Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Colinization of Mars - Difficult to Say the Least

There is a strong reasoning behind humans colonizing ,mars as earth will may soon
reach its population thresh hold and as such life will become more difficult for a
lot of people,

The atmosphere on mars is very low on pressure and very high in Co2, the
temperature at present is too low for liquid water to exist in a constant state. The
temp must be raised to a global average of 0C and the pressure to a little higher
than its present 7 mbar (earth =1000) such as prevent direct solid gas phase
change. So you need water (liquid), as raise in temp and a raise in atmospheric

Water: The polar caps of mars which were once thought to be largely solid C02
are now thought to be a mixture of solid water and c02 if this could be relesed it
could provide extra C02 to increase atmospheric pressure and also water, one
method suggested during the lecture was the use of giant orbital mirrors to melts
the ice this could be combined with covering the ice in carbon black, to decrease
the albedo effect, this is good but I really wonder what mechanism may be
utilized to spread the powdered carbon over such a large area, I was thinking the
use of capsules containing the powder that could be sprinkled from a low orbiting
space craft, the shells of these capsules could be designed to disintegrate when
the come in to contact with some element of the Martian atmosphere, whether
this powder would stay in place or not, during powerful wind events? I should
imagine if used this process would be employed on the peripheries of the ice
sheet so as to gain maximum effect, the mirrors are a nice idea but the
construction of such mirrors? Other ways of melting the ice have been
considered such as small wind powered heating units that can be dropped from
an orbiting spacecraft, the strong Martian wind would generate electrical energy
and in turn heat to create blips of heat were bacteria could gain a niche.

Raise Temp: To keep the water liquid efforts must be made to increase the heat
retention on mars, the main idea here is to propagate an accelerated green
house effect, this would again involve melting the ice caps as explained above,
c02 could also be released from the Martian regolith which has a lot of solid state
co2 . Another way could be by introducing bacteria, I have learnt that certain
terrestrial bacteria will have to be modified (genetically) to withstand the initial
conditions on the surface, I wonder whether a two phase approach might be
adopted like that of which happened on earth, back in the days of the early
oceans, initially an anaerobic reducing environ could be encouraged with later
introduction of aerobic bacteria, this should only be considered if it will results in
an accelerated growth / generation of organic matter off of which a second order
of bacteria may well then use as a food stuff. All these processes will produce
gases initial green house, anaerobic and later oxygen, there may be some
methane from roting which is a very good (in this case) greenhouse gas. These
bacteria / amoebas will have to be resilient to extreme cold and radiation until the atmosphere develops.

Atmosphere pressure: As these gases fill the atmosphere the overall quantity
and thickness of the atmosphere will increase towards the minimum for human
survival 675 mbars. Below these pressure humans will succumb to pretty bad
low pressure effects, and so 675 must be reached before human can step out
side of their bio domes / space suits.

The transport of all this infrastructure raises problems such as the weights of the
materials and equipment hat will have to sent up out of earth orbit, perhaps an
advanced base could be built in orbit. At present a space shuttle can carry about
40 tones, future heavy lift projects could lift 140 tones, these fall far short of the
men material, equipment and supplies that would have to shipped the 56 million
miles to mars (actual distance varies between 56 and 399). The craft would then
be assembled in orbit and sent off in to the abyss, rations for the crew would
have to be light and nutritious, perhaps based on current space food, water as
weel would be a large weight of what would have to be taken, all rubbish would
have to be collected on board to avoid hazard from space debris on return journey. The human element of a manned mission would have to be very well
trained in surviving the two year mission, and be very mentally resilient.

How long to cosmonaut stay in the international space station? Surely no more than a few
months? How will they mars o-nauts cope, if at all? I suggest the accommodation
should be based heavily on that which may be found in a nuclear submarine, and
this may be a good place from which to recruit a crew for such a mission. Work
would have to be done on preventing muscular entropy, as lack of gravity would
prevent regular exercise, perhaps the space ship could have a centrifugal hull in
order to generate some “weight” on board.

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