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Glom
2003-Jun-11, 08:18 PM
Who Should Govern Mars? (http://www.nuclearspace.com/a_govern_mars.htm)

This guy makes George W. Bush look downright communist.


While “Proposition 1” at first glance by an American or even non-American citizen for that matter, may appear to have nothing fundamentally wrong with it, a closer look brings into scrutiny the complexity, difficulty and unwise means of trying to “govern from afar.”

I think a lot of non-Americans would have a very serious problem with the idea of the US government ruling over a community established on Mars. The US has got enough problem at the moment trying to shake off the notion that they are bullies of Earth, the last thing they need is to make themselves look like the bullies of the entire bloody star system.


Besides the promotion of the UN as a peace-loving well-meaning body by its advocates, the UN has and continues to display a staggering capability for harboring and fostering militant anti-progressive, indeed anti-space exploration ideas, groups and campaigns.

Well can't deny that.


The UN has demonstrated time and again it’s hostility towards private land ownership and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the UN favors the pro-Marxist technique of the abolition of private property.

See what I mean?


Everything from the 1967 International Space Treaty to the Wildlands Project is a roadblock to real Human progress and development as a species.

He even knocks The Outer Space Treaty. :evil:

BigJim
2003-Jun-11, 08:25 PM
He even knocks The Outer Space Treaty.

The article on nuclear devices should be amended to include a clause for reactors, though.

The poll didn't let me vote, but I say a sovereign government.

TriangleMan
2003-Jun-11, 08:29 PM
The US gov't will probably try to govern at first, but then Mars would eventually engage in a War of Independence for freedom (kinda ironic if such a thing would really happen).

Glom
2003-Jun-11, 08:30 PM
The article on nuclear devices should be amended to include a clause for reactors, though.


States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, instal such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.

The moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military manoeuvres on celestial bodies shall be forbidden. The use of military personnel for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes shall not be prohibited. The use of any equipment or facility necessary for peaceful exploration of the moon and other celestial bodies shall also not be prohibited.

I don't think there is anything that says nuclear reactors can't be used. Just nuclear weapons. It's only the ignorant anarchist nurks who think that it's all the same thing.

Archer17
2003-Jun-11, 08:32 PM
I voted for the UN, but read on .. I agree that no one country should "govern" Mars. An independant Mars should be a reality someday so I should've voted for self governance. I was thinking short-term when I "pulled the lever" so, can I change my vote? Short term, it'll probably be similar to Antartica with each country having their own little bases.

BigJim
2003-Jun-11, 08:32 PM
I think the wrong way to go about space colonization would be either to allow countries or individuals to claim parts of the Moon randomly or simply because "they were there first", as was the tradition in colonial times; or to not allow any ownership at all. The second possibility eliminates chances of capitalism, profit, or ultimately human colonization of the solar system. In most visualizations of mankind's future role in space, there are many places he could be: One suggested place has been the asteroids, where thousands of city-state like worlds could pop up, each with slightly different ideologies, perhaps, or lifestyles. Some might be relaxed, some active. Some feminist, some patriarchical (male). Some democratic, some liberterian, some socialist, some eudonic (I think this means "ideal society"), some platonic. Each world offers ideas a place to flourish, which ultimately brings progress.

Now while this works fine for smaller worlds, what about larger bodies? Well, the Moon is at present probably the first mentioned, if not the easiest, target for colonization. As Krafft Ehricke said, " If God had not meant for mankind to colonize space, he wouldn't have given us the Moon." Having five times the surface area of Africa and being reasonably close to Earth will allow small settlements on the Moon (although the lack of volatiles makes Mars a better long-range target). I think that perhaps a Lunar government, mandated by the UN, would here indeed be the right choice. It could allow small (perhaps a quarter or eighth) portion of the Moon to be purchased and owned. However, the Moon is more valuable as a science base, especially for astronomy and for mining lunar helium-3.

Now, Mars is a much better target for colonization. Containing billions of tons of easily accesible carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, water (http://www.angelfire.com/on2/daviddarling/) and a much better plant-growing environment, with richer soil than Earth, Mars will become humanity's second largest base, no matter how far we spread into the cosmos, especially if we terraform Mars. So I think that Mars should opened- completely- to private ownership. In the beginning, of course, not everything needs to be sold, and there can always be public land, set aside as parks or reasearch institutions, much like Earth is. I think that in that case the UN should set up an autonomous Martian government.

I am against sovereign ownership of at least planets and moons in the inner solar system. I think that a UN government could be set up on each planet/body. This would:

Allow private ownership and eventually colonization
Prevent militarization

I think that what has happened on Earth, what with militaries and borders, is a perfect learning example of what not to do once we begin colonizing space in earnest.

