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Thread: Living on Mars?

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Hey!
    I read an article recently about how scientist have discovered how to potentially grow plant life on mars by replicating the soil as best they can and they've successful so far, this got me thinking about what it'd be like if we moved there - as in would it be anything like Earth? Considering nothing went wrong, that is. My theory is that it'd be no different, especially as the population there grows, because humans don't change; the only thing changing is the location and we can still *******s half way across the world so we'd be the same on mars.
    I still suspect there'd be corruption, crime, pollution and all that other stuff that gives us a bad name on earth. But I have no idea how it'd be set up on mars, would there be measures put in place to stop us from ruining society and mars like we are the earth? I think it'd be really cool to live on another planet and it'd be cool to be alive to see it happen but I think we should only planet-jump if we/the governments actually decide to take proper care of this place and make it a safe and decent place to live.

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    Define "it".

    And just because you can grow plants on earth using soil that simulates Martian soil does NOT mean you can grow that same plant on Mars. Its a step inthe right direction, yes. But it is not equivalent.

    Would their be corruption and everything else? You're going to have to define that. And, perhaps more importantly, it depends who colonizes Mars and what their drivers are. Are you talking colonization by a for profit company? By a national agency? By a non-profit organization driven by philosophical goals? Are you curious about the first generation of colonists or the thousandth?

    Go read some good sci-fi if you want well-thought out contemplation of such possibilities. Asimov and his contemporaries were/are very good at that.

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    I'm starting to assume I wasn't clear enough, this is my first thread haha

    I just meant in general, any type of corruption and human marring we're doing on earth. The main focal point would be that would mars end up like earth with corrupt governments, animals going extinct before their time, pollution from cars/factories/etc, crime/murder/theft/etc, poverty and exploitation of poverty, rich stealing from the poor and so on.

    Would life on mars be just as bad there as it is on earth (which is under the consideration that life is sustainable up there) or, considering the probable decline on earth, would whoever owns/controls/funds the colonisation of mars put measures in place to ensure we don't ruin mars as a planet, the ecosystem or the economy.

    My theory is it'll be the same as it is here, but I wanted to hear someone else's thoughts on that haha

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    The thing is, the initial group of people that actually *go* to Mars would presumably be carefully chosen for things like psychological stability--they'd have to be, since the journey to Mars takes six months and you don't want people who are likely to fly off the handle cooped up in a small environment for that length of time. At the very least that would mean the Mars society would have to be somewhat different to how it is here on Earth. There's also the point that the population on Mars would be very small for a long time, given the costs of getting people there, so you'd need to be comparing this with small communities here on Earth, not inner cities and the like. When everyone knows everyone else there are fewer opportunities for theft, murder and the like, if only because of the extreme likelihood of being caught.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcticMoue View Post
    I read an article recently about how scientist have discovered how to potentially grow plant life on mars by replicating the soil as best they can and they've successful so far,
    Link? Wasn't Martian soil covered in hydrogen peroxide (which is not good for anything organic)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    Link? Wasn't Martian soil covered in hydrogen peroxide (which is not good for anything organic)?
    It was Perchlorates. Bad for your thyroid. Far as I know we don't know if the perchlorates are wide spread, or if the location where they were detected were an anomaly. Even if they are all over the place I would assume that any soil you want to grow things in will be chemically altered first anyway. Shouldn't be to hard to rig up a bit of machinery to cheaply eliminate the unwanted chemicals.

    Edit: Looks like they are found all over mars. But they are also a few orders of magnitude more common there than in the atacama desert on earth. This means it would be very profitable for the martian settlers to try and extract THIS COMPONENT OF ROCKET FUEL!!! and use the ''waste'' (soil) for agriculture.
    Last edited by Balyano; 2017-12-03 at 07:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Balyano View Post
    It was Perchlorates.
    No. H2O2. Hydrogen Peroxide. The one we use it to bleach hair and remove any traces of organic substances. But - yes. Perchlorates are there too.
    Last edited by Lazymancer; 2017-12-03 at 11:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    The thing is, the initial group of people that actually *go* to Mars would presumably be carefully chosen for things like psychological stability--they'd have to be, since the journey to Mars takes six months and you don't want people who are likely to fly off the handle cooped up in a small environment for that length of time. At the very least that would mean the Mars society would have to be somewhat different to how it is here on Earth. There's also the point that the population on Mars would be very small for a long time, given the costs of getting people there, so you'd need to be comparing this with small communities here on Earth, not inner cities and the like. When everyone knows everyone else there are fewer opportunities for theft, murder and the like, if only because of the extreme likelihood of being caught.
    Reminds me of Red Mars, where the people sent in the first colonisation mission consist of at least two camps as to what kind of society they're going to build, and later clash with both Earth and each other over who gets to govern Mars and whether or not it should be Terraformed. The initial society consists of about fifty people and might as well just be a large, very long interplanetary scientific expedition.

