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#51 2021-07-18 12:28:29

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,051

Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

In contrast to the grand vision offered by Void in Post #50, what I am planning for this post must seem modest.

It might even quality as pedestrian, in comparison.

The purpose of ** this ** post is to describe an experiment that might be performed on Earth, by persons of modest means, to see if unclean (or undrinkable) water might be made drinkable through a modification of the MIT passive energy design reported by SpaceNut in the not-too-distant past in the forum.

For SpaceNut ... as you read this, please consider if you think it might be achievable within your budget and time constraints. You have already demonstrated mechanical skills far in excess of what I ** think ** is required for this demonstration.

The objection you raised, to the difficulty of using the original MIT design in a cold, frozen environment such as the East coast of the US in winter, has been playing on my mind.  The design I am about to offer ** should ** meet the winter challenge.

It ** should ** also work in summer, during rainy weather, or at any other climate condition I can think of, short of earthquake or firestorm.

Start with the basic MIT idea .... this consists (as I understand it) of a clear window (glass or plastic) enclosing a sealed volume with a pan of (dirty) water in the bottom.  To allow the system to operate with least possible maintenance, some modest mechanical filtering of the incoming water would make sense. An example of such a filter would be sand through which the incoming water would percolate at a rate matched to the production rate of the distiller.

Sunlight would be admitted to the volume through the window as in the MIT design.  However, from ** there **, I offer the following amendments:

1) Using components of an old but still working refrigerator...

  a. Install the cooling coils above a metal back plate arranged at an angle over the water bath, so that distilled water is drawn by gravity into a trough for egress to a collection container.

b. Install the heat exchanger under the water bath so that heat extracted from the cooling plate is fed into the water bath.

Thus, the solar input would be supplemented by the thermal energy moved by the mechanical system.

In addition, the default cooling to atmosphere of the MIT design (as I understand it) would be supplemented by the mechanical thermal movement of the mechanical system.

The system would be constructed with sensors to accurately measure the operating conditions of the experiment, to deliver useful information for evaluation.

The energy input to the system would consist of electrical energy that can be measured by inexpensive devices, and by solar energy that can be measured indirectly by another set of inexpensive devices (small solar cells designed for the purpose).

The water flowing into the system should match that coming out, less solids that are left in the heating tray.

The solids in the heating tray would include iron atoms (in the case of SpaceNut's situation) and other atom types in other situations.

The water flowing out of the system would consist of water molecules and molecules light enough to be launched into the air by thermal energy. For that reason, the water would not be pure H2O, but it ** should ** be potable.

I'm hoping there may be suggestions forthcoming from members with posting privileges for further separation of water molecules from any other molecules that may be present in the distillate.

***
2. This topic is written with the qualification "for Starship missions".

it seems conceivable to me that the method(s) of water purification described here might be applicable to space craft where gravity is present, such as the Large Ship.  Gravity is needed to provide a way for molecules liberated from the warming tray by thermal energy to flow to a collection point on the cooling surface. 

The suggestion of OF1939, for scraping of the water collection surface also has merit, although it does increase the complexity of the system modestly.

(th)

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#52 2021-07-18 13:07:44

SpaceNut
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#53 2021-07-18 13:26:36

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,051

Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

For SpaceNut re #52

SearchTerm:books on distillation of water for survival or regular home use
SearchTerm:distill water for survival or regular home use

I'm leaning toward adding the book you linked to my budget for next month.  It looks like a helpful guide to have on the shelf.

***
One of the links mentioned that alcohol is one of the molecules that is light enough to lift up with water molecules in the heated pan.

There is a TV cable show about American distillers (moonshiners) that illustrates practical application of this principle of physics. 

The fact that aromatic carbon molecules are light enough to join water molecules in escape is evident when a cook sets a pot on the stove to simmer.  The house (or habitat) fills up with the (hopefully pleasant) aroma of whatever is in the pot.