I think that it would be bad in the medium and long term to not set up some sort of regulations other than the 1967 Treaty governing use of space. The worst situation would be to allow people to simply go to other planets and claim large areas of land. Now, all of my comments have been in reference to the inner solar system. I explained why I think the asteroid belt (Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt also) would be perfect for private ownership, whether after buying it from a UN Asteroid Commission or, in this case, I think it would be alright to simply claim one, since there are so many of them. It will be an interesting situation if companies do set up mining operations on the Moon with regard to ownership. Perhaps the far side of the Moon should be completely devoted to astronomy, and some of the near side also, and we could have some mining companies owning areas of land on the Moon, and then some land supporting colonies.

Now the outer solar system is quite a different story. There are many habitable (with domes and/or terraforming, at least on Titan) moons there, and the outer gas giants would provide almost unilimited He-3 reserves. I don't really know what the best way to deal with those bodies are. Ideas? Am I wrong, right? Rambling?

BigJim

Glom
2003-Jun-11, 08:33 PM
The key thing is that if the first base is a NASA research post, then the base does legally fall under the rule of the US government, but when a more functional colony, capable of growth, development, and good stuff is built, it really should be allowed to govern itself according to its own needs. No nation on Earth is allowed to claim off world territory, but if a new nation were to be formed, then that's fine.

pmcolt
2003-Jun-11, 08:37 PM
Treaties come and go as the signatories of the treaty change over time.

I suspect that the first Mars outposts will be governed by whatever nations create them. Even if Martian exploration is multinational, I suspect that the individual nations will work something out amongst themselves rather than turning control over to the UN.

Given their distance and long travel time, I think they'll get used to a high degree of autonomy. There has to be a local government to take care of day-to-day matters, since Earth may be an hour away by radio, or months away physically.

Once the outposts have enough of a work force and enough resource production not to be totally dependent on supply shipments from Earth, I think they'll realize that local, self-government makes more sense than government by a nation-state that can't do anything to enforce itself on Mars.

Glom
2003-Jun-11, 08:49 PM
I agree that the key to development is to allow private enterprise to take over. I also agree that blocking this may be idealist (it could be nice to leave space an unspoilt wilderness except for a few intrepid explorers), but boring. The Outer Space Treaty makes no such blockade. The 1978 Moon Treaty does, but no nation of any consequence signed it. It's strictly a liberal lefty loon treaty.

I also think that when we developing space, there should be ground rules. Things like limiting the level of raping and denuding. We don't want to spoil the natural beauty that attracted us there in the first place, but at the same time, we don't want to do anything that would please the anarchist nurks. It's a matter of principle, whether you are right wing, or, like, me moderately left wing (I took the politicalcompass.org test). :wink:

informant
2003-Jun-11, 09:04 PM
The US gov't will probably try to govern at first, but then Mars would eventually engage in a War of Independence for freedom (kinda ironic if such a thing would really happen).

I read that book too. :P

Who should govern Mars? Why, the Martians, of course! ;)

girlgeek
2003-Jun-11, 09:25 PM
Hmmm.... so far no one thinks the US Government should govern Mars.....

:) girlgeek

Seriously, Mars is so far away that once we or any other country establishes a base there, it will only be a matter of time before a truly new nation/culture is established. It would simply be too difficult for earthlings to understand all the complexities of living on Mars well enough to govern well. At which point, there will be a secession... I hope that makes sense.

newt
2003-Jun-11, 09:56 PM
Ah, the U.N. Created to preclude conflict and human suffering, by ensuring representation of all the nations on the earth, ostensibly by their wisest ambassadors, bringing reason and a willingness to compromise for the collective good.
Demonstrably an indecisive, ineffective, and unimaginitive collection of political cronies, family members of despots, troublemakers, and other assorted "users" with nothing to contribute in the way of the Organization's original noble goals. (It should be noted, most having their proportional share of the costs of running the U.N. paid for by the States.)
Not only do I not want to see this group of idiots having any say in the development of outer space, including colonization, I hope they are soon put out of our misery altogether. (Regrettably, I have no suggestion on how to replace this pathetic assembly so as to ensure some means of resolving issues before they come to a head. Sorry.)
So who should rule? Don't know, but they'll have to have some serious power to hold sway above our good old human traits like greed, jealousy,
apathy, etc., as well as the occasional psychological "departure", when so far from home.
Hope that wasn't too far off thread. "United" Nations, my eye. Cheers. Newt.

g99
2003-Jun-11, 09:58 PM
I am all for private owneership of a colony on mars. I voted for self-governing. I feel that at first Mars and the moon will be colonized similar to Antartica. Origonally it will be divided between a numbeer of small outposts by different countries. Eventually and hopefully they will merge toghtert under their own govt.

