Neowin Think Tank: Mars Colony One (and Two ... and Three ... and ... )


Recommended Posts

DocM

A 90 kph Mars wind would still only have the energy of a <1 kph Earth wind. On Earth it takes 8 kph to start a small turbine, and about 12.6 kph is the typical low cutoff.

It's a misconception that storms render solar useless. The dust particles both attenuate and scatter sunlight, and that remaining scattered light produces usable power.

http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/onlinebks/ResourcesNearEarthSpace/resources30.pdf

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
flyingskippy

If you want a backup, fuel cells would be an option. While they are expensive, you do have plenty of hydrogen to fuel them.

I wouldn't use it as my primary source, but if you're in a pinch....

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Exactly my thought, and they can be run on H2, methane or methanol.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

A 90 kph Mars wind would still only have the energy of a <1 kph Earth wind. On Earth it takes 8 kph to start a small turbine, and about 12.6 kph is the typical low cutoff.

It's a misconception that storms render solar useless. The dust particles both attenuate and scatter sunlight, and that remaining scattered light produces usable power.

http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/onlinebks/ResourcesNearEarthSpace/resources30.pdf

The attenuation will reduce available power to store. Yes, all area's of the spectrum can be used to gain some energy. But I have some real issues with the stated report. One has the derived data they used for the first part of the analysis...the 2 viking lander's rudimentary data (55 chevy data)...we will need better data than that...their energy storage analysis referencing "cryogenic"...and that, I had to smirk at...even when this paper was written, energy level for that are considerable.....15 man outpost...we missed the part about the requirement to ship 15 tons of "gas" from earth....and there was no way they had the intent of a full (albeit small) mining and production facility.....The presumption of the settlement was not backed by any real detailed plan what so ever...power, food, water, gaseous production nor mineral production or vehicle consumption...broad brush statement which in my opinion was very poor form for analysis. I will leave the rest of there assumptions out of it as we know where assumptions take people. (I wish I was there for the review)

 

The paper was informative...well intentioned...but, it was more of a conceptionalisation than anything, here lies the situation I see this all the time during my career.......massive difference between "office engineering" and "field" engineers who are the ones who find all the mistakes...fix in situ...and deal with reality.

 

Those storms and temperature, along with temperature swings, are a problem, as witnessed continually from modern and up to date satellite shots...almost a black out of surface view, and for prolonged times...can we get some spectral energy...probably...but no way enough to sustain a small outpost ...unless a very vast array...with concentrators are used. Then we have the problem of blast damage and spectral junction cumulative damage on the conjugate layers...not easy to deal with...and a way to protect and store arrays during storms or they will be like sheets of plywood everywhere.

 

Don't get me wrong...can we acquire power during tough times...yes..but spectrally limited.....and it has to last a long time...cryo storage......no. I don't see that. Winds are prevalent for long duration in very low depressions...ie Hellas...but are too strong to deal with. The higher northern ranges have windy area's as well..similar to a shield drop off...and temperature flux's occur at a 90 degree swing in a lot of the area's.

 

Wind energy on earth is actually very advanced, with Vestas as a world leader....but... the area of selection is critical....North Sea, Canadian coast's and Great Lake area's where it does work well. For it to work on Mars is probably questionable unless used in of high wind, very small generators..ie: marine with low resistive losses...but the winds will probably tear them apart in no time with blast effect. Very small units may have a chance in some area's but I would treat these as trinkets and not substantial.

 

If we want a small settlement, on it's own...generation and storage over storm periods will be a challenge and can probably be done full solar...but for commercial..in my opinion....not going to happen for those massive power levels required for the mining extraction, processing....and storage.

 

Now...that was fun...disclaimer.....no pet's were hurt in any of the action scenes and I have my teflon suit on....shoot away fellow explorers..... :laugh:  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

A 90 kph Mars wind would still only have the energy of a <1 kph Earth wind. On Earth it takes 8 kph to start a small turbine, and about 12.6 kph is the typical low cutoff.

