Before we colonise Mars, let's look to our problems on Earth

Before we colonise Mars, let's look to our problems on Earth
Mars. Credit: NASA JPL Caltech cd f d o.

Everyone wants to go to Mars, or so it seems.

Elon Musk, NASA with Lockheed Martin, and now Boeing are all looking towards the , with heady predictions of missions during the 2020s.

But at what cost? And could we even survive any long-term colonisation on Mars? Given the problems we face here on Earth it's important to ask whether we should be better tasked with looking after the only planet we know (so far) that can harbour .

The race to Mars

Boeing says it wants to be involved in the first mission to send humans to the red planet. The company's chief executive Dennis Muilenburg told a US TV host in December 2017:

"I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket."

A key rival is Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, which is already launching rockets. At the 68th Annual International Aeronautics Congress, in Adelaide in September 2017, Musk spoke of airline-like connections between Earth and Mars, with cargo missions to begin by 2022.

Lockheed Martin says it plans to send humans to Mars in the next decade.

Even the famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has argued that it is "essential that we colonise space" although he doesn't see it happening that soon:

"I believe that we will eventually establish self-sustaining colonies on Mars and other bodies in the Solar system although probably not within the next 100 years."

Exploring other planets

Scientific exploration of Solar system planets constitutes one of the most exciting achievements the human race is realising.

But by contrast, the idea of colonising Mars or other planets or moons is misleading. It yields an impression in many people's mind that an alternative exists to Earth, a unique (so far) haven of life in the Solar system, currently suffering from global warming, rising oceans, , mass extinction of species and growing risk of nuclear wars.

Microbial life may exist on Mars or may have existed in the past. According to NASA:

"Among our discoveries about Mars, one stands out above all others: the possible presence of , either in its ancient past or preserved in the subsurface today. Water is key because almost everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life. If Mars once had liquid water, or still does today, it's compelling to ask whether any microscopic life forms could have developed on its surface."

But doubts have been raised recently with regard to the distinction between water and sand flow on Mars.

Before we colonise Mars, let's look to our problems on Earth
This high-resolution scanning electron microscope image shows an unusual tube-like structural form that is less than 1/100th the width of a human hair in size found in meteorite ALH84001, a meteorite believed to be of Martian origin. Credit: NASA

No atmosphere for life

At present there is no evidence of a liveable atmosphere under which plants or other organisms would survive on Mars.

Its thin atmosphere is less than 1% of Earth's, consisting of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% nitrogen, 1.9% argon and trace amounts of oxygen and carbon monoxide. It provides little protection from the Sun's radiation, nor does it allow retention of heat at the surface.

Suggestions as to whether biological-like textures in a Martian meteorite (ALH84001) signify ancient fossils have not been confirmed.

In July 2017 researchers reported that the surface of Mars may be more toxic to microorganisms than previously thought.

A Mars colony warning

There is no lack of warnings regarding the colonisation of Mars.

If a colony was established it would take continuous efforts and major expense to keep it supplied, including likely rescue missions. Furthermore, the long-term isolation of the colonists may take its toll.

When the Mars One project announced in 2013 that it was looking to recruit four people to send on a mission to colonise Mars, Chris Chambers, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Cardiff University, warned of the psychological risks the colonists would face.

Yet dreams stay alive. According to NASA's mission statement:

"Even if Mars is devoid of past or present life, however, there's still much excitement on the horizon. We ourselves might become "life on Mars", should humans choose to travel there one day."

Earth calling Mars

Space colonisation dreams are not entirely devoid of economic interests. The international space industry is said to be worth in the order of some US$400 billion a year, and predicted to grow to nearly US$3 trillion over the next three decades.

Space travel and colonisation ideas are mostly promoted by engineers and entrepreneurs who stand to gain from these schemes, but far less so by biologists and medical scientists who understand the terrestrial origin and physiological limitations of the human body.

There can be little doubt that, given modern and future computer and space technologies, space stations could be constructed on Mars, where a few privileged humans may be able to live for periods of time.

Should humans colonise a life-bearing planet, we should ask whether organisms would fare any better than species extinguished on Earth.

The ethical polarity between those dreaming of conquering space and those hoping to defend Earth from global heating and a nuclear calamity could not be greater.

The billions and trillions of dollars required to develop and maintain colonies in could approach the estimated US$1.69 trillion military spending globally in 2016.

As a scientist who examines how a changing climate influences human evolution, I argue that funds on this scale would be better directed at the defence of the lives of more than 7 billion humans on Earth, as well as protection of animals and of nature more broadly.


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Dec 28, 2017
"Before we colonise Mars, let's look to our problems on Earth"

The author advocates waiting to explore until life is somehow perfected here on Earth. Had the human race followed this intellectually bankrupt policy thoroughout its history we never would have explored anything and would probably be extinct by now. There is no scientific basis for assuming that some of the answers we need to move forward are not out there or won't arise through exploration. It is not hyperbole to say there is an entire universe waiting for us out there beyond low Earth orbit. Essentially unlimited resources, energy and real estate if we can reach it and learn to use it.

Of course if you are already incredibly rich, you don't want expensive government programs that might affect your taxes, regardless of the obvious long term benefits to the human race, and you would support a propaganda piece like this article.

Dec 28, 2017
I agree with this article but in a much more detailed way. We should be investing our resources on quantum computers and fusion in that order. Quantum computers will enable us to do simulations that will put us on Mars faster, safer and cheaper. Quantum computer simulations will enable us to build fusion power houses the easiest fastest, cheapest way. Perhaps even some type of cold fusion will be possible. To get to Mars and back will kill or mutate 10% of a astronauts cells(DNA) but we are on the edge of being able to repair or prevent the damage and a quantum computer will be able to show us how.

Dec 28, 2017
Luddite defeatist. Oh, so when *is* a good time? You never would have left the ocean.

7+ billion people is the main part of the problem with earth. 7 billion people with cultures diametrically opposed to limiting reproduction, committed to overbreeding available resources. Like bacteria in a petri dish. Guaranteeing themselves famine, war, and poverty. Culturally incapable of democracy, and mired in iron age fairy stories that they use to justify murder.

Escaping this mad house at any cost is the only way to ensure survival of life into the indefinite future.

Barring massive education campaigns accompanied by drastic population reduction here, I can guarantee that things will continue to get worse, and at an accelerating rate.

Goodbye! I'll write you from the self-sufficient and profitable colonies.


Dec 28, 2017
The Earth's population is now over 8.8 billion.

Dec 28, 2017
lets send the 'liberals' first .

Dec 28, 2017
I addressed this issue a long time ago here - http://wwwscienti...our.html

Want to solve problems here on Earth first? O.k. here ya go,

http://wwwscienti...-up.html

Dec 28, 2017
Kind of a silly article as pointed out by most of the above comments.

Dec 28, 2017
at the end of the day I can't think of any possible extinction level scenario that will make survival on Mars easier than survival on Earth.

Dec 28, 2017
Sustainable living is merely optional on Earth but a basic requirement to colonize space. Thats why technological payback from such colony would be immense here on Earth, too.

Dec 28, 2017
Most of the commenters here are shouting that colonization is the right choice ethically and economically, when it it is patently obvious that it is neither.

One is always reminded of that old adage about "getting one's own house in order" and need not look any further than the ongoing failure to do so right here on Earth as the reason for the clamorous cries to colonise Mars.

The colonisation movement is ethically bankrupt right out of the gate, for proposing the inevitable: a first wave of technical elite to set up the colony, followed shortly by a mass wave of economic elite , to escape the onus of their misdeeds here on Earth while amassing their wealth, and leaving everyone else to sink or swim in the polluted, lukewarm waters they hope to escape.

contd

Dec 28, 2017
With regard to the economic feasibility of off world colonization, there isn't any enthusiasm, since none of the necessary tech is yet up and running, in the first place.

It will be several more decades before this tech is available, and one can always argue that it would be better to spend the money on the tech necessary to keep the Earth habitable and to solving terrestrial problems.

However, since the colonization drum isn't going to stop beating, it needs be pointed out that it will cost plenty to develop the required tech, and the elite aren't going to spend their wealth on it if it doesn't make a profit right here and now.

contd

Dec 28, 2017
Since these are the people that will be responsible for creating and sustaining any colonization program, it will be necessary to provide them with a massive return on their initial investment, which just isn't going to happen without many more years of slow, incremental, independent development of most of the tech's backbone, as is always the way of the world.

contd

Dec 28, 2017
You clowns with dollar signs swimming in your eyes and a mental image of some Martian Riviera are living a pipe dream.

If you were even half bright, you would realize that the tech needed to solve the problems we face here on Earth is the same that will be needed for life offworld, and would also know that it is a logical progression from developing the tech and using it to solve our problems right here and now --while generating the immense profits required by the elite-- to acquiring the funding for the launch of any real Colonization Plan.

You Colonialists better put on your thinking helmets and cook something up quick, or else get used to sharing this tired old Earth with the rest of us for the forseeable future.

While you are still here, I would suggest you put some effort into making sure it is a better place for us and every other living thing upon it.

Dec 28, 2017
Finally, an article about foreseeable problems with attempting colonization beyond the Van Allen Belt. We see from the above comments the Deny-Reality Cultists are in full-fledged indignation.

How dare anyone treat them like adults and speak honestly of probable difficulties! Their perpetual adolescence fed by comicbook fantasies is all they care to hear.

Their fabulous fiction has promised Green Orion Slave Girls to conquer and ravish. And they damn well resent any attempt to get these perpetual peter pans to grow up.

We do not know if Earth biology can survive long enough to reproduce in low to zero gravity or beyond the shield of the VAB. Anyone who tells you different is a flatearthing liar.

Obviously none of the whinging wanna-be-a-pioneer has any experience at logistics or building a profitable ROI.

The successful historical colony you should emulate is the Mormon migration to Utah. However, I'm betting you will wind up as another Jamestown or Roanoke.

