Is it possible to colonize planetoids by using perfluorocarbon lakes?

Is it possible to colonize planetoids using breathable liquid such as perfluorocarbons (PFCs) with dissolved oxygen and filling craters and depressions with it instead of building insulated habitats?

I think this would require much less oxygen than creating a breathable atmosphere and at the same time would not limit the colonists to the inside of their dwellings.

Besides liquid breathing, fluorocarbons have other wonderful properties:

• They are very potent dielectrics unlike water, so no short-circuit.
• They have high weight so they can form an atmosphere where there is not enough gravity to keep an atmosphere of lighter gases.
• For terraforming a planet: PFCs are not photodissociated, having highest lifetime in the atmosphere, they are the most potent greenhouse gases (tetraflourocarbon is 6500 times more potent than CO2), which allows to warm up planets such as Mars (this has been already suggested).
• PFCs can be used as blood substitutes and have anestetic properties. Oxygen-rich PFCs help to heal wounds. They are also used to store living organs for transplantation.
• Some PFCs are extremely hydrophobic

As uhoh suggests in a comment, one scenario for breathable liquid environment is "walking on the ceiling":

if the local gravity were $g′$ and the perfluorocarbon had a density of 1.6 $g/cm^3$ then they'd be walking on the ceiling feeling a "gravity" of 0.6 $g′$.

edit: Here is an example of such a buoyant, inverted "ice walker" - starts at 03:27:

• What about the temperature? Sep 24 '16 at 1:43
• @uhoh you can make a gas atmosphere of this volume only by building closed compartments. You cannot make it in the open. The puddle can have a layer of water on the top which would be ice in the vacuum and protect the puddle. Sep 24 '16 at 13:54
• @uhoh besides liquid breathing, fluorocarbons have other wonderful properties. They are dielectrics unlike water, so no short-circuit. They have high weight so they can be used for artificial atmosphere on bodies that do not keep other gases. They are not photodissociated, having highest lifetime in the atmosphere, they are the most potent greenhouse gases, tetraflourocarbon is 6500 times more potent than CO2, which allows to warm up planets such as Mars (this has been already suggested). If I were writing a computer game, I would express the cost of terraforming in one resource, fluorocarbons Sep 24 '16 at 14:56
• "Fluorocarbons as liquid breathing can be used in places like Ceres." But as I've been trying to point out, they'd be utterly impractical in 'puddles'. No ice layer, they boil. Ice layer, too cold for the humans who would naturally float on the dense liquid (and thereby be pressed against the ice layer). You're either over or under thinking this, or both. But in any case, I'm sick of discussing when you obviously don't get the point. Best of luck with your puddles. I'm out of here. Sep 24 '16 at 15:26
• Buoyancy doesn't work like gravity. If you're immersed in a dense liquid, you might be able to walk on the ceiling, but the blood will still rush to your head. Oct 4 '16 at 16:27

Intriguing idea. I looked briefly at whether Mars' lowest lowlands could contain CFC atmospheres with acceptable pressure at the bottom, plus some oxygen, CO2 and nitrogen for open-air ecosystems. (I was inspired in this partly by C.S. Lewis' Mars, which posited very deep gorges hosting reasonable atmospheric pressure at their lowest elevations; but also by the geological results from Mars rovers, which suggest lots of chlorine and fluorine minerals in the soil.) It never occurred to me that you could have lakes of a breathable liquid. This might require some modifications on people (perhaps prosthetic) to keep the liquid out of their GI tracts; maybe also some neurosurgery to suppress gag reflexes. It might make more sense for agricultural purposes, with people visiting the submerged fields in SCUBA gear and the like.

• Fluorocarbons are natural anestetics, they do not produce a lot of gag reflexes. Also they if contain higher concentrations of oxygen, help to heal wounds. Wounds are sometimes treated with fluorocarbons with high oxygen content. This adds to their wonderful properties. Sep 28 '16 at 23:07
• Being a natural anesthetic is wonderful if you're having surgery, not so much if you're breathing it 24 hours a day. Oct 4 '16 at 16:29

Arnold Lande has patented a SCUBA diving suit that incorporates liquid perfluorocarbon breathing. At the age of 67 going on to 68 later this year, I am.up to a challenge and new adventure, so would consider trying out liquid breathing. I first heard of liquid perfluorocarbon breathing decades ago, so this is not a new concept or application [1970s].

• Welcome to space! The structure of stack exchange is questions and answers and your answer here reads more as a comment. The question here was about the concept of having a large pool of oxygenated perfluorocarobon rather than a gaseous atmosphere in a space habitat. Mar 19 at 7:19
• I've added some supporting links including Lande's patent and some articles about it. Please feel free to edit further, and Welcome to Space!
– uhoh
Mar 19 at 8:05

Yes it's possible, it's even possible to colonize our own Moon with pefluorocarbons !
Perfluorononane has a melting point of -16⁰ C and a density of about 1.8 kg/L, and according to the paper Densities and Vapor Pressures of Highly Fluorinated Compounds at 60⁰ C it has a vapor pressure of about 8.5 kPa.
That means that on Earth it's liquid surface will need a water column of 85 cm to prevent it from vaporizing. On the Moon that water column would need to be 6 times higher (5.1 m.) because of the lower gravity there, but of course the water would quickly evaporate into space.

But there are also solid perfluorocarbons !
Perfluorotetradecane has a melting point of 103⁰ C and a density equal to water so a 6 m. thick solid layer of it on top of the Perfluorononane could prevent the liquid from evaporating into space.

To have a pressure of 1 atm. at the bottom of the perfluorononane lake, it would have to be 30 m. thick with on top of it the 6 m. thick solid layer of perfluorotetradecane.

• If at -16 C it will solidify, I would not like to be in the midst at the time. Sep 6 at 14:56
• Would it help you if you are frozen in ice? Sep 6 at 15:00
• @Anixx Of course you have to have a heat source, on our Moon it could be from batteries stored with solar energy that would need to heat the living space during the 2 weeks long, cold night. Sep 6 at 15:28
• One important issue that doesn't appear to be mentioned yet on this page is that liquid breathing is hard work. Your lungs need to move a fluid that's ~1000 denser than air, and doing that consumes energy. Sure, the PFC can have a high oxygen concentration, so you can reduce your breathing rate, but you still need to get rid of CO2 in a timely fashion. Sep 6 at 17:34