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Mars colonization



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 1st 21, 12:27 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
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Default Mars colonization

SpaceX plans on building Starship to transport Mars colonist and
equipment for a Mars colony. But they mostly expect other companies and
organizations to handle the actual establishment of a base on Mars :
habitats, greenhouses... Starship seems to be advancing well, but I
haven't heard much about others working on the necessities for living on
Mars. Have any of you heard about others having such plans?


Alain Fournier
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  #3  
Old March 1st 21, 03:43 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
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Default Mars colonization

On Mar/1/2021 at 07:43, Jeff Findley wrote :
In article , says...

SpaceX plans on building Starship to transport Mars colonist and
equipment for a Mars colony. But they mostly expect other companies and
organizations to handle the actual establishment of a base on Mars :
habitats, greenhouses... Starship seems to be advancing well, but I
haven't heard much about others working on the necessities for living on
Mars. Have any of you heard about others having such plans?


Starship has yet to prove itself, so there really aren't any concrete
(i.e. funded) plans to use it to go to Mars and back.

Jeff


I would guess that if someone, see for instance
https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/articl...in-gjoa-haven/
adapted greenhouses built for the arctic to the needs of a colony on
Mars today, they could get very good shipping agreements from SpaceX to
deliver them to Mars. They could probably get their greenhouses to Mars
for two years worth of veggies on Mars. After the two years they start
selling veggies on Mars at a profit. If you wait until SpaceX is ready
to go to Mars, you won't be getting as good a deal.

I think companies who act now might make big profits. Those who wait
will have a harder time. Elon wants humans on Mars soon. If you want to
help him, I think you can have a good deal.


Alain Fournier
  #4  
Old March 3rd 21, 02:11 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
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Default Mars colonization

On 2/28/2021 7:27 PM, Alain Fournier wrote:
SpaceX plans on building Starship to transport Mars colonist and
equipment for a Mars colony. But they mostly expect other companies and
organizations to handle the actual establishment of a base on Mars :
habitats, greenhouses... Starship seems to be advancing well, but I
haven't heard much about others working on the necessities for living on
Mars. Have any of you heard about others having such plans?


Well there was the Mars One Project that failed in bankruptcy and some
degree of scandal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_One


The only concrete example I can think of was the Biosphere 2 Project,
that built a prototype standalone habitat out in the Arizona Desert. It
was supposed to be self-sustaining, needing nothing from the outside
once the airlock hatch was sealed. An experiment was conducted that
housed a crews for one year without breaking the containment. If I
recall correctly, the project met with mixed success (there were two
attempts, the 2nd successful). With the main experiment complete, I
think it has been turned into some type of museum and exhibit by the
University of Arizona which purchased it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2


Dave




  #5  
Old March 3rd 21, 02:19 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
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Default Mars colonization

IMHO one of the biggest blows to the concept was went it was discovered
that the chemical composition of Martian soil sampled at one of the
lander sites (I forget which) showed that the soil contains poisonous
compounds that would either prevent plant growth or cause grown plants
to become inedible. Therefore either soils will have to be transported
from Earth or food grown hydroponically. I suppose one could hold up
hope that with an extensive surface exploration program, maybe one might
find a spot on Mars that is otherwise. Seems unlikely from where we
stand today.

Dave

  #6  
Old March 3rd 21, 08:39 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
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Posts: 548
Default Mars colonization

On Mar/3/2021 at 09:19, David Spain wrote :
IMHO one of the biggest blows to the concept was went it was discovered
that the chemical composition of Martian soil sampled at one of the
lander sites (I forget which) showed that the soil contains poisonous
compounds that would either prevent plant growth or cause grown plants
to become inedible. Therefore either soils will have to be transported
from Earth or food grown hydroponically. I suppose one could hold up
hope that with an extensive surface exploration program, maybe one might
find a spot on Mars that is otherwise. Seems unlikely from where we
stand today.


