Liquid water is buried beneath Martian landscape, study says

July 25, 2018
Artistic impression of the Mars Express spacecraft probing the southern hemisphere of Mars, superimposed to a color mosaic of a portion of Planum Australe. The study area is highlighted using a THEMIS IR image mosaic. Subsurface echo power is color coded and deep blue corresponds to the strongest reflections, which are interpreted as being caused by the presence of water. Credits: USGS Astrogeology Science Center, Arizona State University, ESA, INAF. Credit: USGS Astrogeology Science Center, Arizona State University, ESA, INAF. Graphic rendering by Davide Coero Borga – Media INAF

A massive underground lake has been detected for the first time on Mars, raising hopes that more water—and maybe even life—exists there, international astronomers said Wednesday.

Located under a layer of Martian ice, the lake is about 12 miles (20 kilometers) wide, said the report in the US journal Science.

It is the largest body of liquid water ever found on the Red Planet.

"Water is there. We have no more doubt," co-author Enrico Flamini, the Italian space agency's Mars Express mission manager, told a press conference.

Mars is now cold, barren and dry but it used to be warm and wet. It was home to plenty of liquid water and lakes at least 3.6 billion years ago.

Scientists are eager to find signs of contemporary water, because such discoveries are key to unlocking the mystery of whether life ever formed on Mars in its ancient past, and whether it might persist today.

"This is a stunning result that suggests water on Mars is not a temporary trickle like previous discoveries but a persistent body of water that provides the conditions for life for extended periods of time," said Alan Duffy, an associate professor at Swinburne University in Australia, who was not involved in the study.

Being able to access water sources could also help humans survive on a future crewed mission to Earth's neighboring planet, with NASA aiming to send explorers in the 2030s.

This particular lake, however, would be neither swimmable nor drinkable, and it lies almost a mile deep (1.6 kilometers) beneath the icy surface in a harsh and frigid environment.

Whether microbial forms of life could lie within is a matter of debate.

Some experts are skeptical of the possibility since the lake is so cold and briny, mixed with a heavy dose of dissolved Martian salts and minerals.

Artistic impression of the Mars Express spacecraft probing the southern hemisphere of Mars, superimposed on a radar cross section of the southern polar layered deposits. The radar cross section has been tilted 90°. The leftmost white line is the surface radar echo, while the light blue spots along the basal radar echo highlight areas of very high reflectivity, interpreted as being caused by the presence of water. Credit: ESA, INAF. Graphic rendering by Davide Coero Borga – Media INAF

The temperature is likely below the freezing point of pure water, but the lake can remain liquid due to the presence of magnesium, calcium and sodium.

"This is a discovery of extraordinary significance, and is bound to heighten speculation about the presence of living organisms on the Red Planet," said Fred Watson of the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

"Caution needs to be exercised, however, as the concentration of salts needed to keep the water liquid could be fatal for any microbial life similar to Earth's," added Watson, who was not involved in the research.

Radar detection

The discovery was made using a radar instrument on board the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, which launched in 2003.

The tool is called the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS), and was designed to find subsurface water by sending radar pulses that penetrate the surface and ice caps.

MARSIS "then measures how the radio waves propagate and reflect back to the spacecraft," said the study.

These reflections "provide scientists with information about what lies beneath the surface."

A team of researchers led by Roberto Orosei of the National Institute for Astrophysics in Bologna, Italy, surveyed a region called Planum Australe, located in the southern ice cap of Mars, from May 2012 until December 2015.

A total of 29 sets of radar samplings showed a "very sharp change in its associated radar signal," allowing scientists to map the outlines of the lake.

"The radar profile of this area is similar to that of lakes of liquid water found beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets on Earth, suggesting that there is a subglacial lake at this location on Mars," said the report.

ESA’s Mars Express has used radar signals bounced through underground layers of ice to find evidence of a pond of water buried below the south polar cap. Twenty-nine dedicated observations were made between 2012 and 2015 in the Planum Australe region at the south pole using the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument, MARSIS. A new mode of operations established in this period enabled a higher quality of data to be retrieved than earlier in the mission. The 200 km square study area is indicated in the left-hand image and the radar footprints on the surface are indicated in the middle image for multiple orbits. The greyscale background image is a Thermal Emission Imaging System image from NASA’s Mars Odyssey, and highlights the underlying topography: a mostly featureless plain with icy scarps in the lower right (south is up). The footprints are colour-coded corresponding to the ‘power’ of the radar signal reflected from features below the surface. The large blue area close to the centre corresponds to the main  radar-bright area, detected on many overlapping orbits of the spacecraft. A subsurface radar profile is shown in the right hand panel for one of the Mars orbits. The bright horizontal feature at the top represents the icy surface of Mars in this region. The south polar layered deposits – layers of ice and dust – are seen to a depth of about 1.5 km. Below is a base layer that in some areas is even much brighter than the surface reflections, highlighted in blue, while in other places is rather diffuse. Analysing the details of the reflected signals from the base layer yields properties that correspond to liquid water. The brightest reflections are centred around 193°E/81°S in the intersecting orbits, outlining a well-defined, 20 km-wide zone. Credit: Context map: NASA/Viking; THEMIS background: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University; MARSIS data: ESA/NASA/JPL/ASI/Univ. Rome; R. Orosei et al 2018

Researchers said they are not sure how far down it goes, but that it may be around three feet (one meter) deep.

Confirmation needed

"This is the first body of water it has detected, so it is very exciting," David Stillman, a senior research scientist in the Department of Space Studies at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, told AFP in an email.

However, Stillman, who was not involved in the research, said another spacecraft, or other instruments, need to be able to confirm the discovery.

He noted that a higher-frequency radar instrument made by the Italian space agency SHARAD, on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched in 2005, has been unable to detect subsurface water.

