New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: As a reader of NewMars forum, we have opportunities for you to assist with technical discussions in several initiatives underway. NewMars needs volunteers with appropriate education, skills, talent, motivation and generosity of spirit as a highly valued member. Write to newmarsmember * gmail.com to tell us about your ability's to help contribute to NewMars and become a registered member.

#1 2012-07-01 09:45:18

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,929

Titan, with modest efforts

There has been some talk about habitation of the asteroid belt lately, and although that is very intersting to me, it also seems likely that when that ability occurs, it will be possible to also habitate Titan.

I am not one who thinks it can easlily be made like the Earth.  At best with a sort of floating bubbles greanhouse, the Methane could all be vaporized, and the temperatures raised.

From there, I guess I would hope for fusion power, as a source of power, but also as a source of Helium. 

What Titan has to offer is a atmosphere largely of Nitogen, resources suitable to make plastics.  Whatever stony/metal meteors that may be in the upper layers of ice, and a 1/10th Gee field?  So it might be a good place to launch rockets from, presuming the existance of the required infrastructure for that.

I am supposing that rocky/metal materials might be available from objects ejected to the neighborhood in the last 4.5 billion years not NEO, but NTO objects?

Otherwise a more expensive process of solar sailing such materials from the inner solar system.

I am thinking that Skyscrapers on Titan could be quite big, provided the materials for them were available.  Big in a cold climate is generally good for the retention of heat.

I am thinking that inflatable domes could be held up not only by relative heat inside, but also a partial contentent of Helium.  If the domes were very big and high, perhaps the helium would differentiate out and pool at the top.

I am thinking for gravitational issues on biology, one potential option is that eventually it will be possible to trick the body to think it is experiencing greater gravity.  After all the bones must loose calcium because of a signal that says it is not needed.  The muscles?  Maybe the same thing.

Other than that, I support the notion of a pit in the crustal ice, covered with a dome filled with Helium and CO2, the CO2 and Helium should stratify to a degree.  A lighter than air craft inside of that floating in the CO2, and spinning, to provide a centrifuge.  Ideally coupled to a passageway to a set of tunnels under ice that lead to other facilities.

I think the the critical issue is fusion power, and with that and advancement in spaceflight Titan could be a very major habitat for humans, and a place from which to push further out into the solar system.

Last edited by Void (2012-07-01 10:13:37)


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

Offline

#2 2012-07-01 10:56:24

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Titans at 0.14g, ~1/7 Terran normal.

Within a few kilomemeters of height, gases don't seperate out significantly. Though why do you want to have Helium? Air at Titan pressure and Terran temperature is less than 1/4 of the density of the atmosphere at the surface on Titan. In the cold environment, I imagine hot air airships will be very popular, being able to carry 3 times the cargo as Terran airships *without* using hydrogen, and having the entire envelope avaiable as habitable area.

We could warm Titan up with enough effort using super greenhouse gases (heck, using enough suitable gases you can keep a planet warm using starlight), but the hydrocarbons will create a smog which will block out all available light. Better get rid of the methane first. If we can get water vapour into the atmosphere after that, the toxic pollutants should be scrubbed from the atmosphere by the oxygen and hydroxyl radicals produced.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Offline

#3 2012-07-01 11:43:12

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,625
Website

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Titan:

Low gravity,  surface "air" pressure about 1.5 x Earth,  extremely cold (cryogenic,  in fact) so the "air" densities are much larger there than here,  low speeds of sound making high-speed flight difficult (supersonic = expensive).   You don't need pressure domes,  but you do need gas-tight,  well-insulated buildings in which to live and work.  EVA "suit" need only be an oxygen mask or helmet,  and "super-duty" cold clothing.  Probably actively-heated. 

As for resources,  there is water available as the local rocks and sand,  and there are lakes of liquid methane.  Both are slightly "polluted" by other compounds mixed in.  The "air" itself is 97.7% nitrogen and 2.3% methane.  Water,  hydrocarbons,  and nitrogen.  We could do a lot of things with those materials in some sort of chemical plant.  Especially with much of oit already in solid or liquid form.

The atmosphere is awfully thick geometrically and density-wise,  since the aerobraking densities lie about 900 km up,  but the gravity is low.  It should not be that difficult a place to land on,  or to take off from. 

Could well be a future destination and eventual base or colony location.  With solid/liquid resources like that,  do we really want to terraform it?

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2012-07-01 11:46:40)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

Offline

#4 2012-07-01 16:38:12

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,929

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

I agree at this point with GW Johnson, that leaving Titan more natural makes some sense.  If waste heat alters it fine, don't worry about just adapt to what happens, but not another Earth.  With such a low gravitation, it should be very possible to make very large building that go very high up, and have very spacious openings with green plants balconies, artifician lighting, birds and such, as might make you happy.

