Return to the moon: The race we have to win (again)

Jul 21, 2023
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It makes sense if you consider NASA will actually have to go to the moon this time, but if China beats them, they won't have their chance to put a moon buggy up there and golf balls from 1960s and a ton of foot prints all in the exact spots that they filmed them to be. Will be tough going since they claim to have lost so much of the pictures and video they had. You know, the video and pics that could be easily found to be altered or fakes? Oh NASA what should we do with you? Just looking more and more incompetent and making more people question if we ever stepped foot on the moon to begin with. Hell they did it s bunch of times in a big yin can with a commador 64 computer with a joy stick and were able to land and reconnect to the orbitor without a hitch, first time they tried and while in space. What could be more realistic? Although they couldn't land it in dimulatin here on Earth, I'm sure it's easier when you're looking out a tiny window at the surface of the moon which has no contrast and has curvature that's far different from Earth. Plus a full minute to accomplish the task or you abort, die in a crash or run out of fuel trying to return.

It all just keeps turning into something of a tall tale that they keep adding on to as they continue to cover their tracks. But that's my own opinion, I saw a replica of the craft as a child at Chicagos National History Museum back in the early 70s and I thought then that it couldnt have happened using something as crude as what I saw. Comparing what I see now and they still aren't going to the moon and golfing (as we all saw in disbelief) I have to call bull s......

Go China! What they're making definitely can't be any worse than what we (supposedly) used, for sure a much better onboard computer and joystick so who knows?
 
Mar 5, 2021
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I think the first third of your article where you put down much of the stuff NASA has done is way off track. But then in the second half, you bring it around. But the problem is that you singularly point out the Chinese as leeches to the American system without addressing what to do about it. I suggest we find ways to integrate the Chinese into our space program the way we have the Russians and us into theirs. That way together we can strive for peace in space. Also you seem to have forgotten one of the greatest science experiments that can happen on the Moon and that is a huge crater sized radio telescope to research the Big Bang and the CMB. I kind of side with you on Artemis being costly, but we did it before Musk and he still apart of the big picture when it comes to the Moon!
 
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Jul 21, 2023
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I think the first third of your article where you put down much of the stuff NASA has done is way off track. But then in the second half, you bring it around. But the problem is that you singularly point out the Chinese as leeches to the American system without addressing what to do about it. I suggest we find ways to integrate the Chinese into our space program the way we have the Russians and us into theirs. That way together we can strive for peace in space. Also you seem to have forgotten one of the greatest science experiments that can happen on the Moon and that is a huge crater sized radio telescope to research the Big Bang and the CMB. I kind of side with you on Artemis being costly, but we did it before Musk and he still apart of the big picture when it comes to the Moon!
there you are! this kind of thinking is what I would expect from content creators of this blog... at least some people reading it think in a broader scope
 
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So, how much did this venture capitalist pay you to publish this?

"The US government must urgently buy services from companies I hold a major financial stake in, for national security, of course."

Let's not fall for Chinese Peril 2.0.
 
Jul 22, 2023
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I have long been disappointed that America stopped its lunar exploration program short of establishing a permanent colony. I applaud the dedicated professionals who continued to advocate for progress. But as I see it, the main problems preventing us from returning to the moon and staying there are political rather than technical. This means that a central action item for lunar colonization advocates (possibly THE central action item) should be to increase awareness and support among the general population. To that end, NASA should launch a program to put a self-contained animal colony on the moon. It could begin small, using mice, plants, fish, etc., but be modular in design to expand easily. Such a program will provide invaluable data about the effects of lunar gravity on Earth organisms. It would also provide scientists with an opportunity to identify and solve unforeseen problems. Twenty-four-hour camera feeds could be made available to the public. People would undoubtedly watch them on their television and computer screens like they watch fish in aquariums. NASA could hold contests for naming new arrivals. This would increase public awareness and support for lunar colonization efforts. It would also allow NASA to refine and perfect robotic techniques for performing exo-planetary maintenance and construction work. Problems or accidents would provide moments of human interest and high drama. News organizations would undoubtedly cover these extensively, possibly for days or weeks on end. In the end, astronauts could arrive on the moon's surface with a self-contained biological habitat already functioning. An animal colony would keep the idea of moon colonization from and center in the public mind (both in America and worldwide). Perhaps most important (from a political point of view) it could be done quickly and cheaply, with minimum danger to human explorers.
 
