Plumbing Mars: Tweet
Macro-engineering an Arid Terraformed Planet
Richard Brook Cathcart
1300 West Olive Avenue
Burbank, California 91506-2225
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AbstractMars' rapid terraforming by employment of extramartian region-focused orbiting solar mirrors capable of vaporizing both regolith and unfractured rock, as proposed in 1992 by Paul Birch, offers the prospect of an arid exploited Mars formed by processes relevant to neopetrology that still requires domed cities and seasonal cropping and managed "Green" drip-irrigation to sustain settled humans in an astro-colonial context. We examine the prospects for long-distance freshwater transfers from the water-ice polar glaciers to the sunnier equatorial region of Mars via surface-laid portable tensioned textile large-diameter hoses. Somewhat like our redeployment of Birch's Mars plasticized landscape idea, we closely track the early 20th-century footsteps of UK hydrologist Charles Edward Housden (1855-1921).
1. IntroductionEarth's land contains a large amount of carbon in inorganic forms which absorb most visible wavelengths of sunlight and give soils their usual brown hues (Allison, 2006). For thousands of years people have tended, piled, and dug Earth's soils for agricultural as well as constructive uses and relied upon their long-term inorganic and organic continuity (Richter, 2007; Craghan, 2004). Biotic processes demonstrably affect landforms at all geographical scales, yet there seems to be no single landform that uniquely indicates the presence of non-human biota (Dietrich and Perron, 2006). Worldwide, humans are a major soil-forming factor (Yaalon, 2007). By the mid-19th century Thomas Dick (1774-1857) had postulated a natural Mars unaltered by humans might host a population of 15.5 × 109 persons whereas Paul Birch in the UK, during 1992, foresaw Mars – quickly terraformed during a ~50 year-long 21st century period – ultimately becoming an invaded planetaric homeland, where special survival-type clothing (perhaps of the fashionable technology of electronic textiles embedded in a mechanical counter-pressure bio-suit system) would not be required by its potential 3 × 109 settled and established pioneering human inhabitants to live (Birch, 1992). Earth.s population, by c.2012, could be ~7 × 109 persons and by 2100 could be ~10 × 109 persons.
The driest central region of the Atacama Desert, almost soil-less in the context of ordinary agricultural assessment, is currently presumed to be the limit for non-dormant sub-aerial life in our Earth-biosphere (Davila et al., 2008; Dartnell, 2008). By future human Brobdingnagian macro-projects designed to increase the moisture and carbon content of Mars' manipulated regolith, the planet will undergo an anthropogenic tinctumutation (from orange to some shade of brown) that will be discernable, without the use of telescopes, by interested sky-watching Earthlings. For its prosperous future human settlers, Mars need never remain a "monotonous" orange landscape (Cockell, 2002), if only because, as the anagram of "terraforming" suggests, "art [will] reign form." Wide-ranging regolith rearrangements will create, as on present-day Earth, a topographic signature of human presence (Dietrich and Perron, 2006). Mars' transformation, even possibly its revitalization, is a down-to-Earth realistic 21st century macro-engineering goal. Paul Birch's 1992 terraforming proposal seems almost fantastic yet it is really but a relentlessly logical extension of other Mars terraforming macro-projects. The Solar System has ~1.7 × 109 km2 of solid surface. On Earth, it was the defunct USSR "utopia" that most recently championed broad-scale regional weather modification and global climate control after 1917 (Meyer, 2004). Earth's surface (~5.11 × 108 km2) is 30.06% of the total solid surface known to exist in our Solar System whilst Mars' surface (~1.45 × 108 km2) is but 8.53%, making some version of a "utopia" far more likely on Mars than in the rapidly naturalistic ever-changing and anthropogenic altering Earth-biosphere.
As the means of safe transportation between Earth and Mars is technically developed, one of the outcomes will likely be assisted colonization of Mars owing, in part, to possible rapid climate change within the Earth-biosphere. With the future fact of moving our kind outside its historic range in mind, we organized a macro-project framework that can be used to exemplify potential actions under a suite of possible future Mars settlement scenarios. In the absence of rainfall – even post-terraforming – we suggest that artesian basins and the two polar water-ice caps may serve to provide an Mars civilization with a basic water supply. In a word used postpositively (i.e., after the noun it modifies) Mars "redivivus" since we want to restore the planet to the more beneficial-to-life state it once exhibited uncounted years ago. To that end, we offer planetary alteration equipment that is light-weight, compact, power efficient, modular and capable of performing several varied and vital tasks in support of facility construction and infrastructure in situ resource utilization. Industrialization of the Moon plans authored by the NASA already includes a base site dust suppression solar device that presages the orbital devices inherent in Paul Birch's terraforming scheme (Anon. 2008).