BigJim
2003-Jun-11, 10:04 PM
My ideal Mars colonization timeline:

Initial human expeditions: 2015-2025
First bases, Antarctica-type government: 2025-2040
First major colonies: 2040-2050
At this point the UN would begin to administer the colonies
2050-2065: Mars colonization grows and government becomes independent

I think that a timeline like this would be fine. I just hope that the secession from Earth is planned and peaceful, not like Red Mars. By the time Mars has its own government, Luna, the Galilean moons, Titan, and the asteroids will hopefulyl be fairly heavily colonized, and we should have scientific outposts or expedtitions to Venus and the farther-out planets.




I suspect that the first Mars outposts will be governed by whatever nations create them. Even if Martian exploration is multinational, I suspect that the individual nations will work something out amongst themselves rather than turning control over to the UN.

Given their distance and long travel time, I think they'll get used to a high degree of autonomy. There has to be a local government to take care of day-to-day matters, since Earth may be an hour away by radio, or months away physically.

Once the outposts have enough of a work force and enough resource production not to be totally dependent on supply shipments from Earth, I think they'll realize that local, self-government makes more sense than government by a nation-state that can't do anything to enforce itself on Mars.

I agree.


I also think that when we developing space, there should be ground rules. Things like limiting the level of raping and denuding. We don't want to spoil the natural beauty that attracted us there in the first place, but at the same time, we don't want to do anything that would please the anarchist nurks.

Yes. There should be basic rules, but so many as to squander the freedom of asteroidal city-state type colonies that choose to experiment with society. Of course, then we would need some sort of interplanetary police - what do you think about that thought? Hopefully the international borders will dissolve somewhat and Earth's militaries will be dismantled. Some hydrogen bombs should be kept as nuclear tools for things like terraforming and asteroid defelction. But should we develop some sort of interplanetary protection fleet? Probably not, in my opinion.

I'd like to see, by the end of this century, He-3 mining operations at all of the gas giants, a hugely colonized, self-sufficient Mars, many asteroid colonies, heavily colonized outer planet moons, Venus in an Antarctica-like stage, and a giant McDonald's somewhere in the asteroid belt. The Burger King can go in the Oort Cloud. :P

gethen
2003-Jun-11, 10:06 PM
I voted for self-governance. I think it's inevitable. It's not as if a revolution could be instantly quelled--what is it--nine months one way. They've got that long to prepare for any assault from Earth, and the Earthlings would arrive to a different situation than whatever they prepared for when they left Earth. Like I said, it's inevitable.

Digital Apprentice
2003-Jun-11, 10:58 PM
Anyone remember BattleFleet Mars by SPI, published 1977? Basic premise was that Mars was nominally controlled by WORD (World Organization for Resource Development), a UN like body, but was in fact controlled by ARES, the corporation which owns all the ships, installations, and mining rights. The "martian" laborers, little more than indentured servants, rise up and attempt to influence global opinion on Earth to grant autonomy. Somewhat dry as a wargame but it did offer a simplified but honest attempt at orbital mechanics.

With a setting of 2096 it isn't even completely "dated" at this point in time.

dgruss23
2003-Jun-12, 02:39 AM
I voted for a self-governing Mars. When you look at how out of touch many politicians are with the needs of their own constituents it is hard to imagine that any body of people located on Earth can make timely and rational decisions for a population of people living on a distant planet.

Funding will be the difficulty in the early stages of colonizing Mars.

Grand Vizier
2003-Jun-12, 03:59 AM
Just to be a contrarian: none of the above. Red Mars! (in the Kim Stanley Robinson sense). Don't get me wrong - I'm into expanding into space. We have the Moon to make of what we will. We have NEOs, we have the Kuiper Belt - I think all the floating rubble is there to build a truly space-faring civilisation if we choose to do so. And we still have Earth.

So how about leaving that particular wilderness alone? Study it, but don't spoil it. It looks to me like a delicately balanced place. By the time we have appreciated how delicate it is, we may have trampled all over it so there's nothing left to study.

Glom
2003-Jun-12, 10:45 AM
Not only do I not want to see this group of idiots having any say in the development of outer space, including colonization, I hope they are soon put out of our misery altogether.