I'm not sure what you're talking about up there with the chemical
composition of Martian soil. I've heard that the soil is too salty. If
you have a cite for some information I don't have please provide it.
Soil that is too salty isn't a show stopper, just a hassle.

Here is how you would start a greenhouse operation on Mars. First you
plant a few rugged plant, let's call them weeds, that can survive in
harsh conditions. If the soil is really too difficult for plants, you
can bring from Earth a little soil to start; you mix that Earth soil
with some Martian soil. Once your weeds have grown, you cut them and put
them in the compost pile (really a bio-digester instead of a compost
pile, you don't want to wait years for your compost). Your weeds have
extracted some nutrients from the Martian soil, so you can get more
fertile soil from your compost than what you brought from Earth. The
nutrient depleted Martian soil can be discarded. You start again with
another batch of Martian soil. Because you had more fertile soil to mix
with Martian soil than the first time, you can harvest more weeds than
the first time. Repeat... Once you have enough compost you can start
growing tomatoes or what not. You still continue to grow weeds because
you want to increase your amount of fertile soil in order to increase
the produce crop sizes. For a fixed amount of produce you shouldn't have
to add new soil from the weeds, the nutrients for the next generations
of produce can come from the compost from the unused parts of the plants
and the ... ugh ... manure the colonist make.


Alain Fournier
  #7  
Old March 3rd 21, 09:01 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
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Posts: 548
Default Mars colonization

On Mar/1/2021 at 12:29, JF Mezei wrote :
On 2021-03-01 10:43, Alain Fournier wrote:

I think companies who act now might make big profits. Those who wait
will have a harder time. Elon wants humans on Mars soon. If you want to
help him, I think you can have a good deal.



So you are Acme Inc based in Wisconsin USA and send greenhouses to Mars.
They grow veggies well and the guy tending the greenhouse sells then at
$600 per tomato. Where do colonists get that kind of money? And how
does Acme Inc get profits back to Earth?


Once you have your greenhouse setup on Mars, making tomatoes should not
cost $600 per tomato. I'm not sure which would be more expensive,
growing tomatoes on Mars or in Nunavut (not counting the very expensive
cost of installing the greenhouse on Mars). In Nunavut, the
containerised greenhouses grow plants mostly without human intervention.
They just need to have their water tank filled once in a while. One of
the difficulties in the Nunavut greenhouses is to give the plants some
CO2, that should be easier for the Martian greenhouses.

Note also, that Martian greenhouses would not only provide produce to
the Martian settlers. The greenhouse would make oxygen as a by product,
which the settlers would like to have.

Of course, adapting the greenhouse for Mars and bringing it there will
cost many million dollars. But there is a guy named Elon who wants to go
live on Mars and we can expect that he will soon have the means to
deliver the greenhouse on Mars. And since he has the financial resources
subsidise the adaptation work for the Martian environment of the
greenhouse, those who build the Nunavut containerised greenhouses, if
they join forces with some engineering company, they could probably
strike a deal with Elon.

There is a huge diferrence between a research settlement funded by a
government (whetrher in Antarctic or Mars or ISS) and setting up a
commercial society with commerce, money, economy and "international"
trade with Earth.


Musk has more financial resources than any research settlement in
Antarctica.

Elon has his science fiction stories on twitter, but he likely knows
that Starship going to amrs with humans will be to tend a research
station funded by internatioanl agreement like ISS and not some
commercial endeavour to setup real estate, commerce etc on Mars.


He wants to go live there.


Alain Fournier
  #8  
Old March 4th 21, 07:30 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Frank Scrooby[_2_]
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Posts: 4
Default Mars colonization

Martian Soil toxicity.

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_soil)

Martian soil is toxic due to the presence of numerous perchlorate compounds.. On Earth any soil found to be so rich in perchlorates would either be mined for the compound or certainly be unable to support agriculture, or any life beyond a few super-specialized bacteria.

BUT: the first few million people going to Mars are not going to depend on Martian soil for their daily bread or tomatoes.