However, water from a swamp is unlikely to be generate pleasant aromas.

That is where the recommendation of OF1939 for activated charcoal might seem helpful.  However, my experience does not include working with activated charcoal, except as a consumer using disposable items.  For a regular water purification system, it would be nice to have a self-cleaning subsystem to detect and remove any molecules that contain carbon.

This is the province of nanotechnology.  Activated charcoal is a good example of nanotechnology at work in bulk form.  I'm interested in dynamic nanotechnology that completes the full cycle, from detecting and capturing the unwanted molecule, to routing it to an exit point for removal.

The alternative is to be able to identify, capture and remove water molecules, but the ideal would be to do both at once, so the volume of the distiller does not load up with aromatic carbon molecules.

(th)

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#54 2021-07-18 13:32:59

SpaceNut
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

Passing tap water or other through the activated charcoal filters like Britter or others are commonly used where water is a problem for metals and other such nasty aspects of taste.

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#55 2021-07-18 16:20:54

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,051

Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

For SpaceNut re #54

Your mention of activated charcoal is interesting, and it stimulated the question... how does activated charcoal work?

It appears that more than a few folks have had the same question:

Per Google:

Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in the gut, preventing their absorption ( 2 ). The charcoal's porous texture has a negative electrical charge, which causes it to attract positively charged molecules, such as toxins and gases. This helps it trap toxins and chemicals in the gut ( 2 , 3).Jun 29, 2017

What Is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses
https://www.healthline.com
About featured snippets

Feedback

Debunking the Hype Surrounding Activated Charcoal ...
https://integrisok.com
Dec 3, 2019 — How does activated charcoal work? ... Activated charcoal binds to toxins and chemicals to keep your body from absorbing them. Adsorption occurs ...

The Truth About Activated Charcoal: How and When It Works
https://www.webmd.com
Dec 21, 2019 — How It Works ... The charcoal is “activated” when it's heated to a very high temperature. This changes its structure. Heating gives the fine ...

Activated charcoal: 8 uses and what the science says
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com
Superheating natural sources of carbon, such as wood, produces activated charcoal. The black powder stops toxins from being absorbed in the stomach by binding ...
What is activated charcoal? · Possible uses · Medical uses · Risks and takeaway

Activated Charcoal: The Powerful Detox Ingredient You Don't ...
https://www.goodrx.com
Feb 7, 2019 — So, the sooner activated charcoal is taken after swallowing the drug or poison, the better it works—generally within 30 to 60 minutes. The toxic ...

10 Ways To Use Activated Charcoal For Health And Beauty ...
https://www.chiropractor-schaumburg.com
Working to eliminate toxins and chemicals that linger in our bodies, taking a few capsules of activated charcoal per day can flush your system. (3) This can ...

Activated charcoal benefits and how to use the product safely
https://www.singlecare.com
Feb 27, 2020 — Activated charcoal works through the digestive tract by trapping toxins in the gut and preventing them from being absorbed. Activated charcoal ...

Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in the gut, preventing their absorption ( 2 ). The charcoal's porous texture has a negative electrical charge, which causes it to attract positively charged molecules, such as toxins and gases. This helps it trap toxins and chemicals in the gut ( 2 , 3).Jun 29, 2017

What Is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses
https://www.healthline.com
About featured snippets

Feedback

Debunking the Hype Surrounding Activated Charcoal ...
https://integrisok.com
Dec 3, 2019 — How does activated charcoal work? ... Activated charcoal binds to toxins and chemicals to keep your body from absorbing them. Adsorption occurs ...

The Truth About Activated Charcoal: How and When It Works
https://www.webmd.com
Dec 21, 2019 — How It Works ... The charcoal is “activated” when it's heated to a very high temperature. This changes its structure. Heating gives the fine ...

