Author Topic: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars  (Read 17130 times)

Offline Eric Hedman

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Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #1 on: 11/21/2018 02:58 am »
Bill Nye doesn't think anyone will live on Mars permanently:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2018/11/19/bill-nye-mars-were-not-going-live-there-make-like-earth/1905447002/
Yeah and he used the antarctica analogy. ::) I don't know why people don't see the obvious flaw in that analogy, but we had a massive thread on almost just that and I think changed no one's mind.

Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are both pretty wet on the idea. Elon Musk is pretty enthusiastic. We can probably find some other supergenius on the pro side.

I didn't see any new arguments in that piece. Im not religious about mars myself but what I most object to was the "we can't even fix problems on earth" trope. I think a mars project, even a small one, could do a lot better at genuinely acing alternative energy and recycling goals, and proving how to live sustainably anywhere, including right here,  than all the politicians on earth. At the same time progress on earth will greatly help any Mars goals.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #2 on: 11/21/2018 03:13 am »
reads like a creationist.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #3 on: 11/21/2018 03:25 am »
Clarke's First, Second, and "Fourth" Laws apply here, IMO:

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

"For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert, but for every fact there is not necessarily an equal and opposite fact."
***

IMHO, neither Bill Nye nor NdGT would be my "go-to experts" on humanity becoming an interplanetary society.

First, no human with that pool of knowledge and experience yet lives.

Secondly, these gentleman are very, very smart in their fields of expertise, but there are others who have pondered more, and more deeply, on the endeavor.  And, then, have performed, or are performing, their bit towards achieving said goal.

:)
« Last Edit: 11/21/2018 03:29 am by zubenelgenubi »
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Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #4 on: 11/21/2018 07:34 am »
If we were living back in the pre-ElonMusk era (B.E.?) then Bill Nye's arguments might sound a lot more convincing. But nowadays, it seems almost inevitable that humanity will be returning to the Moon, as well as getting to Mars - people aren't arguing over "if", but "when".

I think that Bill Nye is, in his own sly way, trying to provoke people into proving him wrong. He's making a Devil's Advocate argument, in order to get people to push back in the opposite direction. By linking humanity's yearning for a spacefaring future to the matters of cleaning our own house and solving the problems of home, perhaps he's exhorting us humans to do a little more on the homefront.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #5 on: 11/21/2018 07:55 am »
If we were living back in the pre-ElonMusk era (B.E.?) then Bill Nye's arguments might sound a lot more convincing. But nowadays, it seems almost inevitable that humanity will be returning to the Moon, as well as getting to Mars - people aren't arguing over "if", but "when".

I think that Bill Nye is, in his own sly way, trying to provoke people into proving him wrong. He's making a Devil's Advocate argument, in order to get people to push back in the opposite direction. By linking humanity's yearning for a spacefaring future to the matters of cleaning our own house and solving the problems of home, perhaps he's exhorting us humans to do a little more on the homefront.
I think you're giving him too much credit.  I think because he can't imagine himself going to Mars to live that he doesn't think other people really want to either.  Opening a new world to settlement is the human experience.  As our ancestors spread around the planet taking risky voyages, there were enough people with the explorer gene to make it happen.  It isn't everyone who has it.  It sounds like Bill Nye definitely doesn't have it.  I think there are more than enough people to make it happen.

Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #6 on: 11/21/2018 05:43 pm »
I think you're giving him too much credit.  I think because he can't imagine himself going to Mars to live that he doesn't think other people really want to either.  Opening a new world to settlement is the human experience.  As our ancestors spread around the planet taking risky voyages, there were enough people with the explorer gene to make it happen.  It isn't everyone who has it.  It sounds like Bill Nye definitely doesn't have it.  I think there are more than enough people to make it happen.

And yet isn't Bill Nye the head of the Planetary Society, who also writes for Universe Today?

http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/bill-nye.html
https://www.universetoday.com/tag/bill-nye/

I thought the whole point of the Planetary Society is to maintain an interest in exploring other planets.

Offline speedevil

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #7 on: 11/21/2018 06:01 pm »
Quote
I thought the whole point of the Planetary Society is to maintain an interest in exploring other planets.
It has historically been a reasonable position to take that unmanned exploration is the vastly more cost efficient route, and manned exploration has limited benefit.
Spending another billion on a new curiosity rover would tell us far more about other planets than spending a billion on LOPG.

However, if it's plausible to get men on Mars/the Moon for that billion, ...

Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #8 on: 11/21/2018 08:26 pm »
Just a quick excerpt from the article:

Quote
For starters, he points to Antarctica, where scientists are stationed even during the harsh winter months but no one lives permanently. "Nobody goes to Antarctica to raise a family. You don't go there and build a park, there's just no such thing."

"Nobody's gonna go settle on Mars to raise a family and have generations of Martians," Nye said. "It's not reasonable because it's so cold. And there is hardly any water. There's absolutely no food, and the big thing, I just remind these guys, there's nothing to breathe."

Plus living in a dome, then putting on a spacesuit to go outside will get tiring – fast.

"When you leave your dome, you're gonna put on another dome, and I think that will get old pretty quick," he said. "Especially the smell in the spacesuit – all the Febreze you can pack, I think it will really help you up there."

But Nye is still in favor of astronauts traveling to the Red Planet.

So just to make a small distinction, Bill Nye does still want to see humans on Mars - he just doesn't believe it can be permanently settled.

Well, if humanity can at least achieve on Mars what it's already done with Antarctica in terms of having manned bases, then that's still quite an accomplishment - at least for the medium term.

It can be argued that it's not safe or ethical to attempt full-blown colonization of Mars until there's a deep infrastructure in place to make it genuinely livable. This shouldn't require terraforming to do that, of course -- but it's nice to think that future Mars explorers and colonists alike would still harbor the dream of somehow making Mars more Earth-like.


That interview with Bill Nye follows closely on the heels of a recent talk hosted by the Washington Post, which featured Bill Nye, Dr Heidi Hammel, and NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, where they talk about the future of planetary & space exploration:

« Last Edit: 11/21/2018 08:26 pm by sanman »

Online Slarty1080

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #9 on: 11/21/2018 09:08 pm »
One big deciding factor concerning habitability will be the effect of 38% gravity on human reproduction. Until that issue is resolved it will remain an open question. If there are major issues then it will never happen. If there arn't then it will be more a question of when rather than if. A few decades, many decades, a few centuries or many centuries.
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #10 on: 11/21/2018 09:27 pm »
One big deciding factor concerning habitability will be the effect of 38% gravity on human reproduction. Until that issue is resolved it will remain an open question. If there are major issues then it will never happen. If there arn't then it will be more a question of when rather than if. A few decades, many decades, a few centuries or many centuries.

Compared to the momentous challenge of bootstrapping industrial civilization on another world, that's a minor inconvenience. To be clear, no-one with a lick of sense says the settlement of space will be easy.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #11 on: 11/21/2018 10:06 pm »
One big deciding factor concerning habitability will be the effect of 38% gravity on human reproduction. Until that issue is resolved it will remain an open question. If there are major issues then it will never happen. If there arn't then it will be more a question of when rather than if. A few decades, many decades, a few centuries or many centuries.

Compared to the momentous challenge of bootstrapping industrial civilization on another world, that's a minor inconvenience. To be clear, no-one with a lick of sense says the settlement of space will be easy.

By "reproduction", this presumably includes gestation and growth all the way upto adulthood/physical-maturity. Psychological effects aside, would kids who grew up in lower Martian gravity end up taller and ganglier like "human giraffes"? Would they have bone-density problems?

If a rotating station with 1-Earth-G of artificial gravity were put in Mars orbit, maybe that could be a place for colonists to stay until their baby is born. But that presumes that artificial rotational gravity is sufficiently identical to Earth gravity so as to not cause any problems to fetal development. Also, the orbital station would have to be sufficiently shielded against cosmic radiation.
« Last Edit: 11/21/2018 10:08 pm by sanman »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #12 on: 11/21/2018 11:00 pm »
By "reproduction", this presumably includes gestation and growth all the way upto adulthood/physical-maturity. Psychological effects aside, would kids who grew up in lower Martian gravity end up taller and ganglier like "human giraffes"? Would they have bone-density problems?

We have no idea.

Quote from: sanman
If a rotating station with 1-Earth-G of artificial gravity were put in Mars orbit, maybe that could be a place for colonists to stay until their baby is born.

I imagine a ground facility would be sufficient, and I doubt gestation would matter as much as early infancy, but again, we have no idea.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #13 on: 11/22/2018 01:25 am »
We have no idea.

