15 thoughts on “The Glaciers Of Mars”

  1. “The question will be whether those Martian settlers will be able to easily access this water. ”

    I think you have to drill or tunnel to liquid water.
    But if not available, then tunnel to ice and live in or near the ice.

  2. And eventually…set up factories on Mars to get the raw materials to manufacture super-greenhouse gasses like NF3; 17K times more powerful than CO2.

    “NF3 has a 100-year global warming potential of 17,200, meaning that it is 17,200 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping atmospheric heat over a 100-year time span – much higher than most other GHGs.”

    https://www.wri.org/blog/2013/05/nitrogen-trifluoride-now-required-ghg-protocol-greenhouse-gas-emissions-inventories

    Make enough of that In situ and watch the CO2 out-gas from the frozen regolith leaving the frozen soon to be liquid water behind. Greatly increasing the mass/pressure of the Martian atmosphere to possibly above the Armstrong limit. A comparatively rapid terraforming effecting change in mere decades rather than centuries/millennia.

    1. You would want to carefully select your site for habitation if there is the potential for megafloods on a planetary scale. That is the type of thing were everything is fine and then a few hours later you have a new ocean.

      1. “You would want to carefully select your site for habitation if there is the potential for megafloods on a planetary scale. That is the type of thing were everything is fine and then a few hours later you have a new ocean.”

        Just avoid the lowland areas until things (mostly) settle out. As an aside Mars has a nice canyon the bottom of which flooded would make a nice long river:

        “Mars has the largest canyon in the entire Solar System. It is called Valles Marineris which means Valley of the Mariners (Mariner is another word for sailor or navigator). It is about 2,500 miles (4,000 km) long, 125 miles (200 km) wide, and about 4 miles (7 km) deep.”

        http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/ask/84-Is-there-really-a-giant-canyon-on-Mars-

        Picture settlements along the river bank at the base of the canyon; the high canyon walls would also nicely attenuate radiation from space. Both cosmic rays and solar flares/radiation. Maybe even string some charge carrying superconducting wires at the top of the canyon to deflect incoming radiation away from the settlements at the bottom. And added bonus atmospheric pressure much greater at the base of the canyon than topside no doubt.

    2. NF3 is almost as reactive as gaseous F2- Kirk Sorenson is working on using it to fluorinate molten salt fuel to strip out actinides for processing. Good luck getting a nonzero residence time in a dusty CO2 atmosphere.

      1. “NF3 is almost as reactive as gaseous F2- Kirk Sorenson is working on using it to fluorinate molten salt fuel to strip out actinides for processing. Good luck getting a nonzero residence time in a dusty CO2 atmosphere.”

        It is listed from the posted source as having an atmospheric lifetime of 740 years:

        “It has an estimated atmospheric lifetime of 740 years,[12] although other work suggests a slightly shorter lifetime of 550 years (and a corresponding GWP of 16,800)”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_trifluoride#Greenhouse_gas

        Admittedly that is Earth’s atmosphere not Mars. On the subject of reactivity it list nothing about such with CO2:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_trifluoride#Reactions

        “It oxidizes hydrogen chloride to chlorine:
        2 NF3 + 6 HCl → 6 HF + N2 + 3 Cl2
        It converts to tetrafluorohydrazine upon contact with metals, but only at high temperatures:
        2 NF3 + Cu → N2F4 + CuF2
        NF3 reacts with fluorine and antimony pentafluoride to give the tetrafluoroammonium salt:
        NF3 + F2 + SbF5 → NF+4SbF−6”

        And this:

        “Many fluorinated gases are removed from the atmosphere only when they are destroyed by sunlight in the far upper atmosphere. In general, fluorinated gases are the most potent and longest lasting type of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities.”

        https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

        Under Martian conditions with higher surface Ultraviolet flux it (NF3) might not last nearly as long perhaps. However it only needs to last long enough to heat things up to where the frozen CO2 starts outgassing. It doesn’t really need to persist for centuries to achieve the desired outcome.

        1. And of course it is quite cold on Mars; far colder than Earth and therefore much less reactive all things being equal.

          1. “For example, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) is a stable gas at room temperature and has a strong oxidation power at higher temperatures [3–5]. Up to 200 °C, its reactivity is comparable to oxygen. Over 200 °C, the dissociation of NF3 into NF2 and a free fluorine radical become significant. The free fluorine radical reacts with most organic compounds and some metals, liberating heat and causing further dissociation of NF3. Over 400 °C, the reactivity of NF3 becomes more like that of fluorine. The thermal dissociation of NF3 has been studied by a number of researchers [6–9] and was found to peak in the temperature range of 800 to 1200 °C. Therefore, it has already been used as an oxidizing agent for rocket fuels and as a stable fluorinating agent [10–17].”

            https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/nitrogen-trifluoride

            NF3 becomes reactive at high temperatures under the right conditions; wouldn’t necessarily apply under the much colder ambient temperatures of Mars.

      1. I missed seeing the first attempt, but I watched until the scrub. So SpaceX had two scrubs and one ignition abort in one day. Is that some kind of a record?

        I noticed that Starhopper’s static fire was on July 16 and the hop attempt was on July 24. Coincidence, or Elon’s way of commemorating Apollo 11 while pointing towards the future?

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