Author Topic: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin  (Read 14901 times)

Offline Bynaus

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #60 on: 01/24/2017 08:55 AM »
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With people working outside or in the greenhouses for 30 hours a week, what do they do with the other 82 waking hours every week? Is there enough work to be done inside the radiationproof area for people not to get bored after a few weeks?

I would be surprised if a typical office person spends more than 30 hours per week under the open sky. The rest consists mostly of sitting in an office and being at home, and both locations are easily shielded (and shielding doesn't necessarily mean a dark cave...). So no, even on Earth, people do not get bored if they are not under the open sky for less than 30 hours per week.

A lot of people, even couch potatoes, will enjoy the occasional stroll through some green environment. Or at least need to know that they could if they wanted to. That is one reason to have surface greenhouses to walk through at least as a complement to LED lighted grow houses with their horrible looking redblue plant light.

I fully agree. The greenhouses might well double as recreational parks. But all that strolling will not need to be more than 30 hours a week. If you work and live in a shielded position during the week, you could actually be outside most of the weekend (assuming "Martian EVA ever become routine") and still easily stay within limits. I don't see a problem there. The only requirement for that kind of life-style is that the main habitation and work environments are radiation shielded, e.g., in a lava tube. Which seems like a good idea anyway.

Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #61 on: 01/24/2017 10:21 AM »
Quote
With people working outside or in the greenhouses for 30 hours a week, what do they do with the other 82 waking hours every week? Is there enough work to be done inside the radiationproof area for people not to get bored after a few weeks?

I would be surprised if a typical office person spends more than 30 hours per week under the open sky. The rest consists mostly of sitting in an office and being at home, and both locations are easily shielded (and shielding doesn't necessarily mean a dark cave...). So no, even on Earth, people do not get bored if they are not under the open sky for less than 30 hours per week.

A lot of people, even couch potatoes, will enjoy the occasional stroll through some green environment. Or at least need to know that they could if they wanted to. That is one reason to have surface greenhouses to walk through at least as a complement to LED lighted grow houses with their horrible looking redblue plant light.

I fully agree. The greenhouses might well double as recreational parks. But all that strolling will not need to be more than 30 hours a week. If you work and live in a shielded position during the week, you could actually be outside most of the weekend (assuming "Martian EVA ever become routine") and still easily stay within limits. I don't see a problem there. The only requirement for that kind of life-style is that the main habitation and work environments are radiation shielded, e.g., in a lava tube. Which seems like a good idea anyway.

I wasn't talking about spending that time recreationally. People away from their industrial base need to do far more than 30 hours a week of labour to survive (let alone thrive).

The main task colonists would do is producing food, replenishing stocks of raw materials, maintenance, construction, and if there's some time left, research and exploration. Construction, maintenance and producing food will easily gobble up 30 hours per week for the usual two-jobs-per-astronaut approach. So replenishing stocks of raw materials, and as much maintenance as possible, and all recreation time will have to be done inside radiation protected areas, in order to use as much of those 82 hours per person per week as possible for doing something useful that the colony/outpost sorely needs. All these things require considerable amounts of space. Radiation proofing the greenhouses (to a certain extent) to allow more work to be done 'inside' might be a lot easier than doing enough construction or maintenance from the inside, and certainly more desirable than doing enough exploration from the inside.

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #62 on: 01/24/2017 12:33 PM »
The nature of work is changing, as is the "Industrial Base" upon which it is founded... both of which in 34 yrs, (which happens to be half my age :) ) when this colony is envisaged, will be firmly fixed in that new paradigm and advancing... A 30 hour work week may even be too much... Even if it weren't it is quite possible that in a population of 10,000, with 8-9,000 of working age, the numbers that put in 30 hours may be the exception...

Think 1948 to 1982, and the advances that were made... then take the advances from 1948 to 2016, and compress them into that 1948-82 time frame, and you'll have an idea of what I am talking about... and even that may be conservative, according to some people...

The only reason I can see for putting in more hours, is if the colony were doubling every synod, and they needed to double the infrastructure to accommodate the new arrivals in 26 months time... even then a lot of the "work" would be done robotically or through AI, with humans just monitoring... or there were a shortage of trained people in a particular field...
"Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet." Maya Angelou
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #63 on: 01/24/2017 01:39 PM »
The only reason I can see for putting in more hours, is if the colony were doubling every synod, and they needed to double the infrastructure to accommodate the new arrivals in 26 months time... even then a lot of the "work" would be done robotically or through AI, with humans just monitoring... or there were a shortage of trained people in a particular field...


      In other words, welcome to the world of the Jetsons...
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #64 on: 01/24/2017 06:12 PM »

In some parts of Mars (and the Moon), the mineralogy brings with it potentially cancer causing substance exposure of a very significant kind. In aerosols, common alkali salts of Mars can cause lung and kidney damage. I could do this for a few thousand known issues.

