Author Topic: Radical Terraforming Methods  (Read 25058 times)

Online sanman

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Radical Terraforming Methods
« on: 04/30/2011 09:25 PM »
Since this is the Advanced Concepts section, I'd like to ask about what might be the most radical-yet-feasible approaches to terraforming planets like Mars or Venus.

For instance, if we could collide a large ammonia ice and/or water ice object with Mars, how long would it take for the Martian crust to re-solidify/stabilize? Millions of years? Thousands? What is the mass threshold for a useful collision? A half-mile sized object, like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs? What if we instead collided our ammonia/water ice object with Phobos or Deimos, to knock it into Mars?

What if a suitable collision with Venus could tear off its dense crushing poisonous atmosphere, while also widening its orbit? Could a sufficiently high-kinetic collision also be used to affect Venus' core, to re-start a magnetosphere?


What about the use of "gravity tractor" effect, where an object of sufficient mass could be used to gradually pull on Mars or Venus to alter their orbits? (To me, this would amount to a "collision without the collision" - ie. orbital change with little or no planetary crustal disruption)
What if an object like Ceres could be hurled at Mars or Venus for this purpose, without actually colliding with the planetary target, so that Ceres ended up in an initially skewed but decaying elliptical orbit around Mars or Venus?
I'm thinking the bias/skew of this ellipse would mean a combined binary center of gravity that resulted in an altered planetary orbital trajectory.



What about use of engineered bacteria for transformation of the Martian environment? Since bacteria can multiply exponentially, they can scale up their effects very quickly.

What is the minimum atmospheric pressure/density required for the Martian surface to achieve temperature stability comparable to Earth's?

What combination of approaches could be used, and in what order, to achieve the most beneficial effects in the quickest timeframe?

I was thinking that collisions/tractors should come first, since they are the most crude and brutal. Then bacterial seeding could come afterwards, since bacteria don't mind crustal instabilities like earthquakes, just as long as the whole surface isn't molten.

What other things could be tried?

Online sanman

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #1 on: 04/30/2011 09:35 PM »
Let's suppose that we could catalog 80% of the objects in the asteroid belt, to find out their orbits, mass and composition. Shouldn't it be possible to then calculate the easiest way to set up a collision with Mars or Venus, like in an orbital billiards game?

ie. you find find a way to bang a small object into a larger object into a larger object, etc, to obtain a collision with the target planet at just the right kinetic vector to achieve the desired effect.

There are a lot of objects in our solar system, in a wide variety of sizes - especially if we decide to include the Oort cloud. Shouldn't there be some theoretical combination of collisions that could be used to do what we want, based on detailed knowledge of orbital mechanics?

« Last Edit: 04/30/2011 09:37 PM by sanman »

Offline UncleMatt

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #2 on: 05/01/2011 03:00 AM »
Since Mars has little, if any magnetic field protecting the atmosphere from degradation by the suns activity, any change made to the atmosphere will be short lived on planetary time scales. I recall an article not long ago that actually showed a chunk of Mars' atmosphere leaving the planet in the energy stream from the sun. You would have to keep throwing rocks at it as time went by, and STILL no magnetic field to protect living things from high energy particles/radiation...
« Last Edit: 05/01/2011 03:01 AM by UncleMatt »

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #3 on: 05/01/2011 04:25 AM »
The only thing I have seen that could make terraforming practical is a self-reproducing, self-sufficient workforce. This means either self reproducing machines, or self sufficient human colonies. The second is probably less like science fiction right now.

Therefore terraforming is something that will only happen after we know how to live without earthlike planets anyway. I hope we do get to that point but terraforming will be more of an art project than to provide more living room.

Terraforming mars would give us less than another earth of living space. The true unexploited potential of this solarsystem is IMO better reflected by the proportion of sunlight that falls onto the planet earth compared to the proportion currently not exploited.

My favorite mechanism for terraforming would be self-reproducing solar-sail 'butterflies'. They eat a bit of the moon or perhaps some asteroid then exploit their solar sails to navigate into position around the desired planet. Then they can be programmed to fully control the sunlight to the planet's surface. They could increase the sunlight to mars, or shade venus, even giving it earth-length 'days'. If we had that sort of power we could probably build artificial magnetospheres also by similar means.

Offline mlorrey

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #4 on: 05/01/2011 04:40 AM »
I suggest anybody interested in terraforming Mars to read Martyn Fogg's seminal textbook, "Terraforming: Engineering Planetary Environments", which is on Amazon. This text is what Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is based on.

Basically, the quickest way to terraform Mars using current technology is to build some air plants there that will produce chlorofluorocarbons using martian ores and nuclear power, and dump the CFC's into the Martian atmosphere. CFCs are a very strong greenhouse gas, much stronger than methane or CO2. If we produce an equivalent mass of CFCs as have been produced on Earth since 1970, then Mars will warm enough to cause all the CO2 in ices at the poles, and embedded in regolith, to outgas, and within 30 years increase Martian atmospheric pressure to about 300 millibars, which is about the pressure seen in the Himalayas. This will eliminate the need for pressure suits on Mars, but not the need for oxygen masks. The average temperature will be above freezing for about 3/4 of the surface, so this should also cause all the glacial ice to melt and the northern basin will fill and become a shallow ocean with an average depth of about 40-50 feet. This will lower Mars albedo and become a big heat sink so that after a few decades of a cool spell as the liquid water absorbs much of the heat from the atmosphere, the climate will be ready for plant life to be colonized. Evaporation of moisture will increase atmospheric density further.

The main problem is the lack of atmospheric nitrogen on Mars. There are two places to get it: Titan and Pluto. The only real way to ship the needed mass from one planet to another is if we are able to prove the viability of Mach Effect technology and can use it to build wormhole gateways between planets, this would allow wormholes to be used as pipelines for atmospheric gasses between worlds.
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Online sanman

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #5 on: 05/01/2011 07:32 AM »
I'm surprised at the defeatist pessimism towards terraforming. Thanks for your comments mlorrey, but I don't think wormholes from mach effect will be happening any time soon. Yes, I'd read about the CFCs thing, but don't they also eat up ozone? We like Ozone for blocking radiation, and even though Mars has none of it, we don't want to preclude the possibility of having it sometime down the line.

Maybe we can engineer a better greenhouse gas (since CFCs were not expressly engineered for that purpose), and also we can H-bomb the Martian icecaps to accelerate the warming.

Extremophile bacteria amount to self-replicating machines, and could potentially adapt to current Martian conditions, in order to proliferate and modify the environment.

A large collision could increase the albedo by raising a dustcloud, which could also provide shielding from solar radiation for bacteria seeded soon afterward.

Regarding magnetosphere, Mars does apparently have a liquid iron core:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=453

So it sounds like it must have had a magnetosphere at some point in the past.

What kind of energy output would a working Martian magnetosphere equate to?








« Last Edit: 05/01/2011 08:14 AM by sanman »

Offline rklaehn

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #6 on: 05/01/2011 08:05 AM »
Since Mars has little, if any magnetic field protecting the atmosphere from degradation by the suns activity, any change made to the atmosphere will be short lived on planetary time scales. I recall an article not long ago that actually showed a chunk of Mars' atmosphere leaving the planet in the energy stream from the sun. You would have to keep throwing rocks at it as time went by, and STILL no magnetic field to protect living things from high energy particles/radiation...

One million years is short on planetary time scales. But it would still be enough for a relatively longlived human civilization. Besides, compared with all the other things discussed here, providing mars with a magnetic field by building a few superconducting rings and charging them using nuclear power would be relatively easy. A planetary scale power grid for an advanced civilization could be configured so that it produces such a magnetic field as a side effect.

The figure of 30 years for CFC induced atmosphere production sounds almost too good to be true. And if you want a bigger effect, just produce more of them. It is not like they are toxic or anything. And the raw materials are just fluorine salt and CO2, right?
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Online sanman

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #7 on: 05/01/2011 08:14 AM »
What could be done to artificially reproduce the effects of a Magnetosphere? What if some object with a large magnetic field (eg. magnetic solar sail / plasma bubble ?) could be orbited close the Sun, always staying between the Sun and Mars. Perhaps this object's magnetic field could create a small wake, which would of course broaden as it traveled outwards, so that by the time it got to Mars it would have a significant effect.

Based on Solar Wind velocity, the Sun-Mars distance, and Mars diameter, how close to the Sun would our magnetic deflector have to be, and how large would it have to be, in order to have any meaningful effect?

Let's say our deflector object is orbiting the Sun at a distance of ~50million km. The Sun-Mars distance is ~200million km. The highest energy Solar Wind particles travel at ~750km/s. The Martian diameter is ~3500km.

So we have 150million km in which to get our Solar Wind particles to veer 1750km out of the way (let's make them veer 2000km out of the way)

So

2 000 / (150 000 000 / 750) = 0.01 km/s orthogonal velocity
                                      = 10 m/s orthogonal velocity

Can we impart a velocity of 10 m/s to Solar Wind particles, so that they will have veered clear of Mars by the time they reach it?

We want our solar sail deflector to always hover between the Sun and Mars, so that solar sail deflector's tangential orbital velocity vector plus Solar Wind pressure force are able to exactly offset the Sun's gravitional pull.

« Last Edit: 05/01/2011 08:40 AM by sanman »

Offline UncleMatt

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #8 on: 05/01/2011 03:11 PM »
I'm surprised at the defeatist pessimism towards terraforming. Thanks for your comments mlorrey, but I don't think wormholes from mach effect will be happening any time soon. Yes, I'd read about the CFCs thing, but don't they also eat up ozone? We like Ozone for blocking radiation, and even though Mars has none of it, we don't want to preclude the possibility of having it sometime down the line.

Maybe we can engineer a better greenhouse gas (since CFCs were not expressly engineered for that purpose), and also we can H-bomb the Martian icecaps to accelerate the warming.

Extremophile bacteria amount to self-replicating machines, and could potentially adapt to current Martian conditions, in order to proliferate and modify the environment.

A large collision could increase the albedo by raising a dustcloud, which could also provide shielding from solar radiation for bacteria seeded soon afterward.

Regarding magnetosphere, Mars does apparently have a liquid iron core:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=453

So it sounds like it must have had a magnetosphere at some point in the past.

What kind of energy output would a working Martian magnetosphere equate to?
No defeatism here, just the facts. As far as I know, Mars simply does not have a magnetic field strong enough to protect living organisms from solar and space radiation, let alone protect the atmosphere from solar degradation. If anyone has a source that can refute this position, please post.

I would instead spend the time and money (resources) for terraforming on building space habitats where you can dial in living conditions to be whatever you want...

Offline alexterrell

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #9 on: 05/01/2011 05:14 PM »
I suggest anybody interested in terraforming Mars to read Martyn Fogg's seminal textbook, "Terraforming: Engineering Planetary Environments", which is on Amazon. This text is what Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is based on.

Basically, the quickest way to terraform Mars using current technology is to build some air plants there that will produce chlorofluorocarbons using martian ores and nuclear power, and dump the CFC's into the Martian atmosphere. CFCs are a very strong greenhouse gas, much stronger than methane or CO2. If we produce an equivalent mass of CFCs as have been produced on Earth since 1970, then Mars will warm enough to cause all the CO2 in ices at the poles, and embedded in regolith, to outgas, and within 30 years increase Martian atmospheric pressure to about 300 millibars, which is about the pressure seen in the Himalayas. This will eliminate the need for pressure suits on Mars, but not the need for oxygen masks. The average temperature will be above freezing for about 3/4 of the surface, so this should also cause all the glacial ice to melt and the northern basin will fill and become a shallow ocean with an average depth of about 40-50 feet. This will lower Mars albedo and become a big heat sink so that after a few decades of a cool spell as the liquid water absorbs much of the heat from the atmosphere, the climate will be ready for plant life to be colonized. Evaporation of moisture will increase atmospheric density further.

The main problem is the lack of atmospheric nitrogen on Mars. There are two places to get it: Titan and Pluto. The only real way to ship the needed mass from one planet to another is if we are able to prove the viability of Mach Effect technology and can use it to build wormhole gateways between planets, this would allow wormholes to be used as pipelines for atmospheric gasses between worlds.
The best places for Nitrogen are outer solar system asteroids. Since these orbit the sun very slowly, they only need a delta V of <1km/s to swing them by Neptune for Mars impact.

Of course, asteroid impacts may not be compatible with human settlement.

Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #10 on: 05/01/2011 05:58 PM »
The best places for Nitrogen are outer solar system asteroids. Since these orbit the sun very slowly, they only need a delta V of <1km/s to swing them by Neptune for Mars impact.

Of course, asteroid impacts may not be compatible with human settlement.

Then again, maybe if it was a very steady stream of asteroids less than 150 meters diameter or so, such as several hundred arriving per day, all landing in the deepest part of Hellas basin (or some other arbitrary location), then it might just work.  Metal-rich asteroids of smaller size could be impacted in a different location to provide extra resources, extra planetary mass, and if desired, could speed up the day/night cycle to match Earth's exactly if desired by controlling the angle of impact. 
« Last Edit: 03/15/2012 02:48 PM by go4mars »
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Online sanman

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #11 on: 05/01/2011 06:49 PM »
I don't think an asteroid impact with Oympus Mons is going to make it taller - on the contrary, it's going to punch a big hole in it. What I want to know is if asteroid impacts can be done in such a way so as to mitigate their damaging effects. Can we select an impact body and a kinetic velocity as well as an impact site, that would perhaps allow it to cleanly punch through the crust without shattering it.

We don't want a situation where the entire crust shatters or liquifies, and takes millions of years to re-solidify.
 
Suppose we found a mile-wide chunk of solid uranium floating somewhere in the asteroid belt - something with the mass density and the cohesion to allow for a very tight and fast impact. Suppose we even spent some time "sharpening" it, to turn it into a giant penetrator round.
We want to use it as a bullet that will cleanly punch through the crust. Or else, maybe we want just the right amount of "shatter" - not too much, but not too little either - since crustal venting can affect heat flux out of the core, and thus the operation of the geodynamo that creates the magnetosphere.