It's a misconception that storms render solar useless. The dust particles both attenuate and scatter sunlight, and that remaining scattered light produces usable power.

http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/onlinebks/ResourcesNearEarthSpace/resources30.pdf

I see. Hmm. I was under the impression that we would be dealing with this:

 

duststorm02.jpg

 

duststorm01.jpg

 

Almost no solar radiation getting through at the worst of the storm, and markedly reduced efficiency at the median of it, lasting weeks or months at a time.

 

According to a study conducted in 2012 at the Ames Research Center by NASA, called the "NASA Cold Weather Turbine Program", they researched using Wind Turbines for a theoretical Mars Base. From the conclusions in the .pdf (found here, on page 2): "On Earth, the wind needs to blow at about 10 meters/second or about 33 feet/second to operate the turbine. On Mars, it has to blow at about 30 meters/second, or about 98 feet/sec because the planet's atmosphere is extremely thin".

 

Continuing from the study (page 3, near the end): "A special turbine design would be needed on Mars; they need smooth blades to work efficiently and billowing dust could stick to the rotor blades or abrade them. The inner workings of a turbine generator would also have to be protected from the dust infiltrating and damaging them".

 

Not arguing with ya, Doc. This is Science at it's best ... point-counterpoint, and show your references. :yes:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

If you want a backup, fuel cells would be an option. While they are expensive, you do have plenty of hydrogen to fuel them.

I wouldn't use it as my primary source, but if you're in a pinch....

The "electrolyte" for cheap electrolysis cells will not work, gels can be used, but with the temperatures encountered, problems crop up...check out Ballard power...Canadian climates have been brutal for cells, expensive designs with thermal protection are required. I built a crude one to run a small engine...no go in cold temps due to energy transport medium...on earth. Cell tech will have a new test ground when it comes to mars deployment....I don't believe we are at that level yet for long term dependable storage in that environment..........Cheers 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

The "electrolyte" for cheap electrolysis cells will not work, gels can be used, but with the temperatures encountered, problems crop up...check out Ballard power...Canadian climates have been brutal for cells, expensive designs with thermal protection are required. I built a crude one to run a small engine...no go in cold temps due to energy transport medium...on earth. Cell tech will have a new test ground when it comes to mars deployment....I don't believe we are at that level yet for long term dependable storage in that environment..........Cheers 

 

The voice of experience is never unwelcome. :)

 

We'd have to keep them warm, then? Or is it the constant demand that would be the problem, that charge-during-use = abuse thing?

 

I'm sure we could work around it .. have two banks of Fuel Cells/Powerwalls? One in use, one charging? Of course, that means we don't have a backup ... hmm. Interesting problem. I'll process it some more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

Exactly my thought, and they can be run on H2, methane or methanol.

I would like to see a module reference in production or forecastable process to be ready in time...we have a lot of resources available to us on Mars....think environment and longevetey...critical systems...meaning that if they fail....we die....we need solid concepts for debate that are going to work...don't mind me...as an engineer...I want to see the "metal", then put it through it's paces..........cheers..... :)

The voice of experience is never unwelcome. :)

 

We'd have to keep them warm, then? Or is it the constant demand that would be the problem, that charge-during-use = abuse thing?

 

I'm sure we could work around it .. have two banks of Fuel Cells/Powerwalls? One in use, one charging? Of course, that means we don't have a backup ... hmm. Interesting problem. I'll process it some more.

These cells/powerwalls are earth equipment...I want to see mars rated...do they require environmental controls...if so....power from where again....so far these cells are taking a beating and we have not talked about industrial apps.......enlighten me... someone ...please....Cheers

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

I would like to see a module reference in production or forecastable process to be ready in time...we have a lot of resources available to us on Mars....think environment and longevetey...critical systems...meaning that if they fail....we die....we need solid concepts for debate that are going to work...don't mind me...as an engineer...I want to see the "metal", then put it through it's paces..........cheers..... :)

These cells/powerwalls are earth equipment...I want to see mars rated...do they require environmental controls...if so....power from where again....so far these cells are taking a beating and we have not talked about industrial apps.......enlighten me... someone ...please....Cheers

Oops, sorry DD. Tesla's new Powerwall that they want to bring to market soon. Scales all the way up from Home/Consumer use to Industrial.

