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Satnews Daily
March 21st, 2017

Terraformation to Create a Lake for Martian Inhabitation

The Lake Matthew Team has just announced the Mars Terraformer Transfer (MATT), the first practical terraformation invention—with MATT in 2036, a commercial satellite is planned to terraform a region of Mars to create a persistent lake for use by mission crews... the invention is patent-pending and available for licensing.  

Inhabitation of Mars is a goal shared by many national space agencies and aerospace firms.  The physical and financial challenges are daunting; however, they can be ameliorated with terraformation, Martyn Fogg’s notional “process of planetary engineering” in support of life. Terraformation need not engineer an entire planetary surface.  A city-region is adequate for inhabitation. MATT hits this mark.

Artistic rendition of the MATT subaqueous hab design, rough geometry, 300 m scale.

Image courtesy of Lake Matthew team.

MATT details methods for a 2036 terraformation, which will be completed in good time to assist early mission crews.  A commercial satellite executes the mission plan: a Shepherd, guiding a selected celestial small-body impactor to a selected target site.  A DE-STARLITE-class fiber laser provides the shepherding impulse.

The laser and other commercial instruments deflect, analyze and restructure the small body, over some years, for optimized impact on Mars.  The mission plan is straightforward, specific and feasible.  Currently, at least six US. firms have the demonstrated capability to build the required Shepherd spacecraft using off-the-shelf hardware.

The impactor injects heat into bedrock and produces meltwater for a lake that persists for thousands of years within the warmed impact site. The challenges of crewed missions are thereby ameliorated and the achievable scale of inhabitation is increased.  Prior designs of habitation structures (habs) were limited to thousands of cubic meters. MATT habs can scale to millions of cubic meters — stadium scale, or greater.

The site’s treated lake water is sufficient to cover and protect subaqueous domes.  Such habs are not pressure vessels; therefore, the size-limiting scaling laws of pressure vessels do not apply and habs scale to match ambitions.  With scaling, the first Mars habs transition quickly into settlements, with the capacity for self-sufficiency, even the provisioning of expeditions worldwide.  This cuts the mass of Earth-shipped cargo as well as the expense of crewed missions. 

Scaled habs can also house commercial offices for telerobotic open-pit mining of rare and rare earth metals.  High-grade ore deposits are likely abundant in the Martian near-surface, mainly in the preserved mass of protoplanetary-core asteroids such as 16 Psyche.  Such asteroids would enrich ancient Martian impact sites with metal ores, rendering Mars the greatest treasury of accessible rare and rare earth metals in the solar system. MATT opens this treasury.

MATT is necessarily a strategic invention, designed to accelerate Mars exploration, settlement and commercial development.  All recovered resources are controlled by the licensee, pursuant to the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act.

For more information on MATT, please visit LakeMatthew.com.