Mars Colonies are a Fantasy

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Sep 11, 2020
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Will people die colonizing Mars? Definitely!
Will colonization succeed? Eventually.
Reduced energy demand for cooling.
Increased durability due to lower gravity.
Smaller gravity well to move things to orbit.
Living underground becomes a plus in the event of a nova.
We can and should do some of this on earth too.
Earth based underground habitats would be valuable.
Both for practice and insurance.
Underground means less energy for temperature control.
 
Nov 10, 2020
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If I may to add, "not in this lifetime for sure", Elon is a great open minded, but inside, ... too many fantasy.

Fantasy is not bad if you have reality in it, not just imaginations.

First they would had to colonize Moon, to make some research center like on Arctic pole to feel the time, journey and every other differences, side effects, etc...
 
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Sep 24, 2020
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Some people get carried away with fantasies, like the men's cologne man and his followers. All I can say is "har har har....Pfffttt."
 
Jan 10, 2020
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If I may to add, "not in this lifetime for sure", Elon is a great open minded, but inside, ... too many fantasy.

Fantasy is not bad if you have reality in it, not just imaginations.

First they would had to colonize Moon, to make some research center like on Arctic pole to feel the time, journey and every other differences, side effects, etc...
Elon is selling a dream to inspire people to get excited about space again. A few weeks ago he had an interview with Robert Zubrin. In it he stated that we will not be colonizing Mars in my lifetime unless we have an exponential increase in innovation. I believe Elon's fantasy does have reality in that he is demonstrating how a launch system can do the job. Progress only ever follows dreams, without dreams nothing happens.
 
Nov 10, 2020
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Elon is selling a dream to inspire people to get excited about space again.
The excitement is still there in us, so, there is no reason to sell it to me or anyone else with some knowledge and logic, I guess.

A few weeks ago he had an interview with Robert Zubrin. In it he stated that we will not be colonizing Mars in my lifetime unless we have an exponential increase in innovation.
I didn't watch that interview, but I was really surprised by his statement in the "Plans To Colonize Mars" starting from 2022 and 2024?!
It was a really good speech, but, nothing to do with the reality, unfortunately.

I believe Elon's fantasy does have reality in that he is demonstrating how a launch system can do the job.
That fantasy cost a lot of money and time.

Anyway, don't get me wrong, but the human species will vanish before anyone will colonize the Mars from Earth.

Also, I strongly recommend to you to watch National Geographic : Mars - mini series if you didn't watch it yet (worth every penny).

Just wanted to say, no matter where you will go, what planet you will colonize, there will be the same greediness like on Earth.
 
Nov 21, 2019
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The past predicts the future. Humans do not and have never lived for any length of time in places that kill people quickly. We do not live outside of oasis area in deserts. We do not live on mountains above 12,00 feet. We do not live in Antarctica and won't until it warms up some more. And we don't live under the ocean or anywhere under water. We make short visits to such places. We travel through them. We have research bases in many of them for researchers who stay no longer than a year, for the most part.

And all those places have the radiation protection afforded by Earth's atmosphere and magnetosphere as well as Earth normal gravity.

So - Moon, Mars, Asteroids? Nice places to visit. Absolute heaven for astrogeologists. But nobody will live there permanently or raise children there.
 
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The past predicts the future. Humans do not and have never lived for any length of time in places that kill people quickly. We do not live outside of oasis area in deserts. We do not live on mountains above 12,00 feet. We do not live in Antarctica and won't until it warms up some more. And we don't live under the ocean or anywhere under water. We make short visits to such places. We travel through them. We have research bases in many of them for researchers who stay no longer than a year, for the most part.

And all those places have the radiation protection afforded by Earth's atmosphere and magnetosphere as well as Earth normal gravity.

So - Moon, Mars, Asteroids? Nice places to visit. Absolute heaven for astrogeologists. But nobody will live there permanently or raise children there.
Exactly, and no one to mention Terraforming other planets.
 
Nov 10, 2020
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Other rocky planets and moons in our solar system cannot be terraformed because their gravity is wrong and because they lack a magnetosphere.
Yes, and lack of many other key features...

For example, let's terraform first the Sahara Desert, it would be closer and easier, right?! ;)
 
Nov 21, 2019
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Yes, and lack of many other key features...

For example, let's terraform first the Sahara Desert, it would be closer and easier, right?! ;)
We've been doing that for millennia - expanding oases, damming parts of the sea, etc. And with Climate Change, Antarctica is well on its way to being much more habitable. (Sorry, penguins.)
 
