Author Topic: Development of a Martian export economy  (Read 16266 times)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #40 on: 12/13/2017 08:42 PM »
In the more short term, 26 month synods do have some Earth parallels. There are a number of inuit settlements along the North American arctic that are only resupplied during summer months. It can take six months from the last ship leaving port in the fall until the first one arrives in the spring, a gap in deliveries covering the harshest portion of a very harsh climate. A veritable Eden compared to Mars, to be sure, but an interesting example of periodic supply chain mechanics.
Some might say these are the sort of people who would be better for settling Mars.
« Last Edit: 12/13/2017 09:08 PM by john smith 19 »
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Offline RDoc

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #41 on: 12/20/2017 03:50 AM »
Second, "bring back" doesn't have to refer to physical items originating on Mars (natural resources or value added manufacturing). It can also refer to intellectual property (scientific research), legal property (claims to land), and even experiences (tourism and entertainment).  Antarctica is a perfect corollary here. There are huge multi national companies making billions off of research and tourism alone. Those non-tangibles are regularly brought back, and supported by companies that choose to do business within Antarctica (and yes, that is a commercial airliner landing in Antarctica).
I'm very doubtful that anyone is making anything close to $1B on Antarctic tourism, do you have a source? Last year there were roughly 44000 tourists total in Antarctica, so that would mean that each tourist produced over $20K in profits.

A trip to Antarctica costs on the order of $10K to $20K and lasts a week or two. On the BFR a flight to Mars would cost at least 10x that much, likely much more, and require a minimum of over a year and a half.

I'm also very doubtful that gold (if there is any) on Mars would be worth any more than the millions of tons of gold dissolved in the oceans.

You conveniently left out the research part of my sentence. Tourism is a miniscule part of the Antarctic economy. Most of it is government contracting to the countries the operate there by companies.
I left it out because it's miniscule and thought we were talking about actual profit. I notice you left out any links to the billions of dollars in profits being made. The current US budget for research in Antarctica is about $650M total.

If you're not just blowing smoke, come up with some actual data.


Offline rakaydos

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #42 on: 12/20/2017 03:19 PM »
Flipping a problem of mars exploration on it's head- What about cutting edge cancer research?

Any NASA plancaps lifetime radiation exposure to a 3% increase in likelyness of fatal cancer, which means deep underground shelters. But given an opportunity to go to mars, a non-NASA entity should be able to find people willing to knowing waive that requirement as surface construction/troubleshooting staff, with a good enough health package.

Which is where research comes in. No ethical clinical trial will intentionally expose people to dangerous radiation for the sake of science- but if people are exposing themselves to radiation on their own, an Observational study (even one with a wide sample size) is perfectly reasonable. People simply willing to work the martian surface will break new ground in medical science.

Offline Welsh Dragon

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #43 on: 12/20/2017 05:12 PM »
Which is where research comes in. No ethical clinical trial will intentionally expose people to dangerous radiation for the sake of science- but if people are exposing themselves to radiation on their own, an Observational study (even one with a wide sample size) is perfectly reasonable. People simply willing to work the martian surface will break new ground in medical science.
As a medical researcher, this won't fly. In a population like this, you won't be able to distinguish the radiation effects from the confounds of reduced gravity, enclosed spaces, isolation, and all the other factors that will be different on Mars.

Offline rakaydos

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #44 on: 12/20/2017 06:09 PM »
Which is where research comes in. No ethical clinical trial will intentionally expose people to dangerous radiation for the sake of science- but if people are exposing themselves to radiation on their own, an Observational study (even one with a wide sample size) is perfectly reasonable. People simply willing to work the martian surface will break new ground in medical science.
As a medical researcher, this won't fly. In a population like this, you won't be able to distinguish the radiation effects from the confounds of reduced gravity, enclosed spaces, isolation, and all the other factors that will be different on Mars.

What about a sufficently large control group of people who do desk jobs in the shielded main base, as opposed to the surface workers with high radiation? Both groups have the reduced gravity, comparable isolation, ect.