"It is strange that SHARAD cannot confirm this discovery. In fact, SHARAD cannot penetrate through the ice here and no one understands why it can't," Stillman said.

"This suggests that something strange is going on here. Thus, I'm skeptical about this discovery."

But researchers are excited about the potential for future finds, because if liquid water could be found at Mars's south pole, it might be elsewhere too.

"There's nothing special about this location other than the MARSIS radar on the Mars Express spacecraft is most sensitive to that region," said Duffy.

"There are likely similar water deposits below the ground all across Mars."

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said on Twitter that the discovery gets to one of the fundamental questions about existence.

"On Earth, where there's water, there's life. Could be we're not alone."

Explore further: Searching for signs of ice on Mars using radar

More information: R. Orosei et al. Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7268

Anja Diez. Liquid water on Mars, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aau1829

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Spacebaby2001
3.7 / 5 (9) Jul 25, 2018
YeeeeHAW!
carbon_unit
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2018
or Cowabunga! What an amazing find IF it can be confirmed.

If nothing else, we can work the bugs out of the ice penetrating probes for Europa and Enceladus on Mars.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2018
YeeeeHAW!


My sentiments exactly! :)
Mark Thomas
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2018
We have suspected underground aquifers on Mars for a long time and it is wonderful to actually find one! Where there is one, there should be more. They may be smaller, deeper or better obscured by the intervening layers. Of course these aquifers are where the (single-celled) Martians are likely to be.

This is probably asking too much, but it would be like hitting the jackpot if we could find a Martian geyser that erupts reasonably often in a good location, like in Yellowstone. You set up your first base right there.

BTW, sorry Otto, but it looks like that hole in the Martian ground you want to live in is a little water-logged. :-)

Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2018
It is strange that SHARAD cannot confirm this discovery. In fact, SHARAD cannot penetrate through the ice here and no one understands why it can't," Stillman said.


Sounds like a nice little mystery. Regardless, it seems like the best approach is the next ground-penetrating radar we send to Mars have a variety of high powered, mostly low frequency radar bands to map all that deep water and maybe help solve your mystery.
carbon_unit
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2018
Mark, this is an ice covered lake. An aquifer is water in a layer of material like gravel. This is just water, covered by a thick layer of ice.
Mimath224
5 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2018
It is strange that SHARAD cannot confirm this discovery. In fact, SHARAD cannot penetrate through the ice here and no one understands why it can't," Stillman said.


Sounds like a nice little mystery. Regardless, it seems like the best approach is the next ground-penetrating radar we send to Mars have a variety of high powered, mostly low frequency radar bands to map all that deep water and maybe help solve your mystery.

I'm not too surprised but I think what is very good is that our technology is getting better all the time so I'm confident we'll solve this one too.
jonesdave
3.9 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2018
Paper here (freely available):

Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars
Orosei, et al.
http://science.sc....aar7268
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2018
carbon_unit, you are correct about this discovery being an underground lake, not an aquifer. My hope is we find more of both and I should have been more clear on that point.
Whart1984
Jul 25, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2018
Mark, this is an ice covered lake. An aquifer is water in a layer of material like gravel. This is just water, covered by a thick layer of ice.
says carbon_unit

The bottom of that lake could possibly have a clay-type material if it's to prevent the water from seeping out or down farther. Just a layer of gravel without a solid material beneath would not prevent water loss.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2018
I would be interested in the source of that liquid water in the lake(s). Is it a constant flow of liquid water into and out of, or is the water in the lake billions of years old, not being able to sublimate due to the ice covering? The article doesn't mention Latitude, only that it is in the Southern Hemisphere under or near a Polar Cap. Why look for water so far South (or North)? Doubtful that astronauts going to Mars in 2030 will be able to survive the freezing temps at the Polar Ice Caps.
The Equator can be a balmy 70 degrees F. in the Martian summer. That would be the comfort zone, IMO

IF there are any microbes in the lake, which I doubt, their bodies are probably frozen-dessicated or freeze dried from the harsh chemicals.

The regolith all around the planet probably is composed of sulfur-chlorine and other chemicals that would make you gag if you had to live there.

I think that I would prefer to stay on Earth, thank you.
Ojorf
2 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2018
Woweee!
Hope it's real.

The lake is about 1.5 kilometres beneath Mars's surface.. Using the low estimate of Mars's gradient to be 1/4 that of Earth's, that's a bit over 6° C per km of depth. The temperature at poles goes to - 125 °C, the existence of liquid water under such a conditions is extremely difficult to imagine.


You do not have to try to imagine it, you could read the article where it is explained.
Cusco
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2018
I think that I would prefer to stay on Earth, thank you.


Good. The meek can inherit the Earth, the rest of us are going to the stars.
humy
3.7 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2018
... the existence of liquid water under such a conditions is extremely difficult to imagine.

Whether something physically exists is indifferent to how difficult it is to imagine.
Whart1984
Jul 26, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
humy
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2018
Whether something physically exists is indifferent to how difficult it is to imagine
Well, it's used as the main reason for dismissal of cold fusion or overunity
No, that was never the (rational) reason.

In the case of cold fusion;

the theory that imploding microbubbles generated in water generate a higher enough temperature for fusion was later proven false
+ the claimed created cold fusion, despite repeated determined efforts by other scientists, failed to be replicated in other labs thus proving it false.

In the case of overunity;

that breaks the known laws of thermodynamics, which pretty much makes it a nonstarter.

We cannot imagine the number of particles in the known universe because it is impossible for us to simultaneously visualize that many dots in our heads; So that number of them doesn't exist?

Look up the "argument from incredulity" here;
https://en.wikipe..._fallacy
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2018
BTW, sorry Otto, but it looks like that hole in the Martian ground you want to live in is a little water-logged. :-)
So mark, since we have aquifers here on earth we dont have mines, tunnels, ICBM silos, subways, or this

"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...

or this?

"Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository... 40 miles of 25' dia tunnels"

Etc?

You're aware that musks hyperloop system will operate at a pressure identical to mars ground level?

Etc?

Re the lake, good heat repository for a reactor complex. We can use it to eventually melt the entire cap.

All with the appropriate EPA studies and permits of course.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2018
Although underground aquifers would facilitate the creation of cisterns using plowshare/gnome-type nukes, which would fill by themselves.
wduckss
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2018
Euphoria needs to be replaced with reason. There is no registered hydrogen on Mars (there are marginal speculations (without relevant evidence) about the existence of CH4). There is no hydrogen in the atmosphere or in the surface of the ground. Behind us is 50 years of evidence collection. We need to ask what exactly the measurement is. Too small is a possibility that is this water. This is food for the naive.
(http://www.svemir...ke-Titan )

Atmosphere of Mars
Surface pressure
0.636 (0.4–0.87) kPa
0.00628 atm

Composition by volume
95.97% carbon dioxide
1.93% argon
1.89% nitrogen
0.146% oxygen
0.0557% carbon monoxide (Wiki)

Mark Thomas
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2018
Otto, just trying to add a little humor. I still think you would be happier on the surface of a well terraformed planet, or at least, I know I would.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2018
I still think you would be happier on the surface of a well terraformed planet, or at least, I know I would.
@Mark Thomas
most people would be happier like that

personally, I wouldn't care one whit if there was a view or not.
just being on another planet and being there to explore, research etc would be enough for me. of course, I would feel the same about being in space.

I keep telling NASA that they need to consider the modern couch potato for deep space research! besides the sheer number of them, they have benefits:
reserves of ability to sit for days with minimal movement at a screen
built in padding
used to eating food out of packages
insulation
completely unaware of surroundings if you plug them into something interesting
already aware of health issues and willing to ignore threats for instant pleasure

LOL
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2018
Otto, just trying to add a little humor. I still think you would be happier on the surface of a well terraformed planet, or at least, I know I would.

A contiguous, monolithic ecosystem would be susceptible to pandemic and most likely impossible to manage. Reestablishing isolation is the future. Its the reason why we are going to other worlds.
Never avoid the chance to make a point. Hey have you seen those nice ice hotels they build up north every year?
most people would be happier like that
I was walking through a megamall awhile ago and imagining that it was below the martian regolith. Skylights and all. And outside it was cold as shit and I had to wear heavy clothes.

You could still walk around in the martian dust if you want, in a skin suit and a snowmobile onesie. I am sure that after a few gens martians will prefer it that way. Just like Manhattanites and mall rats, and alaskans.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2018
Should I fix it? Ok

Otto, just trying to add a little humor. I still think you would be happier on the surface of a well terraformed planet, or at least, I know I would.
Never avoid the chance to make a point. Hey have you seen those nice ice hotels they build up north every year?

A contiguous, monolithic ecosystem would be susceptible to pandemic and most likely impossible to manage. Reestablishing isolation is the future. Its the reason why we are going to other world
most people would be happier like that
I was walking through a megamall awhile ago and imagining that it was below the martian regolith. Skylights and all. And outside it was cold as shit and I had to wear heavy clothes.

You could still walk around in the martian dust if you want, in a skin suit and a snowmobile onesie. I am sure that after a few gens martians will prefer it that way. Just like Manhattanites and mall rats, and alaskans.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2018
I think that I would prefer to stay on Earth, thank you.


Good. The meek can inherit the Earth, the rest of us are going to the stars.
says Cusco

Ah yessss...the stars. But eventually, you will have to plant your feet onto some good ol' terra firma that may not be quite as hospitable as Earth. That is, unless you are planning to build a Dyson's Ball type of space vehicle to float around in outer space forever...with your own artificial gravity and farming processes. There are many potential ways to live "out there". But I am an Earthling and an Earthling I shall remain.
:)
Mark Thomas
4 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
Captain Stumpy, you make a fine advocate for the couch potatoes! LOL

Otto, your position would be more appealing to me if I didn't think terraforming would make Mars far more livable. Did you read the Red/Green/Blue Mars trilogy? The ending was subtle and brilliant. Ultimately, terraforming worked and the result was beautiful.

Surveilance Egg Unit, (paraphrasing from the movie Braveheart): Do you know what happens if stop exploring and colonizing new lands? Nothing.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 27, 2018
Ahh yes - Braveheart. Good old William Wallace, the Scottish Knight who was appointed 'Guardian of Scotland". Good man, he. Hung, drawn and quartered by the Englishman, Edward Longshanks, but never forgotten by all honest Scots.

As to your query, exploring and colonising new lands. Borders, Mark...borders. Every European and Asian country has them. Even Canada. Borders are good, Mark, and walls are even better.

Now, Cusco wants to go "out there". To the Stars, says he. But Cusco will likely be an old man by the time that the very first group of Mars pioneers take off at Balkonur or Cape Canaveral. So the question is moot, at least for Cusco. Friendship 7 is mostly, if not all, gone. Ditto for Apollo. Neil Armstrong, Cooper and many others have all got their wings - but of a different nature. The current crop of future astronauts are still young; but will they have 'the right stuff' to make good pioneers and frontiersmen? Who knows? But I know that I am earthbound - like you.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
Otto, your position would be more appealing to me if I didn't think terraforming would make Mars far more livable. Did you read the Red/Green/Blue Mars trilogy? The ending was subtle and brilliant. Ultimately, terraforming worked
1) the way the human race is developing, there will never be enough people to inhabit another planet.
2) the MARTIANS who have been living there for multiple gens, UNDERGROUND, will be happy with the way they live and will NOT want their lives and livelihoods disrupted by terraforming.
3) the only reason we live on the surface is because that's where we evolved. Right now we dig cubic miles of material out of the earth every year, process it, and use it to build structures. MUCH EASIER to just live in the mines... readymade structures, unlimited space, comfortable, secure, isolated.
4) a contiguous, monolithic ecosystem is unsustainable and unmanageable. This will be more obvious as they begin to collapse here on earth.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
Once a few AI nuclear tunnel borers are delivered to mars and they begin creating cubic miles of conditioned space there, this will become all too obvious. As when nukes are used to produce mile-wide voids for water and gas storage.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
One thing I forgot
5) machines love mars. They hate earth. Rovers refuse to die. No oxidation, no mold, no mud, no freeze/thaw cycles, no insects, no vegetation, etc.

