March 17, 2017

They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore

At least, I'm pretty sure that computer manufacturing facilities do not employ seamstresses in crucial roles.  (via)



Rope? Memory? 


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March 14, 2017

First Fluorescent Frog Found

Well, that headline is pretty self explanatory, so there's very little to add to it except for a bit more alliteration. 

Alas, we're running low on polite "f" words.





"...Funky!"

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March 05, 2017

A Magnetic Field for Mars, on a Budget

Mars has lost the bulk of it's atmosphere in part because it's magnetic field is weak and only covers parts of its tropical regions. This has allowed the solar wind to strip away most of the planet's atmosphere other than the relatively dense CO2.


Therefore, one issue facing those who would terraform the red planet is the fact that if the atmosphere were built up through human endeavors, the atmosphere would immediately start to erode again, taking thing like the oxygen and nitrogen first. 

Giving the planet a magnetic field has been considered a far more daunting task than simply terraforming it, since to increase the output of the planetary dynamo would require bringing a large moon to pull on its core like ours does. 

This has...practicality issues.

One alternative is a vast series of cables built all over the red planet and powered by many gigawats of electricity. Such a system has been proposed for Earth to deal with a possible pole reversal.

However, scientists at Princeton University, have run the numbers and determined that Mars could be effectively protected from the solar wind by a small inflatable structure at Mars's Sunward Lagrange Point. This structure would generate a 2 Tesla magnetic field (that's 10,000 to 20,000 Gauss)...whatever that means.


"That's  less than one quarter of a typical MRI machine's maximum capacity."


Uh...thanks.

Anyway, the magnetic field generated would deflect the solar wind around the planet, rather more completely than Earths field does, since the field is separate and doesn't leave the poles unprotected. 



This would, even without any further human intervention, result in the Martian atmosphere thickening on its own.

This makes any terraforming of Mars much more sustainable.

We here at Brickmuppet Blog are more of the Dandridge Cole, Gerard K. O'Neal  schools of space settlement, but this is a really neat development. A planetary settlement does have some advantages with regards to resources, especially on a place like Mars. 

(Interestingly, this probably can't be made to work with regards to Earth, because our Lagrange Points are not balanced between Earth and the sun, but rather Earth and the Moon.)

HT: NBF

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