Both Mars and Venus seem to have iron cores, but it seems to me that:
1) Martian crust is way thicker than Venus'
2) Martian core seems to have lost its magnetosphere by getting too cold
3) Venus core has lost its magnetosphere because of under-cooling

Some sort of convection is required, in order to have a geodynamo generate the magnetic field

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus#Magnetic_field_and_core

Quote
The lack of an intrinsic magnetic field at Venus was surprising given that it is similar to Earth in size, and was expected also to contain a dynamo at its core. A dynamo requires three things: a conducting liquid, rotation, and convection. The core is thought to be electrically conductive and, while its rotation is often thought to be too slow, simulations show that it is adequate to produce a dynamo.[54][55] This implies that the dynamo is missing because of a lack of convection in the Venusian core. On Earth, convection occurs in the liquid outer layer of the core because the bottom of the liquid layer is much hotter than the top. On Venus, a global resurfacing event may have shut down plate tectonics and led to a reduced heat flux through the crust. This caused the mantle temperature to increase, thereby reducing the heat flux out of the core. As a result, there is not an internal geodynamo that can drive a magnetic field. Instead the heat energy from the core is being used to reheat the crust.[56]

One possibility is that Venus has no solid inner core,[57] or its core is not currently cooling, so that the entire liquid part of the core is at approximately the same temperature. Another possibility is that its core has already completely solidified. The state of the core is highly dependent on the concentration of sulfur, which is unknown at present.[56]

There seems to be insufficient data on Venus as compared to Mars.
Who knows, maybe Venus is actually the better candidate for terraforming compared to Mars, but we just haven't realized it yet.



« Last Edit: 05/01/2011 06:51 PM by sanman »

Offline gospacex

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #12 on: 05/01/2011 08:25 PM »
A large mirror in halo orbit around Mars L2 point may help heat it up, and keep it that way.

Online sanman

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #13 on: 05/01/2011 10:36 PM »
Could there be some way to convert solar wind energy into EM radiation, which could then be directed at Mars?

Online scienceguy

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #14 on: 05/02/2011 02:21 AM »
What about taking nitrogen from Titan and moving it to Mars?

Although this project would be outrageously expensive, consider the following calculations:

Mars’ equatorial radius: 3400 km
Surface area of Mars: 4(pi)r^2 = 4(pi)(3 400 000 m)^2 = 1.16 x 10^13 m.
Height of atmosphere: 11 km or 11 000 m.
Volume of Mars’ atmosphere: 1.16 x 10^13 m x 11 000 m = 1.3 x 10^17 m^3.

Imagine a ship with a payload bay of 2 km^3, or 2 x 10^9 m^3.

You would have 10 000 of these ships constantly opening up their payload bay doors and scooping nitrogen from Titan’s atmosphere and taking it to Mars.

You don’t need as thick an atmosphere on Mars as there is on Titan: you only need about 50% of the pressure on Titan to have Earth-like pressure. The rest of the atmosphere (oxygen) you could get from water on the surface and carbon dioxide at the poles.

Thus, you would require (1.3 x 10^17 m^3)/2x(10 000)(2 x 10^9 m^3) = 3250 trips from each of the 10000 ships. If you had 1 ship leaving Titan every day, this would take 3250 days/365 days/year or about 9 years to terraform Mars with nitrogen from Titan.

Sure, this project would be expensive, but what is the cost of another habitable planet for humanity?

EDIT: this is assuming the ships can travel very fast from Titan to Mars. To use current technology you would need way more ships.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2011 02:26 AM by scienceguy »
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Online sanman

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #15 on: 05/02/2011 03:03 AM »
We really need to investigate the asteroids, to see if there's a convenient source of ammonia really close by. If that's the case, then I'd say take it from the asteroid belt.

Online sanman

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #16 on: 05/02/2011 03:31 AM »
Tell me something else - if we have our magnetic plasma sail or plasma bubble located 50 million km from the Sun, and the solar wind is streaming into our charged plasma bubble, then will the plasma shield be able to capture enough of these solar wind particles to sustain itself, or will it simply be eroded away and constantly require replenishment from some onboard storage tanks?

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #17 on: 05/02/2011 08:14 AM »
No defeatism here, just the facts. As far as I know, Mars simply does not have a magnetic field strong enough to protect living organisms from solar and space radiation, let alone protect the atmosphere from solar degradation. If anyone has a source that can refute this position, please post.

You don't need a magnetic field to protect living organisms from solar or cosmic radiation.. if the Earth's magnetic field was to disappear we'd have more problems with our electrical grid but plant/animal life wouldn't even notice the difference.  The radiation protection we enjoy here on Earth is a result of the miles and miles of atmosphere we have above our heads.  This is why airline staff experience significantly more radiation than the rest of us.

See http://www.nsbri.org/HumanPhysSpace/introduction/intro-environment-radiation.html

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Offline baldusi

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #18 on: 05/03/2011 09:07 PM »
You don't need a magnetic field to protect living organisms from solar or cosmic radiation.. if the Earth's magnetic field was to disappear we'd have more problems with our electrical grid but plant/animal life wouldn't even notice the difference.  The radiation protection we enjoy here on Earth is a result of the miles and miles of atmosphere we have above our heads.  This is why airline staff experience significantly more radiation than the rest of us.

See http://www.nsbri.org/HumanPhysSpace/introduction/intro-environment-radiation.html

Some radiation, like UV, is blocked by ozone. What about ions? What about gamma rays? I'm asking.

Online scienceguy

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #19 on: 05/03/2011 09:57 PM »
I don't know about gamma rays, but ions can be stopped in material. The more dense the material and the less energy the particle has, the quicker the particle is stopped.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stopping_power_%28particle_radiation%29
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Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #20 on: 03/15/2012 12:26 AM »
Sun Shade concepts for Venus
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26743.0

Getting fuel from Venus
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28281.0

Bringing in some of the discussions from these threads as this thread is more on topic.

Removing some CO2 from Venus to Mars.

Getting hydrogen from another source ( like Jupiter ) to make water from the Venus O2 for both Mars and Venus.

There has been some discussion as how to remove the CO2 from the Venus atmosphere.

How to transport the CO2 to Mars and how to collect the Jupiter hydrogen and transport it to Mars and Venus.
Mars and beyond, human exploration
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Offline colbourne

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #21 on: 03/15/2012 02:09 AM »
I think designing a biological solution for terraforming is the only sensible way to go about this.

In theory a small probe is then all that is required to carry the "seeds" to a new planet and get the process underway.

Obviously if the planet is missing some elements this means that we may have to arrange for their transport to the planet. Crashing an asteroid probably.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #22 on: 03/15/2012 02:15 AM »
I think designing a biological solution for terraforming is the only sensible way to go about this.

Which seems a lot less fanciful today than it did a decade ago.. to anyone who has been paying attention to the developments in synthetic biology.
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Offline gbaikie

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #23 on: 03/15/2012 04:41 AM »
You don't need a magnetic field to protect living organisms from solar or cosmic radiation.. if the Earth's magnetic field was to disappear we'd have more problems with our electrical grid but plant/animal life wouldn't even notice the difference.  The radiation protection we enjoy here on Earth is a result of the miles and miles of atmosphere we have above our heads.  This is why airline staff experience significantly more radiation than the rest of us.

See http://www.nsbri.org/HumanPhysSpace/introduction/intro-environment-radiation.html

Some radiation, like UV, is blocked by ozone. What about ions? What about gamma rays? I'm asking.

I think the biggest risk in regard to harmful radiation is trip to and from Mars. Anywhere on the planet you have at least half as much exposure to things like gamma rays or high energy particles.
UV shouldn't a problem- a spacesuit will stop that- and no one going sunbath on Mars. Mars current Ozone would probably be too weak to stop much of UV, but Mars distance would reduce it and when and if one gets to point of have enough atmosphere not to need a pressure suit -and adding small amount additional oxygen would be the least of problems.

And on surface [compared to spacecraft] you going sleep about 1/3 the time, and you probably sleep in areas where there lots of shielding [you need a solar flare shelter- regardless if on spacecraft or on mars surface] If you do not have a solar flare shelter [something that will at least reduce a major event from death in days to a dose that might only make slightly ill- then you only playing dice with crews lives.
So solar flare shelter on Mars should fairly easy- a given. With spacecraft the question is how big- sardine-like in which crew pile in for couple days or do you want more living space which they might vaguely comfortable staying in for few days.
I think a spacecraft should have sleeping quarters [big enough for entire crew at once] fairly well shielded, with ability add modification, where one adds shielding [food water and whatever] and seal up so sleeping quarter become a solar flare shelter capable of protected crew from the rarest most powerful solar events.
« Last Edit: 03/15/2012 04:47 AM by gbaikie »

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #24 on: 03/15/2012 04:43 AM »
I think designing a biological solution for terraforming is the only sensible way to go about this.

Which seems a lot less fanciful today than it did a decade ago.. to anyone who has been paying attention to the developments in synthetic biology.


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Offline QuantumG

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Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #26 on: 03/15/2012 05:11 AM »
Since this is the Advanced Concepts section, I'd like to ask about what might be the most radical-yet-feasible approaches to terraforming planets like Mars or Venus.

What other things could be tried?

Well I've already mentioned my homopolar Venus concept at the Venus Sunshade topic.  The details are listed there.  But here's a video to illustrate what I had in mind.  The atmosphere spins away one way and the planet spins up the other way.


Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #27 on: 03/15/2012 06:16 AM »
I can see how synthetic biology could be useful as part of a terraforming effort, for example once a biologically favorable environment has been created synthetic plants could give a rate of O2 atmospheric build-up more quickly than existing plants. On Earth it takes 4500 years for oxygen go through its cycle to and from the atmosphere, it would be essential to speed half that cycle up, perhaps fifty fold, for terraforming.

You can't get blood from a stone though, and all organisms still need an environment that's hospitable to them, and the more demands you put on an organism to produce, the more favorable that environment needs to be for them to deliver. In hostile environments in which the essentials are hard to come by you'll always need hardy plants, hardy plants are slow growing, not because they're hardy but because they can only do so much on marginal resources.

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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #28 on: 03/15/2012 06:34 AM »
Pretty soon you'll be able to engineer an organism for just about any environment.. including those for which evolution has failed - not that we've found one of those environments yet :)
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #29 on: 03/15/2012 06:40 AM »
Pretty soon you'll be able to engineer an organism for just about any environment.. including those for which evolution has failed - not that we've found one of those environments yet :)


That may be so, but that still doesn't mean such organisms will have enough surplus energy left to grow, or to change their environment, in a harsh environment all they'll be able to do is exist.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #30 on: 03/15/2012 10:01 PM »
That may be so, but that still doesn't mean such organisms will have enough surplus energy left to grow, or to change their environment, in a harsh environment all they'll be able to do is exist.

That's not how biology works.. it either grows or it dies.
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #31 on: 03/16/2012 12:00 AM »
You're splitting hairs, plants living in harsh environments have slower growth rates than plants in more hospitable environments: tropics fast growing, desert and polar very slow growing.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #32 on: 03/16/2012 12:22 AM »
You're splitting hairs, plants living in harsh environments have slower growth rates than plants in more hospitable environments: tropics fast growing, desert and polar very slow growing.

Great.. but that has as much to do as how well the plant has adapted to the particular environment as it does to the availability of the resources. There can be plenty of resources around but if the plant doesn't have the mechanisms to utilize them, it won't grow. Even then, "more hospitable environments" can have nothing to do with the availability of resources.. it could be just the wrong temperature, or acidity. Making organisms that can grow on the surface of Mars, for example, is something we can actually think about doing now that we 1) know a lot about the conditions of Mars and 2) have the means to engineer organisms to grow in those conditions.
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #33 on: 03/16/2012 12:42 AM »
One of the things that tick me off in SciFi books is when the nanomites multiply exponentially (eating steel or some such) without seeming to obey the law of entropy.

"it could be just the wrong temperature, or acidity"

I'm including them as resources.

Again,I imagine organisms can grow on Mars, with some engineering they could no doubt survive indefinitely - like the algae that lives in Antarctic rocks coming back to life each summer. But if you're going to rely on rock algae, even Super Rock Algae, to terriform Mars , you'll be waiting a few tens of thousands of years.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #34 on: 03/16/2012 12:52 AM »
One of the things that tick me off in SciFi books is when the nanomites multiply exponentially (eating steel or some such) without seeming to obey the law of entropy.

Yes, you need energy to grow.. chemical or solar specifically.

Quote
"it could be just the wrong temperature, or acidity"

I'm including them as resources.

They're not.

Quote
Again,I imagine organisms can grow on Mars, with some engineering they could no doubt survive indefinitely - like the algae that lives in Antarctic rocks coming back to life each summer. But if you're going to rely on rock algae, even Super Rock Algae, to terriform Mars , you'll be waiting a few tens of thousands of years.

Sigh.. can ya go read a little before telling us what you reckon?
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Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #35 on: 03/16/2012 12:52 AM »
Floating cities 50 to 65 km above Venus surface plants could grow inside the city. Are there any plants that could grow in the Venus air at that altitude?
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #36 on: 03/16/2012 02:04 AM »
Earth based life uses energy, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen plus a few trace materials.  A life-form made for Venus will need to absorb all of these.

A mixture of oxygen and nitrogen can be used for flotation.  There are plants that float.  Fish and sea plants can take high pressure.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #37 on: 03/16/2012 02:09 AM »
Earth based life uses energy, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen plus a few trace materials.  A life-form made for Venus will need to absorb all of these.

A mixture of oxygen and nitrogen can be used for flotation.  There are plants that float.  Fish and sea plants can take high pressure.
I meant to say outside on the floating city, not the plants just floating in the air by them selves. So they would have soil or be hydroponic.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #38 on: 03/16/2012 02:16 AM »
I meant to say outside on the floating city, not the plants just floating in the air by them selves. So they would have soil or be hydroponic.

