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Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 10:57 AM

I think it might be just possible to re-invigorate Mars to a habitable planet, and here is my outline of a plan:

Terraform Mars:

  1. Add mass (source materials in Asteroid Belt and/or the Oort Cloud)
  2. Add heat (use only medium energy impacts, not the high velocity ones)
  3. Add water (see #1 and #2)
  4. Put sufficiently massive single object (could be formed from smaller asteroids intentionally) in close Mars orbit to produce medium to large tidal forces

Expected Results:

  1. Vast increase in atmospheric gases (hopefully the correct ones)
  2. Thermal Stabilization of the Atmospheric Temperature to habitable average planetary surface temperature of -5 to +10 C.
  3. Melt Mars core, re-establish the magnetic field, and radiation shielding
  4. Provide for pooling of liquid water/ice
  5. Continued volcanism on Mars would pump out moisture and atmospheric gases, and bring valued raw materials to the surface.

Final Steps:

  1. Measure for inherent biological activity, check compatibility with earth life forms.
  2. If no useful biological activity is found, inoculate Mars with Earth life forms, then continue to bring new plant and animal organisms as additions to the Mars Biosphere.
  3. Human colonization.
  4. A new human civilization arises on Mars, independent from Earth, but with good communications lines, either serves as lifeboat for the other.
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Guru

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#1

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 11:07 AM

Sounds good...except, you know, for the time and money thing....

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#2

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 11:13 AM

NASA might have to ask for a budget increase...

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#3

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 11:19 AM

Done any sums re. how much mass you'd need to add and how much energy it would take to get it to Mars? Same questions re. the new Mars moon?

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 11:48 AM

Alright you guys. Mars is mass: 6.39 × 10^23 kg (0.107 M⊕) The radius is about half Earth radius at 0.5320 r (Earth). g(Mars)=3.711 m/s2, so we could jump higher, climb further, and run farther on Mars (if the air was at sufficient pressure and composition).

Almost sounds like forget Mars altogether, and put another planet there for Mars to orbit around. $$$$ costs just went through the roof? Not really. I did not say we had to "keep the lights on" at Mars for billions of years, suppose we only bought a couple of tens of millions of years by increasing the mass by 25%, with slight radius increase, large increase in water mass, heat, and managed to "re-ignite" the core by doing so?

Right now with present tech, it would take all the gold in California, all the tea in China, all the Faberge' eggs in Russia, and all the cheese in Denmark to pull this off. In other words, the world cannot afford it. But what if we only started "now", with a limited number of plasma thrust probes that could attach and propel objects to Mars, then detach and slingshot themselves back where the goods are? No re-entries to worry about, just keep using the same vehicles over and over. I suspect even these need to refuel on Argon gas or hydrogen at some point, so they might have to "mine" their target bodies for resources?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 12:45 PM

I think it would be cheaper just to build domed cities on Mars. The entire dome over a city wouldn't have to be clear, just the side facing the Sun. A dome would act as a greenhouse to contain the atmosphere and the heat. The lower gravity makes building the dome and its supporting structure simpler than for a similar dome on Earth. Needless to say, the dome would need to be engineered to survive a meteorite impact.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 1:04 PM

Therein lies the rub. I could not foresee any such colony being a lifeboat for planet Earth. I am thinking more in terms of an Ark that could support all species in space for a time, times, and half a time. Something Biblical in scope.

Could we easier launch a million (or a billion) Sat Cubes, to go out and harvest icy and rocky materials in change the entire scope of Mars atmosphere? Warm it up? Light up the core and protect it? Over what period of time? I think we would need a swarm, but perhaps that fleet might have to be very fast indeed, making round trips to the Oort Cloud in months, not years.

Another problem within the solar system, every action demands an equal and opposite reaction, thus removing materials from either or both areas will result in orbital perturbations that might just have dire consequences on Earth?

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 2:40 PM

Why can't we just concentrate on keeping Earth habitable .....

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 3:05 PM

Less math....less headache? But way more politic.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/21/2016 5:53 PM

Let's let Mars fend for itself! It's never offered to help us!

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/22/2016 4:41 AM

Yeah. Bloody Martians!

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#14
In reply to #10

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/22/2016 12:41 PM
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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/22/2016 1:13 PM

Panicky residents of the asteroid belt, as they realize that my evil plans call for almost all of the mass of their asteroid belt be transported to Mars or to orbit around Mars for Terra-forming. The entire mass of the asteroid belt presently would form a single mass less than 4% of our Lunar mass, 3.2×1021 Kg seems to be the best maximum estimate.

This is not sufficient mass to "warm up" Mars, and certainly not enough to form a new moon over Mars with enough gravitation to produce conducive tidal forces.

It seems "we" (me and the rather small mouse in my pocket) would have to turn our search further out.

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/23/2016 12:21 PM

However when we start extensively mining these asteroids for minerals and stuff, we have a good place for the waste stream to deposit....