And therein lies one of the problems for colonization - who's going to guinea pig themselves (and their children)?
There are going to have to be a lot of off-world animal studies.

Quote
I imagine a ground facility would be sufficient, and I doubt gestation would matter as much as early infancy, but again, we have no idea.

Can a whole surface colony be spun as a giant centrifuge? (Maybe using maglev?) Or can you just get by with a few hours per week by visiting the "centrifugal gym"?
« Last Edit: 11/22/2018 01:27 am by sanman »

Online freddo411

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #14 on: 11/22/2018 01:48 am »
I think you're giving him too much credit.  I think because he can't imagine himself going to Mars to live that he doesn't think other people really want to either.  Opening a new world to settlement is the human experience.  As our ancestors spread around the planet taking risky voyages, there were enough people with the explorer gene to make it happen.  It isn't everyone who has it.  It sounds like Bill Nye definitely doesn't have it.  I think there are more than enough people to make it happen.

And yet isn't Bill Nye the head of the Planetary Society, who also writes for Universe Today?

http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/bill-nye.html
https://www.universetoday.com/tag/bill-nye/

I thought the whole point of the Planetary Society is to maintain an interest in exploring other planets.

I think Bill is one of a class of folks.   These folks are in some way involved in the scientific study of Mars.   While they perhaps would enjoy a slightly increased amount of robotic exploration, they really would like to continue to sequester Mars away for the study by the scientific elite, much like it is done now.    You'll find a similar attitude among other natural scientists in their areas of study.   It's fairly understandable that one would like the focus one's life work to remain fairly pristine, as opposed to radically changed into something different.    The really presumptuous part here is that we are talking about an entire planet!

Offline yoram

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #15 on: 11/22/2018 02:41 am »
It's arguable that nobody settles in Antarctica. There have been at least 10 children born at Esperanza base with several families living there. Perhaps that's not a permanent settlement, but at least a temporary one.
Longer term with climate warning settling in Antarctica might get more interesting in fact.


Offline spacenut

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #16 on: 11/22/2018 03:25 am »
I don't think 38% earth gravity will have any effect on fetal development since the baby is in fluid anyway, like a fish in water.  It is after birth and the growth to adulthood phase, that gravity may make it's largest influence. 

Positives, Mars has water, minerals, CO2, slightly longer than 24 hour day which are great for humans.  Other positives, as man colonizes Mars and eventually becomes self sufficient on Mars, things learned on Mars can be applied to earth, such as extensive recycling, solar and wind power advances, new mining techniques, new farming techniques. 

In the 1960's every dollar spent on the space program yielded $100 in new products.  From clothing to new food packaging methods.  It yielded new smaller and better electronics, and advanced computer technology, as well as new materials. 

We don't really know what going to Mars and colonizing Mars will do to advance a multitude of things that could be used to improve life on earth. 

Worse case scenario, humans will have to live in orbiting O'Neil colonies around Mars, the moon, or the moons of Jupiter and Mars.  They will then use the planets and moons for raw materials, mining, and manufacturing, rotating out between time on Mars and time at a large O'Neil colony. 

However I'm of the opinion that living on Mars is not impossible, even if they have to rotate out after 4-5 years, to return at middle age after raising children or something to live out their life further expanding the colony.  Engineering problems can be solved, but 38% gravity is still the unknown elephant in the room. 

Offline spacenut

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #17 on: 11/22/2018 03:48 am »
Robots are not going to tell us how something smells or how something feels.  Only sights and sounds.  We have to get boots on the ground.  Only until we get humans on Mars will all the questions begin to be answered.  One can see pictures and sounds of a tropical island.  But until you've been there to smell the air, feel the sun, or the ocean waves, will you really appreciate it.  Pictures and a TV show can't do it service. 

I know we have problems on earth, but we have ALWAYS had problems of some kind on earth.  Only in the industrial age have we overcome climate and have not been dependent on seasons, sun, rain, etc.  We now have massive food production and storage even if one area of the country or world has drought, monsoons, or such to disrupt food supplies.  Transportation solved that problem.  Electricity and massive use of fossil fuels have made our homes 70 degrees year round. 

People on earth will always have problems.  I think space colonists will be like minded no mater where they are from and will work together better in space than on earth, because their survival will depend on it.  They can and will show the way for humans on earth to live and work together in peace. 

Offline zodiacchris

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #18 on: 11/22/2018 03:54 am »
A friend of mine is a professional diver, he does nitrox for weeks living in a tank habitat under pressure, servicing oil and gas submarine pipelines and installations 500 feet down. He is using a dry suit with helmet, and with normal servicing, bad smells are a non issue...

We can’t colonise Mars because spacesuits smell? Of all the hypocriticall troll BS we’ve had, this is pretty rank!  ::)
« Last Edit: 11/22/2018 03:56 am by zodiacchris »

Offline tyrred

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #19 on: 11/22/2018 08:33 am »
Oh wow.  Like I’ve been saying exactly what Bill Nye just argued for years... however I get my posts cut from NSF like I’ve been trolling.  So Bill Nye is trolling!

Bill Nye just introduced the thought of what a Mars spacesuit smells like.  Yes.  Bet you cannot get the thought of the smell out of your mind now.  Robotic missions 4 evah.

If you are a person, you smell.  There is no logical fallacy in that statement.

Offline ThereIWas3

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #20 on: 11/22/2018 12:37 pm »
If people who mature physically on Mars have less bone density, then they probably can not return to Earth.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  They are Martians now.  (This was a major plot point in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Offline AC in NC

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #21 on: 11/22/2018 04:02 pm »
I can't think of anyone who should be taken less seriously than Bill Nye.   ???

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #22 on: 11/22/2018 04:25 pm »
Oh wow.  Like I’ve been saying exactly what Bill Nye just argued for years... however I get my posts cut from NSF like I’ve been trolling.  So Bill Nye is trolling!

Bill Nye just introduced the thought of what a Mars spacesuit smells like.  Yes.  Bet you cannot get the thought of the smell out of your mind now.  Robotic missions 4 evah. 
Are the posts you get cut all as lame as that one?
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #23 on: 11/22/2018 05:12 pm »
Having read through Nye's statements there are some falsehoods used to back up his claims. One of which that there actually are permanent residents in Antarctica but for International legal reasons they are not declared as such.
« Last Edit: 11/22/2018 05:13 pm by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #24 on: 11/22/2018 05:39 pm »
 It's always sad to see people who can't believe that their limitations aren't shared by everybody. That and stooping to garbage reasons like smelly spacesuits is pretty disappointing for someone who's suppose to be a beacon for the advancement of humanity and of what it could be.
 I'm glad my ancestors who were willing to spends months on a leaky, rolling, pitching piece of wood to find a home didn't share this snowflake's attitude.
« Last Edit: 11/23/2018 01:59 am by Nomadd »
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #25 on: 11/23/2018 12:55 am »
I think you're giving him too much credit.  I think because he can't imagine himself going to Mars to live that he doesn't think other people really want to either.  Opening a new world to settlement is the human experience.  As our ancestors spread around the planet taking risky voyages, there were enough people with the explorer gene to make it happen.  It isn't everyone who has it.  It sounds like Bill Nye definitely doesn't have it.  I think there are more than enough people to make it happen.

And yet isn't Bill Nye the head of the Planetary Society, who also writes for Universe Today?

http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/bill-nye.html
https://www.universetoday.com/tag/bill-nye/

I thought the whole point of the Planetary Society is to maintain an interest in exploring other planets.
Some people write about space and some people make space history...
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Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #26 on: 11/23/2018 01:52 am »
We've had some previous discussion threads where we've talked about building more spacious and natural-looking habitats off-world, as opposed to just living inside of tiny compartments like bugs in a bottle. For this purpose, planets offer easier access to resources in abundance, while being relatively stable buffered environments. And yet you're more or less stuck with whatever level of gravity they give you, which can have its own long-term effects on physiology. Orbital habitats with their potential for artificial rotational gravity seem to be more flexible in this regard.

How do we get the best of both worlds?

(As for spacesuit smell - meh, spacesuits could be worn with disposable liners, if they aren't already.)

