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Thread: Let's colonize Titan

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    So I guess a next question comes up. If we conclude that colonizing the surface of any planet is much worse than using orbital habitats, then what the is the advantage of building an orbital habitat anywhere than around earth? Less radiation in other places? I mean, there's plenty of real estate in our immediate vicinity.
    And before we build one in LEO for a large number of people, how about doing it in our polar caps as well as under the seas/oceans.
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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    So I guess a next question comes up. If we conclude that colonizing the surface of any planet is much worse than using orbital habitats, then what the is the advantage of building an orbital habitat anywhere than around earth? Less radiation in other places? I mean, there's plenty of real estate in our immediate vicinity.
    Not really within the scope of this thread. There's a Space Colonization In General thread.
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  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Not really within the scope of this thread. There's a Space Colonization In General thread.
    https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...96#post2487196
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  4. #94
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    The solution to dealing with a problem involving a Titan colony is NOT to drop the idea of building a Titan colony and go to space habitats. As pointed out above, there is already a thread for space habitats. This is a thread on colonizing Titan, not dumping the idea of a Titan colony in favor of space habitats. Just pointing out the obvious here.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    The solution to dealing with a problem involving a Titan colony is NOT to drop the idea of building a Titan colony and go to space habitats. As pointed out above, there is already a thread for space habitats. This is a thread on colonizing Titan, not dumping the idea of a Titan colony in favor of space habitats. Just pointing out the obvious here.
    Well, I was trying to point out that there are more feasible alternatives, but since that seems to have led to a derail I'll go along with sticking to discussion of Titan colonies specifically. Flaws and all.

    Above it was mentioned that any leak in the domes would let in flammable hydrocarbons into an oxygenated gas mix. Double-walled compartments with pressurized inert gas in between seems like one mitigating method, what others?
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  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Above it was mentioned that any leak in the domes would let in flammable hydrocarbons into an oxygenated gas mix. Double-walled compartments with pressurized inert gas in between seems like one mitigating method, what others?
    There being a lot of nitrogen in Titan's atmosphere (90%+), it should serve admirably as an inert gas. The amount of flammable hydrocarbons in Titan's atmosphere is very small, but still of concern. (Per Wikipedia, "The atmospheric composition in the stratosphere is 98.4% nitrogen—the only dense, nitrogen-rich atmosphere in the Solar System aside from Earth's—with the remaining 1.6% composed mostly of methane (1.4%) and hydrogen (0.1–0.2%).")

    Another idea: Think of above-ground structures built on the Moon or space. Any leak means the air flows out and will eventually be gone. Some method of detecting and patching leaks is needed. Some people have suggested spraying colorful gas in the cabin at the first sign of pressure drop, which will immediately show the spot where the air is flowing out. Let's borrow this idea.

    On Titan, the outside air will instead flow in because outside pressure is about 1.4x normal Earth pressure. Having successive shells with methane detection systems should help keep the bad air out. If one of the shells filled with inert gas is also filled with a colorful gas, the colorful gas will spray into the habitat if all seals are punctured, making the leak easier to find.

    ALSO, good fire control inside the shelter should be constantly practiced anyway, as it would be anywhere in space or on any world. This will mean some trial and error, obviously no O2-rich atmospheres as on Apollo 1, no bare wiring as on same disaster, etc. A fire in any space colony of any sort is a disaster. Titan's situation is not much different. No smoking!

    Underground tunnels are still up for use as well, but superb fire control is needed as with anywhere else.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  7. #97
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    Yet another idea: have the middle shell space be filled with high-pressure gas, higher than the exterior outside pressure, so any leak will blow outward at first.

    Another idea: Colony rooms next to the outside atmosphere might be accessible by airlock from rooms farther in toward the colony's center, perhaps underground or under pilled-up debris used as a shield. These rooms are simply airlocks to the outside, so a leak here does not harm the colony as a whole.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  8. #98
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    Of course, the best way to detect a methane leak is the stink. Failure proof on that. Hang a lot of canaries around the habitat, and you're good to go.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  9. #99
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    Recent article on the development of an inflatable heat shield by NASA, to be used for delivering heavy payloads to worlds with thick atmospheres. That's our Titan. Every little bit helps.

