GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Browncoats: Mars Needs You

POSTED BY: MARSORBUST
UPDATED: Friday, May 12, 2006 15:45
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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 7:14 PM

MARSORBUST


Howdy,
For all you fellow Browncoats out there, I wish to share with you a vision of a future that potentially very Firefly/Serenity like and one that may actually happen.
Robert Zubrin, a former aero-space engineer for Martin-Marietta and a founding member of the Mars Society wrote a book a few years back called "The Case for Mars"
In it he describes a world that can be settled using 1890's gas-light era technologies.
Those unfamiliar with the "Mars that is" may not know that Mars does indeed have water; much of the ground is in fact permafrost that contains up to 50% water. Mars looks superficially like a bone-dry desert but it would be more accurate to descibe it as a world of frozen sand-castles. And it has recently been discovered that it does possess of frozen sea and glaciers that we didn't recognize as such because they are coated in layers of dust.
It also turns out that the martian atmo is just this side of going greenhouse. It is primarily carbon dioxide but if we could by some probably relatively simple method raise the atmo temp at the south pole by just 4 degrees celsius, we could start a runaway greenhouse effect that could within decades raise the temp and atmo pressure to the point that expensive pressure suits would no longer be required. All that would be neccesary would be cold weather gear and off the shelf scuba equipment and you're out there..running around. Cool huh?
Theres more. With 1890's chemical engineering technologies, atmo CO2 could be reacted with hydrogen electrolysed from indigenous water and you have more water, air, and methane and hydrazine for fuel.
Theres more. Mars receive 40% of the solar flux that Earth receives from the Sun but it has been proven that this is sufficient for greenhouse farming.
Older, more reliable technologies could be readily manufactured and maintained. Gears and pullies instead of automation, pressure guages instead of digital readouts, HAM radio instead of internet. All the resources are also present for all kinds of metallurgy and the production of all sorts of polymers (plastics, adhesives, etc).
It also turns out that a compound known as silane can be readily manufactured. What is important about this is that silane will combust in a CO2 atmo. At Martian temps it is a semi-solid so it would not be good for internal combustion but would be great for boiler fuel: Steam Engines.
So all together imagine a Jules Vernesque world of steam powered turn of the century industry and vehicles.
The one thing that would be difficult to do on-planet would be the kind of sophisticated electronics that we take for granted as copper appears to be quite rare based upon soil samples. High tech items would have to be imported from Earth at high cost..sorry computer geeks.
Nitrates also appear to scarce but what this might creat is a situation in which soebody might be willing to pay your way if you bring your jar of pennies and a bag of manure as both those things would be as gold in a Martian economy.
Woo Hoo! Scuba gear gunslingers robbing locomotives with steam powered tanks heisting cow-shit on a world where two moons visible hurdle through the sky; casting fast moving shadows upon the ground..where there are dust devil so big they make a terrestrial tornado look like a popcorn fart. Shiny as copper y'all.
How could all this come about? Well, the Moon will more than likely be first, mostly due to near-future military considerations. This is the subject of my next post: The Future of War.
Add to this that historically, colonists are almost always rejects of the parent civilization and this J. Vernesque world would be colored by some very eccentric folks.




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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 8:54 PM

EVERYWORLDSPINNIN


Just add some PAX, and you're good to go!

This is some very interesting stuff. Look forward to hearin more!

--------------------------------------------------
Child One: "Republicans aren't real."
Child Two: "Full well they are!"

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:08 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


I'm sorry to be busting any bubbles here, but I just read a Discover article yesterday that stated it's possible and even likely that, due to cosmic radiation, we are pretty firmly trapped on Earth. The basic case made was that the human body is too delicate to withstand prolonged time in space, which a trip to mars would be. Weightlessness, for one thing, can cause many problems with bone decay and organ failure that they are still trying to combat. Worse than that, though, is what could happen to a body that wasn't shielded from bursts of radiation from Sol. It could cause serious brain damage, blindness, and increase the risk of cancer. Months spent in space could render people completely useless. So while Mars has water and could possibly be made habitable, the heartbreaking reality is that we might not even be able to make it there. Of course we want to, and there's plans to, even plans to try setting up a base there, but there's some fresh doubt being shed on the whole subject. They're still studying it, but I wouldn't look for a signup sheet anytime soon.

*************************************************
One summer.
One mission.
One legion of Browncoats.

Starting June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:59 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


Sure, we could become all crispycritterish from solarradiation. But remember that we faced the same problem first time we went to the moon, all lot of folk thought it to be impossible from a radiation point of vue. But NASA managed to shield the ship and the astronauts survived, I reckon they can do the same to mars, although it will take better tech, it aint impossible.

And dealing with Weightlessness is a problem, but remember that we have had astronauts, and for even longer periods cosmonauts, out on spacestations in orbit around earth for long periods of time, and they have managed to survive.

