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Science questions not worth a thread I: I'm a moron!

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by The Imp, May 4, 2010.

  1. Xanikk999

    Xanikk999 History junkie

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    Ignoring the massive amounts of money that this would require, would a permanent self-sustained colony on Mars be possible with the technology we have today?

    If not permanently sustainable yet would it be technologically possible with shipments to and from the martian colony every so often? Again I am leaving out the money issue in this scenario so let's just assume we have the money for this.

    If the answer to both is no, what would we need to develop to make this possible?
     
  2. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    What's the point of a salt bridge in Electrochemistry?
     
  3. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Portal guns. Forget shower curtains, they would revolutionize space travel.
     
  4. peter grimes

    peter grimes ...

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    @ Xanikk:
    The first thing that jumps out at me is the need to shield the Mariners from cosmic rays. I don't know if this is simply a matter of massive shielding, or if we don't have the tech for it yet.

    But for all the other stuff - water, O2, nutrients, etc; it seems to me that in your scenario (money doesn't matter) we could simply ship all the requirements to the planet.

    But what about the long-term effects of reduced gravity? I know the moon is 1/6 the strength of gravity on Earth. What's the fraction for Mars? (too lazy to google :p)
     
  5. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    Two-fifths
     
  6. peter grimes

    peter grimes ...

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    2/5?? Ugh. that's gonna be a big problem, I fear.

    I wonder if anyone has looked into the effects of low-g environments on developing embryos? I'd imagine that an organism that developed in a low-g environment would fare better than one that developed and matured in a certain regime, then was transplanted to the lower-g regime.
     
  7. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    I don't think we can. That would require a LONG amount of time in a low-g environment, and we can't afford that now.
     
  8. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    I suspect it would just make you weaker so if you are born on mars you might not have the bone strength to stand on earth.
     
  9. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    They are used in batteries as a passage for ions to flow when the battery is connected. But they do not allow the two sides of a battery to react with each other, so they can only react with the cathode and anode. This allows a net neutral equilibrium to be possible, and the battery will strive to achieve that equilibrium by reacting and providing current.
    [wiki]Electrochemical cell[/wiki]
     
  10. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    We know how the earth is shielded, and we know that being deep underground or enough lead will solve the problem. So it's not a scientific problem as much as an engineering problem. But seeking better alternatives to using a lot of lead or digging deep is a worthwhile scientific pursuit.
     
  11. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Shielding is indeed just a matter of putting enough stuff between you and the cosmic rays. Anything that cannot be effectively shielded that way is not that dangerous anyway.

    So if you have some way to create enough building material on Mars, this should not be a problem. However there probably will be an increased cancer rate.

    I think if we assume an unlimited amount of supply ships, it is doable with current technology. And if we were to invest a lot resources into it, we could make it close to self-sufficient.
     
  12. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Conjugated systems are important for pigments, as you said.
     
  13. Xanikk999

    Xanikk999 History junkie

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    If most of our bodies cells are constantly being replaced why do we age at all? For example if our skin cells are always being replaced why does our skin not stay smooth and youthful as we age?
     
  14. Bluemofia

    Bluemofia F=ma

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    Replacement isn't perfect. See scars.

    As you age, your body starts to have hormone imbalances that disrupt optimal immune and cardiovascular function, so you tend to succumb to disease and heart problems more easily.

    Also, a property of Eukaryote cells is that their DNA isn't circular, so cell division always chops off the last remaining bit because the DNA polymerase isn't able to reach the last few. Those are then discarded, and the DNA gets shorter. When you run out of the Telomeres at the end, your cell refuses to divide. For humans, it's around 50 divisions.

    There are ways around both, but it's not trivial. Humans initially were evolved for short life spans, and relatively quick reproduction rates, focusing on quantity of life rather than quality, as it's more cost effective genetically that way, rather than investing a ton of energy into prolonging life which might just be cut short due to some silly accident, or a predator coming and eating you. Other animals with fairly safe lives tend to do the opposite, focusing on prolonging life so they have more time to breed. (turtles and elephants for example)

    And genetic damage due to exposure to the elements. Slowly you deviate more and more from your "original" genetics, because of cosmic rays, carcinogens, and general ionizing radiation shooting holes in your DNA, disrupting functions. Random mutation simply copying wrongly also builds up the mistakes. Eventually, the cells just simply don't function properly anymore; maybe a collagen making cell makes defective collagen now, so it and its descendants will make defective collagen.

    There's lots of factors really. But fundamentally, the body isn't meant to last forever.
     
  15. Xanikk999

    Xanikk999 History junkie

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    So what you are saying is find a cure for cancer and the ability to engineer our cells to have endless telomeres and we could become immortal?

    So is engineering the ability to not age within the realms of being possible? I read about an animal called a hydra that is basically biologically immortal.

    Could this trait be created in humans?
     
  16. Bluemofia

    Bluemofia F=ma

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    Gamete and some types of Cancer cells have the ability to repair their telomeres actually.

    Also add in a way to replace lost brain cells that you lose on a daily basis, (the main problem is the connections that they form with others to create memories) otherwise you basically become stuck in a vegetative state.

    It could, just that it is not easy to do. You're going to have to make your cells have really good DNA repair mechanisms, otherwise they'll degrade and die in the long run genetically.

    (personally, I'm skeptical about a cure for cancer. Cancer is a broad category of things that go wrong that cause your cells to divide out of control and start invading everything. It's similar to devising a pill/treatment that is a cure for all forms of death in my opinion.)
     
  17. PlutonianEmpire

    PlutonianEmpire Socially Awkward Goofball

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    Why is the precession of the Earth going in the opposite direction of the planet's rotation, as seen in the wikipedia page about astronomical precession?
     
  18. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

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    Really stupid question, but if you stretched out the moon flat and put it on the Earth's surface, how much of it would it cover?
     
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    As much of it as you wanted it to. Depending on how thin you rolled it out. :p
     
  20. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

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    Well given it's total surface area...:p
     

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