Author Topic: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?  (Read 8210 times)

Online meekGee

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #20 on: 12/19/2017 03:39 PM »
A Mars colony would be very unlike an earth city, where higher education correlates with an easy, "everything handed to you" society.

This will be a frontier society, where survival and growth are explicitly on the forefront of everyone's thoughts.

Having kids will be almost a requirement...

This is the difference between a colony and a base...
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Online philw1776

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #21 on: 12/19/2017 04:08 PM »
I see a delay for several synods before families emigrate.  Wait to check out environmental affects on humans. 
Then the next gating factor would be the ability to construct large living spaces that would make families beyond the first few thousand really want to go.  Elon said it would be fun.  Need to make it so.  Just takes a few more synods.

Like the fact the BFS passenger quantity can be increased in the spreadsheet.  I don't think that a BFR/BFS architecture and design implemented in the teens will survive deep into the 2040s when really mass emigration of families beyond initial base(s) construction.  SpaceX is the last company that would stop innovating.  A 2 decade return on the base BFS design plus enhancements F9 to Block 5 style would be a nice return on the teens design.  Maybe "Block 5" BFSs would be used late 40s and beyond as shuttle vehicles Mars surface to orbit unloading really massive MCTs Mars Colonial Transports carrying 500-1,000 colonists.  These MCTs would never touch a planetary surface. 
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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #22 on: 12/19/2017 04:29 PM »
So each pair of $500k tickets buys the raw fuel for one BFR launch.   If it takes 6 BFR launches to get one BFS to Mars, you need to sell 12 $500k tickets (or 24 $250k tickets)  to pay for the fuel.

Propellant is completely in the noise, compared to BFS cost to Mars.
If we assume that BFR cost is $100M, then just to keep pace with interest at 5% is $6M or so.
If you start actually trying to pay off the investment in 10 years, it's more like $25M than the $6M of fuel.

The numbers change if you can use P2P transports that have 'aged out' and hit cycle limit counts at say 1000 on earth, and are already paid off.

Online launchwatcher

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #23 on: 12/19/2017 05:48 PM »
I don't think the limit is how fast you can get them there, but how fast you can build somewhere for them to live.

How many cities on Earth, built from scratch, had 1M inhabitants in less than 50 years, less than 100 years etc in STABLE accommodation (i.e. not shanty towns). Not many, if at all.
See the post-WWII building boom in the US.   Santa Clara County, California  went from a population of 26,000 in 1870 to just over 1 million in 1970 (and 1.78 million by 2010).

At its peak, the builders of Levittown (a post-WWII planned suburban community) were finishing 30 two-bedroom homes a day.   (The houses included an unfinished attic for expansion space which was commonly finished when needed for kids bedrooms).

1M in 50 years is 20,000/year, or 54 people/day.


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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #24 on: 12/19/2017 05:51 PM »
So each pair of $500k tickets buys the raw fuel for one BFR launch.   If it takes 6 BFR launches to get one BFS to Mars, you need to sell 12 $500k tickets (or 24 $250k tickets)  to pay for the fuel.

Propellant is completely in the noise, compared to BFS cost to Mars.
Yes, that was exactly my point.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #25 on: 12/19/2017 07:15 PM »
I see a delay for several synods before families emigrate.  Wait to check out environmental affects on humans. 
Then the next gating factor would be the ability to construct large living spaces that would make families beyond the first few thousand really want to go.  Elon said it would be fun.  Need to make it so.  Just takes a few more synods.
Quite possibly.  Having a mix of people, some of whom can and can't bear children on the BFS complicated population modelling even further.

Quote from: philw1776
Like the fact the BFS passenger quantity can be increased in the spreadsheet.  I don't think that a BFR/BFS architecture and design implemented in the teens will survive deep into the 2040s when really mass emigration of families beyond initial base(s) construction.  SpaceX is the last company that would stop innovating.  A 2 decade return on the base BFS design plus enhancements F9 to Block 5 style would be a nice return on the teens design.  Maybe "Block 5" BFSs would be used late 40s and beyond as shuttle vehicles Mars surface to orbit unloading really massive MCTs Mars Colonial Transports carrying 500-1,000 colonists.  These MCTs would never touch a planetary surface.
Although it's labelled "BFS" and the defaults are geared to it (in cost terms and size) I've tried to make everything that could (even remotely) be altered be alterable.
However a "Next Generation" BFS also means a development budget to go with it.
« Last Edit: 12/19/2017 07:23 PM by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #26 on: 12/19/2017 07:22 PM »
Propellant is completely in the noise, compared to BFS cost to Mars.
If we assume that BFR cost is $100M, then just to keep pace with interest at 5% is $6M or so.
If you start actually trying to pay off the investment in 10 years, it's more like $25M than the $6M of fuel.
Since this is not a government sponsored project I fully expect SX to try to recover as much of the costs of building every BFR/BFS they build in fares.

