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#1 2016-07-17 22:47:15

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Mercury

In some respects terraforming Mercury would be easier than terraforming Venus.
MercuryDEM2014-small.jpg
Here is an elevation map of Mercury, the blue areas are where the water would be.
venus_shade_by_tomkalbfus-da1qacs.png
And of course we would have to build a shade around Mercury, like this one I proposed for Venus. One advantage here is we can build it out of the materials of Mercury itself. Mercury is a vacuum world, we just build some mass drivers on its surface, fling rocks into orbit and we build this circular shade around it to protect its surface from the Sun. The next task is we have to import some atmosphere, the most likely spot to get an atmosphere would seem to be Saturn's Moon Titan, it is of similar size to Mercury, so if we dumped this atmosphere on Mercury, we'd have just about what we'd need. and of course water as well to fill all these craters.
1.jpg91454398-b1b4-42ee-bd64-58498ba507b1Larger.jpg
Here is a view of a terraformed Mercury.

Last edited by Tom Kalbfus (2016-07-17 22:52:49)

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#2 2016-07-18 06:06:08

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Mercury

Open sky terraforming would be difficult on a planet with little water or nitrogen and a solar constant 10 times greater than Earth’s.  Also, being so deep in the Sun’s gravity well makes it relatively difficult to import or export anything.

On the plus side: there is plenty of solar power, very large day-night temperature variations making solar thermal power efficient, and no atmosphere, making space launch a lot easier.  Colonists can escape high temperatures and radiation by retreating underground and colonising high latitudes.  Mercury has only a slight axial tilt, so large parts of its surface are temperate, despite it being much closer to the sun.  Even equatorial regions could be rendered habitable by covering them with reflective aluminium sheeting.  The lack of atmosphere is an asset, as it allows large amounts of heat to be dumped into space during the cold of night.  The equatorial crust has an average temperature >100C, so plenty of geothermal power is available to sustain colonists during the long night.  Assuming the volatile inventories are similar to those of the moon, the planet probably has sufficient volatiles to support a billion people living in compact subsurface habitats (basically, O’Neill colonies that don’t have to spin), but not enough to provide open sky and oceans.

In summary, keep the surface of the planet as it is.  Adapt to a sub-surface way of living, exploit the inherent advantages of the planet and live within the limitations that its resource set allows.

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#3 2016-07-18 23:49:19

karov
Member
From: Bulgaria
Registered: 2004-06-03
Posts: 953

Re: Mercury

https://www.foresight.org/nanodot/?p=2922

these and such will be more then enough for keeping the inSOLation / illumination down or up to qualitiatively and quantitatively desirable levels in very high precision / resolution / 4D pattern.

even without using orbiting or statite Optics, but just aerostatically suspended.

See.:

http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/studies/ … 4Crowe.pdf

http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/library/ … 4Crowe.pdf

Last edited by karov (2016-07-18 23:59:33)

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#4 2016-07-19 04:34:23

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Mercury

Antius wrote:

Open sky terraforming would be difficult on a planet with little water or nitrogen and a solar constant 10 times greater than Earth’s.  Also, being so deep in the Sun’s gravity well makes it relatively difficult to import or export anything.

On the plus side: there is plenty of solar power, very large day-night temperature variations making solar thermal power efficient, and no atmosphere, making space launch a lot easier.  Colonists can escape high temperatures and radiation by retreating underground and colonising high latitudes.  Mercury has only a slight axial tilt, so large parts of its surface are temperate, despite it being much closer to the sun.  Even equatorial regions could be rendered habitable by covering them with reflective aluminium sheeting.  The lack of atmosphere is an asset, as it allows large amounts of heat to be dumped into space during the cold of night.  The equatorial crust has an average temperature >100C, so plenty of geothermal power is available to sustain colonists during the long night.  Assuming the volatile inventories are similar to those of the moon, the planet probably has sufficient volatiles to support a billion people living in compact subsurface habitats (basically, O’Neill colonies that don’t have to spin), but not enough to provide open sky and oceans.