Be more specific.  What minerals, which alkali salts?

Normally I'd not be adverse to going 20 rounds with you as I respect your profession, but am busy with others at the moment. You can use the toxicology/bioactivity/EH&S databases just as well as I can with Mars/lunar silicates/manganesates/other.

You're missing my point, and like Robotbeat, drawing the thread further off topic. So won't oblige this time.

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And if I wanted to play "whack a Zubrin", I could knock him around for 20-30 hours with the stuff, citing medical references and other op cit ad nauseam.

And yes I've run into Musk and other SX at the Mars Society for years. It's old hat to me.

In your opinion.

In general I don't play "whack a Zubrin" and often interrupt others attempting so. But understand why it occurs, and the vulnerability present.

Quote

Quote
Bottom line - Zubrin's all about beginning the process, which means little regard for risk, as with explorers.

Zurbin does consider risk and does not argue for excessive amounts.

I admire Zubrin and his interest, although think he gets carried away much of the time. That is my opinion.

And he does get excessive. Many not just me notice that. IMHO, its his way of evading things that block his objectives of the moment. Too much "ends justifies the means" sucks us all down the rathole. As we are about to see on a somewhat larger scale.

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And one of the experts on Mars conditions I know (am even talking too at this moment) doesn't want to ever go to Mars themself - it's too risky and damaging.

I'd like to see more evidence of that expertise.
As an anonymous "talking head" (like you), that veracity will have to come from a different means. Especially in the increasingly erratic political/funding environment now forming.

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I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the risks myself and I would certainly go.
I'm sure you and the Mars One crew would do so.

Bottom line - building a colonization effort is not the same as doing planetary exploration. Long term health consequences are an addition. If you study the problem at length, suggest that you'll find that the benefit of having a minimum of a certain amount of health risk means that your colony/inhabited planet thrives instead of dies off.

And remember, Musk wants Mars to be "fun". It's no fun watching people/progeny die off. Also, the economics of replacing them are very bad - you want them to do well to have the effort/enthusiasm grow not diminish.

Which is my point that you should focus on, instead of arguing from the nits on up.

See the forest for the trees, not the mitochondria inside the plant cells.

add:

Giving up on this thread because of too much romantic notions disabling intellect. Enjoy the ecstasy of your current enthusiasm. I'd rather spend time with things measurable, testable and longitudinally studied. Especially as they are now more in sight than ever in my lifetime. Back to work.
« Last Edit: 01/24/2017 10:53 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #65 on: 01/24/2017 07:21 PM »
It's worth pointing out that breathing dust on Earth is bad for you and will give you lung cancer, too. People still live in deserts and near volcanos. A sealed colony may be better off than the typical city near a desert that gets regular dust storms in this regard.
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #66 on: 01/24/2017 09:46 PM »

In some parts of Mars (and the Moon), the mineralogy brings with it potentially cancer causing substance exposure of a very significant kind. In aerosols, common alkali salts of Mars can cause lung and kidney damage. I could do this for a few thousand known issues.

Be more specific.  What minerals, which alkali salts?

Normally I'd not be adverse to going 20 rounds with you as I respect your profession, but am busy with others at the moment. You can use the toxicology/bioactivity/EH&S databases just as well as I can with Mars/lunar silicates/manganesates/other.

You're missing my point, and like Robotbeat, drawing the thread further off topic. So won't oblige this time.

Quote
Quote
And if I wanted to play "whack a Zubrin", I could knock him around for 20-30 hours with the stuff, citing medical references and other op cit ad nauseam.

And yes I've run into Musk and other SX at the Mars Society for years. It's old hat to me.

In your opinion.

In general I don't play "whack a Zubrin" and often interrupt others attempting so. But understand why it occurs, and the vulnerability present.

Quote

Quote
Bottom line - Zubrin's all about beginning the process, which means little regard for risk, as with explorers.

Zurbin does consider risk and does not argue for excessive amounts.

I admire Zubrin and his interest, although think he gets carried away much of the time. That is my opinion.

And he does get excessive. Many not just me notice that. IMHO, its his way of evading things that block his objectives of the moment. Too much "ends justifies the means" sucks us all down the rathole. As we are about to see on a somewhat larger scale.

Quote
Quote
And one of the experts on Mars conditions I know (am even talking too at this moment) doesn't want to ever go to Mars themself - it's too risky and damaging.

I'd like to see more evidence of that expertise.
As an anonymous "talking head" (like you), that veracity will have to come from a different means. Especially in the increasingly erratic political/funding environment now forming.

Quote
I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the risks myself and I would certainly go.
I'm sure you and the Mars One crew would do so.

