How bad is the radiation on Mars?

November 21, 2016 by Matt Williams, Universe Today
Diagram showing the amount of cosmic radiation the surface of Mars is exposed to. Credit: NASA

Human exploration of Mars has been ramping up in the past few decades. In addition to the eight active missions on or around the Red Planet, seven more robotic landers, rovers and orbiters are scheduled to be deployed there by the end of the decade. And by the 2030s and after, several space agencies are planning to mount crewed missions to the surface as well.

On top of that, there are even plenty of volunteers who are prepared to make a one-way journey to Mars, and people advocating that we turn it into a second home. All of these proposals have focused attention on the peculiar hazards that come with sending human beings to Mars. Aside from its cold, dry environment, lack of air, and huge sandstorms, there's also the matter of its radiation.

Causes:

Mars has no protective magnetosphere, as Earth does. Scientists believe that at one time, Mars also experienced convection currents in its , creating a dynamo effect that powered a planetary . However, roughly 4.2 billions year ago – either due to a massive impact from a large object, or rapid cooling in its core – this dynamo effect ceased.

As a result, over the course of the next 500 million years, Mars atmosphere was slowly stripped away by solar wind. Between the loss of its magnetic field and its atmosphere, the surface of Mars is exposed to much higher levels of radiation than Earth. And in addition to regular exposure to cosmic rays and solar wind, it receives occasional lethal blasts that occur with strong solar flares.

The video will load shortly
Credit: Universe Today

Investigations:

NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft was equipped with a special instrument called the Martian Radiation Experiment (or MARIE), which was designed to measure the radiation environment around Mars. Since Mars has such a thin atmosphere, radiation detected by Mars Odyssey would be roughly the same as on the surface.

Over the course of about 18 months, the Mars Odyssey probe detected ongoing which are 2.5 times higher than what astronauts experience on the International Space Station – 22 millirads per day, which works out to 8000 millirads (8 rads) per year. The spacecraft also detected 2 solar proton events, where radiation levels peaked at about 2,000 millirads in a day, and a few other events that got up to about 100 millirads.

For comparison, human beings in developed nations are exposed to (on average) 0.62 rads per year. And while studies have shown that the human body can withstand a dose of up to 200 rads without permanent damage, prolonged exposure to the kinds of levels detected on Mars could lead to all kinds of health problems – like acute radiation sickness, increased risk of cancer, genetic damage, and even death.

And given that exposure to any amount of radiation carries with it some degree of risk, NASA and other space agencies maintain a strict policy of ALARA (As-Low-As-Reasonable-Achievable) when planning missions.

Artist impression of a Mars settlement with cutaway view. Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

Possible Solutions:

Human explorers to Mars will definitely need to deal with the increased radiation levels on the surface. What's more, any attempts to colonize the Red Planet will also require measures to ensure that exposure to radiation is minimized. Already, several solutions – both short term and long- have been proposed to address this problem.

For example, NASA maintains multiple satellites that study the sun, the space environment throughout the solar system, and monitor for (GCRs), in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of solar and cosmic radiation. They've also been looking for ways to develop better shielding for astronauts and electronics.

In 2014, NASA launched the Reducing Galactic Cosmic Rays Challenge, an incentive-based competition that awarded a total of $12,000 to ideas on how to reduce astronauts' exposure to galactic cosmic rays. After the initial challenge in April of 2014, a follow-up challenge took place in July that awarded a prize of $30,000 for ideas involving active and passive protection.

When it comes to long-term stays and colonization, several more ideas have been floated in the past. For instance, as Robert Zubrin and David Baker explained in their proposal for a low-cast "Mars Direct" mission, habitats built directly into the ground would be naturally shielded against radiation. Zubrin expanded on this in his 1996 book The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must.

Proposals have also been made to build habitats above-ground using inflatable modules encased in ceramics created using Martian soil. Similar to what has been proposed by both NASA and the ESA for a settlement on the Moon, this plan would rely heavily on robots using 3-D printing technique known as "sintering", where sand is turned into a molten material using x-rays.

The video will load shortly
Credit: Universe Today

MarsOne, the non-profit organization dedicated to colonizing Mars in the coming decades, also has proposals for how to shield Martian settlers. Addressing the issue of radiation, the organization has proposed building shielding into the mission's spacecraft, transit vehicle, and habitation module. In the event of a solar flare, where this protection is insufficient, they advocate creating a dedicated radiation shelter (located in a hollow water tank) inside their Mars Transit Habitat.

