Author Topic: Deuterium on Mars  (Read 4805 times)

Offline Spugpow

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Deuterium on Mars
« on: 06/08/2013 08:45 PM »
Apparently, water on Mars contains a lot more heavy hydrogen than water on Earth.

http://hainanwel.com/en/unusual-world/2411-colonization-of-mars.html

Does this make the water on Mars undrinkable? Will it be practical to separate the heavy water from the light water on Mars?

Offline R7

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Re: Deuterium on Mars
« Reply #1 on: 06/08/2013 09:13 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_water

Quote
In normal water, about 1 molecule in 3,200 is HDO (one hydrogen in 6,400 is D), and heavy water molecules (D2O) only occur in a proportion of about 1 molecule in 41 million (i.e. one in 6,4002).

...

Experiments in mice, rats, and dogs[26] have shown that a degree of 25% deuteration causes (sometimes irreversible) sterility, because neither gametes nor zygotes can develop. High concentrations of heavy water (90%) rapidly kill fish, tadpoles, flatworms, and Drosophila. Mammals, such as rats, given heavy water to drink die after a week, at a time when their body water approaches about 50% deuteration.

...

Because it would take a very large amount of heavy water to replace 25% to 50% of a human being's body water (which in turn is 65-70% of body weight) with heavy water, accidental or intentional poisoning with heavy water is unlikely to the point of practical disregard. For a poisoning, large amounts of heavy water would need to be ingested without significant normal water intake for many days to produce any noticeable toxic effects.

Does not look like a showstopper.
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Online sanman

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Re: Deuterium on Mars
« Reply #2 on: 06/09/2013 01:00 AM »
Is the higher concentration of Martian heavy water due to the lighter gravity? (ie. lighter H2O would tend to escape more, while heavier D2O would tend to stay behind)

If so, could this be used like carbon-dating, to date the history of water on Mars?

Perhaps on a small scale, the higher D2O levels would seem negligible, but on a planetary or biospheric scale, would there be any noticeable aggregate effects? Would any possible bacterial life have evolved to cope with the higher D2O levels, and if so, how?


Online guckyfan

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Re: Deuterium on Mars
« Reply #3 on: 06/10/2013 07:58 AM »
According to that article martian water has 5 times more D than water on earth. Comparing that with the Wikipedia data, it does not seem to be a showstopper at all. Not more than 6 month zero gravity.


Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Deuterium on Mars
« Reply #4 on: 06/12/2013 11:50 PM »
According to that article martian water has 5 times more D than water on earth. Comparing that with the Wikipedia data, it does not seem to be a showstopper at all. Not more than 6 month zero gravity.

There isn't that much deuterium on Mars anyway.  On Earth it makes up 0.0156% of the hydrogen in water by atoms, on Mars that is all of 0.078%!

This is a new version of FUD about humans to Mars.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2013 11:55 PM by Dalhousie »
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline scienceguy

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Re: Deuterium on Mars
« Reply #5 on: 06/13/2013 05:57 PM »
The higher relative abundance of deuterium on Mars would be good, once D-T fusion is more common.

http://www.iter.org/
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