Authors: Cliff Roehr
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Copyright 2007 by Cliff Roehr, Pahrump Nevada 89048. Al rights reserved. Please Contact the author for permission before using any parts of this story or making copies.
I, Cliff Roehr authored this book because I enjoy writing. I had a few copies printed for my friends and family.
If you noticed this book has no ISBN registration number. That means that it is not a published book. If you would be interested in publishing and distributing this book please send me email to one of the three email addresses that follow. At the present time I check all three every day but I may drop one or two of them in time so it would be best to send your email to all three. [email protected]
A Colony on Mars
Based on what information we now have it appears that it might be possible to place a self sustaining colony of human beings on Mars. All of the necessities seem to be available. We now know that there is plenty of H20 water available beneath the thick layer of frozen CO2 Carbon Dioxide at the South Pole. It is assumed that the situation would be the same at the north pole. There is also good evidence that there is liquid H20 water flowing beneath the suffice of the planet. The known water at the South Pole alone would be adequate to cover the entire planet with pure water to a depth of approximately thirty six ft. So, at worst ample water would be a solvable problem.
Habitat is a problem because the Martian atmosphere is ninety five percent Carbon Dioxide, and only 3% nitrogen whereas the atmosphere of Earth is 78% or so nitrogen, 21% oxygen and less than 1% Carbon Dioxide. There is a solution to this problem. Recent photo's have shown that below the surface of Mars there are many large fissures, cavern's if you wil . One is known to be at least three times as wide as the Grand Canyon, three times as deep and nine times as long. This would not be a little cramped space it would be about the size of the State of Rode Island. A breathable Earth like atmosphere can be made with water and nitrates. There would be plenty of water. Initially smaller more manageable caverns could be used while work was being performed on larger caverns. Caverns could eventually be interconnected. One estimate I recently read was that there were caverns beneath the surface of Mars equal to the size of the Continental United States. This would be a large habitat indeed.
Gardens could be grown underground using electric grow lights. There are already new strains of plants being developed on Earth that are far more efficient at photosynthesis, the process of converting Carbon Dioxide to oxygen. If sufficient Nitrates are available to the plant from the soil then the plant wil consume Carbon Dioxide and produce a breathable atmosphere for man. At present the mean temperature on the surface of the planet is fifty five degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. The warmest temperature ever recorded on Mars was eighty degrees above zero, Fahrenheit. Mars receives far less sunshine than the Earth because it is further away from the sun. Twice a year during the equinox the wind speeds on the planet surface reach two hundred fifty to four hundred miles per hour. A man left unprotected on the surface would be dead in under a minute.
Mars is only seventeen percent the size of the Earth. Mars, in many ways is more comparable to Earth's moon than it is to Earth, except that the minimum gravity that man can survive comfortably in is 33% and Mars gravity is thirty five percent. Living in a pressurized cavern in an atmosphere rich in oxygen, taking the proper vitamins, getting plenty of exercise and spending some time in artificial gravity of one g, Earths gravity could go a long way in making Mars more habitable. Mars has no ozone layer that protects the surface from exposure to extreme radiation. The radiation on the surface of Mars is deadly.
It has been said that all that is needed for survival is a reliable energy source. On Mars there are probably no fossil fuels however the frequent volcanoes indicate that geothermal energy would be plentiful. So much for heat and electricity.
The Martian soil is known to be extremely rich in iron. So far there is no information that I could find as to the presence of other minerals but with the high presence of iron there are bound to be others we just have not found them yet or reported them yet.
So there you have it everything that man would need to survive is awaiting him on Mars. The technology is already available all that we lack now is the resolve and the commitment.
NOTE: No time and date system has been universal y accepted for keeping the time and date on Mars, at least not as of 2108. When and if Mars is ever colonized a standard wil be established. Please go to http://pweb.jps.net/~tgangale/Mars/faq.htm#day where you can read everything you ever wanted to know about keeping track of time and dates on Mars. Some interesting facts are as fol ows: A Martian Day is 24 hours 39 minutes 35.24409 seconds long, a Martian year is 686.9726 Earth days in length. A Martian Day is called a Sol.
How does the eccentricity of Mars' orbit affect the seasonal variations? Earth’s orbit is very nearly circular, and so the four seasons last approximately the same number of days. The orbit of Mars, however, is a bit more eccentric (0.0934). In accordance with Kepler’s laws of orbital motion, Mars travels more slowly in its orbit when it is further from the sun, and more quickly when it is nearer to the sun. Mars reaches its furthest point from the sun (cal ed "aphelion") when it is spring in the northern hemisphere. This has the effect of making spring the longest season (193.30 sols), and summer the second longest (178.64 sols). Mars reaches its closest point to the sun (cal ed
"perihelion") when it is autumn in the northern hemisphere, and consequently autumn is the shortest season (142.70 sols), and winter is the second shortest (153.94 sols). On a calendar containing 24-months of equal duration, spring lasts seven months, while autumn lasts a little more than five. Summer has a little more than six months, and winter has a little less. This paragraph was plagiarized from the above mentioned website. I suppose that if this story is ever released as a book I wil have to get permission to use it or completely reword it. Perhaps now you will understand that for the purposes of this fiction story the Author has taken license to have the characters in the story use Greenwich mean time and the Earth calendar and to say that the scientific community at the colony maintains and prominently posts the Martian time and date which is available to anyone planning to work on the surface. Until the reader reaches PART II of this book he wil have no idea of what the story is going to be about. I would encourage you however to not skip ahead to part II. If you do not read part I then part II will be meaningless. Part II begins about two thirds of the way through the book. This story then will be the author's fictional concept of what might take place if mankind were to embark on a project to colonize Mars.