Oct 29, 2020
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I have read a lot about Mars and can't see much of a presence on Mars by 2050. Maybe like the ISS an experimental surface station with a crew of four recycled every 39 months (?). Agree there is no immediate commercial advantage apart from 'we got there'. I wonder if anyone has done a plan showing timescales to get there and start building a more permanent habitat (underground or whatever) so that say thirty people could exist there. Then there would be tourists of course to help fund the project. They would have to be shipped back within a reasonable period although six months in Space each way would need a large craft to allow entertainment etc.

Could we solve the worlds pollution problems with all the funds that are needed for Space exploration? I doubt it as our own self interest, greed and stupidity will override efforts as always.

:imp: PS who invented these stupid Smilies? Most are really dumb! I wanted a 'devil's advocate one'.
 
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We've been doing that for millennia - expanding oases, damming parts of the sea, etc. And with Climate Change, Antarctica is well on its way to being much more habitable. (Sorry, penguins.)
That is not terraforming, it's called "Destroying"!
 
Nov 10, 2020
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I have read a lot about Mars and can't see much of a presence on Mars by 2050. Maybe like the ISS an experimental surface station with a crew of four recycled every 39 months (?). Agree there is no immediate commercial advantage apart from 'we got there'. I wonder if anyone has done a plan showing timescales to get there and start building a more permanent habitat (underground or whatever) so that say thirty people could exist there. Then there would be tourists of course to help fund the project. They would have to be shipped back within a reasonable period although six months in Space each way would need a large craft to allow entertainment etc.

Could we solve the worlds pollution problems with all the funds that are needed for Space exploration? I doubt it as our own self interest, greed and stupidity will override efforts as always.
I agree with your text in 99.99%, that little leftover is for the 2050 year and I doubt that they will manage to do it until then!

If yes, then the colonization will not be again for the human race, they will do it for natural resources as a big corporations still doing on the Earth. $$$
 
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Dec 29, 2019
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So - Moon, Mars, Asteroids? Nice places to visit. Absolute heaven for astrogeologists. But nobody will live there permanently or raise children there.
As much as I detest the excessive hype and unreasonable expectations I hesitate to say impossible or never - I think Asteroids are going to be less impossible than Mars or Moon, because there are resources of commercial interest to Earth investors. Mars or Moon ambitions appear dependent on sustaining belief in colonisation leading to independence from Earth, with the commercial viability requirement being conveniently sidestepped in order to sustain belief in the dream. Except it isn't convenient; the failure to have commercial prospects is a deep and fundamental problem that inhibits potential for growth.

A big space mining/space refining operation may support permanent workers in space and the operators of space facilities for supporting them will have incentive to avoid importing what they can make or grow. Some of what the optimists want to do on purpose can happen because of that incentive but it is still very difficult; like a rotating faux-gravity habitat, a sizable hydroponics setup in space would be a huge investment that needs to be able to prove it is worth it in terms of the overall return on investment, not in terms of advancing dreams of permanent habitats.

Smart and successful asteroid miners will be Earthlings, using robotics (designed if not entirely made on Earth) directed from a workstation on Earth, with strong commercial incentives to avoid using in-space on-site personnel unless absolutely necessary. Any permanent human presence in space will be an emergent outcome of commercial success.

I also think the window of opportunity (which has not really opened yet) may not be large or long lasting; the health and wealth of Earth's economy is a lot more fragile and potentially ephemeral than most people like to admit. Failure to maintain the health and wealth of Earth will close that window before it really opens. We can (so far) afford to throw taxpayer money at space dreams, without prospect of commercial returns on investment but there is no real prospect for independent, self reliant, viable colonies without an enduring Earth economy.
 
Nov 15, 2020
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I am inclined to add to this thread my meager thoughts upon this subject. On the contrary to your argument of it purely being a fantasy that has few economic benefits. I believe that the fantasy may be the exact economic benefit, let me explain. Take into consideration that the mars colony will seldom look like the international space station today. Beyond the scientific possibilities that could gain extreme amounts of funds from governments across the world to develop new technologies that would enable such a place to exist. One example that goes beyond pure economy is the reason for the existence of science itself. To better know the human body and the world it lives in. Changing the environmental factor will greatly advance our knowledge and technology. We already have many examples of these advancements that trickled down from space travel from medicine to physics. Lets take my supposition that the mars colony will seldom look like the ISS. This coupled with its exclusivity will power a new age of fervor for space. Advancing new outposts on the moon and in vaccum itslef. This fervor will start an urge and want for the economy of space. Mars is important in this economy because of our love for planets and surfaces despite their drawbacks. It is a symbol one that we must not take lightly because pictures of its colony will be posted on every board on our planet earth. People will know that if they are successful they can leave the ses pool and join the clean international utopia that is the mars colony. Their will only be those worthy of investment that will go there. Leading scientists, extremely wealthy space venturers and political leaders. It will be an enticing place to live if only for a couple years at a time like a deployment from your company. Just as science fiction goes it will be beautiful with all types of plants from all around the world. A mix of all cultures something for humanity as a whole to think about. A goal for humanity as a whole to strive for. Many think that a war is the only thing that can band humanity together but other dreamers hope that it is a space colony one that even if it only bands the rich together will pull the rest of us with them. This is an example of the many reasons why it could be much more than just a fantasy. At this point with SpaceX and Blue Origin this fantasy that has been held since the first dream of Mars and its inhabitants has almost become a certainty.
 