This definitely smacks of a venture capitalist's sales pitch. I wonder how much of it is realistic.

Stringing together concepts such as "the Moon has lots of He3" and "we need He3 to make the fusion energy here on Earth to save the planet" may simply not work out technologically or financially or both. What will it cost to concentrate the He3 from the Moon material and send it to Earth by rocket ship? When will we actually get a commercial fusion energy plant into operation? And, will this be able to compete with fusion energy that uses Boron-11 and light hydrogen (protons) for fusion reactors, both of which are plentiful here on Earth, but a bit harder to fuse.

I believe the real value of going to the Moon and establishing a full-time presence there is the scientific value. We will learn a lot more about the Moon, and thus the Earth, from its geology. And, we can put some monster telescopes on the Moon to look very deep into space with very little noise from Earth fogging our views.

We may also be able to build interplanetary spaceships or at least fuel them with materials obtained on the Moon. But, I don't see that happening fast. Just getting comfortable living there long-term will require a lot of infrastructure development. And, that will be a learning experience necessary for any long term presence on Mars.

But, paying for all of this by shipping raw materials, or even beaming energy, back to Earth seems like a venture capitalists pipe dream sales pitch.

Musk seems to have figured out that he needs to provide short-term useful products with his space ventures, and Starlink is his path to solvency for Falcon 9, and maybe Super Heavy/ Starship. Branson and Bezos seem to be trying to get there with "tourism", and that isn't working out so well. There will certainly be an economic "shake out" at some point, and a lot of these pie-in-the-sky companies will not survive. At best, they will be bought out and consolidated.

As for China, their government is in the race for national pride. They are showing themselves to be quite capable in many technological areas. But, we really don't currently have the option of joint projects with them, nor the Russians. So long as there is conflict between our countries here on Earth, joint peaceful uses of space will probably get disrupted in the long run, just as they have over the past year with Russia.
 
There will be no need to bring untold tons of raw materials to Earth from the Frontier. Colonizing the vast New World of the Space Frontier (Space Colonization, not the Moon, and Mars being only a sideshow) will do for prospering the Old World of Earth. Money is a token of energy and the more energetically life becomes engaged in that Frontier, the more migration, the more emigration, there will be to that opening system . . . opening up greater employments in the homelands, and like the Old World of history, it will be an increasingly energetic part of the Space Age, the New World of an expanding Frontier, exchanging energies, prosperity, and potential survival (A. T. Mahan in his 'The Influence of Sea Power Upon History' called far flung colonies the strongest defense of a homeland), with it.
 
"Much speculation has been made over the possibility of helium-3 as a future energy source. Unlike most nuclear fusion reactions, the fusion of helium-3 atoms releases large amounts of energy without causing the surrounding material to become radioactive. However, the temperatures required to achieve helium-3 fusion reactions are much higher than in traditional fusion reactions,[3] and the process may unavoidably create other reactions that themselves would cause the surrounding material to become radioactive."

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3

On the other hand, why not just use Boron-11 + Hydrogen-1, which are both plentiful here on Earth? That doesn't create any radioactive by products, but does make 3 Helium-4 atoms per fusion. And, we will need more helium for other purposes. On Earth, we need to "mine" helium out of oil and gas wells, because it is made from radioactive decays underground and quickly gets lost to space once it gets into the atmosphere above ground. So, much of our industrial helium use is supported by the fossil fuel industry, which we are trying to stop using.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3

"On Earth, it is relatively rare—5.2 ppm by volume in the atmosphere. Most terrestrial helium present today is created by the natural radioactive decay of heavy radioactive elements (thorium and uranium, although there are other examples), as the alpha particles emitted by such decays consist of helium-4 nuclei. This radiogenic helium is trapped with natural gas in concentrations as great as 7% by volume, from which it is extracted commercially by a low-temperature separation process called fractional distillation. Terrestrial helium is a non-renewable resource because once released into the atmosphere, it promptly escapes into space. Its supply is thought to be rapidly diminishing."
 