    Note: any long term Martian living or colonisation would require us to know how plants develop in low-g environments, and it's theorised that long term exposure to Martian gravity would even stop Earth born humans from being able to tolerate 1g of gravity, let alone those who grow up on Mars. For all we know a martian society might be impossible.
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    Gravity is still about one third of what it is here, the length of a day is less than an hour longer, we'd have to bring our own atmosphere and pack it inside buildings we can't really leave while still having to build tough enough to withstand Martian sand storms. I figure the main problem of colonizing Mars is not that one specific thing is bad, it's that everything is bad. The soil, the temperatures, you name it, it's worse than on 90 percent of places on Earth, if not 100. And the combination of all those circumstances is definitely worse than anywhere on Earth.

    This means that before it really starts making sense to put people on Mars for the sake of moving people off Earth, we will need to have Earth packed to the limits. It's easier to grow food inside a large Earth building than on Mars, so as farm ground runs out, expect farm buildings, not farms on Mars. It's easier, waaaaay easier, to build up a good livable home in the Gobi desert than on Mars, so as living space runs out, expect living in the desert, not on Mars. In fact, a self sustaining floating city sounds downright easy to make compared to a Mars habitat for the same number of people. Give me an old ferry, a hundred people, a bunch of solar panels, fishnets and a water filtration system and I'm halfway there. (Okay, I'll be about ten percent there, maybe. But any similarly sized shopping list for a Mars expedition of a hundred people gets me maybe half a percent there.) Not to mention that most predictions don't actually indicate that much population growth for the foreseeable future. There will still be growth during the next 50 years or so, mostly in/out of Africa and certain parts of Asia, but after that the worlds population should stabilize or even decline. These models are far from perfect and definitely do not account for say possible future extreme life extension technologies, but you get my overall drift: The situation needs to get a lot worse before moving to Mars is the sensible option.

    What I could see happening is limited amounts of people moving to Mars, the Moon, Ceres or certain asteroids, not because we don't want them here, but because we need them there. At some moment in the future there might be a point where it's easier and cheaper to mine for certain resources off-world than it is to find or manufacture them down here. Tritium could become an important component to the energy chain, in which case it could make sense to gather it on the Moon, in which case it could make sense to have a small human crew up there in addition to a small warehouse full of computers, one or more AI's or whatever we have that's close enough and the physical machines that do the actual work.

    What living there would be like? It'd be a lot like life in the ISS. It's cramped, everything stinks and your health is steadily deteriorating, but you're surrounded by some of the most brilliant and motivated minds Earth has produced, and you get to have an experience few people will ever have.

    I don't believe in the gameshow approach, in just shooting random people up there and believe they'll somehow end up paying for themselves. In fact, there's a good chance being selected as part of the elite that will run the whateveritis mine on Mars means giving up large parts of the human experience. For instance: what sounds cheaper to you: sending a new astronaut when needed, selected from the best minds available and trained by the best Earth schools for the job at hand, or letting people up there have kids and try to raise them into what the colony might need eighteen years from now, all the while having them consume precious resources?

