Look at its wheels – not a sand dune
NASA found high levels of silica southwest of my Born on Mars Cerberus Base. That’s good news for science fiction colonists.
Today on Earth, Ferrock (TM) by Iron Shell LLC is a replacement for concrete made from powdered iron, ground glass, and carbon dioxide. Since concrete manufacture generates greenhouse gasses, it may help us reduce the rate of global warming climate change.
But there will be no concrete on Mars – there are no vast limestone, shell, or chalk layers deposited by living creatures to use as cement. What will colonists use for building material?
In my On Mars Series, settlers have construction robots that use a 3-D printing technique to laser-sinter stone into building shapes – too bad that technology’s not quite here yet.
If colonists can find iron meteorites or iron ore in lava tubes, and dig up Curiosity’s silica, they can make their own Martian concrete. No problem finding CO2 – Mars’ atmosphere is 95% CO2.
More on NASA Curiosity’s discovery with here.
What we’re seeing on Mount Sharp is dramatically different from what we saw in the first two years of the mission,” said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada of JPL. “There’s so much variability within relatively short distances. The silica is one indicator of how the chemistry changed. It’s such a multifaceted and curious discovery, we’re going to take a while figuring it out.”
In my new #scifi #book Born on Mars, a visitor from the European colony tastes banana beer in the Sino-African colony. Not a big part of the story – just a little fun on Mars.
Try it yourself at home:
You’ll need ripe bananas, some wads of grass, water, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (which is also used for grape wine) or the microbe of your choice. Use cloth to filter the final product. On Earth you can add sorghum flour to improve the taste.
Clean your equipment with boiling water, and be sure to wash yourself, too.
Peel ripe bananas by hand. Use only bananas ripe enough to be peeled by hand
Extract Juice. Knead the bananas in the grass until clear juice is extracted. The residue will remain in the grass. Recycle that in your garden – settlers need every scrap of organic material available.
Mix 1 cup of water to 3 cups banana juice.
Mix sorghum flour if you have it, to taste. Start with 1 cup flour to 12 cups banana mix. Stir well.
Ferment in a covered container for 18 -24 hours.
Filter. Force the liquid through a cotton cloth bag with your hands.
Enjoy. The beer should be refrigerated and drunk with a few days.Ya gotta survive, but, hey – ya gotta live, too.
More ways to eat like a Martian:
practice on Earth for Mars
Martian colony demonstration
Thanks to gourmetsleuth and howtopedia
Look at its wheels – not a sand dune
No Mars rover has ever climbed a sand dune – only small drifts – but Curiosity is about to try. Martian dunes are active – they move, almost flow across the surface. That takes wind, but the thin atmosphere of Mars doesn’t pack much of a wallop (despite the storm that opens The Martian.)
In my scifi book Glory on Mars, I claim that wind is sorting sand dunes on the Tharsis Plain. (Geek alert: “sorting” describes the distribution of grain size in sediments). My settlers sinter the uniform sands of Tharsis into construction stone for their habitat – the settlers want well-sorted sand.
Perhaps NASA will find out if I’m right. Though Curiosity is in Aelois, two Martian Quadrangles away from Tharsis, so I guess I can always claim my sand is different.
The rover is moving slowly towards Dune 1 – 200 yards to go – good luck Curiosity. Thanks to newsledge.com
In my stories of a Martian colony, sand and dust are big players. Colonists extract water from the traces adsorbed in sand, and my dunes are deep, expansive sources of building material – robots sinter the grains into custom-shaped stone to construct habitats. But sometimes the dunes are treacherous :O Check the stories out and let me know what you think.
All my books, including my On Mars series, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other favorite online stores. Read one today.