Aug 31, 2020
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The suggestion that humans will soon set up bustling, long-lasting colonies on Mars is something many of us take for granted. What this lofty vision fails to appreciate, however, are the monumental—if not intractable—challenges awaiting colonists who want to permanently live on Mars. Unless we radically adapt our brains and bodies to the harsh Martian environment (become cyborgs), the Red Planet will forever remain off limits to humans.

Mars is the closest thing we have to Earth in the entire solar system, and that’s not saying much.

The Red Planet is a cold, dead place, with an atmosphere about 100 times thinner than Earth’s. The paltry amount of air that does exist on Mars is primarily composed of noxious carbon dioxide, which does little to protect the surface from the Sun’s harmful rays. Air pressure on Mars is very low; at 600 Pascals, it’s only about 0.6 percent that of Earth. You might as well be exposed to the vacuum of space, resulting in a severe form of the bends—including ruptured lungs, dangerously swollen skin and body tissue, and ultimately death. The thin atmosphere also means that heat cannot be retained at the surface. The average temperature on Mars is -81 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 degrees Celsius), with temperatures dropping as low as -195 degrees F (-126 degrees C). By contrast, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was at Vostok Station in Antarctica, at -128 degrees F (-89 degrees C) on June 23, 1982. Once temperatures get below the -40 degrees F/C mark, people who aren’t properly dressed for the occasion can expect hypothermia to set in within about five to seven minutes.

The notion that we’ll soon set up colonies inhabited by hundreds or thousands of people is pure nonsense.
Mars also has less mass than is typically appreciated. Gravity on the Red Planet is 0.375 that of Earth’s, which means a 180-pound person on Earth would weigh a scant 68 pounds on Mars. While that might sound appealing, this low-gravity environment would likely wreak havoc to human health in the long term, and possibly have negative impacts on human fertility.

Yet despite these and a plethora of other issues, there’s this popular idea floating around that we’ll soon be able to set up colonies on Mars with ease. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is projecting colonies on Mars as early as the 2050s, while astrobiologist Lewis Darnell, a professor at the University of Westminster, has offered a more modest estimate, saying it’ll be about 50 to 100 years before “substantial numbers of people have moved to Mars to live in self-sustaining towns.” The United Arab Emirates is aiming to build a Martian city of 600,000 occupants by 2117, in one of the more ambitious visions of the future.

Even if all these obvious problems are somehow solved, who in their right mind (after the initial kick of living on another planet wears off) would actually wanna live in such a hellish place?

And what about the critically important microbiome?

Apparently, many people have forgotten the Biosphere I and Biosphere II projects in the Arizona desert designed to test a completely enclosed, self-sustaining environment for long space flights. After ten of millions of dollars spent, both were miserable failures.
It's all done with the hope that it keeps the public interested with future missions to Mars.
Reading between the lines it further means keeping NASA budget growing. Not for it to grow stale like it did after missions to the moon no longer interested the public. The assassination of JFK and the Vietnam War took center stage unfortunately.
 
Aug 31, 2020
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As much as I detest the excessive hype and unreasonable expectations I hesitate to say impossible or never - I think Asteroids are going to be less impossible than Mars or Moon, because there are resources of commercial interest to Earth investors. Mars or Moon ambitions appear dependent on sustaining belief in colonisation leading to independence from Earth, with the commercial viability requirement being conveniently sidestepped in order to sustain belief in the dream. Except it isn't convenient; the failure to have commercial prospects is a deep and fundamental problem that inhibits potential for growth.

A big space mining/space refining operation may support permanent workers in space and the operators of space facilities for supporting them will have incentive to avoid importing what they can make or grow. Some of what the optimists want to do on purpose can happen because of that incentive but it is still very difficult; like a rotating faux-gravity habitat, a sizable hydroponics setup in space would be a huge investment that needs to be able to prove it is worth it in terms of the overall return on investment, not in terms of advancing dreams of permanent habitats.