2. Mars of the 19th and 20th centuries: landscape hermeneuticsThe first printed map of Mars, inscribed by Wilhelm Beer (1797-1850) and Johann H. von Madler (1794-1874), is most notable because of the mapmaker's selection of a prime meridian based on a noteworthy high-albedo landscape feature near the Equator; their areographic indicator placement is nearly identical with the Mars prime meridian defined during 1873 to pass through a 500m-diameter crater, Airy-O, which lies within a 56km-diameter meteoric crater named for George Biddell Airy (1801-1892) still employed today by chart-makers for practical mapping purposes. Widely reported naked eye and telescopic observations of Mars during the period 1892 to 1910, prior to the revelatory non-confirming imaging transmitted by Mariner 9 during 1971-72, forged the popular icon of a hyper-arid Mars landscape fully managed by some kind of intelligent animal, creatures possibly intellectually superior to humans, utilizing a dug desert network of canals globally distributing all available liquid freshwater (Lane, 2005; Lane 2006). These canals were thought to be very wide and the cropland flood-irrigated in both hemispheres of Mars made them "visible" to Earthlings. Some of Mars' "canals" actually correspond to extant landscape features, imaged by Mariner 9, such as craters and valleys as well as some ground albedo features (Gerstbach, 2003). Although some were mislead (from 1976 until 1998) by another fascinating pareidolia/mimetolith, the "Face" on Mars, nowadays, planet observers are certain Mars is without true canals (Zahnle, 2001; Jones, 2008). After 1882, outdoor lighting operated by Earthlings could be readily observed by early 22nd century humans living on Mars using low-magnification amateur telescopes or equally effective binoculars (Sinnott, 2008). Future newly-arrived Earthlings settling Mars, therefore, might find such Mars nighttime visual observations of Earth helpful in reducing their emotions of homesickness! Since electric lighting was a novelty during the early part of the last century, and farming remained everywhere the dominant economic and social endeavor, it is no wonder that astronomers left generally unconsidered that "Martians" would cause outdoor light pollution as urbanized humans do today (Elvidge et al., 2007).
Areospatial data collections, available via Google Mars and other Internet sources, have made it possible for macro-engineers to study Mars almost in real-time without benefit of a large fixed telescope (Martin and Stofan, 2007). These remotely-sensed data are so accurate that we anticipate physical models of Mars' catchments will be built on Earth to test how water behaves when something stimulates, disrupts or changes the rheic and hyprorheic periglacial water flows since even supercomputer simulations are inadequate predictions for the macro-engineering projects Paul Birch and ourselves wish to plan to produce a non-facsimile "Earth." Essentially, geoscientists no longer must develop and study elaborate theories of interpretation and understanding of Mars' landscape, its landscape hermeneutics. Instead, we suggest that politically-defined settlement regions of a terraformed Mars conform exactly to Mars's anthropogenic periglacial catchments (Kauffman, 2002). ("Periglacial" was coined c.1909 by Walery von Lozinski and first presented to participants of the XI International Geological Congress' 1910-11 excursion to Spitzbergen; it applies to landscapes in which frost-related geomorphic event-processes and/or permafrost are dominant or characteristic (French, 2003). There are two main forms of ground ice: ice that is structure-forming, bonding the enclosing sediments, or large bodies such as Mars's polar ice caps that are more or less pure water ice. High-latitude regolith on Mars has measured thermal properties conforming theoretically to a high thermal inertia permafrost stratum.) Mars' settlers are likely to have in hand useful color photograph-topographic maps that resemble the informative natural color airline passenger route maps painted by Hal Shelton (1916-2004), the Jeppesen Natural-Color Map Series, created for the Jeppesen Map Company during the 1950s and 1960s. "Because of their detail and realism, NASA used these maps to locate and index photos of Earth taken on early space missions" (Patterson and Kelso, 2004).
Organization of a 21st century human society settling Mars catchment by catchment – a word the OED examples first from 1847 – successfully melds into domed and outdoor designer ecosystems two fundamental macro-engineering landscape concepts – "carrying capacity" (Sayre, 2008) and its tight conformance to explored and known "engineering geological structure" (Trofimov and Averkina, 2007; Graham et al., 2008) as well as known regional differences in soil compositions. Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625-1712) first observed how the white-colored non-identical poles of Mars waxed and waned seasonally during 1666. Since 1905, thousands of areographic mapping photographs have been made at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona of Mars' distinguishable high-latitude regions and yet it was not until the mid-1960s, after Earth-orbiting satellites acquired them for the outer space-faring ecosystem-states, that mapping images of the Earth's North and South Poles became publicly available (Fleming, 2007)! In terms of Earth's hydrologic cycle already, "To the extent that it structures an understanding of water that is increasingly at odds with social and hydrological experience [of the majority of people], the modern hydrologic cycle can be considered unsustainable" (Linton, 2008); in terms of Mars, future human settlers wielding high-technology will need to scrabble vigorously, artificially sublimating and receding polar ice, digging for frozen groundwater, and transporting mined useable liquid freshwater great distances, generating a unique anthropic hydrologic cycle in doing so. "Until the eighteenth century ... the 'dominant theory' held that the circulation of water was primarily a subterranean affair (Linton, 2008). For Mars today, that is exactly the existing hydrological situation!
3. Charles Edward Housden, the first Mars PlumberA highly-trained UK hydraulics expert calculated a complex freshwater canal global network that might enable the tapping and storage of the summertime Mars polar water-ice polar glaciers deriving from seasonal melts that were channeled and distributed by the biologically enfeebled, perhaps even hungry as poor peoples in the Earth's biosphere remain during this time (Vernon, 2007), but technically accomplished ancient Martians postulated by Percival Lowell (1855-1916). In a succinct technical-level book text delightfully devoid of techno-babble, Charles Edward Housden worked up what amounts to a briefly outlined Mars humanization macro-project of enormous planning, construction and social complexity; using his honed practical skills, he devised a scheme essential to successfully harvest the presumed hemisphere-alternating periglacial runoffs. He also estimated the energy budget actually required to move freshwater from Mars' north and south poles in order to facilitate precision irrigation pipeline agriculture (known as site-specific management) and to keep city reservoirs filled within an equatorial zone belt-shaped farmed and inhabited region (Housden, 1914). His statements and calculations pertaining to the "riddle" – the difference in the precipitation (snowfall and rainfall) of atmospheric water vapor in Earth and Mars – have the tone of modernity that 21st century expertise displays (Montanes, 2005).
