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Wed May 26, 2021, 11:02 AM

A colony on Mars won't make sense until we're finished colonizing Antartica.

Unlike Mars, Antarctica has water, breathable air, normal gravity, much better accessibility, and is warmer than Mars. So aside from sending a few scientific researchers, what's the point of Elon Musk's obsession to colonize Mars? Why would anyone want to live there just for the sake of living there?

Elon Muskís Mars Ambition Could Be the Riskiest Human Quest Ever



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Reply A colony on Mars won't make sense until we're finished colonizing Antartica. (Original post)
Towlie May 26 OP
PortTack May 26 #1
USALiberal May 26 #4
winetourdriver01 May 26 #2
lagomorph777 May 26 #6
winetourdriver01 May 26 #17
backscatter712 May 26 #29
TwilightZone May 26 #3
lagomorph777 May 26 #7
Klaralven May 26 #14
Crunchy Frog May 26 #21
ismnotwasm May 26 #5
lagomorph777 May 26 #8
ismnotwasm May 26 #9
lagomorph777 May 26 #11
backscatter712 May 26 #28
lagomorph777 May 27 #40
backscatter712 May 26 #38
Towlie May 26 #10
lagomorph777 May 26 #12
soothsayer May 26 #13
Crunchy Frog May 26 #22
NickB79 May 26 #25
Crunchy Frog May 26 #30
Johnny2X2X May 26 #15
ShazamIam May 26 #16
Mr.Bill May 26 #23
Crunchy Frog May 26 #24
JustABozoOnThisBus May 26 #35
Towlie May 27 #42
Alsteen May 26 #18
Sneederbunk May 26 #19
haele May 26 #20
backscatter712 May 26 #37
NickB79 May 26 #26
backscatter712 May 26 #33
lame54 May 26 #27
JustABozoOnThisBus May 26 #31
backscatter712 May 26 #34
JustABozoOnThisBus May 26 #36
backscatter712 May 26 #39
ripcord May 26 #32
Lancero May 27 #41

Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:04 AM

1. Risky?? All he's doing is throwing good money after bad!! The guy is nuts

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Response to PortTack (Reply #1)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:14 AM

4. Spacex is an amazing company! Ground breaking! Nt

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:08 AM

2. Mars

The military industrial complex is voraciously anxious to start mining the ort cloud. All those heavy metal asteroids just waiting to be gobbled up. Some of those things have value equal to the entire economic out put of the entire Earth. A colony on Mars is a HUGE step in that direction.

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Response to winetourdriver01 (Reply #2)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:22 AM

6. The Oort Cloud is WWAAAAAAAYYYYY beyond reach, way out past the Kuiper Belt.

Perhaps you are thinking of the Asteroid Belt? Or Near Earth Asteroids, such as the Trojans?

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #6)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:30 PM

17. Thanks!

Yes, I meant to say the Asteroid Belt...

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #6)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:19 PM

29. Plenty of resources to be had.

Near Earth Asteroids are probably a good place to start, along with the Moon.

There's also the main Asteroid Belt, Jupiter's Trojans. The Kuiper Belt is also promising, though that's a bit far, a lot of delta-V to get there and back.

The resources out there could enable a human civilization with a population of trillions, with almost infinite room to grow.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:13 AM

3. Apples and oranges

We're not talking about trying to colonize Mars because we're running out of room. We're talking about Mars because we might need another place to live if (when?) we screw up Earth, and Mars could teach us much about how to do so.

We already know how to live in Antarctica and it shares the same problem that the rest of the world does if we screw it up.

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Response to TwilightZone (Reply #3)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:23 AM

7. +1

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Response to TwilightZone (Reply #3)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:25 PM

14. It would be extremely hard to screw up Earth to be more inhospitable than Mars to human life

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Response to TwilightZone (Reply #3)

Wed May 26, 2021, 02:41 PM

21. If we make the Earth uninhabitable, I don't WANT us to survive on some other planet.

The tardigrades will carry on, and hopefully do better than we have.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:19 AM

5. Have we proper shielding from radiation yet?

Hadnít heard that we did, there were studies indicating ovaries were particularly susceptible to space radiation. Iím all for space travel. I havenít been following Musk, because Meh.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #5)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:24 AM

8. No, but NASA is working on 3D-printed shelters made from Mars dust, which would work if thick enough

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #8)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:57 AM

9. Cool

And how about the actual ships? Iím lazy this morning, I guess I can google it

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #9)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:13 PM

11. SpaceX is working on that. The Starship is meant to serve many missions, from Earth to Moon to Mars

Personally, I think nuclear propulsion will be needed for the Mars trip. So far, Musk is opposed to that, but we'll see.