Dec 28, 2017
Contrary to the beliefs of some, government funds are limited and what you give to one program you much take away from the other. Creating a settlement on Mars would take multi-trillions of dollars. It would do little or nothing to reduce poverty. Some of the new technologies created will be helpful but for the most part there much more pressing issues to be dealt with first like food, water, shelter, health, energy and education for the world's population

Dec 29, 2017
The challenges of putting humans on mars are exponentially greater than putting them on the moon and the payoff is what? Saying we did it? Robotic expeditions are much cheaper and far less risky. Eventually we may get to Mars but unless we can drastically improve propulsion technology, it won't happen for awhile. Multi-year journeys with humans aboard are unrealistic unless you send a large group of people on a very large ship.

suffering from global warming, rising oceans, extreme weather events, mass extinction of species

All of which are imaginary problems that distract from real problems that humans face, many of which can be realistically mitigated, like malnutrition, disease, and poverty. For a list of common problems and their relative priority ranked by millions of people globally, see http://data.myworld2015.org/.

Dec 29, 2017
Yeah, Colombus should have waited until steam ships were invented. Queen Isabella should have waited until Spain colonized the entire known world before trying to discover more trade routes. Edison should have waited until LEDs were invented. Heck, the Pharaos should have given the pyramid contract to Mitsui. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, we shouldn't have crawled out of the water until lungs were perfected.

Things Luddites don't get:
- poverty is not caused by lack of money. Giving a 1000 bucks to each 3rd world resident won't solve poverty
- world hunger is not about lack of food - it's about distribution and sharing (which goes against human nature)

So let's all wait until the 1st world stops over-utilizing resources and the 3rd world stops reproducing like rabbits. And when the blue moon shines over flying flocks of pigs, it might be the time to look at Mars.

Sheesh!

Dec 29, 2017
Creating a settlement on Mars would take multi-trillions of dollars.


Do you have data to back up this claim or did you just pull it out of... well, you know.

It would do little or nothing to reduce poverty.


Of course. Why would it? We are talking about a Mars colonization program. Not everything is about reducing poverty. Brushing my teeth in the morning has nothing to do with reducing poverty either, but I still do it.

Dec 29, 2017
Their fabulous fiction has promised Green Orion Slave Girls to conquer and ravish. And they damn well resent any attempt to get these perpetual peter pans to grow up.


A strawman argument. You set up this absurd reference to comic book fantasies as your strawman and attack it. No, it doesn't impress anyone.

We do not know if Earth biology can survive long enough to reproduce in low to zero gravity or beyond the shield of the VAB. Anyone who tells you different is a flatearthing liar.


Of course we don't. No one says we do (another strawman). So we shouldn't do things just because we aren't sure it will work?

Obviously none of the whinging wanna-be-a-pioneer has any experience at logistics or building a profitable ROI.


Yeah, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are bumbling idiots. Please enlighten them, with your all-knowing erudism.

Dec 29, 2017
Multi-year journeys with humans aboard are unrealistic unless you send a large group of people on a very large ship.


A journey to Mars does not take multiple years. FYI - Mars is in our solar system, not orbiting Alpha Centauri.

suffering from global warming, rising oceans, extreme weather events, mass extinction of species...

All of which are imaginary problems that distract from real problems that humans face, many of which can be realistically mitigated,


Imaginary? Oh, you missed out the alternative fact that all these are hoaxes made up by the Chinese.

Dec 29, 2017
Colonization of Mars will be extremely difficult. It will be extremely dangerous.

The first mission will probably die on or before atmospheric entry. Second, probably due to hab failure. Maybe the 3rd or 4th will manage to survive. Most of them will develop cancer or die of accidents. The average life expectancy will be around 35 - 45 years of age at time of death. The deaths will be painful and horrendous. Life will be extremely hard, full of danger and unknown.

Would I go? Hell, yeah.

Dec 29, 2017
1. Problems on Earth are solvable and trillions of dollars are spent globally, annually on solving them. e.g. we have tech to green the deserts economically.
2. Mars can easily be colonized for less than one billion dollars. Send Adam and Eve with an internet connection, a shovel to put dirt on their hab. (radiation protection) and 10 metric tons of fabrication equipment. Calling them 'elites' is nonsense. America was not colonized by the wealthy elite.
3. When colonists moved to the Americas it didn't mean that Europe was left behind or stagnated. The argument that colonization implies we are abandoning Earth, is nonsense.
4. There is nothing ethically wrong colonizing an empty Mars. The ethical advantages outweigh the ethical cost of slightly altering a microbial environment. Adding life and nutrients might even help these flourish more while you build an extra agricultural colony. Selected restricted zones for microbiological research, just as on Antarctica, works just fine

Dec 29, 2017
The colonisation movement is ethically bankrupt right out of the gate, for proposing the inevitable: a first wave of technical elite to set up the colony, followed shortly by a mass wave of economic elite , to escape the onus of their misdeeds here on Earth while amassing their wealth, and leaving everyone else to sink or swim in the polluted, lukewarm waters


You write this and yet you have the gall to talk about ethics. The colonization movement is about bigger picture, about ensuring the survival and future of humanity. It is not about benefiting you or me personally and sending our asses to a holiday on Mars. Of course it will be the elite (but also numerous scientists and engineers) who will go first. If you have a problem with that then YOU are the one who is ethically bankrupt, myopic and selfish to the extreme. Crab mentality is truly the worst.

Dec 29, 2017
Creating a settlement on Mars would take multi-trillions of dollars.


Only when using NASA to do it. But with reusable rockets, distributed launch, and cost savings due to ditching cost plus contracts and relying on commercial hardware it would take only several hundred billion dollars over a few decades. Which is a mere fraction of a percent of the budget. It is a rounding error in the big picture. We do not even need a huge spaceflight budget increase, just a modest one. The problem with space is not funding, it is gross inefficiency. I am a rabid space colonization advocate but let me say that if we are too incompetent to establish a space colony with $20 billion per year funding, then we dont deserve to have it, and a trillion dollar colony would end up like Apollo anyway, cancelled at the first opportunity. We neither need nor want your trillions.

Dec 29, 2017
While in principle the article is spot on, in practice, human nature when it is bored, ends up spinning wheels to nowhere in zero-sum games making shiny useless things and wasting money on wars and mindless entertainment costing billions to trillions of dollars and human potential. Poverty and maximization of human potential through education and scientific jobs progams could be solved with a few percent of GDP and spur great technological advances...but we do not do these because we are greedy and selfish crabs in a bucket. We need to nourish are better sides to accomplish things. Humans are most noble when they have a challenge, and that challenge could be space. The technologies which we would need to survive in such an inhospitable place as mars, are exactly the kinds of technologies we would need if calamity struck the earth as well. The alternative is a new Dark ages on earth where technology stagnates and is heavily monetized and privatized.

Dec 29, 2017
How about these headlines instead . . .

Before we give multi-trillion dollar tax breaks to the rich, let's look to our problems on Earth.

Before we start another multi-trillion dollar war, let's look to our problems on Earth.

Before we let the corrupt Republican Party sell off the U.S. to the highest bidder, let's look to our problems on Earth.

Dec 29, 2017
"You write this and yet you have the gall to talk about ethics. The colonization movement is about bigger picture, about ensuring the survival and future of humanity."

This is perhaps the silliest of all the pro Mars statements made to date. If we cannot figure out how to survive on a hospitable planet like earth we are not intelligent enough to survive long term on Mars. Going to Mars is just running away from your problems which never works. We need to change our actions not our location. Over population on earth will be resolved one way or the other since nature always wins. We can chose the easy way or the hard way, it is man's choice.
I have no doubts that some of mankind will always survive even if it is only the self sufficient Amish or remote tribes in some jungle.

Dec 29, 2017
What the hell? "We should look to our problems on Earth"?
How will we solve anything on Earth when noone can hope to do anything without a power of some sort, and when that power is often tied to someone BAD to the Earth in a way or another? Not to mention equal, if not superior efforts to destroy any attempt to solve problems if they disrupt economy or suspicious activities from people hardly caring about the planet and more about themselves.....
We won't save the Earth or humanity by going to Mars. Still, we'll do it. It's a new, probably vacant place to inhabit in the future, and while whether we go or not won't change the fate of our world, it could change ours and allow us to survive slightly longer than expected.
So? Using "trillions" for "good" things we never did before (or so it seems) and this time WILL WORK because...because something, or for what we always did: exploring new ways?

Dec 29, 2017
One thing is for sure, it won't be the city dwellers. When, not if, society collapses due to it's collective ignorance the supply chains that feed and shelter the masses will not exist. 18th century skills will become key to survival.

Dec 29, 2017
"Only when using NASA to do it. But with reusable rockets, distributed launch, and cost savings due to ditching cost plus contracts and relying on commercial hardware it would take only several hundred billion dollars over a few decades."

Shot when a simple thing like killing thousands and destroying just a few cites in the Middle East costs about a trillion dollars a year how can going to Mars possibly cost less?

Dec 29, 2017
"Before we let the corrupt Republican Party sell off the U.S. to the highest bidder, let's look to our problems on Earth."

Mark now that is just plain ignorant. Hillary was running the biggest influence peddling operation in modern times via the Clinton Foundation. It is just too bad that the Democrats and the media did not care enough about the US to expose it.

Dec 29, 2017
"Before we let the corrupt Republican Party sell off the U.S. to the highest bidder, let's look to our problems on Earth."

"Mark now that is just plain ignorant."

Your false, made-up evidence is that Hillary Clinton was even more corrupt, as if somehow that makes all the damage the Republican Party is doing justifiable. The corrupt Republican Party has been selling off the U.S. to the highest bidder all year long and lies like yours don't change that fact.

Dec 29, 2017
It's not an 'either x or y' solution that will safeguard humanities future.
It'll need to be both. With global involvement.
Thinking otherwise is dangerously naive.

Dec 29, 2017
Mark Bill Clinton sold or gave or enabled the transfer of, it does not really matter which, multiple defense and trade secrets to China.

Please tell me what did the Republican give to other nations?

Dec 29, 2017
"It's not an 'either x or y' solution that will safeguard humanities future. "

Well Guy if you include non-solutions like colonizing Mars into a limited budget that will reduce the funds available for real solutions.

If one spends $25 a week for coffee at Starbucks and loses their job because they don't have the money to get to work perhaps they need to reset their priorities.


