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Old 08-10-2012, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
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
Without a doubt there is wind erosion on Mars, but it is not that surprising, in retrospect, that there is as little build-up as we are finding. I would also expect that most of the Martian regolith is extremely fine, like flour or something like glacial silt. In other words, much finer than beach sand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
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.
They need to figure out how to get a sample of water-ice without contaminating the sample with soil or CO2 from the atmosphere. I would also like to see a spectral analysis to confirm that it is water that can be used by humans, plants, or as fuel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
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
Enclosing the plants in order to provide the optimum environment, including atmospheric pressure, for each type of plant we bring with us is the only way to go. It would also be prudent to grow the same plant in more than one enclosure in case of "crop failure." Lights in the right spectrum, heat, humidity, and atmospheric pressure will have to be controlled just like the various nutrients. It is all very doable, but it will require a lot of material being sent to Mars beforehand, or manufactured on Mars.

Like you suggested earlier, robots could be sent in advance of a manned mission in order to build domed or underground structures that could be pressurized, where it would be safe to plant.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:17 PM
 
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Old pics







http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/e.../real-mars.htm
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
Without a doubt there is wind erosion on Mars, but it is not that surprising, in retrospect, that there is as little build-up as we are finding. I would also expect that most of the Martian regolith is extremely fine, like flour or something like glacial silt. In other words, much finer than beach sand.
I'd say wind is one of the main causes for erosion Mars, but certainly not the only cause. Daily and seasonal temperature differences also contribute. Landslides along crater walls have been previously noted by one of the orbiters, as have the movement of dunes on the surface of the planet.

If I were guessing about regolith, it would make sense that most of it would be very fine in size and would sift down lower with larger particles on top. I'd also guess that most of the wind-blown dust-like grains would spill down from the surface above the crater walls, and the reason it's not as deep as expected is because the landing site is much closer to the mountain so fine particles might not be so deep as it would be closer the crater walls where it spills down the walls. Some of it would reach the mountain, but perhaps not as much. It's a pretty good-sized crater, something like 90 miles across I think.

I can see the sense in choosing Gale crater for this mission, but personally, I would've liked seeing one of the other potential landing sites, one of which was the delta of an ancient river. Of the leading choices for the final selection, all of the choices were great. But you can only pick one. I'm not really sure, but I think the MSL is destined to remain in the crater forever. I wonder how far up the mountain it'll reach? Or if it will ever reach the top of it? It'd be a really interesting view from up there.

Quote:
They need to figure out how to get a sample of water-ice without contaminating the sample with soil or CO2 from the atmosphere. I would also like to see a spectral analysis to confirm that it is water that can be used by humans, plants, or as fuel.
I would think it would be possible to heat up a sample enough to turn the ice into steam. It should also be possible to optically analyze the sample. With enough magnification, you could distinguish the water from the particles. That all might take some pretty hefty equipment though, but it might be possible someone might figure out a way to make such equipment compact enough to fit on a rover the size of Curiosity.

Water on Mars is thought to be extremely briney. To make it consumable for humans to drink, it's need to use a reverse osmosis system with an effective filtration system to strain all particles and heavy contaminents. We can drink pure H2O, but I'm not sure how that would work over decades. Water here on Earth contains a lot of minerals. I'm not certain how important that might be. But for missions lasting a year or so, pure water should be fine. Maybe they could use the same purification system they use on the ISS to recycle urine and get pure drinking water out of it, except on Mars the system could be used to purify the planet's contaminated frozen water

Quote:
Enclosing the plants in order to provide the optimum environment, including atmospheric pressure, for each type of plant we bring with us is the only way to go. It would also be prudent to grow the same plant in more than one enclosure in case of "crop failure." Lights in the right spectrum, heat, humidity, and atmospheric pressure will have to be controlled just like the various nutrients. It is all very doable, but it will require a lot of material being sent to Mars beforehand, or manufactured on Mars.

Like you suggested earlier, robots could be sent in advance of a manned mission in order to build domed or underground structures that could be pressurized, where it would be safe to plant.
I agree, that it's doable, but probably not in time for a so-called proposed 'one-way suicide' trip. I think the proposal claimed that could be done within I think it was 10 years or less. I sort of got stuck on thinking out loud about that the last couple of posts. Sorry about that.

It could take quite a while before we'll see any robotics exclusively building or assembling habitats, but that would be more cost-effective than sending people to do the same thing. Until such habitats are built, humans will have to take along their own supply of food and water for the entire duration of their total round trip. There is a model habitat used on Devon Island thsat may be similar for initial excursions to the Red Planet.