I have long been disappointed that America stopped its lunar exploration program short of establishing a permanent colony.
There is no reason for even going back to the Moon at this point. Establishing a colony on the Moon is not practical, and probably would not be practical for a very long time, if ever. Currently, the only practical place to establish settlements is on Mars.
The 16.6% G is almost certainly too low for long term habitation, resulting in shuttling people back and forth between Earth and the Moon. Our presence on the Moon would have little practical purpose, and no critical purpose The Moon would be a good location for a deep space telescope, but once functional, it could be operated remotely from Earth.

It has been suggested that the Moon could be a "test bed" for Mars missions, but there are far too many differences. In fact, there are more differences between Mars and our Moon, than there are between Mars and some places on Earth.

Mars: Gravity is .38 of Earth's, Moon: is .16.6 of Earth's
Mars: thin atmosphere of CO2, Moon: none
Mars: Large amounts of water at poles and possibly elsewhere, Moon: Very little.
Mars: Plenty of Carbon for growing food, Moon: virtually zero.

Mars: 44% of the harmful radiation that the Moon receives.
Mars: usable wind for wind power, Moon: none
Mars: Day 23 hours, Moon: four weeks
Mars: has two moons, Moon: none
Of course, it has also been suggested that our presence on the Moon is critical since the Moon could be used as a base for launching missiles against places on Earth. There are many reasons why that would not be practical, so it should not be a concern.
 
There will be no need to bring untold tons of raw materials to Earth from the Frontier. Colonizing the vast New World of the Space Frontier (Space Colonization, not the Moon, and Mars being only a sideshow) will do for prospering the Old World of Earth.
I agree that bringing raw materials to Earth from anywhere off-Earth would be impractical. The shipping cost would outweigh almost any material from any source.
Not sure why you think Mars is a "sideshow", since it will be the first off-Earth location to establish settlements. Notice I avoid the term "colony", since it infers settlements directly tied to, and controlled, by one county on Earth. The last thing we need is international conflict on a Solar System scale.
 
I agree that bringing raw materials to Earth from anywhere off-Earth would be impractical. The shipping cost would outweigh almost any material from any source.
Not sure why you think Mars is a "sideshow", since it will be the first off-Earth location to establish settlements. Notice I avoid the term "colony", since it infers settlements directly tied to, and controlled, by one county on Earth. The last thing we need is international conflict on a Solar System scale.
We are going to have "conflict" in any case! That is one answer.

Mars is a will be sideshow because it is not even close to being big enough nor can it be terraformed to custom fit, relatively speedily, as in-space colonies can be. It reminds of Iceland as a frontier in 1492CE, regarding the Old World of Europe, versus the maritime frontiers of the ocean islands, the newly uncovered Americas, and the potential the Portuguese opened in the Far East.

It reminds of 1950s, 60s, and 70s, very, very, enclosed (closed systemic) mainframe macro-system computers versus millions to billions of connected local and wide area networked individual PCs, tablets, and phone computers in windowed rabbit hole cyberspace Wonderland. The system went small, to very small, in order to go vastly, to very vastly larger than the too expensive, too entropically closed systemic, mainframe systems of old. That is how the space frontier will end up working for the thousands to millions, to billions, to trillions and quadrillions of humans atop a pyramid sea of other life in an in-space (hyperspatial) frontier exoskeletal cellular structure / infrastructure of Noah's Ark-like colonies, stations, ships, boats, and myriads of other custom facilitations as needed and wanted.