 

http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall

 

Hope that helps, bud. Same guy that owns SpaceX owns Tesla Powerwall. :yes:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

Oops, sorry DD. Tesla's new Powerwall Technology that they want to bring to market soon. Scales all the way up from Home/Consumer use to Industrial.

 

http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall

http://gas2.org/2015/06/15/tesla-doubles-powerwall-output/

 

Hope that helps, bud. Same guy that owns SpaceX owns Tesla Powerwall. :yes:

Earth rated....excellent idea and will work here...Elon is on the ball...he designed them for earth.....to make them work as is on mars...requires temperature controls and gaseous emission recovery for a contained environment...another drain on power........cheers.... :woot:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

True, but if anyone can mod them for Mars, they can. It's not a huge stretch. We could keep them warm in the Engineering/Systems Module, since that needs to be Atmosphere and Climate controlled as it is.

 

Power Output/Storage can scale up to 2Mw for Industrial Models, and Elon announced yesterday that they got the storage capacity up another 75% for the 1.1 version in 2016.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

I can see we are going to have problems if we have to analyse every piece of equipment this way....this thread would be done in approximately 12 years.... :) ...We have have to make assumptions (I hate that idea)...but we must to have some fun...but base things on achievable processes we have now as well as tech that should be ready in a time frame (give us a time frame..ie # years before first mission)....otherwise I may tick everyone off and only the dog will play with me if I have a steak...Note...Doc...don't mind me...You have a lot of knowledge....treat me as the pesky guy at the back of the room...cheers... 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

Nah, buddy, you're fine. We need to be challenged. If everything is 'yes' this, 'yes' that, it'd end up like ULA. One big, steaming pile of failure.  :laugh:

 

Science, Engineering, and forward progress demands that we be called out on critical pieces of the Colony. If we have no power, we have no life support. 

 

That's how Elon, Marty, and SpaceX would do it. :)

 

Keep challenging us. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

True, but if anyone can mod them for Mars, they can. It's not a huge stretch. We could keep them warm in the Engineering/Systems Module, since that needs to be Atmosphere and Climate controlled as it is.

 

Power Output/Storage can scale up to 2Mw for Industrial Models, and Elon announced yesterday that they got the storage capacity up another 75% for the 1.1 version in 2016.

Requires portability...large storage area'......vehicles.....industrial will have to be mobile and self contained to keep line length down...power and oxygen to supply to a compartment that needs gaseous capture techniques....How the hell are we going to charge them...settlement..fine...industrial...no way to generate that power to store than to use reactor...while machinery running...run off reactor...excess charge batteries if you want for industrial backup....the reactor will handle the industrial.(with battery backup if you want..always nice, not required unless as resistive load at idle)...solar the site with battery backup............cheers

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

Yeah. I'm starting to agree with you and Doc that we'll need a dedicated Fission Reactor (Uranium or Thorium) or two. We'll use Solar + Storage as a backup and supplemental power, but I'd like to also test Wind somewhere down the road. No harm in trying if the numbers say it could work, eh? :)

 

Moving along then. :p

Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision

Ohhh, man, I just got a really interesting idea.

 

What if there was a way to large-scale test stuff on Mars without actually having to go to Mars? Let's say a super-strong Geodesic Dome was built, large enough to house a couple of Modules, strong enough so that the pressure inside could be reduced to Mars levels ...

 

Mars-on-Earth?

 

It would be a perfect place to test out Mars-bound gear without the cost of sending gear to Mars ...

 

:D

Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

I don't know how to be more clear on the massive power levels required to even run a small industrial setup...this is not a dream tank from wally world to show up with small miraculous devices to do it all...we do not have them yet....think frozen CO2 upper, frozen water/impurities lower, rubble top coat, machinery and vehicles to..... .chip,collect, transport, filter, multiple electrical processes, storage...and we have not even talked about minerals yet........a settlement is a go for me....we need to work on the industrial power viability, I see no options yet to beat it, which is why I hope thorium gets fully developed to remove the conventional reactor............cheers


Ohhh, man, I just got a really interesting idea.