The UN is too rag tag to do anything of actual substance like governing colonies, but The Outer Space Treaty is something that should be respected. I don't want to see nations claiming off world territory. The way to extend our influence into space is not to simply extend the current crap playing field into space, but to establish a new playing field that isn't crap. As well as preventing space being used battlefield, it also prevents this current crap playing field from being extended into space. Even if you disapprove of the organisation, you can't argue with many of the sound principles behind the Outer Space Treaty. The bodies of space should remain neutral territory until a civilisation springs up from the body itself.

Stuart
2003-Jun-12, 01:11 PM
Ah, the U.N. (snip) Demonstrably an indecisive, ineffective, and unimaginitive collection of political cronies, family members of despots, troublemakers, and other assorted "users" (snip) Not only do I not want to see this group of idiots having any say in the development of outer space, including colonization, I hope they are soon put out of our misery altogether.

Way to go Newt! A beer is definately in order.

The problem with the original question is that it doesn't have enough options and doesn't specify at what point the decision is taken. If we eliminate the UN option for reasons so eloquently quoted above we're left with two options. Self-government or government by the US. Logically, self-government is the rational and (probably) only viable choice. However, the Mars colony has to be above a certain critical population mass before q viable political system can evolve. Taking it to extremes, if Armstrong and Aldrin had set up an independent government when landing on the moon, each would have run for office and each would have voted for themselves. Thus, the election would have been deadlocked and a devastating civil war would have ensued.

So, while self-government is the obvious ideal, actually being able to do it is a few steps down the line. If we assume that the development line goes something like this

Exploration point
Exploration base
Permanent base
First Community
Limited Community
Extended Community
Multiple Communities
Full Colony
Nation

The first few steps would almost certainly be in the hands of the nation that actually made the appropriate investments of time, people and resources. The real question is where the change from ownership to independence would come. I suspect it would actually be quite far down the line and may actually be the defining factor in the last step (from Colony to Nation).

Glom
2003-Jun-12, 04:02 PM
Clearly a proto-colony must be administrated from the point of origin. So if NASA set up a base that was beginning to evolve into a proto-colony, they would have jurisdiction. That's not quit the same as the proto-colony being run from Capitol Hill as a colony of the United States of America.

Stuart
2003-Jun-12, 04:22 PM
Clearly a proto-colony must be administrated from the point of origin. So if NASA set up a base that was beginning to evolve into a proto-colony, they would have jurisdiction. That's not quit the same as the proto-colony being run from Capitol Hill as a colony of the United States of America.

This is true; nevertheless it would still be a US-run operation. Back in the 18th and 19th century, the British ran their Indian Empire via a private company, the East India Company. That eventually was replaced bya government-run entity.

I'd suggest that the most likely course is that NASA would administer the original operation, probably up to the point where the base (primarily an operational facility) was evolving into a community (primarily a social community. My gues swould be there would be some extreme tension around that point since the original administrators would still look on the facility as a base where everything was subordinate to operational requirements while a significant proportion of the occupants looked on it as home and put priority on non-operational issues. My guess is that's where Washington would take over from NASA.

Glom
2003-Jun-12, 06:19 PM
If the colony were to become disenchanted with the administration of an organisation designed to administrate their objectives, I seriously doubt they would be willing to accept the administration of a federal government possibly million of kilometres away.

The comparison to the actions of the British Empire is not exactly relevant. It is those kinds of things that we DON'T want happen.

nexus
2003-Jun-12, 07:24 PM
I imagine the UN starting to argue over Israel and then forgetting to send more oxygen to Mars :D

Stuart
2003-Jun-12, 07:31 PM
If the colony were to become disenchanted with the administration of an organisation designed to administrate their objectives, I seriously doubt they would be willing to accept the administration of a federal government possibly million of kilometres away.
At that point, the views of the Martians are inconsequential since there wouldn't be enough of them to matter. I would envisage a situation where NASA would be faced with rumbling etc up there and, as a matter of bureaucratic convenience, administration of the Martian community gets taken away from NASA and handed to a civilian agency. That would probably quieten things down for a short while; later when people wised up to the fact that the change made no difference (and when population had increased to over the critical mass for self government) thats when we'd see demands for home rule.

As long as they didn't call it secession, the Martians might get away with it.

Archer17
2003-Jun-12, 10:09 PM
As long as they didn't call it secession, the Martians might get away with it.I think in the long run the "Martians" WOULD get away with it for the simple fact that once Mars colonization continues and the population of colonists increased, the distance between Earth and Mars would make it difficult to impose 'direct rule' by force. I actually don't see a "War of Independence" type thing happening anyway. I think BigJim's timeline (earlier in thread) is reasonably accurate with a gradual autonomy before sovereignty as opposed to a "Martian Tea Party" type secession.