What will all this do for the Old World of Earth? Just what the maritime new 'New World' spatial frontiers did for the Old-World post 1492CE. Made the Old World an increasingly energized and more wide-open -- wider and greater in energy and prosperity -- homeland new frontier [part] of the enlarging larger New Frontier. Sir Thomas More hated it and wrote a nostalgia for the dying Dark and Middle Ages' "nobility" of a smaller more centralized communistic feudalistic society and economy in his book 'Utopia' circa 1512CE.

China, almost a hundred years earlier, was the one expanding across the maritime frontiers with its great fleets, then pulled a Nixon 1973CE and withdrew from all maritime expansionist momentum building. It withdrew entirely and totally lost its great lead on the West as well as totally losing its great lead in sea power over the West. China knows what it did 600+ years ago -- what it didn't do that it could have done 600+ years ago -- and has no intent whatsoever of repeating history today regarding the new next frontier up.
 
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The Moon provides a reasonably close location for testing the technologies needed to operate a human habitat that is self-sustaining, at least from the resources used side of the process. Whether humans can live, breed, and sustain a "colony" is a different subject.

The ability to travel to remote bodies in the solar system to explore them for scientific purposes is the real reason that most people are interested in doing so. Yes, there are people who think that a self-sustaining "colony" or "independent planet" or whatever is a necessary hedge against the Earth becoming too damaged to sustain human civilization, if not actually human life. And, yes, some of the private ventures that may take the lead in actually getting humans to remote solar system bodies may state that as their objective. But, whoever gets humans to the Moon, Mars and asteroids is going to provide the system development to do science work that is of great interest. We talk about how robots can do it cheaper, but the results to date show that we have a hard time telling if there was ever life on Mars without putting boots on Mars. Similarly, the Moon offers a venue of some superior telescopes. Yes, once built and activated, they might be controlled from Earth, but it will take a "base" with long-term human habitation to build them, and probably at least part-time habitation to maintain and update them.

It seems likely that any colony of humans that remains on other solar system bodies for generations will evolve to adapt to at least the gravitational field, and possibly other conditions, that are different enough from those conditions on Earth that they might have a hard time visiting Earth. A person adapted to the Moon's gravity would have the same trouble on Earth as someone adapted to Earth's gravity experiences in a centrifuge at 6 Gs. I have only experienced 3 Gs for a few minutes, and I am sure that I would not be able to walk around in constant 6Gs.
 
Manmade in-space colonization will be infinitely faster, infinitely larger in essentially 2-dimensional hyper-surface hyper-spatiality, expansionist spread, and multi-dimensional multi-faceted energetic functional opening systemic creativity (including gravities, plural) compared to any gravity well-cave, entropic, closed systemic colonization of any rock in the Solar System, including the Moon and Mars. They, manmade in-space colonies, even in their beginnings, their infancy, would soon far outstrip the Earth in potentials.

Those who cannot visualize dimensions in history (city-state Athens, Syracuse, Zanzibar, Rome in its beginnings, City of London, England and eventually Japan as great islanded sea powers, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Singapore, Hong Kong....), or, in yet another dimensionality, individualistic momentum to inexpensive PC open systemic computerizations versus momentum to infinitely untenably expensive closed systemic mainframe systems, cannot even begin to visualize mass mind expanding (mass genius expanding) energies, space power, and frontier potential in Hight (new maritime 'Ocean Seas of Space') Frontier.
 
We are going to have "conflict" in any case! That is one answer.

Mars is a will be sideshow because it is not even close to being big enough nor can it be terraformed to custom fit, relatively speedily, as in-space colonies can be.
Not big enough?

Land surface area of the Earth - 148,326,000 km2 (57.268,900 square miles

Land surface area of Mars - 144,800,000 km² (55,907,592 square miles)

It would not be possible to terraform Mars. The weaker gravity combined with the lack of a magnetosphere would prevent establishing a permanent dense atmosphere. However, between underground tunnels and caverns, and sealed above ground structures, cities could be built. In addition, Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our Solar System, could possibly support a major city.
Olympus Mons will probably have thousands of miles of lava tubes that would make excellent habitats for large colonies. Olympus Mons would also have other advantages. It is near the equator and therefore have relatively temperate climate. At 22 km (13.6 mi or 72,000 ft) both landing and takeoff from the top would require less fuel than most other areas. Also, that would be an excellent place to have a MagLev rail launch assist system.

