Author Topic: Why would you go to Mars?  (Read 27995 times)

Offline lele

  • Member
  • Posts: 57
  • France
  • Liked: 29
  • Likes Given: 66
Why would you go to Mars?
« on: 11/14/2014 08:33 PM »
I didn't really find this topic in the old threads, so I made one since it interests me and it was raised in the MCT thread.

To be more precise, if you were willing to go to Mars with no scheduled return (not necessarily an one-way trip), on a mission aiming to begin or to continue a martian colony, what would be your motivation?
« Last Edit: 11/14/2014 08:35 PM by lele »

Offline RonM

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2512
  • Atlanta, Georgia USA
  • Liked: 1288
  • Likes Given: 993
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #1 on: 11/14/2014 08:46 PM »
I would want to explore and see things no one has seen before with my own eyes. Sign me up for a survey team to scout new areas and collect samples. I'm ready to suit up!

Of course, based on my current skill set, I should probably stay at the colony and keep the network and computers running. That would be okay too, because it would be on Mars!

Offline IslandPlaya

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 582
  • Outer Hebrides
  • Liked: 163
  • Likes Given: 166
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #2 on: 11/14/2014 08:47 PM »
To end my life seeing sights and experiencing what few people have done before. On another planet!

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28474
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8339
  • Likes Given: 5482
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #3 on: 11/14/2014 09:00 PM »
To ensure the human story is long and interesting. To make the future as bright as we tell our children it is.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline RanulfC

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4445
  • Heus tu Omnis! Vigilate Hoc!
  • Liked: 805
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #4 on: 11/14/2014 09:10 PM »
Moved to answer:
You vastly underestimate how many people would want to move to a city on Mars.

Now you'd have to provide some numbers to back this up, you can't so we won't actually adress the idea that I'm "wrong" and your "right" :)

Quote
I'm talking city, because that's what a 1 million person colony is. A very large city, in fact, by American standards. Not a box, but a city. A large, diverse, and expansive city on another planet.

You only need 10 people who'd want to live in a tin can, 100 who'd live on a base, 1000 in a settlement, 10,000 in an interconnected town the size of a large indoor shopping mall, and 100,000 who'd live in a small but growing city. 1 million who'd live in an enormous, largely self-sufficient city.

To be honest, I have a harder time understanding why people are content to live in the suburbs all their lives.

No city so lets start with the progression you provide:
10= Easy
100= Today probably just as easy
1000= Not so easy as you need to provide enough infrastructure to build and support the "settlement"
10,000= Probably not
A million= Not at all

The thing here is you somehow assume each of these steps somehow can be done all at once even though you will "mention" at times it would take time, effort, and money to accomplish you miss the basic fact that beyond an "outpost" at best the rationale breaks down.

There is a "job" on Mars for probably up to 100 people. That of exploring and understanding Mars as a planet. 101? Not so much. There is no "motivation" for a colony or people to colonize. There is certainly no money for it nor for the infrastructure that is needed to support even 100 people.

People are motivated to move to a new place to offer themselves opportunities they would not otherwise have. That doesn't mean finding new and horrible ways to die but that's the end result of a LOT of historical jouneys. You make the assumption that people will "move" to colonize Mars when a colony is already existing but you don't dwell at all on the effort it takes to get to that point. Pretty fair and you have good company. Neither does Elon Musk. The reality however is you HAVE to provide that basis to have any platform for your argument. So does Elon.

You need FAR more than just "people" and the fact that exploration and exploitation is very hard, demanding, and dangerous work is quite often ignored in favor of platitudes such as "living-in-a-shopping-mall" sound-bytes. (I'm never forgiving Zubrin for that one as I know how much "behind-the-scenes" work goes on to keep a shopping mall running AND I have experiance with one that has no shops like the Mars colony would have. Its NOT pleasant and its definatly NOT something his "teenage daughter" would love. Or anyone else)

Quote
200,000 people considered Mars One's crazy one-way scheme to cramped quarters. I wasn't one of them. I sincerely doubt there's anything less than hundreds of thousands of people in the world who'd want to join such a project. The world has over 7 billion people, and by the time any of this is relevant will be almost 10 billion.

The majority of them fully understand and accept that actually GOING to Mars isn't in the cards. MarsOne actually makes no bones about this little "fact" of thier program. The fact that they WANT to join is in itself, (and has been proven by the majority of interviews with the people involved) that they in fact would NOT qualify to go to Mars if the trip were in fact real. 99% simply do not understand the "reality" of what they are "volunteering" for and I expect the reality show (if it gets made) will point up this fact rather blatently.