    And there could be a time where we actually are properly colonizing other planets, but at that point human technology and society will have changes so much that it's hard to predict what will happen. Yeah sure, there will probably be crime and love and corruption and money and drugs and pollution and charities and politics and sports and war and sex and prostitution and games and gambling and music and all those things that have been part of the human experience for so long, but in what form? No idea. I only know one thing: when that time comes there will be plenty of people living in the Gobi desert.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-12-03 at 12:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcticMoue View Post
    Hey!
    I read an article recently about how scientist have discovered how to potentially grow plant life on mars by replicating the soil as best they can and they've successful so far, this got me thinking about what it'd be like if we moved there - as in would it be anything like Earth? Considering nothing went wrong, that is. My theory is that it'd be no different, especially as the population there grows, because humans don't change; the only thing changing is the location and we can still *******s half way across the world so we'd be the same on mars.
    I still suspect there'd be corruption, crime, pollution and all that other stuff that gives us a bad name on earth.
    Pollution loses much of it's relevance on Mars though because 1.) There's no natural ecosystems to destroy and 2.) The planet is colder than Earth and could stand to warm up a bit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Pollution loses much of it's relevance on Mars though because 1.) There's no natural ecosystems to destroy and 2.) The planet is colder than Earth and could stand to warm up a bit
    Pollution does not always take the shape of the warming of the whole planet. For instance: In a glass dome filled with air shone upon by sunlight pollution can take the shape of ozon, which is poisonous in high concentrations with nowhere to go.

    On second thought, I'm not even sure if that would count as pollution or just ****ty design, but the point is more general: there's not such a thing as one single universal effect of pollution.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-12-03 at 02:54 PM.
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    I am firmly convinced that we'd have to practically rebuild Mars before we could live on it long-term; mining iron from it might be worthwhile, but honestly we'd be better off just going to the asteroid belt for mining (or just building our own planet outright).
    What would we have to do to properly live on Mars as if it were Earth?
    1. Somehow inject enough additional mass below the crust to increase the gravity to Earth levels.
    2. Install a spinning, liquid iron core.
    3. Wait for the planet to stop acting like a giant volcano and cool down a bit.
    4. Add enough atmosphere to actually be able to breathe; this would require the choice of either keep the gasses in proper proportion to avoid toxicity, or follow this by installing plants capable of converting CO2 to O2 (and possibly more conversions depending on what gasses you start with) to Earth levels.
    5. Add enough water so that it isn't an outright desert.

    The first two steps might occur simultaneously, and 4+5 could probably be covered by throwing a comet at the planet, but yeah you get the picture, the idea of living on Mars should be abandoned IMO. Going there to prove we can reach it, sure. But don't plan on living there!

    On a related side note, does anyone know how accurate the heart problems of "The Space Between Us" were? Because we already know that astronauts have trouble with muscle and bone loss in orbit, and I can't help but expect that trying to live on Mars would include similar problems IRL if anyone was born there...
    Last edited by Avigor; 2017-12-03 at 03:10 PM.
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    I don't get people who want to live there, it looks so dull and boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    we can't really leave while still having to build tough enough to withstand Martian sand storms.

    This means that before it really starts making sense to put people on Mars for the sake of moving people off Earth, we will need to have Earth packed to the limits.
    Martian sand storms aren't actually all that bad because the atmosphere is so thin--it can't carry sufficient sand to cause real damage, although you'll need to pop outside and wipe the sand build-up off your solar panels every now and again.

    As for "moving people off Earth"--I don't think that's ever going to be a practical reason for putting colonies on Mars. The sheer amount of energy required to move any people up the gravity gradient to Mars makes it impractical to send large numbers of people there (assuming sensible levels of technology)--I think it's far more likely any colony we create on the Moon, Mars, or anywhere else in the solar system will be primarily for scientific research. To even match the rate at which the Earth's population is increasing you'd need to send something like 75 million people per year over to Mars, and that's just not going to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    Pollution does not always take the shape of the warming of the whole planet. For instance: In a glass dome filled with air shone upon by sunlight pollution can take the shape of ozon, which is poisonous in high concentrations with nowhere to go.

    On second thought, I'm not even sure if that would count as pollution or just ****ty design, but the point is more general: there's not such a thing as one single universal effect of pollution.
    All you need is to suss out a way to build a smakestack that sticks out beyond the dome but doesn't let your oxygen out along with the waste gases. Not precisely simple per se but a probably cakewalk compared to the other technical challenges of a mars colony.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    As for "moving people off Earth"--I don't think that's ever going to be a practical reason for putting colonies on Mars. The sheer amount of energy required to move any people up the gravity gradient to Mars makes it impractical to send large numbers of people there (assuming sensible levels of technology)
    Which is why real colonies will be massive space stations. With 1g and all the jazz.