To dispel one common misconception, off-Earth colonies or settlements are intended to relocate large populations from Earth. That would be extremely impractical for several reasons.
 
The Moon provides a reasonably close location for testing the technologies needed to operate a human habitat that is self-sustaining, at least from the resources used side of the process. Whether humans can live, breed, and sustain a "colony" is a different subject.
There have been many articles advocating using the Moon as a test bed for Mars. The fact is that there are more differences between Mars and our Moon, than there are between Mars and some places on Earth.

Mars: Gravity is .38 of Earth's, Moon: is .17 of Earth's
Mars: thin atmosphere of CO2, Moon: none
Mars: Massive amounts of water at poles, Moon: May be small amounts
Mars: Plenty of Carbon and Nitrogen for growing food, Moon: virtually zero.

Mars: 44% of radiation of the Moon:
Mars: usable wind for wind power, Moon: none
Mars: Day 23 hours, Moon: two weeks
Mars: has two moons, Moon: none

Gravity. Most scientist agree that the .38G of Mars is probably sufficient for indefinite habitation. However, the low gravity of the Moon will probably cause problems for long term exposure.

Atmosphere. Although thin, the Martian atmosphere does provide some protection, especially against smaller meteorites. On the Moon, even the smallest particle is not slowed and can kill a person, either directly or by suit puncture. Also, the Martian atmosphere can be mined for carbon and oxygen, both of which are needed for life. The difference between processing O2 out of CO2, and crushing tons of regolith for O2 is significant. In addition, the Martian atmosphere can be used to sink and transfer heat, something that is not possible on the moon.

Water. We now know that there is sufficient water on Mars for habitation. The Moon has virtually none.

Radiation. Mars is 1 1/2 times further from the Sun than Earth is, and therefore receives 44% of the solar radiation per square unit or about 20% overall due to its smaller diameter. The good news is, that means there is also only 20% of the harmful radiation that the Moon has.

Wind. The Martian wind can be used for power, the Moon has no wind.

Length of Day. The Martian day is almost exactly the same as on Earth. That is important for several reasons. It will be much easier for our biological clocks to adjust to the Martian day than the Lunar Day. More importantly however, the much shorter daily cycle helps to average out extremes of temperature. On the Moon, the temperatures run to extremes that make it impractical to remain on the surface for extended periods either day or night. In addition, the long day creates an additional daytime radiation exposure problem.

Above ground habitats will be possible on Mars, but not on the Moon.

The bottom line remains: The Moon is too different from Mars to be used as a “test bed” for a Mars colony. The Mars Society is doing the smart thing by developing Mars technologies right here in appropriate places on Earth. The Moon is not a “stepping stone” to anywhere. However, it might make a handy observatory.
 
Mars is not nearly big enough because now, the Earth is not nearly big enough in its totality of dimensions. You do not simply split a child growing in too many dimensions of energy, structure, infrastructure, complexity and reach, for one womb, into two wombs of the same dimensionality as the one. You birth it into a larger system, though secondarily the second mainframe system will handle some small proportion of the load.

As I said again and again, physicist Michio Kaku wrote accurately that though Mankind has increased a million-fold in its numbers in the species, that does not even begin to tell the story or cover the ground of Mankind's mass species evolution over two million years. The species, as a species, has increased in its energy and energies, its structures and infrastructures, its complexity, reaches, needs and wants, two-million-fold over those same two million years average per every man, woman, and child, living now. Although it would be a cartoon caricature of what that means, the simplest picture of what it means would be to multiply 9,000,000,000 humans living today by 2,000,000-fold. Even that doesn't quite tell the whole story, the real story of our progression in our womb world and the dire straight we are reaching as Kaku knows and Stephen Hawking knew when he said we had 1,000 years maximum to mass extinction if we did not begin breaking out, birthing out, ASAP!

