Author Topic: Nanotubes from Mars - Idea  (Read 2001 times)

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Nanotubes from Mars - Idea
« on: January 08, 2011, 06:56:03 PM »
Nanotubes from Mars

This idea is a bit controversial becouse it's science-fiction from our point of view. I used it in my book that I'am wrighting. In there the Mars colony produces them for Earth in greate quantities for profit naturally. You may want to consider also including this idea.

First of all - what are nanotubes?
Carbon nanotubes are one of the strongest (if not THE strongest) materials know to man. They are 100 times stronger than steel and 3 times lighter. They can be used in electronics as superconductors. They can be used in medicine to heal cancer and other deseases. Space technologies uses carbon nanotubes as a way to make the materials stronger. You can buy today some expensive super light-sport equipement that is made out of carbon nanotubes. It is even considered to use nanotubes for creating the "space lift". The number of aplications of carbon nanotubes is limitless. They are closely related to fulerens (carbon BuckyBalls). This is the material for the future. I even used carbon nanotubes in my browser space game in whitch they are used to build ships and buildings.  :D

There is a backside however...the nanotubes made today are inpure, to small, to expensive and we can't produce them on a large scale. We don't even know today how we make them! Sure - we know the proces parameters but not te process itself. If there ware a cheap way of producing large quantites of carbon nanotubes this would mean a technological revolution! We propably won't know how to do it for another 50 years  :-[
And that's where my idea come's to life in the book.

This is a translated quote from my book. Feel free to read it all - it's interesting. The part about the nanotubes has been bolded.