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    To even match the rate at which the Earth's population is increasing you'd need to send something like 75 million people per year over to Mars, and that's just not going to happen.
    IIRC, the number was around 100 million people (each with cargo of up to ~1 ton) per year. Doable only if we'll build and master space elevators.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    IIRC, the number was around 100 million people (each with cargo of up to ~1 ton) per year. Doable only if we'll build and master space elevators.
    And still not in any way more practical than "colonizing" the Mars sized surface that is Earths deserts, polar regions and seas.

    Seriously, if you can make Mars livable, you can turn even the ocean floor into a palace. At least the temperature is a nice steady just above freezing, you're only a few kilometers from a year round reachable emergency pickup location and there's plenty of water. Even if transport's completely free somehow, Mars is not a pleasant place. And terraforming is a big project, way bigger than even making every place on Earth perfectly pleasant to live. At least we have a nice moderate (by human standards) weather- and ecosystem to start with. So that's what I would take as my minimum technological baseline for when any decent amount of humans start living on Mars: Project Earth complete.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    Gravity is still about one third of what it is here, the length of a day is less than an hour longer, we'd have to bring our own atmosphere and pack it inside buildings we can't really leave while still having to build tough enough to withstand Martian sand storms. I figure the main problem of colonizing Mars is not that one specific thing is bad, it's that everything is bad. The soil, the temperatures, you name it, it's worse than on 90 percent of places on Earth, if not 100. And the combination of all those circumstances is definitely worse than anywhere on Earth.

    This means that before it really starts making sense to put people on Mars for the sake of moving people off Earth, we will need to have Earth packed to the limits. It's easier to grow food inside a large Earth building than on Mars, so as farm ground runs out, expect farm buildings, not farms on Mars. It's easier, waaaaay easier, to build up a good livable home in the Gobi desert than on Mars, so as living space runs out, expect living in the desert, not on Mars. In fact, a self sustaining floating city sounds downright easy to make compared to a Mars habitat for the same number of people. Give me an old ferry, a hundred people, a bunch of solar panels, fishnets and a water filtration system and I'm halfway there. (Okay, I'll be about ten percent there, maybe. But any similarly sized shopping list for a Mars expedition of a hundred people gets me maybe half a percent there.)
    Lots of good points, although I will note the other situation that'll potentially make us relocate to another body: the sun's expansion makes Earth uninhabitable. But even then I think we're more likely to pick a gas giant moon than Mars.

    If we can get space elevators and give it half a millennia I can see permanent states being formed on other bodies in the solar system, but I honestly don't think it's likely we'll reach that. It's like interstellar empires probably won't be a thing, even if it turns out that FTL travel is possible, unless we can get instant travel and very, very good computers it just likely won't be worthwhile.

    Not to mention that most predictions don't actually indicate that much population growth for the foreseeable future. There will still be growth during the next 50 years or so, mostly in/out of Africa and certain parts of Asia, but after that the worlds population should stabilize or even decline. These models are far from perfect and definitely do not account for say possible future extreme life extension technologies, but you get my overall drift: The situation needs to get a lot worse before moving to Mars is the sensible option.
    Yeah, I recently started reading The Expanse, and the 'Earth has a population of thirty billion without major increases in life expectancy' was one of the harder things to suspend my disbelief for. I mean, I could have excepted the high teens, but that's over double what the current estimate for the stabilised human population without longevity treatments is.

    What I could see happening is limited amounts of people moving to Mars, the Moon, Ceres or certain asteroids, not because we don't want them here, but because we need them there. At some moment in the future there might be a point where it's easier and cheaper to mine for certain resources off-world than it is to find or manufacture them down here. Tritium could become an important component to the energy chain, in which case it could make sense to gather it on the Moon, in which case it could make sense to have a small human crew up there in addition to a small warehouse full of computers, one or more AI's or whatever we have that's close enough and the physical machines that do the actual work.

    What living there would be like? It'd be a lot like life in the ISS. It's cramped, everything stinks and your health is steadily deteriorating, but you're surrounded by some of the most brilliant and motivated minds Earth has produced, and you get to have an experience few people will ever have.
    Because almost anything else requires shifting too much mass into orbit (and then back down again), right? I'm fairly certain we can theoretically engineer a habitat that'll solve all the problems, or at least reduce them, but that it requires more mass than we can realistically put into orbit.

