Author Topic: Radical Terraforming Methods  (Read 25117 times)

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.
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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.


Do tell.
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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.

I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
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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.
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 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.
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 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.
I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
Wilbur Wright

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?
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 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.
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 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.
Mars and beyond, human exploration
The grass is always greener on the other side. When you stand on top of the hill you see both sides!

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