Hydroponics and aero-ponics (I think that is the correct term) will be the mainstay of food production. These methods are simply more efficient and economical when you are dealing with limited supplies of water, plant nutrients, space, sunlight and staff time. The only thing that Mars has in great abundance for agriculture is a carbon dioxide atmosphere.

Any plant parts that are not used for food (which if you are really determined about it can be a very small percentage - fermentation is your friend) will be recycled into more plant nutrients.

If and when colonists want to move to soil based agriculture there is a simple-ish solution to the perchlorate problem: H2O. Enough warm water will dissolve and or reactive with the perchlorates, allowing for simple mechanical methods like filtering or evaporation to remove and isolate the offending compounds. If water is not readily available in sufficient quantities good ol' bakin' and shakin' will do to. Setup a solar thermal concentrator that can heat your reaction chamber up to a few hundred odd degrees Kelvin (1000 would be a nice round number) with an extremely high atmospheric pressure (like a few Earth atmosphere equivalents). Expose soil, give it some time to get hot and shake it around to loosen up things. Then reduce the atmosphere pressure via release valve. Between the photons and the rush for lighter elements' atoms to fill the 'vacuum'. What is left behind will be dead and dry, but at least it won't be toxic anymore. And you now have a pressure vessel somewhere filled with the baked off volatiles. Any long term colony is going have uses for those.

For the curious: NASA cooperated with another Organisation on a study called MAGIC (which stands for Mars AGricultural something something). It proposes an automated hydroponic greenhouse as a supplement to crew meals.

Anyway.

Regards
Frank

  #9  
Old March 5th 21, 01:18 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Niklas Holsti
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Posts: 168
Default Mars colonization

On 2021-03-04 9:30, Frank Scrooby wrote:
Martian Soil toxicity.

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_soil)

Martian soil is toxic due to the presence of numerous perchlorate
compounds. On Earth any soil found to be so rich in perchlorates
would either be mined for the compound or certainly be unable to
support agriculture, or any life beyond a few super-specialized
bacteria.


This Astrum video has some answers: https://youtu.be/h_jXEZFuw38
  #10  
Old March 5th 21, 09:22 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
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Posts: 2,901
Default Mars colonization

On 3/3/2021 3:39 PM, Alain Fournier wrote:
On Mar/3/2021 at 09:19, David Spain wrote :
IMHO one of the biggest blows to the concept was went it was
discovered that the chemical composition of Martian soil sampled at
one of the lander sites (I forget which) showed that the soil contains
poisonous compounds that would either prevent plant growth or cause
grown plants to become inedible. Therefore either soils will have to
be transported from Earth or food grown hydroponically. I suppose one
could hold up hope that with an extensive surface exploration program,
maybe one might find a spot on Mars that is otherwise. Seems unlikely
from where we stand today.


I'm not sure what you're talking about up there with the chemical
composition of Martian soil. I've heard that the soil is too salty. If
you have a cite for some information I don't have please provide it.
Soil that is too salty isn't a show stopper, just a hassle.


OK, you made me look it up. But you could have too. Chemical composition
of Martian contains a high degree of percholrate compounds that contain
cholrine. Including calcium perchlorate. In addition the most common
silicates in Martian dust are olivine, pyroexene and feldspar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_soil


This is not the pattern of chemistry used on Earth where soils are
typically infused with Nitrogen and Potassium in bacteria laden loam to
increase plant yields.

So I guess it depends largely on your definition of 'salts', but we're
not talking Sodium Chloride here.

Maybe you can grow a crop of water hyacinths to filter the percholrates
out of the Martian soil (see link above). But it isn't as simple a
process as adding dried human dung as laid out in the book and movie The
Martian. Andy Weir has written and admitted as much.

I'll discount the killer UV radiation that floods the planet surface,
since that can and will be filtered out in the habitat. Either via the
dome material or an underground cave.

When you can start growing food crops in perchlorate laden soils, why
not send a link to your results here. I'd be very interested.

Dave
 




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