In answer to the thread title? I wouldn't. I'm going to go by and drop off folks like Robotbeat but then I'm back on the circut Eath-Venus-Mars with a two week stop-over at "home" (Venus) before we head off again :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28474
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8339
  • Likes Given: 5482
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #5 on: 11/14/2014 09:13 PM »
What's the motivation to leave Africa? This sort of self-serious nihilism is tiring. I'm going to go build spaceship parts.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2014 09:20 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline lele

  • Member
  • Posts: 57
  • France
  • Liked: 29
  • Likes Given: 66
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #6 on: 11/14/2014 09:48 PM »
Ironically, I think one of the interesting things on Mars would be the people there with you. When reading accounts from people which did a winter-over in antartic stations, or even simply were part of a submarine crew, a great majority seems to cherish the feeling of being in a group and having to rely on other people and to be relied on. It seems to be quite difficult to recreate that on Earth in today's society, but will definitely be the case in a colony on Mars, at least at the beginning.

To put it more harshly, maybe this argument can be summed up in "being 1 among 7 billions, I don't make any difference on Earth, so I want to go to Mars to be important"

Offline Jim Davis

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 560
  • Liked: 117
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #7 on: 11/14/2014 10:55 PM »
When reading accounts from people which did a winter-over in antartic stations, or even simply were part of a submarine crew, a great majority seems to cherish the feeling of being in a group and having to rely on other people and to be relied on.

While true, one shouldn't jump to the conclusion that any of these people would have wanted to spend the rest of their lives in Antarctica or on submarines. Speaking as a former submariner, while long patrols certainly had their moments, many of which are cherished memories, I can't remember anyone who wasn't happy when they came to an end.

Offline NaN

  • ... a free man
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 146
  • Liked: 80
  • Likes Given: 116
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #8 on: 11/14/2014 11:56 PM »
A corollary question would be "what conditions would you require before deciding to go to Mars?"

For many people the answer would be 'I would never go' - but for many it would not.

What if there were already 100 or 1000 people or 100000 people living there ...
What if you had a guaranteed return trip after 1 year on Mars ...
What if there was a colony which was able to self-manufacture most of its needs ...
... with an egalitarian society, good schools for children, opportunities for the willing
... or you were part of the initial colonist group with lots of resources and equipment to locate a permanent site

etc etc etc.


Personally, I can't see any likely conditions whereby I would decide to go. But, if there were somehow a thriving colony such that it felt more like "moving to a different country" instead of "committing to dying on Mars"... maybe I would. My non-negotiable is broadband Internet access (but oh! the latency)



Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28474
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8339
  • Likes Given: 5482
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #9 on: 11/15/2014 01:59 AM »
I imagine a large colony would have a Youtube cache updated hourly...
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8653
  • Australia
  • Liked: 3586
  • Likes Given: 843
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #10 on: 11/15/2014 02:27 AM »
To get away from conversations like these...
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Eerie

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 775
  • Liked: 124
  • Likes Given: 7
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #11 on: 11/15/2014 09:16 AM »
What's the motivation to leave Africa? This sort of self-serious nihilism is tiring. I'm going to go build spaceship parts.

No Homo Sapiens made a conscious decision to leave Africa - no one back then even knew what a continent was. It was a many thousands of years long process of gradual movement, exactly like any other animal species would spread into available territory. This is not applicable to Mars.
« Last Edit: 11/15/2014 09:16 AM by Eerie »

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28474
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8339
  • Likes Given: 5482
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #12 on: 11/15/2014 01:40 PM »
What's the motivation to leave Africa? This sort of self-serious nihilism is tiring. I'm going to go build spaceship parts.

No Homo Sapiens made a conscious decision to leave Africa - no one back then even knew what a continent was. It was a many thousands of years long process of gradual movement, exactly like any other animal species would spread into available territory. This is not applicable to Mars.
And you know the thoughts of the people then?
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Eer

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 288
  • Liked: 144
  • Likes Given: 141
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #13 on: 11/15/2014 02:59 PM »
It's easier for me, as a multi-generation descendent of immigrants from Europe to North America, to consider several possible motivations:

1) to get away from something they consider awful (religious persecution, economic depression, tyranny in its many forms)
2) to exploit resources found there for financial gain (not so clear, at the moment, what trade goods would warrant export back to Earth, or the moons, or asteroids, or whatever, but hey, that's what exploration was all about in the 1500s and 1600s)
3) to claim your own territory and develop it, in the context of the there local economy, as an inheritance for your descendants
4) to live a comfortable life selling services and goods to the fanatics chasing one of the dreams outlined above

I do NOT think the earth-based governments will have legal sway over colonists for very long - once they're self sustaining (one, two centuries?), they'll cast off the yolk of colonialism, just like humans always do.