Dec 29, 2017

Now a progressive will claim that Starbucks is a right and that it is the rich bosses fault if the employee cannot afford to do both.

Dec 29, 2017
166, this thread concerns choices between funding projects on Earth or Mars, not your political prejudice.

Let's fix our base here before we try to expand.

Dec 29, 2017
What's the matter Mr. G? Did I say something that you did not like?

I noticed that you did not give Mark's political post a 1.

Dec 29, 2017
"Please tell me what did the Republican give to other nations?"

Maybe you need to wake up and read the news. Any nation that wants to see the U.S. damaged, e.g., Russia, China, etc., is happy because the GOP has weakened the U.S. every chance they can. They give multi-trillion dollar tax breaks to the rich, fight for a heathcare system that excludes those who cannot be systematically robbed blind, gave our internet search info to ISPs for their use and sale, carved up a national monument for mining companies, dropped net neutrality, etc., etc, etc.

Your Republican President is a pathological liar that has praised neo-Nazis and campaigned for a child molester as a sitting President. How can you not see this?

Dec 29, 2017
Let's clean this nest before we try to foul another one.

Dec 29, 2017
Mark under Obama the rich got MUCH richer , the middle class dwindled while the poor got poorer. All of this was accomplished despite doubling the national debt just as Bush 2 did. You might think that I am a Republican but I am not one any more since we are very close to having a one party system with two names that is owned by the .1% .

Drain The Swamp!!!!

Dec 29, 2017
"So, the choices before us? Do we endure being robbed by thieves or robbed by bandits? But being robbed is what we must endure."

I have always publicly supported the continuing development of robots for space exploration.

In addition to a program to research the possibility of Earth biology, including humans in micro-gravity and outside the VAB.

However, I will insist upon verified empirical evidence for long-term survival before committing human lives.

For those of you without descendants, here is the timeline needed. A party of pioneers, all in their prime. Are sent to establish a habitat. Where ever decided. They each have at least fifteen to thirty years of education and intensive technical training.

Over the first decade they attempt to reproduce. If successful, the original party needs to survive a minimal one or two decades just to pass on their education. Their training and their survival experiences to the new generation.
-continued-

Dec 29, 2017
"Mark under Obama the rich got MUCH richer , the middle class dwindled while the poor got poorer."

You mean under the Republican-controlled Congress that did everything in their power to obstruct President Obama for 8 long years, "the rich got MUCH richer, the middle class dwindled while the poor got poorer." MR166, your arguments are full of false premises and logical fallacies. You probably find it very enjoyable fooling people, or fooling yourself, but the U.S. is being damaged and the powers that be could not be happier. Is this really the world you want to help create? You probably hate the U.S., but at least it has historically stood against far more evil regimes.

Dec 29, 2017
"You mean under the Republican-controlled Congress that did everything in their power to obstruct President Obama for 8 long years"

Well using that logic then all of the Bush 2 wars were the fault of the Democrats eh.

Dec 29, 2017
-continued-
If that effort fails? In an environment unbelievably more hostile than 16th century Virginia or Massachusetts?

What is your backup plan?

That is why I urge you to study how the Mormons colonized the harsh desert of Utah. They succeeded where all the ghost towns that litter the American West? And all the abandoned farms across all of North America? Vividly display the consistent failures by alternative systems of developing a wilderness.

As for running away and hiding in rural bunkers from the horrors you created? To quote Robert A. Heinlein "Who made your axe?"

While you are smithing that axe? Who is caring for your crops? Who is guarding your family? While you have your head down and ass up grubbing for resources?

For all their stupid errors. One of the reasons the Bolsheviks were successful was, they seized the cities. They centered themselves in the few Russian urban areas. They fought bloody wars, epidemics, famine, purges.
-continued-

Dec 29, 2017
"Well using that logic then all of the Bush 2 wars were the fault of the Democrats eh."

MR166, it appears you wouldn't know logic if it bit you in the butt.

Dec 29, 2017
The colonisation movement is ethically bankrupt right out of the gate, for proposing the inevitable: [...]to sink or swim in the polluted, lukewarm waters

You write this and yet you have the gall to talk about ethics. The colonization movement is about bigger picture, about ensuring the survival and future of humanity.


Myopic? are you so, that you believe colonization is an altruistic goal? That is utter nonsense, and you are well aware of the fact.

If any tech or understanding arises from the colonization of the solar system, it will only benefit humanity at large AFTER it has generated a profit for the elite. Any benefit for humanity at large in terms of the survival of the species will be limited to the descendants of the elite survivors, and not those of the moribund, polluted Earth and its teeming, filthy billions.

contd


Dec 29, 2017
contd

You should be thinking in practical, realpolitik terms here, and forget those gee-whiz childlike dreams of your scifi reading youth.

The "colonization movement" isn't even a "movement" as you would wish to characterize it. It is an amalgam of a few true-believing altruists(to be sure) and mainly greedhead "futurists" and flat out neo liberal and libertarian capitalist "entrepreneurial" sharks, who seek to profit at --if at all possible-- the public expense, or at the very least, to profit massively after paying back private investment.

Think The East India Company, and you'll have an excellent working model in mind.

Unlike the British Empire, however, Public benefit will be minimal. The cost of travel to and from Mars will be so prohibitive as to render trade impractical and exorbitant, and zero tax revenue generated.

Only asteroids and the moon will be practical sources of raw materials for Earth use.

contd

Dec 29, 2017
0continued-
Savagely fighting to control the central nodes for transportation, communication, education, medical and other technological industries.

Just as American industry based on the railroads, destroyed the First Nations. The Soviets ruthlessly conquered the peasantry who had thought they could hide in the great forests.

Besides the probable physiological problems with human pioneers in space.

Did you know there is no fresh air in space? No burbling stream to relax beside with a beer and a fishing pole?

How do you intend to maintain whatever sanity you claim? While encased in a tiny tin-can or imprisoned in a cell of a habitat?

Do any of you have any experience as sailors or merchant marine on long voyages? At maintaining a closed-loop environment? Ask submariners.

Do any of you have any training and experience at using and servicing a vacuum suit? Ask deep-sea divers and off-shore operations.

Your own ignorance, ridicules your your own day-dreams.

Dec 29, 2017
"Only asteroids and the moon will be practical sources of raw materials for Earth use."

Even that is a pipe dream with today's technology.

Dec 29, 2017
contd

As far as a Mars colony goes, it will be just as a I said: the minimum of elite technical labor to establish a working, self-sustaining population that can be scaled up. It will almost certainly include robotic labor from the start and most certainly will at the end, to the point of entirely replacing human labor.

Then the Elite will arrive to claim their rightful place as the Heirs of Humanity. Why would they lift a finger or spend a cent to help all those starveling billions of Earth vermin? After all --they didn't do that to them, they did it to themselves.

Why in the world would you delude yourself into thinking that humans offworld would be better people than the homegrown variety?

The colonization of space will simply be an expansion of global capitalism offworld, with all its inherent inequities, and will only lead to an expanded theatre of conflict.

Ultimately, it might very well --ironically-- make extinction just that much more certain.


Dec 29, 2017
contd

It is not about benefiting you or me personally and sending our asses to a holiday on Mars. Of course it will be the elite (but also numerous scientists and engineers) who will go first. If you have a problem with that then YOU are the one who is ethically bankrupt, myopic and selfish to the extreme. Crab mentality is truly the worst.


So, you obviously misunderstand me.

I'm saying that the mission will be accomplished, but only upon the terms of global Capitalism.

For this reason, it clearly won't be as some universally cherished and supported common hope and altruistic dream of humanity.

If human survival is ensured by this, then it will be a purely incidental achievement.

The immense profits and continued rule of the Economic elite will most assuredly be perpetuated --of course.

If you are okay with the vast majority of humanity being condemned to virtual slavery in the name of "species survival", then this would be the way to go.

contd

Dec 29, 2017
contd

I, on the other hand, object very strongly and definitely to any such state of affairs.

We can do much --MUCH-- better.

Next time, Shot, I recommend that you do some deep thinking and objective analysis of your pet project and understand what are its likely practical failings and its likely means and outcomes, before you begin condemning anyone who has the temerity to state some of the obvious shortcomings of the (still hypothetical) enterprise.

The mere fact that you kick up such a fuss is a sure indication that you have already failed to do so.

Dec 29, 2017
Who controlled congress under Obama???

http://mynorthwes...r-obama/

He always controlled the senate.

Mark you are deluded when you say he could not accomplish anything because of the Republicans. He made absolutely no attempt to negotiate with them and chose to rule by executive order.

Dec 29, 2017
I have no doubts that some of mankind will always survive even if it is only the self sufficient Amish or remote tribes in some jungle.


You dont get it do you? Sooner or later we have to leave this rock or all life ends with the Sun. Surviving as remote tribes? That is as good as being dead already.

Dec 29, 2017
"Who controlled congress under Obama???"

Wow, what a great debater you are. Your misdirects are wonderful. Unfortunately, the scumbag Republicans are robbing us blind right now and no amount of BS from you or anyone else will change that.

BTW, I was being facetious about your debating skills.

Dec 29, 2017
I'm saying that the mission will be accomplished, but only upon the terms of global Capitalism.


Caliban, your weird ramblings may possibly appeal to political extremists such as assorted commies but as I am a reasonable centrist it sounds like a bunch of deluded BS to me. Most human advancements worth anything came as a result of capitalist profit motive (you should realize there is absolutely nothing wrong with this) working in harmony with public funding, and space colonization will be no exception. There will be no idiotic dystopia of wealthy spacemen lording over peasants left behind. Nor must there be a Star Trek utopia for space colonization to be worth it.

Anyway, one other thing: elites colonizing space is still infinitely better than nobody colonizing space. Disagree with that and you are a crab of the highest order and your opinion ought to be disregarded as nonsense.

Dec 29, 2017
How about these headlines instead . . .

Before we give multi-trillion dollar tax breaks to the rich, let's look to our problems on Earth.

Before we start another multi-trillion dollar war, let's look to our problems on Earth.

Before we let the corrupt Republican Party sell off the U.S. to the highest bidder, let's look to our problems on Earth.

