Author Topic: Sooo Much Nitrogen  (Read 538 times)

MrJake

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Sooo Much Nitrogen
« on: 12 July 2017, 18:27:11 »


Titan is an example of an environment that is both cold and has a nitrogen rich atmosphere. Earth being an example of Nitrogen and oxygen rich, but warm. What would a nitrogen rich (Nitrogen, Nitrogen, Nitrous Oxide, Simple Hydrocarbons on the Campaign Ops atmosphere table) but hot (307 K at the equator) planet look/be like?

AlphaMirage

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #1 on: 12 July 2017, 19:19:50 »
Best guess

Very smoggy, depending on atmospheric pressure you probably would have clouds of ammonia-like chemicals and some kind of ammonia-water cycle happening on a planetary scale.  Rain might be nitrous acid; it would be unpleasant.

worktroll

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #2 on: 12 July 2017, 19:24:23 »
Okay, time to let your imagination run. A few starting points:

1) N2, NOX are transparent to our eyes, so it's not going to be all purple gas.
2) If you're seeing nitrous oxides, and hydrocarbons, then you've got a biosystem going. These compounds tend to be reactive & break down quickly, so something's renewing them in the atmosphere
3) Nitrogen isn't as reactive as carbon, so the biochemistry is likely to be slower.
4) Nitrogen isn't much of a greenhouse gas, and there's not a lot of things to replace water as listed, so not a lot of clouds

Within that, go wild! With no clouds, think largely desert environment. It's hot. 'Plant' life has evolved to soak up as much sunlight as possible to form the hydrocarbons from trace elements in the soil (replacing the carbohydrates our plants use for that purpose). They'll have a plastic-ish look to them, and may well be using simple long-chain hydrocarbons (plastic!) in place of cellulose. There may even be some native photo-electric effect going on in some plants, storing charge to repel grazing animals; this leads to the nitrous oxide discharges.

Animals will tend to be sluggish compared to Earth life. Grazers would be preyed on by more agile predators, who use nitrous oxide to 'supercharge' their metabolism for brief periods (see Pournelle's "Grendels" in "The Legacy of Hereot"), and these could be nasty suprises for humans in light exosuits. Then there's the lightning bees - insect equivalents who've learned to tap the plant batteries, and whose metabolism relies partially on electric charge. Their hives form natural capacitors, which could be 'quite a shock' for an ill-judging explorer.

At night, it gets cold under the raw stars. Most critters hunker down for the night, except for slow semi-hunter, semi-parasitic critters who move from host to host, seeking sustenance. These could be quite a suprise for people camping out overnight.

Of course, humans will be poison to these critters, and vice versa. But perhaps the lightning bees are attracted to all the electricity the humans use, the night crawlers to 'Mech lubricant which smells like prey, etc etc.

Helpful?
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
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BirdofPrey

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #3 on: 13 July 2017, 02:18:17 »
Okay, time to let your imagination run. A few starting points:

1) N2, NOX are transparent to our eyes, so it's not going to be all purple gas.
2) If you're seeing nitrous oxides, and hydrocarbons, then you've got a biosystem going. These compounds tend to be reactive & break down quickly, so something's renewing them in the atmosphere
3) Nitrogen isn't as reactive as carbon, so the biochemistry is likely to be slower.
4) Nitrogen isn't much of a greenhouse gas, and there's not a lot of things to replace water as listed, so not a lot of clouds

Within that, go wild! With no clouds, think largely desert environment. It's hot. 'Plant' life has evolved to soak up as much sunlight as possible to form the hydrocarbons from trace elements in the soil (replacing the carbohydrates our plants use for that purpose). They'll have a plastic-ish look to them, and may well be using simple long-chain hydrocarbons (plastic!) in place of cellulose. There may even be some native photo-electric effect going on in some plants, storing charge to repel grazing animals; this leads to the nitrous oxide discharges.

Animals will tend to be sluggish compared to Earth life. Grazers would be preyed on by more agile predators, who use nitrous oxide to 'supercharge' their metabolism for brief periods (see Pournelle's "Grendels" in "The Legacy of Hereot"), and these could be nasty suprises for humans in light exosuits. Then there's the lightning bees - insect equivalents who've learned to tap the plant batteries, and whose metabolism relies partially on electric charge. Their hives form natural capacitors, which could be 'quite a shock' for an ill-judging explorer.

At night, it gets cold under the raw stars. Most critters hunker down for the night, except for slow semi-hunter, semi-parasitic critters who move from host to host, seeking sustenance. These could be quite a suprise for people camping out overnight.

