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Subject: Oil on Mars rss

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Eric Etkin
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This is a probably a strange question, but I figure there may be a few qualified persons floating around these parts to answer it...

I realize organic matter=oil, and Mars appears to have none (at least of substance), but if Mars had plentiful water in the distant past, as well as plate tectonics to help bury it, is there anything precluding animal forms of some type or another which maybe flourished a couple billion years ago... that might provide Mars with deep-surface oil reservoirs?

Obviously, when you're talking about foreign bodies, "anything is possible," but is this really straining common sense and current knowledge?

My line of (potentially faulty) logic:

- ancient organisms flourish (type unspecified)

- organisms die out (not sure of theoretical reasons why, other than loss of martian magnetic field..?)

- oil deposits form over billion years

- within late 21st century, colonists arrive and take advantage of local oil deposits (some ironic social commentary there...)

- colonists tap into oil deposits to generate greenhouse gases for terraforming?

Am I totally off my rocker?
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Paul DeStefano
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MOTHDevil wrote:

Am I totally off my rocker?


Yes, but this is independent of everything else in your post.
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CHAPEL
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I guess it would be dependent on the possible amount of bio material was on mars before it dried up, which is also just a theory. If mars never really had that much life in the past, it would probably not have a lot of fossil fuels to extract. I guess it just depends.
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Eric Etkin
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MWChapel wrote:
I guess it would be dependent on the possible amount of bio material was on mars before it dried up, which is also just a theory. If mars never really had that much life in the past, it would probably not have a lot of fossil fuels to extract. I guess it just depends.


Right... I guess what I'm looking for is concrete scientific or even common sense data that would say "nope it's not possible because we know life didn't exist there in the past."

My gut feeling is that until we have actual geologists or archeologists doing more than just scratching the surface, we have no real way of knowing. Seems like a couple billion years of dust storms and meteorite bombardment would pretty efficiently cover up the surface clues.
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Wouldn't it just make more sense to use solar power or radioactive power on Mars? Oil seems pretty useless. The oxygen necessary to combust it is more valuable for breathing & water.
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MOTHDevil wrote:


- colonists tap into oil deposits to generate greenhouse gases for terraforming?

Am I totally off my rocker?


Considering the formation of the Earth's atmosphere, terraforming at that scale would be time consuming to say the least.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth#Evolution_o...
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Eric Etkin
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Laughing Cow Cheese wrote:
Wouldn't it just make more sense to use solar power or radioactive power on Mars?


Absolutely. I agree. Add to that possibly geothermal (if the plates are still moving) and wind (if the lower atmospheric density problems can be overcome enough to drive a turbine).

But I'm interested in oil for two reasons:

1) (rationale within the work) Generation of greenhouse gases for long-term terraforming. In this model, power generation is essentially a byproduct.

2) (meta) Social commentary on oil addiction. Semi-satirical.


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Blorb Plorbst
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Martian atmosphere is already 95% carbon dioxide too. Is that enough greenhouse for you?
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CrankyPants wrote:
MOTHDevil wrote:


- colonists tap into oil deposits to generate greenhouse gases for terraforming?

Am I totally off my rocker?


Considering the formation of the Earth's atmosphere, terraforming at that scale would be time consuming to say the least.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth#Evolution_o...


Yeah, that wouldn't be the method of terraforming. Some of the estimates I've heard that to make Mars minimally habitable to the point of not needing sealed special suits and sealed structures to live there would take about 200 years once starting the process. I won't go into any details because I only know some of them.

Is there oil there? I doubt it, but again can't be sure. On Earth, the process of the formation of fossil fuels is believed to have ended when certain fungi evolved that ate the organic matter. The Fossil Fuel Mystery
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Eric Etkin
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CrankyPants wrote:
Martian atmosphere is already 95% carbon dioxide too. Is that enough greenhouse for you?


Well... clearly that's not doing the job.

I was thinking something closer to Zubrin's model:

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/mars-terraform-04h.html
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CHAPEL
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Venus and Mars. Both have lots of CO2. Venus too much, and mars not enough. We just need a giant straw. Mars needs to drink Venus's milkshake.
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¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
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MWChapel wrote:
Venus and Mars. Both have lots of CO2. Venus too much, and mars not enough. We just need a giant straw. Mars needs to drink Venus's milkshake.

Someone give this man a science grant! A giant space straw should be the #1 priority, now that the Challenger missions have been scrubbed.
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If oil were to be discovered on Mars (or any other extraterrestrial body) it would perhaps indicate the presence of life, past and/or present.

Perhaps.

OTOH, it might also lend much credence to the idea of the non-biological origin of oil.

Google search: origin of oil
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Eric Etkin
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MWChapel wrote:
Venus and Mars. Both have lots of CO2. Venus too much, and mars not enough. We just need a giant straw. Mars needs to drink Venus's milkshake.


But who's gonna suck it, kid? You?
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I don't think anyone knows whether there has ever been life on Mars. That's one big reason why we've sent robots there to look.
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Wouldn't Mars need to generate a magnetosphere again before a serious atmosphere could be established? I thought I watched a program that suggested Mars once had a larger atmosphere which "blew away" on the solar winds when the planet's core stopped spinning and the magnetosphere disappeared.
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Eric Etkin
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radynski wrote:
Wouldn't Mars need to generate a magnetosphere again before a serious atmosphere could be established? I thought I watched a program that suggested Mars once had a larger atmosphere which "blew away" on the solar winds when the planet's core stopped spinning at the magnetosphere disappeared.


I've seen opposing theories on this. Some of them suggest the lack of magnetic field is no obstacle whatsoever and while any new atmo generated via terraforming would eventually bleed out, this would happen over a ridiculously long period of time (centuries and millenia).
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MWChapel wrote:
Mars needs to drink Venus's milkshake.


That's what she said.
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