Author Topic: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm? No excess generation allowed.  (Read 34236 times)

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Despite being a voracious reader of NSF topics devoted to human missions to/settlement of Mars I don't recall seeing this topic discussed in detail.  What I hope is accomplished is establishment of reference baselines which can be quoted in other threads similar to the solar farm size to refuel one Starship per synod of 500 kW from the Powering martian civilisation from ebay topic.

Establishing minimum requirements is going to require knowing, at a minimum, how many people need to be supported.  Additionally we want to consider the needs of plants and animals that need to be able to survive the storm.  While these details are open to debate my preference is to start with a standard starting point so we are all on the same page.  To this end I will define the biome population I currently believe is minimally viable for an early colonization mission.

Human population:  Total population of 12 including at least 1 doctor, 1 biologist, 1 botanist, 1 chemist, 1 geologist, 5 engineers of varied specialties, with the remaining 2 being wildcards of the specialty of your preference.
Plants:  A quarter acre(~1000 m3) single-layer-equivalent of varied food crops housed in an agricultural research lab.
Animals:  While I am fully aware that mice and rats are frequently used for biological research my working opinion is that rabbits can also breed quickly enough to provide a data set that will inform us how Mars' 0.38% G affects mammalian reproduction and development.  Additionally rabbit is a far more socially acceptable food and fur source than mice and rats.  Therefore it is my opinion it is wise to plan to support a fluffle of rabbits numbering 2-3 dozen.

Working from this limited information what do you believe is necessary to ensure the biome survives until solar power levels recover after an extreme 100 sol long dust storm?  I am particularly interested in the relationship between stored resources and power requirements.
« Last Edit: 11/12/2021 04:07 am by Joseph Peterson »

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #1 on: 10/29/2021 09:07 am »
At the often quoted 32watts/square foot (344w/sqm) 1000sqm would require 344kw
No doubt this figure could by reduced a lot by use of high efficiency selective spectrum lights, by allowing the plants less light to survive if not flourish in the short term and other means, but it’s clear that there are going to be problems!

My suggestion would be to harvest everything possible as quickly as possible and freeze it. Freezing on Mars should not take much power. Maybe some near ripe crop could be kept alive for a limited period, but ultimately the fall back is dried / frozen food. Anything that is insufficiently ripe goes in the compost and you start again after the storm.

So in summary dried and frozen food is your backup. Plants will grow again just build in a margin to allow for this.
My optimistic hope is that it will become cool to really think about things... rather than just doing reactive bullsh*t based on no knowledge (Brian Cox)

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #2 on: 10/29/2021 11:19 am »
As always there is a trade to be considered.  Plants naturally provide an oxygen source and CO2 scrubbing.  Allowing the plants to die during a dust storm means we need to replace this capability.  While it is eminently feasible to supply a reserve of lithium hydroxide canisters and O2 candles this does require a mass and power budget.  Perhaps these budgets would be better spent on an oversized solar farm that provides benefits during non-storm times.  344 kW is a pretty hefty power budget, especially when a dust storm has reduced solar power output to as little as 1%, but we don't necessarily need all of that power to keep the plants alive and my working assumption is we can shut down non-critical operations like ice mining and propellant production.  Perhaps we don't actually need to kill off all the plants in the manner that was depicted in National Geographic's Mars series.

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #3 on: 10/29/2021 01:16 pm »
As always there is a trade to be considered.  Plants naturally provide an oxygen source and CO2 scrubbing.  Allowing the plants to die during a dust storm means we need to replace this capability.  While it is eminently feasible to supply a reserve of lithium hydroxide canisters and O2 candles this does require a mass and power budget.  Perhaps these budgets would be better spent on an oversized solar farm that provides benefits during non-storm times.  344 kW is a pretty hefty power budget, especially when a dust storm has reduced solar power output to as little as 1%, but we don't necessarily need all of that power to keep the plants alive and my working assumption is we can shut down non-critical operations like ice mining and propellant production.  Perhaps we don't actually need to kill off all the plants in the manner that was depicted in National Geographic's Mars series.
There are certainly some interesting trades. I would imagine that sufficient CO2 removal and O2 production capacity could be arranged via a fairly modest ECLSS like an over sized version of what is currently used on the ISS. I'm not sure of the exact power requirements but suspect it might be manageable on perhaps 2-4 kilopower units. This reference states 14.2kw required to keep a crew of 6 alive.
http://www.marsjournal.org/contents/2006/0005/files/rapp_mars_2006_0005.pdf

possibly supplemented by other storage and back up power options such as fuel cells, batteries and residual solar (even at very low levels). It would be interesting to identify the likely scenarios for solar power loss on Mars in terms of likelihood, duration and intensity.

