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Mars Exploration: All About The "Red Planet"

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Introduction

Mars is the fourth planet in the solar system in order of distance from the Sun and size and mass of its number seventh. It is a periodically visible as reddish object in the sky at night. Mars is designated by the symbol ♂, sometimes it’s called the Red Planet, Mars has long been associated with warfare and slaughter. It was named after the Roman god of war. As long as 3, 000 years ago, Babylonian astronomer-astrologers called the planet of Nergal for their god of death and pestilence. The planet have two moons, Phobos (Greek: “Fear”) and Deimos (“Terror”), were it was named for two of the sons of Ares and Aphrodite the counterparts of Mars and Venus, respectively, in Greek mythology.

Mars has interested people for more-substantial reasons than its deadly appearance. The second planet closest to Earth, after Venus, and it is usually easy to observe in the night sky because its orbit lies outside Earth’s. It is also the only planet whose solid surface and atmospheric phenomena can be seen in telescopes from Earth. Centuries of assiduous studies by earthbound observers, extended by spacecraft observations since the 1960s, have revealed that Mars have similarities to the Earth in many ways.

Like Earth, Mars has clouds, winds, a roughly 24 hours and 37 min a day, seasonal weather patterns, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons, and other similar features. There are interesting clues that billions of years ago Mars was even more Earth-like than today, with a denser, warmer atmosphere and much more water — rivers, lakes, flood channels, and perhaps oceans. By all indications Mars is now a sterile frozen desert.

However, close-up images of dark streaks on the slopes of some craters during Martian spring and summer suggest that at least small amounts of water may flow seasonally on the planet’s surface, and radar reflections from a possible lake under the south polar cap suggest that water may still exist as a liquid in protected areas below the surface. The presence of water on Mars is considered a critical issue because life as it is presently understood cannot exist without water.

If microscopic life-forms ever did originate on Mars, here remains a chance, albeit a remote one, that they may yet survive in these hidden watery niches. In 1996 a team of scientists reported what they concluded to be evidence for ancient microbial life in a piece of meteorite that had come from Mars, but most scientists have disputed their interpretation.

In the 19th century, Mars has been considered the most hospitable place in the solar system beyond Earth both for indigenous life and for human exploration and habitation. At that time, speculation was rife that so-called canals of Mars — complex systems of long, straight surface lines that very few astronomers have claimed to see in telescopic observations was the creations of intelligent beings. The seasonal changes in the planet’s appearance, attributed to the spread and retreat of vegetation, added further to the purported evidence for biological activity. Although the canals later proved to be not real and the seasonal changes geologic rather than biological, scientific and public interest in the possibility of Martian life and in exploration of the planet has not faded.

Atmosphere and Its Composition

Martian atmosphere is composed mainly of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide constitutes 95. 3 % of the atmosphere by weight, nine times the quantity now in Earth’s much more massive atmosphere. Much of Earth’s carbon dioxide, however, is chemically locked in sedimentary rocks; the amount in the Martian atmosphere is less than a thousandth of the terrestrial total. The balance of the Martian atmosphere consists of molecular nitrogen, water vapour, and noble gases (argon, neon, krypton, and xenon).

There are also trace elements of gases that have been produced from the primary constituents by photochemical reactions, generally high in the atmosphere; these include molecular oxygen, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and small amounts of ozone. The lower atmosphere supplies gas to the planet’s ionosphere, where densities are low, temperatures are high, and components separate by diffusion according to their masses. Various constituents in the top of the atmosphere are lost to space, which affects the isotopic composition of the remaining gases such as CO2, N2 and argon. Because of hydrogen is lost preferentially over its heavier isotope deuterium, Mars’s atmosphere contains five times more deuterium than Earth’s.

Although water is only a minor constituent of the Martian atmosphere, primarily because it’s because of low atmospheric and surface temperatures, which plays an important role into the atmospheric chemistry and meteorology. The Martian atmosphere is effectively soaked with water vapour, yet there is no usable water present on the surface. The pressure and temperature of the planet are so low that make water molecules to exist only as ice or as vapour. A small amount of water is exchanged daily with the surface despite the very cold night time surface temperatures.