We will leave our planet and voyage into the rest of the solarsystem. The question is only how soon.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:59 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


Sure, we could become all crispycritterish from solarradiation. But remember that we faced the same problem first time we went to the moon, all lot of folk thought it to be impossible from a radiation point of vue. But NASA managed to shield the ship and the astronauts survived, I reckon they can do the same to mars, although it will take better tech, it aint impossible.

And dealing with Weightlessness is a problem, but remember that we have had astronauts, and for even longer periods cosmonauts, out on spacestations in orbit around earth for long periods of time, and they have managed to survive.

We will leave our planet and voyage into the rest of the solarsystem. The question is only how soon.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:59 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


Sure, we could become all crispycritterish from solarradiation. But remember that we faced the same problem first time we went to the moon, all lot of folk thought it to be impossible from a radiation point of vue. But NASA managed to shield the ship and the astronauts survived, I reckon they can do the same to mars, although it will take better tech, it aint impossible.

And dealing with Weightlessness is a problem, but remember that we have had astronauts, and for even longer periods cosmonauts, out on spacestations in orbit around earth for long periods of time, and they have managed to survive.

We will leave our planet and voyage into the rest of the solarsystem. The question is only how soon.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:59 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


Sure, we could become all crispycritterish from solarradiation. But remember that we faced the same problem first time we went to the moon, all lot of folk thought it to be impossible from a radiation point of vue. But NASA managed to shield the ship and the astronauts survived, I reckon they can do the same to mars, although it will take better tech, it aint impossible.

And dealing with Weightlessness is a problem, but remember that we have had astronauts, and for even longer periods cosmonauts, out on spacestations in orbit around earth for long periods of time, and they have managed to survive.

We will leave our planet and voyage into the rest of the solarsystem. The question is only how soon.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:59 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


Sure, we could become all crispycritterish from solarradiation. But remember that we faced the same problem first time we went to the moon, all lot of folk thought it to be impossible from a radiation point of vue. But NASA managed to shield the ship and the astronauts survived, I reckon they can do the same to mars, although it will take better tech, it aint impossible.

And dealing with Weightlessness is a problem, but remember that we have had astronauts, and for even longer periods cosmonauts, out on spacestations in orbit around earth for long periods of time, and they have managed to survive.

We will leave our planet and voyage into the rest of the solarsystem. The question is only how soon.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:59 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


Sure, we could become all crispycritterish from solarradiation. But remember that we faced the same problem first time we went to the moon, all lot of folk thought it to be impossible from a radiation point of vue. But NASA managed to shield the ship and the astronauts survived, I reckon they can do the same to mars, although it will take better tech, it aint impossible.

And dealing with Weightlessness is a problem, but remember that we have had astronauts, and for even longer periods cosmonauts, out on spacestations in orbit around earth for long periods of time, and they have managed to survive.

We will leave our planet and voyage into the rest of the solarsystem. The question is only how soon.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 12:33 AM

AGATSU


...and who's gonna be along for the ride.
Seriously, do you think they'd just settle you and me to Mars? We'd be left to rot on this rock, while the wealthy and powerful build their little utopia up there. It's the perfect opportunity to weed out "unwanted" parts of the population for the New Brave Mars.
Who'd decide who can go and who can't? And who exactly would do the colonizing? Countries? Companies?
What about the countries that don't have a space program? The ones who DO would try to squeeze as much out of those countries as possible as payment for their assistance (and brag about how kind-hearted they are to help those in need), and this way those countries would be at a very big disadvantage in the colonisation process, since they have to spend enormous sums of money to even get to Mars - and there's nothing THERE yet. Or those countries would have to rely on private companies, who'd do just about the same thing.
It's not gonna be a time of "Yay, let us, the human race, work together as brothers and sisters to conquer the stars!". People will try to grab what they can, get the advantage as soon as they can, fuck people over as hard as they can. That, or we're gonna have a world government, anyways.
And of course there'd be total surveillance and implanted ID chips and all that conspiracy stuff.

In a scenario I'm writing right now, some "colony ships" are in fact slave ships, with the cryo chambers rigged so that the colonists will wake up only AFTER the loyal security forces are in place and all is set for enslavement, and the colonists are put to work as slaves to build an Utopia for the elite.
The self declared masters will be woken up when their luxurious homes are finished, and live like gods.
They take the slaves' children from their parents right after birth and keep them separated and teach them whatever version of "history" they like. So 50 years after colonisation, there won't even be any slave left to remember earth, and they are gonna think it's always been like this. Or, more likely, they'll be told that it was sooooo much worse before, but their masters made everything better for everyone.

Okay, so that is obviously a science fiction concept, but it might not be too far off, although of course exaggerated for dramatical effect.

And what about religion? Where the hell is Mecca when you're on Mars? Do religious people believe that their God or whatever will be on Mars, too? Will people leave religious "hot spots" behind?
Apart from that, all over earth, there'll be religious mass hysteria - it's more or less the Final Days, and all the rich and beautiful get to go to heaven, while the rest of us sinners
can stay on this rock, which will very soon resemble hell.
There'll be chaos and death and insanity and war EVERYWHERE (apart from total pollution and melting polar caps and all that shit).
Whacky fun.

