Author Topic: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)  (Read 9830 times)

Offline aris2270

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Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« on: 10/22/2019 07:19 am »
Hi! I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I just need some scientific points of view.
I'm going to start drawing/writing a mini webcomic series based around space exploration in the Solar System in 2270 (just for fun). This future boasts a fully terraformed Mars. I've come up with a little timeline for the terraforming process, but I just wanted to confirm something. (I'm by no means a scientist of any sort, just really fascinated with hominization.)
Basically, in 2120, a high-efficiency route between Mars and Venus was established. This featured antimatter rockets that would fly between the two planets. Vast amounts of Carbon Dioxide was sequestered in the Venusian atmosphere, shipped to Mars and burnt off on the surface, increasing atmospheric pressure greatly.
The timeline meant that after this was established, there was a ~100 kPa (still haven't decided on an actual number yet) Carbon Dioxide atmosphere in 50 years. Adding on the Boreholes, Orbital Mirrors and burning of carbon composites established beforehand, it took a total of 120 years to achieve this after beginning in 2050.
Is this antimatter-rocket-route feasible, and does the timeline appear realistic?
Thanks!

Offline Owlon

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #1 on: 10/23/2019 03:57 am »
Hi! I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I just need some scientific points of view.
I'm going to start drawing/writing a mini webcomic series based around space exploration in the Solar System in 2270 (just for fun). This future boasts a fully terraformed Mars. I've come up with a little timeline for the terraforming process, but I just wanted to confirm something. (I'm by no means a scientist of any sort, just really fascinated with hominization.)
Basically, in 2120, a high-efficiency route between Mars and Venus was established. This featured antimatter rockets that would fly between the two planets. Vast amounts of Carbon Dioxide was sequestered in the Venusian atmosphere, shipped to Mars and burnt off on the surface, increasing atmospheric pressure greatly.
The timeline meant that after this was established, there was a ~100 kPa (still haven't decided on an actual number yet) Carbon Dioxide atmosphere in 50 years. Adding on the Boreholes, Orbital Mirrors and burning of carbon composites established beforehand, it took a total of 120 years to achieve this after beginning in 2050.
Is this antimatter-rocket-route feasible, and does the timeline appear realistic?
Thanks!

Just to give a ballpark estimate, the kinetic energy needed to accelerate all that mass out of the gravity well of Venus and throw it at Mars would be on the order of 100,000 times the current global annual energy production (assuming I haven't made any gross calculation errors). As to whether that is feasible or realistic--who knows where energy production technology will lead in the next century?

I'll point out that a pretty significant amount of the CO2 needed already exists on Mars in the polar ice caps and frozen in regolith, which would be released if the global temperature was increased. Going by hazy memory, I think I've seen estimates that this would add up to anywhere from 5 to 50% of Earth's atmospheric pressure.

EDIT: Also, welcome to the forum!
« Last Edit: 10/23/2019 03:57 am by Owlon »

Offline _MECO

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #2 on: 10/23/2019 07:00 am »
Hi! I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I just need some scientific points of view.
I'm going to start drawing/writing a mini webcomic series based around space exploration in the Solar System in 2270 (just for fun). This future boasts a fully terraformed Mars. I've come up with a little timeline for the terraforming process, but I just wanted to confirm something. (I'm by no means a scientist of any sort, just really fascinated with hominization.)
Basically, in 2120, a high-efficiency route between Mars and Venus was established. This featured antimatter rockets that would fly between the two planets. Vast amounts of Carbon Dioxide was sequestered in the Venusian atmosphere, shipped to Mars and burnt off on the surface, increasing atmospheric pressure greatly.
The timeline meant that after this was established, there was a ~100 kPa (still haven't decided on an actual number yet) Carbon Dioxide atmosphere in 50 years. Adding on the Boreholes, Orbital Mirrors and burning of carbon composites established beforehand, it took a total of 120 years to achieve this after beginning in 2050.
Is this antimatter-rocket-route feasible, and does the timeline appear realistic?
Thanks!

Just to give a ballpark estimate, the kinetic energy needed to accelerate all that mass out of the gravity well of Venus and throw it at Mars would be on the order of 100,000 times the current global annual energy production (assuming I haven't made any gross calculation errors). As to whether that is feasible or realistic--who knows where energy production technology will lead in the next century?

