Sunday, 29 March 2009

A Colony On Mars : Chapter 5

. Sunday, 29 March 2009

CHAPTER - Tim drills a well
September 30, 2107: That morning, Tim selected his crew and they went
to work. They scavenged part of what they needed and jury rigged the rest.
They did have some shaft and a drill head, they converted the u-joint and motor
from an old fork lift to be mounted on the platform and turn the shaft. By the
end of the day they had tested all the equipment and had drilled a hole twelve
inches in diameter and about three feet deep.

October 1, 2107: (from Tim's notes}”This morning we started drilling in
earnest but it is not going very well, the drill head keeps binding up and
something we are trying to drill through keeps dulling our drill head so that it has
to be resharpened every few feet. We have obtained a high pressure pump
and a fire hose. We keep washing the clay from the drill bit with the nozzle of
the hose before it can be resharpened. I had an idea, we removed the drill bit
and ran the fire hose through the shaft and gave it full power. The soft clay
began to liquefy and bubble to the top. I noticed small rocks ranging is size
from the size of walnuts to the size of apples being forced up to the surface. I
figured we must be drilling through an ancient lava flow. I picked up the rocks
that were being forced to the surface and threw them into a wheelbarrow. We
were down almost 50 feet and the thermometer indicated that the temperature
was up to two hundred fifty degrees. We needed around one thousand degrees
to obtain sufficient conversion steam to turn a generator the size of the one we
intended to mount and make electricity. That afternoon when the crew went off
duty my curiosity was getting the best of me so I went over to the lake and
rinsed off the rocks I had collected. They looked kind of pretty so I put them in a
canvas bag and took them to my quarters. I didn't know at the time what I
would eventually use them for but on Mars you can find a use for everything.
Maybe I could mount them in concrete and use them to decorate around our
front door someday.”
The talk radio announcer who called himself Harry Martian broke in to
the music stations to announce that drilling had started for the hole that would
enable the new geothermal generator. Tim had his ear piece radio on the talk
station and was amused at the different spins that the listeners put on the
project. A couple callers feared that what they were doing could cause a
volcano to erupt in The Company cavern. Actually, thought Tim, that would be a
possibility. Tim found himself thinking about that possibility the rest of the day.
After work Tim looked up the scientist he had met named George Schultz, and
asked him what he thought. George said, “you don't need to worry at all about
your drilling effort causing a volcano,” “How can you be so sure?” “I am not at all
sure that it won't, Tim but if it does you won't have long to worry about it.”
Somehow Tim did not feel at all reassured.
October 2, 2107: ( from Tims notes) We reached a depth of 60 feet and
were getting a temperature of over six hundred degrees. We continued on
slowly until at just under one hundred feet we were getting the one thousand
degrees that we needed. We withdrew the hose and sank a blade that I had
found in the supply yard that enlarged the hole to a three foot circumference.
We then started inserting a double 6” pipe joined at the bottom by a U shaped
When the U at the bottom connecting our two pipes reached five
hundred degrees we began to pump the cold water from the lake into one of the
pipes. Hot water began to spew from the other so we connected a hose to the
end where the hot watter was bubbling out and fed that into the lake. We were
taking our cold water from the headwater of the stream just below the falls. By
this time another crew had mounted the generator on cement blocks so we
connected the out hose to the generator and ran the exhaust water hose from
the generator into the lake. We then powered up the generator and it began to
pump water into the lake. We then eased the dual pipes deeper into the hole.
Shortly we had raw steam flowing into the generator and the fan began to turn.
While we were busy with these tasks the electrical crew had wired the
generator into the electrical system and the power began to flow. Once the
pipes were at the bottom of the hole we aliened the pipe from the generator to
line up with the output pipe and cut the motor forcing the cold water into the
pipe. We didn't have long to make the connection before the U at the bottom of
the pipe would melt. When the live steam diminished enough that we could
handle it in a Mars suit one of the men connected the live steam pipe directly to
the generator and we restarted the pump sending the cold river water into the
ground. On most steam generation systems the water is cooled and recycled
but in this case we needed to heat the water in the stream and the lake so we
are constantly drawing cold water from the headwater just below the falls and
depositing it back into the stream about thirty feet down river. This should be
adequate to heat the stream and lake to a temperature that can accommodate
trout and even catfish. We were generating close to thirty megawatts of power
and it was up to the electricians to route it throughout the facility and put it to
use. I don't know how much thirty megawatts is but they tell me it will be all the
electricity we will need until for some time to come.
That evening everything in the caverns seemed to burn a little brighter.
We left the old diesel generator hooked up as a backup system but we had quit
running it.

Continue Chapter:


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