There's also psychological issues - you'd be living in little boxes on a huge, hostile planet, an eternity away from Earth, the closest place were you could breathe naturally. It's like living in an underwater city that lies at the bottom of a 55 to 400 million kilometer deep ocean.

Gravity is a problem. How will the colonists - and future generations - adopt to the changes? Will born "Mars humans" be able to again sustain Earth's gravity, or will their legs break under their own weight? (If your weight is 80 kg here, you're about 30 kg on Mars).

SO

Colonising sounds like a shiny idea, and is just about the only chance of survival for the human race (or at least the few people who can afford it), but those are gonna be quite shitty times, I assure you.

See that go-se pile of problems? And I didn't even comment on the technical issues of colonising Mars that much, because the technology is not as much the problem as human nature.
There's no idea so pure that man won't pervert it over time.


******** BONUS RANT SECTION! WOOHOO! ***********

If it weren't for the fucking church and its reign of terror during the dark ages, we could already be on Mars. Fucking retards cost us a few hundred years of technical evolution.

BROWNCOATS UNITE!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 3:12 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by MarsOrBust:
It also turns out that the martian atmo is just this side of going greenhouse. It is primarily carbon dioxide but if we could by some probably relatively simple method raise the atmo temp at the south pole by just 4 degrees celsius, we could start a runaway greenhouse effect that could within decades raise the temp and atmo pressure to the point that expensive pressure suits would no longer be required. All that would be neccesary would be cold weather gear and off the shelf scuba equipment and you're out there..running around. Cool huh?
Theres more. With 1890's chemical engineering technologies, atmo CO2 could be reacted with hydrogen electrolysed from indigenous water and you have more water, air, and methane and hydrazine for fuel.


Not quite. There's a pressure problem for a start, Earth has a surface pressure of 1014 millibars, that's the pressure our bodies are 'designed' to survive at. The surface pressure of Mars is about 9 millibars, not much above the Vacuum of space. This is one of the reasons any greenhouse effect on Mars is so low, there's simply not enough atmosphere to hold the heat in.

Due to this only a few places on Mars reach above 0c and only in direct sunlight. In fact the surface of Mars can get so cold Carbon Dioxide falls as snow (~-78c). Cold weather gear wouldn't defend you against that level of cold and Scuba gear would not help with the pressure. Also Scuba gear is designed to work to positive pressure, not negative pressure environments.

Simply put, you'd need a spacesuit to walk around on Mars.
Quote:

Theres more. Mars receive 40% of the solar flux that Earth receives from the Sun but it has been proven that this is sufficient for greenhouse farming.

In order to get the same effect Mars would need an atmosphere with a much greater concentration of greenhouse gases with an atmosphere at least as thick as that of Earth. This means a massive Terraforming plan that can not be achieved with 19th century level technology.
Quote:

It also turns out that a compound known as silane can be readily manufactured. What is important about this is that silane will combust in a CO2 atmo.

Silane is a compound of Silicon and Hydrogen. It still requires Oxygen to burn, burning is a chemical reaction; it is a rapid oxidisation, thus requiring oxygen.
Quote:

The one thing that would be difficult to do on-planet would be the kind of sophisticated electronics that we take for granted as copper appears to be quite rare based upon soil samples. High tech items would have to be imported from Earth at high cost..sorry computer geeks.

What has copper got to do with computers? Computers are constructed from plastics, silicon, Gold/Silver and solder (alloy of Tin and Lead). Copper is used in wiring because it is a reasonably good conductor and cheap, there are plenty of alternatives.
Quote:

Nitrates also appear to scarce but what this might creat is a situation in which soebody might be willing to pay your way if you bring your jar of pennies and a bag of manure as both those things would be as gold in a Martian economy.

It really doesn't make sense to be seeding Mars with manure from Earth. Terraforming to a degree would be required, quite a fascinating subject in itself and obtainable with modern technology, but I don't have time to get into it now.
Quote:

Add to this that historically, colonists are almost always rejects of the parent civilization and this J. Vernesque world would be colored by some very eccentric folks.

Historically colonisation was relatively cheap and for the most part not Government sponsored (except for protection by the army). Colonisation of another planet however is incredibly costly, and requires Government funding at the moment. Large corporations may one day be capable of doing it, but not yet.
Quote:

Originally posted by Agatsu:
Okay, so that is obviously a science fiction concept, but it might not be too far off, although of course exaggerated for dramatical effect.


I think your scenario is a little fanciful.
Quote:

And what about religion? Where the hell is Mecca when you're on Mars? Do religious people believe that their God or whatever will be on Mars, too? Will people leave religious "hot spots" behind?