But perhaps the most radical proposal for reducing Mars' exposure to harmful radiation involves jump-starting the planet's core to restore its magnetosphere. To do this, we would need to liquefy the planet's outer core so that it can convect around the inner core once again. The planet's own rotation would begin to create a dynamo effect, and a magnetic field would be generated.

According to Sam Factor, a graduate student with the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas, there are two ways to do this. The first would be to detonate a series of thermonuclear warheads near the planet's core, while the second involves running an electric current through the planet, producing resistance at the core which would heat it up.

In addition, a 2008 study conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) in Japan addressed the possibility of creating an artificial magnetic field around Earth. After considering continuous measurements that indicated a 10% drop in intensity in the past 150 years, they went on to advocate how a series of planet-encircling superconducting rings could compensate for future losses.

With some adjustments, such a system could be adapted for Mars, creating an artificial magnetic field that could help shield the surface from some of the harmful radiation it regularly receives. In the event that terraformers attempt to create an atmosphere for Mars, this system could also ensure that it is protected from solar wind.

Lastly, a study in 2007 by researchers from the Institute for Mineralogy and Petrology in Switzerland and the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences at Vrije University in Amsterdam managed to replicate what Mars' core looks like. Using a diamond chamber, the team was able to replicate pressure conditions on iron-sulfur and iron-nickel-sulfur systems that correspond to the center of Mars.

Approximate true-color rendering of the central part of the “Columbia Hills”, taken by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit panoramic camera. Credit: NASA/JPL

What they found was that at the temperatures expected in the Martian core (~1500 K, or 1227 °C; 2240 °F), the inner core would be liquid, but some solidification would occur in the outer core. This is quite different from Earth's core, where the solidification of the inner core releases heat that keeps the outer core molten, thus creating the dynamo effect that powers our magnetic field.

The absence of a solid inner core on Mars would mean that the once-liquid outer core must have had a different energy source. Naturally, that heat source has since failed, causing the outer core to solidify, thus arresting any dynamo effect. However, their research also showed that planetary cooling could lead to core solidification in the future, either due to iron-rich solids sinking towards the center or iron-sulfides crystallizing in the core.

In other words, Mars' core might become solid someday, which would heat the and turn it molten. Combined with the planet's own rotation, this would generate the dynamo effect that would once again fire up the planet's magnetic field. If this is true, then colonizing Mars and living there safely could be a simple matter of waiting for the core to crystallize.

There's no way around it. At present, the radiation on the surface of Mars is pretty hazardous! Therefore, any crewed missions to the planet in the future will need to take into account shielding and counter-measures. And any long-term stays there – at least for the foreseeable future – are going to have to be built into the ground, or hardened against solar and .

But you know what they say about necessity being the mother of invention, right? And with such luminaries as Stephen Hawking saying that we need to start colonizing other worlds in order to survive as a species, and people like Elon Musk and Bas Lansdrop looking to make it happen, we're sure to see some very inventive solutions in the coming generations!

Explore further: Mars' ionosphere shaped by crustal magnetic fields

Related Stories

Mars' ionosphere shaped by crustal magnetic fields

November 7, 2016

Scattered pockets of magnetism across the surface of Mars have a significant influence on the planet's upper atmosphere, according to observations from ESA's Mars Express. Understanding these effects may be crucial for ensuring ...

Coronal mass ejections at Mars

September 24, 2014

Looking across the Mars landscape presents a bleak image: a barren, dry rocky view as far as the eye can see. But scientists think the vista might once have been quite different. It may have teemed with water and even been ...

Recommended for you

Possible first sighting of an exomoon

July 28, 2017

(Phys.org)—A team led by David Kipping of Columbia University has spotted what might be the first evidence of an exomoon. They have written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

46 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

TogetherinParis
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 21, 2016
Before we go set off nuclear explosions deep inside the planet Mars, why don't we solve the hurricane problem we have here on Earth? That way insurance rates will drop and we'll all be better off enough to afford the Martian holiday? Stop Hurricanes on Indigogo.
Broadlands
2 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2016
Solving hurricanes is not possible anyhow. We cannot even lower CO2 by one part per million. More rovers back to Mars? What for? No evidence of life now or billions of years ago... nor even of liquid water. Nothing but oxidized iron and UV radiation? What will they do there? More pretty pictures?
danR
1 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
The future, if at all, of 'colonization' is in AI and robots, not humans.
danR
3 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
More pretty pictures?
The dream of exploration and colonization is rooted in the forties and fifties SF illustrations and of famed space artist Chesley Bonestell. Failing fantastical terraforming plans, people will indeed live most of their lives as moles underground on Mars, and their children will know no other 'life'.