I wonder what Bill Nye or other purported skeptics think of O'Neill type habitat structures and whether they're possible. Perhaps those could potentially lead to World Ships for possible interstellar colonization missions one day?
« Last Edit: 11/23/2018 01:54 am by sanman »

Offline ThereIWas3

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #27 on: 11/23/2018 03:17 am »
Bill Nye's degree is in mechanical engineering.  His job at the Planetary Society is primarily fundraising (for which he is paid $150K per year).  The Society's mission is primarily one of education, and getting people interested in space in general and planetary research in particular.  They tend to support whatever the NASA view of such things is and put some effort into convincing Congress to fund those missions.  My opinion is that this colors their opinions on things a bit.  There are a few people at the Planetary Society with much deeper backgrounds in the actual science involved than Nye, though most of the staff have non-profit marketing, financial, and operational backgrounds.
« Last Edit: 11/23/2018 01:26 pm by ThereIWas3 »
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Online dror

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #28 on: 11/23/2018 05:54 am »
It's always sad to see people who can't believe that their limitations aren't shared by everybody. That and stooping to garbage reasons like smelly spacesuits is pretty disappointing for someone who's suppose to be a beacon for the advancement of humanity and of what it could be.
 I'm glad my ancestors who were willing to spends months on a leaky, rolling, pitching piece of wood to find a home didn't share this snowflake's attitude.
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #29 on: 11/23/2018 06:09 am »
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?

The hazards our ancestors overcame were just as challenging with the technology available at the time.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #30 on: 11/23/2018 07:15 am »
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?

The hazards our ancestors overcame were just as challenging with the technology available at the time.

not in my view.  Space is the first "place" that, if it is settled, requires 100 percent technology to survive.  the underwater environment would be the first except that we have as a "species" given up on settling it for the time being.  Space, if we settle it will be the first place that we live that technology is required to breath. 

Offline Oli

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #31 on: 11/23/2018 09:33 am »
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?

The hazards our ancestors overcame were just as challenging with the technology available at the time.


Natives were doing fine with stone-age technology.

Offline RotoSequence

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #32 on: 11/23/2018 09:43 am »
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?

The hazards our ancestors overcame were just as challenging with the technology available at the time.


Natives were doing fine with stone-age technology.

For wildly varying definitions of "fine."

Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #33 on: 11/23/2018 12:30 pm »
It's always sad to see people who can't believe that their limitations aren't shared by everybody. That and stooping to garbage reasons like smelly spacesuits is pretty disappointing for someone who's suppose to be a beacon for the advancement of humanity and of what it could be.
 I'm glad my ancestors who were willing to spends months on a leaky, rolling, pitching piece of wood to find a home didn't share this snowflake's attitude.
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?

The toxicity might be wildly overstated. MRO's perchlorate detections were apparently false positives due to a processing error.

https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-s-mars-reconnaissance-orbiter-has-a-glitch-that-created-the-illusion-of-water/amp

Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #34 on: 11/23/2018 04:56 pm »
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?

The hazards our ancestors overcame were just as challenging with the technology available at the time.
But at least they had funding!
« Last Edit: 11/23/2018 04:58 pm by Mr. Scott »
Don’t Panic

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #35 on: 11/23/2018 10:58 pm »
Oh, did your ancestors settle in a permanently frozen, airless, super dry, super toxic other planet?

The hazards our ancestors overcame were just as challenging with the technology available at the time.
I have seen this comparison a few times. Was America "easier" because a European placed naked on the shore of America could possibly have survived?

Another way of comparing it is death rates. I fully expect we can settle Mars with a lower death rate than the European settlers of America. Our tools have changed, and it is not just technology such as the ability to create air, it is also our willingness to use evidence-based approaches to identify risks and manage them. If unexpected problems do arise there will immediately be a scientific community on earth trying to figure out what is going on, and publishing ahead of their peers.

Offline Torbjorn Larsson, OM

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #36 on: 11/23/2018 11:39 pm »
This whole idea of not being possible to live on Mars, as respectful as I can be, is Nye high?

An obvious show stopper down the road would be if 0.3 g surface gravity would be a problem for staying, or further down for adolescence. Else there is nothing new here - from providing breathable gases to food production in closed habitats (modulo efficiency of closure) - and Nye is certainly not providing it, Nye resort to concern trolling, including current habitation.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #37 on: 11/23/2018 11:45 pm »

I have seen this comparison a few times. Was America "easier" because a European placed naked on the shore of America could possibly have survived?

Another way of comparing it is death rates. I fully expect we can settle Mars with a lower death rate than the European settlers of America. Our tools have changed, and it is not just technology such as the ability to create air, it is also our willingness to use evidence-based approaches to identify risks and manage them. If unexpected problems do arise there will immediately be a scientific community on earth trying to figure out what is going on, and publishing ahead of their peers.
[/quote]

I agree but analyzing at NASA levels ist also a way of making colonization Impossible. Some risks will have to be tanken.

Offline Hop_David

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #38 on: 11/24/2018 02:37 am »
Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are both pretty wet on the idea.

The Planetary Society still sends me letters asking me to rejoin. I reply that I might consider it if they get rid of Tyson and Nye.

Although I agree with Nye that colonizing Mars isn't a plausible new term goal.

But I still harbor hope that humanity will no longer be limited to cradle earth and we'll open the solar system as a new frontier.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #39 on: 11/24/2018 08:43 am »
This may seem tangental, but I think this thread is not just about the plausibility of mars, but a bit of cult of personality and tribalism too.. so I am throwing this in here: Tyson saying nice things about Elon. :)


Offline Hop_David

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #40 on: 11/24/2018 03:51 pm »
This may seem tangental, but I think this thread is not just about the plausibility of mars, but a bit of cult of personality and tribalism too.. so I am throwing this in here: Tyson saying nice things about Elon. :)



Tyson botches basic math and physics and invents bad histories. But he has a good sense of what's trending and he's skilled at attaching his name to viral memes. So Tyson's Musk stroking isn't surprising.

Tyson used to say opening a new frontier had to be a government endeavor. Now he's saying it needs to be a partnership between government and private enterprise. It's good to see him waking up and smelling the coffee.

I share Tyson's admiration of Musk. Making electric cars more mainstream will make transition to carbonless energy more doable. Reusable boosters will reduce cost of spaceflight. I reviewed Ashlee Vance's book on Musk awhile back.

However I don't think Tyson is giving Bezos enough credit. Bezos has been investing a lot in Blue Origin. Blue Origin's New Shepard looks like it will be a reusable booster. I find Bezos vision of establishing lunar and cislunar infrastructure more plausible than Musk's dreams of colonizing Mars.

I believe Blue Origin vs SpaceX will be a tortoise and hare race.
« Last Edit: 11/24/2018 04:00 pm by Hop_David »

Offline butters

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #41 on: 11/24/2018 04:37 pm »
What the mega-billionaires choose to do with their money is of far more consequence than any op-ed piece.

Offline Eerie

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #42 on: 11/24/2018 07:27 pm »
What the mega-billionaires choose to do with their money is of far more consequence than any op-ed piece.

"Mega-billionaire" - is it someone who has at least a million billions?

Kim Kardashev isn't born yet.

Offline RDoc

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #43 on: 11/24/2018 07:48 pm »
This whole idea of not being possible to live on Mars, as respectful as I can be, is Nye high?

An obvious show stopper down the road would be if 0.3 g surface gravity would be a problem for staying, or further down for adolescence. Else there is nothing new here - from providing breathable gases to food production in closed habitats (modulo efficiency of closure) - and Nye is certainly not providing it, Nye resort to concern trolling, including current habitation.
It would be possible to build cities on the surface of Mars that rotated to create 1G in conjunction with Mars' gravity. They'd have tilted floors and would likely have to be pretty large to avoid Coriolis sickness, but it's possible.

To my mind the biggest issue with colonizing Mars is economic. How could Mars colonists possibly pay for the development and ongoing expenses?

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #44 on: 11/25/2018 03:18 am »
To my mind the biggest issue with colonizing Mars is economic. How could Mars colonists possibly pay for the development and ongoing expenses?
It wasn 't long ago when no one knew Starlink was a possible source of revenue to build BFR/BFS/Super Heavy/Starship/Next name revision.  Why is it out of the question that someone might figure out a way for a Mars colony to pay for itself in the coming decades?

Offline speedevil

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #45 on: 11/25/2018 02:31 pm »
To my mind the biggest issue with colonizing Mars is economic. How could Mars colonists possibly pay for the development and ongoing expenses?
It wasn 't long ago when no one knew Starlink was a possible source of revenue to build BFR/BFS/Super Heavy/Starship/Next name revision.  Why is it out of the question that someone might figure out a way for a Mars colony to pay for itself in the coming decades?

I don't think I posted predicting Starlink.
But, for an owner of a rocket company that has a company producing tens of thousands of semiautonomous robots with communication in the ton mass range, a comsat network is not hugely surprising.