Smart and successful asteroid miners will be Earthlings, using robotics (designed if not entirely made on Earth) directed from a workstation on Earth, with strong commercial incentives to avoid using in-space on-site personnel unless absolutely necessary. Any permanent human presence in space will be an emergent outcome of commercial success.

I also think the window of opportunity (which has not really opened yet) may not be large or long lasting; the health and wealth of Earth's economy is a lot more fragile and potentially ephemeral than most people like to admit. Failure to maintain the health and wealth of Earth will close that window before it really opens. We can (so far) afford to throw taxpayer money at space dreams, without prospect of commercial returns on investment but there is no real prospect for independent, self reliant, viable colonies without an enduring Earth economy.
We can (so far) afford to throw taxpayer money at space dreams, without prospect of commercial returns on investment but there is no real prospect for independent, self reliant, viable colonies without an enduring Earth economy.

How do we earthlings afford all these dreams to live on Mars, mine those asteroids? Do we pass the hat around so that all nations will hopefully contribute their fair share? Good luck with that because nations balk at the idea of contributing their fair share when it comes time to contribute to NATO. Hence since the US is deemed to be the richest nation we write a check to make up the difference.
Fear not because the solution is already underway with a Global Currency. Nations will all spend beyond their means, go bankrupt and will look to the World Bank to bail them out. So how do you treat every country equally when figuring out what they owe? Liquidate your assets then ask for a loan from the World Bank , using the new Global Currency, to make up the difference of what we own. The poorer countries get the lowest interest rate and the richest countries pay more just like NATO dictated back in the ole days.
Except that money goes to the World Bank.

Meet The New Boss Same As The Old Boss.
 
Jul 20, 2021
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Actually, the reason we have no colonies or cities on Antarctica is because there are international treaties saying we can't. The continent is actually claimed by several Nations, all of which are parties in the treaty. No economic development is allowed, only scientific bases. It's really worse than the Moon that way.
No one has established a (self-sustaining) settlement in Antarctica because no one wants to, as the idea is wholly unattractive for various reasons, of course including the extreme cold and barreness of the place.

Yet, compared to Mars, Antarctica is a paradise. The treaty you mention affects nations only, and says nothing about groups of individuals establishing permanent settlements in Antarctica, and yes, just like the Outer Space Treaty when it comes to the Moon, Mars, asteroids, or anything else in space.

Anyone who thinks that they want to leave lush, green, wet and oxygenated Mother Earth to go live on Mars is either seriously deluded or incredibly ignorant of the realities on Mars and of deep-space manned spaceflight, or both.

Who wants to live indefinitely in a tin can underground? Raise your hands. Who wants to live on a planet where the surface pressure is a virtual vacuum? Where the "soil" is toxic with perchlorates as well as mercury, arsenic, and lead? Where there is roughly 1/3 normal gravity and no ozone layer to protect from lethal UV radiation, and no magnetosphere to protect against more lethal cosmic rays and particle radiation? No one. Not in their right mind, anyway.
 
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But there is no shortage of deluded people nor of people willing to exaggerate the opportunities and downplay or ignore the difficulties to encourage them. It is mostly an issue of expectations - the Mars optimist seem to believe self reliance on Mars is readily achievable with existing technology and that being present there will contribute greatly to coming up with solutions to foreseeable difficulties. I don't believe that.

Me, I think it is absolutely essential that foresight and planning assure the difficulties are already solved beforehand; the colony will fail and people will die otherwise. R&D is a product of large, wealthy economies and ordinary, hands on innovation cannot substitute.
 
Jan 18, 2020
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But there is no shortage of deluded people nor of people willing to exaggerate the opportunities and downplay or ignore the difficulties to encourage them. It is mostly an issue of expectations - the Mars optimist seem to believe self reliance on Mars is readily achievable with existing technology and that being present there will contribute greatly to coming up with solutions to foreseeable difficulties. I don't believe that.

Me, I think it is absolutely essential that foresight and planning assure the difficulties are already solved beforehand; the colony will fail and people will die otherwise. R&D is a product of large, wealthy economies and ordinary, hands on innovation cannot substitute.
Ken—well stated.

It is of course encouraging to see the enthusiasm for what might potentially be the greatest milestone in human achievement—optimism has driven our species to new and greater hights over the millennia since the birth of our consciousness. We would need this in abundance for any long-haul space/colonization missions, whether to the Moon, Mars, Asteroids, Saturn’s Moons and so forth. However, one of the most important toolkits of all for our space-faring survivalists and DIYers, is our ‘science’.

