whitedove01s: (Default)
Ok, so, as I think I mentioned somewhere near the end the ramble about water, I'd forgotten to give much consideration to tides. I figured there'd be less or non-existent on Mars due to the lack of a moon, but hadn't looked it up and done the math yet. Mostly, I'd been too distracted reading about various critters.

Then it came up during RP. Thankfully, involving a chara whose grasp of science is limited to that useful for explosives or practical jokes (or both), so my goof didn't screw too much up. However, after doing a little reading, well, I'm just too tired for calculus tonight.

But, here's the short part for when I wake up. Mars would mostly have solar tides. I'd need to calculate that based on the sun's gravitational pull and Mars' distance from the sun. I'd also need to do similar math regarding Phobos and Deimos - even tiny they might do something. Though before calculating for either, I'd have to work out what it might mean for Phobos to have been artificially bumped into a more stable orbit and for both of 'em to have been covered in a whole lot of plaster. (actually, the gypsum sand dunes that used to be at the Martian north pole that Ice didn't want to see get melted)

Then, I'd have to work out that the lower gravity of Mars might also have an effect.

Someone did ask a Yahoo question about the same darned thing, and I'm sorely tempted to just take those numbers (14% of Earth's) and run with them, but that's taken from a sci-fi book I don't have (yet, it just went on my list), and there's no background sources or work shown to prove where the figure came from... and I'd like to at least be semi-sure I'm fudging somewhere in the right ballpark.

So, I'll just have to try to do calculus later. I hate math. And I haven't done anything more complicated than multiplication since high school, meaning I'm not sure I even remember how to do algebra, much less calculus.

I also didn't learn calculus in school, due to getting a homebound teacher who wasn't qualified to teach it, and then quitting public school in frustration when I turned 16 so that I could go with a mail-order high school that at least would have useful classes. I got straight A's in human relations and pre-psych, ironically enough, and still can't relate to or understand most humans...

But I have a calculus textbook around here somewhere. I got it at a yardsale, along with my much-more-read Zoology textbook. I love old textbooks.

If I can find the darned thing, maybe this is a sign that I should settle in and really brush up on my math. :/

It may not be as hard as calculus, but I found most of these pages by the time I was too sleepy to wade through equations. This one seems to have some more math to use, and also mentions that even small bodies can exert some tidal force if they're close enough. Phobos is Too Close, tho as I said, for the RP my pups should have moved the darned thing to a stable orbit. It'd still be close tho.

This page has some too, doesn't look much worse than algebra, but I fuzzily seem to recall the last site saying that that wasn't the right equation. So I'll have to go back and look at these pages when I'm actually awake and not just doing a lousy job of faking it.

In case no one has guessed, half of the reason for this post is making a half-asleep note and reminder to myself to get on this in the morning. Along with saving the links, so I don't have to leave a ton of pages open until then.

Oh, additionally, and as a random by-catch of the web-trawling for data: Mars has a cherry-syrup center! Well, consistency-wise anyway. Another by-catch has some possibly useful data when I have to sit down and do math, tho probably not anything that wouldn't be on Wiki.

Yeah, me sleeping now.
whitedove01s: (Default)
This one's been coming for a while. Water on Mars. Specifically, the amount of water already on Mars, and what would be needed to make it habitable in the sense of terraforming. (As opposed to colonization, which would mean you'd live in pressurized domes and mine ice for the water you'd need.)

Now, when I started my 'bots off on terraforming Mars for RP (It's a heck of an interesting 'dry run' that way) I didn't want to make it too easy or too hard on them. And I did a heck of a lot of research beforehand.

Now, if you've ever seen a pic of Mars - or, better, if (like me) you've been keeping up with the stuff from the 'bots NASA currently has up there (and the satellite, which I think is British, tho I may be mistaken), then you know there's ice on Mars. Mars is a frozen lava rock.

Not all ice is water, though, and the most recent figures I saw for the ice on Mars, particularly the caps, was that it was about 85% highly carbon dioxide and only 15% water ice. To make it confusing, some sites still say there's more water ice, based on older data. And then, some sites confuse people by mentioning the southern polar cap, which is (at last known data) 3 kilometers thick and 80%-90% water ice. The bits in some deep craters might contain more water content - or they might be more CO2, I've seen no numbers either way.

Back in the old Mariner/Voyager days, and up into the 1990s it was hoped there'd be a ton of permafrost on Mars. And there's good signs still that there /is/ some, up around the poles, at other low elevations, and likely at the bottom of Hellas. (In fact, I'd expect a pretty good layer of ice or maybe even some liquid water down at the bottom of Hellas. This is one of the reasons why heating up the planet caused huge windstorms when my 'bots did it - the CO2 and H2O evaporating.)