Especially in the face of SpaceXs interest in driving vertical integration to reduce costs.

Comsat networks and broadband were both obviously lucrative markets, and it was very clear in 2015 that if anyone can get even a moderate slice of this existing market, they can make massive amounts of money.

At the moment the question 'but what if Mars makes lots of money' seems almost as legitimate as 'what if my etsy store where I sell handpainted ducks gets larger than Amazon'.

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #46 on: 11/25/2018 05:21 pm »
To my mind the biggest issue with colonizing Mars is economic.

That's true. (Well, unless we know that Earth will shortly become even less uninhabitable than Mars!)

Quote
How could Mars colonists possibly pay for the development and ongoing expenses?

I suspect we won't find out until we get there. But if we don't go, we'll never find out.

Offline RDoc

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #47 on: 11/25/2018 06:03 pm »
To my mind the biggest issue with colonizing Mars is economic.

That's true. (Well, unless we know that Earth will shortly become even less uninhabitable than Mars!)

Quote
How could Mars colonists possibly pay for the development and ongoing expenses?

I suspect we won't find out until we get there. But if we don't go, we'll never find out.
I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't go to Mars, and I don't think Nye is either. What I am saying is that thinking about real colonization, a permanent community living and growing on Mars (or anywhere), without any idea of how to pay for it isn't a great plan. People who invest a lot of money in a business without a pretty clear idea of how it's going to pay for itself generally don't come to a happy end. Early explorers to the New World brought back salable goods on the first voyages, and made huge profits within a few decades.

The two notions for Martian exports I'm aware of, exporting deuterium and intellectual property seem extremely questionable to say the least. I think there was also a suggestion that people would buy Martian land for some reason.

The earlier suggestion of hand painted ducks overwhelming Amazon seems in the same league. At least it's easy to prove that there is a profitable duck market without first investing billions.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #48 on: 11/25/2018 06:25 pm »
I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't go to Mars, and I don't think Nye is either. What I am saying is that thinking about real colonization, a permanent community living and growing on Mars (or anywhere), without any idea of how to pay for it isn't a great plan.

No, it's not a plan, but nevertheless the goal is to set up a human colony on Mars that can eventually be independent in case something happens to Earth.

Quote
People who invest a lot of money in a business without a pretty clear idea of how it's going to pay for itself generally don't come to a happy end.

While true for capitalist endeavors, colonizing Mars is really a humanitarian effort, not a business. So think of it those terms and you can better see how millions, if not billions, of people could dedicate some small part of their wealth towards the goal of making humanity multi-planetary.

Now no doubt there NEEDS to be some degree of commerce, and it's true we have no idea what that may be. But I'd advocate that it doesn't need to have commerce on Day One, nor Year One or Decade One.

Quote
Early explorers to the New World brought back salable goods on the first voyages, and made huge profits within a few decades.

Some did, but not everyone did. Let's not over generalize.

Remember that Elon Musk wants colonists to foot their fair share of the transportation bill to get to Mars, which is currently the barrier to getting to Mars. One could imagine a whole range of GoFundMe or Patreon type efforts to contribute to sending the first couple of generations of colonists and supporting their needs at Mars.

It will take a planet to set up a new planet for humanity...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #49 on: 11/25/2018 07:09 pm »
I just noticed an article where Elon Musk talks about keeping the price to get to Mars affordable:

Elon Musk Denies That SpaceX's Mars Colony Will Be a Ticket Out for the Rich - Gizmodo

Quote
Musk reasserted that a trip to Mars with his company would be likely be priced at a “couple hundred thousand dollars,” which is certainly an exorbitant amount of money for the average person but relatively low for space travel.

Quote
Musk also said that sponsorships could come into play and suggested that the average person could squirrel enough away to eventually afford the trip.

I think colonizing Mars will be a grand experiment on a massive scale, with many, many things being tested out all at once. And it's possible that many, many things will NOT work out, and that Mars is not a viable place for humanity this century.

But we won't know until we try, which is the bias that Elon Musk works under...
« Last Edit: 11/26/2018 01:17 am by Coastal Ron »
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #50 on: 11/25/2018 07:29 pm »
To my mind the biggest issue with colonizing Mars is economic.

That's true. (Well, unless we know that Earth will shortly become even less uninhabitable than Mars!)

Quote
How could Mars colonists possibly pay for the development and ongoing expenses?

I suspect we won't find out until we get there. But if we don't go, we'll never find out.
I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't go to Mars, and I don't think Nye is either. What I am saying is that thinking about real colonization, a permanent community living and growing on Mars (or anywhere), without any idea of how to pay for it isn't a great plan. People who invest a lot of money in a business without a pretty clear idea of how it's going to pay for itself generally don't come to a happy end. Early explorers to the New World brought back salable goods on the first voyages, and made huge profits within a few decades.

The two notions for Martian exports I'm aware of, exporting deuterium and intellectual property seem extremely questionable to say the least. I think there was also a suggestion that people would buy Martian land for some reason.

The earlier suggestion of hand painted ducks overwhelming Amazon seems in the same league. At least it's easy to prove that there is a profitable duck market without first investing billions.

well made points that I think are right on the money.  without an economic hook that has the ability to directly multiply the investment made, the effort will not only fail, but really will never get started

Bill Nye is in my view on very solid historical, technological, and human factors ground in making his prediction(s)


Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #51 on: 11/25/2018 09:14 pm »
not in my view.  Space is the first "place" that, if it is settled, requires 100 percent technology to survive.

What's "100 percent technology"?
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #52 on: 11/25/2018 11:55 pm »
I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't go to Mars, and I don't think Nye is either. What I am saying is that thinking about real colonization, a permanent community living and growing on Mars (or anywhere), without any idea of how to pay for it isn't a great plan.

No, it's not a plan, but nevertheless the goal is to set up a human colony on Mars that can eventually be independent in case something happens to Earth.

Quote
People who invest a lot of money in a business without a pretty clear idea of how it's going to pay for itself generally don't come to a happy end.

While true for capitalist endeavors, colonizing Mars is really a humanitarian effort, not a business. So think of it those terms and you can better see how millions, if not billions, of people could dedicate some small part of their wealth towards the goal of making humanity multi-planetary.

Now no doubt there NEEDS to be some degree of commerce, and it's true we have no idea what that may be. But I'd advocate that it doesn't need to have commerce on Day One, nor Year One or Decade One.

Quote
Early explorers to the New World brought back salable goods on the first voyages, and made huge profits within a few decades.

Some did, but not everyone did. Let's not over generalize.

Remember that Elon Musk wants colonists to foot their fair share of the transportation bill to get to Mars, which is currently the barrier to getting to Mars. One could imagine a whole range of GoFundMe or Patreon type efforts to contribute to sending the first couple of generations of colonists and supporting their needs at Mars.

It will take a planet to set up a new planet for humanity...  ;)
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there. If most of what a colonise needs to survive has to be important from earth at great expense I can't see a future where colony survives.

They need a high value export product to afford essential imports from earth.


Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #53 on: 11/25/2018 11:59 pm »
A lunar colony could potentially survive on tourism without exporting anything.
ISRU is still esential for keeping costs down making tourism affordable by rich.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #54 on: 11/26/2018 12:07 am »
I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't go to Mars, and I don't think Nye is either. What I am saying is that thinking about real colonization, a permanent community living and growing on Mars (or anywhere), without any idea of how to pay for it isn't a great plan.

No, it's not a plan, but nevertheless the goal is to set up a human colony on Mars that can eventually be independent in case something happens to Earth.

Quote
People who invest a lot of money in a business without a pretty clear idea of how it's going to pay for itself generally don't come to a happy end.

While true for capitalist endeavors, colonizing Mars is really a humanitarian effort, not a business. So think of it those terms and you can better see how millions, if not billions, of people could dedicate some small part of their wealth towards the goal of making humanity multi-planetary.

Now no doubt there NEEDS to be some degree of commerce, and it's true we have no idea what that may be. But I'd advocate that it doesn't need to have commerce on Day One, nor Year One or Decade One.

Quote
Early explorers to the New World brought back salable goods on the first voyages, and made huge profits within a few decades.

Some did, but not everyone did. Let's not over generalize.

Remember that Elon Musk wants colonists to foot their fair share of the transportation bill to get to Mars, which is currently the barrier to getting to Mars. One could imagine a whole range of GoFundMe or Patreon type efforts to contribute to sending the first couple of generations of colonists and supporting their needs at Mars.

