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Martian Futures, Will man really colonize the planets?
Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Jul 16 2006, 11:39 PM
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This started out as a reply on the thread about the Bigelow Aerospace station, and why I think it may be goofy, but it is still a step in the right direction.

Space exploration is a magnet for crank science. It's nearly impossible to talk about something like intersteller propulsion and keep people on the same page as real-world physics and engineering. And it's even more difficult to talk about far-reaching ideas like colonizing planets without drifting into the realm of science fiction. But here I go anyway.

Consider the famous scenes in 2001, where a NASA official flies to a beautiful space station operated by Pan Am airlines and then on to a Lunar colony. You're looking at a simulated trillion dollar infrastructure, but why was it built? Who is using it? Who is paying for it? How does it make money? What are people doing on the Moon that is worth all this? These are issues that science fiction simply overlooks.

As in 2001, the analogy is often drawn between the airline industry and a future spaceflight industry. The difference is, on the Earth there are real destinations to fly to. There are countless social and economic reasons to travel from one populated region to another on the Earth. This is not the same as spending billions of dollars to fly to Mars, pick up a rock and return to Earth. For spaceflight to be practical and large-scale, there must be a reason, there must be a destination.

People talk about things like mining helium-3 on the Moon. Both technically and economically that's nonsense. At present, there is nothing remotely valuable enough to pay for the cost of mining and interplanetary transport. But more importantly, these ideas represents a fundamental misconception about wealth, in the sense defined by Adam Smith. Real estate is valuable because people want to live there and work there. Human activity is the true definition of wealth, and human presence is what makes a destination interesting.

Thus, colonizing space is a bootstrapping problem. it is a problem in economics, not engineering. If Mars had an atmosphere and a population, it would be of incalculable value, and people would pay to travel there and back. But how do reach that point? The technology of cheaper travel and terriforming Mars is fascinating to speculate about. I believe it could be done almost entirely with robotic technology. But that is not what blocks us from proceeding. The real problem is developing a mechanism for funding, when there is a huge return on investment but a turnaround time of centuries. You would have to create a Martian Futures Market that people have genuine confidence in -- a serious enterprise that makes steady progress, backed by corporations with proven expertise and probably at least one first-world government.

Maybe you have to engage people's territorial and competative instincts. Let's say America declared that it was going to unilaterally colonize Mars and annex it? After the obligatory student protest marches all over the world, I believe other nations might start a competing program! And then it's hard for anyone to back down. If both programs make enough progress, investors will want them to merge and cooperate eventually. It is just too expensive to duplicate the effort.
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David
post Jul 17 2006, 01:15 AM
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Isn't that getting ahead of the game? Colonization can't precede exploration. We have yet to prove that we can get people to the planets alive, let alone keep them there.

I am going to take the opposite side of the question, more for the sake of argumentativeness than anything else. I'll suggest that it's more a question of engineering than anything else. There is money to support space activities that have been tested and that people know can be done. There is not much money for untested activities. Prove that the concept is workable, and the money can flow.

People are not averse to risky adventures with little chance of reward as such. You mention the lack of "destinations" -- but when Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492, there were no destinations waiting for him, just malaria-infested islands. The environment was, in terms of 15th-century life expectancy, only marginally less hostile than the Moon; mortality rates among those who stayed were very high. The "colonies" could do little but rob and murder villagers who had nothing of real value. The same was true of most early colonies in the New World. Solar System explorers are at least safe from hostile aliens and extraterrestrial viruses.

Nonetheless, people still kept going to these colonies, out of fear or curiosity or a sense of adventure. I don't think there would be a lack of people interested in living on the Moon if there were the possibility of doing so -- even if they had to pay their own way. Look at the willingness of rich dilettantes to pay for an orbit around the earth in a Soyuz, or a quick visit to a space station. But people can't pay for opportunities that don't exist.

Another contrast is with the early days of flight. The first people who went up into the air didn't have "destinations" -- they took off from a field, circled around, and came back down in the same field. As often as not, they crashed. Many of them died. Air technology in 1908 could have been written off as a dangerous stunt technology of no real use to anybody. Even after people started flying between locations, they couldn't carry very much, and airplanes might have been just a sport vehicle but not a practical means of transportation. Advances in aeronautical engineering made the airplane something more than a toy.

Space exploration needs to combine these two insights: one, that destinations are made rather than merely existing, but that once they are made they become their own justification for travel (this is arguably becoming the case with the ISS already); two, if you can move more material faster and more reliably, people will take you seriously.