Assuming a $100m build cost and $6m propellant then it will be paid off after the 3rd flight.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Online RoboGoofers

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #27 on: 12/20/2017 01:30 AM »
It's interesting to consider that Alaska has a population of only 742k.

The point being that even with a gold Rush and a payment to residents for oil drilling, "modern" man hasn't populated a easy real estate* with more than 3/4 million people in 150 years.
 
It might be good to consider a lower bounds to keep the discussion grounded; Historically there have been 0 people on Mars.

*(Easy compared to Mars)
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 03:56 AM by RoboGoofers »

Offline wes_wilson

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #28 on: 12/20/2017 01:54 AM »
I may be doing it wrong?  But the formula for children feels weird to me; if I put 4 in cell D9 it looks like each couple has that many kids per window.  So 4 in that cell means each woman is having a kid every 6 months window after window?

Again, likely me doing it wrong, but I'm having fun playing with it.  Thanks for putting it together! 
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Offline Ludus

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #29 on: 12/20/2017 05:45 AM »
I don't think the limit is how fast you can get them there, but how fast you can build somewhere for them to live.

How many cities on Earth, built from scratch, had 1M inhabitants in less than 50 years, less than 100 years etc in STABLE accommodation (i.e. not shanty towns). Not many, if at all.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Detroit
Detroit went from 285k in 1900 to over 1.5M in 1930 with stable accommodations. There are likely many others, I just had a notion that it applied to Detroit and confirmed it. Of course Detroit wasn’t built from scratch, just scaled by over a million in 30 years.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Chicago
Chicago is a good fit going from almost nothing in 1840 to over 1 million in 1890. Whether it meets the stable criterion, not sure.

Offline jebbo

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #30 on: 12/20/2017 06:50 AM »
How many cities on Earth, built from scratch, had 1M inhabitants in less than 50 years, less than 100 years etc in STABLE accommodation (i.e. not shanty towns). Not many, if at all.

More recently than the Detroit example, Shenzhen (I was there last week).  It was essentially a small market town (~30K people) until 1980 and now has >11 million residents ...

I suspect there are other examples in China.

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Offline john smith 19

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #31 on: 12/20/2017 08:38 AM »
I may be doing it wrong?  But the formula for children feels weird to me; if I put 4 in cell D9 it looks like each couple has that many kids per window.  So 4 in that cell means each woman is having a kid every 6 months window after window?

Again, likely me doing it wrong, but I'm having fun playing with it.  Thanks for putting it together!
You're welcome. Seeing what happens when you "twiddle the knobs" was exactly the point of doing it.

 You're not doing it wrong, but the interpretation is a bit tricky.

It's labelled as "Launch windows" but "Arrival window" might be more accurate.
Selecting a high number of children means that Mothers will continue to have children overlapping the arrival of the next passenger group 24 months later, and further. 9 children implies they will be using settlement medical resources into the following 3 landings as well, as will the Mothers of those landings.

So it looks odd but captures the growth correctly. IRL it means medical personnel would continue to be doing births at a time when the next passenger group has started getting pregnant.

This is one of the simplifying assumptions to work out when the the children born just after arrival can start having children of their own.
Another is they have as many children as their parents and only one generation is tracked. It does not track births from the next generation after that, and minimum time before first generation born on Mars can have kids is hard coded in terms of the number launch windows (rather than absolute time) since their birth, despite the possibility of changing this (since long term I believe people will find ways to shorten that gap down from 2 years)

Let me repeat that IRL the only studies on conception and child birth in partial gravity are (AFAIK) the partial g studies on the ISS for rats.

Large families also suggest that some kind of communal childcare becomes a necessity, unless women commit to be stay at home moms. In the 3rd decade of the 21st century will women actually revert to the social norms of the mid 20th?

Historically large families have been driven by
a)A complete lack of any social safety net
b)High infant mortality rate
c)The lack of any accumulated wealth to fall back on.
Average family sizes have fallen in the developed world as measures of all of these 3 things have improved.
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 09:04 AM by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #32 on: 12/20/2017 08:55 AM »
It's interesting to consider that Alaska has a population of only 742k.

The point being that even with a gold Rush and a payment to residents for oil drilling, "modern" man hasn't populated a easy real estate* with more than 3/4 million people in 150 years.
 
It might be good to consider a lower bounds to keep the discussion grounded; Historically there have been 0 people on Mars.