The film Pitch Black had a good way of dealing with this. The Muslims gathered in a circle and directed their prayers up, since Earth and Mecca was always up on another planet.
Quote:

Apart from that, all over earth, there'll be religious mass hysteria - it's more or less the Final Days, and all the rich and beautiful get to go to heaven, while the rest of us sinners
can stay on this rock, which will very soon resemble hell.
There'll be chaos and death and insanity and war EVERYWHERE (apart from total pollution and melting polar caps and all that shit).


Like how there was a British Civil war when the American colonies were started?
Quote:

If it weren't for the fucking church and its reign of terror during the dark ages, we could already be on Mars. Fucking retards cost us a few hundred years of technical evolution.

Although I agree in part it's not that simple. The dark ages lasted ~600 years, and scientific advancement slipped back in that time. Back then the world was a very different place, imagine the numerous European wars or the crusades fought with Nuclear weapons. Massive cultural changes have occurred due to the Enlightenment that was a direct result of the Dark Ages.

Point is without the Dark Ages things might have been better, we might right now have outpost on Jupiter, we might have wiped ourselves out in the thirty seconds war, fought because the King of France got drunk and hit the button.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
And as you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 3:31 AM

EVERYWORLDSPINNIN


While I agree that the Middle Ages did little to help the scientific
advancement of mankind, I don't think you can fully blame the church
for the fact that we are not out in the solar system today.

An interesting piece of history that people often overlook, is how
technologies created in ancient times had been misused, or outright
ignored.

Take for instance the situation of Herona of ancient Greece. From the
website http://www.e-telescope.gr/en/cat05/art05_021129.htm:

Heronas' steam engine

Heronas of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician, engineer and inventor
of the first century BC. He initially worked as shoemaker but he
eventually decided to explore his ideas. He is better known as an
engineer for his hydraulic mechanisms, simple machines and
automations, but he was also an important mathematician of his time.
He served as a director of the famous Technical School of Alexandria
(maybe the world's first polytechnic university).
He presented and operated the world's first steam engine, consisted of
a closed, spherical container, filled with water. When the water was
heated and began to boil, the stream was relieved by two nozzles,
configured in a polar alignment. The container was fixed in such a way
that was allowed to rotate. The steam release caused a rotating motion
of the container that could be used as a steam motor for various
applications. The principle of this simple configuration is the same
used today for jet propulsion.


The contraption that was built by Herona, was essentially a toy. He
didn't realize the importance of using it to actually propel objects such as boats. It wasn't
for another 1500+ years, before the first steam engine was built.

Or consider that the battery *may* have been invented as early as 200 BC as found in the Baghdad Museum (there is some discussion as to when these dozen or so batteries may have been created). http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_11.htm

In any case, if these technologies had been exploited to even a fraction of their potential, the world may very well be a different place.

--------------------------------------------------
Child One: "Republicans aren't real."
Child Two: "Full well they are!"

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:15 AM

STILLFLYIN


The Problems of getting to mars are easily solved. For gravity, we rotate the ship, for radiation we shield the ship and for bordem we include large quantities of books, movies and multiple copies of Firefly and Serenity. The real problems arise when we reach Mars itself, there is little in the way of atmo, the everpresent danger of sandstorms and the temperature extremes. At the beginning of the colony we sould have to live in domes in some area that has shielding from sandstorms. We might find some way to terraform, but I don't think we have the tech to do it now. If low gravity became an issue we could have exercise regimens that colonists could use to maintain muscle mass. I think it could be done.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:15 AM

WEICHI


I do not know much about science, but I do know something about history - and the rant on "the Church" as being responsible for delays in technological advancement is hard to support.

Trying Galileo and fighting stem cell research by zealots old and new are easy to point to.

However - the Dark Ages were certainly not caused by The Church - and one of the main reasons that Classical learning - including vital mathematics - survived those turbulent times was the work of monks in monastaries preserving and copying ancient texts.

Further, the Crusades - which arguably you can blame the Church for - resulted in Western access to all sorts of knowlege and info from Asia.

Jesuits were amongst the first to explore the Western Hemisphere, and along with conversion and some very negative impacts on native peoples, they were also scientists - botanists, natuaralists etc.

Finally, many of the best Universities in Europe and America have been funded and supported by the Church leading to all manner of discovery and advancement.

The role of "the Church" in science and tech issues has certainly been a double edged sword, but fortunately, as with most efforts to delay progress, it seems clear to me that the obstructionist edge has been far duller than the edge of progress.

See how I'm not punching him, I think I've grown!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 6:07 AM

WISHUPONAWASH


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Like how there was a British Civil war when the American colonies were started?



WTF? The English Civil War had nothing to do with the American colonies. Learn some accurate history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Civil_War


On other aspects of this post thread.
Alot of scientific breakthroughs were made by members of the clergy, because they were the only people who (lucky enough) to have to spend every day trying to survive and so got an education.


Here's how it might of been http://www.stillflying.net/default.htm

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 6:54 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by WishuponaWash:
WTF? The English Civil War had nothing to do with the American colonies. Learn some accurate history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Civil_War


Yes, I know. That was my point.