Comparing space flight to air flight, in some respects we are still in the 1910s, working with a difficult and untested technology. One of the boons to the development of aeronautics was, paradoxically enough, the first world war, which involved the creation of huge numbers of (at first) poorly built aerial machines (both airplanes and dirigible balloons), most of which did not survive the war. Nonetheless, an industry was created, lots of pilots were trained, and some basic problems of flying were stated and solved. We don't really have a rocket industry that mass-produces rockets for human space travel in anything like the quantities to make for a space economy; we have an extremely low number of people, all things considered, who are trained to fly on them; and we're still working on making the machines safe. To some extent the engineering and economic challenges go hand in hand, in that the more rockets you make, the more failures you will have, and the greater the number of failures, the better you understand your product and the better you can make it.

Ideally, a program like NASA would be flying a lot of different kinds of craft, so that a failure in one type wouldn't bring the whole manned space program crashing to a halt. But more generally, the aeronautics industry wouldn't have gotten very far if, every time a plane crashed, all flights of that plane were halted.
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volcanopele
post Jul 17 2006, 02:00 AM
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As David alluded to, I think that many of the same motives that drove European colonialism and imperialism in the second half of the last millennium will drive the new colonialism: money and religion. As environmental regulations becoming increasingly stringent, it maybe more cost-effective to move industrial activity off-Earth, and move them to places where such regulations need not apply (but of course, people will then start complaining that we are causing global warming on Mars, pumping gas into the atmosphere, allowing *gasp* liquid water to form on the surface...the horrors). However, as our society becomes more adverse to such necessary "evils", it may just be that increasing the only place to mine new raw materials, and manufacture them into the products our culture still needs, will be on places like Mars, the asteroids, Io...


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dvandorn
post Jul 17 2006, 03:52 AM
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Everyone is making good points, here.

Don, you're absolutely correct that there needs to be a motivation for human expansion into the solar system that will attract a long-term investment process.

David, you're absolutely correct that people have, in the past (and more and more as time has gone on) *created* destinations where none had previously existed. Destinations that, until they were created, did not posess what anyone would have seen as any intrinsic economic value.

Jason, you're absolutely correct that there have historically been other motivators for colonialism, especially religious grounds. One quick look at a newspaper, or ten minutes watching headlines on TV news, will tell you that modern human civilization is still just as contentious over its varying religious beliefs as it's ever been -- and our level of technology (and sheer numbers) have made the consequences that much more threatening to all of us.

I think that, in the end, it may all come down to a resources issue. We are not really close to running out of most metals on Earth, but we are close to running out of some easily-accessed metals and other materials. I read somewhere that most of the soft iron within easy mining range, across the entire globe, was mined out during WWII. Since then we have been expending more time and energy than before, getting our iron out of harder ores such as taconite.

If we could somehow demonstrate that terrestrial sources of various metals and other useful (or essential) materials will become harder and harder to find, we can begin to convince people (especially those people who control the money) that we will not only require extra-terrestrial resources within a given span of time, we need to start working *now* to develop the technologies needed to make access to those resources economical enough to make their use possible.

The hardest thing about this, of course, is that it requires people to think more long-term than human nature usually pressures us to think. And any plan that starts with the basic tenet that "all we need to do is change human nature, just a little tiny bit..." will *always* fail. No exceptions.

However, if we're gonna utilize extra-terrestrial resources in the future, I think we *have* to start with the asteroids. Energy requirements to get to and from a lot of near-Earth bodies aren't that much more than getting to Mars (and in some cases are less), light-time lags are shorter, allowing more ground control of early robotic probes, you don't have nearly as large a gravity well to climb into or out of to get to, and remove, their metals... and as you end up with manned mining colonies on the larger rocks, you have nice, big rock piles to shield their crews from cosmic rays.

I would much rather see the first manned trip out of the Earth-Moon system to be headed towards an asteroid, rather than towards Mars. But that's just my opinion...

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hendric
post Jul 17 2006, 04:10 AM
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Tourism is a viable enterprise for many locations on Earth; why not extraterrestrial as well?

After all, I can show you a picture of the Great Wall or the Pyramids, but it just doesn't equal looking at them in person. Just off the top of my head, there's the Moon, Mars, the Jupiter & Saturn systems as viable destinations for Solar System retirees.

