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Thread: How long until we have colonize Mars?

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    Much more water and carbon dioxide on Mars. If you ever want to go else where they could be cracked and combined into methane and oxygen, or water alone for hydrogen and oxygen.
    Really? I'm not arguing, but it seems surprising to me. There must be just as much CO2 in the air in Death Valley as anywhere else on earth, and there is some rainwater and underground water. Is the concentration really higher on Mars?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Really? I'm not arguing, but it seems surprising to me. There must be just as much CO2 in the air in Death Valley as anywhere else on earth, and there is some rainwater and underground water. Is the concentration really higher on Mars?
    In the air perhaps, but in a frozen form, I wouldn't doubt it if it was more plentiful, at least in the right places. Pretty much the same with water ice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    In the air perhaps, but in a frozen form, I wouldn't doubt it if it was more plentiful, at least in the right places. Pretty much the same with water ice.
    But you originally said, "Much more water and carbon dioxide on Mars." You didn't specify frozen form. So you're not saying that it's more plentiful, just that it's more plentiful in certain forms in certain locations? What about as a whole? Is there really much more water and carbon dioxide on Mars, in whatever form?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    But you originally said, "Much more water and carbon dioxide on Mars." You didn't specify frozen form. So you're not saying that it's more plentiful, just that it's more plentiful in certain forms in certain locations? What about as a whole? Is there really much more water and carbon dioxide on Mars, in whatever form?
    I apologize if I was unclear, but if you're going to settle a place you are going to put down roots where you can get resources. As a whole, I am willing to bet it has more water and carbon dioxide than Death Valley, though some places much more than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    I apologize if I was unclear, but if you're going to settle a place you are going to put down roots where you can get resources. As a whole, I am willing to bet it has more water and carbon dioxide than Death Valley, though some places much more than others.
    I haven't completely thought it through, but I don't think that settling in Death Valley would be that much of a stretch. You have oxygen in the air and surely there is water available, low radiation level, lots of solar energy available. So I imagine you could make some kind of a unit with a sort of greenhouse, and just be careful with water consumption. Obviously you'll need some kind of air conditioning as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I haven't completely thought it through, but I don't think that settling in Death Valley would be that much of a stretch. You have oxygen in the air and surely there is water available, low radiation level, lots of solar energy available. So I imagine you could make some kind of a unit with a sort of greenhouse, and just be careful with water consumption. Obviously you'll need some kind of air conditioning as well.
    Death Valley is only survivable because the rest of the planet is. Heck, all land based oxygen users can say the same; it is my understanding that practically all our oxygen comes from algae.
    Maybe my desire to settle off world off world isn't rational, but it's big universe out there and I want us to see it.
    More than see it, I want us to be a part of it.

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    Well.. I'd like to settle in space.. Not ON mars tho. But rather drift along the asteroid belt in ma own little prospecting ship with a couple of similarly minded buddies. hunt'n for that good stuff. I imagine that it's the same for the Mars wannabe settlers.
    It's a kind of dream you see. and it eats at you like a virus once it get's a hold of you. makes you go a little bit insane.
    I think this is much the same kind of dream that caused people to go settle new places on this planet in the first place. it's the kind of dream that made otherwise proud men sell themselves into indenture for a chance to get to America as settlers.

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    Ok, so you can mine and refine gold at $30,000 an ounce. Who is going to buy it at that price? Hmmm...
    If you are going to talk mining, you have to think about the cost of producing the product AND getting it to the market.
    The market place sets the price, and not you. No one cares about how much trouble you went through to make your gold.
    There are practical realities to be considered in your space gold rush.
    You know.... most of the money made in the gold rush was made selling picks and shovels to people who dreamed of gold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    ROI -- more accurately, quick ROI -- is why I think business will not go beyond geosynchronous orbit in my lifetime or, for that matter, my great-grandchildren's lifetime, unless government pays for the development of the enabling technologies and subsidizes space business past geosynchronous orbit quite heavily. Do remember that passenger air travel was subsidized from its inception until quite late in the 20th Century. So, for that matter, were most of the great trans-Atlantic liners (SS America, RMS Queen Elizabeth, Normandie, etc).
    So were trains and so are automobiles. I agree, we need government to subsidize this too.