It will take a planet to set up a new planet for humanity...  ;)
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there. If most of what a colonise needs to survive has to be important from earth at great expense I can't see a future where colony survives.

They need a high value export product to afford essential imports from earth.

exactly

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #55 on: 11/26/2018 12:09 am »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there. If most of what a colonise needs to survive has to be important from earth at great expense I can't see a future where colony survives.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GN3BJX3/
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #56 on: 11/26/2018 12:11 am »
not in my view.  Space is the first "place" that, if it is settled, requires 100 percent technology to survive.

What's "100 percent technology"?

when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

I am sitting here right now in Istanbul...kind of relaxing before long haul.  I need technology to be on the net...but none to take a breath.    on Mars...you cannot even do that :)

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #57 on: 11/26/2018 12:14 am »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there. If most of what a colonise needs to survive has to be important imported from earth at great expense I can't see a future where colony survives.

They need a high value export product to afford essential imports from earth.
I agree for the first part but for the second part I think escaping this reliance with real self sufficiency is more important.

I don't see any convincing business case for sustained growth at the moment. Im actually a bit worried about finding it, because this could easily create a bubble and then the whole thing collapses with some technological improvement on earth that negates this advantage.

What we can speculate on right now is funding a small colony at a fixed price indefinitely, eg SpaceX making so much money it can set up a trust, or some government project that gains the zombie immortality of certain ones we could name.. but is actually worthwhile as boondoggles go.

Growth can come from increased self sufficiency within that fix budget. We will not just asymptotically approach full self sufficiency. At some point we will hit 100% self sufficiency and go flying past it, into exponential growth.

It is not clear how hard self sufficiency is. Currently we have not managed it with billions of people on earth.. on the other hand within a century or maybe only a decade we may easily have a 3d printer that can produce all its own parts from a handful of common elements. It is hard to know. The fixed costs base is something we can have a good quantitative guess at.

Offline meberbs

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #58 on: 11/26/2018 12:21 am »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there. If most of what a colonise needs to survive has to be important from earth at great expense I can't see a future where colony survives.

They need a high value export product to afford essential imports from earth.
Emphasis added.

The point of a colony (especially as Musk envisions one) is for it to be self-sufficient, or reasonably close to that. Starting by assuming that it needs a large amount of imports is essentially assuming that there is no colony, and your conclusion and assumptions can't be the same thing.

As for what they could export, there is a thread for that.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #59 on: 11/26/2018 12:22 am »
when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

How old are you? I'm willing to bet you'd be dead by now without a whole bunch of technology. We're long past your 100% technology standard, you just don't know it.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #60 on: 11/26/2018 12:54 am »
when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

How old are you? I'm willing to bet you'd be dead by now without a whole bunch of technology. We're long past your 100% technology standard, you just don't know it.

52... how old are you?

a "whole bunch of technology" is quite different than 100 percent dependent on it

name me one thing on Mars you can do without technology except die :)

and with that off to bed. where I am still taking breathes without technology :)

Offline colbourne

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #61 on: 11/26/2018 12:59 am »
I dont think Bill Nye is correct in saying we will never colonize Mars.
It is possible to get to Mars and with regular supplies, a base can be maintained for as long as desired. There will be people willing to go to Mars and stay there for the rest of their lives.

I dont think the base has to make money as it will be funded from Earth initially and probably for as long as there is a space fairing civilisation on Earth.

To make the base so that it can survive independently from Earth, providing a second chance for humanity, will be much harder. (see  Steam Punk Mars thread)

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45772.0

I feel it should always be our aim to strive to make the base have a chance of success independently from Earth, so we should try to get the key industries running, even if only as proof of concept. Local life support (safe housing,breathable air and food production) will slowly be ramped up over time, but once trade with Earth is impossible their will come a time when existing equipment will fail beyond repair, and the Mars base will have to survive using its own resources.
Some equipment will probably never be able to be built on Mars and CPU's will become like rare magic items, that once existed but will never be able to be replaced.
If the base does survive, it may take thousands of years to reach todays Earth technology levels.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #62 on: 11/26/2018 01:04 am »
52... how old are you?

Remember that time you had the flu and couldn't get out of bed for a few days? How was ya breathing then?

We are 100% dependent upon modern technology. If thinking about colonising Mars helps you understand that, I think we might actually have achieved something!
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #63 on: 11/26/2018 01:12 am »
not in my view.  Space is the first "place" that, if it is settled, requires 100 percent technology to survive.

What's "100 percent technology"?

when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

I am sitting here right now in Istanbul...kind of relaxing before long haul.  I need technology to be on the net...but none to take a breath.    on Mars...you cannot even do that :)

You say that, yet all your air, food, and water was processed with technology.

You might be able to survive Earth without technology, but you certainly won't thrive. There's a really good reason why the global population started growing exponentially right around the time of the industrial revolution.

Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #64 on: 11/26/2018 01:13 am »
when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

How old are you? I'm willing to bet you'd be dead by now without a whole bunch of technology. We're long past your 100% technology standard, you just don't know it.

52... how old are you?

a "whole bunch of technology" is quite different than 100 percent dependent on it

name me one thing on Mars you can do without technology except die :)

and with that off to bed. where I am still taking breathes without technology :)

Most of the air you breathe is filtered, conditioned, and pressurized...

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #65 on: 11/26/2018 01:16 am »
It kinda reminds me of people building bomb shelters and thinking they're going to ride out a nuclear war.

How will you breathe??? We'll process the air.

What if the air processor breaks down??? We'll fix it.

But... look, if you don't want a spot in the bunker, someone else will take it.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline speedevil

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #66 on: 11/26/2018 01:44 am »
A lunar colony could potentially survive on tourism without exporting anything.
ISRU is still esential for keeping costs down making tourism affordable by rich.
It is important, but it's unclear it's essential.

If, for example, you can sell two week slots on the moon for a million dollars, that's $26M/customer you can spend if you invest the first years estimated profit.

If we make optimistic assumptions on BFS actually hitting its mark of $5M cost to spacex, and ~100 tons to LEO, that's some 60 tons per customer you can spend on outfitting.

The second year is not pure profit, but you can take a reasonable profit while offering a nicer and growing service for the price (two, not six days to the moon, more stuff on the moon, ...)

ISRU beyond rocks to pile on for shielding (that expands your pressurised volume by over an order of magnitude) is not quite required for $1M, or probably not even $100K.
It is most certainly required to hit $20K.

Mars is a very different case, and while it is imaginable to not use ISRU for emergency evacuation, any sort of commercial venture pretty much requires it.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #67 on: 11/26/2018 02:16 am »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue...

Sure it is. Because of the cost today, no government or private party has been able to afford to go to Mars. What SpaceX is doing is very significant, and we should not hand-wave it away, especially since this same low-cost transportation system that is used to send settlers to Mars is going to be used to KEEP them there too.

Quote
...but cost of living there.

Which won't be trivial, but again, if we have solved the MASSIVELY complicated challenge of sending humans to Mars for the price of a middle-class house, then supplying that person becomes easier. As to who pays for it, see my post above where I talk about colonizing Mars as a humanitarian mission, and it will be easier to understand why crowdfunding Mars colonization is a potential solution.

Quote
If most of what a colonise needs to survive has to be important imported from earth at great expense I can't see a future where colony survives.

There are many examples of human communities around the world where constant shipments from the outside world are needed to maintain "a certain level of civilization". I know I certainly don't expect Mars to be independent of Earth for at least a century or more, so I'm confused why this is a major concern?

Plus, as time goes by what is required will change, since we'll likely figure out how to grow food first, but making habs, motors, electronics and such will take a lot longer (i.e. many decades).

Quote
They need a high value export product to afford essential imports from earth.

There is nothing worth importing from Mars to Earth. This has always been the major assumption. Don't you remember Elon Musk saying something like "If there was pure cocaine on the surface of Mars it wouldn't be worth shipping it back to Earth!"

Which again is why I suggest you look at colonizing Mars as a humanitarian mission, not a capitalist endeavor. People from all over the world will contribute small and large amounts of money on a regular basis to give this effort a chance to succeed - I know I'll be contributing!  :D
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #68 on: 11/26/2018 02:19 am »
when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

How old are you? I'm willing to bet you'd be dead by now without a whole bunch of technology. We're long past your 100% technology standard, you just don't know it.

52... how old are you?

a "whole bunch of technology" is quite different than 100 percent dependent on it

name me one thing on Mars you can do without technology except die :)

and with that off to bed. where I am still taking breathes without technology :)

A modern large city with a population of several million would not be livable for long without technology such as trucks and plumbing to bring in supplies and remove waste.