Although man-made canals were first excavated for purposes of irrigation and drainage, their use for navigation followed afterwards. It is quite natural that Housden should take on this daunting task since he lived during a decade when economically valuable shipping canals (Suez, Panama, the Dortmund-Ems, Kiel, Manchester and Corinth) were dug, thereby changing the movement of large quantities of freshwater and seawater as well as the traffic patterns (routes) of capacious big ships laden with freight and passengers. (Because, in particular, the Suez and Panama canals markedly shortened the voyaging time between distant major seaports, the Age of Sail terminated (Bernstein, 2008).) One of the Lowellian canals, Agathadaemon ("good spirit"), evidently corresponds to Valles Marineris, a deep highland valley located near Mars' equator.
Noteworthy is the macro-engineering concept of a continuous line of connected pipe segments (installed on the ground surface or buried) supplying freshwater to consumers the purpose of which is to convey water from one region to another without causing land erosion and reducing the amount of evaporation into the atmosphere. (The OED offers an 1883 first use literature sample for "pipeline.") The very first really long-distance freshwater pipelines were being built in dry but fast-developing Australia and the USA's Southwest: (1) the 530km-long "Goldfields Water Supply Scheme" in Western Australia, started in 1896, was completed by 1903 and (2) the "First Los Angeles Aqueduct" was laid over a distance of 358km from 1905 until 1913. Rather oddly, Housden failed to conceive that Mars' periglacial geomorphology would be difficult for canal builders and pipeline layers to overcome because it imposes a highly variable pipeline/canal permafrost interaction. When thawed soils have lost load-bearing capacity, poorly ballasted steel or concrete pipes become buoyant and, thus, are displaced in ways that can damage the contiguous structure (jacking, material stress build-up in rigid pipe segments). That is the main reason why, as we discuss in Section 5, the employment of wide-diameter tensioned textile hoses carrying naturally cold water long distances, and that are only laid sub-aerially, is our recommendation.
The Age of Railroads followed the advent of cheaply-produced steel and, later, concrete. "Railways, in their present form, made their appearance at the beginning of the 19th century in British mines" (Profillidis, 2006). During 1869, the year the Suez Canal opened to ship traffic, the USA's first trans-continental railroad was completed. Railroads have been proposed for our nearly atmosphere-less Moon (Schrunk et al., 1998). We think a scheduled system of wheeled caravans with very wide, deep-tread dune-buggy tires, motivated by orbiting satellites emitting collimated 2.45 GHz microwave energy beams (Oida et al., 2007), would suffice for bio-suited explorers, poles-to-equator hose-layer crews and settlers of a 330mb atmosphere terraformed Mars if these were properly utilized in conjunction with cargo shipping capsules sent through the wide-diameter flowing water hoses. Our foreseen air-tight vehicle train cabins – the first pressurized airplane cabin became available in 1940 with the Boeing 307 Stratoliner – will have living and working facilities that are more reliable and luxurious than the Spartanized sealed and air-pressurized train cars used by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (Lustgarten, 2008). At first, perhaps, such facilities would be more likely to resemble a slightly more elaborate, but still rude, "Green" mountain construction-site hut (Goymann et al., 2008). Departure-arrival timetables and accurate cargo manifests will be needed. Each car will be designed appropriately to meet the survival and comfort requirements of all hermetically encapsulated human travelers (Votolato, 2008). Our economic development macro-engineering plan, therefore, leaves plenty of open, wild and possibly sometimes sacred landscape for deliberately dedicated planetary parklands (Cockell and Horneck, 2006).
Charles Edward Housden was born 19 July 1855; he was educated as a civil engineer at the Indian Civil Engineering Colleges. By October of 1876, he was appointed to the Public Works Department of the Government of India, having passed a vernacular examination at the departmental standard as well as a colloquial examination in Burmese. Circa June 1903, he was serving as a sanitary engineer to the Government of the City of Rangoon; 1908 saw him engaged as Superintending Engineer and Sanitary Engineer, East Bengal and Assam, stationed at Shillong. While resident there, he helped plan and execute the continuing regional infrastructure repairs necessary subsequent to the tremendously destructive 12 June 1897 Great Assam earthquake (Billham and England, 2001). Three types of seismic waves caused by that Mw = 8.1 seismic event-process piqued Richard Dixon Oldham (1858-1936) to recognize first the distinctive presence of the Earth's core.