I had not realised that killing off the plants had been suggested in National Geographic's Mars series, is this available anywhere? If used this would make the types of plant grown and especially the time to harvest a key factor.

Ultimately they will have to have multiple contingency plans for different scenarios no doubt shorter or lesser storms could be managed a lot more easily, but the worse case also needs to be considered and I suspect is manageable. Plants can be regrown within weeks and months.
My optimistic hope is that it will become cool to really think about things... rather than just doing reactive bullsh*t based on no knowledge (Brian Cox)

Offline LMT

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #4 on: 10/29/2021 01:56 pm »
re: power, we might take Antarctic electrical and thermal requirements as a rough baseline.

Quote from: Baumgaertner 2016
3.2 Comprehensive power generation concept

As an example, the following concept is based
on the power consumption estimates from
Antarctic research stations. Similar to proposed
stations on Mars, for Antarctic stations electricity
is required for light, pumps, and scientific
experiments. Based on Neumayer-Station III data,
which can host up to 40 people, this amounts to
70 kW – 300 kW. For heating, i.e. thermal energy,
another 70 – 150 kW are required for Antarctica.
For Mars, an even better building insulation
concept is required, reducing the required thermal
energy further.

Refs.

Baumgaertner, A. (2016). Power to Mars.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2021 04:01 pm by LMT »

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #5 on: 10/30/2021 05:16 pm »
There are certainly some interesting trades. I would imagine that sufficient CO2 removal and O2 production capacity could be arranged via a fairly modest ECLSS like an over sized version of what is currently used on the ISS. I'm not sure of the exact power requirements but suspect it might be manageable on perhaps 2-4 kilopower units. This reference states 14.2kw required to keep a crew of 6 alive.
http://www.marsjournal.org/contents/2006/0005/files/rapp_mars_2006_0005.pdf

possibly supplemented by other storage and back up power options such as fuel cells, batteries and residual solar (even at very low levels). It would be interesting to identify the likely scenarios for solar power loss on Mars in terms of likelihood, duration and intensity.

I had not realised that killing off the plants had been suggested in National Geographic's Mars series, is this available anywhere? If used this would make the types of plant grown and especially the time to harvest a key factor.

Ultimately they will have to have multiple contingency plans for different scenarios no doubt shorter or lesser storms could be managed a lot more easily, but the worse case also needs to be considered and I suspect is manageable. Plants can be regrown within weeks and months.

NG's Mars can be streamed here.  The specific episode where the plants die is S1 E5 - Darkest Days.  I had to set my script blocker to allow Brightcove video player but otherwise I didn't have to do anything to be able to watch.  While this episode focuses on psychological concerns the plants dying is memorable to me becasue of a 2014 MIT analysis of Mars One.

Quote
Baseline Mars One Habitat Architecture: A first
simulation of the baseline Mars One habitat indicated
that with no ISRU-derived resources, the first crew
fatality would occur approximately 68 days into the
mission. This would be a result of suffocation from too
low an oxygen partial pressure within the environment,
as depicted in Figure 8.

At the same time, the habitat would be put into a
state of high fire risk due to the oxygen molar fraction
exceeding the 30% safety threshold, as indicated in
Figure 9.

Further investigation revealed that this non-intuitive
result is primarily caused by the plants producing
excessive oxygen, increasing oxygen partial pressure to
outside their partial pressure control box, and causing
the pressure control assemblies to vent air. Because the
PCAs are not able to selectively vent a gas species, the
oxygen molar fraction remains the same after venting,
while the total atmospheric pressure reduces. Nitrogen
is then selectively introduced into the environment to
bring down the oxygen molar fraction. Over many
cycles of air venting and nitrogen being introduced for
oxygen molar fraction control, the nitrogen tank empties
on day 66 of the mission (see Figure 10).