Many arguments, analogies and metaphors for treating a manned Mars mission as similar to discovering and then surviving in The New World (America) and Antarctica, etc., are fallacies based upon shallow thinking and a lack of knowledge/depth in understanding our sciences—or perhaps even a disdain for science and scientific methodology itself; something that seems to be on the increase in America (and on the decrease in most other countries—especially Europe, China/Greater Asia and Russia).

For instance, one claim suggested that the gestation cycle of a human embryo would be relatively problem-free because ‘there is no evidence that micro-gravity conditions would cause harm to such’. However, basic biophysics/medicine allows us to *calculate* and thus foresee potential health outcomes with extraordinarily accurate results—as doctors do daily here on Earth.

Another area of great concern which seems to have been skipped over is that of our microbiome and its critical importance to our survival. Not only is it extremely important for cross-pollination and compost/regeneration of soil, oxygenation, nitrogenation, CO2 hydrogenation, and a myriad of other earth-environment symbioses, it is indispensable for the proper function of human physiology. Just a few hours of modest cosmic radiation exposure will destroy most of our gut bacteria, which can then only be replaced by the ingestion of foods/substances which contain such. This bacterial menagerie—still being explored—not only enables us to digest foods, it also nourishes and reinforces our skin (a vital organ—the importance of which many are not aware), our digestive tract, our vascular and immunological systems, as well as other symbiotic human-bacterial relationships we are still learning of—especially in the interaction with millions of other earth-species of flora and fauna.

There is currently a grave concern that the mysteriously sudden disappearance of bees throughout the world may be a result of Earth’s microbiome somehow failing at key junctures in our natural environmental processes that sustain our flora and fauna—as they have done through perhaps billions of years of evolution. There have even been murmurings within the scientific communities that we are so much a part of the Earth—so intertwined and codependent— that we cannot survive very long without it.

Regardless of the veracity of such a claim, it does appear that we essentially need to pack up a suitable portion of the Earth to take with us wherever we intend to go off-planet.

We know that, today, China is graduating a huge number of scientists and engineers—many of them educated here—that will be needed soon if they intend to achieve their stated goals of Moon and Mars colonies in the near future. Disciplines such as materials science which today is exploring new forms of graphine, carbon-nano fiber and nuclear metalurgy/nano-tech, physicists, biologists, botanists—the entire range of the known sciences are needed, including psychologists.

China has just announced their intention to build a mile-long spaceship very soon—no doubt for interstellar travel (who have they been ‘talking’ to?). One thing is sure, China, along with most other developed and developing societies, are embracing science with staggering energy and purpose.

In summary, we need to examine carefully what it will take to achieve any sort of sustainable interplanetary colony. We need to involve literally every scientific discipline we possess and set to work carefully studying, planning and testing before we can safely build a self-sustaining colony on Mars—or anywhere else.

Perhaps Elon Musk knows this (I suspect he does), and—as the world’s 4th wealthiest man—he has the ability to employ the number of scientific disciplines necessary to see his plans through. I sincerely wish him—and all of us—the best of luck.
 
Jul 20, 2021
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Ken—well stated.

It is of course encouraging to see the enthusiasm for what might potentially be the greatest milestone in human achievement—optimism has driven our species to new and greater hights over the millennia since the birth of our consciousness. We would need this in abundance for any long-haul space/colonization missions, whether to the Moon, Mars, Asteroids, Saturn’s Moons and so forth. However, one of the most important toolkits of all for our space-faring survivalists and DIYers, is our ‘science’.

Many arguments, analogies and metaphors for treating a manned Mars mission as similar to discovering and then surviving in The New World (America) and Antarctica, etc., are fallacies based upon shallow thinking and a lack of knowledge/depth in understanding our sciences—or perhaps even a disdain for science and scientific methodology itself; something that seems to be on the increase in America (and on the decrease in most other countries—especially Europe, China/Greater Asia and Russia).

For instance, one claim suggested that the gestation cycle of a human embryo would be relatively problem-free because ‘there is no evidence that micro-gravity conditions would cause harm to such’. However, basic biophysics/medicine allows us to *calculate* and thus foresee potential health outcomes with extraordinarily accurate results—as doctors do daily here on Earth.

