Water from steel, SAM at Biopshere 2 Water from steel, SAM at Biopshere 2

Sometimes, you find water in the most peculiar places.

As we moved to paint the interior of SAM we became more acutely aware of both the location and density of the rust. Two full weeks after we last washed the interior of the Test Module, ceiling to floor, there was still rust colored water seeping from certain places. In fact, there is a fairly significant pattern—the heaviest rust was always on the left-hand side of the four corner support beams. How could that be possible?

Upon further inspection, we discovered that the mounting plates for the space frame each had four holes, but no more than two of them, often just one were filled with a bolt. The others were simple openings into the massive, horizontal steel beams. We believe that over the years the humidity condensed on the inside of the windows, rolled down onto the “V” shaped window sills, pooled and ran onto and then into the support beams by means of the mounting plate holes. There it sat, unable to further explore … until the water, oxygen, and iron worked their magic to turn much of the lower section of the Test Module to the color of Mars.

To test this theory we drilled a 1/4″ hole at the end of each beam. Sure enough, the water poured right out and into the waiting bucket. Dry at last, we are preparing to prime and paint.