I imagine existing plants could be found that would thrive in that environment. Standard atmospheric pressure, sunlight and carbon dioxide rich air.. there's some nasty acid in that atmosphere though, so you'd want plants hardy enough.
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Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #39 on: 03/16/2012 02:26 AM »
If we cooled Venus down with a Sun shade to were the CO2 was solid then we would have a mostly nitrogen atmosphere in the dark.

So if we added micro wave power from high orbit solar panels to power green houses on the high hills ( bring water for plants ), we could grow plants to convert the CO2 into usable O2 to make a O2/N2 atmosphere and have plants to use the carbon from the CO2.

Could bring hydrogen from a source in the solar system to make water from the CO2 and hydrogen.
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #40 on: 03/16/2012 03:42 AM »
Too bad we don't have star gates put a few on Venus and Mars and dial Mars and the atmosphere could be moved.

More realistic maybe build a massive a fleet of thousands of airships built with space materials filled with nitrogen and lower them to Venus via an orbital sky hook also known as a Rotovator that is long enough for the entry speed to be within the structural limits of the airship.

Inside these airships would be a CO2 scrubber powered by solar energy.

The carbon could then be coverted into blocks and lowered or even dumped or retrieved by the rotovator and disposed of in space.
Maybe use it to make more rotovators.

Comet ice can be use to reboost the rotovators and replace the lost water on Venus at the same time.

« Last Edit: 03/16/2012 03:46 AM by Patchouli »

Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #41 on: 03/16/2012 05:48 PM »

More realistic maybe build a massive a fleet of thousands of airships built with space materials filled with nitrogen and lower them to Venus via an orbital sky hook also known as a Rotovator that is long enough for the entry speed to be within the structural limits of the airship.

Inside these airships would be a CO2 scrubber powered by solar energy.

The carbon could then be coverted into blocks and lowered or even dumped or retrieved by the rotovator and disposed of in space.
Maybe use it to make more rotovators.

Comet ice can be use to reboost the rotovators and replace the lost water on Venus at the same time.


Realistic!?  ???  In any event here y'are,...sort of. :D






Offline gbaikie

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #42 on: 03/17/2012 12:45 AM »
If we cooled Venus down with a Sun shade to were the CO2 was solid then we would have a mostly nitrogen atmosphere in the dark.

It could take centuries for Venus to cool down if all sunlight was effectively blocked.
Total mass of atmosphere:  ~4.8 x 10^20 kg
Average temperature: 737 K (464 C)
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/venusfact.html

Not sure how much energy is being absorbed and therefore emitted. Nor if Venus is warming or cooling. But some imagine that if the albedo         is 0.67 then 67% of sunlight is reflected or 33% of the sunlight is absorbed and emitted. At Venus distance the solar flux is averages about 2700 watts per square meter. Or Venus emits 891 watt per square meter times it's disc area. [Divide this by 4 for global square meter radiation from Venus- so 222.75 watts per square meter of it's surface area.
It's surface area is: It's radius is 6051.8, so square and times pi times 4:
460 million sq kilometers. And 4.6 x 10^14 square meters. So 102,517 trillion watts [per second]. 1 x10^19 joules per second. Or 3.15 x 10^27 joules per [earth] year.

To cool 4.8 x 10^20 kg of CO2 1.126 kJ/kgK
So 5.4 x 10^23 is amount joules to cool atmosphere by 1 C.
Or 5.4 x 10^25 joules cools 100 C.

Edit: (missed two orders:)
Edit: try again:
1 x10^17 joules per second. And 3.2 x 10^24 per year.

Correction: So less than year the atmosphere would cool 100 C- but with it cooler it would radiate less energy
Less than year to cool 10 C. Decade to cool 100 C
 
Plus not including the heat content of the surface [which is unknown- but reasonable guess it as one goes deeper the temperature doesn't decrease but instead increase by some amount- if that is accepted one also has to include heat content of, say several miles of rock also at +464 C].

But since since atmosphere cools faster than I first calculated and rock will take some time radiate heat. If you want say 200 C cooler [or when CO2 is liquid], rather than a century, as first supposed, it could take somewhere around a decade a century to cool down,
So at some point, CO2 would rain, and ground cool enough to have lakes of warm CO2 liquid. Once you got atmosphere reduced- it also would less greenhouse affect- and one get an increase the amount radiated into space.
« Last Edit: 03/17/2012 06:52 AM by gbaikie »

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #43 on: 03/17/2012 01:19 AM »
Then it is probably best to put the atmospheric cities ( cloud cities ) in.

No Sun shade at this time.

Have them harvest N2 and O2 for new cities to be built and have plants to convert the CO2 in O2.

We would need fast growing plants that do not need much nutrients.
Harvest the plants and make mulch and compost.

Bring in H2 from else were to make H2O with the Venus O2 from it's CO2.

The cities could also make dry ice blocks from the gaseous CO2 and drop the large dry ice block down to the surface to start cooling it.

As O2 is made it would float above the CO2 layer and so would water vapor.
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Offline indaco1

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #44 on: 03/17/2012 03:01 PM »
IMHO:

Create space habitats could be less "sexy" but it will cost infinitely less per capita than terraforming a planet.

Furthermore barriers to entry are infinitely lower, time required is infintely shorter and scalability is infintely greater.

Even if we had interstellar travel the galaxy could sustain an infinitely greater total biomass building Dyson swarms of habitats around other stars than with the few suitable planets.

This is the first and last habitable planet inhabited by a significant fraction of humanity.
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Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #45 on: 03/17/2012 03:29 PM »
If we cooled Venus down with a Sun shade to were the CO2 was solid then we would have a mostly nitrogen atmosphere in the dark.

It could take centuries for Venus to cool down if all sunlight was effectively blocked.
Total mass of atmosphere:  ~4.8 x 10^20 kg
Average temperature: 737 K (464 C)
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/venusfact.html

Not sure how much energy is being absorbed and therefore emitted. Nor if Venus is warming or cooling. But some imagine that if the albedo         is 0.67 then 67% of sunlight is reflected or 33% of the sunlight is absorbed and emitted. At Venus distance the solar flux is averages about 2700 watts per square meter. Or Venus emits 891 watt per square meter times it's disc area. [Divide this by 4 for global square meter radiation from Venus- so 222.75 watts per square meter of it's surface area.
It's surface area is: It's radius is 6051.8, so square and times pi times 4:
460 million sq kilometers. And 4.6 x 10^14 square meters. So 102,517 trillion watts [per second]. 1 x10^19 joules per second. Or 3.15 x 10^27 joules per [earth] year.

To cool 4.8 x 10^20 kg of CO2 1.126 kJ/kgK
So 5.4 x 10^23 is amount joules to cool atmosphere by 1 C.
Or 5.4 x 10^25 joules cools 100 C.

Edit: (missed two orders:)
Edit: try again:
1 x10^17 joules per second. And 3.2 x 10^24 per year.

Correction: So less than year the atmosphere would cool 100 C- but with it cooler it would radiate less energy
Less than year to cool 10 C. Decade to cool 100 C
 
Plus not including the heat content of the surface [which is unknown- but reasonable guess it as one goes deeper the temperature doesn't decrease but instead increase by some amount- if that is accepted one also has to include heat content of, say several miles of rock also at +464 C].

But since since atmosphere cools faster than I first calculated and rock will take some time radiate heat. If you want say 200 C cooler [or when CO2 is liquid], rather than a century, as first supposed, it could take somewhere around a decade a century to cool down,
So at some point, CO2 would rain, and ground cool enough to have lakes of warm CO2 liquid. Once you got atmosphere reduced- it also would less greenhouse affect- and one get an increase the amount radiated into space.
I agree with your assessment except that you should be using the Bond albedo rather than the geometric albedo for any thermal equilibrium calculations.  For some strange reason the Bond albedo varies from source to source from 0.75 to .98.  But if you use the NASA site value of 0.90 the global square meter radiation from Venus drops considerably from your stated 222.75 to 67.5 watts per square meter of it's surface area.  This increases the time required to cool off Venus.  Also you neglected the latent heat of condensation (sublimation) for CO2 of 571000 joule/kg which is the heat loss required to convert CO2 vapor to a liquid (solid). For the entire atmosphere that equals 2.74^26 Joules.  The boiling point of CO2 at 5 bar is 217 K so to get to that point you would have to cool the atmosphere 464C = 737K-217= 520 K.  That will take 5.4^23 Joules * 520 = 2.8^26 Joules.  Adding to the sublimation energy gives 2.8^26+2.74^26= 5.54^26 Joules.  Dividing by the planetary radiation of 67.5 Watts*4.6 x 10^14 square meters= 3.1^16 Watts to get time.  5.54^26/3.1^16 =  1.78^10 seconds = 566 years.

 

Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #46 on: 03/17/2012 03:51 PM »
IMHO:

Create space habitats could be less "sexy" but it will cost infinitely less per capita than terraforming a planet.

Furthermore barriers to entry are infinitely lower, time required is infintely shorter and scalability is infintely greater.

Even if we had interstellar travel the galaxy could sustain an infinitely greater total biomass building Dyson swarms of habitats around other stars than with the few suitable planets.

This is the first and last habitable planet inhabited by a significant fraction of humanity.

IMHO terraforming will be an 'art' performed in the future by a civilization that has learned to live in peace and prosperity with itself and it's surroundings.  It will be an expression of life and creative beauty not a way to escape from problems we have created.  People cannot survive in Dyson habitats without an absolute level of maturity and mental stability that we do not have.  That was one of the greatest though unappreciated lessons of Biosphere II. One negligent, suicidal, or vengeful person in a population of millions could open the wrong hatch and kill everybody.  Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere.  By cold necessity unfettered freedom will remain the domain of planetary civilizations.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #47 on: 03/17/2012 10:28 PM »
What materials might the cloud cities be made of?

What might the size and dimensions be for these cities?

Were might they be placed , north or south of the equator?
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Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #48 on: 03/18/2012 01:17 AM »
What materials might the cloud cities be made of?

What might the size and dimensions be for these cities?

Were might they be placed , north or south of the equator?

My design (see above post) would have a 2 km radius.  The shape would resemble a half of an old Zepplin airship tipped up.  Very strong to resist the winds at that altitude. The material would be transparent to allow light for photosynthesis.  Warm moist air would rise to the colder top to be cooled by radiative cooling. The cool moisture would condense and stream along the sides as rain to begin the cooling cycle again.  The city would have a standard earth atmosphere providing buoyancy comparable to methane. The altitude would be at approx 54 km where air pressure is approx 0.5 earth. I placed my city on the equator to accommodate the shuttles that would come down by means of an equitorial rotovator. They'd be picked up by aircraft carrier sized dirigibles that would ferry them to and from the city. At the the bottom of the city would be a landing/takeoff /maintenance structure for the shuttles. 
« Last Edit: 03/18/2012 01:23 AM by nyar »

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #49 on: 03/18/2012 06:49 AM »
That was one of the greatest though unappreciated lessons of Biosphere II. One negligent, suicidal, or vengeful person in a population of millions could open the wrong hatch and kill everybody.  Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere.  By cold necessity unfettered freedom will remain the domain of planetary civilizations.
I'm not sure that follows.

If you're in a habitat the size of a city, how much time are you going to spend near exterior walls?

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #50 on: 03/18/2012 07:15 AM »

  That was one of the greatest though unappreciated lessons of Biosphere II. One negligent, suicidal, or vengeful person in a population of millions could open the wrong hatch and kill everybody.  Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere.  By cold necessity unfettered freedom will remain the domain of planetary civilizations.

1. Imposing absolute controls on behavior is a sure way of making people negligent, suicidal, or vengeful.

2. If a person can destroy a large habitat so easily it needs to be redesigned.

3. Even today an individual determined to go out taking as many lives with them as they can is an incredibly rare event. I can only think of one instance in which a suicidal individual acting alone took more than 50 people with them, even though it would be easy for a such people to take many more lives.
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Offline khallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #51 on: 03/18/2012 03:51 PM »

That was one of the greatest though unappreciated lessons of Biosphere II. One negligent, suicidal, or vengeful person in a population of millions could open the wrong hatch and kill everybody. Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere.  By cold necessity unfettered freedom will remain the domain of planetary civilizations.

Or design your infrastructure so that one person can't do that. People are just as much points of failure as any other aspect of infrastructure. Designing your infrastructure so that one person can cause that much damage easily is a failure just as any other case of creating single points of failure.
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Offline khallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #52 on: 03/18/2012 04:31 PM »

3. Even today an individual determined to go out taking as many lives with them as they can is an incredibly rare event. I can only think of one instance in which a suicidal individual acting alone took more than 50 people with them, even though it would be easy for a such people to take many more lives.

Arsonists are better examples. The act of arson has lower risk for the perpetrator (often most of the evidence burns in the fire and the culprit can be long away before anyone notices the fire) and can cause a great deal of death and damage in urban areas. Googling around, I see a couple of examples of arson associated with night clubs which killed more than 50 people.
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Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #53 on: 03/18/2012 06:16 PM »

That was one of the greatest though unappreciated lessons of Biosphere II. One negligent, suicidal, or vengeful person in a population of millions could open the wrong hatch and kill everybody. Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere.  By cold necessity unfettered freedom will remain the domain of planetary civilizations.

Or design your infrastructure so that one person can't do that. People are just as much points of failure as any other aspect of infrastructure. Designing your infrastructure so that one person can cause that much damage easily is a failure just as any other case of creating single points of failure.