    Quote Originally Posted by danscope
    Yes, but the advantage and impact of local transportation was immediate, useful and directly worth while.
    Sending people to Jupiter for fun and profit????? Hmmm..... And mars? Try sitting on a very lonesome dry gravel pit north of Saskatchewan with a filmy plastic bag over your head. Mars on a good day.Better have your OBA with you. And if you don't know what OBA is, better study space 101...again.
    We need to work on clean,fresh water and clean air and growing food fit for consumption..... in a big way.
    A road from point A to point B is just moving between places where people exchange stuff with each other with each other to allowing people from both points to also allow people to exchange stuff with more people. What could people on mars sell to earthlings? How about geology data, AGW data, space data, novelties, trinkets, entertainment locations, land and mineral rights. And when you say we need to work on clean water, air and food, do you mean in space or on earth using the debunked starving-children-zero-sum-game argument?
    Last edited by Ara Pacis; 2012-Jul-31 at 08:09 PM. Reason: forgot name for quote
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Ok, so you can mine and refine gold at $30,000 an ounce. Who is going to buy it at that price? Hmmm...
    If you are going to talk mining, you have to think about the cost of producing the product AND getting it to the market.
    The market place sets the price, and not you. No one cares about how much trouble you went through to make your gold.
    There are practical realities to be considered in your space gold rush.
    You know.... most of the money made in the gold rush was made selling picks and shovels to people who dreamed of gold.
    I wonder if the gold miners in Alaska on that reality show will tell us how much they had to pay for the building of roads, electricity, railways and the invention of trains, and seaports and the invention of boats and cranes and tracked vehicles, etc. I mean, obviously we need to amortize everything that came before into the cost of everything else.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Ok, so you can mine and refine gold at $30,000 an ounce. Who is going to buy it at that price? Hmmm...
    If you are going to talk mining, you have to think about the cost of producing the product AND getting it to the market.
    The market place sets the price, and not you. No one cares about how much trouble you went through to make your gold.
    There are practical realities to be considered in your space gold rush.
    You know.... most of the money made in the gold rush was made selling picks and shovels to people who dreamed of gold.
    And they mostly did so by following the miners into that new land and building businesses there, resulting in towns and eventually cities.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Really? I'm not arguing, but it seems surprising to me. There must be just as much CO2 in the air in Death Valley as anywhere else on earth, and there is some rainwater and underground water. Is the concentration really higher on Mars?
    Being at a lower elevation than most of the planet, the air will be denser. So, there may be more CO2 there. The main problem with Death Valley is the heat, which is why it's a bad analog for Mars.

    BTW, the atmosphere on mars is like 95% CO2, compared to .04% of Earth's atmosphere. While the atmospheric masses differ by 2 orders of magnitude, the percentages differ by 3 orders of magnitude.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    Much more water and carbon dioxide on Mars. If you ever want to go else where they could be cracked and combined into methane and oxygen, or water alone for hydrogen and oxygen.
    There is surface water in some places in Death Valley. Salty surface water, but surface water nonetheless. Lots of macroscopic lifeforms. How many plants and animals have we found on Mars?

    You don't need a suit to go outside. Your air is free.

    You don't have to go through a decontamination routine to clean toxic dust off of your clothes when you come back inside.

    You don't have duststorms that last for months.

    You have a magnetosphere that protects you from solar flares.
    Calm down, have some dip. - George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    There is surface water in some places in Death Valley. Salty surface water, but surface water nonetheless. Lots of macroscopic lifeforms. How many plants and animals have we found on Mars?

    You don't need a suit to go outside. Your air is free.

    You don't have to go through a decontamination routine to clean toxic dust off of your clothes when you come back inside.

    You don't have duststorms that last for months.

    You have a magnetosphere that protects you from solar flares.
    We get it, you don't want to go to Mars. So don't go.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    The main problem with Death Valley is the heat, which is why it's a bad analog for Mars.
    Every place on Earth is a poor analog for Mars.

    Even those bone dry islands up in the Arctic circle have breathable air and other Earthly benefits.
    Calm down, have some dip. - George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    Every place on Earth is a poor analog for Mars.

    Even those bone dry islands up in the Arctic circle have breathable air and other Earthly benefits.
    Why do you seem to assume that those who want to colonize are unaware of all these facts? The few that I've spoken to seem to know quite a bit about the rusty object of their desire, including its many hazards.
    "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
    We get it, you don't want to go to Mars. So don't go.
    You don't have to be snappy.