*(Easy compared to Mars)
You're right, with housing built to relevant modern standards and suitable clothing Alaska is easy to live on compared to Mars.

It is astonishing.  Given the size of the state it's average population density is almost zero.

http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/uscities_100.html

Lists 9 US cities with populations > 1 million (in 2012) and a further 8 (Charlotte, NC being the smallest) with populations greater than the whole state of Alaska (in 2012).

Indeed, despite state support, no immigration barriers (AFAIK) stopping anyone from the other 49 going there and spectacular scenery, low crime (?) and (presumably) a strong sense of community (given the sizes of most places)  people don't actually want to go there.  :(

Is it really that much colder than Chicago or Minnesota? Are the wolves and bears that terrifying?
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 08:56 AM by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline JamesH65

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #33 on: 12/20/2017 09:41 AM »
I don't think the limit is how fast you can get them there, but how fast you can build somewhere for them to live.

How many cities on Earth, built from scratch, had 1M inhabitants in less than 50 years, less than 100 years etc in STABLE accommodation (i.e. not shanty towns). Not many, if at all.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Detroit
Detroit went from 285k in 1900 to over 1.5M in 1930 with stable accommodations. There are likely many others, I just had a notion that it applied to Detroit and confirmed it. Of course Detroit wasn’t built from scratch, just scaled by over a million in 30 years.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Chicago
Chicago is a good fit going from almost nothing in 1840 to over 1 million in 1890. Whether it meets the stable criterion, not sure.

Which sort of proves my point. There are some examples of cities on Earth that gained a million inhabitants in 50 years,perhaps slightly less. But not a huge number, and they already have air and power....

Now think of Mars. You have to build accommodation for 50 people per day, you need to have the machines to do it, the raw materials, the power to run machines, to have life support. Compared to this, getting them there is the easy part.

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #34 on: 12/20/2017 10:36 AM »
We have not yet seen a high tech colonization/expansion into previously unoccupied land, so I suspect the historical birthrate findings might not apply. I predict high family sizes and some people going into daycare as their full time job. Also I expect mothers to work from home (teleoperating things? crafting things like pump fittings or whatever? Growing specialty crops?) a lot...
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Offline STS-200

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #35 on: 12/20/2017 11:39 AM »
Looking at the topic slightly differently:

What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?

-A reason for them to be there.

I'm not intending to be negative with that statement, I want to go to Mars "because its there",  and I'd like to see a million living there.
I believe would be a "good thing to do", but I have never really heard a solid argument for doing it right now.
The best I have heard is that we should start as soon as possible, because if we want to survive we will need to become a spacefaring species. Instead of reacting to external pressures, we can make a choice in advance.

However, that still doesn't answer the question "Why do the first million go?". What is in it for them?
I can't see that any of the traditional reasons apply strongly enough - jobs, land, resources or "freedom" (in all its meanings) are going to be easier to obtain on Earth for the foreseeable future.
I would argue that the growth debates in several posts above might only apply to the "second million" - i.e. once there is a functioning society/industry/trade system, there is the reason and means for growth. Before that, you might be looking for a very odd group - people wanting high-tech subsistence lives, and who are willing to pay up-front for the privilege.

I'll stop there, as I'm in danger of thinking too negatively, but however fascinating the engineering of getting a million to Mars is, they still need a reason to go.
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Offline allhumanbeings07

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #36 on: 12/20/2017 01:22 PM »
If we want to answer the "what it takes" of mass colonization, we must first reasonably quantify costs and benefits. Unfortunately, we cannot yet reasonably do so with much rigour due to the large number of unknowns in play. How easy will living on Mars be or become? We really have no idea what 1/3g does to a human being, and especially what it might do over a lifetime or a pregnancy. 1/3g might have health benefits, it might be damaging, it might result in birth defects, effects might only become clear after decades and decades. What about radiation? We don't know the effects of chronic radiation flux, as virtually all medical research on radiation sickness thus far has been on short-term exposures. What sorts of mineral resources does Mars exactly have? Are there relatively cheap ways in which we could take small terraforming steps on Mars that could support mass colonization (a la a simple Martian L1 radiation shield), or is terraforming so neccesarily expensive that it could only be justified once there are already millions of colonists?

Something that is more problematic for this topic, however, is that the fact that this sort of discussion is usually focused on comparing the merits of transportation technologies, while the human dimension of the problem is ignored and social factors are assumed. In other words, human societies are often treated as if they were machines, and not filled with subjective, self-interested individuals and social constructs that change over time.