The Earth, Mars, the Moon, all the planets and other rocks of the Solar System in their in-wells' surfaces and caves superficiality cannot possibly serve Mankind and the rest of Earthlife now. It needs the vast room of the Solar System in its sheer vast volume of masses and energies to get what it needs now, short breakout into interstellar space and the Milky Way galaxy, which isn't going to happen without making contact with some alien species, or first modeling the galaxy in a micro-miniature model of the galaxy. with local and wide area networking in the vast supernova-like front of a brute force spread of in-space (hyper-surface hyperspace) colonization. As I've said over and over again, going small in in-space colonization, stationing, shipping, custom facilitations, in order to go vastly larger in overall extent and dimensionality.

Michel Gaullum Jean de Crevecoeur (pen name: J. Hector St. John), French American farmer and writer just before and after the American Revolution, wrote that the vastness of frontier seemed to expand so many shrunken immigrant minds to match its vast freedom to do, to create, and to accomplish, in its nature of vastness. It works the other way, shrinking the individual and mass mind, the individual and mass genius, in an all enclosing shrinking, entropically closed systemic, womb-world.
 
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Mars is not nearly big enough because now, the Earth is not nearly big enough in its totality of dimensions. You do not simply split a child growing in too many dimensions of energy, structure, infrastructure, complexity and reach, for one womb, into two wombs of the same dimensionality as the one. You birth it into a larger system, though secondarily the second mainframe system will handle some small proportion of the load.
Again with the " not nearly big enough". Several years ago I did a little research on the developed land in the USA. Based upon the information I was able to find, all of the land area covered by the boundaries of all the cities and towns, and the areas within all the highway and road right-of-ways, was 8% of the total area of the 3.8 million square miles of the USA. In few countries it is more, but in many other countries, it is less.

No one I know of, except you, envisions splitting the population of Earth onto other planets. The population of Earth will no doubt continue to grown and expand within its physical and economic limits. Those limits are already slowing the rate of population growth. Colonies established upon other planets, such as Mars, will also grow within their own physical and economic limits. Due to the extreme conditions on Mars, those limits will dramatically affect the rate of growth, but that is natural and will be an integral part of the economic growth and expansion.

All that will be true for any off-Earth colony or settlement, be it on a Planet, a Dyson Sphere, or a Larry Niven type Ring World. Keep in mind that every off-Earth structure, especially a Dyson Sphere, or Ring World, would require extremely enormous amounts of construction material. In and of itself, creating that, transporting it, assembling it, and outfitting it to be a viable place to live, would limit how fast it could be done. All the factors involved in off-Earth habitation will always be automatically self limiting.
 
Again with the " not nearly big enough". Several years ago I did a little research on the developed land in the USA. Based upon the information I was able to find, all of the land area covered by the boundaries of all the cities and towns, and the areas within all the highway and road right-of-ways, was 8% of the total area of the 3.8 million square miles of the USA. In few countries it is more, but in many other countries, it is less.

No one I know of, except you, envisions splitting the population of Earth onto other planets. The population of Earth will no doubt continue to grown and expand within its physical and economic limits. Those limits are already slowing the rate of population growth. Colonies established upon other planets, such as Mars, will also grow within their own physical and economic limits. Due to the extreme conditions on Mars, those limits will dramatically affect the rate of growth, but that is natural and will be an integral part of the economic growth and expansion.

All that will be true for any off-Earth colony or settlement, be it on a Planet, a Dyson Sphere, or a Larry Niven type Ring World. Keep in mind that every off-Earth structure, especially a Dyson Sphere, or Ring World, would require extremely enormous amounts of construction material. In and of itself, creating that, transporting it, assembling it, and outfitting it to be a viable place to live, would limit how fast it could be done. All the factors involved in off-Earth habitation will always be automatically self limiting.
Who in the hell was talking Dyson's Sphere or Niven's Ringworld, the worst things possible for a civilization to engage in building! Effectively stone tombs the advanced monolithic death wishes and super monolith coffins of an advanced species dreaming of nothing more or less than an energy-less suicidal Utopian Communism.