Activated charcoal: 8 uses and what the science says
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com
Superheating natural sources of carbon, such as wood, produces activated charcoal. The black powder stops toxins from being absorbed in the stomach by binding ...
What is activated charcoal? · Possible uses · Medical uses · Risks and takeaway

Activated Charcoal: The Powerful Detox Ingredient You Don't ...
https://www.goodrx.com
Feb 7, 2019 — So, the sooner activated charcoal is taken after swallowing the drug or poison, the better it works—generally within 30 to 60 minutes. The toxic ...

10 Ways To Use Activated Charcoal For Health And Beauty ...
https://www.chiropractor-schaumburg.com
Working to eliminate toxins and chemicals that linger in our bodies, taking a few capsules of activated charcoal per day can flush your system. (3) This can ...

Activated charcoal benefits and how to use the product safely
https://www.singlecare.com
Feb 27, 2020 — Activated charcoal works through the digestive tract by trapping toxins in the gut and preventing them from being absorbed. Activated charcoal ...

I deduce that if you were to plan to use activated charcoal to remove non-water molecules from a vapor in a solar still, you would need to plan to heat the material periodically to drive off the trapped molecules.

That would certainly appear to be a way to accomplish the task.

However, what I'm looking for is a solution that operates at the nanotechnology level (as activated charcoal certainly does) but with the wrinkle that the trapped molecules are transported to a collection point continuously, so the active component does not hold onto the trapped molecules.

Thanks again for adding to the topic.

(th)

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#56 2021-09-09 11:22:38

Mars_B4_Moon
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

Safeguarding clean water for spaceflight missions
https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Safe … s_999.html

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#57 2021-12-26 20:36:10

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

There are two topics with the word "practical" in the title .... this is one of them ...

The entire topic created by SpaceNut, to collect water physically captured in regolith (as differentiated from chemically bound water) would fit as a subset of this topic. 

If someone has time to read this topic, created by kbd512, please report if anything "practical" is recorded.

The title promises a "practical" solution to a real problem.

Perhaps one of the posts actually delivers.

(th)

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#58 2021-12-26 21:00:31

SpaceNut
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

Starts out with the quest for ground truth which is something we do not have...
Trusting radar neutrons is also a false for where and at what level the water is for the ground to which has been said to have it.
This is why the most recent water needs a lander and rover pair to tell for sure what is there.

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#59 2021-12-27 06:13:11

kbd512
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Posts: 6,238

Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

tahanson43206,

My general assertion is that having ships wait on another planet for 2 years while dumping most of your generated energy into refueling them is an ill-conceived "make work" project.  Any water you get should go into agriculture and sustaining the human population.  For those greatly enamored with grossly impractical tasks, this topic was devoted to drilling water wells, which is how we obtain liquid water here on Earth, even at our Antarctic research station.  That is more practical than removing hundreds to thousands of cubic meters of overburden using a swarm of hundreds to thousands of various different kinds of small robots.  We ultimately require millions of tons of liquid water.  A single Starship return flight requires 750t of water.  If SpaceX sends 1,000 Starships to Mars, then they need 750,000t of liquid water to return them to Earth.  Agriculture and human habitation require a lot more.

The reason for this topic is is the same reason why any practical colonization effort requires much larger ships.  Orders of magnitude have meaning in the context of the shipping business and the rocket business.  Transporting colonists to Mars, 1,000 per ship, requires 1,000 flights to create a colony of 1 million people.  Over 25 years, that amounts to 40 flights per year.  If all or most of our propellant for the large ship comes from a combination of the Earth's magnetic field (electrodynamic tethers) and M2P2, then the propellant becomes a minor quantity of the total delivered tonnage. The tethers use zero propellant and M2P2 requires a comparatively tiny injection of inert gas to create a plasma that catches the solar wind protons over 100s of kilometers of surface area and use them for propulsive power.  The specific impulse of M2P2 ranges between 50,000s and 90,000s.  Those Isp figures are derived from the quantity of replacement Argon injected into the electromagnetic field to account for daily losses.  These large ships can actually depart from Earth at any time of the year, because M2P2 can achieve speeds ranging between 50km/s and 80km/s over a time span of 3 months.  A fraction of that speed is required to overtake Mars, no matter when the ship departs.  The important point is that there is no longer a "launch window".  Ships leave Earth when they're ready and return to Earth when they're ready.  We will eventually load Argon collected from the upper atmosphere of Mars to economize on Starship launches (limit launches to other consumables and more colonists).