?
Quote:

Within a few kilomemeters of height, gases don't seperate out significantly. Though why do you want to have Helium? Air at Titan pressure and Terran temperature is less than 1/4 of the density of the atmosphere at the surface on Titan. In the cold environment, I imagine hot air airships will be very popular, being able to carry 3 times the cargo as Terran airships *without* using hydrogen, and having the entire envelope avaiable as habitable area.

Consider a disk shaped enclosure with a disk shaped airship spinning in it.  It is not defined what amount of artificial gravitation is required for health.  Titan supplies about 1/10 th.

If the disk were outside spinning, it would constantly shed turbulent atmosphere, draining power.

If it is in the enclosure, it will hopefully be possible to induce a laminar flow, where shells of CO2/Helium mix of differnt density due to variation in mix and temperature would spin.  Ligher mixtures, those lighter than others due to content of Helium and elivated temperature would tend to float if no spin were occuring.  If the ship were spinning then you have a centrifuge, and a vortex forming around the rotor which is the spinning airship.  If laminar layers of circular flow can be induced, then the lighter warmer mix stays alongside and above the spinning airship.  The colder heavier layers stay below and further out.  The rings of spinniing gas spin at different rates.  Near the spinning airship a faster spin, near the walls of the disk shaped enclosure.  Therefore if you have a spin of 200 MPH, the gas touching the airship is only slighly slower.  Conservation of spin energy hopefully, and also the avoidance  of forces that might rip it.  Also a centering force, since the airship would be in a single central vortex.

It is my hope that below the airship could be a connected tube, so that passengers could have continuous access to a system of tunnels below the whole assembly.

It is actually possible to dispense with the toxic CO2 and go with air, but then the airship must have large containments of Helium, and the centrifical  stratification process then would have to depend more on thermal processes, since air has less of a displacement force.


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

Offline

#5 2012-07-02 04:55:12

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

...What? I still don't understand why you want to use Helium and CO2, or have a spinning airship. Why not keep it simple and just have the disk spiining in an enclosure, using magnets to keep it from touching the sides? Design it right and you could pretty much eliminate friction.

You're talking about a spinning airship in an enclosure, right?

BTW, Titan has about 1/7 Terran gravity, not 1/10.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Offline

#6 2012-07-02 12:14:01

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,921

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Titan has a pretty strong romantic appeal for me. Probably, after Mars, it is the one Spheb (I just made that up - spherical body) I would like us to visit in the solar system. 

What a shame it was that the NASA guy pulled the wrong switch and we got so few photos...but what we got was amazing and intriguing.

I would hope we develop all sorts of robots to investigate the planet, especially with a view to seeing if we can find alternative life forms there.  A multi-abled craft - something that could roam, float, dive and fly would be good!


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

Offline

#7 2012-07-02 18:45:52

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,929

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Ya,  Titan could be pretty Cool smile, but if you had a power source you could warm up nicely.

...What? I still don't understand why you want to use Helium and CO2, or have a spinning airship. Why not keep it simple and just have the disk spiining in an enclosure, using magnets to keep it from touching the sides? Design it right and you could pretty much eliminate friction.

You're talking about a spinning airship in an enclosure, right?

BTW, Titan has about 1/7 Terran gravity, not 1/10.

I stand corrected on the gravity.

I guess there are lots of good ideas.  So you imply repulsive force from the sides, but perhaps I don't understand.  Maybe an attractive force from the bottom, keeping it centered?

As for Helium and CO2 mix (Or other mixes).  I am no chemist.  I do understand that atmospheric gasses mix, and are to a degree disolved into each other.  If an excess of one gas did exist, and if they had very unlike "Specific Gravites", I think a separation and stratification might occur even with spinning.  CO2 is twice as heavy as air?  Helium is very light in relation to Air.

I think some of the reason we don't have stratification in our atmosphere is due to Oxygen and Nitrogen having similar weight.

I am looking for a "Pond Surface effect", but not a sharp transition as it is between water and air, but a graduated differientation  Temperature differential will also help.

I want a colder and heavier (CO2 dominated) layer overlayed by a lighter warmer (Helium dominated layer)  Up however would be points away from the spiinning habitat as well as the gravitational "UP" that Titan would provide.  It would after all be a centriguge, and fluids tend to separate, but the rotor action might also mix.  So I am not certain.  I don't know what the saturation level is between CO2 and Helium, and I will not bother to google for it, since I just don't think it is out there.

But such spinning mechanisms could also use actuated flaps and also "Ground Effects", as in hovercraft to repell from the floor and wall.

The options are rather large.

