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About NERVAfan

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    Junior Rocket Scientist

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  1. IIRC quite a few deserts and evaporating environments have perchlorates in soil on Earth e.g. in New Mexico. I don't think they're a game-changing problem for Mars. Something that needs to be considered and mitigated for safety, certainly, but nothing really crazy. (From what I find, the toxicity of perchlorates is not that high. Potassium perchlorate at least was used as a drug to treat thyroid issues, and apparently still is in some countries. It is still toxic, of course, but as usual 'the dose makes the poison'.)
  2. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4549 Curiosity didn't find brine, just measured conditions that would be favorable for brines to form. For solar power, definitely; but if you have nuclear power, it may not be so bad. Mars is cold, but its air is very thin, which should reduce rates of heat loss.
  3. CubeSats have a set of standard dimensions/specs. 1U = 10x10x10 cm, <1.33 kg. And then the larger ones are built up from that (2U is 20x10x10cm, 2 1U cubes stuck together; 3U is 30x10x10 cm).
  4. Ions are just niche anyway -- KSP-system delta-V requirements are very low and nuclear engines are available.
  5. Mars-in-Venus's-orbit wouldn't be habitable due to its low gravity & lack of magnetic field - it would lose air and water (likely faster than in reality due to being closer to the Sun). Venus in Mars's orbit... I don't think anyone really knows. Its higher gravity might mitigate the loss...
  6. Some people, maybe even most, sure. But there are people who would be just fine (especially given modern entertainment). Human psychology is pretty variable, and hermits exist. It's not analogous. The Sahara is extremely politically difficult, and there isn't a "dream" attached like Mars. (And no Elon Musk type figure pushing it.) If Mars is colonized, it won't be for resources - shipping resources across space doesn't work anyway. But a Mars colony would attach the kind of people that would make it an innovation hotbed, IMO. And information is cheap to send between planets
  7. I think doing it with 1 person would be better. Less mass, but more importantly, you're IMO more likely to have violence with 2 people cooped up together than 1 person is to have deadly health problems (no one to catch an infection from, etc.) I don't see why not, actually. If it was 1 person... 500 days at 5kg of supplies/day... that's only 2500kg. And water is dense. You could probably fit it all in. And there are *some* people who would be fine cooped up in a tiny space for 500 days.
  8. On Earth, yeah, but Kerbin orbital velocity is only like Mach 7-8.
  9. I think some solar sail proposals could get to the outer-outer solar system within a few decades too.
  10. WISE ruled out a large gas giant such as Tyche, which was supposed to be in the inner Oort Cloud. A Super-Earth (smaller than Uranus/Neptune) there would probably not have been seen. Nemesis (a red or brown dwarf) would have been even more visible in that kind of survey, since it would put out much more heat.
  11. Sure, it's quite dangerous, but the level of regulation applied to it is way out of scope for its actual danger. Even counting in the radioactivity, there are much-less-regulated chemical compounds which are far more dangerous (in terms of smaller LD50) like Botox. Also, there's the matter of ease of exposure - an alpha emitter has to get inside your skin to be dangerous, while there are plenty of highly toxic chemicals that can slip right through skin (and some even through gloves like dimethylmercury). Benzene, a common industrial chemical, is a carcinogenic highly-flammable (flash point wel
  12. Sure, but the biomass is tiny compared to the mass of oxygen in the atmosphere. The CO2 levels might become problematically high, though. There may well be a huge amount of very deep endolithic bacteria, but I'm not sure whether their metabolic products actually enter the atmosphere or ocean, and anyway their metabolism is glacially slow (1 cell division per century kind of thing). I don't think the ones interacting with the ocean in black smokers/cold seeps are that abundant since their habitats are small & localized.
  13. OK fine but what does that mean in practice, IE with the classic go back in time and prevent yourself from being born type examples? I thought field theory was a quantum thing not a macro scale thing. What does the macro scale reality look like?
  14. Yeah, exactly. - - - Updated - - - In some things, I can see that, but I don't see why more realistic physics would make it less fun.
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