Re: NASA finds Masses of Water on Mars !!!!!

Posted by Southern Man on May 30, 2002 at 08:45

Re: NASA finds Masses of Water on Mars !!!!! (DA Morgan)

“1. How large does a solar panel have to be? Who cares? You make it as big as it needs to be.”

And where do you get the material and energy to make an “infinitely” large solar panel?

“2. Hydrocarbons are remarkably inefficient. And are worthless without an oxidizer. So what oxidizer is available on Mars? Oxygen separated from water. And what is the by-product of that separation? Hydrogen. So carbon is of little or no value.”

As I believe I said, making hydrocarbons from water and CO2 would be a waste of time. I was only responding to ADK’s suggestion that carbon was also available. LOX and liquid hydrogen would make an efficient fuel for getting to Mars orbit but that gets us back to my original comment. Where do you get the energy in any reasonable amount of time?

“3. In Mars' very light atmosphere ... winds may be fast ... but they do not pack the raw power of those on earth. Their destructive power might be more related to sand-blasting than mechanical force.“

Didn’t I say dust storms? Sand moving at several hundred miles an hour does more than sandblast. It pushes pretty hard.

“4. What does nitrogen have to do with anything?“

Nitrogen makes far more energetic fuels than hydrogen, carbon and oxygen alone.

"5. I'll go with thinking outside the box ... but argon? Last time I checked it was listed as one of the least reactive elements known. If one was looking for something least likely to be of use ... argon would only but beaten by neon and helium."

That’s why we have to think outside the box. The thread was going down the line of materials being extracted from the atmosphere for use as rocket fuel. I had already eliminated carbon and argon is the only thing left in quantity. But it is exactly argon’s lack of reactivity that makes it an ideal storage medium. If you could find a catalyst that would combine argon with any other element, the energy involved per mole would be very large. Nitrogen has a relatively low reactivity also but combine it in a molecule with other elements and it releases a lot of energy when it gets free again.

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