    I'd love to live off Earth, Mars just doesn't make sense. Living on the top of Everest would be easier. Who does that? No one. Why not? Because it's not sensible, the hardship outweighs the reward.

    I don't think it's inappropriate to inject critical thinking on a forum that promotes science and other Enlightenment values.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    You don't have to be snappy.
    Sorry, I wasn't trying to be snappy. I apologize if it came out that way.

    I'd love to live off Earth, Mars just doesn't make sense. Living on the top of Everest would be easier. Who does that? No one. Why not? Because it's not sensible, the hardship outweighs the reward.


    As for comparing Mars to dangerous places on Earth, you've kind of made that point already. And the "reward" varies by what you want.

    I don't think it's inappropriate to inject critical thinking on a forum that promotes science and other Enlightenment values.
    But you're assuming that others haven't put any critical thought into their plans. Find a would-be colonist and ask them how they plan to deal with those conditions. I'll bet the answers will surprise you.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    I wonder if the gold miners in Alaska on that reality show will tell us how much they had to pay for the building of roads, electricity, railways and the invention of trains, and seaports and the invention of boats and cranes and tracked vehicles, etc. I mean, obviously we need to amortize everything that came before into the cost of everything else.
    I'm trying to figure out if your post should be read literally or if there is some deeper meaning which I'm missing. If we, as USians, or an Atlantic culture, or Earthlings, decide that space development should be left to commercial interests, those sorts of costs: launch facilities, vehicle development, space facilities, environmental control systems, etc, would have to be included as part of doing business. Boeing includes the cost of development in the price of a 787, GE, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt&Whitney include the development costs of their commercial engines in the selling prices.

    Bluntly, I think many of the advocates for commercialized space simply do not have a concept of how much aerospace systems cost to develop. In 1972 dollars, the Shuttle's development cost -- $5 billion -- correlates to $26 billion today, less than the 787's program cost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why do you seem to assume that those who want to colonize are unaware of all these facts? The few that I've spoken to seem to know quite a bit about the rusty object of their desire, including its many hazards.
    I think that you definitely understand it, and most people understand it, but there are times when people make statements that seem to ignore how difficult the endeavor really is. I also think that most of us who argue about the difficulty are interested in the subject, and not necessarily unsupportive. I'd certainly like to see a colony off-Earth.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think that you definitely understand it, and most people understand it, but there are times when people make statements that seem to ignore how difficult the endeavor really is. I also think that most of us who argue about the difficulty are interested in the subject, and not necessarily unsupportive. I'd certainly like to see a colony off-Earth.
    That is the thing tho. there are quite a few people who really would like to get off this planet in search of a new independent life in a new and independent society. they want the distance. where ever you are on earth you are still ON earth. within easy reach of anyone that has the capability of paying for a trip to wherever you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antice View Post
    That is the thing tho. there are quite a few people who really would like to get off this planet in search of a new independent life in a new and independent society. they want the distance. where ever you are on earth you are still ON earth. within easy reach of anyone that has the capability of paying for a trip to wherever you are.
    Now that position I totally fail to understand. If a person says, life outside earth will be tough, but I feel it's important because we will be exploring new boundaries, learning new things, and perhaps helping the future expansion of the human race, then yes, I can understand it. If a person goes with a sort of Neil Peart-like (i.e., juvenile) belief that somehow you can escape humanity and set up an ideal society where everything will be wonderfully Ayn Randian with no evil government or capitalists, then I become suspicious that that person has a lack of understanding of how tough things will be and how difficult the human relations will be. The earth will be wonderfully independent compared to what life will be like on a Martian colony, IMHO.

    EDA: BTW, my criticism of Neil Peart is his lyric-writing. As long as he sticks to drums I love him.
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    Justify it however way you want. Fact is. a desire to go to truly remote places and build new societies exists separately from any justification anyone can come up with. it's a part of what makes humans human.