 

What if there was a way to large-scale test stuff on Mars without actually having to go to Mars? Let's say a super-strong Geodesic Dome was built, large enough to house a couple of Modules, strong enough so that the pressure inside could be reduced to Mars levels ...

 

Mars-on-Earth?

 

It would be a perfect place to test out Mars-bound gear without the cost of sending gear to Mars ...

 

:D

I believe NASA has a large near vacuum chamber that we may be able to modify for Mars environment ...thoughts...

 

Edit...Full solar on settlement....reactor for industrial.....in an emergency...reactor power tapped to charge settlement batteries......thoughts

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Panasonic and others produce commercial fuel cells for business and home use, and they are exothermic so cold temps aren't really an issue and the excess heat could be useful. Conceptually, a Stirling generator or warming greenhouses and habs at the least. Some don't use a permeable membrane but are based on ceramic solid oxides and they run at 300-500

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

Panasonic and others produce commercial fuel cells for business and home use, and they are exothermic so cold temps aren't really an issue and the excess heat could be useful. Conceptually, a Stirling generator or warming greenhouses and habs at the least. Some don't use a permeable membrane but are based on ceramic solid oxides and they run at 300-500

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

Methane for propulsion .....I am very curious as to the methane pockets of escaping gas on the surface, if it is possible to find the source and "well head them" for processing, in lieu of atmospheric recovery or electro chemical creation.....we need fuel for the Dragons, and other propulsive delivery for two way transport....thoughts....

 

http://www.space.com/29674-mars-meteorites-methane-life-search.html

 

http://phys.org/news/2015-06-scientists-methane-mars-meteorites.html

 

I read these two links....interesting.......

 

Also think that a gas enclosed "blimp" may be good for site surveys and local transport...thoughts

Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Now we're talking...on remote sites, we used the radiator heat (exchangers) from the Perkins (power plant), to heat the entire site....heat capture is key, will work for modules and greenhouses...and thermal power generation depending on heat output...think thermal powered fans......cheers

Doc...was it NASA that had that huge vacuum chamber for testing purposes......

There's a huge vacuum chamber at NASA Glenn's Plum Brook Space Power Facility near Sandusky, Ohio. It's the 37h x 30w meter chamber shown in the Falcon 9 fairing test. JSC also has a large chamber which was shown in the movie Futureworld.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

@ BetaguyGZT...Doc has your spot for testing....In my opinion....maybe you can start a list...notepad..update as we go and agree on equipment, processes....and start obtaining our toys through testing.....post ocassionally...

1) lets test the powerwall goodies...read related data on them

2) test Doc's fuel cell goodies...read related data on them

3) test heat exchangers...

4) test suits....

5) put a habitat module in and test...with suited people

6) combine the above...feed in power for now and test setups of the above and modify as required

 

....thoughts...now we're moving....

 

normally, I would volunteer for notes...but I have to keep the ISS in orbit....... :woot:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop

Here is another ancillary option for heating and air conditioning...supplement....

 

Modified geothermal "furnace"...closed loop system...we will need to find another liquid for heat transport and a spot to drill on the martian surface....extremely efficient...modern ones supply year round heat and cooling with a scroll compressor at the cost of a 100w lightbulb.....proven tech for canada...need to adapt piping materials and heat transfer liquid to mars environment....best results with vertical bore holes for multiloops...check it out and don't laugh...it works...

 

 

http://www.waterfurnace.com/how-it-works.aspx

http://www.waterfurnace.ca/residential-geothermal/

 

Other companies make a similar product..it's just that I took their free course on it...they had donuts and coffee...shoooo in for me....."burp".... :D

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
flyingskippy

If you are going to go geothermal for heat and air-conditioning, Why not use it to generate power too?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM

Curiosity data and the imagery of melted ice outflows show there's absolutely some heat, but the question is how much? It may be enough for geothermal power plant(s), or it may only be enough for the use of heat pumps.

A good job for some large drilling rovers (or a "Drilling Dragon") sent on a Falcon Heavy.