Of course, humans will be poison to these critters, and vice versa. But perhaps the lightning bees are attracted to all the electricity the humans use, the night crawlers to 'Mech lubricant which smells like prey, etc etc.

Helpful?
Would such a biosystem be based around using water or ammonia?

worktroll

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #4 on: 13 July 2017, 05:49:54 »
Ammonia.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

MrJake

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #5 on: 13 July 2017, 14:05:52 »
Helpful?

Very much!

We play mostly on Mech scale (tho not exclusively), so any reason those capacitor hives couldn't carry enough charge to act as a TSEMP mine against a vehicle/mech?

Maybe a critical hit roll each morning against vehicles/Mechs until the players figure a way to avoid the parasites, if it's at all possible?

In an ecosystem like that, is Nitrous Oxide a poisonous (poisonous to the locals) byproduct of the biological reactions at play? Would there be any reason for a plant/animal equivalent to store it for a defensive or other use? I'm picturing a "euphoria" attack that incapacitates humans while they get eaten, dissolved, escaped from, etc.

Other than by mistake/instinct, is there any thing that non-ammonia based life forms (us) would offer such an ecosystem, that would make us desirable prey?

Does water exist on that kind of world? Or would there be some kind of nitrogen or ammonia analog?

Finally, other than the typical "deposits of X/location of system," is there anything inherent in such an ecology that would make such a planet desirable for colonization?

Finally, finally, if the planet is in the habitable zone with size, density, escape velocity, etc., roughly equal to Earth (star type f1v), does a nitrogen atmosphere make things easier to terraform? Or harder? (Bearing in mind, as always, Star League Magic Engineering and that the plot requires what it requires.)

AlphaMirage

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #6 on: 13 July 2017, 18:02:35 »
Wow that's a lot

For tsemp, biologically unlikely though it would make for an amusing planet condition.

I'd probably say no to the critical on vehicles, they might even need to be environmentally sealed and nuke powered depending on oxygen levels by rules   You might even want to increase the atmospheric pressure somewhat to keep ammonia as liquid and available.

I think the local biology would be unaffected by excessive NO2 considering it would be common enough in the atmosphere.  It might even be utilized as the oxygen for metabolism in their biology

Well humans do use ammonia and urea in our biology but our use would be fertilizer I would think.  Our amino acids might be incompatible with theirs so I don't think we would fit their metabolism.

Xenobiologists might be interested but I don't think it would warrant a second look.  Might make it useful as a Pirate base depending on ease of extraction for local resources.

Water is nearly everywhere the equatorial temp is a little higher than Terra but not outrageously, surface water might have different dissolved gases and local microbes. Would need to be treated for people to drink.

Terraforming depending on how much water is on planet should be doable just need to increase oxygen really.  Engineered anerobic bacteria should be able to do it in a reasonable time frame   You would kill all the native life in the process however
« Last Edit: 13 July 2017, 18:12:09 by AlphaMirage »

worktroll

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #7 on: 13 July 2017, 19:32:02 »
In an ecosystem like that, is Nitrous Oxide a poisonous (poisonous to the locals) byproduct of the biological reactions at play? Would there be any reason for a plant/animal equivalent to store it for a defensive or other use? I'm picturing a "euphoria" attack that incapacitates humans while they get eaten, dissolved, escaped from, etc.

Other than by mistake/instinct, is there any thing that non-ammonia based life forms (us) would offer such an ecosystem, that would make us desirable prey?

Does water exist on that kind of world? Or would there be some kind of nitrogen or ammonia analog?

Finally, other than the typical "deposits of X/location of system," is there anything inherent in such an ecology that would make such a planet desirable for colonization?

Finally, finally, if the planet is in the habitable zone with size, density, escape velocity, etc., roughly equal to Earth (star type f1v), does a nitrogen atmosphere make things easier to terraform? Or harder? (Bearing in mind, as always, Star League Magic Engineering and that the plot requires what it requires.)

First, NOX is not poisonous to the local life. It's likely to be either a byproduct of the photoelectrical biochemistry, or generated by the slow animals for supercharging.

Second, the two biochemistries are totally incompatible. But remember, human activities are going to leak heat, EM radiation, light, water vapour, and oxygen. The latter two are going to be 'poisonous', so the hab domes will end up surrounded by a wide ring of withered vegitation. But the warmth will attract night-hunting predators, the light may cause plants to bloom inappropriately, and the lightning bees are going to be confused as heck. So there's unlikely to be a stampede at the base, but lots and lots of annoyances with critters getting in where they shouldn't, and dying while making leaks, or shorting power.

Thirdly, in my take water is pretty much absent. Ammonia-based compounds will be vapour at 303K, but can easily rain out on higher elevations.