When this occurs, the continually increasing oxygen
production by the plants increases the oxygen molar
fraction within the habitat beyond the fire safety threshold. At the same time, because nitrogen is no
longer available to make up for module leakage, the
habitat total pressure drops. The result is the
simultaneous decreasing of oxygen partial pressure and
increasing oxygen molar fraction.

Further analysis indicated that the oxygen
production of the plants in fact increases as crops reach
maturity. In this simulation case, all crops were grown
in batch mode, with lettuce being the first to reach
maturity at 30 days into the mission, followed by wheat,
which reaches maturity at day 62. Figure 9 depicts the
increase in oxygen molar fraction that occurs shortly
after these mission days.

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/90819

In short growing all the food locally produces significantly more oxygen than humans need to breathe.  The rabbits help mitigate this imbalance.  Furthermore food crop oxygen production accelerates as the plants approach maturity.  In the interest of maintaining a stable atmosphere inside the habitat it is wise to have multiple batches of crops approaching maturity at varied times. 

Hopefully this helps explain why I selected the agricultural research lab size I did and why I am concerned about ensuring their is sufficient power to keep the plans growing during a dust storm.

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #6 on: 10/30/2021 06:31 pm »
Thanks for the post re the NG I will have to watch the whole thing. You raise some interesting points. I assume that the human v plant oxygen balance does not work because excess organic matter is produced. This might be rectified by composting waste which consumes a lot of oxygen under normal circumstances or adding herbivores as you suggest or even insects. However it would then make it very difficult to allow the plants to die as I suggested, because it would effectively also kill or at least seriously dislocate the entire ecosystem including microorganisms.

It might therefore be better to avoid any "reboot the entire ecosystem" option if it was in any way avoidable. I think this might only be avoidable by providing the power needed to maintain business as usual. Having said that it might be possible to manage on somewhat less power by lowering the temperature and or the light levels a bit to slow down growth. It's hard to say how effective this might be.
My optimistic hope is that it will become cool to really think about things... rather than just doing reactive bullsh*t based on no knowledge (Brian Cox)

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #7 on: 10/30/2021 07:45 pm »
Thanks for the post re the NG I will have to watch the whole thing. You raise some interesting points. I assume that the human v plant oxygen balance does not work because excess organic matter is produced. This might be rectified by composting waste which consumes a lot of oxygen under normal circumstances or adding herbivores as you suggest or even insects. However it would then make it very difficult to allow the plants to die as I suggested, because it would effectively also kill or at least seriously dislocate the entire ecosystem including microorganisms.

It might therefore be better to avoid any "reboot the entire ecosystem" option if it was in any way avoidable. I think this might only be avoidable by providing the power needed to maintain business as usual. Having said that it might be possible to manage on somewhat less power by lowering the temperature and or the light levels a bit to slow down growth. It's hard to say how effective this might be.

You're welcome and thank you for taking the time to help me clarify why I selected the plants and rabbits.  That MIT analysis has been critical in shaping how I think about Mars settlement but not everyone has read it.  In hindsight I probably should have added it to my original post.

With that sorted hopefully we can get into the question of just what is required to avoid an ecosystem reboot.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #8 on: 11/07/2021 10:58 pm »
No such thing as a 100 sol dust storm. I mean, do we have 100 day thunderstorms on Earth? Our plants wouldn't survive, either.
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Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #9 on: 11/07/2021 11:28 pm »
No such thing as a 100 sol dust storm. I mean, do we have 100 day thunderstorms on Earth? Our plants wouldn't survive, either.

I'm not literally expecting a 100 sol dust storm.  100 sols was chosen so there should be plenty of margin.

I've already gone on at length about why we don't want all our plants dying.  Saying all the plants will die is not helpful.