Ain't gonna happen, except by intelligent machines, who as likely as not may not even care.
iversenj
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
OK you want to liquify the outter crust, you want to build a planet we can live on without shields or being stuck in a shelter all day everyday for the rest of your life. Then you'll love the plan that worked here on Earth. The same one that lead to the conditions that existed on Earth for life to be here... How do we do it? Well I am glad you asked. Bombardment. Asteroids anything that we need on Mars we can extract from the asteroid belt and pummel the surface of Mars.... And once we have all the resources we need there. Once you are ready to liquify add Phobos. Phobos is in a declining orbit and will eventually impact Mars.... Why spend billions or trillions of dollars building something that will not last and make people live in a prison on a cold shell of a planet? Phobos is begging for a push... I know the impact will cause stuff to fly back to Earth and could be a danger. What you call danger I call the "Sample Return Mission"
Broadlands
1 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
So.. Dan, except for the dream of exploration and the natural human desire to explore, why are we doing all this? For our curiosity? What's the name of that Mars rover again? Pretty expensive stuff just to see what's out there...and now do it again? Isn't that one definition of insanity? Are they expecting a different result?
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2016
@Broadlands,
No evidence... nor even of liquid water.


Only according to you. Not according to the actual scientists studying the data. As for life, current or past, we've not even looked for it seriously!
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2016
habitats built directly into the ground would be naturally shielded against radiation.

Other than radiation any kind of habitat on Mars will face the danger of (micro-) meteorites. Mars' atmosphere is very thin. This means that a lot more meteorites will penetrate to the surface than, say, on Earth. On Earth, if your house gets hit by a micro meteorite, the likelyhood is that nothing much happens. Even if it penetrates the chance of anyone being injured is low. But on Mars we're talking pressurized habitats. Any penetrating object automatically means a major leak of a very precious resource. Going underground is the only real protection against this.

Then there's the elephant in the room: gravity.
How humans react to prolonged exposure to low gravity (other than osteoporosis and muscular atrophy) - especially during foetal and early childhood phases - remains to be seen. That could be a knock-out criterium for any kind of serious colonization from the get-go.
Broadlands
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
Iversenj... On Earth, the origin and evolution of life to the point where visible light requiring photosynthesis could add oxygen also required a UV screen. A minimal ozone screen was provided by stratospheric photodissociation of water and loss of hydrogen to space. That doesn't seem possible for Mars...or does it?
jonesdave
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2016
So.. Dan, except for the dream of exploration and the natural human desire to explore, why are we doing all this? For our curiosity? What's the name of that Mars rover again? Pretty expensive stuff just to see what's out there...and now do it again? Isn't that one definition of insanity? Are they expecting a different result?


How much does an ICBM cost? How many needed to sterilise Earth? How many have we built? Space exploration is a tiny fraction of what the military get. Aim your barbs there, why not?
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2016
why are we doing all this?

Earth (or the solar system for that matter) is not immune to cosmic accidents. A single large-ish asteroid could, currently, wipe out humanity. A single gamma ray burst from a nearby star could sterilize any number of colonies within the solar system. If we think humanity should have a chance to survive indefinitely then going into nearby space (and beyond) is a must.
I find it sort of crazy that we continually ignore the universe out there and hold only stuff that is roughly 2 meters above the Earth's surface as relevant for us.

It's all a matter of perspective. If you think only you and what happens in your lifetime is of value then space exploration makes no sense. If you think there are things beyond yourself that matter (like your kids, descendants, or just humanity as a whole) then it's a no-brainer that we should spread at the earliest opportunity.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 21, 2016
So when civilization collapses here on earth from any number of causes who is going to build and launch and pilot the machines?

"Colonizing Mars has long been a passion of Musk's. Indeed, the entrepreneur has repeatedly said that he founded SpaceX in 2002 primarily to help make humanity a multiplanet species. Having a self-sustaining outpost on the Red Planet would serve as an insurance policy, making humanity's extinction unlikely even if something goes terribly awry here on Earth, Musk said Tuesday."

-This is obvious.