The Starships stay on Earth for immediate refurbishment and reuse.  If the practically achievable launch cadence is only 2 launches per week, then that equates to 104 flights per Starship per year.  We would actually use up all of the design service life of any given Starship in 1 year.  That means we extracted 100% of its total lift capability so fast that it didn't have time to deteriorate due to age.  1 Starship's total lifetime lift capability is 15,000t to LEO.  Burning through service life quickly is the best approach.  The absolute worst thing you can do to an aerospace vehicle is to use it infrequently.  An airliner that sits idle for a year may never fly again.  That seems counter-intuitive, but engines that get used at least once a week typically achieve TBO, whereas flying once per month or less frequently is a great way to destroy an engine long before the manual says it has to be overhauled or scrapped.

Each of my "large-ish ships" consumes 2,500t of Starship's total lifetime lift capability, so 1 Starship can build 6 of my ships.  We need a grand total of 7 Starships to create a fleet of 40 ships in a single year.  That includes supplying each ship with a full load of colonists and provisions, BTW.  Thereafter, each colonization ship's flight to Mars requires 7 supporting launches.  That provides a full time launch schedule for 3 Starships per year, consumes all or most of their design service life within that year, and presumes that another 3 new Starships are built every year, for 25 straight years.  NASA's Space Shuttle program spanned 30 years, Soyuz has been in operation for more than 60 years, so a 25 year program of record for SpaceX's Starship would be "normal" for a workhorse launch vehicle.  Falcon 9 has been operating since 2010 and Atlas V since 2002, so this new super heavy will be a staple of launch pads for many years to come.

That doesn't account for the cargo ships that will accompany the colonization ships, and we will include 1 cargo ship per colonization ship, so we do need an additional 3 ships to construct the 40 cargo freighters.  Each freighter will carry 2,000t of cargo, which is a pittance relative to the tonnage allocated per colonist.

Over the lifetime of this program, we will use up 100% of the 100 launch lifespan of each Starship, of approximately 160 Starships to create Elon Musk's 1,000,000 strong Mars colony.  The money saved by not building Starships will instead be devoted to sustaining the operation of the colonization and cargo ships.  The entire program's total delivered tonnage to LEO amounts to 24,000,000t.  The cargo freighters will deliver a maximum of 2,000,000t to Mars orbit.  Over 25 years, total propellant consumption is 768,000,000t / 768Mt, of which around 256,000,000t / 256Mt is Methane.  256Mt represents a little less than 1/2000th of US yearly consumption of Methane / natural gas.  Over the span of 25 years, 1/50,000th of our total natural gas consumption doesn't even amount to "noise".  More than that is flared off every year.

Total launch costs amount to $12.8B per year.  This will be partially subsidized by a new NASA colonization budget, to the tune of $4B, by the military to the tune of $2B, with the rest provided by commercial satellite launches or the colonists themselves in the form of ticket purchases and metal imports to Earth.  The ultimate goal is moving heavy industry and mining off-world to the moon / Mars / asteroids for environmental protection of Earth.  A high launch cadence is the best way for SpaceX and their customers to "get their money's worth" out of each Starship, and "burning through" the operational life of the rocket (treating the rockets like commercial airliners- ye olde "butts in seats" methodology to maintaining profitability) supports the manufacturing side of SpaceX.  Any NASA or DoD satellite payloads will automatically bump other payloads as part of the deal since they are providing the bulk of the funding.  Relative to what they are presently paying, their launches will become so cheap and easy to schedule that they can exit the rocket building / purchasing business and focus on technology development.  They can still fund engine development and testing of new technologies, but not launch vehicle development, which always devolves into a boondoggle.