I'd add to that, that not all problems on Earth are solvable by money. Additionally there are a lot of industries that are totally dependent on us NOT solving any problems (military-industrial being the most obvious, but also companies like Monsanto ...or even big pharma where researching a cure instead of a vaccine would be tantamount to fiscal suicide)

There's enough wealth and resources to spread around - even if we deduct a modest budget for a shot at a Mars (research) colony - to make headway at solving those problems where money can help.

Dec 29, 2017
Mark your views are a real tribute to the US educational system. The system has obviously has attained all of it's goals. It is just too bad that none of those goals include actual education!

Dec 29, 2017
BTW Mark I am NOT calling you stupid or uneducated. You could very well be a PHD for all I know. If anything you might be overeducated. I would classify you among the educated but still ignorant.

Dec 29, 2017
"I'd add to that, that not all problems on Earth are solvable by money. Additionally there are a lot of industries that are totally dependent on us NOT solving any problems (military-industrial being the most obvious, but also companies like Monsanto ...or even big pharma where researching a cure instead of a vaccine would be tantamount to fiscal suicide)"

Anti please don't forget to include in that group all of the professionals that would be out of a job if poverty was eliminated. They have a vested interest in it's continuance.

Dec 29, 2017
My God, with all the egg plants here in the comment section, I feel like I want to go to Mars. I hope I can escape before they get jealous.

Dec 30, 2017

Caliban, your weird ramblings may possibly appeal to political extremists such as assorted commies


Or any reasonable person who might like to have a habitable earth to live upon

but as I am a reasonable centrist it sounds like a bunch of deluded BS to me.


Or so you claim. the fact that you are missing the point puts that in question

Most human advancements worth anything came as a result of capitalist profit motive (you should realize there is absolutely nothing wrong with this)


Never said there was. But only for so long as profiteering isn't at the expense of the common good. Better yet --advances it.

working in harmony with public funding, and space colonization will be no exception.


Well, there you go --if it's for-profit enterprise, why should public funding be involved if the public doesn't receive royalties on their investment?

That's the problem with capitalism. Having the cake and eating it, too.

contd

Dec 30, 2017
contd

All while the rest of us are expected to eat whatever we can get.

There will be no idiotic dystopia of wealthy spacemen lording over peasants left behind. Nor must there be a Star Trek utopia for space colonization to be worth it.


How do you know?

If history is any guide, that's pretty much exactly what we can expect.

Dec 30, 2017
Or any reasonable person who might like to have a habitable earth to live upon


No, people who like a habitable Earth either support space colonization because life support technology needed to survive in space is similar to technology needed to sustainably live on Earth, or alternatively, dont really care about space. People who actually oppose space colonization, especially rambling about muh capitalism in the process, are unreasonable deluded extreme leftists.

Well, there you go --if it's for-profit enterprise, why should public funding be involved if the public doesn't receive royalties on their investment?


Public will receive spin-off technologies and also the knowledge that humanity has colonized space. That is more than enough for the public. Not everything is only about the money (even tough I think it will be profitable, too).


Dec 30, 2017
If history is any guide, that's pretty much exactly what we can expect.


Wrong. If history is any guide, your grand-grandchildren will go to a holiday on Mars.

Dec 30, 2017
"Should humans colonise a life-bearing planet, we should ask whether organisms would fare any better than species extinguished on Earth."

- The life that evolved on mars should be far more capable of surviving there than anything we would bring with us.

Extremophiles are not living on our vehicles or our boots or our tools or our food. We should be far more concerned that mars life would make short work of us.

"...a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Cardiff University, warned of the psychological risks..."

-The soft scientist warns us that hordes of soft scientists want in on the action. Of course they do. Perhaps they should prove their worth regarding earthly things before involving them with things on mars. Maybe we should ask a philo?

Dec 30, 2017
as a I said: the minimum of elite technical labor to establish a working, self-sustaining population
We have been working on such tech for decades. Nuke explosives, self-contained nuke-powered vessels, earth borers, space stations, artificial agriculture, cancer research, robotics, 3D printing; the list is endless. Mostly it's a matter of scale. But hard to top the scale of the world's military or interstate highway construction.

Name one thing we don't already have that would be essential for living underground on another world.

It's almost like technology for the last century has been developed specifically for space colonization. And I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this is indeed the case.

And no matter how many people we move off world, we won't reduce the population burden which is the cause of most earthly problems. Only destruction of cultured which thrive in it, will do that.

Dec 30, 2017
Before we start another multi-trillion dollar war
But this is often the only way to destroy obsolete cultures. Like I say they thrive on outgrowing and overwhelming. THAT is the only reason they have survived to the present. And fighting to survive is the point of it.

Armed struggle is written into all their holy books. Mohammad and the mythic Joshua were masters. Christ is the epitome of the communist revolutionary martyr, dying so that millions would follow his example. The emperor constantine popularized the xian soldier.

Dec 30, 2017
166 is just trying to emulate his dotard idol. Let him worship as he would (although it is somewhat inconvenient that he does it here)..

Dec 30, 2017
No, people who like a habitable Earth either support space colonization because life support technology needed to survive in space is similar to technology needed to sustainably live on Earth


I've already pointed out as much. You should try reading some time.

People who actually oppose space colonization, especially rambling about muh capitalism in the process, are unreasonable deluded extreme leftists.


Horseshite. You wouldn't know a Leftist if they bombed your ignorant ass. Labels are a shortcut for critical thinking. I don't oppose space colonization. I support a revitalized, sustainable environment for humanity right here on Earth.

The specific problem with colonization is that it SOLVES NO PROBLEMS, merely exporting the same human stupidity and greed offworld, like metastatic cancer.

But don't get me wrong, I understand your interest in colonization --it will fall under the "stupidity and greed" clause of the above statement.

contd


Dec 30, 2017
contd

Yes, the world is full of fake-ass Altruists such as yourself, making much of the pretense of concern for the ultimate survival of The Species, but thinking only of their own individual spotted backside.

Here's a newsflash for you, Shot: your investments in SpaceX or Virgin, or any other space tech you've funded in hopes of huge income for yourself, are doomed to wither and die before they even have the slimmest of chances to produce a return, because the political, social, and economic conditions here on Earth are too unstable, and the will on the part of the Wealthy Elite to finance colonization is very weak to nonexistent as a consequence of their perception that space exploration --much less colonization-- is consequently too risky.

contd

Dec 30, 2017
contd

But that says nothing about whether it could or ought to be pursued as a goal. It should be, and relatively soon it can be. The question is whether it is pursued as a common goal of the majority of humanity, or just by an greedy, morally bankrupt elite.

This enterprise will be risky enough, without having the additional distractions of bottom lines and shareholder ROI to be concerned with, and if it is pursued on a for-profit basis, runs much greater risk of failure in whole or in part, all the while the notion of species survival being an entirely secondary consideration, if it is even considered at all.

contd


Dec 30, 2017

Public will receive spin-off technologies


Again, the ROI for Public funding is mere consumer goods? Like, maybe, better purification systems so we can survive breathing a poisoned atmosphere and water? More efficient hydroponics for growing food in Otto's underground cities? A Cannibal Cookbook? This is not an equitable distribution of benefits, much less profits.

and also the knowledge that humanity has colonized space.


The coldest of comforts to those left on your polluted, war-ravaged, plagued, denuded and famished post collapse Earth. Yahoo! We've colonized Space! But it would be too soon to know if it was a permanent accomplishment --after all, as you say, the Sun's gonna blow up!

That is more than enough for the public. Not everything is only about the money (even tough I think it will be profitable, too).


Like I said --either you just don't get it, or you hope to be one of the profiteers.


Dec 30, 2017
Yahoo! We've colonized Space!
The need to spread ourselves around is paramount. Have you noticed all the reports of NEO near-misses in the past few years? We WILL get hit, and soon.

The only way to ensure that the species and its civilization survives, along with the vast and irreplaceable store of knowledge we have accrued, is by establishing underground colonies here and elsewhere.

The People that matter are the ones who know this and accept it. And we can assume that as soon as they became aware of it they began preparing for it, at the appropriate scale.

Imagine for a moment that the worlds militaries and supporting industries suddenly became retasked to this effort. As musk says we could have 1M people on mars in 20 yrs or less, using the tech we already have.

"Of the around 52,000 merchant ships trading internationally, some 11,000 ships were bulk carriers."

-People fail to appreciate the sheer number of things we build all the time.

Dec 30, 2017
Commercial airplanes: "1026 cargo, 3825 passenger. This means about 21% of the 4851 widebodies are cargo aircraft, and widebodies constitute about 24% of the worldwide commercial aircraft fleet of 20000 aircraft."

Trains: " In 2002, the nation's freight transportation system transported nearly 16 billion tons of raw materials and finished goods... this large quantity of commercial freight traveled nearly 5 trillion ton-miles"

Trucks: "trucks moved just slightly more than rail, 32 percent compared to 28 percent, followed by pipeline with 17 percent and waterborne shipments with 16 percent... 15.5 million trucks operate in the U.S.. Of this figure 2 million are tractor trailers."

-Only a tiny fraction need be retasked to support a muskian colonization effort.

Dec 30, 2017
"-Only a tiny fraction need be retasked to support a muskian colonization effort."

Otto was that satire again or did I miss your point?

Dec 30, 2017
I will admit that it would not cost trillions to send people to Mars but keeping them alive for more than an hour will.

Dec 30, 2017
I can see the problems now. The first guy walks out and exhales, upsetting the CO2 balance. The next girl has a huge methane release because of the taco bean MRE she ate before leaving the ship. These additional greenhouse gasses lead to AGW melting the poles as Mars becomes a second sun.

Now Otto, that was satire.

Dec 31, 2017
Otto was that satire again or did I miss your point?


You missed his point... by about 17 million miles or so.

Dec 31, 2017
The specific problem with colonization is that it SOLVES NO PROBLEMS, merely exporting the same human stupidity and greed offworld, like metastatic cancer.