Another area of great concern which seems to have been skipped over is that of our microbiome and its critical importance to our survival. Not only is it extremely important for cross-pollination and compost/regeneration of soil, oxygenation, nitrogenation, CO2 hydrogenation, and a myriad of other earth-environment symbioses, it is indispensable for the proper function of human physiology. Just a few hours of modest cosmic radiation exposure will destroy most of our gut bacteria, which can then only be replaced by the ingestion of foods/substances which contain such. This bacterial menagerie—still being explored—not only enables us to digest foods, it also nourishes and reinforces our skin (a vital organ—the importance of which many are not aware), our digestive tract, our vascular and immunological systems, as well as other symbiotic human-bacterial relationships we are still learning of—especially in the interaction with millions of other earth-species of flora and fauna.

There is currently a grave concern that the mysteriously sudden disappearance of bees throughout the world may be a result of Earth’s microbiome somehow failing at key junctures in our natural environmental processes that sustain our flora and fauna—as they have done through perhaps billions of years of evolution. There have even been murmurings within the scientific communities that we are so much a part of the Earth—so intertwined and codependent— that we cannot survive very long without it.

Regardless of the veracity of such a claim, it does appear that we essentially need to pack up a suitable portion of the Earth to take with us wherever we intend to go off-planet.

We know that, today, China is graduating a huge number of scientists and engineers—many of them educated here—that will be needed soon if they intend to achieve their stated goals of Moon and Mars colonies in the near future. Disciplines such as materials science which today is exploring new forms of graphine, carbon-nano fiber and nuclear metalurgy/nano-tech, physicists, biologists, botanists—the entire range of the known sciences are needed, including psychologists.

China has just announced their intention to build a mile-long spaceship very soon—no doubt for interstellar travel (who have they been ‘talking’ to?). One thing is sure, China, along with most other developed and developing societies, are embracing science with staggering energy and purpose.

In summary, we need to examine carefully what it will take to achieve any sort of sustainable interplanetary colony. We need to involve literally every scientific discipline we possess and set to work carefully studying, planning and testing before we can safely build a self-sustaining colony on Mars—or anywhere else.

Perhaps Elon Musk knows this (I suspect he does), and—as the world’s 4th wealthiest man—he has the ability to employ the number of scientific disciplines necessary to see his plans through. I sincerely wish him—and all of us—the best of luck.
I was six years-old when Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. I've been optimistic and enthusiastic about space exploration AND utilization ever since!

But enthusiasm and optimism are not enough. So many want to colonize Mars because it's the only place in the Solar System even coming close to an Earth analogue. But, as we all know at least here at Space.com, it is NOT Earth.

I think that any talk of 100s or 1000s, much less millions, of people living on Mars by 2050, or even by 2100, is a load of nonsense. Don't get me wrong, as I am confident that there will be manned scientific outposts on Mars possibly by as early as 2050, with revolving crews.

But even two or more (or less) outposts, it will still be extremely challenging, despite advances in technology, to maintain a human presence on Mars. No matter what we do, humans living for two or three years or more with roughly 1/3 Earth gravity, well, none of us know how that will pan out because we've never tested it or experienced it, so we have no idea what the effects on human physiology will be.

We do know, though, what effects microgravity has on the human body. And it's not good! And people should consider that once a human being spends 10 or so years on Mars, or even fewer years, they may NEVER be able to return to, and physically live on, Earth. And that would be a horrible punishment, in my view.
 
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Since this has been revived I will add my thoughts to this.

1)Economics related to the transport of resources with Earth are unlikely to ever be profitable since everything Mars has can be more easily obtained on Earth the Moon or asteroids. The only resources which might be viable is Uranium and Thorium as their chemical properties specifically their affinity for oxygen and silicates causes them to differentially rise despite their high atomic number and NASA's Insight mission has revealed that Mars's crust seems to be enriched in these elements which is thought to play a role in keeping Mars's crust warm. Even then getting actinides from Mars is not likely to sustain a market with Earth as Earth as the most massive terrestrial planet has a lot more actinides.

2)I have seen terraforming get mentioned here thankfully less often than other places but still a number of times so I will need to bring up why it is implausible even in the far future.

In particular if you look at the distribution of material in the solar system it quickly becomes apparent that terraforming Mars or any other planet besides Venus is not only unfeasible, but impossible barring the dismantling of one or more major planets and or all or most of the major moons and dwarf planets or straight up developing the capacity to starlift(i.e. harvest material directly from the Sun). There quite simply isn't enough material within minor bodies even if you harvested every single asteroid centaur comet or moonlet from within the Sun grazing orbit of Mercury out to the Kuiper belt short of maybe harvesting everything within the Kuiper belt which may have a total mass of a few times the mass of Mars, and sure there is likely several tens of Earth masses out in the Oort cloud but the distances between those objects in the outer reaches of the Kuiper belt yet alone the Oort cloud are extremely vast even with advanced propulsion. The Oort Cloud extends out light years from the Sun reaching halfway to Alpha Centauri and volume scales as r^3 so objects out there are far away from anything else. Basically Mars is too puny and there isn't enough readily accessible material. Thus if you can terraform you could also do other simpler things like build your own planet or colonize interstellar space. Terraforming is far outside the realm of viability that

3)Regarding humans in space or low gravity we have done no studies on long term survival in lower gravity especially human procreation studies. Beyond that any further points on human or other animal survival on other planets are opinion.