If all the transport and plumbing stopped working people would start dying from water and food borne illnesses in a week or two.

How you deal with safety on Mars colony exactly how you do on Earth by having redundancy and eliminating single points of failure.
« Last Edit: 11/26/2018 03:05 am by Patchouli »

Offline RonM

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #69 on: 11/26/2018 02:30 am »
We're really getting sidetracked with this "can't live on Earth without technology" foolishness. Yes, people who live in cities are dependent on city services functioning and imported food, but have any of you city slickers been to the country? Ever been hiking in the mountains?

Billions of people on Earth live in poor nations with minimal technology.

Yes, you can breathe air on Earth without air conditioning.

Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #70 on: 11/26/2018 02:39 am »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue...

Sure it is. Because of the cost today, no government or private party has been able to afford to go to Mars. What SpaceX is doing is very significant, and we should not hand-wave it away, especially since this same low-cost transportation system that is used to send settlers to Mars is going to be used to KEEP them there too.

Quote
...but cost of living there.

Which won't be trivial, but again, if we have solved the MASSIVELY complicated challenge of sending humans to Mars for the price of a middle-class house, then supplying that person becomes easier. As to who pays for it, see my post above where I talk about colonizing Mars as a humanitarian mission, and it will be easier to understand why crowdfunding Mars colonization is a potential solution.

Quote
If most of what a colonise needs to survive has to be important imported from earth at great expense I can't see a future where colony survives.

There are many examples of human communities around the world where constant shipments from the outside world are needed to maintain "a certain level of civilization". I know I certainly don't expect Mars to be independent of Earth for at least a century or more, so I'm confused why this is a major concern?

Plus, as time goes by what is required will change, since we'll likely figure out how to grow food first, but making habs, motors, electronics and such will take a lot longer (i.e. many decades).

Quote
They need a high value export product to afford essential imports from earth.

There is nothing worth importing from Mars to Earth. This has always been the major assumption. Don't you remember Elon Musk saying something like "If there was pure cocaine on the surface of Mars it wouldn't be worth shipping it back to Earth!"

Which again is why I suggest you look at colonizing Mars as a humanitarian mission, not a capitalist endeavor. People from all over the world will contribute small and large amounts of money on a regular basis to give this effort a chance to succeed - I know I'll be contributing!  :D

If you assume cheap transport, then there might be some stuff worth exporting. 1 tonne of PGMs, for example, would be worth about as much as 500 passenger tickets.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #71 on: 11/26/2018 03:15 am »
We're really getting sidetracked with this "can't live on Earth without technology" foolishness. Yes, people who live in cities are dependent on city services functioning and imported food, but have any of you city slickers been to the country? Ever been hiking in the mountains?

Billions of people on Earth live in poor nations with minimal technology.

Yes, you can breathe air on Earth without air conditioning.

and die before you're 30 if you're one of the "lucky" ones. Every year, idiots go out into the wilderness to try to live like their ancestors and die like flies. Stop pretending it's easy. No-one ever said settling another planet would be easy.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #72 on: 11/26/2018 03:17 am »


If you assume cheap transport, then there might be some stuff worth exporting. 1 tonne of PGMs, for example, would be worth about as much as 500 passenger tickets.

PGMs might be easier to find on Mars than on Earth and you don't have to worry about destroying tropical rain forests to get them.
The rain forests of the world are too important to cut down for mining.
« Last Edit: 11/26/2018 03:29 am by Patchouli »

Offline RonM

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #73 on: 11/26/2018 03:50 am »
We're really getting sidetracked with this "can't live on Earth without technology" foolishness. Yes, people who live in cities are dependent on city services functioning and imported food, but have any of you city slickers been to the country? Ever been hiking in the mountains?

Billions of people on Earth live in poor nations with minimal technology.

Yes, you can breathe air on Earth without air conditioning.

and die before you're 30 if you're one of the "lucky" ones. Every year, idiots go out into the wilderness to try to live like their ancestors and die like flies. Stop pretending it's easy. No-one ever said settling another planet would be easy.

I'm not talking about settling another planet, I'm talking about living on this one. Or is this just another "move the goalposts" moment to save face. People survive on Earth all the time without modern luxuries.

How about sticking to the topic "Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars" instead of this foolishness.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #74 on: 11/26/2018 04:03 am »
I'm not talking about settling another planet, I'm talking about living on this one. Or is this just another "move the goalposts" moment to save face. People survive on Earth all the time without modern luxuries.

For how long? YOU would be dead by now without modern "luxuries". Stop making this about some theoretical. People who think we can't settle other planets because you've gotta make air are just ignorant of how much of their own lives are dependent upon technology. The fact that someone somewhere somehow can survive for some time without that same technology doesn't excuse them from being ignorant of that.



Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #75 on: 11/26/2018 04:45 am »
If you assume cheap transport, then there might be some stuff worth exporting. 1 tonne of PGMs, for example, would be worth about as much as 500 passenger tickets.

PGMs might be easier to find on Mars than on Earth and you don't have to worry about destroying tropical rain forests to get them.
The rain forests of the world are too important to cut down for mining.

PGM = Precision Guided Missile? Pokémon Gem Mine? Paternal Grandmother?

I'm going to hope you mean Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), and if so then I would suggest they are far more valuable staying on Mars than in exporting back to Earth where there is already a robust supply of them.

And this is the thing, that unless we discover "Unobtainium" on Mars, there is nothing on Mars that we need to export back to Earth. Which is what Elon Musk has been saying, and I tend to agree with him.

Certainly one of the reasons why people think Mars cannot be colonized is because of how much it will cost over a long period of time. And we don't know if that can be solved. But I think it is likely that once SpaceX lands the first humans, and they have some modest form of success, that it will becomes clearer what forms of funding can be expected.

Then the question becomes what growth rate that amount of funding supports?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline RonM

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #76 on: 11/26/2018 04:46 am »
I'm not talking about settling another planet, I'm talking about living on this one. Or is this just another "move the goalposts" moment to save face. People survive on Earth all the time without modern luxuries.

For how long? YOU would be dead by now without modern "luxuries". Stop making this about some theoretical. People who think we can't settle other planets because you've gotta make air are just ignorant of how much of their own lives are dependent upon technology. The fact that someone somewhere somehow can survive for some time without that same technology doesn't excuse them from being ignorant of that.

I'm not arguing that we can't settle other planets. Of course we can. But it will be hard. What I've seen here are ridiculous arguments with ignorance on both sides. Including Bill Nye.

Offline su27k

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #77 on: 11/26/2018 07:18 am »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there.

No, that's the wrong intuition. If you look at Purdue University AAE-450 Project Destiny report where they considered the feasibility and cost to build a 1M people colony using ITS, the launch cost absolutely dominate the total cost at 65%, everything else (communication, surface power, habitat, food, water, etc) is only 35%.

Or you can take a look at the cost of US Antarctic Program, they keep 1,000+ people living at Antarctic using only $300M per year. The amount of cargo sent to McMurdo every year is 5,000t, if you try to send these to Mars using BFR, you'll need ~300 launches per year, or $2.1B at $7M per launch.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #78 on: 11/26/2018 08:39 am »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there.

No, that's the wrong intuition. If you look at Purdue University AAE-450 Project Destiny report where they considered the feasibility and cost to build a 1M people colony using ITS, the launch cost absolutely dominate the total cost at 65%, everything else (communication, surface power, habitat, food, water, etc) is only 35%.

Or you can take a look at the cost of US Antarctic Program, they keep 1,000+ people living at Antarctic using only $300M per year. The amount of cargo sent to McMurdo every year is 5,000t, if you try to send these to Mars using BFR, you'll need ~300 launches per year, or $2.1B at $7M per launch.
RLV are cheap if flying regularly eg monthly drop that back to a flight every year or two and they become very expensive. Most investors would be looking at return within 5 years. Thats means it has to pay for its self and make decent profit over 2-5 flights.  Mars transporter will be very expensive once kitted out to support a 100 people. The booster while expensive can fly monthly so will cheaper overall.


Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #79 on: 11/26/2018 09:10 am »
when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

How old are you? I'm willing to bet you'd be dead by now without a whole bunch of technology. We're long past your 100% technology standard, you just don't know it.

52... how old are you?

a "whole bunch of technology" is quite different than 100 percent dependent on it

name me one thing on Mars you can do without technology except die :)

and with that off to bed. where I am still taking breathes without technology :)

A modern large city with a population of several million would not be livable for long without technology such as trucks and plumbing to bring in supplies and remove waste.