Fourth, the environment is as cool as heck to a scientist, but moderately difficult to live in. You'd want a good reason - minerals, strategic position, or the like - to stay. However, a major House university might well sponsor a major research base.

Fifthly, this would be a real challenge, even to SL terraformers. The absence of oxygen is the kicker - you'd need lots and lots of Aliens-style fusion plants cracking mineral oxides down to gas & metal. You'd use the free oxygen to kill off the local biosphere, then try and start growing plants in the rot. Doable, but exactly the sort of thing which the fall of the Star League would have caused to collapse. Not doable with post-Succession War tech, IMHO.

W.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

MrJake

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #8 on: 13 July 2017, 22:38:22 »

Fifthly, this would be a real challenge, even to SL terraformers. The absence of oxygen is the kicker - you'd need lots and lots of Aliens-style fusion plants cracking mineral oxides down to gas & metal. You'd use the free oxygen to kill off the local biosphere, then try and start growing plants in the rot. Doable, but exactly the sort of thing which the fall of the Star League would have caused to collapse. Not doable with post-Succession War tech, IMHO.

I'm sorry, but did you say, "Aliens-style fusion plants"? Heh Hehheehee-MuahahahahaHAHAHAAHA! >:D  8)  >:D

Ahem, ermmm, I mean, ya know, it occurs to me that such a planet, with such an atmosphere, if it had some mineral deposits to tempt some colonial investment to defray costs, maybe a scientific outpost to allay suspicions, might just be an excellent spot for some very dangerous, "must never be allowed to escape" kind of experiments.

Finally, in reference to water, are bodies of it pretty much an impossibility? (I rolled 50% on the water coverage chart, and I'm trying to fit it all in.) Obviously the indigenous biosystem couldn't benefit from it, it'd be like Earth with oceans of acid or poison, but...possible? What about two biosystems? A land and nitrogen based one alongside a oxygen based aquatic one? Have we gone beyond science fiction at that point and into science fantasy?

ajh

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MrJake

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #9 on: 13 July 2017, 23:00:03 »

Within that, go wild! With no clouds, think largely desert environment. It's hot. 'Plant' life has evolved to soak up as much sunlight as possible to form the hydrocarbons from trace elements in the soil (replacing the carbohydrates our plants use for that purpose). They'll have a plastic-ish look to them, and may well be using simple long-chain hydrocarbons (plastic!) in place of cellulose. There may even be some native photo-electric effect going on in some plants, storing charge to repel grazing animals; this leads to the nitrous oxide discharges.



Aaargh! I totally missed this. Would there be any utility to custom grown plastics? With a built in defense mechanism?

worktroll

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #10 on: 13 July 2017, 23:20:03 »
You need a pretty oxygen-friendly atmosphere to have water, and I've gone down the N2/NH3 path.

So ... well, salty water has different freezing/evaporating properties to pure water, so we just need to come up with a contaminant that'll keep ammonia liquid at the listed temperature. Ammonia's a weakly polar liquid - unlike oil, it dissolves well in water. 

Hmmm ... having trouble coming up with a useful likely contaminant that fits my head-biochemistry. Would it kill you to move the planet out a bit, and make the average temp 263K (eg. -10C)? Not enough to cause major problems, but then ammonia is still gaseous, but you could throw in isobutylene and maybe even some ethanol in as stable components in the 'hydrosphere'?

Also works with the concept of 'slow' animals, using alternative pathways - either photoelectric, or NOX-supercharge - for short bursts of intense action.

Plus the fun of the first person to poke one of those shiny dark blue toadstools, or to think "Hah! That's too slow to catch me!" ;)
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

AlphaMirage

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #11 on: 14 July 2017, 00:00:23 »
Yeah cooler would be better although higher surface pressure forces more chemicals into a liquid medium where they can react.

The cool temperature and hydrocarbons make things much easier to theorize life forms and make it more unpleasant to be outside.

MrJake

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #12 on: 14 July 2017, 17:12:02 »
Ext. Mars like topography. Pan left to right until the camera comes to rest on a pod of "grazers" scratching at what passes for dirt. A small group of what are obviously predators paces in the foreground. 

Voiceover: It's like nature in slow motion

The camera reverse cuts to two exosuited figures. One is gesturing towards the predators while the other wields a handheld tri-d recorder. The voiceover seems to originate from the gesturing figure.

Voiceover: Whether it's the extreme temperature or the nature of this planet's unique biochemistry, this entire ecosystem seems to run on one quarter time or less. It's actually quite, well, precious."