Somewhere between zero and the current cost/kg to space, there is an inflection point where space tourism starts to look serious. What is that point? We've seen ppl are willing to pay today to goto LEO. What does that demand curve look like? What happens when the ticket for a MIR/ISS vacation reaches $100,000? $10,000? $1,000? I think around $25,000-$50,000 is where that curve starts increasing rapidly, with the average TPS member willing to make a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

So assume $50,000 for a ticket for hauling a person, his effects, consumables, and vehicle to orbit for a two day visit. Just guessing 500kg per person (including a very light space ship!) would need to be hauled off of earth, we need a cost/kg to space of around $100/kg to support a serious tourist industry.

Current costs from SpaceX (which are no doubt aggressive) range from $3,000 to $10,000/kg. So it would take a factor of 30x minimum to get a space tourism industry going, which is IMO on the borderline of feasible.
r
Beyond LEO, the Moon is a viable destination, but Mars and beyond look iffy. Spending that much time in space would require a serious investment in shielding, and in personal time.

Engineering-wise, there isn't a limitation on travelling to mars; it's a standard engineering solution to throw money at a problem until it's solved. So a one-off trip to Mars may happen eventually. Economically, I just don't see Mars tourist visits or colonies possible, even for billionaires.

But LEO is a definite, with the Moon a maybe, as viable destinations within the foreseeable future.


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hendric
post Jul 17 2006, 04:18 AM
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dvandorn,
I dunno. There are so many resources available here vs trying to bring them back from space, that I just don't see that as being a primary driver. We'd probably mine the oceans (and our own landfills!) way before going to an asteroid. And then there's the problem of getting that resource back here on Earth. Instead of setting up a mining station, it might make more "sense" to drop a significant chunk of asteroid, say, in the middle of the Sahara and just mine it there.

I've heard that Copper is probably the most critical scarce element, but I'm confident our technology will probably get around the major needs for that and even Iron. Copper is slowly being replaced by plastics (in plumbing) and glass fibers (in comms wiring). Iron, I imagine, could be replaced by carbon fibers, plastics, or something similar. Wouldn't it be cool if we could reduce the CO2 by turning it into a building material?


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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Jul 17 2006, 09:39 AM
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I think the science of colonizing Mars is pretty straightforward. There are endless books and websites describing over and over again all the obvious ways of transporting mass to Mars, building up and altering its atmosphere, etc. The engineering details are a lot harder, but I am confident that if you supplied funding to any serious aerospace company, they could solve those problems.

I think NASA, ESA and Russia know how to do planetary science. But ISS is an example of where I differ with their policy. It is hugely expensive, doesn't really advance science or the agenda I described. It is fundamentally a political mission planned by politicians. I believe commercial enterprise would focus on a practical goal and not burdon the taxpayers with international "feel-good" projects.

You can google around and find a ton of websites about mining Mars, or just showing cute banners and artwork of what the steps will be to colonize Mars. It's all the same stuff that people have been saying and drawing since Tsander and Von Braun and others long ago. But my point is, Mars is utterly worthless until it is populated. And populating Mars is expensive and will take a long time. So how do you bridge that gap in economics and time? No small company or eccentric societies of enthusiasts can possibly do it.
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Stephen
post Jul 17 2006, 11:19 AM
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QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jul 16 2006, 11:39 PM) *
Thus, colonizing space is a bootstrapping problem. it is a problem in economics, not engineering. If Mars had an atmosphere and a population, it would be of incalculable value, and people would pay to travel there and back. But how do reach that point? The technology of cheaper travel and terriforming Mars is fascinating to speculate about. I believe it could be done almost entirely with robotic technology. But that is not what blocks us from proceeding. The real problem is developing a mechanism for funding, when there is a huge return on investment but a turnaround time of centuries. You would have to create a Martian Futures Market that people have genuine confidence in -- a serious enterprise that makes steady progress, backed by corporations with proven expertise and probably at least one first-world government.

Maybe you have to engage people's territorial and competative instincts. Let's say America declared that it was going to unilaterally colonize Mars and annex it? After the obligatory student protest marches all over the world, I believe other nations might start a competing program! And then it's hard for anyone to back down. If both programs make enough progress, investors will want them to merge and cooperate eventually. It is just too expensive to duplicate the effort.

Frankly, I think this is pie-in-the-sky stuff. I agree that funding is a problem with colonising Mars. But at the same time investors are not charitable organisations. Most of them do not put money into an enterprise on a whim. They put it there because they expect to get their money back plus a profit. Hopefully a handsome profit.