Thanks for missing it so completely.

Given that the English Civil war happened before Britain even really existed and since I said British Civil war not ENGLISH civil war I thought that would be fairly obvious. Evidently not.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
And as you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 7:13 AM

WEICHI


Well, this thread seems to have run away from the original point a tad, but I cannot resist one more comment. Those who admonish others to "learn some accurate history" would do well to not link Wikipedia as if it were some ultimate source.

I would never have gotten into this except I thought it was a call to Browncoats to save Veronica Mars.

See how I'm not punching him, I think I've grown!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 7:29 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by StillFlyin:
The real problems arise when we reach Mars itself, there is little in the way of atmo, the everpresent danger of sandstorms and the temperature extremes.

Easily solved.
"Turn on da processors and give doze people air!"

Total Chrisisall

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 8:40 AM

STILLFLYIN


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:

"Turn on da processors and give doze people air!"

Total Chrisisall



My thoughts exactly. Terraforming the planet would be an excellent idea. You get the terraformer, we can turn it on and all breathe deep

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 8:45 AM

CHRISISALL


Uhh, well, aren't they already there?

Schitzoid embolism Chrisisall

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:02 PM

MARSORBUST


Rose Darlin' you are assuming that transit to the planet will remain at current rates of propulsion.
Yes, with current chemical rocket propulsion a Mars shot would require 6 months or more. Soviet cosmonauts stayed on the old Mir Space Station much longer than that.
On paper, there are already designs for nuclear ion drives that would get peeps to Mars in 3 days and out to Jupiter in less than 2 weeks. There are already solar sail designs that could theoretically reach speeds of 1 quarter light speed..no shit.If one was to compare our space technologies to old maritime technology..we're still using oar boats, but never fear the sailing ships and even the steam ships are already on paper..just waiting for funding.
Also, at low elevations, Mars'atmo will provide some protection against rads and the shelters proposed by Zubrin and Co would provide plenty of protection.
In addition, sulfur has been found to be a ubiquitous feature of Martian soils, so sulfur dioxide is readily producable. Some folks do not know that there are already contingency plans to seed the upper atmo of the Earth with SO2 in the event of a runaway greenhouse event as SO2 reflect UV..in effect giving the Earth a pair of sunglasses with UV protection coatings. The same could be done to Mars to help filter UV rads down to manageble levels.
WE CAN Rose Darlin'..don't beleive all the WE CAN't you read..scientific publications at the turn of the last century stated that man would never fly. Think about it.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:36 PM

MARSORBUST



Not quite. There's a pressure problem for a start, Earth has a surface pressure of 1014 millibars, that's the pressure our bodies are 'designed' to survive at. The surface pressure of Mars is about 9 millibars, not much above the Vacuum of space. This is one of the reasons any greenhouse effect on Mars is so low, there's simply not enough atmosphere to hold the heat in.

Apparently you were not listening. Yes, currently there is a pressure problem. It has been found that a raise of 4 degrees celsius at the south pole would evaporate the south polar cap..releasing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmo..raising temps and pressure..this releases even greater amounts that locked in the soil. According to Zubrin, who vastly smarter than either you or I, this is possible and would create enough surface pressure to allow the trade of expensive pressure suit for scuba like gear (notice I said scuba-like).
Also, Mars does get warmer at times than generally known..there have been summer temps as high as 80 F.

Due to this only a few places on Mars reach above 0c and only in direct sunlight. In fact the surface of Mars can get so cold Carbon Dioxide falls as snow (~-78c). Cold weather gear wouldn't defend you against that level of cold and Scuba gear would not help with the pressure. Also Scuba gear is designed to work to positive pressure, not negative pressure environments.

Again I was refering to conditions AFTER the partial terraform.

In order to get the same effect Mars would need an atmosphere with a much greater concentration of greenhouse gases with an atmosphere at least as thick as that of Earth. This means a massive Terraforming plan that can not be achieved with 19th century level technology.

Notice that I said GREENHOUSE FARMING..greenhouses can be pressurized.

Silane is a compound of Silicon and Hydrogen. It still requires Oxygen to burn, burning is a chemical reaction; it is a rapid oxidisation, thus requiring oxygen.

And I quote from Robert Zubrin's "The Case for Mars", page 202: "Why store silane? Because silane will burn in carbon dioxide......Not many things will burn in carbon dioxide, but silane will, in accordance with: SiH4 + 2CO2--SiO2 + 2C + 2H2O" Argue with a bonafide rocket scientist if you wish.
Quote:

The one thing that would be difficult to do on-planet would be the kind of sophisticated electronics that we take for granted as copper appears to be quite rare based upon soil samples. High tech items would have to be imported from Earth at high cost..sorry computer geeks.


What has copper got to do with computers? Computers are constructed from plastics, silicon, Gold/Silver and solder (alloy of Tin and Lead). Copper is used in wiring because it is a reasonably good conductor and cheap, there are plenty of alternatives.