In summary, keep the surface of the planet as it is.  Adapt to a sub-surface way of living, exploit the inherent advantages of the planet and live within the limitations that its resource set allows.

All you have to do is block the Sunlight and add some atmosphere. You don't have to get rid of an atmosphere, because its already gotten rid of. As for it being deep within a gravity well, that is important for taking something off Mercury and moving it to another part of the Solar System, but what about transporting an atmosphere from Titan to Mercury, Titan and Mercury are about the same size. You just basically have to lift atmosphere off Titan, reach the escape velocity of Titan, and the local escape velocity from orbit around Saturn, and then lose most of Saturn's 9.67 km/sec orbital velocity, and aim it just right to hit Mercury. Make sure Mercury is completely shaded when this collision occurs. Lets say we drop a series of balloons full of nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide onto the planet. Will all of it escape into space? I think a lot of it will cool upon contact with Mercury's cold surface. We could build up this atmosphere over time, as we drop more and more atmospheric balloons on top of Mercury. No need to slow them down, Mercury will do that, all you need to do is hit Mercury with them.

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#5 2016-07-19 08:38:00

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Mercury

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Antius wrote:

Open sky terraforming would be difficult on a planet with little water or nitrogen and a solar constant 10 times greater than Earth’s.  Also, being so deep in the Sun’s gravity well makes it relatively difficult to import or export anything.

On the plus side: there is plenty of solar power, very large day-night temperature variations making solar thermal power efficient, and no atmosphere, making space launch a lot easier.  Colonists can escape high temperatures and radiation by retreating underground and colonising high latitudes.  Mercury has only a slight axial tilt, so large parts of its surface are temperate, despite it being much closer to the sun.  Even equatorial regions could be rendered habitable by covering them with reflective aluminium sheeting.  The lack of atmosphere is an asset, as it allows large amounts of heat to be dumped into space during the cold of night.  The equatorial crust has an average temperature >100C, so plenty of geothermal power is available to sustain colonists during the long night.  Assuming the volatile inventories are similar to those of the moon, the planet probably has sufficient volatiles to support a billion people living in compact subsurface habitats (basically, O’Neill colonies that don’t have to spin), but not enough to provide open sky and oceans.

In summary, keep the surface of the planet as it is.  Adapt to a sub-surface way of living, exploit the inherent advantages of the planet and live within the limitations that its resource set allows.

All you have to do is block the Sunlight and add some atmosphere. You don't have to get rid of an atmosphere, because its already gotten rid of. As for it being deep within a gravity well, that is important for taking something off Mercury and moving it to another part of the Solar System, but what about transporting an atmosphere from Titan to Mercury, Titan and Mercury are about the same size. You just basically have to lift atmosphere off Titan, reach the escape velocity of Titan, and the local escape velocity from orbit around Saturn, and then lose most of Saturn's 9.67 km/sec orbital velocity, and aim it just right to hit Mercury. Make sure Mercury is completely shaded when this collision occurs. Lets say we drop a series of balloons full of nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide onto the planet. Will all of it escape into space? I think a lot of it will cool upon contact with Mercury's cold surface. We could build up this atmosphere over time, as we drop more and more atmospheric balloons on top of Mercury. No need to slow them down, Mercury will do that, all you need to do is hit Mercury with them.

Think about the practicality of what you are discussing.  Moving quadrillions of tonnes of frozen gases through a delta-V of several Km/s from the other side of the solar system.  And then having to build an entire world house anyway in an attempt to reflect the sunlight and keep the surface and atmosphere cool.

If a group of people were living on Mercury and wanted to make more habitable space, do you think they would attempt such an ambitious plan, or are they more likely to just dig a tunnel under the ground and fill it with air that they have sourced from Mercury?  Since both approaches produce habitable land, you would only go for mass importation of volatiles and open sky terraforming if it were cheaper than the alternative.  Which is hard to imagine.