"Here's how it goes: Earth sends the first man to the Mars. After a few trips, they found water...and they found life! First to found ware the fossils...a remnant of some kind of creature with a shell. This motivated the space agencies to start a wide-scale search for living organisms. They found one. The first founded organism was a bacteria-like microbe living 1 km under the surface, although it had very small in common with our prokaryotes. Scientists long predicted that if life ware ever to exists on Mars, it would spread into every corner of the planet - just like on Earth. And just like on Earth - it expanded deep into the planets litosphere. There the bacteria was safe. Apparently, the little bastards didn't even realize that there ware an apocalyps several flors above and lived happily ever after. The news of another life present in our own solar system coming from a different primogenitor shocked the public. Soon, lot's of money ware magicly found for futher exploration of Mars and it's moons. Politicians ware happy to send peeple on Mars as long as the peeple were happy about it. Lot's of mission's were send over the decade...and over half a dozen of them ware manned. All of them followed the same routine: send peeple in a small landing vehicle, that was also the base, and test the new best terrain for 1 or 3 months, and then get back. Those types of missions were commonly called by the science popularizers as the "The Primaze Project", becouse all of them followed the same scheme, didn't acomplish anything as trully interesting and yet they set up the background for thorough future Mars exploration. When the publick shock passed the project was cancelled, and it would seem as if there was no hope for the colonization of Mars. That's when the corporations came into the game. You see - after 10 years of intense work there has been made a progress with the study of the Mars bacteria. Although it was different from our life, there was some similaritys. Our life is based on DNA, yet martian life is based on what we call X-RNA. It was suggested that in the beginning of life a little less than 4 billion years ago, all life was based on the RNA molecule with self-replicated itself, but it was very inneficient. Our life evelved to the point where DNA and proteins took the role of the inneficient RNA. The martian life however evolved in onother way, improving the RNA structure creating what we call the X-RNA and creating other structures that are way different, yet fulfill the same role as our proteins. When we learned how to decrypt the X-RNA a big step forward was made into biotechnology. New medicine, new materials, new technologies. Many corporations ware very much interested in getting more samples of martian life. Billions of dollars went into motion and the "Primaze project" were reactivated only this time with the interest in proffit. Different corporations had different ideas on how to archieve that. Besides the biotechnology corporations and the support of the science-community, there were also ideas on how to make profit out of rich and intact martian resources. Other saw the future in the developement of the Aerospace Engineering, there were even plans in creating the first permanent colony on Mars that would gain the profit from the colonization proces.
Becouse of that the "Primaze project" ware restored in a different manner: instead of sending missions on a different locations they send 11 missions in the same place, and made the first base capable of sustaining human presence on mars for years. This site is currently known as the "alpha-site". It's not very big compared to the other bases that come after it, yet it had the greatest role. This was supposed to be the "expansion point: zero" at which astronauts searched day after day and year after year some new POI's (Point's of Interests). The radius of the exploration gradually growth. The plan was that if something extremely important was to be found, a new base was to be developped in that POI and all of the financing was to be transfered to there. When that happens, the new base -called of course, the Beta site- was to start another -with wider radius- exploration. Becouse of that, a chain of 7 bases one after another, from alpha to eta, separated about 800 km each emarged. New bases emarged only when there wase anough profit from the last one.
The operation was soon called "PT" in public for "Planet Transfer" project becouse the amount of equipement lifted into space in only few years was bigger than the total mass of 100 years of space exploration.
Of course the exploration on that scale needed a new types of technologies and especcialy - new ships. In agreement with the corporations, the space agencies were responsible for the transfer of crew and cargo. In response a new type of transfer-ship was created called "Mars Cycler". Up until 2060 only one Mars Cycler is aviable, transfering regulary between Earth and Mars in regular interwals. It transfers only the cargo. Peeple uses quicker transfer-ships.
Luckilly, the cost of the space exploration decreased rapidly over the years. Besides the fact that the space engeneering on low earths orbit had an economical boom that lowered the cost, a new types of technologies had been developed. For one thing - the propulsion. An efficient space engines like based on plazma-VASIMIR, to the nuclear fission. The developpement of nuclear fusion reactors had a greate inpact on the exploration of the moon, with has Helium-3 - the fusion fuel that also leaves no radioactive materials. on the other hand -  at low Earth's orbit one after another started emarging PowerSat's - satelites that gather solar energy and trasfer it to Earth. The developement of new types of anti-radiation shields not only made the trip to mars safer, but also a lot cheaper. Becouse of the superconductive magnet and polarized ship houl that protects from the ionizing particles, there was no need to use heavy shielding. On Earths Lagrange Point where Earths and Moons gravitational forces cancel each-out, there has been made an L-5 base, which has been the center of everything from productions of ships like Mars Cycler, production of medicine, alloys and electronics to comerce like space-hotel. The list goes on and on...
Before even the first MarsCycler was send to mars, and even before the beta-site was created, the alpha-site made a greate discovery. Becouse the peeple who worked there knew how the life on mars looks like and had the geological data of years of exploration, they knew where to look. Judging from the genetic information stored in X-RNA, one of the scientists proposed that on of the common ancestors lived on the surface recently, becouse some of the major characterictics of the cell have been repeated. The data gathered that way led to the discovery of a very strange microorganism called "C-60" - one that doesn't apear to have a cell membrane. It was suggested that in the evolutionary proces the cell membrane was reduced and repressed by the cell wall. The fuleren-based wall seems perfectly fitted to Mars environment. It's made out of carbon only with there are plenty on Mars, and it' has greate protective abilities. As much as shocking that was for scientific community, the biggest shock it was for the biznesmen on Earth. You see - it's not the fact that it has no cell membrane intersting to them. What's interesting is what the cellular membane was made of. It was pure carbon nanotubes and fulerens. Those carbon nanotubes and fulerens were one of the strongest syntetic materials on Earth. Yet we had no good methode of producing them cheap, and this little bacteria was literally full of it. You just have to raise the bacteria in a bioreactor, and after a while - separate the cells in a separator. Cheap and easy. But there was a catch - those bacteria, were extremely resiliant to the harsh martian environment, and it was prohibited to take them to Earth for the fear of contamination. On the other hand - it is currently imposible to transfer the gene from the X-RNA to DNA or some Earth bacteria. So simply speaking - there is no other place to cultivate C-60 but on Mars only. Yet the material is so precious, so light to transfer and so cheap and easy to produce, that it has been exported from Mars in large quantities.
Of course, the transfer of materials and goods isn't instant. All that has been made on Mars or what needs to be delivered on Mars needs to go one way or another threw the first base - the Phobos base. You was easier to make the first flight to another celestial body other than the moon, to the moon of Mars, with is Phobos. Phobos base was the first one to be estabilished and becouse the moon is very small - ther's only one base and it has been developped conctantly over the years, even before the Alpha-site was build. The base is under the authority of the United Aerospace Organization (UAO). UAO uses this base as a transfer point between Earth and Mars, using Mars Cycler. It also was producing water, hydrogen and parts for the bases on Mars. The base was being in a proces of changing to support the interplanetary transfer to the ring belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, as a new evolutionary step....but I suppose that becouse of what happened that isn't an option anymore. "
- Tom Rent explaining the basics of Mars Colonization with his eyes to a writer Griffith London.
by Marco2001

So basicly I'am proposing to create and export carbon nanotubes from Mars.

Poland here. My time: GMT + 1h
Writing a book about Mars. Any ideas? Type to me.
I'am an Astrobiology/Biology student.


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Re: Nanotubes from Mars - Idea
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 12:21:27 AM »
I would just like to point out the carbon nanotubes would be of severely limited use because of their length.

We don't have a problem making carbon nanotubes on earth.. we have a problem making them longer than a couple nanometers.

And a cell would be unable to make something longer in it's lifetime.

Maybe if you had the cells organize and make long ones, but that kinda seems contrary to the cell membrane being made from them.


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Re: Nanotubes from Mars - Idea
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 04:33:22 AM »
I agree with profit in that this is not an export possibility, since carbon nanotubes are just as difficult to make on earth as they are on mars.