    https://phys.org/news/2019-06-inflat...ds-worlds.html
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  10. #100
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    Please keep the discussion on-topic. That topic is colonizing Titan, not how much you love space stations. Drop it.
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  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Of course, the best way to detect a methane leak is the stink. Failure proof on that. Hang a lot of canaries around the habitat, and you're good to go.
    Nope. Methane only stinks because we "flavor" it with ethyl mercaptan specifically to make leaks detectable. On its own it is odorless.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Nope. Methane only stinks because we "flavor" it with ethyl mercaptan specifically to make leaks detectable. On its own it is odorless.
    I sort of wondered whether the atmosphere itself would be odorless. According to an article in Discover it might smell like a gas station. But I wonder whether the smell would be strong enough to notice.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-.../#.XQ68cMqRWf0
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  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I sort of wondered whether the atmosphere itself would be odorless. According to an article in Discover it might smell like a gas station. But I wonder whether the smell would be strong enough to notice.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-.../#.XQ68cMqRWf0
    Might also be other smellier molecules near the surface.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Nope. Methane only stinks because we "flavor" it with ethyl mercaptan specifically to make leaks detectable. On its own it is odorless.
    Hey, the ideas for dealing with pressure leaks should work. I'll take that.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  15. #105
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    Recent research article about wave suppression on the hydrocarbon seas of Titan. Does not look like surface hydroelectric power will be a happening thing there.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1905.00760

    Another article (abstract only) saying that high-elevation methane or ethane lakes on Titan would drain at extremely slow rates. Again, no hydroelectric potential.

    http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/doi/10.10...550-019-0714-2
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2019-Jun-23 at 03:07 AM.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  16. #106
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    My take on colonizing large moons like Titan is a very long view, a thousand-year view. I don't assume things outside the realm of today's possibilities will exist, like antigravity or cold fusion ( ). I think that's the right view. Reasonable assumptions would include space mining from asteroids or on the colony worlds.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  17. #107
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    The ESA website has an article from 2012 on the land tides of Titan. It has been determined that, if Titan were solid throughout, it would have land tides created by its eccentric orbit around Saturn about 1 meter high. Its land tides are much higher than that, however. Apparently, the underground ocean on Titan allows the surface to be highly deformed by about 10 meters. This is pretty weird. I was wondering if Titan had "titan-quakes" because of Saturn's gravity and the moon's odd orbit. Maybe it does now and then, but maybe only low-grade quakes if the land is resting on an ocean. Food for thought.

    https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/S...o_hidden_ocean


    LATE ADD: Unlike Earth, Titan has one face always toward Saturn (captured rotation), so the only change in Saturn's gravitational pull comes from Titan's eccentric orbit. See reference below.

    ===

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011AGUFM.P33F..03I

    Titan's Eccentricity Tides
    Iess, L.et al.
    American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2011, abstract id.P33F-03

    Abstract: The large eccentricity (e=0.03) of Titan's orbit causes significant variations in the tidal field from Saturn and induces periodic stresses in the satellite body at the orbital period (about 16 days). Peak-to-peak variations of the tidal field (from pericenter to apocenter) are about 18% (6e). If Titan hosts a liquid layer (such as an internal ocean), the gravity field would exhibit significant periodic variations. The response of the body to fast variations of the external, perturbing field is controlled by the Love numbers, defined for each spherical harmonic as the ratio between the perturbed and perturbing potential. For Titan the largest effect is by far on the quadrupole field, and the corresponding Love number is indicated by k2 (assumed to be identical for all degree 2 harmonics). Models of Titan's interior generally envisage a core made up of silicates, surrounded by a layer of high pressure ice, possibly a liquid water or water-ammonia ocean, and an ice-I outer shell, with variations associated with the dehydration state of the core or the presence of mixed rock-ice layers. Previous analysis of Titan's tidal response [1] shows that k2 depends crucially on the presence or absence of an internal ocean. k2 was found to vary from about 0.03 for a purely rocky interior to 0.48 for a rigid rocky core surrounded by an ocean and a thin (20 km) ice shell. A large k2 entails changes in the satellite's quadrupole coefficients by a few percent, enough to be detected by accurate range rate measurements of the Cassini spacecraft. So far, of the many Cassini's flybys of Titan, six were used for gravity measurements. During gravity flybys the spacecraft is tracked from the antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network using microwave links at X- and Ka-band frequencies. A state-of-the-art instrumentation enables range rate measurements accurate to 10-50 micron/s at integration times of 60 s. The first four flybys provided the static gravity field and the moment of inertia factor of the body[2]. In this previous analysis, tidal variations of the gravity field were neglected. Thanks to the availability of two additional flybys (on May 20, 2010 and Feb. 18, 2011) and the improvement of the data analysis tools, also the variable component of the gravity field could be estimated with good accuracy. In order to increase the confidence in the results, two independent analyses have been carried out, both resulting in very close and statistically indistinguishable values for k2. While the results are compatible (at the low end of k2) with interior models made up by a high viscosity core and a near-surface liquid water layer, the centroid of the k2 values requires additionally that some substantial fraction of the interior -ice mantle or core- be capable of significant deformations over time scales of the orbital period. References [1] Rappaport, N.J. et al., 2008. Can Cassini detect a subsurface ocean in Titan from gravity measurements?, Icarus, Vol. 194, No. 2. [2] Iess, L. et al., 2010. Gravity field, shape, and moment of inertia of Titan. Science 327, 1367-1369.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2019-Jun-23 at 09:48 PM. Reason: more data
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  18. #108
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    The habitability of Titan's underground ocean -- will we find company when we land there?

    https://phys.org/news/2019-07-habita...tan-ocean.html
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  19. #109
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    Drill deep for water, break down into hydrogen and oxygen--and use the surface hydrocarbons for plastic production. Extend space elevator towards Saturn, float products upward.

