Mission to Mars - 06 & 07: Lava Tubes

Note: *Some* of the following material was covered during our "discussion" sessions, feel free to buzz past those if you already know that material.

LEARNING GOAL: I will be able to list 3 key advantages to building habitats in lava tubes on Mars during today's class.

OPENING QUESTION: A very long "Lava Tube" is located right in our own back yard (so to speak) -- Just south of Mt St Helens is the spectacular "Ape Cave". Please go take a look at a few pictures of the Ape Cave online

WORDS O' THE DAY:

  • Sol (The Sun's proper name)
  • Solar System (Everything that orbits Sol, our sun)
  • Mars (The 4th planet from the sun)
  • Magnetic Field (Lines of magnetic force)
  • Atmosphere (Gas surrounding a planet or <on rare occasions, moons>)
  • Atmospheric pressure (the weight of an atmosphere per unit area)
  • Lava Tube (A tunnel formed when a solid crust forms over fast moving lava)

WORDS O' THE DAY:

Once again I'm hoping you are reviewing this with a study friend.

To wit: send an insta-face-snap-msg-call to your friend, and ask them to suggest one substantial advantage in building habitats in Martian lava tubes -- compared to building on the surface.

Prompt your friend to recollect the main topics on at least two of our previous 5 lessons <hint hint>

Now please take a gander at this quick video of Lava Tubes on the Moon

Now please point out to your friend the similarities to these images taken from Mars:

The hope (at least to folks interested in establishing a human presence on Mars) is that we could get down into one of those large tubes and build habitats there:

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(you may recall this image from the National Geographic Poster in my room)

Hopefully during your opening question review with your study friend (you didn't blow past that, did you?) that living underground on Mars would help solve our problems of a thin atmosphere and weak magnetic field.

It turns out that solid rock is an excellent shield against nasty radiation and particles from the sun and deep space. Notice in that picture that astronauts are still wearing their spacesuits though. That's because the tube is still at regular Martian air pressure (1% Earth normal). The individual buildings are all pressurized (~14 psi or about 100,000 Pascals or about 100,000 N/m2 if you recall-- and I hope you do!), so you'd need an airlock to get into and out from each of those buildings. As we saw in the clip from the Martian in our Mars03 lesson plan, airlocks are very unforgiving. If they work, all's good, if they don't, disaster.

Some folks suggest you could get down into such a tube, seal it up, pressurize it and turn it into a livable space where we could walk around in jeans and a t-shirt without our blood boiling (yay?)

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AEROSPACE STUDENTS ONLY:

This will be a two-day assignment so I'm calling this Mars06 - Mars 07. It is due at the end of the day on Wednesday

Take a look at that image above (The National Geograph - Lava Tube Image)

Imagine you are an unlucky passenger on a Cruise ship that is stranded somewhere because of the Corona Virus. You are quarantined in your small cabin with a friend, spouse, partner, colleague (you choose!).

Here's an article for your skim through to help you get an idea of that situation

Now use that to help you imagine what it would be like living in a pressure-sealed room about the size of a school bus inside a lava tube on Mars.

Provide a *thoughtful* commentary of how hard it would be to live in such a small room as part of a community inside a Lava Tube on Mars. You are free to do a written commentary or a voice recording (perhaps in Diary form?) or perhaps a series of drawing?

Save your work to your Google drive, make sure you share it with me, and drop a link on our submittal form HERE

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PHYSICS STUDENTS ONLY:

This will be a two-day assignment so I'm calling this Mars06 - Mars 07. It is due at the end of the day on Wednesday

Take a few moments to jot down some *personal* notes to yourself in longhand, not typing please regarding the following (you will NOT turn those in):

Over the last 5 weeks or so, many of us have gotten an up-close-and-personal look at what it's like to live in very close quarters with the same people, day-in and day-out.

List positive aspects of that situation

Now list some negative aspects of that situation

Now please imagine you are LIVING in a Lava Tube on Mars for some long period of time (let's say at least 5 years, or perhaps you'll consider living their permanently!!)

Take a look at the lists you just wrote down and use them as a basis to write a thoughtful, compelling narrative of why living in a Lava Tube on Mars would have profound emotional and physical benefits to you and your fellow explorers.

They key here folks is *thoughtful*. You have free reign to determine the length and content of your writing. Your writing must include references/analysis/insights of BOTH physical and emotional benefits.

If you submit something that is "good enough" you will earn a B.

Thoughtful writing that is insightful and incorporates aspects of our current quarantined situation will earn an A.

You are free to do a written commentary or a voice recording (perhaps in Diary form?) or perhaps a series of drawing?

Save your work to your Google drive, make sure you share it with me, and drop a link on our submittal form HERE