Offline Welsh Dragon

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #45 on: 12/20/2017 06:28 PM »
Oh that would help a lot, for sure. Not saying it's impossible, just saying it's not as easy as you initially stated.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #46 on: 12/21/2017 12:18 AM »
Which is where research comes in. No ethical clinical trial will intentionally expose people to dangerous radiation for the sake of science- but if people are exposing themselves to radiation on their own, an Observational study (even one with a wide sample size) is perfectly reasonable. People simply willing to work the martian surface will break new ground in medical science.
As a medical researcher, this won't fly. In a population like this, you won't be able to distinguish the radiation effects from the confounds of reduced gravity, enclosed spaces, isolation, and all the other factors that will be different on Mars.
This brings up an idea though: The concentration of a different skill set on mars could itself create a resource. I expect that at least initially it would be very driven, with a lot of respect for all sorts of scientific disciplines. That could be a reason people go, also: for the science and evidence based culture and the sense of a unifying goal.

Also, rather than thinking of Mars trading intellectual property to earth, I think it would be more along the lines of companies being split across the two planets, with design teams on mars and mass production (for the earth market) on earth.
« Last Edit: 12/21/2017 02:12 AM by KelvinZero »

Offline colbourne

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #47 on: 12/21/2017 12:34 AM »
Computer software, films, TV programs and  music are the obvious exports from Mars. The main draw back of exporting from Mars is the cost of shipping , and these products can be transmitted by radio and lasers at little cost. This also relies on creative people living on Mars, because that is where they want to live (or happen to be living for other reasons).

I see Mars  colonisation as a life boat for Earth life , where seed banks and DNA stores are  set up, with the thought that if Earth is destroyed, we can re-start civilisation. We should do all we can to make Mars self sufficient so that if the worst happens they can keep on going, with no inputs from Earth. To do this they need the ability to make enclosed space (tunnels and domes) , energy and future energy after original equipment has failed (solar panel manufacturing plant). Plants can be grown for food , construction materials, and air cleaning purposes. It would be interesting to work out how little mass would need to be shipped from Earth to allow a Mars civilisation to develop in isolation, with the potential to last thousands of years.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #48 on: 12/21/2017 07:42 PM »
This also relies on creative people living on Mars, because that is where they want to live (or happen to be living for other reasons).
Quite true.

What do you see as the attractions of moving to Mars?
Quote from: colbourne
It would be interesting to work out how little mass would need to be shipped from Earth to allow a Mars civilisation to develop in isolation, with the potential to last thousands of years.
The answer to that question is not little.

You might start by looking at the hardware needed to turn sand into Single Crystal Silicon. You might also like to look at the energy requirements of melting it in the first place. Pretty important given how many people think the settlement will run on PV arrays. Or you might like to look at the technology of cutting tool bits, which is highly specialized, energy intensive and very difficult to bootstrap.

When you look at something imagine it in pieces.
Now imagine the machines to make those pieces.
Then the machines that make those machines back to the raw ore.
Then factor in that (AFAIK) Mars has no coal, oil or natural gas with which to smelt those ores into products to begin with.

That does not make the goal impossible.

But it mean working out a whole new mfg sequence from scratch for a lot of that hardware. And no, waving your hands and saying "3d printing will solve everything" will not work, because while it has its uses, and it will obviously get better there will always be some tasks where the compromises and the post processing mean it won't work. 

If you want a common, high complexity, high energy artifact to consider look at the humble Printed Wiring Card or PCB that's inside all your electronics.

It's a combination of multiple layers of glass fiber in a mix of organic resins with about a 3mill Copper film bonded to it and photographically etched and made in a high pressure, high temperature laminating press before drilled with high speed drills down to 4mil in diameter.  The organic resins and the wet chemistry photographic emulsions used are all oil based and examples of low volume "fine" chemicals production. the drill bits are Tungsten Carbide using powder metallurgy.

