[FoRK] Colonize Mercury, not Mars

Joseph S. Barrera III joe at barrera.org
Sun May 19 13:41:50 PDT 2013

Found this while looking for a more-complete Lagrangian for the Standard 
Model (which btw is at http://einstein-schrodinger.com/Standard_Model.pdf)


[...] The first thought about Mercury is that it would have very high 
temperatures and no water, because the equatorial surface temperature 
ranges between -183oC and 427oC as the planet rotates. But an analysis 
of temperature vs. latitude and depth shows that the temperature is 
nearly constant at room temperature (22+/-1oC) in underground rings 
circling the planet's poles, and deeper than .7 meter below the surface. 
[...] Researchers at Arecibo observatory have found high 
radar-reflective areas near Mercury's poles in permanently shadowed 
crater bottoms, and this material was recently proven to be nearly pure 
water ice using neutron spectrometry data from the Mercury MESSENGER 
spacecraft, as described in Thermal Stability of Volatiles in the North 
Polar Region of Mercury andEvidence for Water Ice Near Mercury's North 
Pole from MESSENGER Neutron Spectrometer Measurements.


Mars automatically comes to mind when discussing planetary colonization, 
and manned missions to Mars have been the long term focus of US space 
exploration plans since 2004. But despite all the hype, Mars is really a 
poor prospect for colonization. The solar light intensity on Mars is .43 
that of Earth, which makes solar power and agriculture much less 
practical than on Mercury. The gravity of Mars is 38% of Earth, 
essentially equal to Mercury. The magnetic field of Mars is .1% of 
Earth, and its atmosphere density is 2% that of Earth, so protection 
from ionizing radiation would require underground habitation, the same 
as on Mercury. The average equatorial surface temperature of Mars is 
about -45oC (-50oF), which would be the constant temperature 
underground. And of course the temperature gets much lower away from the 

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