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #10 on: 11/07/2021 11:42 pm »
This paper by Michael Smith:

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019JE006107

shows large global dust storms lasting on the order of 100 sols - peak obscuration by dust might be shorter but it can be fairly bad for 100 sols.  I wouldn't count out the possibility.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #11 on: 11/08/2021 12:27 am »
This paper by Michael Smith:

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019JE006107

shows large global dust storms lasting on the order of 100 sols - peak obscuration by dust might be shorter but it can be fairly bad for 100 sols.  I wouldn't count out the possibility.
You're going to have to be more specific than that. I don't see any graphs that show total sunlight (including diffuse) over time. I don't think 100 sols is realistic for near-zero-sun.

Let's back up for a second.

My idea of how a Mars settlement would function:
1) most calories would be from vat-grown foods, not likely in greenhouses. Greenhouses primary would produce nice-to-haves that improve health and wellbeing of astronauts, not critical for survival.
2) Mars' cold climate and dessicating atmosphere mean that food can easily be stored essentially indefinitely just frozen in a cave somewhere. Or just bury a barrel of food. (Keep it from the sun so you don't have freeze/thaw cycles.)
3) The vast majority of power for Mars would be for making propellant for vehicles and perhaps secondarily for making structural materials like plastics and steel and maybe various chemicals. Something like 90-95% of power would be for those things. Some of this would be shared with vat food production.
4) There will be large amounts of propellant at the settlement at any one time. Propellant is methane and oxygen. Possibly CO or hydrogen for fuel, but most likely methane. Either way, ridiculous amounts of oxygen.
5) Any large buildings would need zero extra energy for heating. the near-vacuum makes really good insulation almost trivial, and the need to enclose everything (instead of having a billion out-buildings and houses you walk in between) means you're likely to have fewer, larger buildings than a similar sized settlement on Earth. Maybe just one or two main large enclosures. That helps reducing the surface area and would improve heat retention.
6) CO2 scrubbing can be done regeneratively fairly easily and with almost no energy input, especially if higher CO2 levels are tolerated for extenuating circumstances.

So you don't need 90-95% of energy during a dust storm. That alone would reduce the power required. You don't need heating, you don't need greenhouses (if the storm is going to last an extremely long time, you'll just have to replant almost everything). You can subsist on stored food and oxygen, for months. A small amount of power can be supplied by generators running on ISRU propellant normally used for rockets (you'd pause the vast majority of rocket launches) if in the depths of the dust storm (this being an extremely rare occurrence, like getting a hurricane in New York). You'd STILL get SOME power from the solar arrays, no matter how bad the storm (and the worst parts wouldn't and can't physically last more than a few days).

Unlike on Earth, you wouldn't get major damage to equipment from a storm. No major tornados, no hurricanes, no hail, no flooding, no forest fires, etc.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2021 12:28 am by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline spacenut

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #12 on: 11/08/2021 12:41 am »
First off, at what speed do most Martian dust storms blow?

Next, since the atmosphere is thinner, what does that translate into Earth equivalent?

Can the solar panels be mounted higher off the ground to avoid a lot of dust? 

Can they either have a small nuclear reactor or a battery bank to store excess electricity during the daylight hours to last for say several days or a week or more? 

Which would have less mass being transported from earth, a self contained nuclear reactor or equal power battery bank? 

Something to consider, a two year supply of dry or canned goods could be brought from earth for emergencies, along with medicines and vitamins for 2 years.  A greenhouse should provide all the plant based food for an outpost like this.  Rabbits is not a bad idea, but also chickens to provide not only meat, but eggs.  Birds might have fewer problems adjusting than mammals.  Worth at least a study. 
 

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #13 on: 11/08/2021 12:44 am »
Martian dust is more like smog than anything else.  Images can took impressive, but in reality visibility is still substantial. 

For example Viking 1 colour images taken on sols 282 and 324 showed the effects of a large dust storm (Tau between 5 and 6)  in a colour composite by Olivier de Goursac (https://www.planetary.org/space-images/20131231_sol282_324dust_storm197) look impressive but the horizon ~3 km distant is still visible.  Under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) helicopters are able to fly in visibility down to 3 km (CASA 2021) without reliance on external navigation aids or instruments.

Smith et al. (2018), in a study of visibility in Gale crater during the 2019 dust storm, concluded that visibility was reduced to less than three km.  Guzewich et al. (2019) refined this to 2.7 km. 