Self-sustaining means having the ability to independently produce a certain level of tech to maintain a presence in space. This means rare earths, clean rooms, robotics, computers, metallurgy etc.
Broadlands
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 21, 2016
Jonesdave... Apparently you haven't been keeping up with the rovers? No evidence of organic carbon at levels detectable at parts per billion. No evidence of liquid water other than a few evaporites, layers of sediments with sandstones, even conglomerates, but no carbonates nor shales. All the way back for billions of years. Pretty serious look to find nothing.
jonesdave
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 21, 2016
It's all a matter of perspective. If you think only you and what happens in your lifetime is of value then space exploration makes no sense. If you think there are things beyond yourself that matter (like your kids, descendants, or just humanity as a whole) then it's a no-brainer that we should spread at the earliest opportunity.


And then there is the question of what would any government do with the money it takes from space exploration? Give it over to research into clean energy, alternative fuels? Hand it over to poorer countries in the form of aid?
Will they buggery. It'll be a bribe, via tax cuts for the already well off, to make sure they vote for the same idiots next time. Far better spent where it is.
Broadlands
5 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
And then there is the question of what would any government do with the money it takes from space exploration?

Infrastructure! The place is falling apart. We have very smart folks at JPL who could help with efficient plans to repair and improve what is needed here. Then wander off to space.
iversenj
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
So hard to solve all the Mars issues in a comment box lol. Here goes... The Asteroid belt solves some and lessens other problems. The asteroid belt has 2 sections the inner belt and the outter belt. The inner belt is mainly rock. The outter belt is mainly water ice. By using "robots" we can re-redirect the asteroids towards mars, adding mass and the impacts will add heat and thicken the atmosphere. That should vaporize any water on or near the surface and send into the atmosphere. Phobos, crashing that into Mars will create MAJOR heat and unlock more water. Once we liquify the surface into molten rock with phobos we add "Asteroid Psyche" followed by the water asteroids... More mass more water...
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2016
Apparently you haven't been keeping up with the rovers? No evidence of organic carbon at levels detectable at parts per billion. No evidence of liquid water other than a few evaporites, layers of sediments with sandstones, even conglomerates, but no carbonates nor shales. All the way back for billions of years. Pretty serious look to find nothing.


As far as life goes, they are looking on the surface, with instruments not specifically designed to search for life signatures. Any current life would almost certainly be subsurface. Any evidence of past life would be very hard to detect, and would possibly need a drill.
As for no evidence that water was on the surface in the past, sorry, but that is just wrong.
To link all the relevant papers would take me over the word limit for this and a few subsequent posts.
http://www.space....wet.html
http://science.sc...6231/218
Not to mention features obviously carved by water.
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2016
And then there is the question of what would any government do with the money it takes from space exploration?

Infrastructure! The place is falling apart. We have very smart folks at JPL who could help with efficient plans to repair and improve what is needed here. Then wander off to space.


Really? And how many of those people will still have a job when the funding is cut?
Repair and improve what, exactly? Why would JPL need to do that? Isn't that what politicians are for?
Keep voting for idiots, and this is going to take more than JPL (whose job it isn't) to fix.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2016
So hard to solve all the Mars issues in a comment box lol. Here goes... The Asteroid belt solves some and lessens other problems. The asteroid belt has 2 sections the inner belt and the outter belt. The inner belt is mainly rock. The outter belt is mainly water ice. By using "robots" we can re-redirect the asteroids towards mars, adding mass and the impacts will add heat and thicken the atmosphere. That should vaporize any water on or near the surface and send into the atmosphere. Phobos, crashing that into Mars will create MAJOR heat and unlock more water. Once we liquify the surface into molten rock with phobos we add "Asteroid Psyche" followed by the water asteroids... More mass more water...
Uh thats going to disrupt colony life considerably dont you think? Why dont you screw up venus instead? Its already hot.
iversenj
3 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
Sorry Ghost I wanted to do this before we colonize I had commented above that we should not colonize yet... It makes sense to me to make it a little more bearable before creating the colony... Plus Phobos is going to crash into Mars eventually, I wanted to get that part out of the way first. Phobos doesn't care about our plans...
Harry-TheBeach
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
We will be on Mars. The only questions are when and how. Every problem with respect to going there and living there can be solved, except for gravity. No one really has any idea about the impact of 38% gravity on humans, especially on the growth of babies into adults. It's conceivable that people will very healthy without all of that wear and tear on their bodies. It's also possible that eyesight, bone density, and immune system problems will make Mars uninhabitable unless we do plenty of genetic modifications. Will Martians be a different species then?