The trick for a really complex base, include a grow facilities, is to supply the plant growing modules with power to continuously run the pumps, power the lights, heating system, filtration systems, pressurization and so forth. I would think wind generators would be useful as a power supply, along with arrays of solar collectors.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:13 AM
 
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A couple of color panoramic views from Curiosity.




Curiosity's First Low-Resolution Color Panorama - YouTube
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, Florida
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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.
THANX N.B...it's hard finding new pictures from Curiosity>>>>>

Mars Science Laboratory: Images








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Old 08-12-2012, 03:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PITTSTON2SARASOTA View Post
THANX N.B...it's hard finding new pictures from Curiosity>>>>>

Mars Science Laboratory: Images

There are lots more to come. The tour is just getting started The 3rd picture you posted is excellent. I'm pretty sure it's showing the intentation and scattered debris that was kicked up by the landing thrusters. Looks like the regolith in this location has a thin layer of gravel-sized rocks mixed with fine, dust-like particles, beneath which is bedrock. I'm not too surprised at that considering how far the MSL is from the crater walls. It'll be interesting to see what sort of debris is up on the mountain. Will there be much larger rocks, or will there be just a thin layer of dust and gravel?

Interstingly, the MSL landed about 1.5 miles from the projected target. That's pretty impressive. Imagine trying to shoot a small paper target 100 miles away, and trying to hit the bulls-eye.



I got to thinking about Aeolis Mons (Mt. Sharp), and am stumped. The thinking is that there are layers of sediment which could be incredibly old, perhaps 2 billion years, which could reveal something about Mars' history. Presumably the oldest would be the lowest closer to the crater floor. But what kind of crater is Gale Crater, and why does Aeolis Mons look realtively smooth and eroded compared to similar projections in the center of other craters? I presume its from a meteor impact, and that Aeolis Mons is also a classical rebounding of the layers from deep below the Martian surface, perhaps below the floor of the crater itself. Aeolis Mons looks pretty smooth and not extremely steep to the top. That has to be one of the features for choosing Gale Crater as a mission site. There are some uncertainties about the sedimentary layering, as to whether they're mixed or not. "Smooth" may be a relative term. Aeolis Mons looks to be extremely rugged, or at least parts of it are. However, I think the general 'path' up the mound might not be too severe for the MSL, but it will be quite a challenge. It's going to be really interesting to see what it looks like higher up.
Aeolis Mons - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Click on "Larger image" for a better look at some of the features. I don't know where these are in relation to the MSL though.
NASA - Layers in Lower Formation of Gale Crater Mound

NASA - Layers in Upper Formation of Gale Crater Mound

A large view of Gale Crater, Aeolis Mons, and the MSL landing target. A later revision of the target is much narrower.
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/5...-full_full.jpg
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:17 AM
 
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in top-center of this image, lies light rock, looks like an alien head
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:39 AM
 
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Progress Report



Curiosity Gets Ready to Rove Red Planet - YouTube
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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A long hi-res images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing the location of Curiosity in Gale Crater. It'd be great to have a shot that zooms down into the crater. We might see something like that later. It looks like the landing spot is in a depression located somewhat on the base of the mountain. You can see dunes in the blue colored areas toward the bottom of the picture. I'm guessing where the coloration becomes lighter is where the wall of the crater is located. Admittedly, I'm having a hard time understanding the terrain from these views. In any case, it does give a good impression of the rugged conditions of the crater.
http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/images...B.NOMAP-2x.jpg



Here's a cool 360-degree panoramic view of Curiosity's surroundings. You can turn completely around as well as look up and down. Judging by the tracks in the image, it looks like Curiosity has already been on the move, although not far.
MARS Greeley Haven 360 Panorama - Round the world travel from panoramas.dk



Here's a look at Mt. Sharp
http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/images...rp-oblique.jpg

Last edited by NightBazaar; 08-14-2012 at 08:08 PM.. Reason: added extra links
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,825 posts, read 20,504,794 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
A long hi-res images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing the location of Curiosity in Gale Crater. It'd be great to have a shot that zooms down into the crater. We might see something like that later. It looks like the landing spot is in a depression located somewhat on the base of the mountain. You can see dunes in the blue colored areas toward the bottom of the picture. I'm guessing where the coloration becomes lighter is where the wall of the crater is located. Admittedly, I'm having a hard time understanding the terrain from these views. In any case, it does give a good impression of the rugged conditions of the crater.
http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/images...B.NOMAP-2x.jpg
If you zoom into where Curiosity landed, in your linked image, you can see where the thrusters cleared the Martian regolith away. The light blue hue just north and south of the MSL is the exposed bedrock created by the thrusters upon landing. The landing also appears to have disturbed a large area around the MSL that can be seen as a slightly darker patch surrounding the MSL and extending out to around a hundred foot radius or so.
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