    I don't believe in the gameshow approach, in just shooting random people up there and believe they'll somehow end up paying for themselves. In fact, there's a good chance being selected as part of the elite that will run the whateveritis mine on Mars means giving up large parts of the human experience. For instance: what sounds cheaper to you: sending a new astronaut when needed, selected from the best minds available and trained by the best Earth schools for the job at hand, or letting people up there have kids and try to raise them into what the colony might need eighteen years from now, all the while having them consume precious resources?
    Hmmmm.... so the choices are single gender colonies (I recommend male only because it's a lot harder to work around no eggs than no sperm), shipping contraception over, or steralising the astronauts (maybe we could skimp a bit on the rocket's shielding and get it cheaply). Assuming pregnancies even work in low gravity of course, I'm not certain we have any real data on that.

    And there could be a time where we actually are properly colonizing other planets, but at that point human technology and society will have changes so much that it's hard to predict what will happen. Yeah sure, there will probably be crime and love and corruption and money and drugs and pollution and charities and politics and sports and war and sex and prostitution and games and gambling and music and all those things that have been part of the human experience for so long, but in what form? No idea. I only know one thing: when that time comes there will be plenty of people living in the Gobi desert.
    Either that, or the idea of 'living somewhere' will have been rendered redundant by advances in technology, or it becomes practical to offload lots of manufacturing to the Gobi desert while people live in nicer areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    Which is why real colonies will be massive space stations. With 1g and all the jazz.
    IIRC there are massive engineering problems with massive space stations. The first one is getting the materials into orbit, especially if we want a comfortable 1g (which means we also want a low rpm), and that's first off a lot of material to build our structure. Then we have to be certain we're building it out of materials that'll withstand the stresses of something that size rotating. But assuming we can build it out of iron we can probably capture an asteroid or twelve that'll give us enough raw materials. We still need to ship up soil and maybe atmosphere, but it's a start. I assume we're going for a full O'Neil cylinder by the way, and aren't cutting corners on a Torus design (which will give us less livable space per gram of material).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    And still not in any way more practical than "colonizing" the Mars sized surface that is Earths deserts, polar regions and seas.
    The point is to get people closer to the extraterrestrial resources, no?

    Also, I argued for building space station, not terraforming Mars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    IIRC there are massive engineering problems with massive space stations. The first one is getting the materials into orbit, especially if we want a comfortable 1g (which means we also want a low rpm), and that's first off a lot of material to build our structure.
    Which is why "Doable only if we'll build and master space elevators."

    Also, I'm guessing only the early stations will be made from Earth materials - it makes more sense to move production of stations to the Belt or near Mars (wherever resources are).

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Then we have to be certain we're building it out of materials that'll withstand the stresses of something that size rotating.
    This problem is related to the space elevator. But we are already making nanotubes, so it's a question of time until we get sufficient production going.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    We still need to ship up soil and maybe atmosphere, but it's a start
    Actually, both soil (well, not proper soil, but the non-biological materials that could be used by microflora to make proper soil) and air could also be easily made off-Earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    The point is to get people closer to the extraterrestrial resources, no?
    There aren't any resources on Mars that we can't find here on Earth, though, and if you're just going out there to get resources it would be far easier to capture and mine Earth-crossing asteroids than to colonise and mine Mars.

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    Can we make earthlike atmosphere on Mars? I mean, oxygen shouldn't be a problem, but is there any good source of nitrogen?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    Which is why "Doable only if we'll build and master space elevators."

    Also, I'm guessing only the early stations will be made from Earth materials - it makes more sense to move production of stations to the Belt or near Mars (wherever resources are).
    The first bit you'd never actually said.

    Also, I did admit that it would be easier to construct them from asteroids. I was just assuming that we were going to be sticking these stations in the L4 and L5 points to start off with, nice stable orbits and they're not so far away it'll take years to get any resources they mine back. Maybe we'll also have a station in the belt to kick asteroids closer so we can plonk them in Earth orbit for mining, but I think we should assume that most space habitation for the near future will be exploiting near-Earth resources.

