U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Science and Technology > Space
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 08-10-2012, 01:10 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,825 posts, read 20,494,923 times
Reputation: 6500

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
Here's a full-res color panoramic view from Curiosity. The walls of the crater are visible in the distance. Stark, but fascinating. At the moment, Curiosity is checking it's instruments to make sure everything is working. My understanding is that it could be a couple of weeks yet before it begins to get down to doing some of the science that it was designed to do. But it's pretty interesting to have a look around from the landing area.

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA16029.jpg
There appears to be a lot of oxygen bound up in that Martian soil, judging by the color. Besides the iron oxide, Mars appears to also have a lot of silicon dioxide (SiO2, 44% to 58% by weight depending on the location of the probe). The "Iron Catastrophe" that occurred on Earth billions of years ago apparently never happened on Mars. All that oxygen is still bound up in the Martian soil.

While they have found relatively high levels of magnesium in Martian soil, there appears to be no evidence of either phosphorous, potassium, or nitrogen. That will certainly complicate growing plants on Mars.
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-10-2012, 12:37 PM
 
5,203 posts, read 8,204,697 times
Reputation: 3188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
There appears to be a lot of oxygen bound up in that Martian soil, judging by the color. Besides the iron oxide, Mars appears to also have a lot of silicon dioxide (SiO2, 44% to 58% by weight depending on the location of the probe). The "Iron Catastrophe" that occurred on Earth billions of years ago apparently never happened on Mars. All that oxygen is still bound up in the Martian soil.
Interestingly, it was expected that the landing site for the MSL would probably be a deep layer of regolith. However, what was discovered as Curiosity began to first look around is that the thrusters had blown away surface material revealing what appears to be bedrock, and that the regolith layer is much thinner than had been thought.
NASA - Rocket Thrusters Expose Bedrock

If there's water below the surface of the planet, and if it is able to occasionally reach the surface, then over billions of years oxidation could take place giving the planet its reddish rust (iron oxide) color. On the other hand, if Mars was wetter and warmer in its past, with a large part of the surface covered by a shallow ocean, that too could contribute to the rusting of Mars' iron. There are several other thoughts as to why so much of the iron on Mars' surface oxidized. It's another unknown. During the early formation of the Earth, iron tended to sink toward the core of the planet. On Mars though, it might be that because Mars is much smaller and has weaker gravity than the Earth, iron may have been more mixed instead of sinking toward the planet's core.
Why Is Mars Red? | The Red Planet | Space.com

You're right, that there would appear to be plenty of oxygen locked up on the surface in the form of iron oxide. And we know Mars may still have some water below the surface from observation by orbiters, from trenches dug by the Phoenix lander, and by occasional or seasonal surfacing of water (maybe) creating wet-looking gullies as detected along the walls of some craters.

Quote:
While they have found relatively high levels of magnesium in Martian soil, there appears to be no evidence of either phosphorous, potassium, or nitrogen. That will certainly complicate growing plants on Mars.
That's exactly the point I was raising on the proposed 'one-way suicide mission to Mars' thread. The lack of essential nutrients, such as N-P-K, minor elements and trace elements, could limit the idea of being self-sufficient on Mars. Even by hydroponically growing crops, eventually the nutrients will be used up and have to be replenished. Various ph levels have to be considered as well. Not all plants have the same requirements. That doesn't take into account the amount of enclosed space required to grow veggies, fruits, and especially grains.

Mmmmm, what kind of yummy food are we going to eat today?
Oh, the usual. Boiled asparagus with a side dish of algae sprinkled with a dash of lichens, and topped off with a delicious bowl of bacteria pudding.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,825 posts, read 20,494,923 times
Reputation: 6500
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
Interestingly, it was expected that the landing site for the MSL would probably be a deep layer of regolith. However, what was discovered as Curiosity began to first look around is that the thrusters had blown away surface material revealing what appears to be bedrock, and that the regolith layer is much thinner than had been thought.
NASA - Rocket Thrusters Expose Bedrock
That actually makes sense upon further reflection. Mars is not going to have anywhere near the erosive forces that we have on Earth. Mars may have higher wind speeds than Earth, but because the Martian atmospheric pressure is 87.6 times less dense than Earth's atmospheric pressure, the winds on Mars would have a difficult time eroding rock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
If there's water below the surface of the planet, and if it is able to occasionally reach the surface, then over billions of years oxidation could take place giving the planet its reddish rust (iron oxide) color. On the other hand, if Mars was wetter and warmer in its past, with a large part of the surface covered by a shallow ocean, that too could contribute to the rusting of Mars' iron. There are several other thoughts as to why so much of the iron on Mars' surface oxidized. It's another unknown. During the early formation of the Earth, iron tended to sink toward the core of the planet. On Mars though, it might be that because Mars is much smaller and has weaker gravity than the Earth, iron may have been more mixed instead of sinking toward the planet's core.
Why Is Mars Red? | The Red Planet | Space.com