Imagine a preexisting Martian infrastructure with surface installations, transportation, communication, power generation, waste processing. Pit mines filled with rainwater. Imagine a city of a few thousand square miles with multiple connections, seals, airlocks, all having to be replaced to contend with the muck and mire of an earth-type environment.

Ain't gonna happen.
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
1) the way the human race is developing, there will never be enough people to inhabit another planet.
- I think we can find ways to make that happen if we need to.

2) the MARTIANS who have been living there for multiple gens, UNDERGROUND, will be happy with the way they live and will NOT want their lives and livelihoods disrupted by terraforming.
- Are you talking subsurface bacteria and tardigrades or little green men?

3) the only reason we live on the surface is because that's where we evolved. . . .
- So what? It is far from clear if that could be changed or even if changing it is a good idea. The very first episode of Star Trek was a cautionary tale about the dangers of living underground.

4) a contiguous, monolithic ecosystem is unsustainable
- I agree we can't be stupid about terraforming Mars. We must embrace nuances, second order effects, third order effects, etc. Nobody said it would be easy, in fact, it may be one of the hardest things we ever do.
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
2) the MARTIANS who have been living there for multiple gens, UNDERGROUND, will be happy with the way they live and will NOT want their lives and livelihoods disrupted by terraforming.
- Sorry, I was going too fast on this one. Too many assumptions here in your statement.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 27, 2018
Hello Mark
The "person" who claims that there are Life Forms on the planet Mars is evidently delusional, and whose mind has been taken over by a demonic force. The demon will lie as many times in order to keep you (and others) off your guard, and will want you to reveal as much personal information about yourself, your family, friends, etc., and eventually to possess your Soul.
I am not exaggerating.
Take care. You are not dealing with a normal human when you engage in conversation with this ghostofotto1923 entity.

You have already seen how this entity resorts to cyberbullying. Be careful.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
@Mark (and all who refuse to be bamboozled by the obviously mentally ill ghostofotto1923 and Captain Stinky).

On the one hand, goO1923 claims:
"2) the MARTIANS who have been living there for multiple gens, UNDERGROUND, will be happy with the way they live and will NOT want their lives and livelihoods disrupted by terraforming."

But then later says:

"Once a few AI nuclear tunnel borers are delivered to mars and they begin creating cubic miles of conditioned space there, this will become all too obvious. As when nukes are used to produce mile-wide voids for water and gas storage."

Nuclear devices used for terraforming on Mars...WOW. That is SICK!!

This person who believes that he/she/it is the ghost of someone named Otto is clearly in desperate need of mental health intervention, as well as an exorcism. AND none of the space agencies have EVER said that Martians exist and are living today.
And this ghostofotto is participating in a SCIENCE SITE???
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 27, 2018
The egg opines
This person who believes that he/she/it is the ghost of someone named Otto is clearly in desperate need of mental health intervention, as well as an exorcism. AND none of the space agencies have EVER said that Martians exist and are living today
Acting stupid on purpose is especially droll.

Humans on earth are earthers. Humans on mars will be called martians.

You fucking slimy troll.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
1) mark wants to FORCE people to reproduce. On their own planet. Mark is a nazi.
2) see the above troll rebuttal. Since mark has exhibited a degree of integrity in the past, I will have to assume he is just dumb.
3) mark thinks there is some difference between living in a building, working in a building, shopping in a building, recreating in a building, and living underground. There's not. None whatsoever. Especially to 3rd or 5th gen martians. There will be buildings but when you walk outside it will be pleasant all the time.
4) nuances, effects etc. TRY TO UNDERSTAND. WE wont be doing anything with THEIR planet. MARTIANS will decide how they want to live, not EARTHERS. It wont be OUR planet to muck up with OUR ideas of how to live.

Until you get that perspective you dont know what you're talking about.

The Brits wanted to tell us how to live. We revolted. Why dont you go stand on a box in central park and tell everybody you're going to force them to live in yosemite?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
Just watched journey to the center of the earth 2. Shitty movie but I kept thinking how we will soon be creating habitable space at the same scale, beneath the surface of planets and moons.

Forests. Meadows. Lakes. Preserves filled with herds. Farms. Parks bigger than Prospect or Central. Grand tree-lined boulevards with ceilings 1000 ft high, flanked by dwellings and shops carved into the rock. Perhaps a canal down the middle.

What the heck.

AI, nuclear power, and automation will be able to create unimaginable space. We already excavate cubic miles every year, on this high gravity planet, with human labor. We are on the verge of doing all that robotically.

I think that very soon the prime real estate on this planet will be found beneath the polluted, overcrowded, congested cities. We are going to begin building down instead of up.

The greatest benefit? Renewed isolation from disease and calamity. We may have no choice.
Captain Stumpy
2 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
@idiot f*ckwad cult member eggy
@Mark (and all who refuse to be bamboozled by the obviously mentally ill ghostofotto1923 and Captain Stinky)
where have I "bamboozled" anyone, you illiterate moron?

I made one above post to someone who can actually read (and understands humour)

you're the one attempting to get people to fall for your delusional beliefs, ya ijit

.

.

Since mark has exhibited a degree of integrity in the past, I will have to assume he is just dumb.
@Otto
no
I think it's just his caution whereas you're more of a dreamer and want to push your AI beliefs

it's a good conversation
don't f*ck it up with BS
Captain Stumpy
2 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
@otto cont'd
AI, nuclear power, and automation will be able to create unimaginable space. We already excavate cubic miles every year, on this high gravity planet, with human labor. We are on the verge of doing all that robotically
this is what I mean by "dreamer"

we may well be on our way to a society merging with (or being taken over by) AI, but that doesn't mean it's real right now, nor does it mean it's inevitable

with our existing human fears of creating our AI overlords, it may well not come to pass any time soon unless super-intelligent hackers build it and let it loose

Mark seems to be extrapolating potential using current tech and slight modifications whereas you're promoting a far more advanced potential future with AI

neither is anything more than opinion or speculation

like I said - this is a good conversation (you and Mark) so quit with the BS and keep up the posts

Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
1) So you are saying you can only envision having sex and reproducing if forced to by Nazis? Get help. Heck, I was thinking more along the lines of distributing clothing from Victoria's Secret. Pssst, her secret is kinky underwear! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge! :-)
2) Otto is a troglodyte, but I would bet good money you don't live underground now, so you know not of which you speak.
3) If you want to live underground, then don't complain when the rest of us want to terraform the surface.
4) Troglodytes like Otto can have their underground dwellings and the rest of use get the surface. Abandoning the surface to somehow? accommodate the dumbass Troglodytes is completely non-nonsensical. Otto, you are the only person advocating that position because it is ridiculous.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
Hello stump

Mark misunderstood that I was talking about humans on mars. Did you misunderstand as well?

Antialias thinks we can create more livable space in orbit, re rotating elysium rings and O'Neill tubes. I'm saying we can create space at the same scale, quicker, easier, and cheaper, with AI, automation, and nuclear power.
Captain Stumpy
1 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
sigh
fuck it
Otto, you are the only person advocating that position because it is loony.
@Mark
not really
it makes far, far more sense to use the planet as a massive object to block out radiation until such time as it can be "terraformed", however, in order for that to happen you will absolutely need more mass (etc) to ensure that you have a means to keep and hold an atmosphere

that is the primary reason for living underground: practical, applicable using current tech ability, low tech solution that requires less output of energy or work to build and maintain, more protection, greater ability to grow, potential findings while expanding or mining, etc

if we travel to Mars any time soon, the underground is our best option for a sustained colony

Captain Stumpy
1 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
Mark misunderstood that I was talking about humans on mars. Did you misunderstand as well?
nope
Antialias thinks we can create more livable space in orbit, re rotating elysium rings and O'Neill tubes. I'm saying we can create space at the same scale, quicker, easier, and cheaper, with AI, automation, and nuclear power
I think it will depend entirely on our ability to mine asteroids or the planet Mars

right now we would do better in space than down another gravity well unless we find a way to develop a rocket that runs off of Martian dust (or a means of propulsion that is better than current hypergol's)

we should, however, develop Mars underground as a primary base of operations (stated above) while also working on our ability to travel in space (rings/tubes, etc)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
Markey mark keeps trying... why?
1) western society has achieved zero growth largely through the emancipation of women. These women decide how many babies to have, not eugenicist nazi earther carpetbaggers.
As such we can assume similar sustainable growth on other worlds.
2) so where do you live mark? How much time do you spend outside? What do you do while you're outside? How does your lifestyle compare with your ancestors? Would they want to be living the way you do?
3) if I'm a 5th gen Martian and some earther shows up who wants to terramuck MY planet, there will be war. Guaranteed.
4) mark thinks that using bigoted, derogatory terms is a good way to force others to live the way he thinks they should.

This is how wars start marky mark.
Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
Otto: MARTIANS who have been living there for multiple gens, UNDERGROUND, will be happy with the way they live and will NOT want their lives and livelihoods disrupted by terraforming


Captain, even if we start off underground on Mars by necessity, Otto is saying it should remain that way permanently and there should be no efforts at creating a terraformed surface. That is where I completely disagree.

If Mars has insufficient mass to be terraformed, then it is not actually terraformable, and you have changed the premise. As I mentioned above, I believe Mars is the ONLY terraformable planet within reach for centuries to come, but this is my best guess, not a verified fact.

It is my understanding if a "perfect" atmosphere were somehow deposited on Mars it would still completely dissipate in a few million years. So what? We top it up every eon or so and things will be fine. I am far from the only person who thinks Mars can be terraformed.
Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
Definition of troglodyte
1 : a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves
2 : a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes


Otto, how are you not a troglodyte or at least a troglodyte wannabe?

https://www.merri...oglodyte
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
This is the kind of space we can produce on mars using autonomous nuke borers
http://www.1pezes...nel.html

Miles and miles of tunnels and voids. We can begin doing this as soon as BFR is up and running. 50 years, conservatively. Imagine it filled with streets, trees, houses dug into the walls, etc. Any direction, in parallel, multi level. Hundreds of miles.

Conversely, a ring would be a single such tunnel with a continuous slope, a mile at most in circumference. Huge construction effort, exotic materials brought from across the system at huge delta V, processed, fabricated, and assembled without gravity.

And then what? What do they do? How do they sustain themselves? What do they make, what can they sell?

Mark should search out the star trek episode 'the cloud minders'. Trogs will not be oppressed.
Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
Otto is justifiably angry that there is a possible future where his primary occupation is doing my yard work. No wonder he wants to live underground and skip the terraforming. :-)
Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
Otto, I take it you read Farsi based on your link. Underground living may be a lot more appealing in hot places like parts of Iran and say Coober Pedy in Australia, etc. If the surface is uncomfortable, then live underground, I would probably do the same thing. Nevertheless, if I had a choice, I would take a large, beautiful home with trees, scenery and a moderate climate. I am confident many would agree. To me your Swiss tunnels are cold and stark, good for trains, but not for enticing people to live there.

"Mark should search out the star trek episode 'the cloud minders'. Trogs will not be oppressed."

Otto, I have seen every episode, trust me. The Trogs were very oppressed until the Enterprise arrived and set the record straight.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
Jeezwhizzing, the above comments fail as science fiction. They barely qualify as science fantasy! Morlocks arguing over whose turn it is to climb into the stewpot.

I'd be pretty happy to wave them all 'Buh-Bye'! as they rocket off to Mars or Luna.
"The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible."

Good riddance as far as I'm concerned!

However it is highly-probable that the squawking of the wanna-be-a-refugee demanding endless sums of coerced taxpayer subsidies to support their useless efforts.

When someone else, has made it possible for their transport off Earth? These lazy bum plantation masters are going to need continuing welfare subsidies. Cause god forbid, they actually get their soft-lilywhite-hands dirty.

When those who failed to make a life on Earth? When it finally dawns on them, that their fantasy palaces-in-the-sky are deathtraps?

They will be burning up the airwaves demanding that we rescue the incompetent buffoons. At Public expense, of course.
Captain Stumpy
1 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
@Mark
I believe Mars is the ONLY terraformable planet within reach for centuries to come, but this is my best guess
maybe, planet wise

here is something to read up on if you care to: https://www.unive...rm-mars/

it's from this series: https://www.unive...forming/

while you are at it, feel free to join the "WHS" (Weekly Space Hangout) Google plus community and then hit up https://wsh-crew.slack.com and talk to Dr. Matt or Dr. Pam about the physics behind the problem

there is considerable information out there to read up on regarding terraforming

It is my understanding if a "perfect" atmosphere were somehow deposited on Mars it would still completely dissipate in a few million years. So what?
it's not just the atmosphere we will need - Mars just doesn't have the mass or magnetic field to protect us much without requiring us to be underground
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
Captain, I will go through these when I get a chance, but I have already done a fair amount of reading on the topic.

"Mars just doesn't have the mass or magnetic field to protect us much without requiring us to be underground"

Insufficient mass could mean a lot of things. Mars can hold a significant atmosphere, you don't need 1G to do that. For example, Venus and Titan. Regarding magnetic field, I think it is overrated. A thicker atmosphere will provide most or all the protection we need, otherwise we will need an artificial magnetic field. If the magnetic field was absolutely essential then we would probably see mass extinctions every time Earth's field reversed and we don't.

I think a lot of people assume if Earth has a feature, it must be essential. For example, the Moon "must" be essential to life because it stabilizes our planet. Alternatively, it may simply prove that most Earth-size planets without giant impact created moons have chokingly thick atmospheres.
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2018
Captain, if by insufficient mass you meant 0.38g may not be enough, there is nothing definitive on that. However, we can encourage all our Mars colonists to become couch potatoes and balloon up to 2.6 times their ideal mass to offset the lower gravity. From their bones perspective, it will be just like being on Earth with the ideal weight. Problem solved. :-)
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2018
@Mark
LOL We who will be stuck on planet Earth will only ever be able to reminisce and become dewy-eyed about the romance of flying off to another planet where we would learn to love its formidable conditions that would task our very being - all for the sake of escaping and breaking the bonds of Earth - to touch the ancient soil of a place we have oft seen only in our wildest thoughts and dreams - to go where no man has gone before.

You can have it. I'm staying home.

After some years of reading Captain Stinky's posts, whereby threatening and demanding evidence and validated links/stories from others - and yet NEVER EVER offering any substantial science of his own, I finally have gotten to speak with Captain Stinky this year. And what do I find? The same as usual - with no evidence that he has any scientific knowledge to be validated.
Sad.
Mimath224
5 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2018
@Mark Thomas Well, I would agree about terraforming assuming it is possible. With the comments between you and TheGhostofOtto1923, I wonder if there would be two 'species' on Mars, one underground (those wishing to stay there) and another above ground. Even perhaps a third group who might live periods below and above. Definitely food for thought though.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2018
Nevertheless, if I had a choice, I would take a large, beautiful home with trees, scenery and a moderate climate
You haven't answered my questions about how you live now. You live in a city dont you?
one underground (those wishing to stay there) and another above ground
Martians will be spending plenty of time on the beautiful Martian surface and wont want to change it for anything.
Mark Thomas
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
You haven't answered my questions about how you live now.


Let's just say I am lucky enough to live in a home that is close to what I want, but a bunch of selfish people are working hard to mess up my previously moderate climate. The oil companies and oil countries are like the worst drug dealers. They are willing to do anything to keep their clientele addicted to their product, no matter how much harm it causes.

Your turn, how do you live now?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
You haven't answered my questions about how you live now.


Let's just say I am lucky enough to live in a home that is close to what I want, but a bunch of selfish people are working hard to mess up my previously moderate climate. The oil companies and oil countries are like the worst drug dealers. They are willing to do anything to keep their clientele addicted to their product, no matter how much harm it causes.

Your turn, how do you live now?
Underground. I thought that was obvious.

I work in a bldg. I sleep in a bldg. I shop in a bldg. I exercise in a bldg. When I go outside I sweat or shiver. I HATE the sun. Seriously. I fight traffic everywhere I go. That gentle breeze in my face? Its a fan or the AC in my car. And I spend a great deal of time on the internet.

