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Sad part is that even if gold or anything else of value is found on the surface or a few feet below is the fact that it is highly radioactive. How could it ever be used is the question and how much would it cost.

Just saying and don't want to bring down the good humor.

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It kinda looks like western Australia without bushes and trees...

strick

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13 hours ago, Valens Legacy said:

Sad part is that even if gold or anything else of value is found on the surface or a few feet below is the fact that it is highly radioactive. How could it ever be used is the question and how much would it cost.

Just saying and don't want to bring down the good humor.

Radioactive?  Although Mars doesn’t have a magnetosphere to shield it from radiation hitting it from the sun and from space, the gamma waves and UV radiation hitting Mars’ surface wouldn't create a significant number of radioisotopes in the soil enough to make it radioactive, at least not a significant amount.  It would take a lot higher energy in order to have that happen. The UV and gamma waves hitting the soil would only break apart complex molecules that are exposed to it, but it would not change the atoms of those molecules themselves.

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6 hours ago, GotAU? said:

the gamma waves and UV radiation hitting Mars’ surface wouldn't create a significant number of radioisotopes in the soil

Electromagnetic radiation (of which gamma rays, X-rays, and UV are a members as are visible light, infrared, microwaves and radio waves) does not contribute to the generation of radioactive isotopes.  They do break chemical bonds (as you note) -- interacting strongly with electrons surrounding the atomic nucleus.

Radioactivity results from the atomic nucleus itself giving off ionizing radiation (including gamma rays but also neutrons, alpha and beta particles and in the case of the some of the heaviest nuclei, fission framents which are large chunks of the parent nuclei).

Cosmic rays (charged particles arriving from outside the solar system, mostly bare nuclei) and solar wind (charged particles coming from the sun) can both activate stable (and unstable = radioactive) nuclei.  The earth's magnetic field deflects the solar wind and the atmosphere breaks up the cosmic rays, providing considerable (but not complete) protection.  Mars has little of either, as you point out.  So activation does occur there.

Most radioactive nuclei decay rapidly (typically in seconds or less) to stable nuclei.  If surface material were brought back from Mars (at great expense...), the long trip home would result in most radioactive isotopes having decayed to stable isotopes before arrival at earth.

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13 hours ago, GB_Amateur said:

Electromagnetic radiation (of which gamma rays, X-rays, and UV are a members as are visible light, infrared, microwaves and radio waves) does not contribute to the generation of radioactive isotopes.  They do break chemical bonds (as you note) -- interacting strongly with electrons surrounding the atomic nucleus.

Radioactivity results from the atomic nucleus itself giving off ionizing radiation (including gamma rays but also neutrons, alpha and beta particles and in the case of the some of the heaviest nuclei, fission framents which are large chunks of the parent nuclei).

Cosmic rays (charged particles arriving from outside the solar system, mostly bare nuclei) and solar wind (charged particles coming from the sun) can both activate stable (and unstable = radioactive) nuclei.  The earth's magnetic field deflects the solar wind and the atmosphere breaks up the cosmic rays, providing considerable (but not complete) protection.  Mars has little of either, as you point out.  So activation does occur there.

Most radioactive nuclei decay rapidly (typically in seconds or less) to stable nuclei.  If surface material were brought back from Mars (at great expense...), the long trip home would result in most radioactive isotopes having decayed to stable isotopes before arrival at earth.

You’re right, I wrote that poorly and meant high energy cosmic rays. But interestingly, gamma rays can cause photodisintegration of an atomic nucleus, causing it to lose neutrons and  protons, just like cosmic rays can, forming radioactive isotopes. It’s a process that happens even on Earth during thunderstorms.

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