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Author Topic: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?  (Read 2040 times)

Offline evan_au

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There must be many of these MIRVs left over from the cold War.
Some of the warheads are designed for ground penetration - ideal for earthquake monitors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_independently_targetable_reentry_vehicle


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #1 on: 16/09/2012 07:12:25 »
Interesting idea.

I believe that Space-X tried to purchase some Soviet ICBMs, but eventually gave up on the idea as not fulfilling their needs.  Rockets from Earth to Mars must be highly optimized for maximum interplanetary payload.  Do the ICBMs have enough boost?

I like the idea of packaging multiple probes onto a single rocket.  Why couldn't the Opportunity landing module have had a secondary design purpose for a fixed landing vehicle?  I suppose bunker buster bombs are designed to remain intact until they bust through up to 6 meters of concrete.  But, I would think that an uncontrolled landing would be hard on electronics.  Are orbiters left as radio relay stations in orbit?

Are you planning on powering the monitoring stations with solar arrays, or nuclear thermal electric devices?  Both methods would have its limitations.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #2 on: 16/09/2012 08:47:33 »
Direct into the ground from orbit saves a lot of problems with parachutes, skycranes, retro-rockets, balloons, drilling rigs, robotic arms, etc.

It does leave the problem of how you communicate back to the orbiting spacecraft...

Presumably the spacecraft would be overhead for only a couple of minutes per day, but the amount of data should be fairly low - perhaps 1 significant meteorite impact on Mars per day? There aren't too many competitors for the spectrum space on Mars, so a spread-spectrum transmission system would avoid the difficulties of pointing at a moving orbiter.

Solar cells tend to get covered in dust, so maybe a thermo-electric generator, working into cold rock would work (as long as it didn't cause expansion/contraction noises)..

They do have electronics that can be fired out of a cannon, so I guess it is possible to package electronics to survive an impact into dirt (or even rock?).
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #3 on: 16/09/2012 09:15:36 »
As I said, the (electronic?) trigger mechanism of the bunker buster bombs would be a good comparison.

Presumably one could put the orbiter relay station into a geostationary orbit above the lander, so that tracking the two would be easy (unless you had a fragmented lander, in which case you might also want multiple relay stations.  Earth/Mars eclipses would likely be rare and short-lived.  Even earth-sun-mars eclipses would be relatively infrequent and short in duration.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #4 on: 16/09/2012 10:10:13 »
According to this
"A marsquake is a quake that occurs on the planet Mars. A recent study suggests that marsquakes occur every million years,"
from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quake_(natural_phenomenon)#Marsquake
there's no need to rush.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #5 on: 16/09/2012 11:30:31 »
The 1940's electronic in proximity anti aircraft shells were able to withstand sufficient acceleration to propel them upto 5kms high so I don't see any problem with modern electronics
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #6 on: 16/09/2012 11:41:45 »
"A marsquake is a quake that occurs on the planet Mars. A recent study suggests that marsquakes occur every million years,"
from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quake_(natural_phenomenon)#Marsquake
there's no need to rush.
Well, maybe.
Just imagine if you missed it!!!!
It would be a long wait for the next one.

Do we have sufficient data to conclude whether or not Mars is tectonically active?  Has a liquid core?
I presume that having relatively small moons would contribute to the stability somewhat.

Actually, I'm seeing notes that it is believed to have a liquid core, so presumably it could have some tectonic activity.  And, of course, it has Mount Olympus  Is it still active?  On earth, we get earthquakes near volcanoes. 
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #7 on: 20/09/2012 07:15:47 »
Didn't we crash a vehicle at the moon recently? To get a seismic reading?
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #8 on: 20/09/2012 11:25:25 »
NASA is sending a small probe to Mars in 2016 to set up a single seismic station: http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-unveils-mars-mission-probe-red-planets-core-210942546.html

However, seismographs provide a much better picture of the interior of the planet if there is a widely dispersed network of them - some of the seismic waves will travel through the crust, while others will travel through the core. One of the key questions is whether Mars has a liquid core, and transverse waves won't traverse a liquid.

Another key question is about the thickness of Mars' crust - if it is really thick, it might block plate tectonics, even though the core has convective flows tugging at the base of the crust.

If some recent theories about the formation of the Moon prove correct, much of Earth's crust may have ended up in the Moon, giving Earth a relatively thin crustal skin.
 

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Re: Could a MIRV set up an earthquake network on Mars?
« Reply #8 on: 20/09/2012 11:25:25 »

 

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