Despite his personal experience at Shillong, again rather oddly in our view, Housden did not, in his work about speculated Lowellian ancient Martian civilization infrastructures, even imagine such shaking threats there and he certainly had no idea of natural outer space debris impact-caused landscape disruptions, the ejecta fallout pattern from which is complicated by the Coriolis effect. Earth-crust fault fracturing produces one to three M9 earthquakes per century (McCaffrey, 2008) while the maximum projected marsquakes, with a still unknown recurrence frequency, could be ~M7, especially within the Valles Marineris. And, future sublimating Mars polar water-ice glacier recessions could cause marsquakes [a word probably coined circa 1977] to occur oftener since such site-specific rapid mass reduction is likely to instigate movements in the unloaded crust underneath the adjacent soggy or dry periglacial land. (2007 WDS, an enormous periodic returning rocky asteroid, won't predictably strike Mars anytime soon – causing a profoundly transformative and irreversible areocatastrophe – after its uneventful close approach on 30 January 2008 because the NASA-calculated impact probability has reduced to ~0.01%. Meteorites litter Mars' present-day surface because the atmosphere has not, and does not yet, effectively stop their ground hits. If inhabitants equipped with anti-bolide technology were actively present, and had a vital interest to prevent a normal event-process, then major cataclysms may not ever again occur after settlement, the existential risk ameliorated at reasonable economic cost. In that instance, Mars's crust holds the long-term status of a protected and exploited lithotechnical system of rock formations and fluids influenced – ultimately to be controlled as a catastatic structure – by brave, brainy and technically well equipped settling humans.)
An organizational rule with the effect of a law then governing all UK civil servants in India imposed mandatory retirement at age 55, so Housden left the service during July 1910. On 27 November 1912, C. E. Housden became a member of the British Astronomical Association, while then residing in London. His landmark article, leading shortly to his pre-World War I book on Mars' optical puzzles was published in 1913. Between 1907 and 1914, Housden had published three major reference books on topics relevant to macro-engineered water supply and sanitary disposal systems as well as macroproject management. Housden died during 1921, while residing in Hove, Sussex, England.
UK geologist Robert Lionel Sherlock (1875-1948) valued C. E. Housden's hydrological expertise and his findings regarding Mars. Sherlock made this insightful areomorphological deduction: "Can we foresee the final results when all possible engineering works shall have been carried out? Is it possible that in the yet far distant end Earth will come to a state said to exist in Mars, and be covered by enormous canals from pole to equator? The canals of Mars, if they really exist, a question still under discussion, are far greater than any our engineers imagined. The battle of the Martians with Nature has been on a much more gigantic scale than Man's conflict, and yet we hear that the Martian is on the point of extinction, and Mars of becoming totally lifeless. Even on Mars the mighty engineering works seem merely to scratch the skin of the planet, and the final result of Martian activity in the solar system seems likely to be infinitesimal" (Sherlock, 1922). Sherlock's is one of the few attempts made before 1966-1972 to gain an omniscient view of Spaceship Earth humankind's ever-progressing and increasingly powerful transformative mechanical powers. Presciently, Sherlock also opined in his 1922 book that "...there are indications that the doctrine of Uniformity has been carried too far. (Here it is worth recalling that the Earth's atmosphere was beginning to noticeably respond to the Industrial Revolution and its spread – not only through emission of carbon dioxide gas by widespread combustion of fossil fuels but also by direct mining of the air when it became technically possible, after 3 July 1909, to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia and subsequently into fertilizer. Nowadays, more nitrogen gas is fixed synthetically (and applied as fertilizers by our world's noble farmers) than is fixed naturally by all existing Earthly ecosystems (Galloway et al., 2002)! (Biofuel dependence could make our Earth-bound civilization more vulnerable to climate warfare and natural climate change.) Today's increasingly urbanized world-public is so attuned to aerial carbon dioxide's alleged global climatologic effects that the people inside Spaceship Earth nowadays count their breaths (Prairie and Duarte, 2007)!) Sherlock's 1922 insight is supported by modern researchers (Smil, 2008; Bostrom and Cirkovic, 2008; Hanslmeier, 2009).
Nowadays, extramartian macro-engineering is a globally transformative and terraforming planning profession specialty and its active practitioners collectively foresee the near-term economic development of an all-encompassing outer space infrastructure by a technically progressing humanity (Hempsell, 2005). And, this is being fulfilled during a controversial time of alleged anthropogenic global atmospheric warming, suspected large-scale regional desertification, and regional freshwater shortages (Ghassemi and White, 2007). Aerial carbon dioxide gas capture and artificial geological storage (Holloway, 2007) instigated by Earth-confined humans may engender a "carelessness feedback" (Matsumoto, 2006); carbon dioxide gas release from natural geological storage is needed to terraform Mars. In real economic and geophysical terms humankind's infrastructure – by 2100 there could be about 9 × 109 persons living within the Earth-biosphere – is expanding as well as intensifying (Zalasiewicz et al., 2008). Some have likened our global infrastructure to the RMS Titanic in that we could fail to avoid the developing production and climatic change macro-problems envisioned by scientists and technologists (Sherwood, 2008). The infamous RMS Titanic nautical analogy is that a superlative ship on its maiden voyage, lavishly designed for members of High Society, moves too fast in a known ocean ice-field during the worst iceberg season while insufficiently furnished with lifeboats and the horizon-scanning crew lookouts are unequipped with binoculars! Fortunately, modern macro-project planners have access to, and benefit from, the comprehensive geographical and areographical studies continually generated by observatories and variously-dedicated think tanks that can eventually assist in the safe formation and well-planned long-term operation of Spaceship Mars (Torgersen, 2006).