A "Martian Futures Market" surely assumes that there already exists an exchange of goods between Mars and Earth, which in turn implies that there already exists a community living on Mars which is available for trading with.

Can you have such a market if no such trade exists--indeed no human has yet landed on Mars (or those who have are only a handful of explorers)?

If not, then you have to doubt whether a "Martian Futures Market" would generate the necessarily tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars that would probably be required

And I doubt "engag[ing] people's territorial and competative instincts" would help either. It is hard to get very "territorial" about a thing one has yet to find a use for, is millions of miles away, costs a fortune to reach (and would probably cost an even larger fortune to ship the Marines over to defend against some over-competitive rival), and is a place where many of one's own citizens though they might have a hankering to visit occasionally, would probably also have no great inclination to live there.

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Stephen
post Jul 17 2006, 11:39 AM
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A few stray thoughts on Martian colonisation and its funding.

1) Frame of Mind

How many people would actively consider joining a colonisation program and emigrating to Mars?

One clue is Antarctica, the closest terrestrial analogue to conditions on Mars. Even if there was a group out there actively promoting the idea I wonder how many people (especially those from the more comfortably well-off areas of Earth--the very demographic who seem to be most in favour of going to Mars) would pay money--especially large amounts of money--to go live in Antarctica permanently? They might stay there for a week in a 4-star hotel. The more adventurous might even "rough" it on an Antarctic trek or to do a season or two of field work as part of a Mars (Ant)arctic research station expedition from the Mars Society. But go live there, permanently, in the modern-day equivalent of a log cabin, with no maid or child care, no running water, no nightclubs, no MTV--and (probably) no prospect of necessarily turning a profit in one's new location without long years of work, and manual labour-type work at that?

Without doubt a few would. But I also seriously doubt whether you would see large numbers of 21st century Westerners making the journey; and all the more so if they had to pay their own fares (as was usually the case with 19th century emigration from Britain to the US). Most of the huddled masses of the US and Europe seem quite comfortable where they are at the moment.

That is, it is not enough for countries or companies to be competing with one another to send colonists to Mars if they have no reservoir of would-be colonists to send. As a general rule the well-off are unlikely to emigrate to untamed wildernesses, be it Antarctica, Mars, or the American frontier of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Those who do more usually consist of those people who for one reason or another--eg poverty, war, religious or political persecution, etc--are not satisfied with their existing situation in their existing homelands. By contrast, the United States and other Western countries have largely become a society of the well-offs. Their own frontiers have vanished--these days you can do a tour of America's from the comfort of an air conditioned coach--and all they have left is nostalgia.

I cannot help suspecting that it is that nostalgia--not to mention the romance of the idea--which largely sustains the idea, especially in America, of colonising Mars. Quite large numbers probably wouldn't mind exploring Mars, but they would also probably expect to come home again and not be so long away that they would have to give up their jobs back on Earth. Far fewer would probably want to go live there permanently, leaving behind--probably forever--parents, siblings, colleagues, homes, jobs, and country.

The problem then becomes one of numbers and affordability. If the people most inclined to go cannot afford to go, while those who can afford it don't want to go, then will the number of those who do want to go and can afford to go be enough to sustain a program of emigration, especially in the longer term?

2) Living off the Land

Then there is the cost of martian colonisation. And I do not mean the cost of getting there.

Colonising the Red Planet is not going to be just a matter of sending out a shipload of would-be emigrants, having them land at some suitable spot, and setting up a settlement--which for all practical purposes is what (say) the Pilgrim Fathers did at Plymouth Rock and Australia's First Fleet did at Sydney Cove. The Pilgrim Fathers and the First Fleeters could hunt or fish for food & furs, graze their flocks, and farm the land. They could also obtain water from local springs, ponds, or streams to wash in and drink from, and they could cut timber from the local forests to build huts for themselves to live in and for firewood to keep warm with. They could also trade with the local natives.

There are no natives to trade with on Mars, no game for the newcomers to hunt nor fish to catch to provide food or furs, no forests to cut for timber or firewood. Most importantly, the colonists will not be able to plant crops or graze flocks in or on native martian regolith--not without a lot of technological help. If they want to do any farming or grazing each and every little plot of land used for such purposes is going to have to be sealed off from the real martian conditions (behind and beneath some kind of dome or other man-made construction), soil imported, created, or simulated--eg via hydroponics--and oxygen, water, trace nutrients, etc pumped in.