I have written a novel to cover some of these questions and a series of articles to stimulate discussion of all of them, "Thinking about Mars," that appears on LinkedIn.
Harry-TheBeach
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
The future, if at all, of 'colonization' is in AI and robots, not humans.


This may be true for the short term, but not in the long run. Unless gravity turns out to be a serious impediment, people will live on Mars someday.
danR
5 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
So.. Dan, except for the dream of exploration and the natural human desire to explore, why are we doing all this?
Actually, we aren't. And that's where it's going to stay. By the time we realistically are able to get to Mars in an actual on-surface exploration mode, the dream will have ended as we pass the baton from carbon to silicon. The future is in machines, in the unlikely event they will be curious. I'm not one to impose anthropomorphic motives on their 'psyches'.
danR
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016


The future, if at all, of 'colonization' is in AI and robots, not humans.


This may be true for the short term, but not in the long run. Unless gravity turns out to be a serious impediment, people will live on Mars someday.


You've got it backwards. People won't matter anymore in the long run. We will join the other primates in obsolescent eco-islands, scratching out an existence and dreaming of the past...
BackBurner
5 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
If humans were actually going to Mars in 2030, construction of the transfer ship would need to begin in the next two years. There's been no published plans to do that, so we may safely conclude there isn't going to be a crewed expedition to Mars in that time frame. If we assume "sometime in the 2030's", construction might begin as late as 2028, under the assumption the task is as complicated as building the ISS, which took 12 years.

Colonizing Mars using any of the technologies proposed so far by either NASA or SpaceX simply can't happen; they're ridiculously naive. Musk's fantasy of launching 100 colonists from the ground directly to Mars (including a "pizza bar"), then returning the entire circus to Earth, is flat out absurd.

No one is even remotely serious about colonizing Mars at the moment.
bobbysius
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
If we warm Mars a few degrees via orbiting mirrors, SF6 rockets, albedo reduction, ect., its CO2 inventory will sublimate to give Mars an atmosphere between 30-60kPa. This denser atmosphere alone would reduce surface radiation 5 to10-fold, which negates any real need for creating a magnetosphere (which is insanely difficult by comparison). True, any surface water will photodissociate and the hydrogen would be lost to solar wind, but we're talking about geologic timescales for that to happen.
Broadlands
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
Hi Jones... "Really? And how many of those people will still have a job when the funding is cut?
Repair and improve what, exactly? Why would JPL need to do that? "

You missed the point? Everyone agrees that our roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, harbors etc. are in need of repair or replacement. JPL, of course, does not do infrastructure, nor jet propulsion. But, if their expertise were carefully re-directed from an essentially finished Mars rover "look for life" program they could help where help is really needed and many job could even be added. If the entire program were to be scrapped the whole place would dry up. Like most government programs they tend to have a life of there own. There is little that is more permanent than a temporary government program. This is one of them. It may be fun to explore the Universe but we need help here at home. And, we are running out of money. See you later...but think about it.
BackBurner
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
(cont.)

Nor should they be. The authors point out the problems with making Mars habitable by humans. Assuming gravity isn't a show stopper, "terraforming" Mars will be an operation that will preclude colonization before it happens. Even the least invasive plan for building a magnetosphere would take decades (the orbital shield mentioned). Asteroid bombardment to build an atmosphere and "just add water" would also not be things to be done while a colony was on Mars.

If we think about the tech and effort needed to terraform Mars, then compare that to the technology and effort needed to build a O'Neil style colony at a Lagrange point, I think the O'Neal colony makes a whole lot more sense and serves a better purpose as a staging platform for asteroid and lunar mining. Luna has the best gravity well, much better than Mars. Why bother boosting resources from Mars?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2016
Sorry Ghost I wanted to do this before we colonize I had commented above that we should not colonize yet... It makes sense to me to make it a little more bearable before creating the colony... Plus Phobos is going to crash into Mars eventually, I wanted to get that part out of the way first. Phobos doesn't care about our plans
Your terraforming ultraviolence will take 100 years. We'll be extinct by then.

Plus its totally unnecessary. People spend most of their time in shopping malls and office buildings as it is. Underground on mars will be no different, like living in el paso.

And new tech like skinsuits and genetic adaptation will allow more freedom to walk in the sun amongst the engineered lichen forests.