Attempting to solve sociopolitical problems with technology is one of the failures of humanity.  Its called clinical denial.  Figuring you can build and invent your way out of a problem that comes from inside your own head.  Adolescents become resentful, vengeful, and angry when told they cannot do something. Their commitment to freedom is absolute. Then they grow up, or at least most of them do and recognize the value of limits.  When they have kids of their own to manage their understanding of limits grows.  Its human nature.  Any purely technological solution to preventing a single antisocial person or group to causing horrific damage and death in a space habitat would require loss of freedom thus confirming my point.  We just aren't hard wired to consistently exhibit the almost insect-like discipline necessary survive in space as a community.  That's why astronauts are so rigorously selected and trained. And that's just for limited missions. Of course some people can't be convinced of a fact even when there is plenty of evidence around them to see.  That too is part of human nature.

http://www.sharonlbegley.com/in-the-desert-big-trouble-under-glass


Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #54 on: 03/18/2012 06:31 PM »

That was one of the greatest though unappreciated lessons of Biosphere II. One negligent, suicidal, or vengeful person in a population of millions could open the wrong hatch and kill everybody. Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere.  By cold necessity unfettered freedom will remain the domain of planetary civilizations.

Or design your infrastructure so that one person can't do that. People are just as much points of failure as any other aspect of infrastructure. Designing your infrastructure so that one person can cause that much damage easily is a failure just as any other case of creating single points of failure.


Attempting to solve sociopolitical problems with technology is one of the failures of humanity.  Its called clinical denial.  Figuring you can build and invent your way out of a problem that comes from inside your own head.  Adolescents become resentful, vengeful, and angry when told they cannot do something. Their commitment to freedom is absolute. Then they grow up, or at least most of them do and recognize the value of limits.  When they have kids of their own to manage their understanding of limits grows.  Its human nature.  Any purely technological solution to preventing a single antisocial person or group to causing horrific damage and death in a space habitat would require loss of freedom thus confirming my point.  We just aren't hard wired to consistently exhibit the almost insect-like discipline necessary survive in space as a community.  That's why astronauts are so rigorously selected and trained. And that's just for limited missions. Of course some people can't be convinced of a fact even when there is plenty of evidence around them to see.  That too is part of human nature.

http://www.sharonlbegley.com/in-the-desert-big-trouble-under-glass



 ??? ??? ::)

But you're the one who said: "Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere."

That change in direction must make your head spin.

Sticking a safety catch on a gun or locking a hatch is not using technology to deny freedom, imposing  "Absolute controls on behavior" is denying freedom.
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Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #55 on: 03/18/2012 07:10 PM »
Cloud city

One big platform with 4 smaller ones attached to it's side equal distance apart. Each with their own air domes attached to them. If the inner platform were to loose it's lifting air ( leak ) then the outer platforms would need to have enough lift to compensate. Under the center platform then would be a platform with no air dome. It would be for landing craft on or dropping items to the Venus surface.

One outer platform for energy production ( possible fusion generator ).
One for manufacturing of part to make another cloud city.
The other two for plant growth.
The center platform for plant growth and living space.

Each city would help build another floating city.
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Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #56 on: 03/18/2012 07:22 PM »
??? ??? ::)

But you're the one who said: "Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere."

That change in direction must make your head spin.

Sticking a safety catch on a gun or locking a hatch is not using technology to deny freedom, imposing  "Absolute controls on behavior" is denying freedom.

Putting a safety on a gun does not keep someone clicking off the safety in a dangerous situation or playing with the bullets.  Or stealing the key to the hatch.  There will always be ways for an irresponsible, vengeful or just stupid person to bypass safety protocol. Mechanical solutions cost money and resources and are only as good as the imagination of the designers.  By necessity space structures will have to be light unless you want to live in the center of a nickel/iron asteroid which sort of defeats the whole point. Who want's to live in a dungeon? The vandals at Biosphere II knew where the surveillance cameras were and knew how to avoid them.  In space you're one bulkhead or one viewport away from instant death.  I guarantee you that one fatal 'Deadman's Curve" incident by some frisky teenagers pushing their limits too far and 'death penalty' regulation signs will be popping up all over your Dyson habitat utopia.

Offline indaco1

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #57 on: 03/18/2012 08:09 PM »
Make people inside haven't access to energy levels required to open a breach or do a great damage.

Besides a robust and redundant design is good not just for security but also for safety and shielding. 

A safe and robust space habitat could look more like an enormeus rotating termitarium or honeycomb than like an hollow and fragile O'Neill cylinder.

We definitely need a thread about space colonies. I haven't been able to find it. Maybe I have to search again.
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #58 on: 03/18/2012 08:36 PM »
??? ??? ::)

But you're the one who said: "Absolute controls on behavior will have to be imposed at everywhere."

That change in direction must make your head spin.

Sticking a safety catch on a gun or locking a hatch is not using technology to deny freedom, imposing  "Absolute controls on behavior" is denying freedom.

Putting a safety on a gun does not keep someone clicking off the safety in a dangerous situation or playing with the bullets.  Or stealing the key to the hatch.  There will always be ways for an irresponsible, vengeful or just stupid person to bypass safety protocol. Mechanical solutions cost money and resources and are only as good as the imagination of the designers.  By necessity space structures will have to be light unless you want to live in the center of a nickel/iron asteroid which sort of defeats the whole point. Who want's to live in a dungeon? The vandals at Biosphere II knew where the surveillance cameras were and knew how to avoid them.  In space you're one bulkhead or one viewport away from instant death.  I guarantee you that one fatal 'Deadman's Curve" incident by some frisky teenagers pushing their limits too far and 'death penalty' regulation signs will be popping up all over your Dyson habitat utopia.

Could a vengeful person kill the entire population of a 10,000 people habitat? Of course, fly a spacecraft into it at speed and you might kill the whole colony, could a vengeful person kill 50,000 people at a sports stadium? Yep, with a fully fueled jetliner.

But despite all those jets flying around the world, no ones ever done something like that other than on 9/11.

The real question is whether the risk can be reduced to the level at which it's acceptable. I think yes.
I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
Wilbur Wright

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #59 on: 03/18/2012 08:51 PM »
Make people inside haven't access to energy levels required to open a breach or do a great damage.

Besides a robust and redundant design is good not just for security but also for safety and shielding. 

A safe and robust space habitat could look more like an enormeus rotating termitarium or honeycomb than like an hollow and fragile O'Neill cylinder.

We definitely need a thread about space colonies. I haven't been able to find it. Maybe I have to search again.
Use honey comb inflatable blocks to make the air domes for the cities platforms?

How many level should each platform have? Or can have based on mass and lift of the air dome with N2/O2 lifting gas?
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Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #60 on: 03/18/2012 09:25 PM »

Could a vengeful person kill the entire population of a 10,000 people habitat? Of course, fly a spacecraft into it at speed and you might kill the whole colony, could a vengeful person kill 50,000 people at a sports stadium? Yep, with a fully fueled jetliner.

But despite all those jets flying around the world, no ones ever done something like that other than on 9/11.

The real question is whether the risk can be reduced to the level at which it's acceptable. I think yes.

Well we can agree to disagree on that.  I think permanent space communities will require genetically induced behavior changes to really work.  Average people are too wiggy to be good space men today.  If New York had been a space habitat and had experienced the degree of damage it took the current surviving population might be 10,000. There have been other disasters which have been of comparable magnitude and were human caused or at least human augmented.  Titanic, Texas City, Chernoybal, Oklahoma City, Bhopal and more recently Fukishima.  They starkly illustrate we have a long way to go before we can claim the stars.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2012 10:38 PM by nyar »

Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #61 on: 03/18/2012 09:32 PM »
Make people inside haven't access to energy levels required to open a breach or do a great damage.

Besides a robust and redundant design is good not just for security but also for safety and shielding. 

A safe and robust space habitat could look more like an enormeus rotating termitarium or honeycomb than like an hollow and fragile O'Neill cylinder.

We definitely need a thread about space colonies. I haven't been able to find it. Maybe I have to search again.

But who'd want to live in a prison like that?  No view of the stars except by a TV monitor.  At least at the bottom of the sea you could see the jellyfish floating by.

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #62 on: 03/18/2012 10:43 PM »

Could a vengeful person kill the entire population of a 10,000 people habitat? Of course, fly a spacecraft into it at speed and you might kill the whole colony, could a vengeful person kill 50,000 people at a sports stadium? Yep, with a fully fueled jetliner.

But despite all those jets flying around the world, no ones ever done something like that other than on 9/11.

The real question is whether the risk can be reduced to the level at which it's acceptable. I think yes.

Well we can agree to disagree on that.  I think permanent space communities will require genetically induced behavior changes to really work.  Average people are too wiggy to be good space men today.  If New York had been a space habitat and had experienced the degree of damage it took the current surviving population might be 10,000. There have been other disasters which have been of comparable magnitude and were human caused or at least human augmented.  Titanic, Texas City, Chernoybal, Oklahoma City, Bhopal and more recently Fukishima.  They starkly illustrate we have a long way to go before we can claim the stars.

I look forward to your explanation of how any of those incidents could be prevented through genetically engineering people.

I actually find your suggested experiments in eugenics more than a little creepy.
I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
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Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #63 on: 03/19/2012 02:57 AM »

Could a vengeful person kill the entire population of a 10,000 people habitat? Of course, fly a spacecraft into it at speed and you might kill the whole colony, could a vengeful person kill 50,000 people at a sports stadium? Yep, with a fully fueled jetliner.

But despite all those jets flying around the world, no ones ever done something like that other than on 9/11.

The real question is whether the risk can be reduced to the level at which it's acceptable. I think yes.

Well we can agree to disagree on that.  I think permanent space communities will require genetically induced behavior changes to really work.  Average people are too wiggy to be good space men today.  If New York had been a space habitat and had experienced the degree of damage it took the current surviving population might be 10,000. There have been other disasters which have been of comparable magnitude and were human caused or at least human augmented.  Titanic, Texas City, Chernoybal, Oklahoma City, Bhopal and more recently Fukishima.  They starkly illustrate we have a long way to go before we can claim the stars.

I look forward to your explanation of how any of those incidents could be prevented through genetically engineering people.

I actually find your suggested experiments in eugenics more than a little creepy.
Don't have to.  The evidence is there if you wish to look for it. Every incident I mentioned had humanity's fingerprints on it at least in a supporting role.  It's the hubris of mankind. Arrogance, greed, vengeance, self interest, lack of foresight, etc.

I would think casual acceptance of crashing millions of comets into a planet next to us thereby risking a major extinction event and using superhydrogen bombs to blow off a planetary atmosphere to make a new earth is a little more than creepy.

That suggesting that we may have to improve ourselves before we can go out and safely play among the stars with these forces generates greater feelings of unease than the former is very interesting indeed.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #64 on: 03/19/2012 03:04 AM »
Talking about hubris and then, unflinchingly, moving on to talk about "improving" humanity is worthy of a motion picture.. perhaps one with space cowboys.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline nyar

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #65 on: 03/20/2012 02:22 PM »
Talking about hubris and then, unflinchingly, moving on to talk about "improving" humanity is worthy of a motion picture.. perhaps one with space cowboys.

;D And perhaps some mad scientist with a black lab coat and twirling mustache.

Actually I was thinking more on the lines of a 'dangerous visionary lunatic who resembles a combo version of Mother Mary, Noah, and Moses, and a teensy bit of Dr. Moreau'.  I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille! 8)
 
BTW I determined that a solar shade/solar panel the diameter of Venus and 1 cm thick would require a cube of matter 34 km across, well within the ability of Saturn's moon Phoebe to provide. In fact if estimates that Phoebe is 50% rock are correct enough material for a solar panel 25 times larger is possible.  That gives, assuming 100% power conversion, the energy required to spin up Venus and reduce air pressure in 100 years using the homopolar concept I described in the Venus shade thread.  The ice portion of Pheobe would be used to fill the Venusian seas to about the depth of Lake Erie.

Getting Phoebe to the Venusian L1 point is still a problem of course not the least of which is an accidental collision with Earth (100% extinction event, Game Over, BANG, you're dead!).  But my calculations show that the unique location of Phoebe helps us out.  The energy required to get Phoebe out of Saturn's orbit amounts to 1.2X10^19 Joules (oops made a math error- the actual value is 1.2X10^25 Joules which is a little farther out of our reach. Its the equivalent of 2.2 years sunlight falling on the earth's surface).  The remaining orbital velocity of 7.27 km/s can be reduced further by swingbys of the inner planets, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, even Venus itself.  I'd stay away from Earth for obvious reasons. ;)

Lots of issues remain of course, such as 'hammering' the rock into something so thin that could handle the stresses and still do the job. And how exactly to apply the kinetic energy to Phoebe and how to generate it.

I was hoping we could do it with a couple of Saturn V rockets but it looks like we'll need a lot more energy.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2012 06:30 AM by nyar »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #66 on: 03/21/2012 07:14 PM »
Sorry for the delayed reply but I've been trying to play "catch-up" with this and several other threads :)

Venus Sky-Cities would most likely be sphere's as they represent the most efficent use of space, least overall air resistance for the amount of enlcosed space, and the most robust "natural" shape.

For safety and security they would most likely be "clustered" similar to the the method suggested for the "Asgard" space habitat in the "Millennial Project" by Marshall Savage.

An illustration of which can be found here:
http://oceania.org/mall/millimag.html

Specifically Here:
http://oceania.org/images/plate7.jpg

Construction material would be teflon-composite plastics such as "Tefzel" which is available commercially today, so as to resist the particulate acid in the Venus atmosphere.

Operations altitude would probably be just above the cloud layers around 50km so that the outside pressure would be around Earth-normal 1atm. This reduces the risk of any rupture or puncture of the "bubble" being an instant disaster. At 1atm-inside-and-1tam-outside the leakage rate of the bubble "lifting-gas, (in this case mostly O2-and-Nitrogen) would be very, very slow allowing emergency repairs before much of the lift of the overall "city" is lost.

(Given an internal "compartmentalization" per the cited concept the chances of even a total outer envelope failure resulting in the destructio of a city is minimal at best)

There would be a central "core" reaching between "polar" hard-structures for external docking structures while the majority of the "internal" structure would be "tensil" or "tensegrity" type light-weight cabling structures.

