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#26 2015-02-16 09:37:18

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 5,821

Re: Mercury

Just a continuation of extreme speculation.
Returning to your original solution of a dynamic sun blocker in front of the planet, then utilizing the magnetic field of the planet that I presume will be allowed to expand.  The most valuable asset will be the ability of the magnetic field and surface materials to generate water, for as long as the solar wind and planet Mercury exist.  That is at least a billion years.

For giggles however, I wonder about indeed digging the maximum allowable hole(s) at one or more poles.  While the planet has a very thick rigid crust and no tectonic movements, I read that it would have Mercury quakes from the condition where the planet is shrinking as it cools.

The point being that if you wanted to continue to remove materials from the planet you would not want the average air pressure to become very high, considerably less than that of Mars.  But there would have to be limits on how deep you could dig a hole at the poles.  It is a silly notion I know, but you did speculate on mining the whole planet completely, I would think that for the purposes of having a very long term source of water, it would be better to dig holes at the poles, just maybe deep enough to support some higher atmospheric pressure within.  And to provide materials to build that dynamic sun blocker.

For Mars, which has a similar gravity field:


Pressure comparison



Olympus Mons summit
0.03 kilopascals (0.0044 psi)

Mars average
0.6 kilopascals (0.087 psi)

Hellas Planitia bottom
1.16 kilopascals (0.168 psi)

Armstrong limit
6.25 kilopascals (0.906 psi)

Mount Everest summit[11]
33.7 kilopascals (4.89 psi)

Earth sea level
101.3 kilopascals (14.69 psi)

Mars's atmosphere is composed of the following layers:
Lower atmosphere: A warm region affected by heat from airborne dust and from the ground.
Middle atmosphere: The region in which Mars's jetstream flows
Upper atmosphere, or thermosphere: A region with very high temperatures, caused by heating from the Sun. Atmospheric gases start to separate from each other at these altitudes, rather than forming the even mix found in the lower atmospheric layers.
Exosphere: Typically stated to start at 200 km (120 mi) and higher, this region is where the last wisps of atmosphere merge into the vacuum of space. There is no distinct boundary where the atmosphere ends; it just tapers away.

There is also a complicated ionosphere,[12] and a seasonal ozone layer over the south pole.[13]

If the whole of the planet had an

Exosphere: Typically stated to start at 200 km (120 mi) and higher, this region is where the last wisps of atmosphere merge into the vacuum of space. There is no distinct boundary where the atmosphere ends; it just tapers away.

It already has a temporary and I presume on the low end of pressure, Exosphere.  If that were improved to be the highest level for an Exosphere. then the holes would need to be at least

200 km (120 mi)

deep to even think of supporting ice covered water pools.

That's pretty deep.  But if it was like a strip mining operation, maybe.  I simply don't know.  But if you could do it then you would have a location more favorable to humans, with perhaps sufficient radiation protection (Along with the magnetic field?).  And an atmosphere to do aerocapture of arriving spacecraft.  And also most likely a natural collection point for water generated by the incorporation of solar wind into the magnetic field where it the Hydrogen would combine with Oxygen from rocks, or from the puddle of atmosphere you would have at the poles.



#27 2015-02-16 11:49:44

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

Re: Mercury

I think the obvious thing to make the Sun shade out of is Mercury itself. In the short term, as far as manned habitation is concerned, one can place mirrored sun shades on poles above Mercury's surface. Since most of the light gets reflected back into space, not much is absorbed and reradiated as heat, so the surface under does not become hot enough to melt lead. I would add that mercury has 28,880,441 sq miles (74,800,000 sq km) of surface area, so we would need to make 28,880,441 sq miles (74,800,000 sq km) or mirrored surface, and we can do that on the night side of the planet where machines can operate better, set up the mirrors and move against the rotation of the planet so as to stay on the night side. Do this long enough and you can completely cover the planet with reflective mirrors. The planet is mostly made of iron, so there is plenty of metal for making mirrors out of.


#28 2023-03-22 06:21:01

Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 6,244

Re: Mercury

The ESA/NASA ESASolarOrbiter captured Mercury's silhouette against some towering gaseous structures in the Sun’s outer atmosphere

Ben Bova, science fiction writer, I read died from Corona virus

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2023-03-22 06:23:02)


#29 2023-05-18 06:53:31

Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 6,244

Re: Mercury

Thermal expansion of oldhamite, CaS: Implication for the surface of Mercury … 3523002063


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