Basically, NASA and DoD have time sharing options on the fleet of super heavy lift rockets.  Whenever Uncle Sam is ready to launch, there's a rocket literally sitting on a pad ready to launch.  We could set up a similar deal for our universities and corporations, if they pool their money together.  The major universities could afford to pay a combined half billion dollars per year so that engineering students send research satellites into space.  Major corporations could make similar deals for space access.  In practice, we would set aside 1 to 2 rockets for National Security / NASA / university / corporate uses.  US DoD and NASA are Tier 1 customers (immediate launch), universities and research corporations are Tier 2 customers (2 week launch), and everyone else is a Tier 3 customer (1 month launch).  Our allies could make similar deals and pool resources for assured access to space, and would also contribute to the pool of colonist candidates / applicants.

Immigration will initially be subsidized as part of a deal with college students to create jobs following successful completion of a Master of Science Degree (architects / geologists / electrical engineers / petrochemical engineers / aerospace engineers / medical doctors and nurses) or equivalent technical college education for high demand / high skill jobs (construction workers / welders / plumbers / electricians / heavy vehicle and equipment operators).  The graduate agrees to undergo training to work for the company in exchange for a ticket and a 10 year work contract (with the option to extend to 20 years if the company is happy with work performance), similar to what the US military does for their medical corps.  There will also be severe penalties for breech of contract to discourage poor work performance, similar to US military contracts / enlistments.

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#60 2021-12-27 07:51:44

tahanson43206
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

For kbd512 re #59

Thanks (again) for your participation in the Sunday Zoom!  I am glad to see your military transport version of RobertDyck's Large Ship in early stages of development.  Your natural customer is the Space Force.  The features you have already defined should be of great interest to them.

1) Dual, counter-rotating habitat rings.  This feature will insure trouble free navigation, at the price of a drain of energy at the hub due to viscosity of fluid.
2) Ultra-light components. This feature will increase chances of success with launch and assembly
3) Variable gravity prescription - This feature will trade rotation rate for gravity to be simulated - Valuable for research as well as missions

It is time to separate your initiative from the established Large Ship project.  Your assistance to RobertDyck has been crucial in accelerating the pace of development of Large Ship, culminating in his winning an opportunity to present to the National Space Society.  However, I'd like to keep the two projects separate from now on, if possible.

The Practical Water topic needs to return to focus on water extraction. 

(th)

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#61 2021-12-27 10:57:38

SpaceNut
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

Well drilling rig that is nuclear powered would seem very possible but we are thinking well down the road for support of a crewed mission. Of course a water vein beneath the surface would make the fuel creation process much easier. But that is also a random find at this point without having sent such a drilling rig to mars no matter what depth it can probe in that search for water.

There are many drilling rig types to simply modify for our purpose for mars.
Large and Smallimg-double-soil-mix.jpg

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#62 2021-12-27 14:52:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

Search engines are a great tool to not only find an article to ready but to find the science behind them and if there is any practicle knowledge to be had form it already being in use.

nuclear powered water drilling rig

A nuclear power plant that will float eight or more miles out to sea promises to be safer, cheaper, and easier to deploy than today’s land-based plants.

