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Orbital Mirrors Could Create Earth Like Environment On Mars

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posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 07:54 PM
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Mirrors in orbit around Mars could create Earth-like conditions
on a small patch of the planet's surface, according to a NASA-
funded study.
The extra sunlight would provide warmth and solar power for
human explorers, but some experts say the mirrors may be
hard to deploy.

Scientists and science-fiction authors have long dreamed of
turning Mars into a more Earth-like planet for future human
colonists.
The process, called terraforming, involves thickening Mars's
atmosphere and increasing its temperature.
But schemes to transform the entire planet would take centuries
and would require enormous resources.

Now, Rigel Woida, an engineering student at Arizona State
University in Tucson, US, is investigating the possibility of
"terraforming" just a small patch of the planet's surface by
focusing sunlight on it from orbiting mirrors.

The concept calls for 300 reflective balloons, each 150 metres
across, arranged side-by-side to create a 1.5-kilometre-wide
mirror in orbit around Mars.

The mirror would focus sunlight onto a 1-kilometre-wide patch
of Mars's surface.
This would raise the temperature in this patch to a balmy 20°
Celsius (68° Fahrenheit) from Mars's typical surface temperature
of between -140° C and -60° C (-220° and -76° F).


SOURCE:
NewScientist.com


This is a very cool idea, very out of the box thinking.

I can see this being a viable way of putting colonies on Mars.
My only concern would be if the mirrors some how were to
move out of the position they are supposed to be in.


Comments, Opinions?

[edit on 11/15/2006 by iori_komei]




posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 08:04 PM
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How are they going to keep the mirror in one spot? Doesn't things in orbit revolve around the planet?



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 08:09 PM
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Originally posted by Pepperslappy
How are they going to keep the mirror in one spot? Don't things in orbit revolve around the planet?


I'm not sure of the technicals on that myself, but I think there's
a way to keep a satelite in a still position, or in a small circular
orbit above the area.



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by Pepperslappy
How are they going to keep the mirror in one spot? Doesn't things in orbit revolve around the planet?


Synchronous orbit



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 08:52 PM
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This would be a very interesting experiment and it deserves a test run and seems like a very logical solution.



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 09:21 PM
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You still would have a toxic atmosphere to deal with. Just heating up a part of mars would not make that part habitable.



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 09:31 PM
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Originally posted by Umbrax

Originally posted by Pepperslappy
How are they going to keep the mirror in one spot? Doesn't things in orbit revolve around the planet?


Synchronous orbit

I feel dumb know...hehe hahaha



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 09:36 PM
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You could build a Biosphere 2 type structure on Mars.

If it works as good there as it did here, well, on second thought.



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 09:40 PM
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Well they would need the mirrors and a biosphere. Biosphere 2 failed because of the lack of light for photosynthesis. The only problem with building a biosphere on mars the amount of time it would take to build and the amount of oxygen the workers could have. It could be done but the plants couldn't be brought on a shuttle. The whole biosphere would take at least 50 years before it's inhabitable.



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 10:10 PM
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Those are good observations. I won't say that terraforming Mars or even a part of it is impossible, because someone will eventually find a way, I guess, but I don't think I'll be around to see it.

I'm still waiting for the highways in the sky.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 05:27 AM
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How are you going to make the mirrors big enough, you'd need an army of robots to go and assemble it. The fuel to get all the equipment their, etc.

I'd prefer them to look into living on the ocean floor, on the artic circle and other inhospitable places on earth before we think about moving to a whole new planet.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:30 AM
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those are all good points,
but there is one inexcapable element that we can't remedy with known technologies...Gravity


source: gs report

Once Mars is settled, the much lower gravity of the Red Planet might profoundly
alter many features of transplanted Earth life, including humans.

...
 



of course the lower gravity would help us to build a glass dome over one of those 10 km craters & terraform that environment for starters.

However the 2 or 3rd generation of Mars frontiersmin would probably be mutated or something, caused by the different gravity & the cosmic & solar rays that they'd get bombarded with (unlike Earths' surface)



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 04:58 PM
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Originally posted by byhiniur
How are you going to make the mirrors big enough, you'd need an army of robots to go and assemble it. The fuel to get all the equipment their, etc.

I'd prefer them to look into living on the ocean floor, on the artic circle and other inhospitable places on earth before we think about moving to a whole new planet.


Well you could in theory send the neccessary materials and robots
to build a factory on Mars that would produce the mirrors, and since
Mars has a lower gravity field, more mirrors of a larger size could
be sent up using less fuel than if they were all sent from Earth.

I'd like to se us beuild in those places to, but I'm more wiling to go
to other planets, it's our nature to explore, than and it's a good idea
to have large colonies off world that are'nt dependant on Earth, in
case something catastrophic happens on Earth.




However the 2 or 3rd generation of Mars frontiersmin would probably be mutated or something, caused by the different gravity & the cosmic & solar rays that they'd get bombarded with

They would be taller and thinner with more lean muscle, because
of the lower gravity.

However the cosmic radiation would'nt mutate them, there would
be adequate protection for that, since cosmic rays are deadly in
the doses that you'd be exposed to unprotected on Mars.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by iori_komei
Well you could in theory send the neccessary materials and robots
to build a factory on Mars that would produce the mirrors, and since
Mars has a lower gravity field, more mirrors of a larger size could
be sent up using less fuel than if they were all sent from Earth.


