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Mars
#1
Mars
I just watched a mini series on Netflix called Mars. It is based on a book about the realities of colonizing Mars. The style of the series was unusual, because it mixed a fictional story of a near future Mars mission with a documentary style.

I have been a total geek for space exploration for my entire life. I'm a big science fiction fan, especially when the science fiction is set in space. I served in Air Force Space Command where I operated satellites.

However, in my old age I am starting to sour on space exploration a little bit. In my younger days, I would have been chomping at the bit to strap myself in on top of a missile that was going to be launched into space. But now that just seems really, really crazy to me. And unbelievably expensive. And I honestly don't see the point. I have become sort of jaded after the fuzzy feel good vibes of Apollo faded, and it finally sunk in that after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, then every mission after that was one of diminishing returns. The real driving force behind Apollo was to make the USSR afraid of us. If we could put men on the moon and bring them back again, then we could most certainly reach out and touch Moscow. So there just isn't much to be gained by continuing moon missions, no matter how sad it is that we stopped them.

I mean, sure, it would totally make sense if we figured out how to make fusion reactors work, and we needed helium 3 to make them work, and the surface of the moon was the closest place to get sufficient quantities of it. But we don't have anything that is so important right now. So space exploration is just a really, really expensive way for people to do really, really dangerous things that are going to get some of them killed.

A Mars mission is orders of magnitude more difficult, expensive, and dangerous. If it really were possible for us to get there and set up a self sustaining permanent colony, I would be for it. But I don't believe that we can do that. I think that we might be able to get some people there, and hopefully get them back. But then it will just be Apollo all over again. The rule of diminishing returns will cause us to stop sending more Mars missions. So I just don't see any reason to do it in the first place, until we develop the ability to go there and stay.

To do that, we really need to develop sustainability. We don't have sustainability. We aren't even really very close. It makes far more sense to work on sustainability than it does to work on a Mars mission. Sustainability has super long term benefits. If we can make self sustaining habitable environments on the moon and Mars, then we can most certainly live sustainable lives on earth. Not only would we have the ability to colonize other worlds; we would have the ability to live sustainably on the world that we already have. We shouldn't even be thinking about going to Mars until we have cracked the sustainability nut.

And hopefully, that would give us a lot more time to work on technology that might be preferable to chemical rockets. The rockets are really expensive and really dangerous. Any thoughts on Mars missions, colonizing technology, sustainability, or alternatives to rockets?
We do not inherit the world from our parents. We borrow it from our children.
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#2
RE: Mars
(February 12, 2019 at 11:33 am)Yonadav Wrote: I just watched a mini series on Netflix called Mars. It is based on a book about the realities of colonizing Mars. The style of the series was unusual, because it mixed a fictional story of a near future Mars mission with a documentary style.

I have been a total geek for space exploration for my entire life. I'm a big science fiction fan, especially when the science fiction is set in space. I served in Air Force Space Command where I operated satellites.

However, in my old age I am starting to sour on space exploration a little bit. In my younger days, I would have been chomping at the bit to strap myself in on top of a missile that was going to be launched into space. But now that just seems really, really crazy to me. And unbelievably expensive. And I honestly don't see the point. I have become sort of jaded after the fuzzy feel good vibes of Apollo faded, and it finally sunk in that after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, then every mission after that was one of diminishing returns. The real driving force behind Apollo was to make the USSR afraid of us. If we could put men on the moon and bring them back again, then we could most certainly reach out and touch Moscow. So there just isn't much to be gained by continuing moon missions, no matter how sad it is that we stopped them.

I mean, sure, it would totally make sense if we figured out how to make fusion reactors work, and we needed helium 3 to make them work, and the surface of the moon was the closest place to get sufficient quantities of it. But we don't have anything that is so important right now. So space exploration is just a really, really expensive way for people to do really, really dangerous things that are going to get some of them killed.

A Mars mission is orders of magnitude more difficult, expensive, and dangerous. If it really were possible for us to get there and set up a self sustaining permanent colony, I would be for it. But I don't believe that we can do that. I think that we might be able to get some people there, and hopefully get them back. But then it will just be Apollo all over again. The rule of diminishing returns will cause us to stop sending more Mars missions. So I just don't see any reason to do it in the first place, until we develop the ability to go there and stay.

To do that, we really need to develop sustainability. We don't have sustainability. We aren't even really very close. It makes far more sense to work on sustainability than it does to work on a Mars mission. Sustainability has super long term benefits. If we can make self sustaining habitable environments on the moon and Mars, then we can most certainly live sustainable lives on earth. Not only would we have the ability to colonize other worlds; we would have the ability to live sustainably on the world that we already have. We shouldn't even be thinking about going to Mars until we have cracked the sustainability nut.

And hopefully, that would give us a lot more time to work on technology that might be preferable to chemical rockets. The rockets are really expensive and really dangerous. Any thoughts on Mars missions, colonizing technology, sustainability, or alternatives to rockets?

While multi tasking can be done with enough funding by the government/private sector. We have bigger fish to fry before we should even start thinking about getting humans to Mars. 

1. Facing the fact that burning fossil fuels is causing global warming.

2. Creating a meteor defense system.

I hate to say it, but right now those two things should be a bigger priority. I am sure we can eventually put a human on Mars, but colonizing it is still a long way off and if we allow global politics to go down the shitter, we will face a nuclear war long before we have a shot at getting to Mars.
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#3
RE: Mars
Nothing captures the imagination quite like human exploration.  We could have set two coconuts adrift and let the atlantic current carry them to the new world, too.  It is fantasticaly expensive, though..and we could get alot more unmanned missions out there for a hell of alot less.  As far as I see it, a drive to colonize mars is useful in that it would make us a two planet species.  Unique and thus uniquely resilient, so far as we can tell..in life.  