Colonization solves the huge and important problem of having all of our eggs in one basket, in addition to teaching us how to live off the land efficiently. Colonization may not solve YOUR personal problems, tough. So being an extremely selfish person, you naturally dont see the value.

your investments in SpaceX or Virgin, or any other space tech you've funded in hopes of huge income for yourself, are doomed to wither and die before they even have the slimmest of chances to produce a return


You cannot even imagine that someone would support this for something else than just an expectation of a huge income for himself. Such self-centeredness. Fascinating.

Dec 31, 2017
This enterprise will be risky enough, without having the additional distractions of bottom lines and shareholder ROI to be concerned with


What you call distractions are in fact requirements to keep efficiency high. Commercial space leads to large cost savings in practice. SpaceX is an order of magnitude cheaper but even crony capitalists such as United Launch Alliance are significantly cheaper than NASA vehicles Shuttle, SLS or Apollo.

Dec 31, 2017
Again, the ROI for Public funding is mere consumer goods? Like, maybe, better purification systems so we can survive breathing a poisoned atmosphere and water? More efficient hydroponics for growing food in Otto's underground cities? A Cannibal Cookbook? This is not an equitable distribution of benefits, much less profits.


Technologies such as better purification systems, recycling, hydroponics is exactly what is needed to live sustainably on Earth. You think someone is just going to wave a magic wand and modern civilization will live in harmony with nature? If you want to live sustainably, funding space colonization is among the best use of money possible. Whether in space or on Earth, technologies required will be very similar. The only difference is that in space sustainability is a requirement from the very beginning.

Dec 31, 2017
otto... satire really?
I don't think you understand the SCALE of manufacturing in this country alone. Nor are you aware of what musk has conceived. How come?

"He suggested a population of a million would be required to create a "fully self-sustaining civilisation on Mars" and this would take anything from 40 to 100 years of flights by the Mars fleet.

"The paper suggested the first Mars flight could take place in late 2022, which would mean a large city could be built on Mars as early as 2062."

"The ITS' reusability is key to making Mars colonization affordable. This reusability — combined with other measures, such as fueling the spaceships in Earth orbit and making propellant on Mars — could bring the price of a Red Planet trip down to $200,000 or so per person, from an estimated $10 billion using conventional spaceflight systems, Musk said.

"ITS spaceships could begin flying to Mars about 10 years from now..."

-cont>

Dec 31, 2017
And this would not be huge in comparison to building and maintaining and fueling and driving all the trucks in this country alone.

And in an emergency we could repurpose not only the manufacturing base but the entire military infrastructure to getting this done.

We already have all the tech we need. All that's left is engineering.

Dec 31, 2017
your investments in SpaceX or Virgin, or any other space tech you've funded in hopes of huge income for yourself, are doomed to wither and die before they even have the slimmest of chances to produce a return... Wealthy Elite
How long did it take to build the rail system in this country and who financed it? How about the conversion to electricity or the ICE? It took only a generation, and an inconceivable amount of money by estimates of the time.

People like you offered the same rational objections which in the end were proven silly and shortsided and ignorant. But by that time you were all dead, and the people living were very comfortable getting in their cars and driving to the movies.

Just because you can't conceive it is not a fault of the people proposing it yes?

You saw the internet blossom and still you do not believe. How sad.

Mars colonies and space commerce are every bit as important as railroads or shipping or the interstate. It WILL get done.

Dec 31, 2017
What I get from this is that according to you engineers have funding in mind when promoting space, while 'scientist' have human's best interests in mind and need the funds to do that.

Classical into the box thinking, its obvious that space exploration is a knowledge magnifier and we need that to solve the problems we face on Earth as well.

Dec 31, 2017
One more point
merely exporting the same human stupidity and greed offworld, like metastatic cancer
Immigration involves 2 kinds of people; the most pragmatic, courageous, and resourceful that a country has to offer, and criminals escaping justice. And there is often little difference between the 2.

For the first time in history we have the chance to pick and choose who emigrates. Criminals and psychopaths not allowed. Of course it will be a much more healthy, stable and productive society with few earthly problems.

Martians will understand how to plan for the future. Obeying laws and being responsible there will be much more critical where one misstep would mean death.

The mars project will improve things here on earth as well by providing new jobs to replace those lost to robots and AI. This will be perhaps the only way of keeping earth economies from collapsing.

Capitalism always needs new markets to survive.

Dec 31, 2017
What I get from this is that according to you engineers have funding in mind when promoting space, while 'scientist' have human's best interests in mind and need the funds to do that
You don't understand funding. Funding is merely the will of the governing authority to get something done. In the past the king would wave his scepter and proclaim that a new colony or port be established, and the royal coffers would open, the conscripts and slaves would be assembled, and it would happen.

Today scads of money is merely printed up and handed out to the lending bodies for distribution to players. Investment and taxes are used to maintain the illusion that money is finite, but that is like saying that will is finite.

The govt does not run on money. It runs on authority, and the will of that authority to do those things which need to be done.

Multiplanet civilization is one of those things.

Dec 31, 2017
"Today scads of money is merely printed up and handed out to the lending bodies for distribution to players. Investment and taxes are used to maintain the illusion that money is finite, but that is like saying that will is finite."

It takes a lot hubris to think that a government can print money at will with no repercussions. History is littered with examples of hyperinflation and starving people.

Dec 31, 2017
Monies spent on things that directly raise peoples standard of living like roads, energy, food, housing and water projects can be justified. The cost benefit ratio of building spacecraft is a big unknown.

Dec 31, 2017
Otto, for once we are mostly in agreement. Now keep going. When Mars is finally colonized and a breathable atmosphere and living biosphere is installed, can you imagine how that will change our perception? We will have become a far more advanced society in many ways. Imagine how such a society will look at the closest of the billions of lifeless or near lifeless (underground bacteria only) worlds in the Milky Way that would benefit from terraforming. The actual need for FTL will become obvious to all by then, and they say necessity is the mother of invention.

To such a future society, the current debate over whether to colonize Mars or not will appear absolutely archaic, misinformed and even laughable. This is similar to historical comments that heavier-than-air flight is impossible, or reaching the moon is impossible.

Dec 31, 2017
It's a dream.

Meanwhile, we are making a nightmare here on Earth.

Dec 31, 2017
"Mark under Obama the rich got MUCH richer , the middle class dwindled while the poor got poorer." Under Obama and a stonewalling, obstructionist Republican-dominated Congress and a system that has been increasing inequality through three Bush and two Reagan terms.

Dec 31, 2017
To paraphrase: "We have met the enemy and he is posting to this site dictatorial rants as commentary."

https://www.damni...e-of-it/

https://phys.org/...nds.html

https://phys.org/...als.html


Dec 31, 2017
terraforming
-Not necessary for colonizing. May never happen in many places.

We live mostly in enclosed spaces right now. Do city dwellers ever really live outside? We are surrounded by walls and conditioned space.
The actual need for FTL will become obvious to all by then
Thats like saying the need for psychokinesis will become obvious.

The species is learning how to restrict growth. Our tropical repro rate is being conquered. In the future we will avoid the inconvenience and DANGER of gestation in the womb; fetuses will come to term under glass.

And many people will choose to exist without gonads at all. Those things which cause all our problems and age us prematurely? Their urges interfere with concentration and logical thought.

Who needs them?

And all the while we will be swapping our organs with gadgets and widgets that work far better. Soon enough we will be more machine than animal, and inseparable from the singularity.

Then poof! we're gone.

Dec 31, 2017
After many gens colonists will prefer the safety and security of their underground spaces, like their brethren in space. Troglodytes. Forests are dirty and confusing. Open fields leaves one open to attack. Animals are uncooperative. Same old story.

Dec 31, 2017
The specific problem with colonization is that it SOLVES NO PROBLEMS, merely exporting the same human stupidity and greed offworld, like metastatic cancer.


Colonization solves the huge and important problem of having all of our eggs in one basket, in addition to teaching us how to live off the land efficiently. Colonization may not solve YOUR personal problems, tough. So being an extremely selfish person, you naturally dont see the value.

your investments in SpaceX or Virgin, or any other space tech you've funded in hopes of huge income for yourself, are doomed to wither and die before they even have the slimmest of chances to produce a return


You cannot even imagine that someone would support this for something else than just an expectation of a huge income for himself. Such self-centeredness. Fascinating.


My POINT being that space colonization --which I support-- does little good for humanity, and at public expense.

Contd

Dec 31, 2017
Soon enough we will be more machine than animal, and inseparable from the singularity. Then poof! we're gone.


If you are among the ~0.1% that owns the machines, you may survive. But if you have to work for a living, you are probably screwed, at least in the U.S. We can't even give our folks reasonable healthcare, so there isn't much of a chance to put a decent universal basic income (UBI) in place here.

This is why Americans fear AI and the Swedish do not.

https://www.techn...come-it/


Dec 31, 2017
contd

What little good it is likely to do will come in the form of new consumer goods.

The only unquestioned good it will do --IF we can sucessfully set up permanent, expanding offworld colonies-- is the relief of the existential threat to the species while it remains bound to a single planet known to experience periodic catastrophic events.

There is a difference between rabid boosterism of a concept(ie, YOU), with probable non-altruistic ulterior motives, and a cold, hard look at the issue(ie, ME), in order to determine an alternative approach to the same end.

None so blind...

Dec 31, 2017
Otto, you can't seem to figure out if everyone is going to be replaced by robots or live in caves. Maybe you need to rethink your dystopian futures. I wish you a Happy New Year anyway.

Dec 31, 2017
space colonization --which I support-- does little good for humanity, and at public expense
Neither does a mountain-sized rock at 25 kilometers per second. But at least we can do something about THAT.
Otto, you can't seem to figure out if everyone is going to be replaced by robots or live in caves
You fail to appreciate the compelling nature of eternal life. Hell, all the surviving religions are based on it. But unlike them, future science will be able to deliver.

Evolution depends on senescence. It has designed individuals to grow old and die. The only way to beat it is to begin replacing our dated body parts with machine components.