I might add that such a method might work OK on other worlds such as Mars.  However, there you might want to have a chamber under a ice covered lake, a chamber in rock perhaps?  Perhaps even such a chamber created by a nuclear blast, as was at one time speculated for the Moon. 

Just don't make it too big or in 800 Million years too many Morlocks!  (I saw that in a movie)  Morlocks No!!

Last edited by Void (2012-07-02 18:49:24)


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

Offline

#8 2012-07-03 17:12:34

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=6057

I imagine we'll end up paraterraforming Titan anyway.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Offline

#9 2012-07-04 12:28:40

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,929

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Yes, perhaps you will.


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

Offline

#10 2012-07-06 10:33:58

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

The entire Saturn system is interesting as a place for Terraforming, what with Titan and the other 6 "dwarf moons" available. As a SciFi setting it's quite simply awesome. One major planet, six smaller planets, all terraformed. Rings that are much more like the asteroid belts of old, where ships can hide, masking their waste heat by dumping it into chunks of ice there. Myriad moonlets which could be converted into Bernal Spheres, Ringworlds, and even possibly small "planets", if we can get enough power to simulate gravity with magnetism. To top it off, delta-V's.and trip times are low enough that you can do tramp freighters with chemical rockets, so you only need the big rockets to actually get there. Which might even be doable by chemical, if we push gravitational assist and aerocapture to it's limits...

Once people are at Saturn, I can't imagine them staying at just Titan. Not when the system is such that family rockets are feasible.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Offline

#11 2012-08-16 13:16:35

Midoshi
Member
From: Colorado
Registered: 2007-07-14
Posts: 157

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Hi there Koeng!

Using organisms like bacteria is a very powerful tool when thinking about how to terraform other bodies in our solar system. It's primary drawbacks are that it tends to be a bit slow, and there have to be at least some pre-existing areas where the life can survive. Titan's surface is particularly bad, because it is only 94 Kelvin, which is very, very cold. In fact, if it a just bit colder, the N2 in Titan's atmosphere would condense out and form a liquid N2 ocean! At these temperatures, water ice is as hard as a rock, and any form of life we know of (including methanotrophs) would simply not work. It may some day be possible to engineer life that operates in methane solvent (and I know scientists who try to invent biochemistry for that; it's very difficult compared to water). However, we would have to build it "from scratch" because all the proteins and lipids that are the basis of life on Earth would not work in liquid methane. That would be a huge undertaking.

Things are a little better high up in Titan's atmosphere. Like Earth, Titan has a warm stratosphere, and it can get up to almost 200 Kelvin, which is similar to temperatures in Antarctica during the winter on Earth. We know that some organisms on Earth have organic molecules dissolved in their cellular fluid that act as an anti-freeze, allowing them to live well below the freezing point of water (273 Kelvin). However, this usually just allows the cell to survive through a very cold winter; it wouldn't be able to carry out normal functions this way. It's a long shot, but maybe some better anti-freeze molecules could be developed and allow bacteria to be active under the conditions in Titan's stratosphere. There are lot of organics floating around up there, so if you can figure out the temperature problem you would be in pretty good shape.


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

Offline

#12 2012-09-03 10:49:02

dunwich
Member
From: dunwich
Registered: 2008-02-18
Posts: 30

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

I wonder if there is allready life on Titan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_on_Ti … rface_life


People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.

Offline

#13 2012-09-04 00:33:43

dunwich
Member
From: dunwich
Registered: 2008-02-18
Posts: 30

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

In many ways life on titan would be more interesting then life on Mars, because when their is life on Mars it will be deep underground hard to find and the possibility then it is Earth life that got there on a impact millions of years ago (still interesting tough) Life on Titan would probably have to be ammonia or methane based and definitly alien.

It would therefore help further refine the drake equation:
N=R*.fp.ne.fℓ.fi.fc.L

N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible
R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
These are getting predicted using space telescopes
but the gues would be between 2 and 6 billions

fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point    If more then 1 planet is a solar system has life then this will be pretty high If more then 1 type of
                                                                                                                    biochemestry is found this numbre is really high and ne has to be revised
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space


People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.

Offline

#14 2020-12-04 11:59:55

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,676

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

It is time to bring this topic back into view ..

SpaceNut, I found a (to me surprising) number of topics containing the keyword "titan"

This is the oldest, and by happy coincidence, it was created by Void, who is still with us and possibly might be interested to see this latest take on the subject.

There is no quick way to move off the Earth. We will have to solve our problems here. But if our species continues to invest in the pure science of space exploration and the stretch technology needed to preserve human health in space, people will eventually live on Titan.

Charles Wohlforth is the author of more than ten previous books. He writes a column for Alaska Dispatch News, hosts a weekly interview program for Alaska public radio stations (where he lives), and has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology, among many other awards. He is co-author of Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets.