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#11

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/22/2016 6:47 AM

Your idea is certainly interesting but you need to find a way to implement it with as little energy input as possible.

One way would be to get the material from the asteroid belt. "Simply" disturb the orbit of some large chunk of rocks and they are likely to end up being captured by Mars' attraction forces. Some of these asteroids probably have water and other fillers needed. We may disturb a small rock to move it in the path of a larger one to "amplify" the effect. With enough observation and computer simulation, we should be able to predict the effect of this action to make sure we do not trigger a chain reaction that could hit the Earth,

It will be like a game of Pool where you have to aim properly to nudge the balls in the pocket without putting the opponent's in. Just on a grander scale. More like a chess game in complexity.

At the same time, it would allow us to practice meteorites orbit deflection techniques that would be useful if a big one misses Mars and goes for the earth

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/22/2016 10:17 AM

If they reach the point of being meteorites, it seems a bit late to change trajectory, eh?

Meteors, yes, we can nudge them rather than look for their fragments with metal detectors.

Suppose we only added 5% rock mass to Mars, and 5% water mass, here are some numbers:

1) rock mass = 0.05 x 6.39x1023, or 3.195x1022 Kg

2) water mass = 0.05 x 6.39x1023, 3.195x1022 Kg

total of mass added is 6.39x1022 Kg, thus no major changes to Mars radius or gravity.

For added energy, we must assume that kinetic energy from orbital perturbation to Mars is higher by far than just having the mass fall into the potential well of Mars gravity. We must therefore also assume a relative speed of impact.

Suppose the entire mass were to hit in one shot (just for the moment, but it makes not much difference if all the mass impacts within a certain time window).

E(impact) = 3.195x1022 Kg x v2 ,thus if we assume v=20,000 Km/hour (5555m/sec), the kinetic energy of such an impact (astronomical) is

9.861x1029 Kg-m2/sec2!!! (9.861x1017 Terra-joules)= 9.861x1017 GWh

This roughly equates to 9.861x1029/4.2×1015 Megatons of TNT = 2.348x1014 Megaton

In layman's terms, this is the energy equivalent of 2.35x1014 MT/0.455 MT/trident W88 missile warhead. It would require 516,000,000,000,000 of such missiles.

It would be much more economical to send re-usable probes with nuclear reactors fueling the plasma propulsion system to each hurl objects selected with a mass no less than 20,000 Kg each (about a transport truck each), although something more like a train worth of freight is better, 2,000,000 Kg each.

We arrive at a number of impacts: only 3.195x1016 trips! With a billion probes, one only needs 3.2x107 round trips from the "mine". Is anyone else getting a feeling for the grand scale of such a project, the vast energy required, the cost, and the commitment? Yeah, a lot cheaper to build a dome from "stuff" already on Mars.

By doubling the size of the objects, and doubling impact velocity, we get 8 times the impact energy, but still only add the same eventual mass to Mars. By doubling the number of "probe" miners each decade, it might not take too many thousands of years before the task was approaching completion.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/22/2016 12:09 PM

Another part of the solution: introduce enough mass in orbit around Mars (one body) to produce tidal forces similar to those on Earth.

Our moon (Luna) is 1.2% Earth mass. The present moons of Mars facts:

Name and

pronunciation

ImageDiameter (km)Mass (kg)Semi-major
axis (km)
Orbital
period (h)
Average moonrise
period (h, d)
Mars I

Phobos

/ˈfoʊbəs/
FOE-bəs

22.2 km (13.8 mi)
(27×21.6×18.8) km
10.8×10

15

9,377 km (5,827 mi)7.6611.12 h (0.463 d)
Mars II

Deimos

/ˈdaɪmɒs/
DYE-mos

12.6 km (7.8 mi)
(10×12×16) km
2×10

15

23,460 km (14,580 mi)30.35131 h (5.44 d)

source: Wikipedia

Clearly these are totally insignificant compared to the relative size of Luna with respect to Earth. For tidal forces to be similar, one would need a single mass of approximately 7x1021 Kg, and an orbital period longer than sidereal day of Mars by perhaps a factor of ten.

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#16

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/22/2016 4:21 PM

Why don't we just see if we can find a giant underground machine left behind by an ancient alien civilization that starts the terraforming process when a human hand is forced into the 3-fingered (alien) impression on the control panel?

Muuuuch easier!

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/25/2016 8:13 AM

I seem to remember that movie, but I forget Mr. Schartzenegger's most famous line from the movie. I don't have TOTAL RECALL. Here's one:

  • Relax... you live longuh.
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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/26/2016 2:43 PM

Is it this one?

Lori: Doug, honey... you wouldn't hurt me, would you, sweetheart? Sweetheart, be reasonable. After all, we're married!

[Lori goes for her gun, Quaid shoots her in the head, killing her]

Douglas Quaid: Consider that a divorce!

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Mars Terraforming Plan Suggestions

04/26/2016 2:53 PM

I suspect that is at least the favorite (fantasy) line for some blokes.

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