My bad..I double checked and it is the Moon that is copper poor. Zubrin was refering to metals that are important to modern technological industies. Gold however is produced by hydrolic geologic processes that may not have occured for long enough duration in martian history; for gold and other metals to exist in large accessable quantities.

Quote:

Nitrates also appear to scarce but what this might creat is a situation in which soebody might be willing to pay your way if you bring your jar of pennies and a bag of manure as both those things would be as gold in a Martian economy.


It really doesn't make sense to be seeding Mars with manure from Earth. Terraforming to a degree would be required, quite a fascinating subject in itself and obtainable with modern technology, but I don't have time to get into it now.

Well perhaps you should read the book, again written by a man vastly smarter than you or I before you decide what is possible and what is not, Thank you.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006 1:51 AM

WISHUPONAWASH


Apoligies Citizen. I am sometimes a little slow on things , and get quite easily rattled up my own tight pasty english bottom.

As for linking to Wikipedia, well I find it's better then most of the tripe of the net.

Here's how it might of been http://www.stillflying.net

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Thursday, May 11, 2006 1:06 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by MarsOrBust:
Apparently you were not listening. Yes, currently there is a pressure problem. It has been found that a raise of 4 degrees celsius at the south pole would evaporate the south polar cap..releasing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmo..raising temps and pressure..this releases even greater amounts that locked in the soil. According to Zubrin, who vastly smarter than either you or I, this is possible and would create enough surface pressure to allow the trade of expensive pressure suit for scuba like gear (notice I said scuba-like).


Firstly you did not say scuba like, you said off the shelf scuba gear. Increasing the temperature by 4 degrees is not 'easy' and it has not been proven that it can kick off a runaway greenhouse effect on Mars, for a start there may only be 100mb of Carbon on Mars according to some estimates, which is simply not enough.

Oh and the Terraforming method your talking about is Kian Cochrane's Terraforming. The most feasible means of starting this process uses 20 kiloton nuclear weapons, not 19th century technology. In fact I can't think of a 19th century way of raising Mars polar temperature, maybe you can enlighten me?

Lastly:
According to Zubrin, who vastly smarter than either you or I
You don't know that and it doesn't make him right .
Quote:

Also, Mars does get warmer at times than generally known..there have been summer temps as high as 80 F.

Mars has an average temperature of -63c, a minimum of -140c and an absolute maximum of 20c (68f) in direct sunlight.
Quote:

Again I was refering to conditions AFTER the partial terraform.

Scuba gear is still designed to work in pressures higher that Earth surface pressure, not lower, your following statement:
Quote:

Notice that I said GREENHOUSE FARMING..greenhouses can be pressurized.

Indicates that your Mars terraforming still leaves us with a low pressure environment. How much pressure are we talking about and is it enough to prevent decompression injuries to Human beings?
Quote:

And I quote from Robert Zubrin's "The Case for Mars", page 202: "Why store silane? Because silane will burn in carbon dioxide......Not many things will burn in carbon dioxide, but silane will, in accordance with: SiH4 + 2CO2--SiO2 + 2C + 2H2O" Argue with a bonafide rocket scientist if you wish.

I'm not taking up an argument with Dr Zubrin at all; I'm taking up an argument with your interpretation of what he is saying. You say we can throw a log of Silane on the fire to run our steam engine. Well you can’t, Silane is a gas.
Quote:

Gold however is produced by hydrolic geologic processes that may not have occured for long enough duration in martian history; for gold and other metals to exist in large accessable quantities.

Gold is believed to be produced within stars, it’s concentrated by ‘hydrolic(hydraulic?) geologic’ processes, not created. There was liquid water on Mars so there’s no reason why there wouldn’t be enough gold to support industry, not a certainty, since we haven’t done geological surveys.
Quote:

Well perhaps you should read the book, again written by a man vastly smarter than you or I before you decide what is possible and what is not, Thank you.

So you don’t have an answer then? I never said it was impossible to transport manure from Earth, I said it was unfeasible. Do you have any concept how expensive it’s to put payload into orbit, let alone carry it to Mars? You want to pay that price for shit? There’s plenty of dirt on Mars and there are processes where this soil could be reclaimed and fertilised with synthetic fertilisers, why not do that, rather than carry huge tonnage of bio mass at ridiculous cost?

Oh and I know he’s your hero and all but you don’t know he’s more intelligent than anyone and that doesn’t make him right and it doesn’t make your understanding of his argument correct either, so the argument “He’s cleverer than you so shut up” doesn’t hold much water.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
And as you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006 1:25 PM

FREDGIBLET


Personally I think that caves would be a better choice then domes. In a cave the only materials you need are the airlocks to fit in the tunnels, as opposed to domes that would require very large structures be transported or built on the planet itself. Also when you want to expand you just put another airlock deeper down in the cave, and there is less chance of being struck by a meteor (which is a little bit more of a problem on Mars if I remember correctly).