4)As others have pointed out we have a very minimal sense of understanding the full census of life on Earth yet alone the sheer complexity of the biosphere and the dependence we have on these organisms. Much of the "microbial dark matter" has thus far been shown to represent new phylum of life unknown to science with new types of metabolisms that perform important roles in recycling decomposing material that had not even been recognized before. For one we still have poor understanding of the capabilities and nature of animals yet alone other Eukaryotic "kingdoms". Heck they are still identifying new organs within humans that had been missed by cruder historical dissection methods and learning basic information about how the brain interacts with other parts of our bodies like the gut. Maybe once we can identify what life actually is we will be able to go to Mars but such a day is far far away.

And besides why not go to the Moon first? It is much closer and is about as habitable as Mars also requiring subterranean construction while also serving as a good place to develop technologies for space based manufacturing. Due to the lack of an atmosphere with mass drivers it could be a real industrial hub in fact an interesting fact is that a lunar space elevator is actually feasible for our Moon due to the Moon's monthlong synchronous rotation leaving the material strain sufficiently small for real world materials to fill the role. By building out a base from the Lagrange point and connecting to the Moon it could in principal be possible to make a rapid transit hub from Near Earth Orbit up on to the Earth Moon L1 Lagrange point or onto Moon itself.

In contrast the best you could hope to do with Mars is to convert Phobos and Deimos into an orbital base or two which while nice isn't quite worth much more than a layover point. A real concern on Mars should be the global dust storms which play a role in outgassing Mars's thin atmosphere and may have some connection to the Zodiacal light dust ring shown to share Mars's semi major axis, inclination and eccentricity. We don't know how dust is getting out into the solar system but it seems apparent that Mars is losing material somehow. Could it be volcanoes? We do have some good evidence that the Volcanoes of Mars aren't quite dead just dying slowly over geological timescales. In summary given enough time they will erupt again especially around Elysium Planitia and there is evidence to suggest Olympus Mons isn't quite dead either. We also don't know why Mars's interior structure is so different from Earth with a large but low density liquid core and a highly insulating mantle. The core in particular suggests Mars may never had a global magnetic dynamo like Earth and Mercury do as the large amount of nonmetals in its core may eliminate its conductive properties. We have too many unknown questions that need to be answered before humans go to Mars most importantly is we need to determine if Mars has or had alien life in some form (and whether it is related to us).
 
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Dec 29, 2019
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I've come at this from the economics and technology side. SAJP from the biological. It doesn't look like there is a plan but most significantly far too much of the essential prepatory work in order to have a real plan has not been done. If we are intending to go further than crewed bases (an extremely complex thing in itself) and want to skip the between steps on our way to colonies we better have a full understanding how long term reduced gravity will impact human health and reproduction - and those of the biological community they will depend on - before the commitment.

Prep has to include thorough exploration and mapping of important mineral reserves - not assumptions about their likely presence. An economy capable of producing the materials and equipment for self reliance has to know what those significant minerals are, how they will be mined, processed, transported, what skills are needed and how much they will cost, if not in dollar terms, in terms of equipment, materials, skills and labor requirements; pathways to self reliance need to be clear about these beforehand, not worked out afterwards; there won't be living on potatoes while innovating refineries and factories out of Mars soil.
 
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Jul 20, 2021
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Since this has been revived I will add my thoughts to this.

1)Economics related to the transport of resources with Earth are unlikely to ever be profitable since everything Mars has can be more easily obtained on Earth the Moon or asteroids. The only resources which might be viable is Uranium and Thorium as their chemical properties specifically their affinity for oxygen and silicates causes them to differentially rise despite their high atomic number and NASA's Insight mission has revealed that Mars's crust seems to be enriched in these elements which is thought to play a role in keeping Mars's crust warm. Even then getting actinides from Mars is not likely to sustain a market with Earth as Earth as the most massive terrestrial planet has a lot more actinides.

2)I have seen terraforming get mentioned here thankfully less often than other places but still a number of times so I will need to bring up why it is implausible even in the far future.