I'll point out that a pretty significant amount of the CO2 needed already exists on Mars in the polar ice caps and frozen in regolith, which would be released if the global temperature was increased. Going by hazy memory, I think I've seen estimates that this would add up to anywhere from 5 to 50% of Earth's atmospheric pressure.

EDIT: Also, welcome to the forum!

This. You'd be surprised how cheap gigaton-range nuclear weapons become when you start talking about importing CO2 from Venus.

Online AnalogMan

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #3 on: 10/23/2019 10:31 am »
This currently active thread may also be of interest:

Mars Terraforming discussion
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31113.0

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #4 on: 10/23/2019 11:17 am »
Venus might be cooled with a combination of CO2 conversion and a huge, manufactured in space 'sunshield'. But the darn place rotates so terribly slowly this contributes to it's lackluster magnetic field - and who wants permanent daylight anyhow?! Mars is a better candidate for Terraforming. But I've always been very lukewarm for the idea. It would take a hell of a lot of money, energy and centuries of time to change it. Why bother? All the trillions spent on it and centuries to Terraform might instead be better used Terraforming Earth back to the 'ideal' state and building Starships to travel to other systems where Earth like planets had been discovered.

We already build gigantic sports stadiums and enclosed communities on Earth. Why not just use our Civil Engineering Super-know how to build pressurized Super-Domed cities on Mars? And if Mars does turn out to have a residual, albeit dying ecosystem left there - I don't think we have the ethical right to decimate it. Just my two cents worth of opinions...
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #5 on: 10/23/2019 03:02 pm »
Hi! I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I just need some scientific points of view.
I'm going to start drawing/writing a mini webcomic series based around space exploration in the Solar System in 2270 (just for fun). This future boasts a fully terraformed Mars. I've come up with a little timeline for the terraforming process, but I just wanted to confirm something. (I'm by no means a scientist of any sort, just really fascinated with hominization.)
Basically, in 2120, a high-efficiency route between Mars and Venus was established. This featured antimatter rockets that would fly between the two planets. Vast amounts of Carbon Dioxide was sequestered in the Venusian atmosphere, shipped to Mars and burnt off on the surface, increasing atmospheric pressure greatly.
The timeline meant that after this was established, there was a ~100 kPa (still haven't decided on an actual number yet) Carbon Dioxide atmosphere in 50 years. Adding on the Boreholes, Orbital Mirrors and burning of carbon composites established beforehand, it took a total of 120 years to achieve this after beginning in 2050.
Is this antimatter-rocket-route feasible, and does the timeline appear realistic?
Thanks!

I'm assuming these antimatter rockets are constantly firing during the trip. If they're accelerating at a significant fraction of g, then the trip time between the inner solar system planets is measured in single-digit days, no matter which two planets you select or where they are in their orbits. So a "high efficiency route" isn't needed, that issue is solved with brute force.

That being the case, I think it would be better to transport nitrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere of Jupiter to Mars. There they would require little to no refining / processing before transport to Mars, and the resulting atmosphere would be far more comfortable for Earth life. As already mentioned, Mars already has plenty of CO2. Depending on the size of these antimatter ships (how much is being transported per trip?) that might be the better option.

If this isn't a major plot point for your story, you might not have to worry too much about these details (though the readers certainly will).
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Offline mlorrey

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #6 on: 10/24/2019 03:27 am »
You could get a Tibetan climate on Mars within about 30 years, at 300-400 millibars pressure, but pure CO2, by building automated production facilities to produce CFCs from raw native flourine and chlorine based chemical compounds and minerals, and dump said CFCs into the atmosphere. You'd need to produce them at the level the developed nations were producing them before the Montreal Protocol. This would trigger enough warming to cause all the CO2 to melt and outgass from the regolith, leading to temperate climate over 75% of Mars surface. No pressure suits needed, but O2 masks would be required still.
After  that, its just a whole lot of plant growth, releasing algae into the northern sea (yes all the ice will melt and fill the northern third of the planets surface  with  ocean), to convert a lot of the CO2 to O2.
Then you need a whole lot of  nitrogen, which isn't on Venus,  or Earth, or anywhere in the Asteroids. Its on Titan, where there are high levels of Ammonia (NH3). You can send rockets out there to collect ammonia in tanks, which they can then crack it into N2 and H2 to supply their rockets to get back to Mars. Or... you can hope Mach Effects really work, cause the Mach Effect equation will, at a high  enough energy density and operating frequency, enable stargates. Imagine having a stargate connection between Mars surface and Titan surface. You'd have it gushing ammonia and methane into Mars til pressure equalizes or you shut the gate.
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Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #7 on: 10/24/2019 05:17 am »
In addition to the CFCs, a good idea seems to be an artificial magnetic field for Mars, which is not unthinkable even with today's technology. I believe NASA had a paper on this idea, not too long ago. The existence of a magnetic field alone (even without additional terraforming operations) would increase pressure and temperatures on Mars relatively quickly (but from what I understand only up to a certain point).