Why should human societies send large numbers of people to Mars in the first place? Unlike an Apollo-esque flags-and-footprints mission or a McMurdo-esque research base, a million-strong colony would require orders-or-magnitude larger investments representing a sizable portion of global GDP and for those investments to be sustained over decades. Thus, while the former could be paid for out of a single goverment's pocket change on a whim, the latter cannot be (sustainably or substantially) bankrolled through platitudes about "human destiny" or other intangible justifications. Colonization will need to provide clear, concrete, and competitive value to some combination of public or private investors, or it simply will not happen.

Since a million-strong colony would require decades of immense investments by terrestrial societies and would be becoming a society in-and-of-itself, both costs and benefits are largely dependent on entirely subjective social developments. The answer therefore depends on not just presently unknown scientific factors, but also inherently unpredictable social ones. Because of this, "what does it take to get a million people on Mars" is a question that we cannot begin (with any semblance of accuracy or rigour) to provide specific answers to today.

Take, for instance, the question of manpower. A million-strong Mars colony would require an unprecendented recruiting effort that is for a number of reasons totally incomparable with humanity's experience with space thusfar or the colonization of the Americas. One might argue that is this is a non-issue, that plenty of people will want go to Mars. After all, a cursory glance around this forum (or almost anywhere across the internet) and you can see a huge percentage of people who claim that they would sign up to be a Mars colonist without hesitation and in spite of any danger.

But how willing will people really be to go to Mars, While many people may claim they want to go to Mars, claims made on the internet are very different from actually going. Currently, Mars colonization is a futuristic fantasy; what happens to peoples perceptions of colonization if it starts to become historical reality? What happens when it is no longer where no man has gone before, when you would no longer have the chance to make history by going in the first waves? What happens when the fantasy starts to lose its luster, and Mars begins to be just another job? What happens if the fantasy turns sour? Living on Mars would probably mean chronically high risk of sudden death, high probability of getting cancer, having to live underground in dark, cramped conditions, rarely being able to go outside, leaving behind everything you've ever known and loved, and doing all of the above for the rest of your life.

In short, how eager will people be to sign up for your Martian colony if it eventually becomes known as the perfect stewing pot for mental breakdown, depression, and suicide? Furthermore, rather than looking at space enthusiast forums, how eager will the extremely-skilled elite individuals such a colony requires be? It won't be the downtrodden or refugees who would colonize Mars- it would be (post-)graduates from elite universities who could make at least seven figures doing anything they wanted back on Earth. Is it really such a given that these people would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars en masse for the privilege of dying young on Mars, as Elon Musk suggests? What if your mass-colonization effort instead has to cut expensive paychecks, guarantee eventual returns for colonists, or recruit less qualified individuals?

My point in all of this is that we should not put the cart before the horse when it comes to Mars. Our focus should be on providing value to humanity, not simply doing whatever is technically possible with our present-day or near-future technologies. The fact of the matter is is that, as of now or the foreseeable future, Mars (and all of space outside LEO) is a worthless rock and mass colonization cannot begin to provide any practical return for humanity. Importantly, it will not necessarily always be so, and quantifying unknowns in a cost-effective manner (robotic exploration, medical research on ISS), developing technological capabilities (space nuclear, high-power ion propulsion, ISRU), and expanding the existing space economy (COTS, in-space manufacturing) are rational investments that can create and strengthen business cases for deep-space activities.

It is these sorts of invesments that actually expand our space capabilities in a sustainable manner, unlike the neo-Apollonian proposals of Mars Direct or Spacex's proposed Mars colony. Like the Apollo program, they would be very good ways of wasting a lot of money over a short period of time, drawing it away from better intermediary investments, provide a poor return because they "skip steps", and you ultimately lose the capabilites you did develop because you can't sustain the investment. We'll have a million-strong Mars colony when we can establish that it is a good idea, and ought to do so no sooner.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #37 on: 12/20/2017 05:59 PM »
Looking at the topic slightly differently:

What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?

-A reason for them to be there.
True.

Unfortunately this is completely OT for this thread, which is more focused on the logistics and parenting involved behind making that happen. It is assumed that the settlers have reasons already.

It has been discussed at length. Use the sites search for "Martian homesteading" for more details.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline DanielW

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #38 on: 12/20/2017 07:44 PM »
Since reproduction will have to play a critical role in reaching 1 million people; requirements will be theaters, mini-golf courses, brew-pubs, lawns serviceable for picnics, candles, champagne, churches, and plenty of personal space.

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Re: What does it take to get to a million people on Mars?
« Reply #39 on: 12/20/2017 08:45 PM »
Churches? Surely if you're going to start populating a new planet it would be the perfect opportunity to finally get rid of religion? Do we really want it ruining another planet?