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B Research base on Mercury?

  1. Jul 13, 2016 #1
    Lets suppose in not so far future we want to build a research base on Mercury.
    What would be the main hardships and benefits? For the later, it could gain lots of information about solar flares and storms, solar panels could give it more than enough energy, and if it is landed on North pole it could gather water from ice, less payload to ship.
     
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  3. Jul 13, 2016 #2
    There isn't much ice on Mercury, except a little bit that may exist in some craters, so that is not an option.

    We can send probes into orbit around the sun (such as SOHO). We can learn about solar flares, etc., and use the solar panels to gain energy.

    The only real advantage I can see is that we can send a rover on Mercury, similar to those of Mars. We can learn more about composition, and maybe do some drilling.
     
  4. Jul 13, 2016 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    How do you get there? You have to pick up a lot of speed to land on Mercury - MESSENGER took 6 years and a billion miles to do it.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2016 #4
    How much more delta-v required than to Mars?
     
  6. Jul 13, 2016 #5

    Drakkith

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    About double I believe.
     
  7. Jul 14, 2016 #6
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/s...ssenger-spacecraft-findings-suggest.html?_r=0

    According to that one, the amount of ice isnt that small.
    How do get there, well i had the assumption that nuclear powered spacecraft isnt that far future.
     
  8. Jul 14, 2016 #7
  9. Jul 14, 2016 #8

    Drakkith

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    There's no issue with getting to Mercury except perhaps that we don't currently have a launch vehicle powerful enough to lift the equipment required to build and maintain a research facility into space. Conventional rockets would work just fine for actually getting out of Earth's orbit and getting into Mercury's assuming you can lift the whole thing into Earth orbit. Lighter weight space propulsion technology would, obviously, make this entire process easier and less expensive, as you'd have less "dead weight" to carry.

    Perhaps, but this probably isn't just a big block of ice sitting at the bottom of a crater. The ice is most likely buried under the regolith and may be incorporated into the structure of the dirt and rock, making it very difficult to extract in large quantities. If so, the equipment needed to harvest the ice would need to be shipped from Earth and will have to be maintained. I have no idea how complex such machinery would be, so I don't know if this would be a serious challenge or merely a "normal" challenge. :biggrin:

    Assuming you can establish a research facility under the surface, the challenges are mostly the same as with any other attempt to create a permanent or semi-permanent habitat beyond Earth.
     
  10. Jul 14, 2016 #9

    sophiecentaur

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    A big issue could be that the temperature of the skin of the craft would be round about 400°C for some while. Quite a refrigeration trick to achieve with human cargo inside. I suppose there could be clever satellite tricks like having a shiny surface on the sunny side and a good black radiator on the shadow side but I wouldn't be a trivial problem over a protracted length of time. Shuttle tiles wouldn't do the trick.
     
  11. Jul 14, 2016 #10

    Drakkith

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    True. You don't want a Christmas roast arriving at Mercury instead of you research team...
     
  12. Jul 16, 2016 #11
    I wish to ask: why is it supposed to be necessary to live on a planet? Or a planetlike body?

    Observing the Sun can easily be done from a free-flying spacecraft. That saves on the rocket fuel that would be necessary to land on a planet.

    Mercury has a surface gravity about 2/5 the Earth's, close to Mars's. That means that it would be easier to move around on Mercury than on the Earth, but that also means that one needs a high-thrust rocket to land on it. The planet lacks an atmosphere, which means that one cannot use an atmosphere to slow down, meaning that a rocket must make the full delta-V necessary. Mercury's escape velocity is 4.25 km/s, and its surface-satellite velocity is 3.01 km/s. From Tsiolkovsky's rocket equation, this means a mass ratio of 2.7 for arriving from orbit and 4.1 for arriving at escape velocity. You'd need the same mass ratio for departing.
     
  13. Jul 17, 2016 #12

    sophiecentaur

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    That's a question that people don't seem to ask as often as they should. Would someone really need to go down inside a volcano in order to monitor what's going on or spend a year on the ocean floor, observing the worms?
    There are loonies queuing up for a one way ticket to Mars, too. What's it all about?
     
  14. Jul 18, 2016 #13
    The analogy isnt really good. If one send a research team to another planet, they can just return anytime they want. A base can offer more space and comfort than a ship.
     
  15. Jul 18, 2016 #14

    Drakkith

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    They can't or can return anytime the want? The latter is certainly not true.
     
  16. Jul 18, 2016 #15
    Sorry, missing t.
     
  17. Jul 18, 2016 #16

    sophiecentaur

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    The question still stands as to why it is so important that humans should be there in the first place. Remember Beagle II ? You certainly would have remembered if a manned expedition had disappeared that way. Fact is that unmanned expeditions are a fraction of the cost of manned ones and their potential capabilities are improving as fast if not faster than the propulsion technology to take expeditions. Space exploration is basically Engineering and one serious concern of any Engineer is to ask whether a project is actually worth the cost. I am a realist and not a spoilsport.
     
  18. Jul 19, 2016 #17
    From my understanding, Mercury has no axis. It doesn't tilt. So its poles never see the sun, hence the abundance of ice.
     
  19. Jul 19, 2016 #18

    D H

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    Mercury rotates about its axis in 58.7 days (with respect to the stars). It orbits the Sun in 88 days. That's a 3:2 ratio, so a day on Mercury is 176 days.
     
  20. Jul 19, 2016 #19

    1oldman2

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  21. Jul 19, 2016 #20

    1oldman2

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    I had no idea, this is interesting. http://cseligman.com/text/planets/mercuryrot.htm
     
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