Otherwise, you are thinking and dealing in things strictly 2-dimensionally horizontally lateral rather than multi-dimensionally expansively horizontal and vertical and everything in between. You certainly know nothing about entropy in flatly closed systems and throughout recorded human history concerning civilizations everywhere and everywhen situate. Nor anything concerning the physic of an Earthly black hole you are dreaming of simply extending to more than one world. Nor do you know any difference between real systematic growth and closed systemic bubble inflation spinning wheels ever faster on a treadmill going nowhere, Nor tyrannies (particularly Orwellian). Nor anarchies (again, particularly Orwellian). Nor pestilence, war, famine, and death . . . nor Ice Age.

Species, and human civilizations and other groupings, don't slow in population growth, they grow into extinctions, as has been worrying many nations now whose declines in societies and economies, have followed right with declines in human fertility, virility, biological physical and mental, and [emotional caring], energies, civilities, population willingness to populate, and more. There is nothing on Mars to draw any attention of 99% of humans. There is plenty to draw them to '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Voyager' Stations, Stanford Tori, O'Neill Colonies, spaceships and shipping, and so on. They aren't stupid, they are spatial seers and thinkers (even the mediocrity of the human species can think spatially). They, the 99%, can see themselves there in those in-space stations, those in-space colonies, those in-space ships, They, the 99%, descendants of those who covered the Earth including the islands of the mid Pacific in nothing more than large barge canoes, and so on, cannot see themselves as any part of the limited and limiting colonization of Mars, the Moon, or caves in other rocks of the Solar System. There are no possibilities of frontier vastness, frontier energies, and thus frontier opportunity, creativity and prosperity out there and down here, there on Mars or in caves in the Moon and other rocks for them. Colonizing Mars and/or the Moon are very low energy -- and everything else --propositions for the 99% vast majority of mankind.

With in-space occupation beginning and ongoing, the 99% will begin to feel the exhaust to New Frontiers from the Old World. The most of the 99% will begin to feel almost immediate synergy in growing energy exchanges (money is a token of energy / life / frontier, a token of momentum). Colonizing Mars and the Moon, and any rocks directly, offers nothing for the 99% but your promises of possible maybes hundreds to thousands of years down the road. Pursuit of [in-space] promises immediacy of momentum growth and expansion, energy growth and expansion, and possibilities expansion and growth, for the vast majority of humanity and life.

You say the Earth is big enough, and Mars is big enough. I'm sorry but you have no clue, not the slightest clue, about an entropic closed system. Nor about the historical mind of a natural frontier -- otherwise naturally declinist -- species.

Now, building and transporting to Mars orbit, spin-gravity space stations and a Stanford Torus cloud-city-state colony or two would really begin the permanent colonization of Mars and the outer planetary systems beyond Mars. Still a side issue, but a stage on the way in growing out system in cloud-city-state in-space colonies colonizing the orbits of all the planets and bigger moons going away in the frontiers of the outer system.
 
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Who in the hell was talking Dyson's Sphere or Niven's Ringworld, the worst things possible for a civilization to engage in building! Effectively stone tombs the advanced monolithic death wishes and super monolith coffins of an advanced species dreaming of nothing more or less than an energy-less suicidal Utopian Communism.
I won't bother to post your entire diatribe, since it is already there for any interested parties to see.

It is comforting to know that there is a superior being like you here who is able to tell me what I do not know, what I do not understand, and of what I have a clue. Of course, that is merely your opinion.
Your fixation upon orbital structures for all off-Earth habitation on into the future seems to ignore the realities of the implementation, upkeep, and maintainability of such structures.
Reality Check:

1. All of the materials for orbital structures would have to be brought into the chosen obit from some planetary source. All of the materials for a settlement on a planet can eventually be provided by that planet.
2. All of the supplies necessary for producing food for orbital structures would have to be shipped in from some planetary source, and since growing food depletes the soil (or hydroponics nutrients), those would have to be continually resupplied. All of the supplies necessary for producing food for a settlement on a planet can be obtained near the settlement.