    This problem is related to the space elevator. But we are already making nanotubes, so it's a question of time until we get sufficient production going.
    Well sure, we can do it if we can build a space elevator, but that's not actually a given. There are at least theoretical ways to set up a space hab without having an elevator to ferry stuff up to it, and so I ignored any technology that wouldn't be required. It also makes more sense if we're discussing a self sustaining colony, as instead of being able to send somebody up in the space elevator we'd have to launch a vehicle.

    Actually, both soil (well, not proper soil, but the non-biological materials that could be used by microflora to make proper soil) and air could also be easily made off-Earth.
    Didn't know about soil, did know about atmosphere. Okay, so we just need to get a bunch of asteroids into orbit and use those to manufacture our nanotubes.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    There aren't any resources on Mars that we can't find here on Earth, though, and if you're just going out there to get resources it would be far easier to capture and mine Earth-crossing asteroids than to colonise and mine Mars.
    And again it is implied that I want to colonize Mars. However, I've already stated my opinion - which was the opposite (i.e. space stations), and then repeated it, after it was suggested that I support terraforming of Mars.



    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    The first bit you'd never actually said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    Doable only if we'll build and master space elevators.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I think we should assume that most space habitation for the near future will be exploiting near-Earth resources.
    Why? The big problem is to get out of gravity well. Getting to Moon/Mars/Belt afterwards is just a question of drifting through space.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Well sure, we can do it if we can build a space elevator, but that's not actually a given.
    No, it's a given. We have technology since the late 00s and can start building crude versions already. The only problem is politics. Which we are not supposed to discuss, apparently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Didn't know about soil, did know about atmosphere. Okay, so we just need to get a bunch of asteroids into orbit and use those to manufacture our nanotubes.
    Why do we need to push asteroids? They are heavy. It makes more sense to process them on spot - and then push the processed minerals back to Earth.
    Last edited by Lazymancer; 2017-12-04 at 10:21 AM.

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    Asteroids might have a few other nice uses, though. As anchors for space elevators, or hollowed out as stations. So towing a few into a high orbit might not be a bad idea.
    Its honest. What our religion tells us, the part that is a religion, is that the gods created life to try and make meaning. Its ultimately hopeless, and even gods die, but the effort is real. Will always have been real, even when everything is over and no one remembers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    No, it's a given. We have technology since the late 00s and can start building crude versions already. The only problem is politics.
    No, the problem is constructing the ribbon. No-one has achieved making carbon nanotubes longer than a few millimeters. We need them to be at least 35000 km long. That is not a politics issue.

    In fact, it may be that it is physically impossible to build nanotubes that long (i.e. because there is just a limit to how long they can be, and braiding is just not strong enough for it). In which case, it might be a reason to colonize Mars: a space elevator might be more doable there, and since it seems the soil on Mars is practically rocket Fuel,it could turn out to be the fueling station for all our spaceship needs.

    Speaking of, I understand we could build a space Elevator on the Moon out of steel ETA: actual existing materials (but not steel). Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like there is anything we'd want to mine in the moon that'd need a Space Elevator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcticMoue View Post
    Hey!
    I read an article recently about how scientist have discovered how to potentially grow plant life on mars by replicating the soil as best they can and they've successful so far, this got me thinking about what it'd be like if we moved there - as in would it be anything like Earth? Considering nothing went wrong, that is. My theory is that it'd be no different, especially as the population there grows, because humans don't change; the only thing changing is the location and we can still *******s half way across the world so we'd be the same on mars.
    I still suspect there'd be corruption, crime, pollution and all that other stuff that gives us a bad name on earth. But I have no idea how it'd be set up on mars, would there be measures put in place to stop us from ruining society and mars like we are the earth? I think it'd be really cool to live on another planet and it'd be cool to be alive to see it happen but I think we should only planet-jump if we/the governments actually decide to take proper care of this place and make it a safe and decent place to live.
    Mars has an atmosphere that's 0.6% of Earth's. Humans can't exist at that pressure; we'd need to get it to at least 35% of Earth's to make it livable.

    To some extent, this is possible by living in boreholes. Dig in a several kilometers and air pressure will increase. It's likely we'd still need pressurized environments.

    Mars pretty much lacks a magnetosphere, so some form of shielding is necessary against radiation. Lots of rock would do the trick - those boreholes are looking like an even better idea.

    The downsides of digging in are pretty substantial, though.
    - Enormous initial energy and material investment.
    - Energy cost to enter or leave the hole.
    - Waste removal and expansion considerations.