However, even the best estimates for water ice content didn't sound so great to me. An article from New Scientist Magazine in May 2002 said "if the water ice seen there permeated the planet's entire soil and rock layer, it could contain enough water to cover Mars with an ocean 500 to 1500 metres deep." Please note the 'if' and 'could'. And that the 'huge' south pole cap would add a whole 11 meters to that if melted. No, I didn't leave out any zeros, nor did I mean kilometers. Meters.

Now, if this was a colonization attempt, or if one planned to have a much much smaller amount of ocean area than I feel is reasonable, then ok, it works. Again if it goes that deep, and if that much of it is water. The studies just aren't done yet to be certain, and the numbers keep changing as more is learned.

Which just makes me feel that anyone saying any single source of data is the end of the argument must be a moron. All the data isn't in yet, and I may well be white-haired before anyone knows with certainty exactly how much water is up there. I just went with the best info I have at the time, which is good enough for RP. Really, no one calls H.G. Wells an idiot for not knowing there were no Martians when he wrote War of the Worlds. The risk with sci-fi, RPed or not, is that newer data will be discovered which underminds the believability of the whole thing. The best any writer, or RPer, can do is go with the best data they have at the time the story is done. In the end, it's just a game, and if you get that picky about your fiction, you need to give up fiction. XD

Also, if this were colonization, this site has some pretty good ideas for mining permafrost - except for the part where they want to share Nuclear Idiocy with the rest of the solar system. It has estimates based on Viking data, tho, a good bit of which has been disproved in the last couple years or so by newer stuff from Odyssey and such.

And think for a moment of Earth, where roughly 2/3 of the surface is water. I didn't feel like the ocean this would make would really be sufficient. I'll refer you over here to a good topography map or, if Wiki's moved the link, over here to the article about Mar's geography/topography. Which I like to fondly referred to as screwed up.

Y'see, Mars does not have plate tectonics. And if you'd ever read up on plate tectonics you've probably seen one of those sets of images showing how one huge land mass can break into continents, and how mountains are formed, and whatnot.

Mars does not have this. Mars has one enormous southern continent/highland area, and one huge northern low area. Please to be remembering now that water is usually moving downhill, except when it doesn't. ;)

Now, look at the map. It's marked in kilometers. The best estimates of water content of Mars said 'an ocean 1,500 meters' or 1.5 kilometers deep. Now, ignoring Hellas and Argyle for the moment and focusing just on the north, the deepest part looks to be a -6 or maybe -5.5 on that map. So, imagine everything from -4.5, or at best -4 as underwater. It's not too shabby, really, if you don't mind your prospective colonists living just on the coasts there.

If it was a try at terraformation with current tech, that might be what you'd be stuck with - and keep in mind, this is still best case scenario with the water. I never trust best case scenarios, myself, and usually mentally amend the results to "half that" or thereabouts for safety. Particularly since I have doubts the scientists took into account water amounts that would have to be in irrigation channels, or the amount of water/humidity that would evaporate and stay in the air at least some of the time. So, I expected a realistic ocean made with just water content on Mars would be little more than a big glorified puddle, especially when the dry air sucked some of it up. I pictured about -5 on the map as the 'sea level' using just Mars water sources.

My 'bots were from a time period that has force-fields, and devices that can alter the gravitational pull on objects, among other things. Plus, I didn't want them to get a 'best case scenario' handed to them. I wanted it to be a little harder on them, and to make them work for the end results. And I didn't want the entire south half of the planet left as a desert. It strikes me as a half-done job that way. And, living in WV, I know a few things about how elevations can screw with the wind's ability to blow clouds around. So I knew irrigation would be a nice and interesting puzzle to work out. I won't, however, in this particular ramble go into the solution the 'bots are using, which involves making some use of Mars' extensive geothermal resources.

I'll just go on to this: Irrigating and living in the south would really mean needing more water. Not only did I want the Northern Ocean to be a little deeper/bigger in the end (The coast on the Google Earth graphics I did ended up at about -2.5), I wanted them to be able to fill up Hellas and Argyle as inland freshwater 'seas'. Not to mention to be able to carve out planned river channels and the like.

This meant Mars needed more water. And of all the terraforming sites I've ever looked at, I've seen two answers to that. Either 'it can't be done', or 'use ice asteroids'. I went with the second option. We'd have some trouble doing it with modern tech, but the 'bots, as I mentioned, have nifty future stuff. Namely, they could mess with the force of gravity to 'tow' ice-asteroids after the ship they used, and they could put a forcefield around it until it was in orbit to keep it from breaking up, and then they could blow it into itty ice-asteroid chunks that rained down on the planet for several days, evaporating as they went.

And making a huge mess of the planet for a while, but that's moving on past the water topic so I'll leave it for now.


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