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #11)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:02 PM

28. Orbital refueling is the real enabling technology.

Starship's strategy is to refuel after launch in low Earth orbit, which will take several tanker Starship launches.

SpaceX will really need to make Starship launches cheap, reliable, safe, fast AND frequent. Has to be turned over like an airliner. No rocket has been able to really do that, though SpaceX's Falcon 9 comes closest. With Falcon 9, they've done what the Space Shuttle couldn't - make reuse economical. SpaceX as a whole, and Elon in particular are damned determined to make airliner-like turnarounds a reality. Because Elon really wants to go to Mars.

But assuming that SpaceX can launch a passenger Starship, and have up to a dozen tanker Starship flights in rapid succession top off her tanks, that really boosts Starship's capabilities. Orbital refueling is what would make Starship capable of going to Mars and the Moon. Once a spacecraft is in LEO, as the saying goes, she's halfway to anywhere in the solar system. With full tanks, she can take a hundred tons to Mars or the Moon.

That brings up another nice thing orbital refueling enables - really big payloads. 100 tons to Mars or the Moon. Or passenger ships with more radiation shielding. It's why SpaceX was able to offer NASA an 18-wheeler to the Moon, while Blue Origin and Dynetics struggled to put together a VW Bug to the Moon.

Related is another Starship strategy - if they bring a Sabatier plant with them to Mars, they can make propellant out of the CO2 & water there, and that's what enables them to come home.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #28)

Thu May 27, 2021, 09:28 AM

40. Yes, good for bulk cargo. But practical human transport will need shorter travel time.

I'm no fan of nuclear power in general, but for space propulsion, it's pretty compelling. Ironically, it's the best way to reduce your travelers' exposure to radiation.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #9)

Wed May 26, 2021, 05:11 PM

38. On Mars or the Moon, the short-term solution is to bury your habitats.

They might want to bring a rover with a backhoe.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 11:59 AM

10. One other thing that I forgot: The days are longer on Mars.






... or at least the average length of a day. That part is complicated.

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Response to Towlie (Reply #10)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:14 PM

12. LOL.

One of the few things about Mars that's almost like home.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:16 PM

13. Antarctica will be balmy one day maybe

In a bad way

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #13)

Wed May 26, 2021, 02:56 PM

22. It has been in the past, and life did just fine.

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Response to Crunchy Frog (Reply #22)

Wed May 26, 2021, 03:48 PM

25. Life, and civilization, are two entirely different things

Life is amazingly resilient. But, the odds of human civilization surviving the worst-case climate change predictions are not good. Advanced civilization is more fragile than most realize.

But our hunter-gatherer descendants would enjoy a rewinded planet, gathered around a fire in a cave, eatingng their kill, just like our ancestors did 100,000 yr ago.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #25)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:20 PM

30. Probably for the best. I'm not too impressed with our current civilization.

IMO, the more likely possibility is that we would enter into a new dark ages, as has happened multiple times in the past.

We would eventually re-emerge, and maybe build a new civilization more sensible and sustainable than our current one.

I would certainly prefer that to us going out and fucking up other planets.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:25 PM

15. It's worth trying

Missions to space have driven so much technology. But to be realistic, we're a long ways from deep space travel or colonizing Mars.

And here's what I believe. We will explore the cosmos and set up bases on Mars, but our human bodies won't be there. It will be our AI robot ambassadors who do all the real exploring. We're perhaps a couple decades from being able to send real semi artificially intelligence robots to where ever we can get a ship to take them. We're probably hundreds of years from solving the damage that space travel inflicts on the human body. We have no idea how to deal with Cosmic Radiation much less the tens of thousands of years it takes to get anywhere outside our solar system. In the end, maybe our human forms will have to be dramatically altered at a genetic level to have human bodies that can withstand space travel.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:26 PM

16. (oops sorry for the stretch, but) The White billionaires might want their own special planet.