4. 21st-century Mars: its known landscapeThe planet's ~30km topographic variation is remarkable – from the floor of Hellas Basin (-9km from the geodetic reference surface, where the annual mean pressure is the triple point of water, 6.11mb) to the dormant volcanic crown of the outstanding Olympus Mons (+27km). Mars' area is 1.45 × 108 km2, almost the same as the Earth's land area. Its northern hemisphere is quite flat and of low elevation whilst the southern hemisphere, in comparison, is much more elevated and highly accidented terrain. In other words, as an extraterrestrial macro-object, Mars has a noticeable topographical dichotomy that affects the present-day atmosphere's circulation. "The poles and mid-latitudes of Mars contain abundant water in ice caps, thick sequences of ice-rich layers, and mantles of snow. The volume of the known reservoir is >5 × 106 km3, corresponding to a layer ~35m thick over the planet" (Christensen, 2006) exceeds that of the Mediterranean Sea (~4.2 × 106 km3). NASAs Phoenix Mars Lander which touched-down intact and in operable condition on 25 May 2008 in Mars' northern polar region (at Vastitas Borealis) searched for water ice chunks below the regolith's surface and found some. Mars' elemental regolith composition is about 42.5% O, 21.6% Si, 5.3% Mg, 4.5% Ca, 4.2% Al, 3.2% Na and 0.5% K. Winds are the most continuously active granular ground surface-modifying areomorphic factor. "Indeed, Mars grains saltate in 100 higher and longer trajectories and reach 5-10 times higher velocities than Earth grains do" (Almeida et al., 2008). Hydrologists still lack a workable comprehensive theory describing water flow for the full range of Earth's soil properties much less the basically unknown actual properties of Mars' regolith (iron and sulfate-rich sands with a porosity = ~50%) and, even more significant, is the differences accounted for by Mars's gravitational acceleration of 3.73 m/s2 (compared to Earth's 9.78 m/s2). The polar caps do not appear to depress Mars' lithosphere, possibly indicating a rigid sub-surface planetary crust. Obviously, the flow and areomorphologic actions of freshwater and the unencumbered human gait and stride will be directly observable (Hawkey, 2004). Water is such a complex compound that many known anomalies are listed in the relevant chemical literature: its density maximum of 0.99995 g/ml at 3.984°C is just one of its unique physical anomalies (Hecht, 2002).
By 1952, even the UK's Astronomer Royal, Harold Spencer Jones (1890-1960), still maintained that Mars was a naturally vegetated planet (Jones, 1952). On 3 January 1953 E. F. Hope-Jones (1914-?) offered humans the emerging prospect of extraterrestrial "planetary engineering" (Hope-Jones, 1953). We think planet-scale macro-engineering will bring an introduced and cultivated vegetation of a spatially large region of an industrialized Mars during the late-21st century. It may be that improvements in biological solar energy harvesting will result, finally, in the realization of the "Green Dream" of Giacomo Luigi Ciamician (1857-1922) of artificial photosynthesis applied to vast arid regions of planets: "...glass buildings will rise everywhere…inside of these will take place the photochemical processes that hitherto have been the guarded secret of plants, but that will have been mastered by human industry which will know how to make them bear even more abundant fruit than nature, for nature is not in a hurry and mankind is" (Ciamician, 1912).
The most indented large surface landscape feature, Valles Marineris, is named to honor Mariner 9's discovery. Valles Marineris is a series of fault-bounded troughs extending east-west >4000km, with a width of ~600km, and a depth of >10km below the adjacent high plains. The canyon, centered at about -74° longitude at about -10° latitude) slopes away from nearby features that have the appearance of former liquid outflow channels, with some of the canyon lying about 1km below the level of the putative channel outlets. Valles Marineris is more voluminous than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, which was for many years considered to be six million years old but has recently been dated to be seventeen million years old (Polyyak et al., 2008) and the gorge may be as much as 55 million year old (Flowers et al., 2008). Absent any extant human or teleo-robotic fieldwork data and careful chemical laboratory chronology assessments, the true geological age of Valles Marineris is unknown. If microscopic bacteria live on the northern and southern side-slopes of Valles Marineris, it is possible the same species may vary remarkably in outer appearance because of the selective effects of incident sunlight (Sikorski et al., 2008).
We propose to slightly modify Paul Birch's 1992 plan for the rapid plasticization and terraformation of Mars (by focusing lens-concentrated incising sunlight on the planet's regolith at various places). It seems prudent to refocus Birch's soil-baking orbiting solar mirror effort onto the rugged periglacial landscape of Mars' southern hemisphere rather than globally. Then, it becomes possible to imagine Valles Marineris intentionally sealed with anthropic rock, perhaps equivalent to an industrially cast basalt, making Valles Marineris water-tight and, thus, precluding any significant reduction of effective rock friction within the canyon that could cause earthquakes and tsunamis if it became useful as an artificial freshwater reservoir. On Earth, sun-dried clay is little different from soft shale and the architect Nader Khalili (1937-2008) expounded on the efficiencies of in situ rock melting applied to the construction of extraterrestrial bases using magma, ceramic, and fused adobe. Both Khalili and Paul Birch, each a proponent of neopetrology, tread in the footsteps of our human predecessors in ancient Mesopotamia (Stone et al, 1998)! It is worth noting here that Arthur G. Buckingham was awarded US Patent 3564253, "System and Method for Irradiation of Planet Surface Areas", on 16 February 1971. In his patent, Buckingham claimed that he could increase the amount of sunlight ("heat blasts") impinging Earth's surface by "...40 times that of the Sun on a [ground surface] disc 3 miles in diameter for a period of about a minute."