There would probably be an "equatorial" inter-connect structure also since it would be sensible to place radial extensions from the main pressure envelope where alternating segments of solar arrays are interspersed with aqua/aero-ponics and extra lifting gas cylinders are mounted.

(The "fun" part here is that by mounting alternating solar arrays with one set facing upwards mounted on a lifting-gas cylinder and the next mounted facing downwards on an aqua/aero-ponic cylinder you get almost equal power inputs due to Venus' cloud reflectivity index :) )

By having the 'ponics cylinders filled with filtered Venus CO2 you could then use hydrogen as the lift gas for the alternating cylinders since there would be no chance of a chemically reactive mix happening.

The sky-cities would circle Venus with the winds, being 'pushed' along with hardly any noticable velocity difference. By raising and lowering altitude one could adjust the circular velocity somewhat while a more effective method would be adding electic propulsion systems and moving "north-south" of the equatorial wind bands to higher/lower wind bands thus maximizing solar gain and lowering the amount of time spent on the dark side.

Pretty much everything needed to build and operate such a "habitat" from a small outpost to a full size "sky-city" is available off the shelf on Earth today both from a technology and ability stand point. I probably at some point need to expand on my current "Venus-Notes-and-Ideas" folder and post some stuff here.
(Probably in a seperate thread though :) )

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #67 on: 03/21/2012 08:06 PM »
Make people inside haven't access to energy levels required to open a breach or do a great damage.

Besides a robust and redundant design is good not just for security but also for safety and shielding. 

A safe and robust space habitat could look more like an enormeus rotating termitarium or honeycomb than like an hollow and fragile O'Neill cylinder.

We definitely need a thread about space colonies. I haven't been able to find it. Maybe I have to search again.

But who'd want to live in a prison like that?  No view of the stars except by a TV monitor.  At least at the bottom of the sea you could see the jellyfish floating by.
nyar, et-al... Don't like the idea of living in the "Great-Indoors"? Then you might want to NOT consider being a "near-term" colonist because that's GOING to be the way things are no matter if the vast amount of "Space-Cadets" want to admit it or not. :)

Oh you won't "have" to get your outdoor view from "just" a TV-camera but it will be done with mirrors and several intervening layers of safety glass and plastic and probably only in "common" areas more than individual living quarters.
(For an idea on how that's done see this "Moon-Miners-Manifesto" article:
"M is for Mole" page-2 of this pdf:
http://www.moonsociety.org/publications/mmm_classics/mmmc1_Jul2004.pdf )

The often cited ideal of living under a huge glass dome is highly unlikely anywhere off Earth. In fact the nearest thing to a "habitable" off-Earth "near-shirt-sleeve" environment is Venus at 50km. Even then you'd need acid resistant clothing and a oxygen system, but that's far less than the protection required anywhere else.

One of the more amusing, "admissions" in Zubrin's "Case-for-Mars" though he trys to "toss-it-off" with some comedy is that fact that long-term living on Mars is going to require going underground. Even if inside huge "vaulted" chambes as he suggests that fact is that, as he notes, your going to be living "inside a mall." He tries to "obscure" this by suggesting some would "enjoy" this by suggesting someone ask his daughter about living full time in a Mall, but in truth that's a statement that EVERYONE should actually look at seriously to understand what would be required.

How WOULD you like "living" in a mall? Go to one and then ask yourself the same question. Don't forget that you don't go outside without protection and a step-by-step process needed to ensure your survival. And then you can't "stay" outside for extended periods because each "visit" reduces your overall life-time radiation exposure limit.
(And yes that means that at some point you can't go "outside" anymore at all)

Couple this with looking around and realizing that the majority of "stores" in the mall are now residences, storage, or work-spaces. Further any "outside" view, or light source is now at best "indirect" (per the article above) and in many cases fully artificial. Now close your eyes and breath. Notice the smells, the sound, the people. A colony probably won't have as MANY people but the smells, sounds and everything else will be trapped inside that "mall" with you. Always.
(BIG reason for having indoor greenery and growing things. You NEED it to cut down on the indoor air-pollution even with a really, really good recycling life support system.)

Oh now don't get me wrong, it will of course be "doable" and people can and will get used to doing so in fact. (There are places on Earth with similar if somewhat less "constrained" conditions) But it is a "lesson" that needs to be learned and one that is, while not totally "alien" to human experiance is one that is far less known, or even realized by the majority of the people who advocate and/or dream of settling space and the planets.

It is quite clear from the majority of space colonization "materials" that few if any people actually "get-it" in regards to what colonizing space will require and how it will be done. Far to many people see it as an "extension" of the frontier "West" where someone takes his family an wagon and heads out into the unknown to break new land.

It is far, far more likely and obvious that it's going to take a "village" if not a small city to establish a viable foothold on another world. Dozens if not hundreds of "families" or grouped individuals would be needed to establish even the most basic self-supporting cores for a colony or settlement. And constant cooperation, co-dependance, and interaction will be required to maintain and expand it from there.

People will have to understand, truely understand that is, that what they do even within their "individual" habitat can and will have "effect" on those around them and the overall "colony-habitat" itself.

"We" won't have to "engineer" ourselves to be more tolerant of others and aware of our and others actions in light of "colony" safety. It will evolve with out new environments. It always has.

nyar; you mention "Biosphere-II" as an "example" lesson for future space colonies. Unfortunatly you have "bought" into a false argument because one thing "Biosphere-II" proved rather pointedly is that it can't and won't be a "model" for any off-Earth settlement.

No attempt will be made to model "mini-bio-zones" as they are not at all efficent enough to be used for main life support. I already mentioned that plating your whole colony in "glass" is dangerous, which is a well known danger of space colonization. There are probably a dozen other "lessons" to be learned from the overall "experiment" that was Biosphere-II, but probably it would be best summed up as you probably want to start small and work you way up than to plan to big and fail with no back-up plan.

(Another, probably more "telling" lesson to take away from the experiment would probably have been "even highly intelligent people and smart-effective planning can easily overlook "minor" details outside their particular knowledge sphere... Put another way, anyone with High-School education and PRACTICAL knowledge of construction knows that concrete takes years to fully "set" and the process "eats" oxygen all the while :) )

Short of "radical" Terraforming we are looking at long, drawn out process' and living for long periods getting to "know" the worlds we colonize before we even begin those process.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #68 on: 03/21/2012 09:06 PM »
The often cited ideal of living under a huge glass dome is highly unlikely anywhere off Earth.
That's like, your opinion man. 

Seriously, when I get to Mars, I want a really really big ice dome.  Made with clear-ice, and about 30 feet thick (600 feet or more in diameter would serve my needs well enough.  On the top of it, would be a clear sealant, and little robots like roomba vacuum cleaners (or pool cleaners) would run around dusting it off and adding sealent where/when needed.  Maybe they would be solar powered, maybe not.  On the inside edge of the dome, there would be clear insulation.  I will keep it a comfortable temperature, and have a lot of plants!  And a basketball court. 

Construction technique would be similar to "monolithic dome homes".


As to the getting fancy, did you know that glass is almost entirely made from rock?  Make a silica glue-gun with your 3D printer there, and you've (eventually) got yourself a dome (if you want to do it the complicated way in comparison to ice). 

Build a thick (strong) tunnel coming out of one end kind of like an igloo, and build a multi-stage fabric airlock inside it. 

If I can't build a dome I wouldn't plan to stay (just visit). 

nyar; you mention "Biosphere-II" as an "example" lesson for future space colonies. Unfortunatly you have "bought" into a false argument because one thing "Biosphere-II" proved rather pointedly is that it can't and won't be a "model" for any off-Earth settlement.

First of all, Biosphere II didn't really disprove anything.  There may be other (better) ways to do it than than the Biosphere II approach.  But I'll grant that Biosphere II suggested that completely closed loop may be impractably hard.  No problem.  Don't  plan to be "completely" closed loop.  Problem solved.   
« Last Edit: 03/21/2012 09:07 PM by go4mars »
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline indaco1

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #69 on: 03/22/2012 12:03 AM »
The often cited ideal of living under a huge glass dome is highly unlikely anywhere off Earth.
That's like, your opinion man.   

Why dome shaped?

I don't belive in any transparent environment, including windows and domes. They are unsafe and expensive, conditioning is a nightmare, shielding is difficult, usage of space is unefficient.

But if transparent has to be, why dome shaped?

A flat and tick ceiling could be easier than expected when you have an higher internal pressure in a gravity field.



Place a sheet of some polymer on a natural crater,  buldoze soil on the rim to seal it and then pour liquid water on the top as you progressively increase pressure inside.  In the reduced Mars gravity a 20-25m tick layer of ice could suffice to have a confortable pressure.  You enter the crater and pump fluids inside by tunnels.

Almost 100% ISRU except for the plastic sheet, bulldozers, excavators and other machinery for atmosphere distillation and ice mining and fusion.

But I repat that I think this is not the way.

IMHO non transparent habitats with cellular/sponge structure seem more realistic, safe and cost effective.

I try to explain:

Cavities/compartments or "cells" could be of various sizes, many of them could be big enough to host private gardens with amenities most of people on Earth can't afford even today.

Cells are mass produced somewere using ISRU and then assembled to form a single structure that can grow when needed. Their shape allows many kinds of tessellation.

You live protected by many walls well inside the habitat so radiations and depressurization are not an issue.

Artificial light but lighting will be more advanced a day (oled sheets on the ceiling, imitations of sunlight that are better than sun, who knows?). 

A "termitarium" like this will work the same regardless the external environment.

You just need a power supply, an heat sink for conditioning and a source of natural or artificial gravity. 

It could be on Earth in artic tundra or floating on an ocean or on Mars in the underground providing reduced gravity is not an issue, or it can be in a space bola providing artificial gravity in Earth orbit or in the asteroid belt were sun energy is available or even in the Oort cloud based on nuclear energy.

Life inside will be the same regardless where you actually are.

The termitarium environment know how could be incrementally developed begining on Earth were you have just a subset of the problems and then extended to more harsh environments.

Ok, it's not for a near future.

But I assume advanced automation, a technology better than today and after all in space raw materials are infinite and you can make bigger machines and bigger scale economies.
Non-native English speaker and non-expert, be patient.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #70 on: 03/22/2012 12:09 AM »
Not to be overly critical, but a 5-year-old can see what is wrong with that picture.
 :'(
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #71 on: 03/22/2012 12:36 AM »
Ice has the problem that people like their rooms to be 20 to 30 degrees centigrade warmer than ice's melting point.  Since heat rises this makes ice unsuitable for use as a load bearing roofing material.

Offline indaco1

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #72 on: 03/22/2012 12:55 AM »
Not to be overly critical, but a 5-year-old can see what is wrong with that picture.
 :'(

I'm perfectly aware of my poor drawing ability.

But what's wrong?

Pressure gradient is circa 1 kgf/cm².  A 20-30 meter tick layer of water ice in Mars gravity gives a pressure that counterbalances that pressure from below. 

In theory resultant force on the sheet is zero, so I it's not unreasonable a straight line instead of a catenary (or whatever curve is an heavy membrane assumes under its own weight, I don't konw).

A careful control of internal pressure as you pour water on the top, perhaps, allows to make the layer of ice to grow straight.

I see many things that could make it doesn't work, but I'm not sure a 5-year-old can see them.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2012 12:58 AM by indaco1 »
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #73 on: 03/22/2012 01:30 AM »
Why dome shaped?
Mostly for strength.  Plus a crater isn't necessary (though a dome too would provide additional pressurized space if used with a crater). 

I don't belive in any transparent environment, including windows and domes. They are unsafe and expensive, conditioning is a nightmare, shielding is difficult, usage of space is unefficient.
30+ feet of ice is really great radiation shielding.  In fact, it's more than an Earth atmospheric water column, yet further from the sun = less radiation.  Expensive?  Water?  There's already proven to be lots on Mars.  More will be discovered.  Unsafe?  What better micrometeorite protection than 30+ feet of ice?  What does conditioning mean?  inefficient use of space?  Build buildings inside then.  Your hive could fit in there. 

Place a sheet of some polymer on a natural crater,  buldoze soil on the rim to seal it and then pour liquid water on the top as you progressively increase pressure inside.  In the reduced Mars gravity a 20-25m tick layer of ice could suffice to have a confortable pressure.  You enter the crater and pump fluids inside by tunnels.

Almost 100% ISRU except for the plastic sheet, bulldozers, excavators and other machinery for atmosphere distillation and ice mining and fusion.
Check this general technique out:  http://www.monolithic.com/topics/domes  It works for domes too.  Arguably better. 

I prefer natural light to a termite colony. 
« Last Edit: 03/22/2012 01:31 AM by go4mars »
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #74 on: 03/22/2012 01:35 AM »
Ice has the problem that people like their rooms to be 20 to 30 degrees centigrade warmer than ice's melting point.  Since heat rises this makes ice unsuitable for use as a load bearing roofing material.
Some options come to mind:

Use a fan/ventilation shaft/rainfall or misting system to circulate the air inside.

Insulate the inside of the dome (preferably transparently).

Insulate the buildings that you put inside the dome.

Wear a coat. 
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Offline strangequark

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #75 on: 03/22/2012 01:43 AM »
Ice has the problem that people like their rooms to be 20 to 30 degrees centigrade warmer than ice's melting point.  Since heat rises this makes ice unsuitable for use as a load bearing roofing material.

Use a thin, compartmentalized double paned polymer form with an inert, high molecular weight gas as the filler. On Earth, we call them double glazed windows. You don't need much insulation to make this work, man.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2012 01:46 AM by strangequark »
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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #76 on: 03/22/2012 06:11 AM »

Seriously, when I get to Mars, I want a really really big ice dome.  Made with clear-ice, and about 30 feet thick (600 feet or more in diameter would serve my needs well enough.  On the top of it, would be a clear sealant, and little robots like roomba vacuum cleaners (or pool cleaners) would run around dusting it off and adding sealent where/when needed.  Maybe they would be solar powered, maybe not.  On the inside edge of the dome, there would be clear insulation.  I will keep it a comfortable temperature, and have a lot of plants! 