    Extremely hostile environments would change the way humans living there would view pollutants. Some materials would be hard enough to obtain that recycling would become far more viable. Given the costs involved, fission reactors to power the colony would be necessary. This leads to radioactive waste, which would need to be isolated from the habitat.

    A different approach would be to postpone a Mars presence, and instead set up mass drivers in the asteroid belt beyond that planet. We could then hurl asteroids into Mars to add mass - especially water - to the planet.

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    Oh yeah. I'll admit you did now, but it was to a completely differen point.

    Why? The big problem is to get out of gravity well. Getting to Moon/Mars/Belt afterwards is just a question of drifting through space.
    Because time is not free. The closer resources are the less time it takes to bring them back to Earth. While it is just a question of drifting through space, a Mars journey with technology that currently looks feasible requires you to leave and return at specific points in time that are years apart.

    It may be that a resource that will take a year to collect is more economical than a greater one that'll take four years to see the first benefits from.

    No, it's a given. We have technology since the late 00s and can start building crude versions already. The only problem is politics. Which we are not supposed to discuss, apparently.
    We can start building tiny ones which do not work as proof of concept. Beanstalks are nice, but they have two major problems (the cable and car propulsion) which mean they might not be viable for centuries, if ever. Of those, the cable is the tricky one.

    Why do we need to push asteroids? They are heavy. It makes more sense to process them on spot - and then push the processed minerals back to Earth.
    Because again, time is money, and if we can make the trip once (for in theory less fuel than it takes to fly the asteroid over here in pieces, because we have less need to put it in stuff) then we only spend the time once. Plus asteroids do have other potential uses, as has been noted by Eldan.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    they have two major problems (the cable and car propulsion) which mean they might not be viable for centuries, if ever. Of those, the cable is the tricky one.
    A few years back, there was a "space elevator climbers" yearly competition (it also had a ribbon competition, but that never went anywhere). By the end, the teams where bringing in climbers that were powered by lasers. I honestly don't think that car propulsion would be a problem, if we did have the ribbon. Which, as I and you both agree, we don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    No, the problem is constructing the ribbon. No-one has achieved making carbon nanotubes longer than a few millimeters.
    Nanotechnology: Spinning continuous carbon nanotube yarns, 2002
    Here we show that carbon nanotubes can be self-assembled into yarns of up to 30 cm in length simply by being drawn out from superaligned arrays of carbon nanotubes, and that the strength and conductivity of these yarns can be enhanced by heating them at high temperatures. Our findings should help to translate the remarkable mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of carbon nanotubes to a macroscopic scale.

    By 2013 Rice University (Pasquali team) started producing nano-fiber (tensile strength: 2.4 GPa) by the meters. Currently they are collaborating with Cambridge (Windle) to combine their processes and improve it further.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazymancer View Post
    Nanotechnology: Spinning continuous carbon nanotube yarns, 2002
    Here we show that carbon nanotubes can be self-assembled into yarns of up to 30 cm in length simply by being drawn out from superaligned arrays of carbon nanotubes, and that the strength and conductivity of these yarns can be enhanced by heating them at high temperatures. Our findings should help to translate the remarkable mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of carbon nanotubes to a macroscopic scale.

    By 2013 Rice University (Pasquali team) started producing nano-fiber (tensile strength: 2.4 GPa) by the meters. Currently they are collaborating with Cambridge (Windle) to combine their processes and improve it further.
    2.4 GPa is insufficient (the ribbon needs, IIRC, about 50 GPa). Heck, Kevlar has a better GPa than that (3.6), and suffice it to say Kevlar is NOT a cadidate for the ribbon. Without clicking through your link, I'm going to guess those are multi-walled nanotubes, rather than the single-walled nanotubes that are the ones who theoretically could be up to 160 GPa. The latter are the ones which we haven't made more than "a few decimeters", from a quick google just now. Oh, and something that I had not seen before: new studies finding that the rosy theoretical strength might not hold up (warning, have not read the full article, nor clicked through to the actual study), which highlights what I've always seen as a danger: that when dealing with atom-perfect structures, you simply can't produce large amounts without one or two atoms off, and it just takes a couple of atoms out of place for the thing to snap.

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