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Vostok Ice Mountain

Pump massive amounts of water up to Vostok station, make a mountain.
  [vote for,

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 cheap and useful building materials. What are we going to build? A massive great mountain. To do this, we're going to need a couple of power stations, nuclear for preference. One at the shore as a pumping station, and another at the site as 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 have 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 it's 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 launch track, but 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.

bs0u0155, Jan 26 2013

A perhaps similarly-shaped Idea Desert_20Space-Scraping_20Arcologies
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 The_20Igloo_20Pyramid_20Of_20Dome_20Argus
[theircompetitor, Jan 27 2013]

Great Pykrete Pyramid of Ellesmere Great_20Pykrete_20P...id_20of_20Ellesmere
*ahem* 2009 [BunsenHoneydew, Aug 09 2016]

Ice forms https://books.googl...v=onepage&q&f=false
[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.
FlyingToaster, Jan 26 2013

       meh, this one's only 133,000 cubic kilometers or so.
bs0u0155, Jan 26 2013

       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.
bs0u0155, Jan 26 2013

       I got some deja vu here.
FlyingToaster, Jan 26 2013

       not that again.
bs0u0155, Jan 28 2013

       Apparently, yes, that again - [link]
BunsenHoneydew, Aug 09 2016

       //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?
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 09 2016

       So, in a lightning-fast 4 year response time, I've run some numbers.   

       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 ~1.0x10^6 psi.   

       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.
bs0u0155, Feb 20 2020

       I find I bunned this long ago. Probably because I read the title as "vodka".   

       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 poles?
Voice, Feb 20 2020

       //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.
bs0u0155, Feb 21 2020

       Also, atop a 40km mountain at the south pole is a bloody good place for the cosmic background refrigeration system.
bs0u0155, Feb 21 2020


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