In other words, unless and until terraforming happens nobody is going to be living off the land on Mars. Not in the way the Pilgrims could at Plymouth Rock. Not without a lot of technology behind them. Even the very air they breath is going to have to be either shipped in from Earth or generated out of local materials using some kind of technology.

That inability to live off the martian land without the aid of technology is going to make colonising Mars a hugely expensive undertaking. Every single house and settlement will need to be equipped in ways that the Pilgrim Fathers did not have to do with their log huts at Plymouth Rock.

3) Settlement Patterns and Land Values on Mars

That in turn is going to affect settlement patterns on Mars. If certain critical infrastructure and services are necessary simply to survive on Mars then rather than having a large number of small settlements (with the occasional larger one here and there) that we tend to find on Earth the temptation will be to have a small number of large settlements because the cost of the infrastructure makes it more cost-effective to centralise services like oxygen and water production in a few centres.

More critically there are unlikely to be any farms as we know them on Mars. Instead (assuming agriculture and grazing as we know it does go on there) the cost of providing Earth-like conditions to grow crops etc is likely to induce farming and grazing of a highly centralised and highly intensive kind.

It is the scattering of farmholdings across America, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere which produces the settlement patterns we see in those places. Each hamlet or town in a rural area services an area of farmland. In addition, if there are no farms on Mars because the cost involved means that food production must be centralised then the implications go beyond settlement patterns. It will potentially impact on the value of land.

Most land on Earth--not counting wastelands such as deserts and ice caps--is used for agriculture or grazing. However, if most martian land cannot be used for those purposes--indeed, not even just to live on because the owners would be too far from the places with have the infrastructure which provide essential services such as oxygen production--then for all practical purposes most land on Mars is probably going to be effectively worthless. In fact if the recipients then had to pay land taxes on it the government could probably not even give it away! sad.gif

That in turn is going to impact on any colonisation program. One of the inducements that drew emigrants to places like the US, British North America, and the Australian colonies in the 19th century was the chance to own their own plot of land. Large numbers of immigrants were farmers. It was the growing numbers of those farmers, and thus the need to provide land for them, which pushed the American frontier ever westward. It was a similar situation in Australia, but with a twist worth mentioning. In Australia the colonial governments (initially at any rate) had problems inducing British emigrants to come out. It was far cheaper (and not as far) to sail across the Atlantic. In the end what the Australians did was establish their own subsided immigration programs, with the subsidies paid for by the sale of land in the colony.

One of the ways martian colonisation might also be funded is by the sale of land on Mars. However, if the people who go to Mars cannot live on the land they own because that land cannot support them without expensive infrastructure they cannot afford and no one else will pay for, then you remove one of--if not the--major reason most people would have to buy land on Mars. The only land most people would probably pay for there would be land in or near one of the settlements, because that would be land they would be able to use.

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Stephen
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Stephen
post Jul 17 2006, 12:33 PM
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QUOTE (volcanopele @ Jul 17 2006, 02:00 AM) *
As David alluded to, I think that many of the same motives that drove European colonialism and imperialism in the second half of the last millennium will drive the new colonialism: money and religion.

I rather doubt religion had much to do with European colonialism or imperialism. You could make a better case for its influence in the imperial fervour of the Arabs which saw them invade and conquer the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and parts of India and Eastern Europe in the name of Allah.

QUOTE (volcanopele @ Jul 17 2006, 02:00 AM) *
As environmental regulations becoming increasingly stringent, it maybe more cost-effective to move industrial activity off-Earth, and move them to places where such regulations need not apply (but of course, people will then start complaining that we are causing global warming on Mars, pumping gas into the atmosphere, allowing *gasp* liquid water to form on the surface...the horrors). However, as our society becomes more adverse to such necessary "evils", it may just be that increasing the only place to mine new raw materials, and manufacture them into the products our culture still needs, will be on places like Mars, the asteroids, Io...

Nobody is going to be moving industrial activity off-Earth in the foreseeable future, least of all for environmental reasons. The cost of doing so would be absolutely astronomical. (It would cheaper for the companies to bribe the governments and their voters to water down the regulations.)

This is all the more so for those most likely to be affected by stricter environmental regulations. Many industrial processes--eg steelmaking--depend on the ready availability of things like oxygen and water, often in enormous quantities. There would no point in moving such industrial processes to places where such things were not readily available or could only be made available at huge additional cost.