Water vapour is mixed uniformly up to altitudes of 10–15 km (6–9 miles) and shows strong latitudinal gradients that depend on the season. The largest changes occur in the northern hemisphere. During summer in the north, the complete disappearance of the carbon dioxide cap leaves behind a water-ice cap. The sublimation of water from the residual cap results in a strong north-to-south concentration gradient of water vapour in the atmosphere. In the south, where a small carbon dioxide cap remains in summer and only a small amount of water ice has been detected, a strong water vapour gradient does not normally develop in the atmosphere.

Methane is also present in Mars’s atmosphere. Since methane is demolished by sunlight, it must be continuously replenished to account for the amounts present. Meteorites and Volcanoes have been ruled out as origins for the methane, which leaves chemical reactions between rock and water or metabolism by possible Martian microorganisms as possible sources

Wastewater

Wastewater treatment is the process of converting wastewater by physical, biological and chemical removal to produce water that is no longer required or is no longer suitable for use – into bilge water that can be discharged back into the environment. It’s formed by a number of human activities including bathing, washing, using the toilet, and rainwater runoff which enters into the sewage system through by wrong connection of sewer pipe system. Wastewater is full of contaminants including bacteria, chemicals and other toxins. The aims of treating water are to reduce the contaminants to acceptable levels to make the water safe for discharge back into the environment.

The Sources and Solutions of Wastewater for the Martian

There are two wastewater treatment plants namely chemical or physical treatment plant, and biological wastewater treatment plant which will be used in Martian community. Biological waste treatment plants use bacteria to break down waste matter and also its uses other biological matter. Physical waste treatment uses physical processes to treat wastewater and also the uses of various of chemicals such as a chlorine. Biological treatment systems are mainly used for treating wastewater from households and small business premises. Physical wastewater treatment plants are mostly likely to be used to treat wastewater from industries, factories.

Wastewater Treatment Plants

Most homes and businesses they will be sending their wastewater to a treatment plant where many pollutants are removed from the water. Wastewater treatment facilities which will be receiving approximately 20000 litres of wastewater every day. Wastewater will be containing nitrogen and phosphorus from human waste, food and certain soaps and detergents, once the water is cleaned to standards set and monitored by state and federal officials, it is typically released into a local water body or being returned back to the community storage tanks for potable water.

Collection System

opulation and flow projections for the areas served by a wastewater treatment site should be made before sizing of treatment processes and piping infrastructure. Where it possible the designs for the plant should be based on a 10-year design period for any one phase of construction, this will help the Martian community to overcome later problem of over population. However shorter periods or staged developments often need to be implemented to match predicted growth patterns as more and more of people will be moving to the new planet. In considering staged development, the ultimate development of the collection area should be assessed to determine how the layout for the plant may look if the area is fully developed.

Sewers

Sewers are the kilometers of pipes that are laid underground to collect sewage and other greywater from households of Martian community. Materials such as rags, jewelry, plastic and foreign materials can significantly interfere with the treatment processes or damage the plant equipment if not removed. These materials need to be removed by means of screening. This help to screened materials that are hazardous and must be safely disposed of to prevent human health concerns, fly breeding and odours. Screens may be mechanical or manual.

Manual screens only little or no equipment maintenance and provide a good alternative for smaller plants with few screenings but need to be cleaned more regularly to prevent the build-up of debris.

Mechanical screens: lower labour costs and improved flow conditions and screening capture, however, can have high equipment maintenance costs. Require constant energy supply.

Grit Removal

Grit materials can include sand, silt, glass, small stones as well as other large-sized organic and inorganic substances (detritus). Excess grit can cause operational problems such as pump blockages and high organic concentrations in the digesters and/or reactors can causes the cloth of floc structure on top of wastewater. Grit removal is essential to protect the moving mechanical equipment’s such propeller and pumps from abrasion. The comminution is the reduction of heavy solid materials from one average particle size to a smaller average particle size by crushing, grinding, cutting, vibrating, or other processes. Which will have treated as a compost later (it’s aMixed of solids e. g. plastics soil).