Wouldn't that require sending more materials than if we just sent up the mirrors because you're having to send up the materials for the factories on top of the robots and mirrors. It'd require more fuel; you're sending it to mars (having to land it safely which is a feat in itself) and then relaunch it into mars' atmosphere.

It just seems alot of effort for negligable gains. The desert would be a better place to build infrastructure on than mars. How about platforms sitting out across the sea? Or build up, with cities like in Fifth element?

I'm all for progress, but this idea should be a non-starter, it's just completely unrealistic/unfeesable (sp).

On a different level, do we deserve another planet if we destroy this one? Would it send the right message to the general population if we have back-up planets?



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 05:58 PM
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Originally posted by byhiniur
It'd require more fuel; you're sending it to mars (having to land it safely which is a feat in itself) and then relaunch it into mars' atmosphere.

I'm not saying send the mirrors to Mars, I mean sending the factory to
Mars and have the factory produce the mirrors, which even though
they'd have to be launched, would require less fuel than if everything
was sent from Earth.



I'm all for progress, but this idea should be a non-starter, it's just completely unrealistic/unfeasible (sp).

Not really, it's actually one of the more feasible and plausible
ideas for colonizing Mars, since you would'nt need to build
underground bases or use massive energy to heat your
infrastructure.



On a different level, do we deserve another planet if we destroy this one? Would it send the right message to the general population if we have back-up planets?

I think it would send a good message, like the people would
remember what happened on Earth.

But even if we do end up destroying Earth, I don't think we
should cease to exist, we change and learn.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 06:24 PM
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Originally posted by iori_komei
I'm not saying send the mirrors to Mars, I mean sending the factory to
Mars and have the factory produce the mirrors, which even though
they'd have to be launched, would require less fuel than if everything
was sent from Earth.


So the materials for the mirrors will be on mars? These aren't glass mirrors and would require alot of intricate parts, therefore increasing the number of factories required.

It'd be a lot more fuel than any of the suggestions for more living capacity that I suggested above, which ever way you look at it.



Not really, it's actually one of the more feasible and plausible ideas for colonizing Mars, since you would'nt need to build underground bases or use massive energy to heat your infrastructure.


The whole idea of colonizing Mars is not only unfeasible but completely pointless, as it would achieve nothing other than having people living many miles away. What would be achieved from living on Mars other than an increase of space travel there by burning resources better spent treating the Earths troubles.

They only want to terraform a small section of the planet anyway, consequently an enlargment of an ISS type vessel would be a better target. If there was an elixir of life growing there or some really good reason for living there, I'd be all for it, but as it stands, it'd be like living on an oil platform... and people only do that because there is something 'precious' to be found.



I think it would send a good message, like the people would remember what happened on Earth. But even if we do end up destroying Earth, I don't think we
should cease to exist, we change and learn.


People wouldn't remeber what happened to earth, they'd remember that we could colonize another planet and would expect that it could be done again. Diverting our efforts to colonizing Mars would mean the Earth has more chance of being destroyed as a hospitable environment (yet it seems that our worse efforts couldn't make it as inhospitable as Mars).

Why, apart from having a back-up population of people, do you think terraforming Mars would be a worthwhile endeavour?


Reason for edit, addressing Shmigoli's post below:100 years from now I won't be here so the people of that time can do what they want. Yet, it will still be easier to improve conditions on earth and colonize currently inhospitable zones on earth than terraforming another planet. It will still hold that there are currently no real benefits of terraforming another planet that can't be enjoyed through simpler means.

[edit on 16/11/06 by byhiniur]



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by byhiniur
Wouldn't that require sending more materials than if we just sent up the mirrors because you're having to send up the materials for the factories on top of the robots and mirrors. It'd require more fuel; you're sending it to mars (having to land it safely which is a feat in itself) and then relaunch it into mars' atmosphere.

It just seems alot of effort for negligable gains. The desert would be a better place to build infrastructure on than mars. How about platforms sitting out across the sea? Or build up, with cities like in Fifth element?

I'm all for progress, but this idea should be a non-starter, it's just completely unrealistic/unfeesable (sp).



At the present time, of course not. In a century or two, yes. We have no idea what technology will be available in the future.

Hell, over a century ago todays technology would seem completely alien and unbelievable. Imagine if the same is true 100 years in the future from now.



posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 07:10 AM
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Umm just with regards to the geosync orbit.

Even though it is stationary over one spot over the planet there is always the line of sight (with the sun at times being on the other side of the planet) issue..

A Martian day takes about 24.62 hours. So part of that day will be darkness, and the mirror in orbit (geosync) would not be able to project the reflected light.
Regardless of the orbit elevation of the mirror LMO (low mars orbit) or 32000+ mile out orbit.

Perhpas if this patch was closer to the poles it may favor easier constant line of sight with the distant sun.

I might be wrong


note, I'm positive the brainchild behind this would have consider that, so I may have missed the point somewhere, perhaps. di.

[edit on 17-11-2006 by one_small_step]



posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 08:09 AM
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A few point to the Nay sayers.

Why not? We can send an inflatable station for the production of the mirrors, and as a temporary shelter until the terraforming begins.

And this isn't for a military or economic gain. No infrastructure needed. This would be purely scientific. What gains have been made from the Mars rovers, aside from knowledge? Exactly.



posted on Nov, 18 2006 @ 02:33 PM
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And why do the mirrors need to be on orbit, why not just use the area around the one that they want to warm?

Something like Solar tres, but with the mirrors pointing to another spot on the ground.



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