucleation in the atmosphere.

And with methods previously mentioned, it may be that we can allow sections of favorable low altitude and low latitude areas to thaw even so.

Such a Mars in my opinion will be open for seeding it with high Arctic and Antarctic vegetation, at least in sheltered spots.

Planetary protection fiends.  I would expect a though review of the morality and purpose of this action before it might be taken.


Last edited by Void (2019-06-17 18:33:01)

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


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