In 1992, Birch proposed that pioneer Earthlings drill one million crust-sampling holes in Mars' crust before undertaking his proposed surface regolith devolatilization and incision terraformation effort. From a down-to-Earth realistic macro-engineering business viewpoint, the Earth's Rub' al Khali, a 650,000km2 sand dune desert, is an appropriate uninhabited comparative example. Although equal to ~0.44% of Mars' land area, the Rub' al Khali is being explored to find natural gas deposits. So far, the costly effort in parlous circumstances, which is under heavy pressures of time and constraining up-front financial expenditures, has not resulted in any well-strikes of large proven non-associated gas reserves (Chazan and King, 2008). During the frequent sandstorms in the very hot and arid climate, drill-rig workers there must don respirators and the extra-ordinary 2008 monetary test well costs amount to ~US$70 millions per worksite. Worse, Birch's exploration must be done a half-century before Spaceship Mars' atmosphere has been artificially increased to its final ~330mb state from its pre-macroproject commencement state of ~8.4mb. (Mount Everest's summit is about 8848m high; 330mb air pressure breathing-assisted climbing Earthlings encounter there is reached at ~8517m.)
Living drill-rig workers will be physiologically much more at risk than any living Tibetans (Wu, 2001)! And, any worksite or settlement on Mars must have perfect supply logistics. Like their brethren still on Earth, workers will be geographers encased in a protective cocoon of electronic sensors (Goodchild, 2007). Even assuming the rapid advance of lower-cost drilling techniques and efficient technologies, it seems appropriate to note that the costs of Birch's geological exploration will be very significant and substantially affect Mars' future subsequent "planetological terraform" in terms of finish date. Mars-biosphere creation use imposes many allocation macro-problems for living resident humans. Furthermore, we focus our macro-project on the use of enormous tensioned textile hoses precisely because Birch's technique to emplace "air" on Mars will leave an unpredictable post-baking topography, especially since we also desire not to implement Birch's idea for Sun-incised scored canals. Thus, there really is no pressing practical requirement for one million explorative wells, any one of which could set off unpredicted geological process-events like the Lusi Mud Volcano at Sidoarjo, Java (Indonesia) that erupted on 29 May 2006 (Abidin et al., 2008)!
The annual (Earth year of 365 days) life-sustaining requirements for a human worker may total 8000kg, of which 7629kg is drinking water, sanitary water and domestic water (Potter, 2000). The human body is between 60 and 80% water by weight, depending on the individual. Human adults can live more than 30 days without food, but only about 7 days without drinking water. Mars has a year of 669 days, each Martian day with 24.65 terrestrial hours; every adult human worker will need ~13380 kg/Mars year of water. These vital needs must be met prior to any mere human wants being satisfied! To extract potable water from the wispy thin Mars atmosphere, present nowadays at only 210 ppm, could require at least 103 kW-hr/kg of useable water produced, depending on the seasonal relative humidity above each inhabited drill-rig worksite. Water purification may utilize the Viking Venture method of converting water molecules into solid matter (gas hydrates) using high pressure carbon dioxide and low temperature isolation followed by centrifugation (Berberan-Santos et al., 2002). (Here, we note that "sustainability," as applied only to Earthly macro-problems of humanity living exclusively in the open air, has already more than "200 definitions" (Hawkins and Shaw, 2004). Until the 20th century, air and freshwater were economic prototypes for free goods, available in unlimited quantities with no price attached to their use. However, during the 21st century the Earth-biosphere has become a scarce commodity – "scarcity" means that competing uses exist for a given good that not all consumer demands for its use can be satisfied. Hence, Mars' very speedy Birchean terraformation scheme increases the resource available to all humans living in our Solar System. Also, by the time Mars' macro-engineering conversion from wild planet to Spaceship Mars is undertaken, it is probable that great advances will have been achieved in living human teleoperation of mobile worker robots from safe Mars orbit and, thus, obviating the initial need for large volume freshwater supplies (Landis, 2008).) Of course, not every robot working on the ground need be teleoperated because a socially acclimated cadre of AI robots could interact rationally amongst themselves to perform some of humankind's essential and significant desired physical tasks (Rosenberg, 2008). "We are moving towards a society of things.... Thus, the analogy of the "information superhighway" (as in roads) for the Internet, and "plumbing" (as in water supply) for networking home and a "grid" (as in the electricity grid) have been commonplace and useful for understanding how to engineer such systems [of ubiquitous global systems of computing)." (Crowcraft, 2008).
Nanotechnology's development on Earth may result in the "... eventual construction of massive desalination plants that use nanotech-engineered, bacteria-like processes to create fresh water" (Gimzewski, 2008). It seems likely that Mars' post-terraform "air" will be monitored in real-time by Lagrangian Drifters (Manobianco et al., 2008) manufactured on Mars by its settlers using the methods of Nanotechnology first research and developed by Earthlings.
5. Mars redivious, Paul Birch styleWe entertain the possibility that life may have once existed on Mars (Sivier, 2003) and, therefore, we now seek to revive the Red Planet by introducing humans and their needed and wanted contingent life-forms. Illumined by the Sun, Mars' solar energy receipt under normal circumstances is remarkably less than Earth's. However, a book on the postulated future settlement of Mars (Zubrin, 2008), written in the vein of 19th century guides to the New World for Old Worlders, is also in the tradition of futuristic fiction – employment of a hypothetical future society as a means of indicating trends and macro-problems of our own civilization. It points out that, quite evidently, there is much honest work on a planet being settled as well as, potentially, probably lucrative semi-honest work in real estate speculation and properties administration. Another book, a textbook edited by Viorel Badescu, Mars: Prospective and Material Resources (Springer, 2009), takes a more serious, less light-hearted, view of future Mars settlement during the 21st century. (A shortened, sharpened and mathematized version of this essay for a complete proof of a preliminary freshwater pipeline macro-project is presented as a chapter therein.)