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    Living on a space colony, whether orbital or planetbound, will be essentially living in a spaceship-- with all that that implies. In order for the system to remain functional, it will need all personnel to be subject to frequent emergency drills, including damage control, storm-shelter, and evacuation drills, a strict schedule of regular inspection and maintainance and repair, and a willingness and training by anyone available to do whatever job is needed at the time, including stoop labor in the hydroponics garden or waste recycling cleanup. All this implies a fairly high level of discipline and clear chain-of-command. Not to mention the lack of privacy as inspectors and maintainance workers crawl all over every inch of "your" part of what is likely to be communal property.

    The New Frontier will not be like the old Frontier days. Wild West mentality will get you killed in space.

    Having said that:
    Quote Originally Posted by Antice View Post
    Justify it however way you want. Fact is. a desire to go to truly remote places and build new societies exists separately from any justification anyone can come up with. it's a part of what makes humans human.
    I do agree 100% with this statement. Despite even the non-physical manmade hardships, we should still go.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    The Wild West may have been settled by randian libertarians -- it wasn't -- but they did not get there without a lot of government help in clearing off the indegenes. Take away that government help, and the settlements, and possibly the settlers, would not survive. By the mid-19th Century the Native Americans had long figured out that the progression was "just passing through => settler => army comes and forces you to move, kills you if you don't, and might just kill you anyway," so they tended to be a bit less hospitable than Squanto was at Plymouth Rock. Probably the last era of settlement without government help were the communities formed by escaping slaves in Jamaica and Surinam.

    Conveniently, nobody lives on Mars, so the army won't need to go in to exterminate them. The barriers to colonization are much more intractable than indigenes: they're the energy to accelerate mass to escape velocity, the time it takes to get to Mars, the fact that people need to eat, drink, breathe, and excrete along the way, the fact that landing on Mars is highly non-trivial, and the fact that living on the surface of Mars will require most of the same technology that was needed to get there. They will, pretty quickly, find out that there is no free and quasi-infinite commons to use to supply their air and water, dump their trash, harvest their firewood, pasture their animals, or plow up for fertile fields. This has some consequences for sustainability. Assume a free market system, and where do our colonists get the money to buy spare parts when something breaks down? What do they have to sell? Services? Don't be silly; name one service that any Martian colonist can sell that can't be sold for less by something else. Glorious Martian vistas? Those can be obtained by a camera-toting robot. Martian blueberries?
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  26. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    This has some consequences for sustainability. Assume a free market system, and where do our colonists get the money to buy spare parts when something breaks down?
    That's the main reason why I'm such a big fan of developing the currently-embryonic rapid prototyping and automated-manufacturing technologies into something capable of really fabricating whatever tools are needed. If our colonists have something like that available, even if it requires sending a full factory in pieces to their destination and assembling it on-site, they'd have the capacity to become fairly self-sustaining, as far as manufactured goods are concerned. Note that this isn't entirely conducive with a completely free market, it will require the development of a different type of economy, but it's our best bet for being able to create true colonies instead of mere temporary work camps. Later (mid-next century or so) joiners might even be able to have robots manufactured prior to their landing and have a partly or fully built base waiting for them, but that's almost certainly not going to be the case for the earliest settlers.
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    That'd be great.... except for the Fact that you need raw materials.... like epoxy, petrochemical supplies. And stuff.
    Every precious ounce of whatever that gets to mars is going to be so precious..... so very precious. You think the moon shot was expenxive? Hmmm.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    That'd be great.... except for the Fact that you need raw materials.... like epoxy, petrochemical supplies. And stuff.
    Every precious ounce of whatever that gets to mars is going to be so precious..... so very precious. You think the moon shot was expenxive? Hmmm.....
    Raw materials can be made from even rawer materials. Chemical synthesis is a big part of the industrial process that I was talking about (OK, I forgot to list that specific technology along with a hundred others. What good is a fabricator for Mars if it needs processed materials to work?)
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    The big challenge in my opinion is to find some form of sufficiently concentrated and abundant source of energy on Mars, perhaps some kind of chemical energy. Energy is really the key to developing everything else: Rocket fuel, mining, smelting, manufacturing, construction of habitats, agriculture etc. I just don't think the solar panels are sufficient for utilizing martian materials and to expand the physical infrastructure of the colony.

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    You'd probably have to rely on nuclear sent from Earth to establish any settlement. Wind seems pretty abundant on Mars but I don't know how the low pressure will affect wind turbines.

    The scientists who would precede any colonists would have a better idea of local geology areology and the possibilities of local power sources.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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