If all the transport and plumbing stopped working people would start dying from water and food borne illnesses in a week or two.

How you deal with safety on Mars colony exactly how you do on Earth by having redundancy and eliminating single points of failure.

the single point of failure for anything that is 100 percent technology dependent (or really not even that high a level...but a situation where technology is essential for survival ) is Money

a chum works for a major university in one of the "westernmountains states" and his job is to chronical "ghost towns" and their time line of history

the "distance" from "the economic engine ran dry" to the town is abandoned is very short.  If you really watch Nyes presentation (and it is a good one) his main argument against colonization of almost any where in the solar system is that there is no economic engine to support it...andyou cannot have a closed engine on that large a scale

or as my friend says "when the (mine, timber whatever) played out, the town stops playing pretty quickly"

but where the economic engine remains in tact...eventually growth starts the spill over affect.  you cans see this starting to happen (finally) with the south pole area.  finally tourism is starting to be a small but growing market...and it is starting to field its own infrastructure. but I suspect if US federal dollars stopped...well the entire thing would dry up quickly.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #80 on: 11/26/2018 09:21 am »
when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

How old are you? I'm willing to bet you'd be dead by now without a whole bunch of technology. We're long past your 100% technology standard, you just don't know it.

52... how old are you?

a "whole bunch of technology" is quite different than 100 percent dependent on it

name me one thing on Mars you can do without technology except die :)

and with that off to bed. where I am still taking breathes without technology :)

Most of the air you breathe is filtered, conditioned, and pressurized...

My last EASA FAA Audit (two months ago) had me at just a little over 30,000 hours.  that tracks with about 1000 hours a year (the max it changes next year to 900) that one can spend in the air getting paid for it.  and of course I do private flying AND a reasonable amount of travel

but "most" is a stretch.  Most of my life...I dont have to think of the technology that lets me take a breath...except well my lungs :)

but "me" aside :) the fact is that if you go anywhere on EArth other than mountain climbing...you really dont have to deal with the technology of breathing or quite a few other things which when you have to do that in space flight eat up mass quickly. ...and present a lot of failure points.

every Mars show that has shown "long term habitat" from Robinson Crusoe on Mars to "Mars" (the one with "Mark Watly in it) to the Nat Geo series always has to "invent" things which bypass the constant technology need.  in Mark Watly's case it is the unlikely "thing" that he could grow plants in the Mars "dirt"... on Nat Geo the technology bypass is less but to get around that the technology is "star treked"...ie advanced beyond anything really comprehensible to our technology

I notice the "environment" stuffthey are wearing is in a back pack smaller than what my kids wear to school and the space suits are not much more than my old flight suits.  of its a few decade in the future but its not any where realistic

the closest thing to "space" is under the water...and the transportation cost there are far less...and the survival package is far easier...and no matter what one does not see people rushing to build cities on the continental shelf...

that is what I think Nye is talking about when he makes the statements he does.  what was that series a couple of decades ago...I call it star trek under the sea...Sea something...

we have the technology to have that underwater infrastructure.  there is another reason we dont have it...that is what I think Nye is addressing. 

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #81 on: 11/26/2018 09:43 am »
52... how old are you?

Remember that time you had the flu and couldn't get out of bed for a few days? How was ya breathing then?

We are 100% dependent upon modern technology. If thinking about colonising Mars helps you understand that, I think we might actually have achieved something!

it was morel like pneumonia...  I seem to get it about every 20 years, the last time I had it during the Bosnia war and it was just as bad :) but I am told the vacinne that they have now makes me immune (you have to of just had pneumonia and get vacced...) ah modern technology  :)


the closest thing that humans do to space travel is travel under the water in a submarine.  once you "pull the plug" and go under the folks on "the boat" (or ship these days) are dependent for everything that keeps their lives going on technology.  It is only with the advent of massive technology development that subs have turned into more or less for 6 to 10 months permanent underwater stations with propulsion.

this has come at enormous cost, but its still temp...and only exist in a regimented well ordered "routine" that is strictly enforced by well military discipline"  the next thing is oil rigs which are kind of like that

If we ever get colonies in space (and I think we will start with small ones like NSF places) EVENTUALLY I think the "nye paradox" will be crossed...meaning that like say Pearl Harbor in the 1800's eventually US government requirements (or just things it does) will spark a local economy that will start to spin off to private things...kind of like the old forts in the west.

BUT real growth (ie say Fort Worth) will depend the place there finding some economic engine that will kick into the economy in general.  and that is the difference between say Fort Worth and Fort Davis.

Nye strikes me as a person who has "thought this out" a bit...and is trying to keep the eye on forming some sort of federal policy (which both Nye and I agree is essential) to enable as he has said "unexpected possibilities"   I know we both agree with a recent long space news op ed on the subject of NASA's future which addressed this

At 52 its kind of all academic to me, my only real interest in it is for my kids, their generation, the generation of wealth through wise investment and the preservation of The Republic.  As my wife tells people "we have made our "move" to enable the future" already...
« Last Edit: 11/26/2018 09:53 am by TripleSeven »

Offline tyrred

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #82 on: 11/26/2018 10:08 am »
Maybe a little levity.

I can't help but imagine Bill Nye as a phrenologist in the 1800's.  Of course we can't afford to go to Mars right now, because there's no beaver pelts or Whale oil on Mars.  Duh.

Economic systems change.  Our current global economic paradigm will crash, or alreadyis crashing or has crashed (depending where you live and your soci-economic status).  Meanwhile the technological elite are busy creating AI to put other people out of their jobs.  For a paperclip-making AI, all economics is about maximum paperclip efficiency utilizaing all available resources (humans included).   

What does Mars really offer in the grand scheme?  A lot of empty land.  The temptation for space-faring technowizards to actually do something truly godly?  Independence?

They choose to go to Mars and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

Offline SimonFD

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #83 on: 11/26/2018 11:39 am »
not in my view.  Space is the first "place" that, if it is settled, requires 100 percent technology to survive.

What's "100 percent technology"?

when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

I am sitting here right now in Istanbul...kind of relaxing before long haul.  I need technology to be on the net...but none to take a breath.    on Mars...you cannot even do that :)

If only there were a way to check if we could do this. Like, for instance, a very small colony surviving only on technology and supplies from Earth, but more local (a few hundred miles not a few million) where to go outside you need a spacesuit.
Oh wait ....  ;)
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Offline bad_astra

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #84 on: 11/26/2018 12:40 pm »
Bill Nye might surprise some Chilean and Argentinian permanent residents of Antarctica that it isn't colonized. If it doesn't count because they don't make the bulk of their own raw materials, does that mean Japan isn't settled?

I agree with him, that we probably won't colonize Mars in a large scale, though I do think on a smaller scale we will, but not for his wrong and dogmatic reasons.

I don't think Mars will be a popular target for colonization long term just because orbital habitats will far more comfortable, convenient, and safer places for humanity to reside in. There may be a brief window of opportunity where it is cheaper to put people and keep them alive on Mars vs building the first Stanford torus, but eventually I can't see much point in it, except for tourism. And if we've gotten to the point humanity can pick whether to leave their O'Neil cylinder home to Earth or Mars for a holiday, our descendants are doing pretty well.

Also Beakman's World was better than Bill Nye's show.


« Last Edit: 11/26/2018 12:40 pm by bad_astra »
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Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #85 on: 11/26/2018 02:58 pm »
If you assume cheap transport, then there might be some stuff worth exporting. 1 tonne of PGMs, for example, would be worth about as much as 500 passenger tickets.

PGMs might be easier to find on Mars than on Earth and you don't have to worry about destroying tropical rain forests to get them.
The rain forests of the world are too important to cut down for mining.

PGM = Precision Guided Missile? Pokémon Gem Mine? Paternal Grandmother?

I'm going to hope you mean Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), and if so then I would suggest they are far more valuable staying on Mars than in exporting back to Earth where there is already a robust supply of them.

And this is the thing, that unless we discover "Unobtainium" on Mars, there is nothing on Mars that we need to export back to Earth. Which is what Elon Musk has been saying, and I tend to agree with him.

Certainly one of the reasons why people think Mars cannot be colonized is because of how much it will cost over a long period of time. And we don't know if that can be solved. But I think it is likely that once SpaceX lands the first humans, and they have some modest form of success, that it will becomes clearer what forms of funding can be expected.

Then the question becomes what growth rate that amount of funding supports?