Ground operations are even less constrained.  Activities around the station should not be impeded with visibility down to a few hundred m, and some field work would also be possible provided it was at previously visited sites with a marked trail (vehicle tracks would be adequate).

The Martian, great movie that it was, isn't a a documentary!



Apologies in advance for any lack of civility - it's unintended

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #14 on: 11/08/2021 01:13 am »
First off, at what speed do most Martian dust storms blow?

Next, since the atmosphere is thinner, what does that translate into Earth equivalent?

Can the solar panels be mounted higher off the ground to avoid a lot of dust? 

Can they either have a small nuclear reactor or a battery bank to store excess electricity during the daylight hours to last for say several days or a week or more? 

Which would have less mass being transported from earth, a self contained nuclear reactor or equal power battery bank? 

Something to consider, a two year supply of dry or canned goods could be brought from earth for emergencies, along with medicines and vitamins for 2 years.  A greenhouse should provide all the plant based food for an outpost like this.  Rabbits is not a bad idea, but also chickens to provide not only meat, but eggs.  Birds might have fewer problems adjusting than mammals.  Worth at least a study.

You wouldn't really need any special canned or dry food from Earth. You could just store food you made yourself. Mars' average temperature is about -80F, so storing stuff buried or deep in a cave means your food will essentially never go bad. In principle, it could last thousands of years (like mammoths frozen in the tundra). In reality, the quality will reduce over time, but it'll still provide calories and since -80F is extremely cold, it'd do a decent job of preserving micronutrients as well.

And the dust that settles on solar arrays can be removed, and the arrays flipped vertical or upside down at night to prevent accumulation.
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Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #15 on: 11/08/2021 04:00 am »
My idea of how a Mars settlement would function:
1) most calories would be from vat-grown foods, not likely in greenhouses. Greenhouses primary would produce nice-to-haves that improve health and wellbeing of astronauts, not critical for survival.

If you had bothered to read the opening post you'd know that the reference base I am trying to discuss contains an agricultural research lab.  That said, even assuming you are correct about vats killing all the algae is still a massive disruption to the biosphere.  Restoring ecological balance after the storm is easier said than done.

Quote
2) Mars' cold climate and dessicating atmosphere mean that food can easily be stored essentially indefinitely just frozen in a cave somewhere. Or just bury a barrel of food. (Keep it from the sun so you don't have freeze/thaw cycles.)

There is no guarantee that the agricultural research lab could provide enough food so the people and rabbits don't starve until after research has proven it is possible.  Assume that there is already stored food.  My concern is keeping the biosphere stable enough so recovery after the storm isn't a major PITA.

Quote
3) The vast majority of power for Mars would be for making propellant for vehicles and perhaps secondarily for making structural materials like plastics and steel and maybe various chemicals. Something like 90-95% of power would be for those things. Some of this would be shared with vat food production.

This thread is for determining what is needed to survive a dust storm.  Propellant, plastics, steel, and various chemical production during the dust storm isn't required to survive a dust storm.

Quote
4) There will be large amounts of propellant at the settlement at any one time. Propellant is methane and oxygen. Possibly CO or hydrogen for fuel, but most likely methane. Either way, ridiculous amounts of oxygen.

If you had bothered to read the thread and the MIT assessment of Mars One I quoted you'd know I'm far more concerned with the excess oxygen problem. 

Quote
5) Any large buildings would need zero extra energy for heating. the near-vacuum makes really good insulation almost trivial, and the need to enclose everything (instead of having a billion out-buildings and houses you walk in between) means you're likely to have fewer, larger buildings than a similar sized settlement on Earth. Maybe just one or two main large enclosures. That helps reducing the surface area and would improve heat retention.

Based on the size of the reference populations in the opening post it should be obvious that we aren't talking about large buildings.

Quote
6) CO2 scrubbing can be done regeneratively fairly easily and with almost no energy input, especially if higher CO2 levels are tolerated for extenuating circumstances.

CO2 scrubbers are an option if needed.  Then again keeping the plants and/or algae vats healthy enough so recovery after the storm isn't a major PITA might mean CO2 scrubbers aren't necessary.  Biology isn't a subject I am strong in though so I could use some help understanding what is required to keep the plants and/or algae vats healthy enough.