Out of interest, when did you first come across the idea of a Mars ice dome, I suggested it in May last year after googling unsuccessfully for the idea. (just wondering if I should apply for a patent on it  ;D )
« Last Edit: 03/22/2012 06:12 AM by Andrew_W »
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Offline indaco1

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #77 on: 03/22/2012 06:42 AM »
I don't belive in any transparent environment, including windows and domes. They are unsafe and expensive, conditioning is a nightmare, shielding is difficult, usage of space is unefficient.
30+ feet of ice is really great radiation shielding.  In fact, it's more than an Earth atmospheric water column, yet further from the sun = less radiation.

I agree, but it is easy where you have abundant water not too far in terms of delta V
Quote

 Expensive?  Water?  There's already proven to be lots on Mars.  More will be discovered. 

In space far from a planetary surface? To combat Malthus law we need to multiply Earth per 10^X, Mars surface is small.
Quote

Unsafe?  What better micrometeorite protection than 30+ feet of ice? 

Many redundant walls and compartments. Made of any material including ice with less constraints as transparency has not to be a requirement (by the way I'm not certain it is easy to make 25 m of ice so transparent)
Quote

What does conditioning mean? 

Ask who designed ISS Cupola. A window in space allows a lot of thermal radiation in (when exposed to sun) or out. For cooling you need an heat sink that in space mean you have to use big radiators. Allow the sunlight to enter the room is expensive. On a relatively cold planetary surface could be different... but I repeat we have to find a design that could work everywere, not just on a small red planet
Quote

inefficient use of space?  Build buildings inside then.  Your hive could fit in there. 

I agree, but the dome or the flat trasparent ceiling is not required.

The dome perhaps could be used for a park, but most of the colony doesn't need to fit inside it.

I can simply build a 1km cube on the surface.   I'm aware it could look similar to a Borg ship....
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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #78 on: 03/22/2012 08:06 AM »
There's enough ice on Mars to cover the entire surface several meters deep.

Feeding people requires plants in light, far easier to do in a transparent structure.

Ice and water can both be highly transparent as long as bubbles and impurities are avoided.

Quote
we have to find a design that could work everywere, not just on a small red planet

Why on (or off) Earth would you claim that ?? Do we only build structures on Earth that could work everywhere? Are houses in desert locations built the same as those in polar regions?

The thermal conductivity of ice over a temperature gradient of 10K/meter is 0.17Watts/m^2. getting rid of excess heat would be the problem - but not much of a problem in a cold atmosphere.

You need a good volume of air under the dome to minimize swings in CO2 concentrations throughout the day due to plant photosynthesis and respiration.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2012 08:07 AM by Andrew_W »
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #79 on: 03/22/2012 09:31 AM »
Ice has the problem that people like their rooms to be 20 to 30 degrees centigrade warmer than ice's melting point.  Since heat rises this makes ice unsuitable for use as a load bearing roofing material.

Use a thin, compartmentalized double paned polymer form with an inert, high molecular weight gas as the filler. On Earth, we call them double glazed windows. You don't need much insulation to make this work, man.

We allow the outside of double glazed windows to be more than 0 degrees centigrade.  In Britain loft insulation in new houses has to be 270 mm (over 10 inches).  On Mars the roof will be a life critical system requiring higher standards.
http://www.thinkinsulation.co.uk/how-much-insulation-do-i-need.htm

Offline indaco1

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #80 on: 03/22/2012 11:37 AM »
There's enough ice on Mars to cover the entire surface several meters deep.

Feeding people requires plants in light, far easier to do in a transparent structure.

Ice and water can both be highly transparent as long as bubbles and impurities are avoided.

Quote
we have to find a design that could work everywere, not just on a small red planet

Why on (or off) Earth would you claim that ?? Do we only build structures on Earth that could work everywhere? Are houses in desert locations built the same as those in polar regions?

The thermal conductivity of ice over a temperature gradient of 10K/meter is 0.17Watts/m^2. getting rid of excess heat would be the problem - but not much of a problem in a cold atmosphere.

You need a good volume of air under the dome to minimize swings in CO2 concentrations throughout the day due to plant photosynthesis and respiration.


Requirements for structures that have to be permanently inhabited and requirements for the crops are completely different.

I agree that if we rely on solar energy we have to produce biomass in transparent structures. 

But I think they have to be light, small, expendable, not so shielded, mostly passive and allow more fluctuations in atmosphere composition.

I'm certain many vegetals, artropodes and even some vertebrates (maybe genetically modified) can thrive under radiation levels that are lethal for humans.

Furtermore, if a small module containing crop is lost it's not a great issue. The design has to be cheap, there's an optimal trade off between production costs and failure rate of modules for crop.

Habitable structures for humans, instead, have to be relatively big (humans need to interact) safe, with active life support to control air composition.

This is true both in space or on a planetary surface.

Consider that even if you live most of time in a closed environment sometimes you can go outside or in a less safe transparent structure using the proper equipement, accounting the dose of radiation you get and when sun flare forecasts tells you that it's safe.

You are right, it makes no sense to design a structure that works everywere.
I just was infatuated of the concept of sealed habitable box that works just providing power, an heat sink and a mean to produce gravity.

Mars offers much more than space, differnt requirements and different opportunities. On the other hand to put people in a gravity well make expensive them to travel.  I expect that most of colonies initially will be in cislunar space, where interactive communications are possible and it takes much less time and delta V to go than on Mars surface.   

By the way the straight pressure sustained structure in a crater concept could work on the moon also, providing you use glass or other that doesn't sublimate instead of ice. But I have no idea of how to build it... you can't pour liquid glass on a sheet of polyethylene.
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #81 on: 03/22/2012 12:35 PM »
The often cited ideal of living under a huge glass dome is highly unlikely anywhere off Earth.
That's like, your opinion man.
Well, no actually it isn't JUST "my" opinion :) 

Quote
Seriously, when I get to Mars, I want a really really big ice dome.  Made with clear-ice, and about 30 feet thick (600 feet or more in diameter would serve my needs well enough.  On the top of it, would be a clear sealant, and little robots like roomba vacuum cleaners (or pool cleaners) would run around dusting it off and adding sealent where/when needed.  Maybe they would be solar powered, maybe not.  On the inside edge of the dome, there would be clear insulation.  I will keep it a comfortable temperature, and have a lot of plants!  And a basketball court. 
Nice. Marshall Savage suggested a similar idea in using a dome that circulated water as radiation shielding. Just as an FYI though (in addition to the other cited issues) you'll need to build it up layer by layer and lay down layers of netting for strength and to prevent cracking. And at only 600-feet you might need additional internal supports to offset the overall mass. (Don't have my notes or my copy of TMP in front of me to check)

Note I'd suggest an inner double-plastic layer between the dome and inside air. Fill the layer with argon for insulation as it still allows maximum light through. (For that matter it might be wise to do the same for the outside for extra protection and to help keep the outer surface from getting too scratched up from dust built up)

Note also that 30-feet (which IIRC is about right BTW, though it might be a bit more) you get a significant shift in your light towards the red. You'd have to have supplemental lighting for your plants to grow properly.

Quote
Construction technique would be similar to "monolithic dome homes".
Somewhat. You'll have to lay down a layer and then have the ice-roomba-bots "polish" it to be clear but it's doable.

Should also note that even with that much "shielding" even on Mars you're going to spend MOST of your time INSIDE for more shielding unless you want to hit your life-time limit within a couple of years. Just FYI :)

(Further from the Sun, but less magnetic field and less atmosphere means more get through to the surface. MUCH more on average.)

Quote
As to the getting fancy, did you know that glass is almost entirely made from rock?  Make a silica glue-gun with your 3D printer there, and you've (eventually) got yourself a dome (if you want to do it the complicated way in comparison to ice). 
IIRC this was discussed on one of the Mars Society forums at one point. In comparison the dome (frame) itself was built of Martian iron while the glass infill was from locally produced silica. The problem here is your radiation protection is still basically zero inside one of these.

Quote
Build a thick (strong) tunnel coming out of one end kind of like an igloo, and build a multi-stage fabric airlock inside it. 
While it's a nice idea you'd have constant air-and-volitiles leakage which leads to a bigger requirement for replacement. You'd want a couple of "air-tight" doors along the path just to cut down on your losses.
(Yes I read and enjoyed "A bucket of Air" also :) )

Quote
If I can't build a dome I wouldn't plan to stay (just visit). 
You can build one, you just can't LIVE under one. Slight but important difference :)

People CAN live in enclosed spaces for long periods of time IF they spaces are designed correctly and care is taken to keep them from being confining, dark, and utilitarian. I cited the MMM article where they talk about bringing exterior views into the habitat in the form of "virtual" picture windows. It has to be done carefully and as noted probably won't be available on an individual basis but it's pretty easy to do.

nyar; you mention "Biosphere-II" as an "example" lesson for future space colonies. Unfortunatly you have "bought" into a false argument because one thing "Biosphere-II" proved rather pointedly is that it can't and won't be a "model" for any off-Earth settlement.

First of all, Biosphere II didn't really disprove anything.  There may be other (better) ways to do it than than the Biosphere II approach.  But I'll grant that Biosphere II suggested that completely closed loop may be impractably hard.  No problem.  Don't  plan to be "completely" closed loop.  Problem solved.   
[/quote]
Actually Biosphere II DID disprove quite a few things :) First and foremost was a lack of critical planning since quite a few design and construction details were not fully tested or vetted prior to being included in the planning. (The truss-system for one thing was KNOWN to cut out a lot of light coming in and was in fact choosen because the "calculated" light/heat gain was too high. In fact it turned out to be far too low)

I've already mentioned the concrete and oxygen issue.

Probably THE most important point as far as it goes is that though it was given as a "justification" for the experiment the overall design and construction of the Biosphere-II was NOT compatable with use off-Earth due to lack of radiation protection.

Reading through the rest of the responses I get the feeling that there is an assumption that having to live underneath the regolith is seen as being dark, dank and unpleasant. I don't suppose anyone actually looked at the article I cited?

People need "light" as well as plants and getting light (natural light) is not as tough as people seem to think. There are of course going to be varying "issues" depending on the location also but in general a design that works for the Moon will work for Mars and vice-versa. The further out you go the more difficult it will be gather, concentrate and direct light but it's still not impossible.

14-day Lunar nights are going to be an issue and require power reserves, while Martian dust storms while infrequent will require the same only deeper to cover the longer periods of reduced surface light. (As I recall one particular storm lasted almost a full Martian year)

But providing light while also providing a sense of spaciouness and openness is going to be a design challenge but nothing insurmountable. But it DOES take thinking about it NOW rather than waiting till one gets there because it IS going to take a readjustment of thinking.

indaco1 suggested a polymer dome over a natural crater, and that's actually a good starting point. I'll note that you can do this with a "berm" instead of a natural crater, or even a curtain wall but what-ever you use it's going to have to be opaque and thick. Instead of a polymer or ice "roof" though you would build a very low angle "conical" slab roof and cover it with  a couple of meters of regolith.

Now so far this sounds pretty much EXACTLY like a "dank-dark-cave" dwelling and it would be except you design it to bring in light and views of the outside. In my "Colony-In-A-Crater" concept plan I have the roof being supported by several columns (or a large central one depending on the size) each of which goes THROUGH the roof and is surmounted by a heliostat. From those the light is transmitted by mirrors or fiber optics to emmitters inside the roof. Further around the perimeter are optical "window" wells that take reflected light and bounce them through mirrors to provide large "picture-window" views of the outside.

Now the main "reason" for having a berm or crater wall this roof structure is mounted on is to so that the living quarters and most other "facilities" are then buried into the "walls" so that the majority of the space under the roof is open and used for growing plants and giving the residents a "park-like" area to avoid a shut-in, closed up environment. (Even though that is exactly what it is, the illusion of being otherwise is much easier to maintain)

This provides maximum protection for the residents while also avoiding the "termite-mound" or "living-in-a-mine" feelings.

As I noted it requires a change in the general mental process of thinking about "space colonization" but then it simply comes down to a design process. The hard part is going to be changing peoples 'Mind-Set' :)

Quote from: indaco1
To combat Malthus law we need to multiply Earth per 10^X, Mars surface is small.
"Malthus' Law" isn't really a "law" per-se as it only works under certain circumstances. Namely at the technology/wealth level and assumptions that were "true" in Malthus' time.

In fact as the wealth/technology level of the majority changes so does the ability to produce more food from the same land area using less energy and fewer "production" population. Further as a sociaty becomes "wealthyier/high-technology" the birth rate actually falls significantly. Since space travel/colonization takes certain tech/wealth level to be viable any civilization that undertakes the effort is going to be less and less concerned with population density concerns and probably able to gather and process more than sufficent resources to maintain themselves indenfinatly.

Malthus' assumptions were true and as far as he could "imagine" would hold true into the future. Less than 100 years after he wrote his paper on Population and Resource Scarcity (1798-1898) the formula had changed significantly. Even more so today as it was unknown in his time but well documented by the mid-80s and "proven" fact by the early 90s that higher wealth/tech populations stop growing and begin to decline over time. (Japan is currently the "leading" nation in population decline btw)

Most if not all the "scarcity" of resources in todays world are due to lack of transportation, or down-right obstructionism in many cases. (Famine in Africa for example)

This pretty much kills justifying space travel/colonization on the ground of population pressure or resource depleation. Which of course makes it harder to argue AGAINST space travel/colonization on those grounds too :)

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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #82 on: 03/22/2012 01:18 PM »
{snip}
14-day Lunar nights are going to be an issue and require power reserves, while Martian dust storms while infrequent will require the same only deeper to cover the longer periods of reduced surface light. (As I recall one particular storm lasted almost a full Martian year)

But providing light while also providing a sense of spaciouness and openness is going to be a design challenge but nothing insurmountable. But it DOES take thinking about it NOW rather than waiting till one gets there because it IS going to take a readjustment of thinking.
{snip}

The plants are not only going to need light control but temperature control (including cooling), humidity control, water, air and radiation protection.  It will be easier to keep them underground.  Use solar panels and batteries to power electric lights.

Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #83 on: 03/22/2012 07:52 PM »
Out of interest, when did you first come across the idea of a Mars ice dome, I suggested it in May last year after googling unsuccessfully for the idea. (just wondering if I should apply for a patent on it  ;D )
I first started yammering about it on the web in 2006 or 2007 first on the old Mars Society forum.  Without much traction. 

Here's a more recent thread about it.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26722.0

I'm sure if you search on this site, I've peppered in mention of a Mars Ice dome from time to time over the last few years.
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #84 on: 03/22/2012 07:58 PM »
There's enough ice on Mars to cover the entire surface several meters deep.

Feeding people requires plants in light, far easier to do in a transparent structure.

Ice and water can both be highly transparent as long as bubbles and impurities are avoided.

Quote
we have to find a design that could work everywere, not just on a small red planet

Why on (or off) Earth would you claim that ?? Do we only build structures on Earth that could work everywhere? Are houses in desert locations built the same as those in polar regions?

The thermal conductivity of ice over a temperature gradient of 10K/meter is 0.17Watts/m^2. getting rid of excess heat would be the problem - but not much of a problem in a cold atmosphere.

You need a good volume of air under the dome to minimize swings in CO2 concentrations throughout the day due to plant photosynthesis and respiration.


Requirements for structures that have to be permanently inhabited and requirements for the crops are completely different.

Your actual house within the dome would be the disaster shelter.

Quote
I agree that if we rely on solar energy we have to produce biomass in transparent structures. 

But I think they have to be light, small, expendable, not so shielded, mostly passive and allow more fluctuations in atmosphere composition.

I'm certain many vegetals, artropodes and even some vertebrates (maybe genetically modified) can thrive under radiation levels that are lethal for humans.

Furtermore, if a small module containing crop is lost it's not a great issue. The design has to be cheap, there's an optimal trade off between production costs and failure rate of modules for crop.

such transparent thin walled structures would require substantial insulation and/or heating to get the crops through each freezing night, not to mention what the freeze/thaw cycle would do to irrigation and other systems supporting many crops.

Quote
Habitable structures for humans, instead, have to be relatively big (humans need to interact) safe, with active life support to control air composition.

This is true both in space or on a planetary surface.

Consider that even if you live most of time in a closed environment sometimes you can go outside or in a less safe transparent structure using the proper equipement, accounting the dose of radiation you get and when sun flare forecasts tells you that it's safe. 

Crops need tending and harvesting, people need to work in the shelters that house the farm, so such structures need to be safe for people as well.

Quote
Mars offers much more than space, differnt requirements and different opportunities. On the other hand to put people in a gravity well make expensive them to travel.  I expect that most of colonies initially will be in cislunar space, where interactive communications are possible and it takes much less time and delta V to go than on Mars surface. 

Applies to all habitation systems on Mars so is not an argument against this habitat system vs other Mars habitat systems.

Quote
By the way the straight pressure sustained structure in a crater concept could work on the moon also, providing you use glass or other that doesn't sublimate instead of ice. But I have no idea of how to build it... you can't pour liquid glass on a sheet of polyethylene.

For the Moon I'd go for a sintered regolith crater dome near enough to the pole to allow reflectors on high peaks to supply continuous sunlight through a dome light tube. on the Moon of course if you want a 0.5 bar atmosphere you need 30 tonnes regolith /m^2 or about a 15 meters thick dome.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2012 08:51 PM by Andrew_W »
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #85 on: 03/22/2012 08:30 PM »
Out of interest, when did you first come across the idea of a Mars ice dome, I suggested it in May last year after googling unsuccessfully for the idea. (just wondering if I should apply for a patent on it  ;D )
I first started yammering about it on the web in 2006 or 2007 first on the old Mars Society forum.  Without much traction. 

Here's a more recent thread about it.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26722.0

I'm sure if you search on this site, I've peppered in mention of a Mars Ice dome from time to time over the last few years.

Oh well, I'll have to find something else to invent, after another Google I found a reference to the idea in 2004.

It would be interesting to build such a structure in some high latitude country or altitude location to trial it.
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Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #86 on: 03/22/2012 09:33 PM »
Mars habitats
Multi story, people live at the lower levels and the top level for plants, roof transparent.
Multiple buildings together, share common side wall. Outer walls covered by Mars soil for radiation blocking and insulation.
Each level and between each building can have an air tight door to seal off any area that might leak air.
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #87 on: 03/22/2012 11:43 PM »
It would be interesting to build such a structure in some high latitude country or altitude location to trial it.
Agreed.  It would need insulation on the top too so it wouldn't melt here on hot days/in the summer.  It would make a nice addition to the Flashline mars arctic research station! 

One of the challenges would be making the ice under "clear ice" conditions.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_ice

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Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #88 on: 03/23/2012 12:04 AM »
The thermal conductivity of ice over a temperature gradient of 10K/meter is 0.17Watts/m^2. getting rid of excess heat would be the problem - but not much of a problem in a cold atmosphere.
And a cold lithosphere (temperatures more stable down there through seasons and day/night cycle).

You need a good volume of air under the dome to minimize swings in CO2 concentrations throughout the day due to plant photosynthesis and respiration.
Agreed.  That's part of the reason for wanting a very large one.

I can simply build a 1km cube on the surface.   I'm aware it could look similar to a Borg ship....
Please do.  I'd like to see that.

We allow the outside of double glazed windows to be more than 0 degrees centigrade.  In Britain loft insulation in new houses has to be 270 mm (over 10 inches).  On Mars the roof will be a life critical system requiring higher standards.
It's a matter of heat flux.  Input vs. Output.  Efficiency only has to work within that.  Plus the thick ice provides a buffer from seasonal or diurnal extremes.   If needed to keep it from melting, alchohol or something could be circulated from tanks in the frozen lithosphere.  If the concern is heat loss, then either turn the heater up higher, or insulate more. 
to put people in a gravity well make expensive them to travel.  I expect that most of colonies initially will be in cislunar space, where interactive communications are possible and it takes much less time and delta V to go than on Mars surface.   
I disagree.  Once launchers are reuable (cue criticism), then Mars has a lot more to offer than cis-lunar for colonists.  It's a world with a useful atmosphere, essentially unlimited water, and .38 gravity. 

But I have no idea of how to build it... you can't pour liquid glass on a sheet of polyethylene.
Perhaps a castle of tight-fitting, sintered regolith blocks.  Build it like an igloo or arch, and seal it with a kiss.  A sloppy one.  The miniscule gaps between blocks will need some proper kind of slop (sealant).  Or a lasery one.  Melt the block edges together. 
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline LegendCJS

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #89 on: 03/23/2012 12:25 AM »

Out of interest, when did you first come across the idea of a Mars ice dome, I suggested it in May last year after googling unsuccessfully for the idea. (just wondering if I should apply for a patent on it  ;D )

Kim Stanley Robinson's wonderful (Red Green Blue) Mars trilogy features a cave dug into a Martian polar cap glacier.  It was apparently air tight and filled with breathable air, and very large.  Inside this cave a small town was set up with individual buildings.  I imagine its like life in an igloo when "outdoors" and pretty normal when indoors.
Remember: if we want this whole space thing to work out we have to optimize for cost!

Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #90 on: 03/23/2012 12:35 AM »
you'll need to build it up layer by layer and lay down layers of netting for strength and to prevent cracking. And at only 600-feet you might need additional internal supports to offset the overall mass.
I don't think layers of netting are necessary.  The weight isn't glacial, and the gravity is a lot less.  But I haven't calculated it. 

Note I'd suggest an inner double-plastic layer between the dome and inside air. Fill the layer with argon for insulation as it still allows maximum light through. (For that matter it might be wise to do the same for the outside for extra protection and to help keep the outer surface from getting too scratched up from dust built up)
Argon triple-pane glass is pretty common in Calgary homes.  Newer ones anyways.  Sounds good to me! The atmosphere is 1.6% argon on Mars. 

Note also that 30-feet (which IIRC is about right BTW, though it might be a bit more) you get a significant shift in your light towards the red. You'd have to have supplemental lighting for your plants to grow properly.
30 feet is a general starting point based on matching the protection our atmosphere provides.  And as to magnetic field, there are times when Earth's polarity changes that we are thought to essentially have no magnetic field for thousands of years.  These do not coincide with biotic die-offs apparently.  So Mars's lack of magnetic field (reduced magnetic field actually since there are strong remanant patterns in areas) is not as big of a deal as it is made out to be.       Back to the thickness:  Thicknesses greater than that will depend partly on the pressure of the air within.  14 psi for example:  In Mars gravity, 14 pounds of ice with a footprint of 1 square inch would be ~940 inches tall = 78 feet thick (if I calculated that right) via 14 pounds / (68 pounds per square foot / 1728 inches) / .38.   

So looks like my 30 feet guess was off.  More like 100 feet thick (for safety margin). 
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #91 on: 03/23/2012 12:47 AM »
Note also that 30-feet you get a significant shift in your light towards the red.
No you don't.  Net birefringence won't factor in.  Feel free to argue otherwises, but I'm pretty sure that is incorrect.

You'd have to have supplemental lighting for your plants to grow properly.
I doubt that.  There are lot's of shade dwelling plants that prefer indirect light on earth for one thing.  For another, you are essentially living in a giant lens (would need to make sure there isn't a potent focal point (unless that's your goal and it is an industrial dome).  But the plants that like light more can go closer to the focal area.  You could even put a one-way mirror on the inside perhaps.  Not that I am against artificial lighting as a back-up in case of planetary sand-storms etc.

Should also note that even with that much "shielding" even on Mars you're going to spend MOST of your time INSIDE for more shielding unless you want to hit your life-time limit within a couple of years. Just FYI :)
I'm not sure where you live, but in Calgary, for 8 months of the year, most people spend most of their time avoiding being outside.  A lot of people hardly ever go out! 

(Yes I read and enjoyed "A bucket of Air" also :) )
Never heard of it and google results look like nonsense.  Link?
« Last Edit: 03/23/2012 12:51 AM by go4mars »
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline quixote

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #92 on: 03/23/2012 09:14 AM »
Quote from: go4mars
Never heard of it and google results look like nonsense.  Link?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Pail_of_Air

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #93 on: 03/23/2012 01:52 PM »
I don't think layers of netting are necessary.  The weight isn't glacial, and the gravity is a lot less.  But I haven't calculated it.
The netting has several purposes one of which is to provide superior strength for both outward pressure (atmosphere) and inward pressure (mass) to slow "creep" :)

Pretty much the same reasons the "form" is usuall melded with a Monolithic Dome structure :)

It also reduces the ability of cracks to propigate and helps keep the whole ice-form tied together.

And you'd probably use the netting to "tie" the entire dome into the foundation as well.

Note I'd suggest an inner double-plastic layer between the dome and inside air. Fill the layer with argon for insulation as it still allows maximum light through. (For that matter it might be wise to do the same for the outside for extra protection and to help keep the outer surface from getting too scratched up from dust built up)
Quote
Argon triple-pane glass is pretty common in Calgary homes.  Newer ones anyways.  Sounds good to me! The atmosphere is 1.6% argon on Mars.
One of the reasons I suggested it :) 

Note also that 30-feet (which IIRC is about right BTW, though it might be a bit more) you get a significant shift in your light towards the red. You'd have to have supplemental lighting for your plants to grow properly.
Quote
30 feet is a general starting point based on matching the protection our atmosphere provides.  And as to magnetic field, there are times when Earth's polarity changes that we are thought to essentially have no magnetic field for thousands of years.  These do not coincide with biotic die-offs apparently.  So Mars's lack of magnetic field (reduced magnetic field actually since there are strong remanant patterns in areas) is not as big of a deal as it is made out to be.       Back to the thickness:  Thicknesses greater than that will depend partly on the pressure of the air within.  14 psi for example:  In Mars gravity, 14 pounds of ice with a footprint of 1 square inch would be ~940 inches tall = 78 feet thick (if I calculated that right) via 14 pounds / (68 pounds per square foot / 1728 inches) / .38.   

So looks like my 30 feet guess was off.  More like 100 feet thick (for safety margin). 
Actually makes it worse, but I was incorrect about the red shift.

Note also that 30-feet you get a significant shift in your light towards the red.
No you don't.  Net birefringence won't factor in.  Feel free to argue otherwises, but I'm pretty sure that is incorrect.
Actually it's a blue not a red shift and at about 30 feet you've already "lost" about 25% of your light:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater
"With increasing depth underwater, sunlight is absorbed, and the amount of visible light diminishes. Because absorption is greater for long wavelengths (red end of the visible spectrum) than for short wavelengths (blue end of the visible spectrum), the colour spectrum is rapidly altered with increasing depth. White objects at the surface appear bluish underwater, and red objects appear dark, even black. Although light penetration will be less if water is turbid, in the very clear water of the open ocean less than 25% of the surface light reaches a depth of 10 m (33 feet). At 100 m (330 ft) the light present from the sun is normally about 0.5% of that at the surface."