We envision a flexible tensioned textile pipeline extending from both of Mars' water-ice poles that harnesses incoming solar energy with its photovoltaic coating to power water-pumps (See Section 7). Or, we envision such a pipeline with a flow powered by focused microwave energy coming from orbiting solar satellites feeding the requirements of stationary pumping facilities. Historically, it is interesting to note the deduction of the Royal Navy officer-electrician Herbert Francis Hunt (1878-1939) a century ago: "...I should like to suggest that these (Mars) canals may perhaps be used for power-storage purposes. In Mars, possibly, there are seasons of winds or monsoons during which the upper reaches of the canals would be pumped full by innumerable windmills, and the power thus stored utilised during calm seasons, and transmitted electrically for lighting, heating, and general power purposes. For a population which had exhausted all its mineral fuel, which possessed no extensive ocean, and whose soil and climate were unsuitable for the growth of fuel, this would indeed appear to be the only means of obtaining heat and power. The same canals could serve the triple purposes of communication, power, and irrigation" (Hunt, 1909).
Whenever and wherever the prime Mars base is established, that place will become the equivalent of a capital city on Earth. Robert Edwin Peary (1856-1920) claimed he had stood at Earth's geographic North Pole on 6 April 1909. Edward Sylvester Morse (1938-1925), a zoologist supportive of Percival Lowell's findings, asked a very pertinent question: "How long would it take New York City to decide in case of water famine to tap the Great Lakes to the north, or to establish pipe lines to the (N)orth (P)ole, if it were necessary to go that distance for water?" (Morse, 1907). Thus, we suggest the motivation, both economical and psychological, for our Mars macro-projects is well founded!
6. Mars' unique Birchean Anthropic Rock landscapeAnthropogeneous lithogenesis is a historically new event-process within the Earth-biosphere (Kopecky and Voldan, 1965). Nothing can last forever (Prosh and McCracken, 1985), but manufactured rocks (concrete, ceramic, glass, brick, Birch's plasticized baked Mars regolith) can endure for a long period of Mars' future existence. Birch's technique may result in vast territories that are sealed from the atmosphere much like our concrete and asphalt-covered Earth-biosphere urban regions. Greenhouses and base camps – urban locales far more difficult for humans to endure daily than the early days of Brasilia – on Mars may be composed of glass units made from local materials (Lansdorp and Bengtson, 2006). Technogenic rock was first proposed by James Ross Underwood, jr., as a fourth class of rock-type at the turn of the 20th century (Underwood, 2001). Underwood's practical proposal for an "anthropic Rock" category recognizes at last the pervading spread of humans and industrial products. His recent revelation comes not a minute too soon since the NASA and ESA workers have publicized plans for the use of in situ resources, such as brick and the stereolithographic creation of vast photovoltaic carpets, by spationauts settling the Moon and Mars. Underwood's theoretical innovation is a logical extension of the near-constant redefinition event-process that terms such as igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary have already undergone because of science's progress. Paul Birch planned to create a new canal network on Mars by using an orbiting lens that melted the regolith to form water-impervious canal linings. Since we suggest the use of tensioned textile hoses (extending from the periglacial water collection regions near the sublimating polar water-ice deposits) instead of Birch-style embedded lined canals, most of the anthropic rock will be made in the mined southern hemisphere where the highlands will be altered to create the 330mb Spaceship Mars "air." A massive display of anthropic rock surfacing Mars will, quite inevitably, thrust into the macro-engineering professional limelight the concept that geomorphologic phenomena are fundamentally processual (Rhoads, 2006).
Another fascinating facet of the history of anthropic rock relates to ceramic goods, specifically porcelain. Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (1651-1708), c.1694, worked with reverberatory furnaces that were partly heated by very large sunlight-focusing lenses, a heating technique Isaac Newton further investigated (Simms and Hinkley, 1989). During the 19th century, Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) created cast artworks that were meant to be suggestive of melting metal, emulating fluidity. And, while Paul Birch in 1992 wished to form ("score") new Martian canals by laser-like focused sunshine incising beams—perhaps better termed a style of "planetary tattooing" or "planetary body art" – we see no actual need for such scarification-style infrastructure during the 21st century. Tensioned textile hoses will trump canals for freshwater delivery because there will not follow extensive Mars landscape alterations (sediment shifts, stagnant lakes and groundwater drawdown) and leakage caused by canals (Roach et al., 2008).
7. Solar-powered tensioned textile hose-linesWhen the polar water-ice deposits begin to sublimate under an artificially dense Mars atmosphere, the fluid component must be efficiently gathered at the sources. This particular task will entail an effort akin to that forecast for tapping the melt-waters from Eastern Greenland glaciers for hydro-electric power purposes (Partl, 1978) combined with Libya's Great Man-Made River (Elhassadi, 2008). On Mars, the total volume of freshwater to be delivered to a founding human settlement (United Nations Organization Extraterrestrial Headquarters?) situated surrounding the sealed-with-anthropic rock eastern part of Valles Marineris depends on net irrigation needs (evapo-transpiration plus leaching minus extant soil water stores plus any other contributing sources) and on application efficiencies, the site-specific management aspect, such as drip-irrigation. Because of the regolith's elemental composition, both Plexiglas and plastics can be manufactured on Mars (Cockell, 2001).