Quote
So you don't need 90-95% of energy during a dust storm. That alone would reduce the power required. You don't need heating, you don't need greenhouses (if the storm is going to last an extremely long time, you'll just have to replant almost everything). You can subsist on stored food and oxygen, for months. A small amount of power can be supplied by generators running on ISRU propellant normally used for rockets (you'd pause the vast majority of rocket launches) if in the depths of the dust storm (this being an extremely rare occurrence, like getting a hurricane in New York). You'd STILL get SOME power from the solar arrays, no matter how bad the storm (and the worst parts wouldn't and can't physically last more than a few days).

OK, but what I'm trying to figure out here are the requirements for survival.  I'm aware that killing all the plants is one option.  I'm also aware that restoring the ecological balance after the storm will take months.  If you really think that killing off all the plants is worth the work needed to restore balance then I'm open to a well reasoned argument.

Quote
Unlike on Earth, you wouldn't get major damage to equipment from a storm. No major tornados, no hurricanes, no hail, no flooding, no forest fires, etc.

No one was arguing otherwise. 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #16 on: 11/08/2021 05:14 am »
Oh. Okay, biospheres are not a reasonable thing IMHO. I wouldn’t attempt it. Industrial life support from the beginning.

I was just establishing how *I* would do it.

A small research lab in a large settlement would be fine and could just use the backup generators.
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Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #17 on: 11/08/2021 04:10 pm »
Oh. Okay, biospheres are not a reasonable thing IMHO. I wouldn’t attempt it.

Perhaps there is a better word but when I say biosphere I am talking about places where biological lifeforms live.  I consider humans to be biological lifeforms.  Therefore no biospheres means no humans on Mars.

Quote
Industrial life support from the beginning.

OK, but biospheres with greater diversity tend to be more stable over time.

Quote
I was just establishing how *I* would do it.

This is exactly what I feared this topic would devolve into if I didn't define a standard starting point.  This topic is not about everyone posting their own personal opinions on how "it" should be done.  This topic is about doing an in-depth analysis of one way to do "it."

Quote
A small research lab in a large settlement would be fine and could just use the backup generators.

Waiting to start research until after a large settlement has been built up means relying on imported food.  Importing food means the Starships required to import food aren't available to import other goods.  I don't want to drag this conversation even further off topic so I'm not going to list the other goods I'd prefer to be able to import but I will say I have a very long list.  Waiting to start research as you suggest and delaying importation of those other goods, and the expanding Martian economy they enable, is the opposite of fine in my book.

Offline LMT

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #18 on: 11/08/2021 04:21 pm »
Martian dust is more like smog than anything else.  Images can took impressive, but in reality visibility is still substantial. 

For example Viking 1 colour images taken on sols 282 and 324 showed the effects of a large dust storm (Tau between 5 and 6)  in a colour composite by Olivier de Goursac (https://www.planetary.org/space-images/20131231_sol282_324dust_storm197) look impressive but the horizon ~3 km distant is still visible.  Under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) helicopters are able to fly in visibility down to 3 km (CASA 2021) without reliance on external navigation aids or instruments.

Smith et al. (2018), in a study of visibility in Gale crater during the 2019 dust storm, concluded that visibility was reduced to less than three km.  Guzewich et al. (2019) refined this to 2.7 km. 

Ground operations are even less constrained.  Activities around the station should not be impeded with visibility down to a few hundred m, and some field work would also be possible provided it was at previously visited sites with a marked trail (vehicle tracks would be adequate).

The Martian, great movie that it was, isn't a a documentary!

You could walk, yes.  We navigate under moonlight, after all. 

PV would fail there:  tau 5 transmission is < 1%.  Viking 1 could take the photo because it used the SNAP-19 RTG.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2021 04:22 pm by LMT »

Offline libra

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Re: What is required to survive a Martian dust storm?
« Reply #19 on: 11/08/2021 05:59 pm »
Tape. Potatoes. Forgotten 1970's TV shows. No disco, ever. And avoiding the flying antenna...  ;D
« Last Edit: 11/09/2021 10:42 am by libra »

 

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