Amanda R. Hendrix is a planetary scientist who worked for twelve years at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She has been a scientific investigator on the Galileo and Lunar Reconnaissance missions, a principal investigator on NASA research and Hubble Space Telescope observing programs, and the author of many scientific papers. As an investigator on the Cassini mission to Saturn, she has focused her research on the moons of Saturn. She is co-author of Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/let- … ket-newtab

I read the article with some skepticism, but came away moderately encouraged.  The idea of being able to walk around on the surface wearing only warm clothing and a respirator is intriguing.

One thing seems clear (to me at least) ... early settlers are going to want to be supported by a hefty and redundant nuclear power supply.

The authors appear to think that fossil fuel consumption is a feasible idea, but I find the notion quite dubious at best.

I'll give them the point, there there ** is ** a lot of Carbon on Titan.

(th)

Offline

#15 2020-12-04 18:24:09

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,401

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Those large moon of the outer planet's are very intreging and could be the means for deep space journeys in the future.

Offline

#16 2020-12-04 19:32:30

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,929

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

Yes, Titan is something to wonder about.

It is recognized that it would be a wonderful heat sink for a fusion society, and also having protective qualities for humans.

Enclosures could be very large and reasonably warm for humans.

As far as chemical energy, I think the article indicated that Oxygen could be created to run machinery.  Methane as the fuel would be likely.

Done.


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

Offline

#17 2020-12-04 21:27:57

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,676

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

For Void re #16

It is good to see your contribution to the renewal of this topic!

Here is a bit of an article on Titan ... I am (really) dubious about the wisdom of using methane as an energy carrier for heating, cooking, transportation and all the other uses we make of it on Earth.  The production of oxygen by electrolysis of water from the subsurface ocean is accompanied by the production of hydrogen, which is able to provide all the services that methane does, and it does not produce CO2 as a byproduct.


https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/s … titanocean

June 28, 2012: Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed Saturn's moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell. The finding appears in today's edition of the journal Science.

"Cassini's detection of large tides on Titan leads to the almost inescapable conclusion that there is a hidden ocean at depth," said Luciano Iess, the paper's lead author and a Cassini team member at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. "The search for water is an important goal in solar system exploration, and now we've spotted another place where it is abundant."

(th)

Offline

#18 2020-12-05 09:34:10

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,929

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

(th),
Projecting for Titan which might be settled maybe fairly far in the future, does require a few assumptions.   Fusion power most likely needed.
But while your argument for Hydrogen has merit, it would be important to keep in mind that Titan has Methane in it's atmosphere, and also as a liquid in places on the ground.  We might even speculate that it may have a liquid Methane table underground in places where you might drill wells to extract it.
Also Methane is easier to handle at ambient temperatures on Titan.   And the tanks can be smaller.
Uses for Hydrogen could be to extract nuclear fuels, and then to use the balance as a lifting gas, and as propellant for deep space propulsion methods.
For stationary equipment, yes perhaps Hydrogen would do as fuel.

Done

Last edited by Void (2020-12-05 09:34:46)


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

Offline

#19 2020-12-05 10:03:13

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 1,201

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

It has a 1.5 bar atmospheric pressure, so habitats won't need to be pressurised or shielded.  On the down side, it has a cryogenic atmosphere, with a temperature of -180C and a density at the surface of about 5kg/m3.  Heat fluxes out of an unprotected human body would be enough to flash freeze.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

Offline

#20 2020-12-05 10:30:53

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,676

Re: Titan, with modest efforts

For Calliban re #19

Thank you for your support of this latest surfacing of Void's topic!

Your comments inspired me to ask Google what people on Earth have developed to handle temperatures as low as -180 C.

The answer appears to be nothing << sigh >>

The closest I was able to find was arctic garments reaching down to -60 Celsius.

https://angusadventures.com/adventurer- … /clothing/

That said, it is possible that technology developed for -60 C is able to provide safety all the way to -180.

There isn't much market demand for that capability (to the best of my knowledge).

However, electric heating combined with suitable fabric may be able to allow a Titan dweller to take a stroll on the surface.

There sure wouldn't be much of a problem with mosquitoes, but the Universe is full of surprises.

At least one science fiction writer has stretched his imagination to the point that he created an entire category of life that might exist in deep space.  It was drawn as being extremely dangerous to humans venturing into the environment, because the creatures were hungry for energy, and the humans would have looked like a supernova.

***
Production of Oxygen on Titan would be an unceasing requirement.  Humans setting up shop there will need multiple levels of redundancy, and an escape plan for emergencies.  The conditions on Mars would be trying, but far less severe.

(th)

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB