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Thread: How long until we have colonize Mars?

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    How long until we have colonize Mars?

    How long do you think it will take humans to colonize Mars? For the sake of discussion I will define 'colonize' as the point in time at which a human lands on Mars to live out the rest of their natural life. Do you think humans have the capacity to build an infrastructure on Mars that is reliable enough for a human to live out the rest of their natural life? If yes, how long do you think it will take us to accomplish this feat?

    A prerequisite for colonizing Mars is to first land on Mars (although in Theory these two events could happen simultaneously). So, I will make this a two part question:

    1. How long will it take us to land a human on Mars?
    2. How long thereafter will the first person land on Mars to live out the rest of their natural life?

    Bonus question: Assuming we do land a human on Mars, which organization/agency/government do you believe will be the first to accomplish this feat? Chinese Space Program? SpaceX? Nasa? ESA? Roscosmos? Bill Nye the science guy?

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    If we actually funded gave it funding, I bet we could do it in 50-100 years. The chance of such a think happening are more or less nil unfortunately.

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    Maybe we'll send prisoners there.

    These Arestralians will be condemned to live out their natural lives on surface of a dead planet, but they will eventually build a nation that will revolutionise the daytime TV industry.

    Also Kylie.

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    My worthless opinion is that no one will build a super heavy launch vehicle, so it will be constrained by how long it takes to solve the challenges to build up a space infrastructure to facilitate it.
    At least 50 yrs for footprints on Mars, maybe less for phobos. I dont think a colony is likely for several hundred years yet.

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    Maybe we'll set foot on Mars but I doubt we'll ever colonize another planet.

    I think/hope we'll colonize actual space because it will be advantageous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhole View Post
    How long do you think it will take humans to colonize Mars? For the sake of discussion I will define 'colonize' as the point in time at which a human lands on Mars to live out the rest of their natural life. Do you think humans have the capacity to build an infrastructure on Mars that is reliable enough for a human to live out the rest of their natural life? If yes, how long do you think it will take us to accomplish this feat?

    A prerequisite for colonizing Mars is to first land on Mars (although in Theory these two events could happen simultaneously). So, I will make this a two part question:

    1. How long will it take us to land a human on Mars?
    2. How long thereafter will the first person land on Mars to live out the rest of their natural life?

    Bonus question: Assuming we do land a human on Mars, which organization/agency/government do you believe will be the first to accomplish this feat? Chinese Space Program? SpaceX? Nasa? ESA? Roscosmos? Bill Nye the science guy?

    Although I am somewhat hopeful of an eventual colonization the Solar System---the current problems of the Earth have become so pressing that--it may take a several "revolutions of new and better technology" to overcome the current mess that we have put ourselves.

    In short, we may need to re-invest in our youth--so they want to pursue Science and Engineering related degrees. This would put an inevitable critical mass of people who face a make-or-break proposition of wanting to invest themselves into entrepreneurial "science". I hope I am making some sense here. The American spirit has always been associated with situations which "true revolutions of technology have been" breaks from status quo technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    At least 50 yrs for footprints on Mars, maybe less for phobos.
    Are you suggesting that people will land on Phobos before they land on Mars?

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    Gravity well is a big problem. ...you know....robots have already landed on Mars.
    Getting people back into orbit isn't easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Gravity well is a big problem. ...you know....robots have already landed on Mars.
    Getting people back into orbit isn't easy.
    On the plus side there is plenty of water and carbon dioxide on Mars for not only ISRU resources for the duration but also to fuel the rocket for elsewhere.

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    300 years.

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    A century, provided private industry gets involved. Government funded colonization? Heh, the photosphere of the Sun will be knocking on the edge of Earth's atmosphere before the great unwashed give any government license to put colonies in space.

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    I would say sometime before the end of this century someone will attempt a Mars colony. Whether or not it is a successful attempt, we'll have to wait and see.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amber Robot View Post
    Are you suggesting that people will land on Phobos before they land on Mars?
    yes. Ive heard NASA folk suggest it a more likely first target than straight to Mars

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    yes. Ive heard NASA folk suggest it a more likely first target than straight to Mars
    It does make more sense from a practical standpoint, unfortunately I doubt most science-illiterate politicians would understand getting people that close to Mars and then not landing on it. And they hold the purse strings.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I think it is between 100 and 300 years (barring disasters). I don't think it will happen until after there is significant mining and manufacturing on the Moon (and/or asteroids). I also think some kind of fission or fusion based propulsion will need to be developed before people go there with enough equipment to stay.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    Probably sometime between 75 and 150 years from now. I think we'll eventually have autonomous robots and compact manufacturing/resource processing/extraction good enough so that we'll just send them to Mars ahead of time, have them build a base for people to live in, and then we just have to pay the costs of sending people there. I say "75 years" because I think it's more likely that people would use the same technology to build space habitats before far-off planet-side colonies (particularly since Earth-orbiting space colonies could possibly be constructed by robots remotely controlled from people on Earth, since the light-speed lag is very, very low).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    It does make more sense from a practical standpoint, unfortunately I doubt most science-illiterate politicians would understand getting people that close to Mars and then not landing on it. And they hold the purse strings.
    I take it back-- we may use Phobos as a platform to prepare for a Mars landing. It's a natural space station.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by pg_chelsea View Post
    Maybe we'll set foot on Mars but I doubt we'll ever colonize another planet.

    I think/hope we'll colonize actual space because it will be advantageous.
    Both will probably happen. There are an awful lot of people who want Mars.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I think there are three separate issues here:

    1) When will interplanetary space travel get cheap enough to colonize Mars?

    2) When will we get the technology to keep people alive on the Martian surface without frequent (say monthly) resupply missions?

    3) Will enough people want to go to support a Martian colony?

    For the first, I've previously found that first-class tickets, when allowing for inflation, had a cost that worked out to about $100/kg in current dollars.

    For the second, we're definitely not there yet. In my opinion, it's extremely unlikely for this capability to be developed without a major government commitment to manned space exploration. While cheap lift to orbit may make space tourism possible, it will also make supporting local space tourism by shipments of consumables cheaper than development of a sufficiently closed system. I'm not sure what would define "sufficiently closed," but I think a fair threshold would be closed for water, maintenance of a breathable atmosphere, and minimal caloric requirements, so missing one or two food shipments won't cause starvation. I don't think the threshold could be high enough to require the inclusions of the abilities manufacture of spare parts, antibiotic production, or much beyond basic medical treatment.

    Volunteers? Probably the easy part, although historically the "best and the brightest" were not in the early waves of colonization: they were doing quite well at home, thank you very much, unless there was a political or religious reason involved, as with the Pilgrims or the early Puritan settlers to British North America (Winthrop's fleet).

    I've been avoiding a fourth question: Does it make sense?

    Here, I think the answer is, broadly, "no." It makes more sense for space colonization to avoid the surfaces of planets and major moons. The technological challenges of colonizing Mars are largely coincident with those for colonizing space, with the addition of safely landing the colonists.

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    I dont really see why people would be rushing to live in space stations.
    The human factor would seem to me to require rock under foot and to make a new world in a very literal sense.
    Im not sure if it will happen on Mars. I do see long term bases there at some time in the future, which may include non scientists making a living there...but probably more like oil rig workers than the pilgrims.
    It depends how humans react to the martian gravity.

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    Speaking of "predictions"....

    If you had told me in 1972, that 40 years later we would not have returned to the Moon, well, you simply would not have been able to convince me...

    In other words, I don't have a clue if we will colonize Mars, let alone when we might.

    Now all this could change if we found life on Mars, then all "bets" would be off...

    Given that, the 1st Man on Mars could come a lot sooner than we think.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

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    finding life would make Phobos even more likely.
    It would open a whole new can of worms, so to speak

