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It is never warm at the Russian antarctic research facility
Vostok station. So, ice, and perhaps
the solution-looking-for-a-problem that is Pykrete, are
and useful building materials. What are we going to
A massive great mountain. To do this, we're going to
of power stations, nuclear for preference. One
the shore as a pumping station, and another at the site
a second pumping station and general power station.
Then, we're going to start pumping water. A team of
robots dragging big hoses around take care of spraying
water about in a nice square. I'm thinking a square, of
about 100km per side. Then, build another, until you
a 40km-tall stepped pyramid. Obviously, nature has
stacked miles of ice upon miles of ice and things tend to
(very slowly) get away from you in a glacial flux kind of
way. To address nature's foolishness, we will incorporate
strategic structural ties of Pykrete to stabilize the whole
thing against flowing away.
The height is capped at 40km because the atmosphere
starts to warm up at high altitude and get's a little close
to 0 (unless
much colder over the antarctic). Again, perhaps a
Pykrete cap would be stable at higher altitudes.
Why build it? Why not? You could probably get some
pretty atmosphere free images with a nice telescope,
although you're not going to cover much sky with a polar
location. The location is all wrong for an aurora
observatory. You could use it as a support for a space
again, not the ideal location, the equator would be
better there. Mountain climbers would like it. You would
need supplementary oxygen of course. And
Supplementary nitrogen, supplementary pressure,
supplementary most things really since the pressure is
only 0.2% of sea level. Still, you might feel sprightly after
losing almost 3% of your weight due to gravity changes.
A perhaps similarly-shaped Idea
Also, it has hollows inside, so the lower levels don't get squished until they flow like a glacier. [Vernon, Jan 27 2013]
Ice, ice baby
[theircompetitor, Jan 27 2013]
Great Pykrete Pyramid of Ellesmere
*ahem* 2009 [BunsenHoneydew, Aug 09 2016]
[bs0u0155, Feb 20 2020]
||Not that you shouldn't try of course, but I think you'd run out of water before you ran out of atmosphere.
||meh, this one's only 133,000 cubic kilometers or so.
||throw in a few fancy materials, not much maybe a
couple of diagonal steel cables here and a bit more
Pykrete there. Also, if it expands slowly enough, it
doesn't matter, we'll just add more to the top.
||Apparently, yes, that again - [link]
||//a 40km-tall stepped pyramid.// So, what is the
pressure at the base of the pyramid? What is the
melting point of water at that pressure? And how
cold would the ice have to be to prevent plastic
deformation under those temperatures?
||So, in a lightning-fast 4 year response time, I've run some
||A 40km tall pyramid with a base of 100km on each side
would have a volume of 1.33x10^14. That would give a
mass of pure water ice in the 1.21x10^17kg range
assuming normal ice density*.
||The pressure at the base would be a trifling
1.18x10^18Pa. But since we're in a materials engineering
mode and not dealing with sponge cake, lets go with a
more usual MPa unit, which is 1.187x10^12 MPa. That's
1.71x10^14 psi. Now, as a reference, diamond forms at
||Regular water ice has a crushing strength of 3.5ish MPa so
we're off by a few orders of magniture. So at these
pressures, way off the end
of the scales, it looks like we're into exotic forms of
ice that do odd things, like have increased densities, and
melting points that would boil your gin.
||So what have I worked out? I'm above my pay grade here
by quite a lot.
||*this is where the problems really start.
||I find I bunned this long ago. Probably because I read the title
||On a related note why are we not building a dozen nuclear
power plants to pull water from the ocean, freeze it, radiate
the heat to space, and leave new mountains of ice at the
||//are we not building a dozen nuclear power plants to pull
water from the ocean, freeze it,//
||we are! look^^^ "This just adds to the why should we do it"
side of the ledger.
||Also, atop a 40km mountain at the south pole is a bloody
good place for the cosmic background refrigeration system.