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#6 2016-07-19 10:18:17

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Mercury

One is much smaller scale than the other. Only a few people can live with local volatiles, since Mercury has so few of those. If you want Mercury to be a habitat for billions of people, you need to do something a little more dramatic. Admittedly terraforming Mercury comes in conflict with using Mercury as a source of construction materials. Mercury as a vaccum world makes it easy to mine with lots of freely available solar energy and no atmosphere to get in the way of mining its surface. Blocking sunlight is easy, you just have to place something in between Mercury and the Sun. That is only the first step in terraforming Venus. If we can block sunlight from Mercury, the Mercury becomes more like the Moon, it is a place we can mine materials from.

mercury_shade_by_tomkalbfus-daaow9f.png
Here is a Mercury Version of the Venus shade. We can construct this out of the material of Mercury itself, using solar powered mass drivers to fling rock to a bunch of rock catchers placed at 17,211 km. Notice that at this orbit, the proportions are the same as for Venus, only in the case of Mercury this is a 26.545 hour orbit. A 24-hour orbit is actually inside this radius. I did this many because I didn't feel like redrawing it, just changed the labels that's all. Probably the shade would have to be wider because the disk of the Sun appears larger when seen from Mercury, but the poles don't need much shading anyway. What can we do with this? Mercury exists in a vacuum, that means orbits are possible right down to its surface. Mercury is 2439.7 km in radius, it would make a great anchor point for a hollow cylinder, lets say we made this cylinder 2500 km in radius and anchored it to the crust of Mercury, the Solar shade would keep the Sun off of it, so things can get very cold for surfaces that need to be superconducting for instance in a maglev. It would rotate once every 52.874 minutes to produce 1 g of gravity at its surface, it would actually be around 0.62 g near the planet's equator because of the effects of gravity, as you moved away from the equator, spin gravity would feel stronger as you got further away from the surface of the planet. If you wanted 1 g above the equator, it would rotate once every 45 minutes to counteract Mercury's gravity. With Mercury being a ball this would be a less than perfect solution. You could have a series of rings spinning at different rates for different latitudes and radii for example. This would minimize the tensile strength requirements for your tethers, instead relying on the bulk of the planet to hold the thing together.

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#7 2016-07-19 10:56:26

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 7,845
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Re: Mercury

Are you still going on about this? It would be a bad idea to terraform Mercury, even if you did find a way to do it. Mercury is high in metals, a larger proportion of those metals are on the surface than on Earth, there's extremely high intensity sunlight to provide energy to smelt. Furthermore, the 88-day sunlight followed by 88-day night means those metals are probably concentrated into veins. All this makes Mercury an ideal place to mine. Terraforming would interfere with mining. The most economic means of using Mercury is treat it as an airless mining world. Build settlements underground.

I've said before, ideal is to leave Luna (Earth's moon) as well as Mercury and Io airless. Luna is close to Earth, so can be used for various industrial purposes that require vacuum. Terraform Mars, Venus, Ganymede, and Callisto. Data from Juno shows radiation around Ganymede and Callisto is worse than we thought, making terraforming difficult if not impossible. But just a few decades ago terraforming anything was thought to be impossible. There are people who still think it is, and won't believe it until at least one planet is terraformed.

quote-there-are-three-stages-of-truth-first-is-that-it-can-t-be-true-and-that-s-what-they-said-you-jonas-salk-264197.jpg

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#8 2016-07-19 10:58:14

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Mercury

Up to a trillion tonnes (1000 cubic km) of water may be stored at Mercury's extreme latitudes.

https://www.rt.com/news/scientists-merc … claim-965/

The MESSENGER probe also discovered evidence of pyroclastic flows triggered by volatile release in parts of the planet's surface, some no more than a billion years old.  This suggests that substantial volatiles may be trapped within the planet's interior and slowly outgassing.