Tensioned textile hoses of the wide-diameter type we wish to employ extensively must be composed of construction elements that can easily resist, for a considerable period of time, high internal pressure and low outside temperatures. So, we propose the use of a novel textile composite material, which apart from its extremely high design flexibility as regards shaping and the load-adapted reinforcing arrangement specifically offers macro-project administrators considerable financial cost-saving and, thus, form a cost-effective Mars freshwater pipeline (Onate and Kroplin, 2008). Specifically, the utilization of the strongest commercially available fibers, Zylon and Dyneema, has been supplemented by the introduction of super-strong carbon-nanotube fibers that resist cold and corrosion (Patanaik et al., 2007). A flexible conduit constructed of overlapping layers of sealing and strengthening materials designed to resist tensile, compressive, and axial forces is employed as a surface flow pipeline carrying pressurized freshwater pushed by pumps powered by solar energy (Badescu and Cathcart, 2008). On 12 April 2004, Francis L. Davenport won US Patent 6718896 B2, "Fabric Structure for a Flexible Fluid Containment Vessel." Davenport's invention is meant to convey large volumes of freshwater and seems ideal, in its fortuitous present-day configuration, for our after terraformation Mars settler water service. Furthermore, when the freshwater is delivered to a slowly forming "Lake Marineris," that Mediterranean Sea-like body of liquid may very well be covered with honeycombed glass-fabric panels that are pervious to short-wave solar radiation but impervious to infrared radiation: thus, a warming "saltless solar pond" can be emplaced on Mars almost in accord with US Patent 4470403 awarded Edward I. H. Lin on 11 September 1984. Pipelines may be employed to transport freight; hydraulic capsule pipelines suspend the freight-carrying capsules in the freshwater at relatively low velocities, alleviating any need for wheeled hydraulic capsules (Liu, 2003). The saltless solar pond may even support a floating city (Kaji-O'Grady and Raisbeck, 2005).
The possibility of Earthly imbalances of mass causing displacement of the planet's rotatory poles, a geomorphologic hypothesis first proposed, during 1522 in Dies Genials, by Alessandro degli Alessandri (1461-1523) is relevant to our proposed Mars macro-project. Benjamin Fong Chao (1995) found that reservoirs in Earth, especially since circa 1950, is "...by far the largest anthropogenic hydrological change in terms of the mass involved. This mass redistribution contributes to geodynamic changes in the Earth's rotation and gravitational field..." Since flooding of the Valles Marineris – the creation of a perennial lake in a desert – will take an extended period of time, it is improbable that any catastrophic Chandler wobble excitation will occur (Spada et al., 1999). Whilst the interior, sub-surface structures of Mars appear only slightly sketched in the available geoscientific literature, modern analysis and synthesis indicate to our satisfaction that "...the current rotation vector of Mars is ... stable..."(Daradich, 2008). However, if there is an effect adverse to our water supply collection and distribution macro-project, then possibly we can re-balance the planet's perturbed rotation with a terrain reduction or emplacement of readily movable mass at the man-made reservoir's antipode (about +10° at about +105°). Of course, should any asteroid or sizeable meteorite actually strike the artificial water surface within Valles Marineris an overwhelming super-wave or series of tsunami-like waves would surely be the disastrous result. Beach wave(s) run-up would destroy and damage any infrastructure unwisely sited too low on the shoreline. Perhaps like James Lovelock's Gaia applied to Earth, such a hypothesis is an acceptable areomorphologic "cranky conventionalism" (Huggett, 2002).
Modern architect Rem Koolhaas revealed one of the biggest philosophical problems nagging 21st century macro-engineering: "Beyond a certain scale, architecture acquires the properties of Bigness... Bigness is ultimate architecture... (Only) Bigness instigates the regime of complexity that mobilizes the full intelligence of (hyper)-architecture and its related fields... The absence of a theory of Bigness – what is maximum architecture can do? – is architecture's most debilitating weakness... Big mistakes are our only connection to Bigness... (The) attraction of Bigness is its potential to reconstruct the Whole... Bigness destroys, but it is also a new beginning... Bigness ... is the one architecture that can survive, even exploit, the now-global condition of the tabula rasa: ...it gravitates opportunistically to locations of maximum infrastructural promise, it is, finally, its own raison d'etre" (Koolhaas, 1995). Koolhaas's hyper-architecture is synonymous with macro-engineering but, more importantly, Koolhaasian Bigness correctly indicates macro-engineering's near-future spatial and temporal scale, the scope of its prospective cost-benefit analysis/synthesis work, construction and demolition (Cathcart, 1998). In a word, Mars' crust, its future infrastructure, when it becomes a humanly usefully mixture of natural and artificial components, a colossal composition that will be a new kind of global Nature will, in fact, become a Global Gizmo maintained for humans by semi-perfected interplanetary logistics.
Water flows in the veins and roots of recognized living organisms, as precious to each kind of life-form as the air they breathe and the nourishment they eat or otherwise process. Earth is a planet unique in our Solar System, rich with water and life. All known forms of life seem to require water. If humans are to settle Mars permanently, then our species must learn to gather, route and consume freshwater derived from a hydrologic resource base of a very arid planet. Pipelines are one technically feasible means to do so. In closing, understandably, we must voice the warning that Paul Birch's enhanced solar irradiation of Mars' regolith will form an anthropic rock tombstone that inhumes any native or introduced microbial life-forms caught beneath it but it will also form a firm foundation for human settlement of a new Solar System planetary abode.
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