And Im thinking you probably live the same way I do.
cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
Im looking forward to a mature VR that will make the interface a lot more thorough. Sometimes I wonder about what I would like to do and where I would like to go before I die. Lets see, no sun, no bugs, no sweat, no dirt, no idiot drivers or ripoff artists, no wasted money. I saw the rockies once and said meh. The ocean is a cesspool.
https://www.cbsne...a-beach/

Sometimes I think about owning an estate or a yacht, or a supercar or a gaming computer. See the above shortlist of caveats. No, there is not much about the surface of this world that thrills me very much.

And Im thinking you probably feel the same way I do. Come on, be honest.
Mark Thomas
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
And I'm thinking you probably feel the same way I do. Come on, be honest.


I can see we have an honest difference of opinion here. I can understand the way you feel, but I am simply not wired that way. Some people don't like the outdoors, but I am clearly not one of them. I love the outdoors, despite occasional discomfort. I understand John Muir's reverence for nature and agree with him. Unlike you, I saw the Rockies once, and moved there for a time. I love cities too, as long as I can get out into them and see the sights and not just be stuck in an office or cube. I work inside, but I am an explorer at heart and my passport is testimony to my belief in boldly going where I have not gone before.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2018
I am an explorer at heart and my passport is testimony to my belief in boldly going where I have not gone before
At heart. Meaning, you dont ever really DO.

So IOW youre full of crap? And you would force the inhabitants of an entire world to conform to YOUR fantasies.

If you want others to suffer just because you cant be honest with yourself.
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 28, 2018
At heart. Meaning, you dont ever really DO.


I'm guessing, based purely on the rest of the sentence that he actually does. That would be the bit that says;

....and my passport is testimony to my belief in boldly going where I have not gone before.


Which, as an Englishman being reasonably fluent in English, means to me that he travels a lot, both abroad and likely at home. 'Explorer,' based on the same aforementioned knowledge (possibly faulty), means to me going away from one's home and seeing other places, and having a bit of a look around, not necessarily in 5 star hotels.

However, you both seem to be American, so perhaps something got lost in translation in the way I read it.
Captain Stumpy
2 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
@idiot illiterate eggy
After some years of reading Captain Stinky's posts
well, we know that is a lie because you've already demonstrated that you can't read
whereby threatening and demanding evidence and validated links/stories from others - and yet NEVER EVER offering any substantial science of his own
yet another lie - see above
I finally have gotten to speak with Captain Stinky this year
no, you haven't
the one thing you can't do speak with me because I don't talk to idiots, on the phone or in person
And what do I find? The same as usual - with no evidence that he has any scientific knowledge to be validated.
Sad
links/evidence?

is this because you're still pissed about me outing you as illiterate in this and another thread?

because I know you can't read, I'm letting you know that I did provide links above
they are those underlined blue things that direct you to other pages in my post to Mark
LMFAO
Captain Stumpy
1 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018
@Mark
I love the outdoors, despite occasional discomfort
what discomfort? (other than heat - LOL)
I love cities too
that is something I find intolerable (now). I've had to live in them for work, but I just don't like them at all

.

At heart. Meaning, you dont ever really DO.

So IOW youre full of crap?
@Otto
no, as Jonesdave noted, he also said "my passport is testimony to my belief in boldly going where I have not gone before"

also note: not all of us require passports to travel or explore
US Military can travel using only their ID and a set of orders, though sometimes we are issued passports for certain missions

.

you both seem to be American, so perhaps something got lost in translation in the way I read it
@Jonesdave
no. I read it the same as you
jonesdave
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2018
@Captain, you said:
.......is this because you're still pissed about me.....


Are you American, old boy? I suggest we hijack this abortion of a thread, and turn it into a discussion of the similarities and differences between English (i.e real) English, and American English. It would be far more interesting and productive.
You see, 'pissed' in real English means drunk. And in NZ, Australia. The equivalent of the U.S. 'pissed' in real English, is 'pissed off'.
Perhaps we could discuss various words describing being drunk in various Englishes. This would be so much more fun! I'll start with one: rat arsed.
Captain Stumpy
1 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018
@Jones
Are you American, old boy?
sort of
grew up overseas most of my life and just got back from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
You see, 'pissed' in real English means drunk
Yup
LOL
Perhaps we could discuss various words describing being drunk in various Englishes. This would be so much more fun! I'll start with one: rat arsed
there are many:
Stoned, f*cked up, beery, besotted, bibulous, blotto, cockeyed, crocked, doped, fuddled (or befuddled), high, loaded, mellow, narcotised, narcotized, orgiastic, pie-eyed, pixilated, plastered, potty, slopped, sloshed, smashed, soaked, soused, wobbly, Irish

LMFAO
Captain Stumpy
2 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
@Jones
Are you American, old boy?
I guess I better clarify this:

I was born in the US, but was only there 28 days after birth and raised a military brat overseas (mostly - all but 4 years)

then I was active duty Military all over the world too (all but 2 years)

I still have family all over the world, not just the US
(excepting AUS - which I plan to visit. https://www.googl....7820471 )
LMFAO
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2018
Hello jones
BTW, how are the All Blacks doing? Have they won any games of late?

Re: Mark's passion for exploring (as stated).
Exploration is good for the Mind, Soul and body, and many a nature lover dares to go off the beaten path to understand better the ways of Nature. This is mostly done aboveground where birds, insects, and wildlife live free. They don't live in some dank hole/tunnel underground unless they are of a certain species such as moles or bats in a cave.

The fervent desire to explore was responsible for learning and taking part in the Sciences such as STEM. But private exploration also enables growth in knowledge that has been the driving force to go where Englishmen had never been - America is the heart and Soul of English exploration.

But you knew all this already, and I only reiterate the obvious.