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#9 2016-07-19 11:22:53

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Mercury

RobertDyck wrote:

Are you still going on about this? It would be a bad idea to terraform Mercury, even if you did find a way to do it. Mercury is high in metals, a larger proportion of those metals are on the surface than on Earth, there's extremely high intensity sunlight to provide energy to smelt. Furthermore, the 88-day sunlight followed by 88-day night means those metals are probably concentrated into veins. All this makes Mercury an ideal place to mine. Terraforming would interfere with mining. The most economic means of using Mercury is treat it as an airless mining world. Build settlements underground.

I've said before, ideal is to leave Luna (Earth's moon) as well as Mercury and Io airless. Luna is close to Earth, so can be used for various industrial purposes that require vacuum. Terraform Mars, Venus, Ganymede, and Callisto. Data from Juno shows radiation around Ganymede and Callisto is worse than we thought, making terraforming difficult if not impossible. But just a few decades ago terraforming anything was thought to be impossible. There are people who still think it is, and won't believe it until at least one planet is terraformed.

http://izquotes.com/quotes-pictures/quo … 264197.jpg

Sunlight even intense sunlight at Mercury's distance is relatively easy to block. Only a small proportion of Mercury's materials would need to be used to construct the wrap-around Sunshade I diagrammed. the shade need not be thick to block all the sunlight from reaching Mercury. This particular sunshade is 7 times the radius of Mercury itself. the only conflict is whether to use Mercury as building materials for an artificial world or terraform its surface. If we go for terraforming, the first step would be to block all sunlight, then use solar collectors on the outside to power artificial sunlight to provide a 24-hour day on the surface of Mercury, then we have to add atmosphere. It seems easier to bring the atmosphere from Titan than to terraform Titan by adding the energy that it lacks. Mercury has too much energy, it can sell the surplus energy to finance the terraforming of Mercury and people can live on its surface. Mercury has the same surface gravity as Mars, the escape velocity for Mercury is 4.25 km/sec compared to 5.02 km/sec for Mars. I think a terraformed atmosphere of Mercury would be much as proposed for Mars, once we shade the entire planet and provide artificial sunlight for it! the landscape on Mercury is much different from Mars, it is older and consists largely of craters and upthrust mountains caused by impact craters. I think terraforming Mercury would be harder than terraforming Mars, but easier than terraforming Venus, as you basically just have to add atmosphere to it, and get rid of all that excess sunlight!

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#10 2016-07-19 11:28:54

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Mercury

Antius wrote:

Up to a trillion tonnes (1000 cubic km) of water may be stored at Mercury's extreme latitudes.

https://www.rt.com/news/scientists-merc … claim-965/

The MESSENGER probe also discovered evidence of pyroclastic flows triggered by volatile release in parts of the planet's surface, some no more than a billion years old.  This suggests that substantial volatiles may be trapped within the planet's interior and slowly outgassing.

That is a lot of water for individual humans, not enough to make oceans, or in the case of Mercury, lots of crater lakes. I envision a terrformed Mercury as largely covered in forests and lakes, the planet does not seem to have continents.
th?id=OIP.Mba3e2c7423cc9910a75b09459646b3c7o0&pid=15.1

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#11 2016-07-19 16:17:56

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Mercury

I suppose we can envisage whatever we want.  None of us will live to see most of the ideas on this board come to fruition.  So if we want to fantasize about terraforming Mercury and enjoy doing so, we can imagine whatever world we want and whatever god like powers needed to bring it about.  It hardly matters how practical or fantastic those ideas are, we will never see them happen in either case.  What matters is that we enjoy it - the process is an intellectual diversion for bored engineers and scientists.

Last edited by Antius (2016-07-19 16:19:27)

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#12 2016-07-19 18:13:28

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Mercury

Antius wrote:

I suppose we can envisage whatever we want.  None of us will live to see most of the ideas on this board come to fruition.  So if we want to fantasize about terraforming Mercury and enjoy doing so, we can imagine whatever world we want and whatever god like powers needed to bring it about.  It hardly matters how practical or fantastic those ideas are, we will never see them happen in either case.  What matters is that we enjoy it - the process is an intellectual diversion for bored engineers and scientists.