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #8 on: 10/24/2019 06:48 am »
Mars is losing several kilos of atmospheric gases per day - so any way this could be arrested would be a good thing. Any improvements to the magnetic field would only be a good thing, too.
« Last Edit: 10/24/2019 10:37 am by MATTBLAK »
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Offline edzieba

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #9 on: 10/24/2019 09:55 am »
If you have a copious antimatter source, it would probably make more sense to fly that antimatter to Mars and use it for energy production to produce CO2 (or more effective greenhouse gases) in-situ - e.g. crushing up rocks for Carbon and melting and electrolysing ice for Oxygen - than to cart that CO2 up out of a gravity well and fling it across the solar system.


Offline QuantumG

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #11 on: 10/24/2019 09:50 pm »
Cover the poles with a travelling wave nuclear reactor (thanks Bill Gates!) and melt them.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Spaniard

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #12 on: 10/25/2019 12:47 pm »
Well... Instead of antimatter rockets, because we are talking about a huge amount of matter in any case, I suggest to make an orbital ring around venus and use it to suck the atmosphere directly. Using the ring as a big energy collector too (surrounded by pv panels), pipe the gases, turn into solid CO2, and in cold ships, launch to Mars in a "cycler like" trajectory.

Just with minimal separation, you could send the cargo to Mars collision while the ship goes to Venus again (remember... cycler trajectory)

Using aerobraking and minimal propulsion, the ship could reach Low Venus Orbit and reattach to the ring again.

The launch of the ship could be using tethers on the ring. The result is MINIMAL need of propulsion and reusing ships over and over and over.

Probably it would be need minimal propulsion that, based on electrical propulsion, could use some of the cargo as a propollant. Just a tiny fraction.

There is more atmosphere on Venus that needed on Mars.

We don't need to replicate Earth atmosphere on Mars. We just need a enough thick atmosphere to reach the liquid point of water on the whole Mars, some nitrogen, and some oxygen.

The species could adapt to this levels, so life colonization could start from this point without need to stop the terraforming.

Because build a ring (even if it's close to cables only) around a planet is a very expensive project, we should probably with more traditional approach like producing supergreenhouse gasses and mirrors for Mars. This would have sense later, when most of ices has been released and we have checked that there is no enough ice on Mars to build or ideal terraforming project.

Import some ammonia comets will be needed too, because we need to import nitrogen and we don't want to decrease nitrogen levels on Venus, for later Venus terraforming project.
The idea is to bring two projects into one. Strip down Venus atmosphere and use it on Mars. Two for the price of one.

The "suck atmosphere" part could use the technique of the ring at a different speed to Venus land or atmosphere. On the ring, you have "magnetic rails" and a "train" with the pipe to the atmosphere. It close to a elevator, but the elevator requires very far (unrealistic on Venus) counterweight. Here, instead, the counterweight push the ring and the ring could maintain the position because its orbital speed is different and faster.

Offline Paul451

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #13 on: 10/27/2019 06:35 am »
You could get a Tibetan climate on Mars within about 30 years, at 300-400 millibars pressure, but pure CO2

For the people who think the only thing wrong with the climate of Tibet is all that damn oxygen.

at 300-400 millibars pressure

Is the top of Mt Everest. Most of Tibet is in the 500-700 millibar range. (You don't drop below 400mb until you get above 7km.)

Then you need a whole lot of  nitrogen, which isn't on Venus,

3.5% at 90+ atmospheres gives Venus nearly 4 times as much nitrogen as on Earth. Hence if you were trying to thin Venus' atmosphere down to 100kPa, you'd need to eliminate a bit over 3 atmospheres' worth of nitrogen.