As to the opposing views, it is akin to the Morlocks vs. the Eloi, where the Eloi eventually became food for the cannibalistic Morlocks living underground
jonesdave
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2018
Hello jones
BTW, how are the All Blacks doing? Have they won any games of late?


If they've played recently, trust me, they've won. France, 3- 0 series win in June was the most recent. They tend not to do losing on a regular basis. The public wouldn't put up with it. The occasional **** up, now and again, is understandable. However, if you want to be the best, you cannot let these lesser nations get ideas above their station. Best to kill these things at source.
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018
what discomfort? (other than heat - LOL)


Exactly!

Otto, go back to your hole. I have traveled mostly in the U.S., but also other parts of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I wish I could travel more, for example, Mars sounds great. :-)

I suggest we hijack this abortion of a thread


Please do. How about one for each side? As an American I prefer flashlight to torch. It sounds like the Brits are still carrying torches because they haven't discovered artificial lighting yet. :-) On the other hand, I think I like "spot on" a little better than say "dead on," unless you are actually trying to kill your target. :-)
Captain Stumpy
2 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
@egg-brained illiterate
Still angry about being outed as a liar? LOL
America is the heart and Soul of English exploration.

But you knew all this already, and I only reiterate the obvious
erm... no
Exploration is a subjective term and relevant only in the context of a situation and a personal definition

.

However, if you want to be the best, you cannot let these lesser nations get ideas above their station. Best to kill these things at source.
@Jones
ROTFLMFAO

sorry, I just had to laugh at that one!

.

As an American I prefer flashlight to torch
@Mark
I think I prefer Torch - makes more sense to me
(but I live way, way out, too, so...)

I do think "boot" and "bonnet" is odd, considering
jonesdave
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2018
As an American I prefer flashlight to torch....


Have you perhaps misspelled fleshlight?
https://www.fleshlight.eu/

Always said Americans were...... :)
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018
"bonnet" is odd


Bonnet sounds strange to me too. Do the Brits still say "cheeky"? I suppose it is better than "wise ass" in polite company, but we also have smart aleck. :-) My Mom, not Mum, used to call me a weisenheimer, but I can't imagine why. :-)
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2018
Hello jones
BTW, how are the All Blacks doing? Have they won any games of late?


If they've played recently, trust me, they've won. France, 3- 0 series win in June was the most recent. They tend not to do losing on a regular basis. The public wouldn't put up with it. The occasional **** up, now and again, is understandable. However, if you want to be the best, you cannot let these lesser nations get ideas above their station. Best to kill these things at source.


I heartily agree. Your All Blacks are the best. There are high school rugby teams in the US who demonstrate the Haka on the pitch prior to the game. Some of the team players are either expats from NZ, or their parents are. Either way, they are proud of their Maori heritage and are exceptionally good.
Mark Thomas
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
Agreed about the All Blacks, the Haka, and just about anything good you have to say about New Zealand. :-)

Gotta run, have a good one.
jonesdave
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2018
"cheeky"?

Usually followed by c u next Tuesday !

better than "wise ass"

Smart arse. Probably get away with that in a British classroom!

smart alack.


Smart alec.

Septic tanks?:)
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 28, 2018
Agreed about the All Blacks, the Haka, and just about anything good you have to say about New Zealand. :-)

Gotta run, have a good one.


Lived in Auckland for many years. Few miles west, west coast beaches, Tasman Sea, black sand, surf. Head to the other side of the city, Pacific Ocean, white sand, calm. Out in the harbour? Jesus, Rangitoto, a volcano. Umpteen gorgeous little islands, and some big ones. A zillion sailboats (yeah, the America's Cup is back where it belongs!!), every weekend. Five minute drive from where I lived? Native bush. Bush tracks. Think 'Lost World', 'Jurassic Park'. Three hours south? Go skiing on volcanoes. Head a bit away from there, and Rotorua. A miniature Yellowstone. And keep going to the Bay of Plenty. Beaches? And hardly any bugger on them. Down to Hawke's Bay, and Napier, rebuilt in Art Deco style after a massive earthquake in the '30s. As for the South Island........why did I ****ing leave? What an idiot. Maybe Cantthink is right - dumb! :)
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018
Plane tickets, jones. That's what airlines are for. Don't forego the things you love in this life.
Speaking of which - LOL - your link to Fleshlight. WOW...just WOW.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018

Otto, go back to your hole. I have traveled mostly in the U.S., but also other parts of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I wish I could travel more, for example, Mars sounds great. :-)
Plenty of dry, barren mountains and rilles to explore. And they will be that way forever. Martians will never let earther slime muck them up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018
You wanna muck up a planet? Go slime venus. Nothing to see there.
IwinUlose
1 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2018
with our existing human fears of creating our AI overlords, it may well not come to pass any time soon unless super-intelligent hackers build it and let it loose


Technically if they're just building an AI they are programmers not hackers; it's the AI that would doing the hacking.
Captain Stumpy
2 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2018
Usually followed by c u next Tuesday
LMFAO
heard that a LOT while in Scotland - they use it as a term of friendship or similar like we use "bud" or "buddy"
Bonnet sounds strange to me too. Do the Brits still say "cheeky"?
yup, and I got told that a lot for some reason
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2018
Heres another thing

"A more rational alternative is to use synthetic biology to develop crops specifically for Mars. This formidable challenge can be tackled and fast-tracked by building a plant-focused Mars Biofoundry.

"Such an automated facility would be capable of expediting the engineering of biological designs and testing of their performance under simulated Martian conditions."

-So conceivably we could be growing crops on the surface of mars, freeing up underground space for other things. And then someone comes along and wants to destroy our cropland.

Like I say, lots of Martian activity on the surface. Mining, processing, manufacturing, transportation, energy production, waste processing, recreating, even living. And agriculture.

5M martians are not going to want to disrupt all that just because foreigners think their planet should be another earth.

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