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Response to ShazamIam (Reply #16)

Wed May 26, 2021, 03:01 PM

23. That would be the best expenditure of tax dollars

in the history of the USA.

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Response to ShazamIam (Reply #16)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:52 PM

35. I'm sure we can find a special planet they could call their own. And send them to it.

There are many to choose from, circling stars that are not our sun. Bon voyage.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #35)

Thu May 27, 2021, 12:26 PM

42. Or they could build one.




Like in Elysium.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 12:30 PM

18. Beltalowda!

Beltalowda
beltalowda 1. all Belters; the people of the Belt

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 01:12 PM

19. All Martians will be placed on reservations.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 02:35 PM

20. Actually, the Moon would be a better start than Mars.

Mars has some serious issues with arsenic in the soil as well as the radioactive issues on the surface.
We know the Moon's issues fairly well and it's a lot closer if things go sideways.
The safest way to begin planetary colonization off earth is setting up communities housed in lava tubes. The Moon makes a much better jumping off point for leaving Earth to do scientific exploration and profitable business ventures -such as mining astroids for rare earth minerals.

I suspect what Elon Musk wants is to ultimately set up a Libertarian "free if you're rich" resort society far away from nasty things like governments and regulations, all the while getting all the resources for comfortable survival from Earth. He bought into Sci-Fi reality, but I still have yet to hear or learn how anyone serious in actual science has come up with a viable theory on how we can colonize, let alone terraform Mars within his lifetime.
Unless he turns himself into an Android.

Haele

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Response to haele (Reply #20)

Wed May 26, 2021, 05:04 PM

37. Both the Moon and Mars have their hazards.

The soil on the Moon is virtually uneroded, so the particles are like microscopic pieces of broken glass.

They wrecked havoc on equipment for the Apollo missions, and you really don't want to breathe that. NASA's engineers have to go to a lot of trouble to deal with that.

Mars's biggest problem is the perchlorates in the soil - quite toxic, and some heavy metals. Any soil used for growing food is gonna have to be treated.

I've been partial to building orbital habitats, like O'Neill colonies, though I'd suggest a scalable design - O'Neill's designs are a bit... ambitious...

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 03:50 PM

26. Antarctica is legally off limits to colonization.

If it weren't, you can bet we'd have mining and oil drilling operations there by now, with tens of thousands living there already.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #26)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:47 PM

33. Yeah, I like the idea of leaving Antarctica pristine.

The nice thing about going to space is that most of what's up there is lifeless, and I consider it to be humanity's for the taking.

There might be some microbes on Mars, though so far we haven't found any. I'd hope Mars gets really seriously studied in a way that avoids contaminating it - it would be nice to be able to find what life might be there on Mars before Earth bacteria eats it.

Europa and Enceladus (moons of Jupiter and Saturn) might be an issue - they probably have subsurface oceans, and maybe life. And said subsurface oceans make those places really attractive for humans to explore and contaminate. And they'll possibly get big settlements on them.

Aside from that, as far as I'm concerned, if it's in vacuum, it's ours. Sorry, I'm having sugarplum dreams of O'Neill colonies right now.

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 03:54 PM

27. I heard the Antarctica poop potatoes aren't very good

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Response to lame54 (Reply #27)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:24 PM

31. I suspect the lunar and martian poop potatoes are nothing to brag about. nt

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #31)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:51 PM

34. Eat recycled food! It's good for the environment and OK for you.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #34)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:55 PM

36. Poop IS recycled food. Microbes and dung beetles seem to like it.

Maybe I'd like some fried dung beetles, encrusted in crushed corn flakes. Yum.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #36)

Wed May 26, 2021, 10:10 PM

39. If you trace back the paths of some of the molecules of the pizza you ate just now...

...you don't want to know how many digestive tracts they went through over the millennia...

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Wed May 26, 2021, 04:27 PM

32. Maybe private businesses and not countries will colonize Mars

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Response to Towlie (Original post)

Thu May 27, 2021, 09:33 AM

41. You'd be amazed at how much modern tech is descended from stuff created during the first space race.

How much different would our lives be, if our parents and/or grandparents considered attempts to put a man on the moon back in the 60's to be a waste of time and not worth doing? If they considered it to risky to be worth attempting?

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