Like musk and hawking and many others will tell you, this is an EMERGENCY. We dont have time to waste.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2016
I meant 1000 years. Terraforming of any kind will take 1000 years.
Jonseer
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
You missed the point? Everyone agrees that our roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, harbors etc. are in need of repair or replacement. if their expertise were carefully re-directed from an essentially finished Mars rover "look for life" program they could help where help is really needed and many job could even be added.Like most government programs they tend to have a life of there own. There is little that is more permanent than a temporary government program. This is one of them. It may be fun to explore the Universe but we need help here at home. And, we are running out of money.


How ironic, you decry government inefficiency, Yet your solution is an even worse version of the same based on the assumption that one engineer/researcher is good as/the same as any other. Are you the guy who once shouted from the crowd, keep gubment's hands off my medicare. LOL
jonesdave
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 21, 2016
You missed the point? Everyone agrees that our roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, harbors etc. are in need of repair or replacement. JPL, of course, does not do infrastructure, nor jet propulsion. But, if their expertise were carefully re-directed from an essentially finished Mars rover "look for life" program they could help where help is really needed and many job could even be added. If the entire program were to be scrapped the whole place would dry up. Like most government programs they tend to have a life of there own. There is little that is more permanent than a temporary government program. This is one of them. It may be fun to explore the Universe but we need help here at home. And, we are running out of money. See you later...but think about it.


Cut 10% of military spending, put the grunts to work doing whatever it is that is causing where you live to be such a hellhole. Stop giving tax cuts to the rich. Stop voting for idiots who promise such things. Etc, etc.

jonesdave
3 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2016
@Broadlands,
I'll give you one more reason why we'll continue exploring Mars. Not a good reason, but a reason all the same; if the U.S. and/or Europe don't do it, their governments know damn well that the Chinese eventually will. Just like the U.S. didn't want the U.S.S.R. being the first to land on the Moon. Moronic reasons, but fitting of politicians.
And you can bet your life that if the Chinese get a man there first, the electorate will be demanding to know why 'we' weren't first! "How could we let the goddamn Chinese get there first? Disgrace."
Broadlands
3 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
Hi Jones. Yes.. not a good reason. Wake up to reality? There is a limit to what even you can pay for us to wander around in the Universe essentially for kicks? And, you are right that engineers are not the same. Neither were those who were in jet propulsion... but it worked. You are certainly not alone in thinking that money grows on trees to pay for everything... and if it doesn't it can be "stolen" from those who have been greedily using it for their family or its future.

Have a nice holiday. Seriously. Again .. think about it as if it was your money.
jonesdave
3 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2016


Have a nice holiday. Seriously. Again .. think about it as if it was your money.


You mean as if $597bn dollars of my money was being spent on defence? And ~$19bn on NASA? I know precisely who I'd be telling to take a cut. How many people in the US army? When do you reckon the next time will be that the US puts boots on the ground anywhere (assuming Canada doesn't invade)? First one home in a body bag, and the politicians shit themselves. Waste of manpower. Get them to fix your potholes, bridges, whatever.
Leave NASA to pursue knowledge, unless you'd prefer we'd have stayed in the dark ages, because nobody has the time nor money to waste on such esoteric things as maths and geometry, and building telescopes, etc.
It's a small town, small minded attitude.

Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (3) Nov 21, 2016
The superconducting rings should work fine, Ghost makes a good point re: Hawking, et al. Why waste time nuking the place or dropping asteroids on it? The machine that builds a giant redwood tree fits in the space of just a seed, and a well-stocked microbiome, hammered out in the experiential trial-and-error of millions of years and then refined with science, works wonders in short order – a geometric progression of self-sustaining, self-reproducing decomposers and composers. Need more water? Beam it down, Scottie, in a river of ions from the outer belt using the same superconducting technologies. If it takes longer than 100 years to transform Mars into a habitable planet then we're slacking.
Terraforming of any kind will take 1000 years.
Slacker.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Nov 22, 2016
Get them to fix your potholes, bridges, whatever.

Exactly. Soldiers are also much better at manual labor than NASA techs and scientists. It'd be a total waste of their skills if they were to be redirected into fixing infrastructure.