Bottom line - building a colonization effort is not the same as doing planetary exploration. Long term health consequences are an addition. If you study the problem at length, suggest that you'll find that the benefit of having a minimum of a certain amount of health risk means that your colony/inhabited planet thrives instead of dies off.

And remember, Musk wants Mars to be "fun". It's no fun watching people/progeny die off. Also, the economics of replacing them are very bad - you want them to do well to have the effort/enthusiasm grow not diminish.

Which is my point that you should focus on, instead of arguing from the nits on up.

See the forest for the trees, not the mitochondria inside the plant cells.

I am familiar with mineral hazards and extrapolation to Mars, I as far as I can see it does not support your reading.   So I will take this as an indication that your statements on these risks are unsubstantiated. 

I do not see Zubrin as avoiding issues.  Certainly, he is passionate and dedicated.  This is a good thing.  Zubrin  doesn't avoid discussing hazards in my experience, rather he emphasises solutions to those hazards that reduce risk. 

Not sure why you bring in Mars One –this is not the topic of conversation, nor am I an avocate (or critic) of it, or associated with Mars One in any way. Ditto Musk and his plans.

I know all about people dying off – friends, family, colleagues.  It's a part of life.  The question comes down to what is an acceptable level of risk (expressed in chances of dying on the mission for a Mars expedition for you.  Is it 10%, 1%, 0.1%?
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #67 on: 01/24/2017 09:53 PM »
It's worth pointing out that breathing dust on Earth is bad for you and will give you lung cancer, too. People still live in deserts and near volcanos. A sealed colony may be better off than the typical city near a desert that gets regular dust storms in this regard.

You are quite right.  In the quarrying, mining, construction, farming, and fabrication industries we have gained a lot of experience with hazardous dusts.  We can manage risks to acceptable levels with respect to dusts that are toxic, carcinogenic, reactive, explosive, biologically active, disease-bearing, abrasive, conductive, and magnetic.  It's an understood and manageable problem.

Martian dust is basically slightly weathered basalt.  Standard hygiene - cleaning suits, sweeping and vacuuming floors, and filtering air will keep the issue manageable.

I attach a photo from drilling in a dust storm I took a few years ago.  We are all still here!
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #68 on: 01/25/2017 07:59 AM »
Think 1948 to 1982, and the advances that were made... then take the advances from 1948 to 2016, and compress them into that 1948-82 time frame, and you'll have an idea of what I am talking about... and even that may be conservative, according to some people...

Exactly. During that era, we have seen production, including basic materials like food, clothing, construction materials, etc being produced in places where it's most effective/efficient to produce them, and shlepped all over the world to wherever people can pay for them. We have seen the rise of ever more capable technologies, requiring greater and greater numbers of specialisms capable of maintaining all of these technologies. During the last hundred years, the industrial base of this planet has come together more than in the previous 10000 years. Productivity is high because there are up to 7 billion people we can produce for, rather than just the local city. And there is enough production so people can focus on a single job, and become specialists in it, rather than having to juggle many jobs just to make a living. Which is still true for many people today, but is less the rule (in the industrial world) than it was just 80 years ago (in Europe at least). Without those specialists, infrastructure would quickly crumble. Specialization makes things cheaper, but high quantities are needed to allow specialization.

The fact that you can order anything without leaving your home, only hides the fact that thousands of people are required to get that product from the cradle to your doorstep. (Actually, make that hundreds of thousands just for the electricity, the grid, the computer, the internet, and the applications you use to order whatever it is that you want).

A colony on a different planet (or this planet for that matter), that has no export product or other value that can be turned into enough money, and still uses all of those technologies to make life easier, will have to work hard to keep everything running.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #69 on: 01/25/2017 08:46 AM »
Good for Zubrin. More people need to stand up and snub this anti-science BS we have going around.

Really astounds me how the last few years people in this country seem to have totally lost their minds, if they ever had them to begin with. It seems like the closer we get to solving major engineering and scientific problems and the better our technology gets, the more people believe disinformation, outright lies, and myths, and the more said people hate the very advances we all depend on to live. This anti-science stuff is not limited to just spaceflight I have seen the same attitudes expressed against a variety of bleeding edge research and industries all across the board the last few years.

Really hoping things start turning around and people wake up and stop acting so unbelievably stupid, but I won't hold my breath. If more folks would do what Zubrin is doing that might help.
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Offline tdperk

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #70 on: 01/28/2017 11:17 PM »
Grandiose schemes of colonization barely avoid the 'giggle factor' when at this point in history; we cannot even mount sortie missions to the Lunar surface or Martian orbit, let alone the Mars surface itself.

In contrast, I view it as a certainty we can mount a sortie to the Lunar surface--we have already done so.

The question is only the details of the engineering that will do it, not if it can be done--and will the resources be put to do the engineering.

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