Primary Treatment

This process involves the separation of dissolved organic matter from the wastewater. Primary treatment is done by pouring the wastewater into big tanks for the solid matter to settle at the surface of the tanks. The solid waste that settles at the surface of the tanks, is removed by large scrappers and is pushed to the center of the cylindrical tanks and later pumped out of the tanks for further treatment. The remaining water is then pumped for secondary treatment.

Pond systems are simple, low maintenance systems requiring large footprint areas. They should be considered where the cumulative impact of a number of wastewater treatment works is low such as Martian community. Ponds are extremely flexible also Pond effluent can be treated to meet irrigation standards for land applications, or coupled with other advanced treatment technologies could meet discharge standards that may be set.

High Performance Pond Systems

Produces better water quality compared to a conventional pond system. A high performance pond system would consist of a conventional pond system with additional features such as:

  • Trickling filter to achieve nitrification
  • Polishing wetlands that would achieve a better quality effluent that could be discharged
  • Possibility of propagating fish in the final ponds to eat mosquito larvae and also be a food source[image:

Secondary Treatment

Aerobic attached-growth treatment processes are those processes that utilize microorganisms that grow on a medium, such as stones and discs, to remove organic matter found in wastewater. They can also be used to achieve nitrification – the conversion of ammonia to nitrate/nitrite.

Trickling filters are also referred to as biofilters, they are used to remove organic matter from wastewater. The trickling filter will be using an aerobic treatment system that utilizes microorganisms attached to a medium to remove organic matter from wastewater. Trickling filters enable organic material in the wastewater to be adsorbed by a population of microorganisms especially facultative bacteria (which will be mostly likely to be used in Mar planet because less of oxygen will be supplies to help this process to be done) attached to the medium as a biological film or slime layer (approximately 0. 1 to 0. 2 mm thick). As the wastewater flows over the medium, microorganisms already in the water gradually attach themselves to the rock, slag, or plastic surface and form a biofilm. The organic material is then degraded by the aerobic microorganisms in the outer part of the slime layer.

Activated Sludge

The activated sludge process (ASP) is a biological process of developing an activated biomass of microorganisms capable of stabilizing waste facultative. Organic waste is introduced into a reactor where a bacterial culture (biomass) is maintained in suspension. The reactor content is referred to as the ‘mixed liquor’ or activated sludge because it’s always recycled from the previously wastewater.

The nitrogen removal ASP involves biological nitrogen removal, in which is two biological processes are used: nitrification and denitrification. Nitrification is a two-step microbiological reaction in which ammonia nitrogen is converted into nitrite by Nitrosomonas bacteria and subsequently into nitrate by Nitrobacter bacteria. In the denitrification process the produced nitrate is converted into harmless nitrogen gas. Nitrogen is present in wastewater in several forms, the important ones being organic nitrogen (both soluble and particulate), ammonium/ammonia and possibly some nitrate. In the activated sludge process several reactions may occur, that will change the form of the nitrogenous matter via ammonification, nitrification and denitrification.

The solids matter that settled out after the primary and secondary treatment stages are directed to digesters. The anaerobic digesters are heated at room temperature. The solids wastes are then treated for a month’s where they undergo anaerobic digestion. During this process, methane gases are produced and there is a formation of nutrient rich bio-solids which are recycled and dewatered into local firms. The methane gas formed is usually used as a source of energy at the treatment plants. It can be used to produce electricity which can be supply to the Martian community which will be an aid to deal with power shortage or in engines or to simply drive plant equipment. This gas can also be used in boilers to generate heat for digesters.