The camera operator shifts focus to the group of predators, which slowly turn their "heads" and began to pad very slowly toward the two.

Voiceover: Under normal circumstances, attracting the attention of such obvious predators would be very dangerous, but even though these bulky exosuits limit us to about half speed, we're still twice as fast as the fastest of the local wildlife.

The image shifts focus slightly to what is apparently footage from the handheld camera.

Voiceover: This is Llorta Krow for the Interstellar Expedition Network, reporting fro-

One of the predators slams into the space suited figure, smashing it violently to the ground.

Voiceover: Incoherent screaming

The scene continues through the lens of the handheld recorder. It jumps back to the rest of the pack, still several hundred meters distant.

New Voice Over: What the-

The camera cuts back to other suited figure, now silent. The predator slowly, almost languidly, finishes the disembowelment.

New Voice Over: That's not poss-

The camera swings back to the distant pack. One of the creatures takes a few slow steps forward.

New Voice Over: No....

The image cuts back to the "cinematic" point of view. A slightly cooler looking version of the predator lowers it's head toward the ground in a distinctly wolf-like manner. The POV "dives" into the creature's snarling mouth. A simplified version of multiple hearts and glands appears. So does a small, stylized land speeder. Little NO molecules began flying about the screen.

Cut to: Closeup of predator leaping forward at unbelievable speed. The POV shifts quickly back and forth between the "cinematic" POV and the POV of the handheld camera. They merge seamlessly to show the strange looking beast accelerate to cheetah like speeds over the course of a few steps. It moves so fast that it seems to grow, rather than move closer, a trick of perspective.


New Voice Over (Slowly, then much faster): No. No. No. Nonononononono-

The image slows to a stop just as the beast pounces, catching it in midair, it's multilayered, alien maw stretched to the fullest. The image shifts slightly to a static 3-D image. At the bottom, a caption is visible.

Caption: Last recorded image of IE news team, and first contact with native lifeform, nicknamed, Grendel.

Fade to: Infantry Bay. Several tough looking...

Excerpt from unproduced holoprogram script, "Ramen II: Land of the Grendel", author unknown.


 ajh


« Last Edit: 14 July 2017, 17:16:36 by MrJake »

worktroll

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #13 on: 14 July 2017, 17:30:03 »
This gets the Worktroll seal of approval! O0 Very nicely done.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #14 on: 14 July 2017, 17:40:40 »
...
We play mostly on Mech scale (tho not exclusively), so any reason those capacitor hives couldn't carry enough charge to act as a TSEMP mine against a vehicle/mech?
...

There are pretty few opportunities to do Man vs Nature at the CBT/AS level granularity.  Most challenges would at best manifest as custom scenario, environmental and/or terrain rules.  On the mech-scale battlefield, how many times can you have a sandworm or dinosaur threaten a mech before it just gets super trite?  However a swarm-delivered TSEMP attack is a novel idea.

MrJake

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #15 on: 20 July 2017, 00:39:20 »
So, if I'm reading everyone correctly, move to outer edge of habitation zone, make it a cold world with 50% coverage of heavily contaminated H2O and keep the "Grendel" biosphere. Yes?

Q1  Assuming I add some convenient rare metal deposits and a strategic location, I have justification for a science outpost, an industrial base, a Star League terraforming project, and a colony to support it. Maybe even a Mech factory.  Or their ruins, depending on the era. Yes?


Q2: Is it reasonable to keep the oceans liquid, even at extreme temperatures? Can I blame it on the contaminants? (Well, not contaminants from the local point of view, of course.) If not, can I justify 50% coverage of something else in a liquid state?


ajh

« Last Edit: 23 July 2017, 16:12:19 by MrJake »

Colt Ward

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #16 on: 20 July 2017, 01:54:29 »
TDC, the original description for Hesperus lowlands would be pretty interesting for that sort of thing.  It strained the SL-tech base to explore and in 3058 when we hear about in a GDL book the last expedition was 200 years overdue. 
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truetanker

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #17 on: 22 July 2017, 17:05:36 »
Worktroll just described Cybertron!

Yeah....

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Re: Sooo Much Nitrogen
« Reply #18 on: 01 August 2017, 05:01:17 »
OK, would this world be like Earth before the oxygen extinction event (probably inside the systems liquid water zone) or is it something else? Because if it's the first given BT's basis any life there would be bio-compatible with us. On the other hand if it's the later it's probably what GURPS Space calls an Ammonia world, and lets look at what that says about atmosphere, shell we? "Such an atmosphere is always Suffocating, Lethally Toxic, and Corrosive." In short it's easier to live on the moon then this place.

 

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