So what's your plan for getting those "creatives" to Mars?
« Last Edit: 12/21/2017 07:55 PM by john smith 19 »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #49 on: 12/21/2017 07:44 PM »
Also, rather than thinking of Mars trading intellectual property to earth, I think it would be more along the lines of companies being split across the two planets, with design teams on mars and mass production (for the earth market) on earth.
What is the incentive for basing a design team on Mars?
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Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #50 on: 12/21/2017 10:20 PM »
Also, rather than thinking of Mars trading intellectual property to earth, I think it would be more along the lines of companies being split across the two planets, with design teams on mars and mass production (for the earth market) on earth.
What is the incentive for basing a design team on Mars?
Im not attempting to close the business case that entices investment. I don't think we can do that from here. It is all a big experiment that will never be done by entities driven only by their bottom line.

Im just speculating on how Mars could have an economy that earns some money from earth. The incentive for the Martians is that they get to colonise mars and inherit the galaxy, rather than just run a small Antarctica-like base.

Offline Ludus

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #51 on: 12/22/2017 12:35 AM »
It’s a difficult question to even speculate about without some legal framework for ownership of land and resources. There has to be a lot of work in exploration and then engineering ways of exploiting what’s found and that won’t get serious until there’s some way of owning what’s found. Under the current very limited law around the Space Treaty it’s not entirely clear you could even have ownership of anything off the earth to be able to export it.

OTOH if doing X lets you file a solid legal claim to resources that might have huge future value, there will be a lot of investment in doing X, even if it’s uncertain what will be found or how it will be valued.


Offline RoboGoofers

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #52 on: 12/23/2017 06:12 AM »
The idea of exporting scientific data assumes that the data has any value back on Earth. Likely not in a profitable way. However, Mars might export students. Surely if Earth is exporting stuff to Mars the manufacturers here will want people who are familiar with how the products work in situ.

A university town would be a good business. There'll be lots of researchers and potential professors. If a whole new world is opened up I'm sure there will be lots of students who will want to learn about Mars, and the best place will not be schools here on Earth. The long time between Windows won't be a problem for students who typically don't have attachments yet. It'd just be a single term at Mars university.

Many students likely wouldn't stay and settle, content to have had the experience of life on Mars and ready to go home. But supporting the school would require a lot of permanent residents.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #53 on: 12/23/2017 07:01 AM »
The idea of exporting scientific data assumes that the data has any value back on Earth. Likely not in a profitable way. However, Mars might export students. Surely if Earth is exporting stuff to Mars the manufacturers here will want people who are familiar with how the products work in situ.

A university town would be a good business. There'll be lots of researchers and potential professors. If a whole new world is opened up I'm sure there will be lots of students who will want to learn about Mars, and the best place will not be schools here on Earth. The long time between Windows won't be a problem for students who typically don't have attachments yet. It'd just be a single term at Mars university.

Many students likely wouldn't stay and settle, content to have had the experience of life on Mars and ready to go home. But supporting the school would require a lot of permanent residents.
Congratulations. I think that's the first actual new strategy to enable Martian settlement since the "Martian Homesteading" threads.  :)

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Offline Ludus

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #54 on: 12/23/2017 06:17 PM »
The idea of exporting scientific data assumes that the data has any value back on Earth. Likely not in a profitable way. However, Mars might export students. Surely if Earth is exporting stuff to Mars the manufacturers here will want people who are familiar with how the products work in situ.

A university town would be a good business. There'll be lots of researchers and potential professors. If a whole new world is opened up I'm sure there will be lots of students who will want to learn about Mars, and the best place will not be schools here on Earth. The long time between Windows won't be a problem for students who typically don't have attachments yet. It'd just be a single term at Mars university.

Many students likely wouldn't stay and settle, content to have had the experience of life on Mars and ready to go home. But supporting the school would require a lot of permanent residents.

Similar to this is exporting money in the form of remittances home from wages. If you are an exporter to Mars you need to employ people on Mars for all sorts of things. Training employees who return is just one. There will be a lot of simple jobs just unpacking and setting things up, doing maintenance and repairs, evaluating performance. Labor will be scarce and expensive.