In order for the Martian community to deal with sludge which is left after the primary and secondary treatment the following actions will real help in minimizing the contamination or pollution which maybe lead by the piles of sludge. The main reasons for thickening sludge prior to digestion are:

  • To maximize the use of the available digester capacity in the digestion of the solids (i. e. water takes up space)
  • To prevent the dilution of the feed material which could cause difficulty in the utilization of the food by the bacteria
  • To prevent the washout of solids and microorganisms from hydraulically overloaded digester.

Mixed sludge received from secondary wastewater treatment is passed through a dissolved-air flotation tank, where solids rise to the surface and are skimmed off. The thickened sludge is pulped with steam, then passed to thermal hydrolysis, where large molecules such as proteins and lipids are broken down under heat and pressure. The hydrolyzed sludge is passed through a flash tank, where a sudden drop in pressure causes cells to burst, and then to anaerobic digestion, where bacteria convert dissolved organic matter to biogas (which can be used to fuel the treatment process). Digested sludge is passed through a dewatering step; the dried solids are disposed of, and the water is sent back to secondary treatment.

Tertiary Treatment

This stage is slightly similar to the one used by drinking water treatment plants which clean raw water to a potable water for drinking purposes. The tertiary treatment stage has the ability to remove up to 99 % of the impurities which include toxic contaminant and more pathogens from the wastewater. This produces effluent water that is close to drinking water quality standards. Unfortunately, this process tends to be a bit expensive as it requires special equipment’s, well trained and highly skilled equipment operators, chemicals and a steady energy supply which it can difficult to the mars planet to use energy where it’s not necessary. All these are not readily available but to the Martian community will have to use the artificial lakes or wetland and greenhouse in order purify water.

Artificial Ecosystem technologies can be used for treating water which are designed along the principles evolved by nature for building and regulating ecologies such as forests, lakes, estuaries and wetlands whose primary energy source is sunlight. Like natural ecosystems, ecosystem technologies have hydrological and mineral cycles. To create an ecosystem technology such as a living machine, organisms are collected and reassembled in unique ways depending on the purpose of the project such in this case is to create an aerobic condition so that plants and other demanding microorganism can live. Appropriate assembly, depending on context is based on knowledge of the specific organisms that make up the components of the system, and on an understanding of the relative ecological context and ways to combine the individual components to achieve the desired function.

Conclusion

Life for Martian community on Mars will depend largely on making use of resources that are already on the Red Planet: what space exploration calls “in situ resource utilization. ” The most important resource that astronauts hope to collect on Mars will likely be water, which is useful not only for drinking, but also as radiation shielding and as fuel when it is split into hydrogen and oxygen. “The cost of bringing water from Earth to Mars is quite expensive, so there may be five sources of water on Mars sheets of water ice; water-rich hydrated minerals; underground aquifers; seasonal flows of water technically known as recurring slope lineae; and atmospheric humidity.

Other important resources would-be Martians might need the gravel, sand, and rocks for construction materials such as tar roads, varies buildings and also the wastewater treatment plants. Dirt can be piled on habitats as radiation shielding, for Ozone Also Cobbles and larger rocks can be used to construct and maintain service roadways. Metals and silicon can be refined from rocks and minerals to be used for various purposes such as making pipes for water supply and collection of wastewater.

The issue of landing spot on Mars planet has some big pothole. The first thing Mars explorers will need is a safe place to land. The goal is a flat area roughly about 25 kilometers large suitable for landing many supply vessels and crew ships over a number of missions. In addition, you don’t want something that’s super-rocky, since boulders are hazardous to landing and make roving difficult, but you don’t want something super-soft either. Some places on Mars have pockets of dust that are several meters deep, and you wouldn’t want to land on fluffy powder. Low altitudes could also offer better landing sites since you’ll have more atmosphere above you, also having more air makes it easier to land safely with parachutes or other braking mechanisms.

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Mars Exploration: All About the “Red Planet”. (2020, July 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/making-mars-a-better-place/
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Mars Exploration: All About the “Red Planet”. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/making-mars-a-better-place/> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2021].
Mars Exploration: All About the “Red Planet” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Jul 14 [cited 2021 Sept 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/making-mars-a-better-place/
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