Another possibility would be to wall off portions of the canals and build cities in them, again this would take less material, be less vulnerable and take less construction time than a dome of equal size. Thoughts anyone?

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Thursday, May 11, 2006 1:31 PM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Gold is believed to be produced within stars, it’s concentrated by ‘hydrolic(hydraulic?) geologic’ processes, not created. There was liquid water on Mars so there’s no reason why there wouldn’t be enough gold to support industry, not a certainty, since we haven’t done geological surveys.



One of the nice things is that if we were starting a new civilization we could ignore the "precious" part of precious metals, so anything we found could be put to use.

Quote:

Do you have any concept how expensive it’s to put payload into orbit, let alone carry it to Mars? You want to pay that price for shit?


ROTFLMAO

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Friday, May 12, 2006 10:02 AM

MARSORBUST


Well, you seem more interested in dissecting everything for the purpose of tearing down the actual concept of settling Mars with technologies that are cheaper and in many instance more reliable than much of the things we currently used that can be said to "over-teched"; technology for technologies sake.
First I never said that the partial terraform would be done with gas-light era technologies; perhaps i should have been clearer on that.
The intial partial terraform would have to be done prior to what I'm talking about by radical means that might involve the nuke idea that you mentioned but I have a feeling that the answer may in fact be in the use of self-replicating nanobots that would burrow and heat the subsurface. This capability may not be as far in the future as is most commonly believed.
Without getting too bogged down in arguments concerning the specifics; the philosophical thrust of Zubrin's text is that civilization is a result of a layering of technologies; starting with the basics; such as mining and the smelting of mineral ores into workable metals; fashioning those metals into basic tools which would be used to make better tools to better tap and manipulate Mars' resources.
As far as your statement about silane being a gas: yes, in ambient terrestrial temperatures silane is a gas. At current Martian ambient temperatures; silane is a semi-solid..so it wouldn't be a log..more like a paste(?) that could be pumped into a ignition chamber for the boiler. After partial terraform raises temps back to the point when silane is a gas, then steam power could give way to a silane combustion engine.
Something else that i should have prefaced my original post with is that this is something that would have to wait until there was substantial infrastructure in Earth/Moon space.
This is something that is pending as the US and China step into the undeclared 2nd Space Race for military supremacy. I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in Humanity's future in Space to read "The Future of War" by George and Meredith Friedmann.
I never meant to suggest that this is how things might look at the beginning. The Mars that I am imagining here is down the road.

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Friday, May 12, 2006 10:53 AM

MARSORBUST


Here I will directly quote "The Case for mars".
"In a series of papers published in the late 1980's, engineer Bruce MacKenzie analyzed this problem in some detail and came to the conclusion that the optimum native material for building the first large structures on Mars is brick. This low-tech concept may seem somewhat suprising at first, but there's actualy quite a lot of merit to the proposal. Making brick on Mars is quite simple. For that reason some of the Earth's first cities were made of brick, and for the very same reason brick may be the literal building block of mankind's first settlements on Mars. To manufacture brick you simply take finely ground soil, wet it, put it into a mold under mild compression, dry it, and then bake it. High temperatures are not really required-in many departs of the world sun-baked bricks are still used-an oven temperature of 300 degrees C can produce pretty good bricks, especially if some scrap material such as torn parachute is mixed into the mud to add cohesion.
Even the 900 degree C kiln temperature needed to make first rate bricks can readily be produced on Mars, using either a solar reflector furnace or the waste heat of a nuclear reactor.
True, water is needed for the process, but if the oven is constructed correctly, nearly all the water used can be recovered from the steam produced as the brick is dried at 200 degrees C prior to baking.
On Mars, excellent raw material for brick manufacture is available nearly everywhere in the form of a finely ground, iron-rich clay-like dust that covers most of the surface to a depth of at least several tens of centimeters.
Mixed with water, the same ruddy dust can be used to produce mortar to make the bricks stick together. In fact, in experiments done at Martin-Marietta in the late 1980's with martian soil simulant( based on Viking data), chemist Robert Boydshowed that by simply wetting and drying martian soil, "duricrete"material could be created that is over half as strong as terrestrial concrete. Viking results show that Martian soil contains very high amounts of calcium (about 5%) and sulfur (2.9%), while anaylsis of SNC meteorites, which are known to have come from mars,has shown that thes are present in the form of gypsum.
On Earth, gypsum is the raw material used to make plaster, and it can be baked to produce lime. This can be added to the mortar to produce conventional Portland cement, with a resulting significant improvement in tensile strength.
Structural materials have different kinds of strength, tensile and compressive, reflecting their ability to resist stretching and crushing, respectively. A rope or cable can have a great deal of tensile strength, but no compressive strength. A steel girder has plently of both kinds of strength.
Brick walls and columns, on the other hand, have plently of compressive strength but are quite weak in tension. Thet are very difficult to crush but are almost useless at holding things together.
Nevertheless, brick and mortar structures built three thousand years ago in ancient Egypt still stand today. Constructions made of brick can prove equally durable on Mars provided that martian architects adopt the central rule governing nearly all ancient architecture: keep brick structures in compression.
To build a pressurized structure out of bricks on Mars, you excavate a trench and then within it build a roman-style vault, or better yet, a series of roman-style vaults or even a roman style atrium. The vaults are covered with soil, therby putting a large downward load upon them, and only then are pressurized with breathable air.
How much soil covering needed depends upon how much air pressure is used. If we stick to a proposed standard of 5 psi (3.5 psi oxygen, 1.5 psi nitrogen; as in Skylab)the vaults will experience a pressure force trying to explode them upward at 3.5 tonnes per square meter. Assuming that Martian soil has an average density of 4 times that of water, this would mean that a layer of dirt2.5 meters deep on top of the vault would be enough to keep the whole structure compressed (Remenber gravity on Mars is only 0.38 that of Earth. If terrestrial gravity held sway we could get away with one meter).
A dirt layer this thick would also provide massive radiation shielding, reducing the cosmic ray dose experienced by those living in such a subsurface structure to roughly terrestrial levels.
In addition, the soil would provide excellent thermal insulation, causing the large temperature swings experienced on the surface during the Martian day-night cycle to go essentially unnoticed by those below and greatly reducing total power requirements to heat the habitiat.
The brick and soil construction would probably leak air, albeit very slowly. This can be remedied, however, by using a thin layer of plastic sealant either sprayed on or attached to them in the form of "wall-paper". Slow leaks would tend to seal themselves over time, however, as the relatively moist air leaking form the structure causes leak-blocking permafrost or ice to form to form in the diffusion paths of the surrounding soil.
As can be seen, using these relatively simple, fundamentally ancient techniques, pressurized structures the size of shopping malss can be constructed on Mars"