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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Jul 17 2006, 06:05 PM
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It is not a foregone conclusion that mankind will ever live anywhere except Earth. There may never be the necessary will or long-term political stability to achieve a goal of this magnetude.

That underscores my point, that the problem of colonization is the economic one. People have to be able to make money in their lifetime, on a venture that will take generations to complete. Only in the very last stages would holdings be convertable directly to the 36 billion acres of developed Martian real estate. Until then, the stock of the corporations and real estate futures must increase in value. That requires stability, continuing tangible progress and investor confidence.

I'm not confident in NASA or ESA overseeing a project of this magnetude. I don't believe that such a long-term task could be sustained by politicians and funded by taxation. For example, I doubt if Bush's initiative to go to Mars will outlive his presidency.
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Marz
post Jul 17 2006, 09:38 PM
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QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jul 17 2006, 01:05 PM) *
It is not a foregone conclusion that mankind will ever live anywhere except Earth. There may never be the necessary will or long-term political stability to achieve a goal of this magnetude.

That underscores my point, that the problem of colonization is the economic one. People have to be able to make money in their lifetime, on a venture that will take generations to complete. Only in the very last stages would holdings be convertable directly to the 36 billion acres of developed Martian real estate. Until then, the stock of the corporations and real estate futures must increase in value. That requires stability, continuing tangible progress and investor confidence.

I'm not confident in NASA or ESA overseeing a project of this magnetude. I don't believe that such a long-term task could be sustained by politicians and funded by taxation. For example, I doubt if Bush's initiative to go to Mars will outlive his presidency.


I think Don's post sums it up nicely. If the end game is a Mars with a terraformed surface, then this is a HUGE bootstrapping problem because there are no small or intermediate stepping-stones to reach there. A cute, little inflatable colony is not going to make it happen... it's something that requires almost god-like creation: building an atmosphere, increasing Mars's mass to compress and retain the atmosphere, yet keep the surface with minerals accessable to both life & industry...

So we're either talking a huge upfront investment of resources requiring global cooperation and budgets, or an investment over a very long period of time. Either of these requires humanity to mature... fast. Take, for instance, how hard it is to solve the easiest of global problems: population growth. If we could take our destiny out of Malthusian's hands, and then divert military spending to terraforming... then maybe we have both the cooperation and the economic resources to make it happen - starting today! Think about the manpower, resources, money, and brain-trust currently tied up in USA defense & "intelligence" spending and imagine it focused on making a biome on mars!

Otherwise, I think the only colonies on Mars will be small, self-contained habitats that are dependent on supply shipments.
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Bob Shaw
post Jul 17 2006, 09:48 PM
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Oh, where to begin?

There *are* motivations other than money and religion. There's politics, for one - and grim necessity.

Perhaps greening the red planet will become a purpose of and by itself; perhaps some nation state will decide to simply move itself off-planet.

And as for exploration before colonisation, er... ...not quite. Look at the series of failed European colonies in the Americas, from the Vikings through to Darien, via Roanoake. There were very few explpratory ship-borne expeditions, save those under the command of (ahem) 'enthusiasts' - damn near everything else was commercial/colonial from the start. OK, there were exceptions - the great Chinese fleet, Columbus, Magellan, but the true voyages of discovery tended to be part of imperialist jockeying rather than something in it's own right.

As for the value, or cost, of space exploration (we've not tried colonisation yet): it's free. No money has ever been spent in space, except ceremonially. Money gets spent on Earth. Umpty-billion Dollar/Yen/Rouble/Euro boondoggles all take place on Earth. So we can buy Mars for nothing: no money gets spent on Mars itself.

'I bid four Qatlos!' - but not yet!

Bob Shaw


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Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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Toma B
post Jul 18 2006, 06:36 AM
Post #14


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We will never live on Mars...sadly but that's what I think...never!!! sad.gif
Mars has no fossil fuels as we know, maybe some hard to get uranium but that's it, (please don't start with solar or hydrogen as energy source), so where are we going to find energy to "live of the land" , when we are running short here on Earth??? sad.gif
Maybe somebody should read this topic...... sad.gif


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The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.
Jules H. Poincare

My "Astrophotos" gallery on flickr...
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djellison
post Jul 18 2006, 06:52 AM
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B)-->
QUOTE(Toma B @ Jul 18 2006, 07:36 AM) *
(please don't start with solar or hydrogen as energy source),
[/quote]

Why - Solar's worked rather well for two friends of ours and has plenty of potential if the money is invested in large solar arrays.

Doug
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