You're right, that there would appear to be plenty of oxygen locked up on the surface in the form of iron oxide. And we know Mars may still have some water below the surface from observation by orbiters, from trenches dug by the Phoenix lander, and by occasional or seasonal surfacing of water (maybe) creating wet-looking gullies as detected along the walls of some craters.
According to the Phoenix probe data, they are claiming that they discovered water-ice on Mars on July 31, 2008.

Water Ice on Mars Confirmed | Space.com

Upon reading the article it is a rather tenuous claim. They are claiming water exists because as the water-ice melts it requires more heat to raise the temperature of the sample. I would have been happier with a spectral analysis of the sample.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
That's exactly the point I was raising on the proposed 'one-way suicide mission to Mars' thread. The lack of essential nutrients, such as N-P-K, minor elements and trace elements, could limit the idea of being self-sufficient on Mars. Even by hydroponically growing crops, eventually the nutrients will be used up and have to be replenished. Various ph levels have to be considered as well. Not all plants have the same requirements. That doesn't take into account the amount of enclosed space required to grow veggies, fruits, and especially grains.

Mmmmm, what kind of yummy food are we going to eat today?
Oh, the usual. Boiled asparagus with a side dish of algae sprinkled with a dash of lichens, and topped off with a delicious bowl of bacteria pudding.
Apparently they are changing their minds about the Martian soil. Since the Viking landing they assumed that Martian soil was highly acidic and might be highly oxidizing with the presence of perchlorate in the soil. Not good for growing Earth plants. However, as of August 22, 2011 they are now claiming the Martian soil may be suitable for growing Earth plants, and that soil is not actually acidic, but rather slightly base with a pH of 7.7

The Dirt on Mars' Soil: More Suitable for Life Than Thought | Life on Mars & Martian Life | NASA Mars Exploration & Phoenix Mission | Space.com

Since it requires several years for asparagus to fully mature on Earth, I do not think they will be one of the first plants on Mars. Vegetables like potatoes, varieties of different lettuce, radishes, carrots, different types of squash, melons, strawberries, peas, tomatoes, scallions, garlic, onions, and beans would be my guess. Even some herbs could be grown, such as basil, dill, oregano, tarragon, peppercorns, and even various teas. They will also need wheat if they intend on having any kind of flour for bread, pasta, and/or pie dough. Although, obtaining yeast, sugar, salt, and oil could pose a problem. The low gravity on Mars should make bread rise faster.

You could make some decent vegetarian meals from those ingredients. Like a vegetarian spaghetti with marinara sauce, a small salad, with sweet-potato pie and strawberries for desert.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 07:29 PM
 
4,247 posts, read 10,679,845 times
Reputation: 3126
Why not try cloud seeding to see what they get out of them?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 08:17 PM
 
5,203 posts, read 8,204,697 times
Reputation: 3188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
That actually makes sense upon further reflection. Mars is not going to have anywhere near the erosive forces that we have on Earth. Mars may have higher wind speeds than Earth, but because the Martian atmospheric pressure is 87.6 times less dense than Earth's atmospheric pressure, the winds on Mars would have a difficult time eroding rock.
I thought the idea of the design of the thrusters was to keep dust and debris away from the MSL. Interestingly though, some small rocky debris landed on top surface of the MSL although t's not expected to cause any problems. Several pics of it in the link below.
Astroengine.com | Unraveling the fabric of space-time with Dr. Ian O'Neill

The thinking about Gale crater was the idea that dust and sand from the surface above the crater could be deposited in the crater resulting in a deeper layer. But apparently that's not the case at the landing site which is closer to Mt. Sharp and farther away from the crater wall. That it was shallow enough for the thrusters to blow away surface material to expose bedrock was a surprise.

Winds on Mars might cause erosion more slowly than winds on Earth, but it can still erode rock from windblown dust and sand over millions, if not billions of years.
Wind Erosion | Mars Odyssey Mission THEMIS

Winds of Mars: Aeolian Activity and Landforms

Long term wind erosion on Mars

Quote:
According to the Phoenix probe data, they are claiming that they discovered water-ice on Mars on July 31, 2008.