Very soon we will be more machine than animal. There is nothing about our physiology that we cant improve upon.
Maybe you need to rethink your dystopian futures
Youre thinking like an animal. Try to think like a machine.
I wish you a Happy New Year anyway
"shorter of breath and one day closer to death" Pink Floyd

Dec 31, 2017
We can't even give our folks reasonable healthcare
We will when we can begin swapping out livers and kidneys like air filters. Vastly superior artificial organs that can reverse telomere shortening, filter out poisons and disease, and replenish chemistry lost to aging.

Robotics and AI will make medicine safe, consistent, and incredibly cheap once we get humans out of the mix. The best and latest therapies will be available to everyone.

Nothing dystopian about that.

Jan 01, 2018
Imagine how such a society will look at the closest of the billions of lifeless or near lifeless (underground bacteria only) worlds in the Milky Way that would benefit from terraforming. The actual need for FTL will become obvious to all by then, and they say necessity is the mother of invention.


FTL is highly likely impossible. Life can still spread all over the galaxy, but sublight speed it is. As for terraforming, I think it will be obsolete long before it is possible. Why terraform when you can build cozy space stations, with enough material and unlimited space even in our own solar system to comfortably house trillions?

Jan 01, 2018
How can space stations support themselves? They are totally dependent on supplies from elsewhere. How would they pay for these supplies?

Planets have raw materials which can provide the basis for independent colonies with independent economies. Space stations have nothing to exploit, nothing to export.

Entropy alone makes them a losing proposition.

Jan 02, 2018
How can space stations support themselves? They are totally dependent on supplies from elsewhere. How would they pay for these supplies?


Asteroids. As space industry matures, there is a point where it makes more sense to utilize materials already in space rather than lifting them out of a deep gravity well of a planet.

Also, a space station once built will not need that much supplies as almost everything will be recycled.

Jan 02, 2018
assteroids
So why would people on a space station have a special claim on asteroids as opposed to dedicated miners? And who would they sell these materials to, except to other station dwellers? And how would those customers pay for those material?

Asteroid mining, if ever feasible or necessary, will be robotic and these robots can be controlled from the ground just as easily as from space.
recycling
Like I say, entropy. Use cycles necessarily degrade material. And there are once-through materials which cannot be recycled. And space stations will leak in many different ways.

You're talking about a huge initial investment to build an O'Neill-type cylinder or similar, which will then immediately have to begin returning on this investment, by mining asteroids? which can just as easily be done remotely from the surface of a planet or moon.

Google dead malls and resorts. Very depressing.

Jan 02, 2018
Here's a 300 page NASA study (PDF) of station cost, purpose, and self-sufficiency. It also includes mass drivers.
https://www.googl...AZkzbQiW

One must consider if it makes more sense to chase down asteroids way out in the belt, with finite recoverable materials of dubious quality, rather than mining materials from much larger deposits on much closer planets and moons, and shooting them into space. Or even processing them and manufacturing usable items on the ground, and shooting those into space.

Unlike on earth, habitable space is a valuable byproduct of mining on moons and other planets.

Jan 02, 2018
This is just silly nonsense. We cannot go to Mars until we clean up the Earth.

Jan 02, 2018
What I mean is a space station located next to an asteroid with robotic miners doing the mining. The miners, the station and the robots are all part of the same entity, and largely self-sufficient, except maybe for some high tech items that cannot be manufactured locally.

It is hard to talk about who sells to who because none of this is directly profitable and probably wont be for a very very long time. Space tourism maybe? Other than that mostly public funding.

The problem with colonizing planets is that their gravity is too low to prevent long term health degradation and at the same time high enough to be a significant obstacle for launch to space. There will surely be manned bases on Mars and stuff but I believe actual colonies will be mostly in space.

Jan 02, 2018
I find it a little odd that the same people who hate mankind " the destroyer " here on earth think that it is such a great idea to send these same people out to destroy life on other planets. Even if all of the worst AGW predictions were to come true it would still be easier to live in deep caves on Earth than to colonize other planets or space stations.

Jan 02, 2018
Even if all of the worst AGW predictions were to come true it would still be easier to live in deep caves on Earth than to colonize other planets or space stations.


This was already explained to you. Earth is doomed in the long run. All of it, including those deep caves of yours. The choice is either space or extinction.

And no, we may not have a billion years to do it. Colonization of space requires a modern, high tech, wealthy civilization. It is only in the last century where it became possible and nobody knows for sure how long will this phase last. It may be that in a two hundred years human civilization on Earth regresses and then the days of Earth-based life are numbered. You wanna take that risk to save 1% of a budget?

Jan 02, 2018
Oh for Pete's sake, how do you know that we have not been deposited here by others who have done the same to many other planets? Perhaps humans are all over the place and do not need saving in the first place. Any how the thought that the US government is wealthy is just plain silly when it is common knowledge that it is bankrupt by all reasonable accounting standards. It will have to default on most federal and state pensions, SS and Medicare in the not too distant future. They will try to print their way out of it destroying the value of any cash savings.

Jan 02, 2018
This is just silly nonsense. We cannot go to Mars until we clean up the Earth.

We ARE cleaning up the Earth...
Just that Mars stuff gets all the press...

Jan 02, 2018
Oh, MR166, consider the vapids posting comments extolling their comicbook fantasies. They delude themselves as to their competency to survive when all the the starry-eyed fans all fall into the cesspool of extinction.

They actually believe that they will be able to evolve into Morlochs! Hey the Holy Babble promises them so!

Whether in a tincan bobbling through space or cowering in their bunkers. Without any of the technical skills or scientific creativity needed for either environment?

If you went looking for them? This bunch will be the carcasses hanging from hooks in the meatlockers.

Bon Appeteat

Jan 02, 2018
What I mean is a space station located next to an asteroid with robotic miners doing the mining
No, you were talking about city-sized rings or tubes or spheres, which would be the only things capable of anything close to independent existence.
It is hard to talk about who sells to who because none of this is directly profitable
-while planets can support millions of inhabitants with independent economies based solely on exploiting their own resources.
The problem with colonizing planets is that their gravity is too low to prevent long term health degradation
You have no idea if this is true or not, or insurmountable, because scientists do not know. It's like saying sherpas can't breath their thin air.
I believe actual colonies will be mostly in space
Believe what you want but musk is headed to mars with all that cheap real estate.

Jan 02, 2018
That study - actually a compilation - talks about how to make stations cheaper. They suggest research into lower gravity and reduced air pressure as the biggest potential savers.

Jan 02, 2018
And no, we may not have a billion years to do it. Colonization of space requires a modern, high tech, wealthy civilization. It is only in the last century where it became possible and nobody knows for sure how long will this phase last. It may be that in a two hundred years
Yeah you bet. Shrinking window of opportunity. And it could shut at any time, permanently, due to a number of potential disasters.
Even if all of the worst AGW predictions were to come true it would still be easier to live in deep caves on Earth than to colonize other planets or space stations
The deeper you go the hotter it gets. Deep caves require lots of conditioning with surface sinks.

But because of the danger I fully expect that there are already interconnected city-sized refuges beneath the surface of this planet. Nuclear tunnel borers and project gnome-type explosives could havce been creating subterranean space for the last 50 years.

Jan 02, 2018
But the only sure way to ensure survival is to spread ourselves around the system. Refuges here would have served as emergency stopgaps and shelters... and prototypes.

Jan 03, 2018
No, you were talking about city-sized rings or tubes or spheres, which would be the only things capable of anything close to independent existence.


That is what I mean. A city sized ring next to an asteroid, or in a nearby orbit.

-while planets can support millions of inhabitants with independent economies based solely on exploiting their own resources.


Only Earth can currently. By the time it becomes viable to colonize Mars (and I dont mean a small research base), the same thing will hold true for asteroids and many other bodies. The technology is very similar no matter where we settle.

You have no idea if this is true or not, or insurmountable, because scientists do not know. It's like saying sherpas can't breath their thin air.


Fair point. But neither do you.

Believe what you want but musk is headed to mars with all that cheap real estate.


And Bezos has his eyes set on the Moon and then asteroids.

Jan 03, 2018
Isaac Arthur on Youtube has some interesting videos on this...

Jan 03, 2018
Even if all of the worst AGW predictions were to come true it would still be easier to live in deep caves on Earth than to colonize other planets or space stations.

I think there's a deep misunderstanding somewhere. "Colonizing another planet" does not mean that an exodus from Earth will happen to another planet.
It will mean that a few (dozen or hundred) will be sent and the colony will grow via local births.

We must solve our problems on Earth here - setting up shop in space will not solve them for us in any way.
(However, the "first solve stuff here then go to space " is a false dichotomy. If we were to use this approach we would have never gotten off the trees)

Jan 03, 2018
city sized ring next to an asteroid, or in a nearby orbit
Really. And why would you want to haul all that material, and all those people, and all those resources, all the way out to the asteroid belt to mine an asteroid with limited deposits... when a dedicated, robotic mining operation would do the job?

You can't orbit an asteroid like you can a planet. How do you propose to maintain position of a station that size? And where/how do you move it once the rock is mined out?
Only Earth can currently. By the time it becomes viable to colonize Mars (and I dont mean a small research base), the same thing will hold true for asteroids and many other bodies
No, try to imagine having access to unlimited resources and being able to use them to dig in any direction. Independent industrial base same as earth. Growth potential similar.

Jan 03, 2018
setting up shop in space will not solve them for us in any way
The PROBLEM to solve is our pending extinction. I know eurodisney might seem impregnable (it's got a CASTLE after all) but luckily the people making these decisions do not suffer under that delusion.

Jan 03, 2018
Article on bezos and space industry

"The water is critical. It can be turned into hydrogen to fuel the spaceship, oxygen for breathing or left untouched for drinking and everyday use. Requiring only a four-day trip and containing lots of ice, the moon is a prime candidate for resource extraction."
https://www.washi...48271f64

-And on the moon you have the real possibility of colonies of unlimited size living in the rock and ice caves created by mining.

Ever see waterworld? Floating villages an apt analogy for floating space habitats.

On land you can grow armies and build armadas. And merchant fleets.

Orbital manufacturing will be to create and fuel vessels for interplanet commerce.

Jan 03, 2018
Really. And why would you want to haul all that material, and all those people, and all those resources, all the way out to the asteroid belt to mine an asteroid with limited deposits... when a dedicated, robotic mining operation would do the job?