CHAPTER – Tim and Carla find work
May 28, 2107 : “Hey Honey, look at this ad in the Review Classified, I don't believe it, we gotta check this out tomorrow morning.” “Don't believe what you read Tim, you know, if it sounds too good to be true...” “I know Carla, If it sounds too good to be true it's not true.” “But I think this may be different. The ad was placed by Mars Colony, Inc. They have been working up there for several years now and they are hiring, and look at what they are paying!” “Lets see that ad, WOW”
“WORK ON Mars, That's right, we are now hiring in all categories, unskil ed, skil ed and professional. The lowest wage we pay is $15,000.00 monthly to start. Ten year contract, required. Al board and room equipment and uniforms furnished. Must be an English speaking U.S. Citizen, between 25 and 35 years of age, have a clean police record, pass a rigid physical examination, pass a drug test and have at a minimum a high school diploma. Bring your birth certificate, shot record, national ID and health card, copies of any diplomas or degrees and a detailed resume to Room 2277 Hempstead building between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM any weekday.”
“We are here about the jobs on Mars, is this for real?” It sure is, just sign in and have a seat in the waiting room through that door, one of our counselors wil be with you shortly.” There were about twenty others already seated in the large waiting room. It looked as though there might be quite a wait. A large table at the entrance was covered with stacks of printed brochures. They each selected two or three pamphlets, and found two seats together. The man introduced himself as Hal Bergstrom, he addressed the entire group. “So either you people want to become Martians or the money brought you in, either way, you are here. I thought I could thin this crowed out a little before you go to your interview. As you probably already know Mars has the potential to support a population of over three hundred mil ion people, but that is only the potential. Right now there are fewer than three hundred workers on Mars, their living conditions aren't the best. Al but twenty seven of them are U.S. Government employees, mostly scientists and such. They presently reside in a cavern that covers about one half square mile. Back in 2095, almost twelve years ago the Government sent in a work crew of five hundred men from the Army Corps of Engineers. These workers took two years to construct the present habitat. When they finished their project, they left to returned to Earth.
“Once the Corps guys departed the Government people started to arrive. One of the first projects that they embarked on was mounting the telescope in a dome that had been constructed by the Army when they were there. This is not as large and powerful as some telescopes on Earth, or in Earth orbit, but Mars gets to view area's of the star systems that can not be seen from Earth. On Mars they have several large dishes mounted on the surface that al ow searches by radio telescope.
There is plenty of water available in the caverns. “Everything else that they presently have use has been brought from Earth. Electricity is provided by a generator located in a walled off corner of the cavern. Atmosphere is manufactured by an apparatus brought from Earth.” Their toilet facilities are in yet another nearby cavern. They consist of porta potties separated for men and women. There is a tank of hot and cold water with a dozen showers and wash basins in each bathroom. The atmosphere has a stench to it, not just in the rest rooms but everywhere. When you first arrive you will be appalled by it but after a while you wil hardly notice it.
If you are claustrophobic you do not want to take this job. The only way that a human can go to the surface is clad in a Mars suit, which is similar to a space suit. They do have plenty of water, underground rivers are plentiful. There are fish in the stream but you can't eat them they are poisonous. We really don't even want you touching them until we know more about them. There is a small video library and each of you wil have a personal media player. That is about all there is to relieve the tedium of daily life. Our company has had an average of ten employees there for the last five years, it has taken them that long to prepare, seal and pressurize a smal cavern for the three hundred employees we are now hiring. This new Company cavern can be reached by a short tunnel from the main cavern. It was just recently pressurized with atmosphere which made it habitable. We are now ready to send in work crews. Mars Colony, Inc. has the contract from the Government for construction of al the additional necessities. Much of your work will be done in the hostile atmosphere on the surface of the planet wearing Mars suits. A Mars suit is very cumbersome to work in. We need to build a sewer plant, install indoor plumbing, with toilets showers, water heaters, a geothermal electric generation plant and run the electric wiring. In a few months we want to start tunneling toward the next cavern. Our eventual goal is a monster cavern located about six miles from the present caverns. You wil be working a eight hour day, six days a week.
This round of hiring, for three hundred workers who wil be leaving Earth on an interplanetary ship in early July of this year. Once you arrive, the only way you will have to communicate with Earth is by home video or letters that can be shuttled home whenever a ship from Earth docks. There are presently about four ships per Earth year. Mars years are twice as long as ours but don't worry your ten year contract wil be for Earth years. Any of you who want an interview please stay in your seats. If you have any doubts about that lifestyle please do yourself a favor and leave now.”
Eight people got up and left. Tim and Carla exchanged a long silent look into each other's eyes and then remained in their chair's. They were then ushered into what looked like a classroom with desks and terminals. The instructor in the front waited until they were al seated then the screens in front of each of them flickered on, an application appeared. After two hours they had finished the application. Some who had already finished had been ushered out.
“There is always something that you don't think to bring, Carla remarked but I suspect that I wil have time to provide it for them before we leave for Mars. Carla was presently employed as a short order cook in a chain restaurant. Tim had finished high school early at seventeen. He had obtained his degree in engineering from Texas A&M at twenty one. When Tim was a student at A&M Carla was working as a cook in the cafeteria, that 's how they met. They were married when Tim graduated. It was a small wedding, attended only by Carla's family and a few friends from the University. Tim and Carla had moved to Las Vegas two years before when Tim had been Laid off from his job as a dril ing engineer in Houston, Tim had taken several construction jobs in the booming Las Vegas building industry just to put bread on the table but so far had not landed another engineering job. He had hoped to get employment in the mining industry as an engineer. There weren't many new wells being dril ed in the U.S. anymore and many of the dril ers and engineers were finding other employment. You might say that Tim just hadn't found himself.