Water Ice on Mars Confirmed | Space.com

Upon reading the article it is a rather tenuous claim. They are claiming water exists because as the water-ice melts it requires more heat to raise the temperature of the sample. I would have been happier with a spectral analysis of the sample.
The idea I got from the article is that raising the temperature was intended to more quickly help evaporate water from the soil sample. As the ice melts, it could make the soil sample a little bit damp and muddy rather than drier.

Quote:
Apparently they are changing their minds about the Martian soil. Since the Viking landing they assumed that Martian soil was highly acidic and might be highly oxidizing with the presence of perchlorate in the soil. Not good for growing Earth plants. However, as of August 22, 2011 they are now claiming the Martian soil may be suitable for growing Earth plants, and that soil is not actually acidic, but rather slightly base with a pH of 7.7

The Dirt on Mars' Soil: More Suitable for Life Than Thought | Life on Mars & Martian Life | NASA Mars Exploration & Phoenix Mission | Space.com

Since it requires several years for asparagus to fully mature on Earth, I do not think they will be one of the first plants on Mars. Vegetables like potatoes, varieties of different lettuce, radishes, carrots, different types of squash, melons, strawberries, peas, tomatoes, scallions, garlic, onions, and beans would be my guess. Even some herbs could be grown, such as basil, dill, oregano, tarragon, peppercorns, and even various teas. They will also need wheat if they intend on having any kind of flour for bread, pasta, and/or pie dough. Although, obtaining yeast, sugar, salt, and oil could pose a problem. The low gravity on Mars should make bread rise faster.

You could make some decent vegetarian meals from those ingredients. Like a vegetarian spaghetti with marinara sauce, a small salad, with sweet-potato pie and strawberries for desert.
In that case, if the pH is generally 7.7, then it's more alkaline than acidic. Ah, the good ol' life of a Mars farmer! Jest hitch up ol' Bessie the robotic cow and go plow up the south 40. But even with a reasonable pH, the Martian temps are too cold for most plants, unless they can be genetically bred to resist the cold. I think it's safe to say crop growing would likely be confined to enclosed temperature-controlled structures for the foreseeable future.

That's quite a list of potential veggies you've got there. Ideal, but how realistic is it? To grow that much in order to provide variety would be a great idea, but it would still require considerable contained space, even for a hydroponic system. Many kind of herbs take up very little space but are more for adding flavor than nutrition. That's not to say herbs don't have nutritional values though. Some herbs could be helpful for medicinal purposes. Grass crops like wheat, oats, barley, rice, etc., could be more of a problem to grow space-wise. While strawberries are a fine space-saving fruit, I would think a steady diet of only strawberries for fruit could get pretty boring.
Soil pH: What it Means

NASA - Designer Plants on Mars

Recommended Soil pH for Growing Different Fruits and Vegetables
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, Florida
15,400 posts, read 19,790,668 times
Reputation: 11070
New links and pictures>>>>>

Mars rover Curiosity delivers new high-res images, offers fresh view of planetary neighbor (updated) - Ideas@Innovations - The Washington Post







Panoramas from Mars - The Washington Post





Panoramas from Mars - The Washington Post

Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 08:55 PM
 
5,203 posts, read 8,204,697 times
Reputation: 3188
Great pics Pitts! In the color pics, you can see what looks like a hazy circular area, slightly to the right, which is where the thrusters swept away the thin layer of regolith and exposed the bedrock.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 09:01 PM
 
5,203 posts, read 8,204,697 times
Reputation: 3188
Quote:
Originally Posted by danieloneil01 View Post
Why not try cloud seeding to see what they get out of them?
The clouds are pretty thin and wispy. I'm not sure seeding would help much.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,825 posts, read 20,494,923 times
Reputation: 6500
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
Great pics Pitts! In the color pics, you can see what looks like a hazy circular area, slightly to the right, which is where the thrusters swept away the thin layer of regolith and exposed the bedrock.
Very kewl!

In the fourth image from the top (black and white) you can see the particles kicked up by the thrusters that landed on top of the MSL.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-10-2012, 09:24 PM
 
5,203 posts, read 8,204,697 times
Reputation: 3188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
Very kewl!

In the fourth image from the top (black and white) you can see the particles kicked up by the thrusters that landed on top of the MSL.
Check out the Astroengine.com link as well that I posted above. There are several striking images showing quite a few of the rocks that landed on the MSL.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Science and Technology > Space
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top