Offline Paul451

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #14 on: 10/27/2019 07:00 am »
If you have a copious antimatter source, it would probably make more sense to fly that antimatter to Mars and use it for energy production to produce CO2 (or more effective greenhouse gases) in-situ - e.g. crushing up rocks for Carbon and melting and electrolysing ice for Oxygen - than to cart that CO2 up out of a gravity well and fling it across the solar system.

My guess is that the energy cost and resources required to terraform any planet would let you turn the entire mass of the asteroid belt into a basic Dyson Swarm. Tens to hundreds of billions of unique tailored environments, capable of housing up to hundreds of millions of times the population of Earth; or giving the current population of Earth tens of Island Three sized habitats each.

Offline mrhuggy

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #15 on: 10/27/2019 11:28 am »
Millions of wind turbines heating up the ice to melt.
Bio engineered Mars resistant plants.
Bio engineer humans to be more Mars resistant and able to breath in high CO2 atmospheres.
Nuking the ice caps.
Build massive industrial chemical plants to produce pollution to increase a greenhouse effect.
Puting mass drivers on asteroids and comets to burn the up in the atmosphere.
Using solar mirrors to heat up Mars.
Using solar mirrors to melt the martian surface, creating those martian canals that we have long sought for.
Covering up vallis to make them in to huge greenhouses to convert CO2 into food, wood and oxygen.

All nearly scientifically possible, now guess which books covers it all.



Offline Lar

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #16 on: 10/28/2019 12:37 pm »
Millions of wind turbines heating up the ice to melt.
Bio engineered Mars resistant plants.
Bio engineer humans to be more Mars resistant and able to breath in high CO2 atmospheres.
Nuking the ice caps.
Build massive industrial chemical plants to produce pollution to increase a greenhouse effect.
Puting mass drivers on asteroids and comets to burn the up in the atmosphere.
Using solar mirrors to heat up Mars.
Using solar mirrors to melt the martian surface, creating those martian canals that we have long sought for.
Covering up vallis to make them in to huge greenhouses to convert CO2 into food, wood and oxygen.

All nearly scientifically possible, now guess which books covers it all.




Red/Green/Blue Mars (by Kim Stanley Robinson) ???
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #17 on: 05/27/2022 03:08 pm »
Bump. I think Advanced Concepts is the right place to discuss terraforming.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #18 on: 06/17/2022 04:39 pm »
Bump. I think Advanced Concepts is the right place to discuss terraforming.
The easiest way to "raise" the pressure would be to dig up a 40km deep hole.
It will basically be deeper than the sea on Earth.
The pressure at the bottom will then be ~33% of Earth.
We can use plants to generate oxygen rather than Sabbatier process.
Although that way we get only about less than 1% of the surface area as a set of colonies.
Disagree. Look up the amount of dirt you need to move… Mars’ atmosphere has a mass of 25 terratonnes (and causes a pressure of about 10-15 millibar at the deepest parts of Hellas Basin compared to 62mbar needed for the Armstrong Limit, so about a factor of 5 away). A cone with angle of repose of 26 degrees and 40km deep has a volume approximately 250 trillion cubic meters, which if you have a density of 2g/cc means you’re moving 20 times the mass as the mass of the current atmosphere of Mars & 4 times the amount needed for minimal terraforming, and that’s just a single small cone.

Massive bubble habitats would be a lot less work for the same area and pressure.
« Last Edit: 06/17/2022 05:39 pm by Robotbeat »
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Online rakaydos

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Re: Terraforming of Mars Ideas (and questions!)
« Reply #19 on: 06/25/2022 06:20 pm »
Since it looks like the thread in the mars forum isnt returning...

The biggest problem with domes is that human-habitable pressure is so much higher than mars surface pressure, that "domes" cannot rely on surface anchors and instead  are effectively partially buried pressure spheres. The thickness of glass needed to "float" a dome would be on the order of a meter thick- and issac newton help you if a dome that heavy ever loses pressure.

But what if we could play with atmospheric scale height inside the dome?

There's breathable materials significantly denser than NitrOx, and the hellas basin is pretty deep, which also means that there's significant walls on all sides. Throw a zero-pressure-difference celophane barrier over the basin to prevent martian winds from dispercing our efforts, and fill the basin with those denser breathable mixtures, and how close to the armstrong limit can you reach?

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