The researchers' vision for an Offshore Floating Nuclear Plant (OFNP, visible in the slideshow above) includes a main structure about 45 meters in diameter that will house a plant generating 300 megawatts of electricity. An alternative design for a 1,100-MW plant calls for a structure about 75 meters in diameter. In both cases, the structures include living quarters and helipads for transporting personnel — similar to offshore oil drilling platforms.

floating-nuclear-power-plant.jpg

Offshore-Floating-Nuclear-Plant.jpg

The nuclear reactor and related safety systems of the proposed Offshore Floating Nuclear Plant located in watertight compartments deep in the structure. The reactor pressure vessel (RPV) sits inside a dry containment structure, surrounded by seawater. Steam from generators immersed in the heated water inside the RPV passes to electricity-generating turbines higher in the structure. Every 12 to 48 months, spent fuel assemblies are lifted out, and fresh fuel is inserted into the reactor. The removed assemblies are transferred to the spent fuel pool, which has storage capacity to handle all fuel removed from the plant over its lifetime.

Floating-Nuclear-Reactor-Core.jpg

The reactor core and steam generators are immersed in fresh, distilled cooling water inside the reactor pressure vessel (RPV). If operation of the cooling pumps is interrupted, cooling water flows passively though an auxiliary heat exchanger immersed in seawater. If a more serious problem occurs, cooling water is released from inside the RPV into the containment structure, and seawater can enter the empty space around the containment. Heat from the cooling water will pass through the containment wall to the seawater. Seawater flows naturally through the structure, so it is constantly renewed, providing an infinite source of cooling.

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#63 2021-12-28 07:20:19

tahanson43206
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

For SpaceNut ... thanks for the very interesting find you put into Post #62

It could go into Calliban's Nuclear is Safe Topic if you have time. 

A question I have (without following the links to the original source) is how the energy produced is used.

It might be produced as electricity and shipped somewhere, or it might be consumed on site to make materials out of sea water and air.

(th)

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#64 2021-12-28 10:04:10

SpaceNut
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

Done and for mars since we do not have the open sea to use for the reactor the power section that would be entirely different. The main issue is the mass and size to get something which some would say is over kill for drilling for water.
So for Mars a drilling operation is a completely new design.

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#65 2022-04-23 05:46:46

tahanson43206
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

Thanks to all the contributors who make this an interesting topic to read from the top.

I was looking for topics that contain the word 'Practical"...

There are only three, on 2022/04/23.   

Forum    Replies    Last post
Sticky: A More Practical Interplanetary Colonization Ship by kbd512 [ 1 2 3 4 5 ]
Interplanetary transportation    121    2022-03-16 04:41:54 by kbd512

Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions by kbd512 [ 1 2 3 ]
Human missions    63    2021-12-28 12:04:10 by SpaceNut

Practical Dyson Sphere: The keu to terraforming the Solar System by Tom Kalbfus

It was NOT surprising (to me at least) to find GW Johnson posting in this topic, with Texas insight into how to do a "practical" discovery of water on Mars.  That post was a prequel to the eventual Lander Proposal developed by Dr. Johnson, and mailed to SpaceX and to Blue Origin.  While nothing has been heard from either of these entities, the paper would have been received and reviewed by at least ONE person.

We have a new opportunity to catch a flight to Mars this September, but time is definitely running short.  Mr. Putin's misadventure in Ukraine has resulted in many changes to the flow of events on Earth.  Among those is cancellation of the planned collaboration between Russia and ESA to launch a long planned robot expedition to Mars.

Because ESA is having to try to find a new launch partner, there is a (very small) window of opportunity to add the Texas Drill (which is based upon the Canadian Drill) to the manifest.

If that happens, it will be quite surprising, but at least the opportunity has been identified in this forum.

(th)

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#66 2022-04-23 09:01:52

SpaceNut
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Re: Practical Water Extraction Methods for Starship Missions

The lander we proposed would land in an area that we detected subsurface ice that was possibly mixed in the regolith soils of mars at a meter but it was only a higher concentration than the 9 liter digging that I had worked out for other areas.

So far the buried glaciers are not where we can use solar to power equipment and going with nuclear is so far a KRUSTY unit if it happens so the chances of getting higher concentrations of water locked up as ice needs to have a drilling capability that is greater than a few meters.

The depths of which could be possible if we can retro-propulsive land higher mass than we currently do on mars surface.

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