Very high local prices and wages will be in ordinary terrestrial currencies and connected to the earth’s financial system. This means working on Mars might be uncomfortable but even small fractions of earnings saved will be worth a lot on earth. It might be very easy to send home a few hundred thousand dollars a year which wouldn’t buy much on Mars but have a big impact on the family back home.

We’ve never seen any separate economy operating off of the earth yet, but it will necessarily be very interconnected. Other than lightspeed delays that discourage day traders, it probably won’t be very different from most places on earth as far as financial transactions, banking, credit cards Etc. It will be different in having a very tight inelastic labor market. Antarctica is a suburb of New York or LA by comparison.

There are currently economies on earth where this effect is among the largest “exports”.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2017 06:41 PM by Ludus »

Offline Lar

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #55 on: 12/23/2017 08:47 PM »
There are currently economies on earth where this effect is among the largest “exports”.

Nod. I think some of the UAE countries might be like this...

There are also economies (the Philippines comes to mind as an example) where inbound remittances are among the largest "imports"... Depending on the mix of folk that actually go to work there, it might become the case that it's a significant "import" for the US...
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #56 on: 12/23/2017 08:55 PM »
It will be different in having a very tight inelastic labor market. Antarctica is a suburb of New York or LA by comparison.

There are currently economies on earth where this effect is among the largest “exports”.
Interesting idea. Something like it is sort of happening now with the ISS. The hourly rate for ISS astronauts is meant to be huge.

The problem with this is that while that's technically "exporting" something from Mars to Earth it's not clear how that would help the settlement purchase supplies from Earth in turn.
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Offline Lar

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #57 on: 12/23/2017 09:21 PM »
It will be different in having a very tight inelastic labor market. Antarctica is a suburb of New York or LA by comparison.

There are currently economies on earth where this effect is among the largest “exports”.
Interesting idea. Something like it is sort of happening now with the ISS. The hourly rate for ISS astronauts is meant to be huge.

The problem with this is that while that's technically "exporting" something from Mars to Earth it's not clear how that would help the settlement purchase supplies from Earth in turn.
The founder of "Raising Cane's", a fried chicken chain, raised his initial stake by working in Alaska[1] and saving his earnings. I could conceive of someone with a low mass high value business idea going to Mars to work for a year or two, and then cashing in his return ticket[2] and his earnings to get "whatever" shipped out to get things going.

1 - this is the story they tell.,,, might be apocryphal, but probably not ...
     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_Cane%27s_Chicken_Fingers
2 - if allowed.
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Offline Ludus

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #58 on: 01/01/2018 06:52 AM »
It will be different in having a very tight inelastic labor market. Antarctica is a suburb of New York or LA by comparison.

There are currently economies on earth where this effect is among the largest “exports”.
Interesting idea. Something like it is sort of happening now with the ISS. The hourly rate for ISS astronauts is meant to be huge.

The problem with this is that while that's technically "exporting" something from Mars to Earth it's not clear how that would help the settlement purchase supplies from Earth in turn.

If there are people with money living on Mars, they’ll purchase almost everything they need from earth. The only thing really necessary to motivate paying them lots of money is the legal framework for people on earth to own assets on Mars they see as rising in value. Growing Capital on Mars is sufficient reason to pay people, even if none of it can physically leave.


Offline wes_wilson

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Re: Development of a Martian export economy
« Reply #59 on: 01/01/2018 02:26 PM »

There are going to be immense incentives to innovate in the areas of power production & distribution; eclss; and robotic automation to support and grow the colony.  All that innovation will have practical use on earth and in other areas; it can be licensed to companies on earth, in cis-lunar space, and eventually elsewhere.

I wouldn't be surprised if for some long period of time innovation occurs on Mars; gets licensed to Earth companies; manufactured in bulk on Earth, and the final product is bought/shipped to Mars. 






@SpaceX "When can I buy my ticket to Mars?"

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