Resources are basically unlimited on larger asteroids, especially coupled with recycling. Entropy is only a big problem in closed systems, which the station will not be. Space is too big to haul most bulk resources around, so there is no point in an entirely robotic asteroid mining operation, it is only viable to support a nearby (in terms of delta-v) habitat.

You can't orbit an asteroid like you can a planet. How do you propose to maintain position of a station that size?


Of course you can orbit an asteroid, unless it is really small and those wont be targeted anyway.

Jan 03, 2018
No, try to imagine having access to unlimited resources and being able to use them to dig in any direction. Independent industrial base same as earth. Growth potential similar.


Not with less than half of Earths gravity. Humans need and want that 1g. Rememeber, we are not talking about a year long stay of highly trained astronauts here, but an actual colony. Leave the inhospitable surface for the robots.

When Bezos is talking about a trillion humans living in a future solar system, he does not have planets in mind.

Jan 03, 2018
Space is too big to haul most bulk resources around, so there is no point in an entirely robotic asteroid mining operation
You just contradicted yourself. Easier to send robot mining ships than million people rings.
it is only viable to support a nearby (in terms of delta-v) habitat
Youre talking abour commercial mining operations where most of what you mine will be sold to earn a living. You know, to buy everything that your station can't provide for itself like drugs, computers, replacement parts, fissiles (pv doesnt work out there), and info. Netflix isn't free.
Entropy is only a big problem in closed systems
I'm sure there is a study out there listing critical once-thru materials that must be purchased. The study i posted mentions them. What makes you think that you'll find everything you'll need on an asteroid?

Jan 03, 2018
Shotman loves to guess
Of course you can orbit an asteroid, unless it is really small and those wont be targeted anyway
Guess.
Not with less than half of Earths gravity. Humans need and want that 1g
Guess. Sherpas need and want sea level air pressure.
Resources are basically unlimited on larger asteroids
Guess. Or you could do a little work and support these unwarranted assumptions? And if it turns out you're wrong, you've got to post that instead.

That's only right and proper.

Otherwise we can assume they are lies from an uninformed amateur.

Jan 03, 2018
Here's one such source:

"Harvesting
Using robotic spacecraft to extract and transport resources.
After prospecting missions have identified the best locations for mining, Deep Space Industries will send specialized robotic spacecraft to begin harvesting resources such as water. Using the company's next generation Comet water thruster, water extracted from the target asteroid can also be used as propellant for the return trip."

-Give it a try.

Jan 03, 2018
Of course you can orbit an asteroid, unless it is really small and those wont be targeted anyway.

Alternatively you can just build your ring-station around the asteroid (if it's small-ish) and have it float in the middle.

But, yeah, Rosetta managed just fine orbiting something as small as 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko which is 5kmx3kmx2km in size.

Not with less than half of Earths gravity

It's a bit scarey to imagine what kind of effect low g might have on the development of small children.

Jan 03, 2018
Alternatively you can just build your ring-station around the asteroid (if it's small-ish) and have it float in the middle
-And then worry how to stabilize the whole confabulation, if you could actually build it at all. 'Well carbon nanotube cables otto, like a bicycle wheel'

Spoken like a true software engr.

Bezos on space nukes:

"I think NASA should work on a space-rated nuclear reactor. If you had a nuclear reactor in space-- especially if you want to go anywhere beyond Mars, you really need nuclear power."

-amen.
It's a bit scarey to imagine what kind of effect low g might have on the development of small children
A bit scary to imagine boogymen in the basement too.

Jan 03, 2018
AAP: "It's a bit scarey to imagine what kind of effect low g might have on the development of small children."

Otto: "A bit scary to imagine boogymen in the basement too."

Otto, your lack of concern for others is troubling. It is not clear at all what the ramifications would be, yet you cavalierly poo poo AAP's comment away like the imaginary boogyman.

Jan 03, 2018
You just contradicted yourself. Easier to send robot mining ships than million people rings.


Obviously, the rin will be largely built in place from local materials, and vast majority of mined material will also be used locally.

Youre talking abour commercial mining operations where most of what you mine will be sold to earn a living. You know, to buy everything that your station can't provide for itself like drugs, computers, replacement parts, fissiles (pv doesnt work out there), and info. Netflix isn't free.


Debatable, as I said I have trouble imagining any space colony, be it on Mars or asteroids, to be commercially viable in foreseeable future. It will most likely be a money sink for a long time. But maybe it could sell some high tech, light products, and tourism.. who knows.. A lot of drugs and parts will be surely made locally. For energy I am thinking more in terms of fusion.

Jan 03, 2018
I'm sure there is a study out there listing critical once-thru materials that must be purchased. The study i posted mentions them. What makes you think that you'll find everything you'll need on an asteroid?


I am not sure about that, the study you posted is 40 years old and I have not found this information in it. But I see no reason why almost everything shouldnt be recycled and/or locally produced. Asteroids have almost all the elements available, except for the heaviest ones. Possibly some small mass of especially rare, heavy elements may have to be brought in from robotic mining operations on planets, tough.

Jan 03, 2018
your lack of concern for others is troubling
Ah back to the idiotness. SCIENTISTS will tell us whether 'the children' will be harmed or not, and what to do if the potential exists. OBVIOUSLY.

Libtard.

-and more guessing...
Obviously, the rin will be largely built in place from local materials
Obviously how would you know if these materials exist? Iron silicon copper aluminum chromium titanium calcium etcetcetc
and tourism.. who knows
Yeah. Tourism out in the belt.

Im tired of looking for once-through materials. Consider that certain compounds degrade unrecoverably after passing through the human system. They convert to unusable chemicals. They are eaten by the inevitable biota living on surfaces. They are absorbed by container and processing equipment materials. And per entropy, they gradually revert to waste heat.

Construction materials similarly degrade and fatigue, needing to be replaced using harder to recover and poorer quality ores.

Jan 03, 2018
And the big one - fissiles. You wont be refining uranium on your belter tourist trap.

Jan 03, 2018
"SCIENTISTS will tell us whether 'the children' will be harmed or not, and what to do if the potential exists. OBVIOUSLY."

Otto, you just proved you don't understand how science works. You don't even understand the current state of knowledge in this area. AAP is correct here because NOBODY knows for certain how this is going to play out.

"Libtard."

Adolescent name calling proves you have been listening to too much Republican propaganda and it has affected your ability to impartially (scientifically) process information. If you or anyone you care about has to work for a living, you are not wealthy enough to justify being a Republican. You should be irritated that the Republicans have ensured that the worst way to obtain $1M is by working for it for many years The best ways are to inherit it or gain it through long term investments. They penalize hard work and intelligence. Notice how the big tax break for the rich in the U.S. is anything but fiscally conservative?

Jan 03, 2018
@AA_P
It's a bit scarey to imagine what kind of effect low g might have on the development of small children
Not sure "scary" is the best word?
different, maybe?

My first thought really was more about how long for speciation once we start exploration in space
https://phys.org/...ies.html

and from there, of course, one must consider either war over resources or a confederation of like minded species working towards a common goal

Jan 04, 2018
Not sure "scary" is the best word?
different, maybe?

I dunno...'bone deformations' and possibly 'significantly higher infant mortality' were more the words that came to my mind. Any of those would be pretty scary to me.

While bone calcification doesn't seem to be an issue it's the bone structure that's not forming correctly under low g. Here's an article how this looks in a mouse model:
https://www.ncbi..../3762055

In essence it looks to me that kids on low g worlds will be born with severe osteoporosis (on a further note they may become prone to osteoarthritis early in life). The fact that Mars does have some gravity and not zero g will likely not alleviate this because the buildup of structure in bone does not show a linear relationship with load. There's a minimum load that needs to be applied before the relevant cells become active.

Countermeasures (heavy training) is not an option for infants.

Jan 04, 2018
I agree there are the very pragmatic risks to consider like infant mortality. There are also philosophical risks like creating a group of people unable to exist on Earth without the development of even more advanced technology.

My personal guess is that 0.38 g will result in relatively mild developmental differences on Mars, but our native Martians will have serious difficulty returning to Earth without some kind of intervention (strength training, drugs, gene therapy, powered exoskeleton, etc.). Think of it this way, Earth gravity is 2.63 times stronger than Mars gravity. This is roughly comparable to how much stronger Jupiter's fairly crushing gravity is than Earth's.

For many reasons, I think some kind of animal model testing before we go to Mars makes sense. Perhaps a colony of mice rotating in a tethered habitat to simulate 0.38 g, etc.

Jan 04, 2018
Careful MT, posting rational and reasonable? Makes the prat commentators look plain stupid.

I'm sure, being the gentleman you are? Your intention was lust to relieve their ignorance.

Jan 04, 2018
It's been a while since I posted to this thread, but I still don't see where anyone has addressed the most glaring deficiencies of either (asteroid-based) orbital colonies or planetary ones:

The lack of a substantially faster mode of vehicle, or the lack of a robust shielding tech. Currently, a one way trip to Mars it at a couple of years.

Not to mention the sheer mass(and therefore energy consumption) of materials, equipment, and humanity required to have a reasonable shot at success.

For these reasons, and more importantly for any large-scale labor required for mining and building, we'll most likely have to wait on advanced, semi autonomous robotics capable of replacing human labor to be developed, absent quality radiation shielding tech.

Also, it will cost a good deal more than just one thin dime to pay for any of this, and no-one --not even Musk-- has that kind of money.

Your dreams of private space colonization you can kiss goodbye.

contd

Jan 04, 2018
contd

Given that --without rapid and significant tech advances-- it will obviously be many decades before any successful colonization efforts --pretty much at any scale-- to any where other than the Moon, will be practically accomplishable, and given that time is quickly running out --if it hasn't already-- to slow, stop, or reverse the worst consequences of AGW and incipient global environmental collapse, and their certainty vs the near-term threat of some catastrophic extraterrestrial impact or interaction with Earth, that we clearly need to devote most of our resources to keeping the Earth habitable, but in a healthy, self sustaining condition for everyone and everything upon it.