In particular if you look at the distribution of material in the solar system it quickly becomes apparent that terraforming Mars or any other planet besides Venus is not only unfeasible, but impossible barring the dismantling of one or more major planets and or all or most of the major moons and dwarf planets or straight up developing the capacity to starlift(i.e. harvest material directly from the Sun). There quite simply isn't enough material within minor bodies even if you harvested every single asteroid centaur comet or moonlet from within the Sun grazing orbit of Mercury out to the Kuiper belt short of maybe harvesting everything within the Kuiper belt which may have a total mass of a few times the mass of Mars, and sure there is likely several tens of Earth masses out in the Oort cloud but the distances between those objects in the outer reaches of the Kuiper belt yet alone the Oort cloud are extremely vast even with advanced propulsion. The Oort Cloud extends out light years from the Sun reaching halfway to Alpha Centauri and volume scales as r^3 so objects out there are far away from anything else. Basically Mars is too puny and there isn't enough readily accessible material. Thus if you can terraform you could also do other simpler things like build your own planet or colonize interstellar space. Terraforming is far outside the realm of viability that

3)Regarding humans in space or low gravity we have done no studies on long term survival in lower gravity especially human procreation studies. Beyond that any further points on human or other animal survival on other planets are opinion.

4)As others have pointed out we have a very minimal sense of understanding the full census of life on Earth yet alone the sheer complexity of the biosphere and the dependence we have on these organisms. Much of the "microbial dark matter" has thus far been shown to represent new phylum of life unknown to science with new types of metabolisms that perform important roles in recycling decomposing material that had not even been recognized before. For one we still have poor understanding of the capabilities and nature of animals yet alone other Eukaryotic "kingdoms". Heck they are still identifying new organs within humans that had been missed by cruder historical dissection methods and learning basic information about how the brain interacts with other parts of our bodies like the gut. Maybe once we can identify what life actually is we will be able to go to Mars but such a day is far far away.

And besides why not go to the Moon first? It is much closer and is about as habitable as Mars also requiring subterranean construction while also serving as a good place to develop technologies for space based manufacturing. Due to the lack of an atmosphere with mass drivers it could be a real industrial hub in fact an interesting fact is that a lunar space elevator is actually feasible for our Moon due to the Moon's monthlong synchronous rotation leaving the material strain sufficiently small for real world materials to fill the role. By building out a base from the Lagrange point and connecting to the Moon it could in principal be possible to make a rapid transit hub from Near Earth Orbit up on to the Earth Moon L1 Lagrange point or onto Moon itself.

In contrast the best you could hope to do with Mars is to convert Phobos and Deimos into an orbital base or two which while nice isn't quite worth much more than a layover point. A real concern on Mars should be the global dust storms which play a role in outgassing Mars's thin atmosphere and may have some connection to the Zodiacal light dust ring shown to share Mars's semi major axis, inclination and eccentricity. We don't know how dust is getting out into the solar system but it seems apparent that Mars is losing material somehow. Could it be volcanoes? We do have some good evidence that the Volcanoes of Mars aren't quite dead just dying slowly over geological timescales. In summary given enough time they will erupt again especially around Elysium Planitia and there is evidence to suggest Olympus Mons isn't quite dead either. We also don't know why Mars's interior structure is so different from Earth with a large but low density liquid core and a highly insulating mantle. The core in particular suggests Mars may never had a global magnetic dynamo like Earth and Mercury do as the large amount of nonmetals in its core may eliminate its conductive properties. We have too many unknown questions that need to be answered before humans go to Mars most importantly is we need to determine if Mars has or had alien life in some form (and whether it is related to us).
So, you're adding your thoughts to this thread since it has been revived apparently without having read the posts of those who have revived it.
 
Nov 10, 2020
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So, you're adding your thoughts to this thread since it has been revived apparently without having read the posts of those who have revived it.
But I did read most of the posts (Including yours) what about my comment bothered you? I did decide to not target responses to any specific posts given there were so many but I hoped it would be apparent what points I was agreeing with versus those I disagreed with after all I do know there were a few disagreements but I would have hoped my post addressed those arguments problems without explicitly call in them out.

In particular I did directly address your comment on microgravity as I pointed out we don't know how low gravity and microgravity compare as these kinds of relationships are decidedly nonlinear. We can make assumptions but they are only assumptions without experimental evidence. I avoided touching specific timelines because the determination of future events is well chaotic I do doubt it will be colonized anytime soon (In fact I doubt Mars will be colonized within the next century since there really isn't any economic incentives to visit yet alone colonize Mars ). I would argue science would be the only thing to gain on Mars since an orbital base around Phobos would fulfill any other practical applications such as a layover point.
 

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