I suppose we would need to go through a technological singularity first, some people are predicting that one will occur within 20 years, which basically means we build machines that are smarter than we are. When we build such machines, we need to set goals for them. One possibility is what planets to terraform. I am not sure we will ever need to break up Mercury, and use it to build millions of free floating space habitats, I figure we might as well terraform Mercury, as we will probably be able to travel outside of our solar system long before we use up all the material within it. I think Mercury is easier to terraform than the Moon because of its stronger gravity. As a society, we need to decide what we want to do with Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars, and the asteroid belt.

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#13 2016-07-21 07:03:28

karov
Member
From: Bulgaria
Registered: 2004-06-03
Posts: 953

Re: Mercury

The Sun could be mined for all volatiles needed.

In arbitrary abundance.

Otherwise for "open sky" way, easy.: http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php … 251#p40251

BUT no need to wait decades and to dump iceteroids from Outer SolSys...

... just mine the Sun!

Paul Birch* once calculated that by volume mining solar plasma is 1000 times more energetically yieldy, than to just capture solar light by unit of area.

Note that even hydrogen only is good to get water PLUS silicon, aluminum etc. from the crust.

* - see.: http://www.orionsarm.com/fm_store/Supra … lanets.pdf  ( pg.179, fig.9, 10.1 Mining Suns ).

btw, Mercury is VERY appropriate for production, launch and energy supply for ramscoop operation because it has no atmosphere currently.

Last edited by karov (2016-07-21 07:23:36)

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#14 2016-07-21 19:35:18

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,304

Re: Mercury

Sure a sun shide but once you enclose the planet with a shell you will need to make a second one in order to stop heat transference from the first through to the seconds contact with any atmosphere as the heat will propagate through via conduction from shell to shell unless there is a complete vaccum between them...
I believe there is being readied a solar probe for the suns atmosphere but I would need to look for its name ans data to add to the topic....

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#15 2016-07-22 08:59:15

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Mercury

SpaceNut wrote:

Sure a sun shide but once you enclose the planet with a shell you will need to make a second one in order to stop heat transference from the first through to the seconds contact with any atmosphere as the heat will propagate through via conduction from shell to shell unless there is a complete vaccum between them...
I believe there is being readied a solar probe for the suns atmosphere but I would need to look for its name ans data to add to the topic....

mercury_shade_by_tomkalbfus-daaow9f.png
Look at this Sun shield I have drawn. As you can see Mercury is not enclosed, nor does it have to be. The radius of this sun shield is about 7 times the radius of the planet. One possibility is to use the Sun shield as a solar collector and export the energy as a by product of shading this planet, it has many times the surface area as Mercury, only a small portion of it is needed to illuminate half of Mercury at normal Earth daylight levels, the rest can be exported and sold. Maybe it could be used to propel light sails to distant stars or to the outer reaches of the Solar System.

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#16 2016-07-22 20:09:58

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,304

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#17 2022-03-19 08:39:02

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 9,774

Re: Mercury

I think this also could be posted in the Asteorid-Mining topic but I'm having trouble finding it

Posting the Mercury news here for now

'There Could Be 16 Quadrillion Tons Of Diamonds On The Planet Mercury Suggests New Research'
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecarte … -research/

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2022-03-19 09:09:03)

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#18 2022-03-20 10:57:00

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 7,378

Re: Mercury

Nice Post Mars_B4_Moon.  I am going to copy it.

Done.


Done.

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#19 2023-03-19 18:48:48

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 9,774

Re: Mercury

an older article

The Hunt for Vulcan, the Planet That Wasn’t There
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/scie … ngbooktalk
Everyone thought the gravitational pull of an undiscovered planet made Mercury wobble. They were wrong. Albert Einstein explained why.


The Planet Closer to the Sun than Mercury | Vulcan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY4vsJNouPE



How Do We Terraform Mercury?
https://www.universetoday.com/128531/terraform-mercury/

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