    The future is plastic

  20. #110
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    Prospective Titan colonists will find this of interest, detailing the topography of the world.

    https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/20......5F/abstract

    Titan's climate patterns and surface methane distribution due to the coupling of land hydrology and atmosphere
    Faulk, Sean P.; Lora, Juan M.; Mitchell, Jonathan L.; Milly, P. C. D.

    Planetary surfaces beyond Earth's are impacted by surface hydrology, and exhibit fluvial and lacustrine features. Titan in particular harbours a rich hydroclimate replete with valley networks, lakes, seas and putative wetlands, all of which are pronounced in the lower-elevation polar regions. However, understanding of Titan's global climate has heretofore neglected the hydraulic influence of Titan's large-scale topography. Here we add a surface hydrology model to an existing Titan atmospheric model, and find that infiltration, ground methane evaporation, and surface and subsurface flow are fundamental to simultaneously reproducing Titan's observed surface liquid distribution and other aspects of its climate system. We propose that Titan's climate features infiltration into unsaturated low- and mid-latitude highlands and surface or subsurface flow into high-latitude basins, producing the observed polar moist climes and equatorial deserts. This result implies that a potentially massive unobserved methane reservoir participates in Titan's methane cycle. It also illustrates the importance of surface hydrology in Titan climate models, and by extension suggests the influence of surface hydrology in idealized models of other planetary climates, including the climates and palaeoclimates of Earth, Mars and exoplanets.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  21. #111
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    Titan and Venus are siblings

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  22. #112
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    Dust devils on Titan? I'm not sure there's any dust there, but misty whirlwinds are possible, I guess.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2002.05581

    Dust Devils on Titan
    Brian Jackson, Ralph D. Lorenz, Jason W. Barnes, Michelle Szurgot
    (Submitted on 13 Feb 2020)

    Conditions on Saturn's moon Titan suggest dust devils, which are convective, dust-laden plumes, may be active. Although the exact nature of dust on Titan is unclear, previous observations confirm an active aeolian cycle, and dust devils may play an important role in Titan's aeolian cycle, possibly contributing to regional transport of dust and even production of sand grains. The Dragonfly mission to Titan will document dust devil and convective vortex activity and thereby provide a new window into these features, and our analysis shows that associated winds are likely to be modest and pose no hazard to the mission.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  23. #113
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    Galactic cosmic rays have an effect on nitrogen molecules in Titan's atmosphere.

    https://phys.org/news/2020-02-galact...ect-titan.html
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  24. #114
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    The helicopter going to Titan, what it might discover

    https://scitechdaily.com/nasa-is-sen...tan-heres-why/
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  25. #115
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    How methane moves from lakes to clouds on Titan, and more. Stuff that colonists will need to know.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.00120
    Air-Sea Interactions on Titan: Lake Evaporation, Atmospheric Circulation, and Cloud Formation
    Scot C. R. Rafkin, Alejandro Soto
    [Submitted on 30 Mar 2019 (v1), last revised 22 May 2020 (this version, v2)]
    Titan's abundant lakes and seas exchange methane vapor and energy with the atmosphere via a process generally known as air-sea interaction. This turbulent exchange process is investigated with an atmospheric mesoscale model coupled to a slab model representation of an underlying lake. The impact of lake size, effective lake mixed layer depth, background wind speed, air-lake temperature differential, and atmospheric humidity on air-sea interaction processes is studied through dozens of two-dimensional simulations. The general, quasi-steady solution is a non-linear superposition of a very weak background plume circulation driven by the buoyancy of evaporated methane with a stronger opposing thermally direct (sea breeze) circulation driven by the thermal contrast between the cold marine layer over the lake and the warmer inland air. The specific solution depends on the value of selected atmosphere and lake property parameters, but the general solution of the superposition of these two circulations is persistent. Consistent with previous analytical work of others, the sensible heat flux and the latent heat flux trend toward opposite and equal values such that their ratio, the Bowen ratio, approaches -1.0 in most, but not all, of the quasi-steady state solutions. Importantly, in nearly all scenarios, the absolute magnitude of the fluxes trends toward very small values such that the equilibrium solution is also nearly a trivial solution where air-sea energy exchange is about 3 W m-2 or less. In all cases, a cool, moist, and statically stable shallow marine layer with nearly calm winds and small turbulent flux exchanges with a colder underlying lake is produced by the model. The temperature of the lake, the marine properties of the air, and the strength of the sea breeze depends on the initial conditions and to a lesser degree, the boundary conditions.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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