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    The Zubrin hypothesis has a shot at terraforming Mars. It has not been tested so it may not give as good results as Zubrin hopes. Likely more than a thousand times a million tons of CF4 would be needed to get the average temperature to 32 f when significant below surface ice would melt, but the water might stay mostly below the surface as the water occupies about 10% less space than the ice. Similar ideas use several more kinds of greenhouse gas, such as ammonia, which is very irritating to human skin. The raw materials to make the the green house gas and scuba gear are likely available but collecting them may be thousands of times more difficult than on Earth.
    My guess is that we need to supplement the green house gas with giant mirrors to beam more sun light to Mars and we will need to pump the water from the ground to irrigate the green plants which convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Earth like in one million years may be optimistic. Investors look for a return in ten years or less, so we may never start to terraform Mars as up front costs are astronomical.
    Large transparent domes require huge amounts of very pure materials (glass fiber light pipes) which require a huge infrastructure to produce. We probably cannot do agriculture inside the domes except with grow lights, if the dome looses half of the solar energy needed for photo synthesis. Winter lasts almost a year on Mars so the plants will freeze before daily sunrise without artificial heat.
    Human habitats a kilometer below the surface of both Earth and Mars are likely possible with today's technology, but that is not close to self sustaining, with the long trip to the surface. Possibly enough GEO-thermal energy is practical to operate elevators with the 0.38g of Mars.
    Likely minor genetic alteration of humans is possible to adapt humans closer to Mars conditions, but big changes means the Mars people cannot survive on Earth. We can ship sperm, human eggs and embryos to Mars at far less cost than adult humans, so populating Mars is not difficult, but food and other needs are difficult, especially a kilometer below the surface, where liquid water may be available.
    It sort of makes sence to prepare the manned craft for both a Mars landing and a Probos landing. If landing on Mars safely due to some system failures looks unlikely, perhaps landing on Phobos may appear to be safer. Why not Demos? Returning to Earth ahead of schedual will possibly be far more dangerous. A bare bones colony should also be planned for, as the odds for a safe return to Earth, when the design departure time arrives may be near zero. Neil
    Last edited by neilzero; 2012-Jul-27 at 07:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    I dont really see why people would be rushing to live in space stations.
    The human factor would seem to me to require rock under foot and to make a new world in a very literal sense.
    Im not sure if it will happen on Mars. I do see long term bases there at some time in the future, which may include non scientists making a living there...but probably more like oil rig workers than the pilgrims.
    It depends how humans react to the martian gravity.
    Well, for one thing, properly designed longterm space habitats can be rotated to provide full Earth gravity or something close to it.

    And the human factor to me is adaptability. We've learned to live nearly every place on Earth, despite vast discomforts in doing so. Our desire to explore and expand into new territory has not diminished just because our planet has run out of new territory.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Well, for one thing, properly designed longterm space habitats can be rotated to provide full Earth gravity or something close to it.
    .
    Yes you could provide centrifugal gravity - but what would that be like to live in your whole life? I see it as a viable way of enabling longer distance travel, sure.
    Every time you get up and walk around you have to do so in the right orientation to rotation(s)...hows that going to be, trying to live everyday lives in those conditions

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    Yes you could provide centrifugal gravity - but what would that be like to live in your whole life? I see it as a viable way of enabling longer distance travel, sure.
    Every time you get up and walk around you have to do so in the right orientation to rotation(s)...hows that going to be, trying to live everyday lives in those conditions
    If the station is big enough and spins slow enough (2RPM or less), you'd hardly notice. And given the size of a station you'd need to have a viable colony, that should be no problem. For people born on the colony, it'll just be normal.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    what is the motivation - how big are these things going to have to be to prevent people going stir crazy, and who is going to pay for it?
    I dont doubt that if humanity survives long enough something like that may happen, but seems to me it would be only through necessity, and be many many thousands of years in the future. Colonizing Mars may not be any time soon, but seems at least possible in a far nearer future than what you propose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    what is the motivation - how big are these things going to have to be to prevent people going stir crazy, and who is going to pay for it?
    I dont doubt that if humanity survives long enough something like that may happen, but seems to me it would be only through necessity, and be many many thousands of years in the future. Colonizing Mars may not be any time soon, but seems at least possible in a far nearer future than what you propose.
    Perhaps we should ask, "what is the demotivation?" Except that tends to get into forbidden topics. We have the technology and know how to build the tools to do it. The only thing we're missing is the will to "git 'r done."
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    what is the motivation - how big are these things going to have to be to prevent people going stir crazy, and who is going to pay for it?
    I dont doubt that if humanity survives long enough something like that may happen, but seems to me it would be only through necessity, and be many many thousands of years in the future. Colonizing Mars may not be any time soon, but seems at least possible in a far nearer future than what you propose.
    Wasn't my proposal, the idea's been around since long before I was born. As for who will do it, there are a lot of people who want to make their own societies; and with Earth pretty much full up, one place they know they can get away from other people is up.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Few hundred years.

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