Then there's the payoff from NASA. Depending on where you look you will find a return on investment (ROI) of 10-14 dollars for every dollar spent. It's hard to find any other enterprise that gives you that (certainly no government funded one)

For comparison: If the military budget had a similar ROI the US would be debt free in 3 years. Think about that for a minute. And then consider what you would like to invest (your taxpayer money) in. Because the investment is directly benefitting you.

A good ROI from your (taxpayer money) investment (e.g. by investing in NASA) means more taxes from elsewhere (businesses) which means you can get a tax cut in the future.
A bad ROI (like military spending) means more taxes for you in the future.

TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 22, 2016
Terraforming of any kind will take 1000 years

Slacker
And no need for ion firehoses as there is an ocean of water on mars. But keep in mind that liberating it will flood much valuable real estate.

"Max Skinner:
What is it, Major Lawrence, that attracts you, personally, to the desert?... Its clean. I like it because its clean."
iversenj
not rated yet Nov 22, 2016
"Your terraforming ultraviolence will take 100(0) years"

I do like the term however i feel like it's more ultra-organic or ultra-natural. Bombarment solves a lot of issues, actually most if not all of them... It worked for Earth, why re-invent the wheel?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (4) Nov 22, 2016
"Your terraforming ultraviolence will take 100(0) years"

I do like the term however i feel like it's more ultra-organic or ultra-natural. Bombarment solves a lot of issues, actually most if not all of them... It worked for Earth, why re-invent the wheel?
Because it took a billion years here.

We're out of time.

And we already spend most all of our time indoors. Want a park? Make some big bubbles and grow grass.
https://en.wikipe...ct_Gnome

-Picture one of these with condos cut into the walls. Radiation? Is ok martians will need the radioisotopes. No problemo after 6 months. Connect them up with nuclear earth borers. Instant Hyperloops and levittowns.

Billions of people can (will) be living quite happily beneath the surface of mars.
iversenj
not rated yet Nov 22, 2016
Ghost it did take a billion years true. We can speed that up. I don't think we are out of time though. I would like to take the extra time and do it right. Certainly we would not see the results but I would be happy knowing that instead of just tremendous debt, we would leave something of value for future generations.

I noticed you said 2 times we are out of time, is it just you and I that are out of time or everyone?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (4) Nov 22, 2016
"Stephen Hawking called for a massive investment in establishing colonies on the Moon and Mars in a lecture in honour of NASA's 50th anniversary. He argued that the world should devote about 10 times as much as NASA's current budget – or 0.25% of the world's financial resources – to space.

"The renowned University of Cambridge physicist has previously spoken in favour of colonising space as an insurance policy against the possibility of humanity being wiped out by catastrophes like nuclear war and climate change."

I gave you the musk quote. The original 'eggs in 1 basket' quote was from heinlein. Here's a whole list
http://www.spacequotes.com
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 22, 2016
And I'm not giving you my opinion I'm telling you what's going to happen.

"Musk thinks it's possible to begin shuttling thousands of people between Earth and our smaller, redder neighbor sometime within the next decade or so. And not too long after that—perhaps 40 or a hundred years later, Mars could be home to a self-sustaining colony of a million people."

Mars will begin filling up just as fast as the new world did in the 1500s.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2016
Just like the U.S. didn't want the U.S.S.R. being the first to land on the Moon. Moronic reasons, but fitting of politicians
@jonesdave
well, to be fair, it was also a time of heightened tensions and military posturing (the cold war) and there was a perceived threat by having a space advantage and the ability to lob nukes from Russia (with love? LOL)

.

A bad ROI (like military spending) means more taxes for you in the future.
@AA_P
personally, i really would like to see more NASA spending. i keep telling my SEN/REP the same thing... actually told them they should at least double the NASA budget, and included the argument of ROI

- but you can't get away from military spending either

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 23, 2016
- but you can't get away from military spending either

Probably not in the world we live in (I wish we could - but wishful thinking and reality are two things).
But the US could certainly cut 90% of its defense budget without sacrificing one iota of security.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2016
more NASA spending
NASA is a military organization. Recon is an essential military function. If you look at its missions they have all been strategic in nature.

For instance they would rather develop the capability to establish bases on mars moons and visit asteroids (ie take the high ground) than build martian colonies which is more suited to commercial enterprise. Asteroids are potential weapons as well as vital sources of strategic materials.

Columbus expeditions were also recon. He established bridgeheads/staging bases for conquering the americas.
but wishful thinking... the US could certainly cut 90% of its defense budget without sacrificing one iota of security
Funny how you talk to yourself without realizing it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.