Colt
2003-Jun-12, 11:57 PM
I would have chosen other but since there is not that option I chose Soveirgn Government. I think that at first it would be country-controlled colonies similar to that of the Americas. Eventually, after growing for a while, it would be turned over to a type of self-governing body (one for each colony).

My thoughts on a US controlled Mars: If the Americans get there first and set up a large colony but then later on when other countries finally get off their rear-ends and go to Mars what should they do? Simply give up what they have worked for. Admittedly, it is a large planet, but still. The colonists (nor the US government) will like the interlopers landing and then complaining about how large the US colony, which has been there for quite a while, is. Then again, since it is the United States, what would stop the colony on Mars from becoming another state and therefore be under the jurisdiction of the US Government? -Colt

dgruss23
2003-Jun-13, 01:07 AM
Another thought here - when "colonists" first settle Mars it will most likely be for the purpose of scientific research. Everybody that goes will be specially trained for specific roles such medical in addition to their scientific training. Probably these colonists will sign on for a certain period of time with plans for a return to Earth. So I would think that until people move there for the purpose of making a permanent living and actual commerce on Mars is set up, the question of who governs would probably not be a huge issue. Everybody would know their responsibilities before they leave Earth and giving the dangerous conditions, survival will depend upon everyone being productive and cooperative.

tracer
2003-Jun-13, 06:02 PM
The article on nuclear devices should be amended to include a clause for reactors, though.

[ ... snip ... ]

I don't think there is anything that says nuclear reactors can't be used. Just nuclear weapons.
In which case, it should still be amended.

No nuclear weapons in space means no ORION SPACECRAFT! :evil:

Colt
2003-Jun-13, 07:29 PM
The real issue with American's controlling Mars will be this: What will happen when it comes around to voting time? If they can't even count votes from a state you can drive to from 47 of them, what do you think will happen with another planet? :P -Colt

SeanF
2003-Jun-13, 07:36 PM
The real issue with American's controlling Mars will be this: What will happen when it comes around to voting time? If they can't even count votes from a state you can drive to from 47 of them, what do you think will happen with another planet? :P -Colt

;) It was just the Floridians who had problems with the voting - we'll have to send smarter people to Mars.

(BTW, I'll grant you Hawaii, but which other state do you think you can't drive from to Florida?)

g99
2003-Jun-13, 07:53 PM
yes, yes, us Floridians have become the butt of the Joke of america (i wont mention that we resemble the front).

We can vote well, it is just that we choose not to. We like to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the pack.

-------------------------------
=The obvious people to send with the crew is Me (supreme leader of the world does get some perks), a Geologist, Chemist, 2 Navigators, 2 doctors, and 2 engineers. That would be a good all around crew. In my opinion.

kckempf
2003-Jun-13, 09:26 PM
Should Mars be governed from afar or where it is?

I think the question isn't whether it should be governed from afar, but at what point the population pressure will be great enough that a reasonably feasible government will be needed. The first people there will be a smaller group that doesn't necessarily need to be self-governed. It can operate on the rules established by whomever sends them. But as the population rises and problems unique to that planet's physical (and social) conditions pop up, governing from afar will not really be possible, and the colony will become independent politically.

Colt
2003-Jun-14, 09:44 PM
[quote=Colt]
(BTW, I'll grant you Hawaii, but which other state do you think you can't drive from to Florida?)

Alaska of course. You really think we will let just anyone through the blockade? :roll: Really though, people who live in the Lower '48 seem to drive all over, you just go to the beach two states away for the day. Take a weekend to California to surf. Try doing that for Alaska, it will take you at least four-five days to get up here driving almost nonstop and then you have to go through a foreign country. :wink: -Colt

dgruss23
2003-Jun-15, 03:20 PM
The real issue with American's controlling Mars will be this: What will happen when it comes around to voting time? If they can't even count votes from a state you can drive to from 47 of them, what do you think will happen with another planet? :P -Colt

And will members of the Martian Military be allowed to vote? :-?

SeanF
2003-Jun-16, 01:43 PM
[quote=Colt]
(BTW, I'll grant you Hawaii, but which other state do you think you can't drive from to Florida?)

Alaska of course. You really think we will let just anyone through the blockade? :roll: Really though, people who live in the Lower '48 seem to drive all over, you just go to the beach two states away for the day. Take a weekend to California to surf. Try doing that for Alaska, it will take you at least four-five days to get up here driving almost nonstop and then you have to go through a foreign country. :wink: -Colt

You do realize that you're saying your blockade refuses to allow people to leave Alaska, don't you?

BTW, four-five days to get to Canada? Where do you think I am, anyway? ;) Canada's a lot closer than California . . . I don't know about the surfing in Winnipeg, though.