Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Sands of Mars

The latest Mars Phoenix lander mission by NASA is certainly producing a lot of news headlines these days, as well as some dramatic pictures. This mission is intended to confirm the suspicion of whether or not there is water frozen in the Martian polar icecaps. Some believe there is enough water frozen in the icecaps and elsewhere underground that if melted, it could cover much of the planet in an ocean. Unfortunately, Mars right now as a whole is so cold that it would take a lot of energy to warm it, should we one day try to make it fit for our habitation. And yet in its distant past, Mars may have once been covered with this water, as shown by telltale evidence of ancient water activity. Martian water even appears to have left large deposits of Thorium.

Thorium on Mars appears to be contained in Monazite sands, in a form similar to how we find it in India. If ISRO could send spacecraft to Mars, including eventually even a lander vehicle, then it could perhaps scoop up some sand and smelt it, to process it into Thorium fuel pellets. This might be a worthy successor to the Chandrayaan series of Moon missions for mapping lunar resources.

With India already making a major investment in Thorium technology, then perhaps we could one day make good use of it on Mars as well, by using Thorium to power a fleet of automated robots that could lay the groundwork for future manned missions to Mars.

2 comments:

KapiDhwaja said...
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KapiDhwaja said...

Very interesting post. Thanks San.

It is hardly surprising that Mars is so similar to Earth. Our Hindu Ancients very well knew it. There is a popular Sanskrit prayer to Mars which starts off with,

"Dharani Garbha Sambhutam...",

meaning--"Oh Mars, thou that are born of Earth's Womb..."

Goes to show that Mars was a planet formed from Earth millions of years ago, and our forefathers very well knew it.