You'd have to have supplemental lighting for your plants to grow properly.
I doubt that.  There are lot's of shade dwelling plants that prefer indirect light on earth for one thing.  For another, you are essentially living in a giant lens (would need to make sure there isn't a potent focal point (unless that's your goal and it is an industrial dome).  But the plants that like light more can go closer to the focal area.  You could even put a one-way mirror on the inside perhaps.  Not that I am against artificial lighting as a back-up in case of planetary sand-storms etc.
[/quote]
As above but I fully understand the "focal" point issue as this is what I thought of as soon as you said a "clear-ice-dome" :)
http://www.primitiveways.com/ice-fire.html

Note however that 100' is going to be even worse and "lens" effect or no it's not going to help all that much. Which is why I keep pointing out you can still have plenty of "natural" light without sacrificing protection, but there perists in being an "assumption" that living in a glass-dome is somehow "superior" and more natural :)

Should also note that even with that much "shielding" even on Mars you're going to spend MOST of your time INSIDE for more shielding unless you want to hit your life-time limit within a couple of years. Just FYI :)
I'm not sure where you live, but in Calgary, for 8 months of the year, most people spend most of their time avoiding being outside.  A lot of people hardly ever go out!
[/quote]
Currently in Utah and you tend to avoid spending a whole lot of time outside in both deep winter and high summer :)

You can still have pretty open spaces in buried habitats but as I noted there is a "mental" shift that needs to be made to most peoples perception of "colonization" off-Earth. Isaac Asimov actually tried to point this out over and over again. He had Agoraphobia and disliked going outside at all if he could aviod it. Whereas the majority of people around him would feel "crowded" and "trapped" inside a building he felt comfort and security. He noted once IIRC, that space enthusiasts, most Science Fiction writers, and the general public had a mis-conception of what travelling in space and living on other planets was going to be like. Most seemed to assume that it was going to be something along the lines of wide open space and huge glass domes. Instead the majority of time it would be like being inside a submarine, followed by being confined to an apartment building where you both lived and worked.

That attitude hasn't changed much that I've seen :)

(Yes I read and enjoyed "A bucket of Air" also :) )
Never heard of it and google results look like nonsense.  Link?
[/quote]
Oh? Wow... Ok but first where did YOU come up with that idea for an airlock?

Actually it's "A Pail of Air" by Fritz Lieber. Linked earc here:
http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/0743498747/0743498747___6.htm

Short Version: A Dark Star comes rushing through the Solar System and snags Earth in it's gravity well. Yanks it right out of orbit and few people survive. Story is about a family group that manages to build a make-shift "Nest" and shelter out as the world goes cold. As far as they know they are the last humans on Earth. One of the "chores" that needs doing daily is someone has to go outside and scoop up a "pail of air" from the frozen oxygen piled up outside the shelter and one day the yound hero of the story sees "something" else. Something he's never seen before and it's coming closer...

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline strangequark

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #94 on: 03/23/2012 06:47 PM »
I don't think layers of netting are necessary.  The weight isn't glacial, and the gravity is a lot less.  But I haven't calculated it.

Granted you can minimize the bulk stress, but you are still going to have other loads. There will be temperature swings (even on Mars), and subsequent expansion/contraction. As was mentioned, crack propagation in a monolithic ice dome over the long term is going to be a problem. It would be advisable to have a netting that is under high tension during deposition of the ice, and then release the tension afterward. This will put the ice into compression (same idea as prestressed concrete), and allow it to better resist all the incidental loads. You want to build an ice-matrix composite, more than anything.

Oh, and I did the math for a 600 foot diameter dome, with 30 feet ice thickness. Given an internal temp that is actively managed at 71 deg F, and an exterior temp of -55 deg F, you need 4 inches of polyethylene foam (or equivalent insulator) to keep the ice sufficiently cool. This is under standard assumptions for free convective heat transfer.
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #95 on: 03/23/2012 07:05 PM »
Oh? Wow... Ok but first where did YOU come up with that idea for an airlock?
Daydreaming.  Given the nature of my posts, it shouldn't be too surprising that daydreaming gets me into trouble from time to time. 

It isn't like it's a complicated concept.  I'm sure dozens of sci-fi prone guys before me have independently thought of it.   

I've always been amazed by what people can dream up when thinking about a problem.  In every industry.  The Venus terraforming thread proves it!  The fact that we aren't still naked and eating whatever we can kill with our hands is prove of that.  Innovation is so cool! 
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #96 on: 03/23/2012 11:20 PM »
We allow the outside of double glazed windows to be more than 0 degrees centigrade.  In Britain loft insulation in new houses has to be 270 mm (over 10 inches).  On Mars the roof will be a life critical system requiring higher standards.
It's a matter of heat flux.  Input vs. Output.  Efficiency only has to work within that.  Plus the thick ice provides a buffer from seasonal or diurnal extremes.   If needed to keep it from melting, alchohol or something could be circulated from tanks in the frozen lithosphere.  If the concern is heat loss, then either turn the heater up higher, or insulate more.

The concern is that the heat from the people, machines and buildings will melt the ice.

Offline strangequark

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #97 on: 03/23/2012 11:52 PM »
The concern is that the heat from the people, machines and buildings will melt the ice.

A 200m diameter dome would enclose about 8 acres. Given the assumptions in my previous post (where the ice doesn't melt), you would radiate 430 kWth. The human body, or similarly sized mammals (I would want my dog), radiates at 100W. In the energy profligate US, we use 10 kW per person of total power (electrical, gasoline, heating oil, etc). That encompasses all manner of industrial action that wouldn't be done inside on Mars. But let's stick with that ridiculously conservative number. That means that our 8 acres could support maybe 8 households (including machines, buildings, and farm animals). That is assuming you aren't using the surrounding regolith as a heat sink for an actively managed system, which you definitely would. 1 household per acre doesn't sound that bad to me. Sure it's not New York City density, but this is a village where you're growing your own food. In fact it might be a little dense.

EDIT: And I should mention that this is assuming a pretty flat dome. If we're talking a full hemisphere, then you radiate twice that.
« Last Edit: 03/24/2012 12:00 AM by strangequark »
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #98 on: 03/24/2012 01:14 AM »
The concern is that the heat from the people, machines and buildings will melt the ice.

A 200m diameter dome would enclose about 8 acres. Given the assumptions in my previous post (where the ice doesn't melt), you would radiate 430 kWth.{snip}

Thank you for calculating the minimum size of heating required.  To maintain the air at 71 degrees Fahrenheit addition heating will be needed.  The heating also has to allow for convection cooling of the dome and melting of the ice.

The same problem continues, we have a heat source underneath the ice.

On the Earth Eskimos may build igloos out of ice but use materials with higher melting points for permanent dwellings.

Offline strangequark

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #99 on: 03/24/2012 05:58 AM »

Thank you for calculating the minimum size of heating required.  To maintain the air at 71 degrees Fahrenheit addition heating will be needed.  The heating also has to allow for convection cooling of the dome and melting of the ice.

The same problem continues, we have a heat source underneath the ice.

On the Earth Eskimos may build igloos out of ice but use materials with higher melting points for permanent dwellings.

It doesn't matter if you have a heat source underneath the ice. The ice will conduct the heat through, and reject it to the cold environment. I proved that with a little polymer insulation, the ice will not melt if the internal air temperature is around room temp.

Keeping the internal temperature at that set point is the kind of simplistic task accomplished by a thermostat and a heat pump. This part IS NOT rocket science.

You're acting like this requires some huge, delicate balancing act to keep from catastrophic failure, when it is really a very simple problem. Although I think there are some answers to be had about the best way to lay down, and reinforce the ice dome, I say three cheers for it.
« Last Edit: 03/24/2012 06:08 AM by strangequark »
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #100 on: 03/24/2012 06:50 AM »
Here's a chart on the visible light absorption of nearly pure water.

http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/water/data/sogandares97.dat

Abstract: http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/water/abs/sogandares97.html

If I'm reading that right; a 10 meter thick layer of high purity water would absorb 10% of the light at 450nm (blue), 50% at 550nm (green), and 97% at 640nm (red).
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Offline strangequark

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #101 on: 03/24/2012 08:14 AM »
Here's a chart on the visible light absorption of nearly pure water.

http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/water/data/sogandares97.dat

Abstract: http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/water/abs/sogandares97.html

If I'm reading that right; a 10 meter thick layer of high purity water would absorb 10% of the light at 450nm (blue), 50% at 550nm (green), and 97% at 640nm (red).

Should be right if the exponent is for base e, and that clicks with reds looking very odd.
Don't flippantly discount the old rules of this industry. Behind each one lies a painful lesson learned from broken, twisted hardware. Learn those lessons, and respect the knowledge gained from them. Only then, see if you can write new rules that will meet those challenges.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #102 on: 03/24/2012 06:17 PM »
Here's a chart on the visible light absorption of nearly pure water.

http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/water/data/sogandares97.dat

Abstract: http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/water/abs/sogandares97.html

If I'm reading that right; a 10 meter thick layer of high purity water would absorb 10% of the light at 450nm (blue), 50% at 550nm (green), and 97% at 640nm (red).

Should be right if the exponent is for base e, and that clicks with reds looking very odd.
How would that effect seeing and ready?
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Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #103 on: 03/24/2012 06:51 PM »
Sadly I doubt that the clarity through ice I'd been hoping for is achievable, and with that level of red light absorption the Martian landscape would look very dark.

http://iceimpre.accountsupport.com/ice-carving-techniques.htm
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #104 on: 03/24/2012 06:58 PM »
You don't need a magnetic field to protect living organisms from solar or cosmic radiation.. if the Earth's magnetic field was to disappear we'd have more problems with our electrical grid but plant/animal life wouldn't even notice the difference.  The radiation protection we enjoy here on Earth is a result of the miles and miles of atmosphere we have above our heads.  This is why airline staff experience significantly more radiation than the rest of us.

See http://www.nsbri.org/HumanPhysSpace/introduction/intro-environment-radiation.html

Some radiation, like UV, is blocked by ozone. What about ions? What about gamma rays? I'm asking.
Gamma rays don't care a lick about magnetic fields, by the way. Ozone isn't especially good at stopping ions or gamma rays, either, which have such high energies that they don't particularly care what exact chemical forms the atoms they interact with are (though lighter elements do work better for the same amount of mass for high speed ions, etc). (i.e. carbon dioxide would work just as well as ozone for gamma rays and high speed ions)
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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #105 on: 03/24/2012 07:00 PM »
No defeatism here, just the facts. As far as I know, Mars simply does not have a magnetic field strong enough to protect living organisms from solar and space radiation, let alone protect the atmosphere from solar degradation. If anyone has a source that can refute this position, please post.

You don't need a magnetic field to protect living organisms from solar or cosmic radiation.. if the Earth's magnetic field was to disappear we'd have more problems with our electrical grid but plant/animal life wouldn't even notice the difference.  The radiation protection we enjoy here on Earth is a result of the miles and miles of atmosphere we have above our heads.  This is why airline staff experience significantly more radiation than the rest of us.

See http://www.nsbri.org/HumanPhysSpace/introduction/intro-environment-radiation.html
YES!

(This is also why Hellas Basin on Mars should have radiation levels lower than ISS.)
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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #106 on: 03/24/2012 07:15 PM »
I like the ice-doom idea, pretty clever since if you did it right, the internal pressure could equal the pressure exerted by the ice. But I contend that it's probably better to have it be liquid water with salts in it (perhaps with chlorine in it to keep it from forming algae... though that has some benefits! You could harvest the algae). You could have insulation layers on the top and bottom of the water layer. The temperature of the water would be kept just low enough to keep it from boiling on the top (if built in Hellas Basin, you should have just a high enough atmospheric pressure to keep the top from boiling, if it was at the right temperature and had the right additives, thus a small meteorite hit on the top would not be catastrophic).

BTW, the very minimum pressure needed to go without space suits is about .92 psi (a tad over the Armstrong Limit). Hellas Basin already gives you .16psi, so you have just 0.76 psi to go (though you'd also want a safety margin, obviously). Air-supported roofs (like the Metrodome in Minnesota or the Silverdome) can generally operate at up to .1 psi, so that's not too far off, either. Fill the inside with raw Martian atmosphere pumped up to a higher pressure and have large pumps available (possibly large pressure vessels with large reserves of compressed Martian atmosphere) in case of a leak. You could grow plants in such an environment, tilled by people with just oxygen masks on. Since the pressure differential is much smaller compared to a full habitat at Earth pressure, a leak is far less dangerous (and explosive decompression is a lot less of a risk, since you can only decompress by .76 psi at most, compared to about 20 times that at Earth pressure compared to vacuum).
Such a structure would be a good compromise. If there was a leak, people would have enough time to go to a nearby shelter.

Combine it with the water (or ice) roof, and you'd only need about a meter and a half of water. Houses and offices, etc, would still be at higher pressure for health reasons. Relatively near-term medical devices and treatments (synthetic blood) could improve blood oxygenation as well (I know several people who have an insulin pump at all times, which is essentially an artificial organ, and live totally normal lives).

Anyway, interesting ideas.


Andrew: Just use liquid water instead of ice.
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #107 on: 03/24/2012 10:47 PM »
Andrew: Just use liquid water instead of ice.

And glass.

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Re: Radical Terraforming Methods
« Reply #108 on: 08/02/2017 10:00 PM »
For partial terraforming of Mars.  Increasing the pressure and temperature all we really need to do is increase the temperature of poles by 5 degrees K.  All the calculations I've seen for greenhouse gasses include thousands of factories aiming to cover the whole surface.  This would be totally unnecessary.  You only need to stop CO2 freezing during winter and put a 10T magnet at L1.  This can be done with 6 factories lined up on the outskirts of polar caps creating local CFC partial pressure of 0.012 ubar.  Now correct me if I'm wrong, but Zurbin said 270 T/hour requiring 1.3 GW would cover that.  Covering only 200 km2 would thus require around 200 kg and 900 KW generator.  If you build 3 around each pole so that you can cover the pole whichever way the wind is blowing you can stop CO2 freezing during winter on Mars.  If you stop the freezing during winter and toss dust on ice during summer to lower albedo you'll achieve partial terraforming in a matter of years.  You can pack all that you need inside ITS.  Even if Musk halves the size of the ship it will still be 150 tonnes.  That is plenty of space for a couple of rovers, CFC factory and a 1 MW fission reactor.

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