The uses of Martian ice

In this paper I explore potential relationships between humans and Martian polar ices. Martian ices contain within them multimillion year histories of atmospheric, geological and maybe even biological processes. Polar ices will have many scientific uses, as well as providing resources for human explorers. Their hydrogen atoms may be used to make methane fuel by combination with carbon atoms from atmospheric carbon dioxide. It would be possible to use the ice as a source of water and also of oxygen in the otherwise anoxic atmosphere. Martian polar ices could be used as a shield by human explorers: by covering a research station with ice, high energy solar particles could be absorbed, protecting explorers from potentially damaging radiation exposure. Finally, Martian ices provide a substratum over which scientific and exploratory expeditions could traverse on their way to deep field sites and the geographic poles themselves. Martian polar ices have the potential to open a new and unique chapter in the long relationship between humans and ice.

Details

Publication status:
Published
Author(s):
Authors: Cockell, Charles S.

Date:
1 January, 2004
Journal/Source:
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews / 29
Page(s):
395-407
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
https://doi.org/10.1179/030801804225018918