3. All materials for expansion of orbital structures would have to be shipped in from some planetary source. All materials for expansion of a settlement on a planet can be obtained nearby.
Those things apply to virtually every facet of each of those settlement choices.
There are many other issues regarding orbital structures, none of which apply to planetary settlements.

1. Rotation, which would be required to provide a sense of artificial gravity. Of course, that also results in some degree of Cori0lis Effect. More critical is the fact that a rotating structure in orbit is also constrained by Gyroscopic Precession, which prevents it from remaining aligned with a source of light, such as the Sun.

2. They are limited to the physical size determined by the tensile strength of the structural materials.

3. They limit physical interaction with other such habitation structures, requiring launching, realigning, capture and docking, all though the vacuum (not a perfect vacuum, of course) of space. Even in the same obit, that would require a great deal of time and fuel, and the reliance of perfect seals at each end.

The bottom line is that, as always, rate of expansion into a new and distant environment will be dependent upon the availability of food, materials. and abilities of the immigrants to create a comfortable livable environment. That has always been the automatic and self regulating.
 
Mental Avenger, I got all of your statistical comparisons the first time you posted them, so your repeating them seems to indicate that you totally missed my point.

Again: we need to develop the technology to live off-Earth for sustained periods. While developing it, we can expect to have to fix glitches with resources from Earth, so as not to have fatal failure of the habitated outpost. The Moon is a lot closer than Mars, so much easier to back-stop against fatal failures with more supplies and equipment replacements sent from Earth. That is why the Moon makes a better test bed than Mars for getting the necessary technology developed. It would be even harder on the Moon than on Mars to actually run a self-sustaining habitat, so there is good reason to believe when we get it working on the Moon, it will be satisfactory on Mars.

The only thing that might be tougher on Mars would be some sort of life form that is fatal to humans, such as something similar to a bacterium that lives in the soil. We don't yet know whether there is still life on Mars now, as well as not knowing if there ever was life on Mars.
 
Mental Avenger, I got all of your statistical comparisons the first time you posted them, so your repeating them seems to indicate that you totally missed my point.

Again: we need to develop the technology to live off-Earth for sustained periods. While developing it, we can expect to have to fix glitches with resources from Earth, so as not to have fatal failure of the habitated outpost. The Moon is a lot closer than Mars, so much easier to back-stop against fatal failures with more supplies and equipment replacements sent from Earth. That is why the Moon makes a better test bed than Mars for getting the necessary technology developed. It would be even harder on the Moon than on Mars to actually run a self-sustaining habitat, so there is good reason to believe when we get it working on the Moon, it will be satisfactory on Mars.

The only thing that might be tougher on Mars would be some sort of life form that is fatal to humans, such as something similar to a bacterium that lives in the soil. We don't yet know whether there is still life on Mars now, as well as not knowing if there ever was life on Mars.
I elucidated upon the points in the second post.
I got your point. My point is that everything that needs to be tested, except for gravity, can be tested on Earth a great deal safer, faster, and a lot less expensive than on the Moon. For potentially fatal situations, a few minutes on Earth is several orders of magnitude better than 4 days to the Moon, and even that is assuming a suitable spacecraft is sitting and ready on the launch pad.

A large enclosure with controllable changing light and temperature can simulate those aspects of Mars, and a lot more accurately than anything on the Moon. Simply preparing something for a harsher environment does not translate to preparing for the eventual working environment.

You said, " makes a better test bed than Mars", but no one is suggesting using Mars as a test bed for Mars.

We already have the technology for long term habitation and survival off-Earth.

As for alien bacteria or other infectious microbes, it is highly unlikely there would be any on Mars. All of the infectious tiny wildlife here are based upon our DNA and were adapted to interact physiologically with our biological systems. There is no reason to believe that any alien microbes would be dangerous to us. The concept that they would be deadly to us is strictly a baseless Science Fiction construct.
 

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