Just one example of using retro-tech to colonize Mars. The text is full of them. Check it out and allow youself to say: "What if?".

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Friday, May 12, 2006 3:45 PM

CITIZEN


Whatever, if you weren't interested in having a discussion on the topic maybe you can explain to me why you bothered posting to a forum in the first place?

Fact is given the cost benefit ratio of landing on Mars during the initial stages and the fact that in today’s society it would have to be private ventures that did much of the civilian settlement, I don't see the major obstacle as technological but economic. And no I don't believe we will be settling mars with 19th century technology because it's impractical, as picturesque as this 'Jules Verne' world may be.

There are reasons why we still don't use Steam engines and other examples of 19th century technology, and those reasons are not 'technology for technologies sake'.
Quote:

Originally posted by MarsOrBust:
First I never said that the partial terraform would be done with gas-light era technologies

Well you did kinda say that, but no matter.
Quote:

The intial partial terraform would have to be done prior to what I'm talking about by radical means that might involve the nuke idea that you mentioned but I have a feeling that the answer may in fact be in the use of self-replicating nanobots that would burrow and heat the subsurface. This capability may not be as far in the future as is most commonly believed.
Self replicating nano-bots? We can't even build nano scale cogs that don't where out within seconds. All credible nano-tech research is aimed at material technologies, self replicating nano-bots are a long way off.
Quote:

Without getting too bogged down in arguments concerning the specifics; the philosophical thrust of Zubrin's text is that civilization is a result of a layering of technologies; starting with the basics; such as mining and the smelting of mineral ores into workable metals; fashioning those metals into basic tools which would be used to make better tools to better tap and manipulate Mars' resources.
Well this is nothing new, it's obvious but I don't see how it proves a damn thing in the specific circumstance of Mars.
Quote:

As far as your statement about silane being a gas: yes, in ambient terrestrial temperatures silane is a gas. At current Martian ambient temperatures; silane is a semi-solid..so it wouldn't be a log..more like a paste(?) that could be pumped into a ignition chamber for the boiler.
Silane has a boiling point of ~-112c, so it's quite gaseous on Mars. In low pressure enviroments the boiling point would be lower.
Quote:

This is something that is pending as the US and China step into the undeclared 2nd Space Race for military supremacy. I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in Humanity's future in Space to read "The Future of War" by George and Meredith Friedmann.
The US already has the lead by quite some way, all they have to do is fund NASA properly while not making unrealistic demands, setting it up to fail, so to speak. Unfortunately there's an idiot evangelist in the White House who has a general disdain for all science, so setting NASA up to fail is exactly what he's done.
Quote:

I never meant to suggest that this is how things might look at the beginning. The Mars that I am imagining here is down the road.
We have many of the technologies required now to terraform Mars, we just can't realistically get there. I still don't see a 19th century approach though. For instance I'd trust an Air-Tight inflatable dome before I'd trust a porous brick building that has to be built underground to prevent explosive decompression. Such a thing might be the shanty towns of a partially terraformed Mars, but I'd be most surprised if it were the norm.

If your interested in these things you may like to read the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Mars ). It's fiction but interesting and a good read nonetheless. You'd probably like this site to: http://www.redcolony.com/



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
And as you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say.

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