I think we can and should practice our terraforming chops here, ofc.  We have problems we could fix here...some of them might actually be addressable by off planet exploitation.  Why treat a living world like a dump when we can rape the ever-living shit out of any number of dead rocks to our black hearts content, right?
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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#4
RE: Mars
The case for manned colonization of mars has weakened rather than strengthened in the short run because literally nothing we can justify doing on mars for purposes other than stunts can not be done better, faster, and cheaper with robotics than with men in suits.

The case for longer term (within 300 years) massed human colonization of mars is also in my opinion weak. While earth may be crowded and experiencing environmental degradiation, the cost of raising significant portions of mars to the standard of habitability on even the most extremely degraded parts of the earth would still be many orders of magnitude higher than arresting some of the worst degradations on earth. Perhaps a few people with wealth and inclination of hermits, contrarians, adventure travelers can make a go of temporary residency on mars. But colonization? No.

Basically, the sound fundamental rationale for manned space travel really no longer encompass space exploration. Only discretionary stunt, or true migration, remains as likely reasons for manned space travel.
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#5
RE: Mars
Why does it have to be either/or?
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#6
RE: Mars
I'm pretty much a Saganite on this issue.  The time and treasure required to colonize Mars is very probably not worth it. We can learn whatever we like with unmanned vehicles.

We landed on the moon very nearly fifty years ago.  If the colonization of space was practical, Luna City would be a going concern by now.

Boru
'A man is accepted into a church for what he believes.  He is turned out for what he knows.' - Mark Twain
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#7
RE: Mars
Sorry, but it wasn't practicality that scuppered the Moon program, it was people like Senator Proxmire and his "golden fleece" program. Devoutly anti-science, he attacked anything he couldn't understand. I sometimes think that went down to eggs benedict.
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#8
RE: Mars
Might also be useful to point out that colonization is rarely, if ever practical in the immediate term.  The first colonists to america forgot to bring any means of producing food, and it wouldn't have mattered if they did because they didn't bring farmers with them, nor would their old world knowledge have been all that useful in the new world.  Those colonists (and more broadly the entirety of european colonization) was dependent on continued contact and shipment from the old world and the standards of living in the nascent US were pretty godamned terrible compared to "home".  Those standards vastly favored the wealthier colonists, too.  Not for a few seasons, or a few years, or even a few decades.  The main reason to go at all, for centuries, was an attempt at extraction with minimal manpower and local production - or if, for whatever reason..it was even worse for you at home.  Bunchof castoffs and criminals.  In balance of what we know now..it didn't end up being practical for those that funded the initial effort, either.  

The eventual inheritors of this immense outlay of capital where as far removed from home as a people as they were in time and geography.  Our eventual foray into offworld colonization is likely to follow that pattern regardless of when (or where) we go.  Not just in the broad strokes, but in everyday lived experience.  A shit months-long boat ride where some don't make it (and some boats don't make it).  Correspondence by mail (can't videochat or have a telephone call with your martian cousin) and even the complete isolation of kinship.  Garbage jobs in horrendous conditions working just for the basic necessities controlled by agents of wealthy backers..back home.  Plenty of labor but enough specialists.  The whole bit.  Then...eventually, you know, they start flinging missiles back our way, lol.

Personally, I'd book my family in a heartbeat.  Who wouldn't want to get in, first, on the lucrative food and water market on mars?  Give it a few hundred years and that initial bit of adventurism could yield dividends much like it did for some of the older colonizing families of the US. I've got my path laid out ahead of me here, and I'm better off than most of the world (and most of the us) - but given the opportunity to widen that gap even further while going to motherfuckin space!...well......can't say that it doesn't tickle at something in the back of my brain. I'm already the kind of guy who packs up and moves on a whim here on earth, though.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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#9
RE: Mars
(February 12, 2019 at 3:28 pm)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Sorry, but it wasn't practicality that scuppered the Moon program, it was people like Senator Proxmire and his "golden fleece" program. Devoutly anti-science, he attacked anything he couldn't understand. I sometimes think that went down to eggs benedict.

*shrug*  If it were at all practical, it would be further along by now.  We can send unmanned probes virtually anywhere and expand what we about our little corner of space.  Sending humans to other planets gets us oh-look-we-sent-humans-to-other-planets, and precious little else.

It is possible to be pro-science and at the same time realize how stupid and impractical it is to try to colonize Mars.

Boru
'A man is accepted into a church for what he believes.  He is turned out for what he knows.' - Mark Twain
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#10
RE: Mars
The colonization of mars is a longer term goal than any cost benefit analysis that plays out in the span of a human lifetime, or even many human lifetimes, can address. As far as learning about a place is concerned, there will probably never be a time where sending a human is the better of two viable options..one of which being not sending a human.

Sending someone to the moon..though, did capture funding. It's probably not a coincidence that this funding has tapered off as the prestige of those manned missions is forgotten. Elon Musk is a nutter who only started space x to escape the coming apocalypse, so here again we see the value of that goal.

Wink

(there are certainly folks who will tell you that the only thing better than sending a robot, if you can swing it, is sending a person -and- a robot..we work pretty well together)
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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