Repeating what I stated at the outset: pretty much the same tech, science, and practical knowledge will have to be developed to accomplish either of those goals, and it would be lunacy not to do both because of some comic book fantasy bias.

Time is running out.

Jan 04, 2018
By the way, Otto--

I don't know if you are aware of it or not, but those subterranean, interconnected cities already exist, and have, for many hundreds --if not thousands-- of years, in NW Turkey.

Of more recent vintage would be NORAD's(?) command center complex in the American Rockies, along with the rumored underground government/military/oligarchic command and shelters beneath Washington DC and supposedly several other sites across the US.

We may also safely assume similar installations throughout the former Soviet Union, China, and the rest of the developed world.

Most interesting, of course, are the underground cities of Turkey, if for no other reason than the possibility of immense antiquity.

Jan 04, 2018
Currently, a one way trip to Mars it at a couple of years.


This is way off, one way trip to Mars is around 4 months. During this trip an astronaut receives radiation dose similar to 12 months on ISS. Once on surface, few meters of soil on top of the base are enough to bring radiation down to almost Earth-like levels. Radiation is a concern but not a showstopper.

We know a manned Mars base is possible, it is mostly a matter of mere engineering, not basic science. When it comes to economics, there is no technical reason why it should cost more than $10-20 billion per year. Just because NASA is grossly inefficient does not mean everyone else has to be.

Long term effects of Martian gravity are probably the biggest unknown at this point and it is something that could possibly derail any permanent colonization plan of Mars.

Jan 05, 2018
Adolescent name calling proves you have been listening to too much Republican propaganda
Adolescent postings provoke a response in kind.
I don't know if you are aware of it or not, but those subterranean, interconnected cities already exist, and have, for many hundreds --if not thousands-- of years, in NW Turkey
Yeah I know about them, as well as the facility under that hotel in VA that was built to house the entire Congress and their families and probably their pets. Also the huge iron mountain facility

"...protecting a 25-foot-high passage that leads 22 stories down to Iron Mountain's main archive facility, which takes up 145 acres of a 1,000-acre abandoned limestone mine..."

In addition to many others... as well as the 1000s of miles of tunnels and mines we dig every year.
Cont>

Jan 05, 2018
I'm talking about totally independent facilities housing tens of thousands of people, spotted around the globe, on the scale of the legendary Denver airport facility.
https://omgfacts....8145841e

-with, among other things, a very pecular swastikoid-shaped runway layout.

Who ever said Nazis weren't practical?

And there's the Dulce AF base
https://www.gaia....ce-base/

-in addition to many others, real and not so much.

Add to this the very real fact that worldwide fissiles production cannot account for perhaps 1000 tons of it since the 50s.

Jan 05, 2018
Long term effects of Martian gravity are probably the biggest unknown at this point and it is something that could possibly derail any permanent colonization plan of Mars
So could anything including perchlorate soil or lack of vital elements.

But the solution to low gravity might be as simple as weighted clothes with stiff joints. Or more likely, genetic engineering and therapy. If it's even a problem at all.

And per libtard nightmares, if there's any unfixable danger to 'the children' on mars then they simply won't BE there.

That's how science works. Thats how humanity (at least here) works. But perhaps jihadis will covet the new promised land and will want to outgrow and overwhelm the entire globe. They like the desert yes?

Jan 05, 2018
"Mars in the short term, Mars in the long term. That's the public plan for the United Arab Emirates newly established space program. The country's space agency was born in July 2014 with the announcement of the Hope Mars mission—a probe to study the atmosphere, or lack thereof, on the red planet, scheduled to launch in 2020... Then, just this February, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted about a project to "create a mini-city and community on Mars involving international cooperation," by the year 2117 [sic - that can't be right]."

-Jihadi children are already suffering so no biggie.

Jan 06, 2018
And per libtard nightmares, if there's any unfixable danger to 'the children' on mars then they simply won't BE there.


Without children it is not an actual self-sustaining colony. Not viable as a civilization backup plan.

Jan 06, 2018
And per libtard nightmares, if there's any unfixable danger to 'the children' on mars then they simply won't BE there.


Without children it is not an actual self-sustaining colony. Not viable as a civilization backup plan.
Not long term independent. But an adult colony can certainly serve as an emergency backup which can return humans to earth after a calamity.

But sherpas have kids yes?

Jan 06, 2018
Not long term independent. But an adult colony can certainly serve as an emergency backup which can return humans to earth after a calamity.


That is quite useless and not good enough. Any calamity will not wipe out all humans on Earth anyway. If you just want a few survivors with a very uncertain future then ordinary underground bunkers would be enough. The whole point of an offworld backup is to duplicate a self-sustaining, technological, modern civilization.

Jan 06, 2018
But sherpas have kids yes?


Sherpas continuously adapted over long time to higher and higher altitudes. Not something comparable to just dropping people on Mars. I am not ruling out that some combination of genetic engineering and natural selection could solve this problem in the long term, tough. But I would not bet on it. Ultimately, there are only two places in the solar system that provide a habitable environment for humanity as we know it - Earth surface, and a rotating space station with several meters thick outer walls. I think this underappreciated fact will shape the future of space colonization more than we realize.

Jan 06, 2018
Shotman takes his best guess (again)
That is quite useless and not good enough
-So is it either 'quite useless' or 'not good enough?
Any calamity will not wipe out all humans on Earth anyway
many calamities could do this. An engineered pandemic for instance or an impact that raises temps to 200F at the poles for a century.

But the important thing would be to be able to preserve the level of technology and accumulated knowledge if earth civilization regressed a few centuries.
Sherpas continuously adapted over long time to higher and higher altitudes
The point being, they were asble to adapt. Settlers spending longer and longer periods of time over a few gens could maybe trigger epigenetic expressions.

Would be damned interesting if we had a genetic predeliction eh?

But again, confidence in science says that we can genetically engineer adaptations and compensations.

Jan 06, 2018
provide a habitable environment for humanity as we know it - Earth surface, and a rotating space station with several meters thick outer walls
More freeking guessing. Again... SCIENTISTS don't know this. What makes you think you do??

And stations will NEVER exist as independent economies BECAUSE they don't have their own resources. They will be way stations, upscale neighborhoods a la jody fosters Elysium, or tourist destinations and research facilities.

Jan 07, 2018
many calamities could do this. An engineered pandemic for instance or an impact that raises temps to 200F at the poles for a century.


A pandemic wont kill everyone on Earth, get real. Neither will an impact unless the impactor is so large that it melts all of Earth surface.

But the important thing would be to be able to preserve the level of technology and accumulated knowledge if earth civilization regressed a few centuries.


A mere underground bunker is sufficient to do this. The problem is that there is no guarantee that modern civilization will recover after breakdown, even with bunkers and survivors. The solution is to not allow modern civilization to break down, no matter what happens to Earth. A true offworld colony is required to guarantee survival of humanity.

Here, take it from Musk:

"The threshold for a self-sustaining city on Mars or a civilization would be a million people."


Jan 07, 2018
More freeking guessing. Again... SCIENTISTS don't know this. What makes you think you do??


Informed guessing is all we have. You are guessing all the time.

And stations will NEVER exist as independent economies BECAUSE they don't have their own resources. They will be way stations, upscale neighborhoods a la jody fosters Elysium, or tourist destinations and research facilities.


More guessing. A station in orbit of a planet, Moon or an asteroid has plenty of resources. A station has natural gravity. Coupled with the fact that basically everything except energy (coming from fusion) can be recycled, it is reasonable to conclude space stations will be dominant as habitats of future humanity.

Jan 07, 2018
GuessmanMaslo:
A pandemic wont kill everyone on Earth, get real
As usual I got real and did a little research.

"Will there ever be an infectious disease that could wipe out the human population? It's possible." Leading virologist Professor John Oxford, from the University of London

-Why don't you send him a note to let him know he's wrong?
A mere underground bunker is sufficient to do this
The good doctor would inform you that pathogens can remain in the environment indefinitely. Like anthrax and the plague.

Guessman says
it is reasonable to conclude space stations will be dominant as habitats of future humanity
Otto says
stations will NEVER exist as independent economies
-and guessman provides the proof
The threshold for a self-sustaining city on Mars or a civilization would be a million people

Jan 07, 2018
Coupled with the fact that basically everything except energy (coming from fusion) can be recycled
Entropy says that everything cant be recycled indefinitely. See my above comments.

And what fusion are you talking about? The kind that needs all sorts of consumable exotic materials like "the vessel containing the uranium tritide is called a " getter bed", "ZrCo storage materials", "Self-cooled Lead-Lithium with SiC-composite as structural material", He for cryo cooling, etcetcetc.

As well as all the exotic materials found in computer control systems that wear out.

Fusion reactors are unsustainable without the extensive technological manufacturing base that exists here on earth, or that could be established on a planet.

Jan 07, 2018
A station in orbit of a planet, Moon or an asteroid has plenty of resources
You can't orbit an asteroid. A moon big enough to orbit would be big enough to live on. And moons and certainly single asteroids won't have all the essential consumable materials you will need to maintain a totally independent, self-sustaining civilization.

Your station people or their expensive, expendable robots would have to roam the asteroid belt looking for minable deposits of rare earths, exotic metals; or mine them on planets and moons.

And refining and manufacturing on the surface would be easier than building these facilities in space somewhere and then shipping raw ore there.

And so again you're left with the obvious alternative: put your civilization on the surface.

Jan 07, 2018
Other consumble things that require high tech, extremely complex, multi-facility manufacturing: zeolite filters nitrogen from the air, providing high concentration oxygen... filter that uses aquaporin proteins to pull clean water out of urine... plus various HEPA filters etc.

Much testing and medical equipment is needed...

" (HEPA) air filter used in the ISS: 99.65% of the viable sequences they retrieved came from Actinobacteria, which, at most, accounted for only 25.25% of the viable sequences found in the JPL clean room vacuum bags..."

-Pathogens will have to be quickly identified, located, and eliminated, requiring decontam equipment and antibiotics.

On a planet these facilities can be located miles apart and still interconnected with surface of hyperloop transportation. In space your raw materials could be on the other side of the belt with delta V of hundreds of km/sec.

Jan 07, 2018
Surface OR hyperloop

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