3
$\begingroup$

Mercury temperatures varies from −173 °C to 427 °C , though temperatures in the poles are always below −93 °C. To have a reference, the lowest recorded temperature in the Antarctica was -93°C . But Mercury has no atmosphere, so my assumption it is the impact of the heat transfer in a base there would be no greater to the one the International Space Station experiences. The ISS is at 121 C in the sun facing side and at -157°C at the dark side. Considering this assumption to be fairly right, Which would be the most human suitable place in Mercury to set up a human base , and specifically is there any region between the poles and the rest of the planet where the temperature would be closer to human habitats?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Our survey on the popularity of various degrees of sunlight influx, consisting of of letting a humans spread all over a planet, shows that they clearly likes the solar influx at 30-40 degrees from the equator. At that distance, the average energy received per square meter is

$$\frac{1370 W/m^2 \cdot \cos(35°)}{\pi} = 400 W/m^2$$

The head-on energy influx at Mercury is about 6.7 times higher than on Earth. ~$9200 W/m^2$ That even dividing by $\pi$ to get the average day energy flux, that is still $2900W/m^2$, 7.3 times higher than what we want. $$cos^{-1}\left(\frac{400W/m^2}{2900W/m^2}\right)=82°$$

The ideal latitude is pretty close to the poles, and because of the slow rotation of Mercury, the days are still alarmingly hot, and the nights freezing cold. But that is the general location you have to aim for.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ It is interesting that using 2 different methods, we arrived at essentially the same answer. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Apr 21 '16 at 3:00
3
$\begingroup$

It is looking likely that Mercury has water ice in every crater of larger than 10 km above 80 degrees North Latitude.

Craters at Mercury's North Pole - yellow denotes possible water deposits:
Craters at Mercury's North Pole - yellow denotes possible water deposits

Combined with the shade provided by the crater rims, this seems to be the only place that humans could establish a settlement that could keep people alive during the Hermian "day."

If you settled a crater on the border of this region, you could put your solar panels on the inside of the crater rim on the North and the settlement could be based on the inside of the South side of the crater rim.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.