Nor do I think the solar economy will be strictly planetary based.  I hold to the belief that non-planetary resources (solar power, cometary and asteroid minerals and water) will better support the construction and operation of interplanetary and belt-based economies, transport, manufacturing and research. 

But it will take time.  And I suspect it will happen in parallel with efforts, like Elon's, to populate Mars.

The goal, in the long term, is survival of the species (and, I'd go further, of the Earth-spawned, DNA-based genome).

IMHO.

Would I go?  Well, I'm a bit claustrophobic, and getting to be a bit long in the tooth.  But I come from a long line of folks who kept moving, settling, and then moving again a few generations down the line.  I don't expect that long-term trend to die out soon.

Offline R7

  • Propulsophile
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2738
    • Don't worry.. we can still be fans of OSC and SNC
  • Liked: 952
  • Likes Given: 662
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #14 on: 11/15/2014 04:47 PM »
I just want to relax sitting in the middle of my greenhouse sniffing the lovely smell of ripening crops while watching red sunset on another world.

What's the motivation to leave Africa?

European welfare services.

(your question was in present tense...)
AD·ASTRA·ASTRORVM·GRATIA

Offline Vultur

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1086
  • Liked: 156
  • Likes Given: 11
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #15 on: 11/15/2014 11:10 PM »
Ironically, I think one of the interesting things on Mars would be the people there with you. When reading accounts from people which did a winter-over in antartic stations, or even simply were part of a submarine crew, a great majority seems to cherish the feeling of being in a group and having to rely on other people and to be relied on. It seems to be quite difficult to recreate that on Earth in today's society, but will definitely be the case in a colony on Mars, at least at the beginning.

To put it more harshly, maybe this argument can be summed up in "being 1 among 7 billions, I don't make any difference on Earth, so I want to go to Mars to be important"

More than that. A Mars colony (or any space colony) would attract a certain kind of people (likely mostly youngish, well educated, interested in science and technology...), and thus produce a culture attractive to more of that kind of people.  It could be a sort of super-Silicon Valley, an intellectual/scientific/innovation hotbed.

Offline enkarha

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 151
  • Liked: 157
  • Likes Given: 60
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #16 on: 11/15/2014 11:21 PM »
I really like red dust and the idea of standing on a rock completely unconnected from every other rock I've ever stood on. It'll be the same for many others, though they may have different feelings about the dust. Jobs and so on makes it viable, but the attraction will be for a long time the idea of the Mundus Novus, always a good marketing term, only now an accurate one.

... they'll cast off the yolk of colonialism, just like humans always do....
I hope the white supremacists don't take over Mars that easily.
Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars ♪

Offline Eer

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 288
  • Liked: 144
  • Likes Given: 141
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #17 on: 11/16/2014 01:14 AM »
... they'll cast off the yolk of colonialism, just like humans always do....
I hope the white supremacists don't take over Mars that easily.
Well, me, too - but you have to admit that extremophiles of all sorts will be the first to sign up.

Offline LM13

  • Member
  • Posts: 73
  • Where the skies are so blue...
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 58
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #18 on: 11/16/2014 03:24 PM »

In answer to the thread title? I wouldn't. I'm going to go by and drop off folks like Robotbeat but then I'm back on the circut Eath-Venus-Mars with a two week stop-over at "home" (Venus) before we head off again :)

Randy

Which of your objections to the feasibility of a Mars colony don't apply to a flying Venus colony?  It seems to me that the issues you raise about moving more than about 100 people would apply just as much--if not more so--to Venus. 

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28474
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8339
  • Likes Given: 5482
Re: Why would you go to Mars?
« Reply #19 on: 11/16/2014 05:45 PM »
The competition would be INCREDIBLY fierce if you were only sending 100 people. Same for 1000. Even 10,000. It's not until 100,000 that it'd start being easier to find a spot.

In 2012, NASA had over 6000 people submit applications for being an astronaut. (And this is for the current high-risk program, for the most part just going around in circles above the Earth.) And America is just 1/20th of the world population. 200,000 people applied to Mars One, nearly a suicide mission. In several decades when the world becomes more like the US or Europe (i.e. richer, better educated, etc) and more populous, no doubt lots of people (on the order of hundreds of thousands) would like to go.

...IF (and that's a big if) it was cheap and safe enough with enough capability that the colony could grow and be, for the most part, self-sufficient (once it got to 1 million) with a productive surplus. The biggest issue is not motivation of individuals, it's technological and economic. Can it be made cheap enough, routine enough? If so, then I have no doubt you could find 1 million people who would love to be part of a growing, vibrant Martian colonization effort. But that's a big if, and we might not solve it this century.
« Last Edit: 11/16/2014 05:46 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0