Your fluid choice likely depends on the operating temperatures.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Unobscured Vision
      Neowin ThinkTank -- "Gardening on Mars":
       
      Objectives: We have eight years to design a successful Botanical Mission that will allow us to grow any variety of plant life (including edibles) that we choose on Mars. We need to define parameters, determine what we have at our disposal (both on Earth and on Mars), what technologies are available to us that will assist in that endeavor, and what we ultimately want to accomplish with the Botanical Mission once it is implemented on Mars.
       
      We will likely want (and need) to conduct extensive research on the flora in all stages of growth to determine if it is safe to consume, and to determine what changes occur due to the Martian soil and other environmental factors.  The Botanical Mission is critical for future long-term Settlements on Mars, and the data gathered during this and subsequent Missions is vital.
       
      Personnel Required: (3) It will require a Botanist (reference), a Biologist specializing in Agricultural Science (reference), and an Environmental Geologist (reference), all preferably skilled in Research and Field Experimentation as well as Practical Application of these talents. These individuals will actually grow many varieties of plants in a controlled environment, and the work will be labor-intensive at times. These individuals should be physically fit, motivated, enthusiastic, professional, and able to do the work required. The parameters and requirements concerning these Personnel will become better defined as the Mission Parameters evolve.
       
      Equipment Required: Obviously, this Mission will require payload weight and specialized equipment. Fortunately, the technologies and gear needed for this endeavour are mostly lightweight and small. Recycling and ISRU Technologies have had a true revolution in the last five years, and these will greatly assist with the Botanical Mission -- in fact, they will make this Mission possible at substantially lower payload weights and with far less financial costs than they would have even five or ten years ago. Massive improvements in 3D Printing technologies have lowered these weight commitments even further.
       
      What will be required, from a payload standpoint, should be quite low relative to the other Missions. Remember that overall Payload Weight, while quite large, is still a factor and we need to save weight where/however we can.
       
      Also remember that the Overall Mission Plan is we're building a large Geodesic Dome with the Main Mission Team. That construction will occur first. Our Garden will likely be isolated from the Dome to preserve the Air Purification and Conversion System until it is proven to not be an impediment to that system -- unless we've been forced to have our Garden in a smaller, separate Dome.
       
      Other Requirements/Concerns/Objectives: This is what we need to figure out also.
       
    • By Unobscured Vision
      Hello, science buffs, independent researchers and armchair nerds! (And yes, that's a good thing!)
      I welcome all of you to the second Neowin ThinkTank.
      In this ThinkTank, we'll explore how a motivated Company, Partnership of Companies, or even a Governmental Space Entity like ESA, NASA, Roscosmos and others could (and probably should) pursue an extended, committed, "Two Decades" Probe + Multiple Landers* mission set to the Solar Systems' "Gas Giants" -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
      (*Number of Landers per Probe depends on the destination, obviously)
      In this ThinkTank, we should strive to explore every aspect of what a committed, motivated effort like this will require to succeed. We should also be mindful of a budget, since financial concerns are of (usually) vital importance before a project of any scale is given the green-light. We also should consider whether to use "flight-proven" designs such as Cassini and simply update them with the latest hardware & software (then modify that design to accommodate the additional Landers), or if we should "start from the ground up" with an all-new design.
      We will also actually plan the Mission(s) themselves. That's a key part of any Probe mission -- where are we going? The science packages, even the very hardware and software itself, depends on that answer. Since each Probe will be going to one destination only, we can dedicate each Probe to its' destination as well as which Landers or Atmospheric Entry Probes we equip it with. Come on, you know you want to send AEP's down into Saturn, Uranus and Neptune! Now's the chance to actually plan those kinds of Missions!
      Then we will actually decide which launch hardware should be used for which platform, and when it can be launched. We have the means to simulate the entire flight(s). And yes, it'll be Kerbal Space Program. (Just kidding....? )
      For anyone not familiar with the Neowin ThinkTank, it's a very special study that the entire Community is invited to contribute to. Think of it as an exercise, an "Intellectual Interest Topic", where those members with the know-how, the fortitude, the moxy and the savvy can pool their collective talents into one "Grand Objective". Our last ThinkTank, "Establish Mars Colony One (and Two, and Three, and ...)" can be found here: http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/1259650-neowin-think-tank-mars-colony-one-and-two-and-three-and/