There's nothing that we NEED to export from Mars to Earth, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can't do so and do it profitably. I don't think that's a great funding model, but it is certainly possible, so long as transportation is cheap enough for a ticket to be in the $200k ballpark.

Maybe you should consider including some form of reward in your charity model, e.g. contribute $100 get a 1 gram Mars rock. Seems to work for Girl Scouts and cookies... :D

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #86 on: 11/26/2018 05:09 pm »
In the transport of goods costs model goods from Earth will be expensive, goods from Mars will be significantly cheaper. Meaning that there is a high possibility of a thriving Mars export business if not to Earth then to other in orbit destinations that do not have easy access to raw resources. There is a possibility the transport costs from Mars to cis-Lunar space may be cheaper than transport costs from Earth.

For more on the export discussion see
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44411.0

Online Tulse

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #87 on: 11/26/2018 05:31 pm »
I don't think Mars will be a popular target for colonization long term just because orbital habitats will far more comfortable, convenient, and safer places for humanity to reside in.
I don't see why that would be the case.   Convenient, perhaps, but I don't see why orbital habs would be inherently more comfortable or safer. 

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #89 on: 11/26/2018 07:01 pm »
Perhaps Mr. Nye voices such an opinion merely to promote discussion?  It seems to have worked here at NSF.

Visiting another planet is one thing, colonizing it is yet another.   I'd be satisfied if we simply visited.

 There are people wracking their brains to find methods of returning Mars 2020 rover samples from the Martian surface back to Earth.  The best method IMO would be to have an astronaut walk over to the sample, bend over, grapple the sample container with his or her Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) aka hand and then place said sample container in his or her external unpressurized cargo trunk. (aka pocket) Return to his/her Mars lander, empty their pockets and stow the samples.  Launch the Martian Ascent Vehicle(MAV) from the surface to Martian orbit, then return home.   Depending on the level of physical deconditioning that occurred during the multimonth transit to Mars from Earth, the astronauts/cosmonauts
The most physically demanding portion of this Martian sample return mission is having the astronaut bending over to pick up the sample containers. It shouldn't be too bad seeing that Martian gravity is approx. 38% of the gravity on Earth
Paul

Offline lamontagne

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #90 on: 11/26/2018 07:13 pm »
when you cannot take  a breathe, a drink or even do your toilet without technology...much less eat or prosper without technology to make it "all work"

How old are you? I'm willing to bet you'd be dead by now without a whole bunch of technology. We're long past your 100% technology standard, you just don't know it.

52... how old are you?

a "whole bunch of technology" is quite different than 100 percent dependent on it

name me one thing on Mars you can do without technology except die :)

and with that off to bed. where I am still taking breathes without technology :)

A modern large city with a population of several million would not be livable for long without technology such as trucks and plumbing to bring in supplies and remove waste.

If all the transport and plumbing stopped working people would start dying from water and food borne illnesses in a week or two.

How you deal with safety on Mars colony exactly how you do on Earth by having redundancy and eliminating single points of failure.

the single point of failure for anything that is 100 percent technology dependent (or really not even that high a level...but a situation where technology is essential for survival ) is Money

a chum works for a major university in one of the "westernmountains states" and his job is to chronical "ghost towns" and their time line of history

the "distance" from "the economic engine ran dry" to the town is abandoned is very short.  If you really watch Nyes presentation (and it is a good one) his main argument against colonization of almost any where in the solar system is that there is no economic engine to support it...andyou cannot have a closed engine on that large a scale

or as my friend says "when the (mine, timber whatever) played out, the town stops playing pretty quickly"

but where the economic engine remains in tact...eventually growth starts the spill over affect.  you cans see this starting to happen (finally) with the south pole area.  finally tourism is starting to be a small but growing market...and it is starting to field its own infrastructure. but I suspect if US federal dollars stopped...well the entire thing would dry up quickly.

As an inhabitant of Northern Canada, and as someone who worked for a few years in the mining industry, I noticed that we no longer build new towns.  So these cannot become ghost towns.  The solution these days is automation, and fly in fly out operations.  The low cost of transportation and the efficiency of automation has made permanent occupation of the territory unnecessary.  this is also true for a lot of the smaller towns in outlying areas, they are no longer growing, but losing their population.
In the same way, there is no need for important orbital platforms in Earth orbit, of for permanent occupation of the Mars or Moon.  All of the required objectives can be achieved by automation, or by temporary visits.

So the reason to settle permanently on Mars cannot be the exploitation of resources, exploration or the production of goods.  It has to be something else.  And the only answer  I have found that fits within our economical system is that over time a Mars colony will eventually have sufficient intrinsic value and production capacity that its inhabitants can live there without significant external input.  growth for growth's sake, I guess.
In that sense, a colony would be a kind of long term capital investment:  eventually, when it has grown enough and is viable, those who have invested and own part of it can recoup their investment.  As long as it is growing, just like any other endeavor, value will grow, and money invested is not lost.

The service the growing colony gives is providing an environment that provides adequate stimulus to the kinds of individuals that enjoy the challenge that the Martian conditions represent, i.e.: forced growth, physical and mental obstacles.  The challenge the colony will eventually face is to provide an environment that is interesting to the children that are born there, to the point that they are content in living on Mars rather than returning to Earth.  My guess is that requires something like 1 million people.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #91 on: 11/26/2018 07:15 pm »
I don't think Mars will be a popular target for colonization long term just because orbital habitats will far more comfortable, convenient, and safer places for humanity to reside in.
I don't see why that would be the case.   Convenient, perhaps, but I don't see why orbital habs would be inherently more comfortable or safer. 

I want to be careful not to get away from the topic, but large orbital habitats can allow large open spaces with breathable air, something Mars most likely could not have for centuries. And Mars will never have Earth equivalent gravity, which our species evolved to live in. Orbital habitats can simulate that easily.

Mars as an export source makes sense if there is something there that cannot be obtained more easily. Maybe the early scenario best of both worlds is finding Phobos and Demos worth mining while Mars remains becomes an in-situ operations center and materials provider for those operations.

It just shows a lack of thought from Bill Nye. No one can be completely spot-on as to what space settlement will look like in 200 years, or even 100. I'd like to be pleasantly surprised in 20.
"Contact Light" -Buzz Aldrin

Offline lamontagne

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #92 on: 11/26/2018 07:26 pm »
I don't think Mars will be a popular target for colonization long term just because orbital habitats will far more comfortable, convenient, and safer places for humanity to reside in.
I don't see why that would be the case.   Convenient, perhaps, but I don't see why orbital habs would be inherently more comfortable or safer. 

I want to be careful not to get away from the topic, but large orbital habitats can allow large open spaces with breathable air, something Mars most likely could not have for centuries. And Mars will never have Earth equivalent gravity, which our species evolved to live in. Orbital habitats can simulate that easily.

Mars as an export source makes sense if there is something there that cannot be obtained more easily. Maybe the early scenario best of both worlds is finding Phobos and Demos worth mining while Mars remains becomes an in-situ operations center and materials provider for those operations.

It just shows a lack of thought from Bill Nye. No one can be completely spot-on as to what space settlement will look like in 200 years, or even 100. I'd like to be pleasantly surprised in 20.
Large habitats are just as difficult on Mars as in space.  A large rotating space structure must stand up to 1g forces plus atmospheric pressure under tension,  and provide radiation protection.  The same space on Mars can balance out some of the 0,38g with atmospheric pressure, and the atmospheres provides some shielding, so should be nominally cheaper.  The main unknown on Mars is the effect of the low gravity.  And we have no idea what it will be.  If it affects quality of life significantly, then space colonies will be the alternative.
The problem with space colonies is that they cant really start small, and have no purpose beyond being living spaces, as they are build in vacuum in the most literal sense.  A Mars base can start small, and can at least serve for exploration as it grows.  A Mars colony, as opposed to a Mars base, will need to be fun, lovely and interesting, or the kids will leave.


Offline lamontagne

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #93 on: 11/26/2018 07:35 pm »
Its not cost of travelling to Mars that is an issue but cost of living there.

No, that's the wrong intuition. If you look at Purdue University AAE-450 Project Destiny report where they considered the feasibility and cost to build a 1M people colony using ITS, the launch cost absolutely dominate the total cost at 65%, everything else (communication, surface power, habitat, food, water, etc) is only 35%.

Or you can take a look at the cost of US Antarctic Program, they keep 1,000+ people living at Antarctic using only $300M per year. The amount of cargo sent to McMurdo every year is 5,000t, if you try to send these to Mars using BFR, you'll need ~300 launches per year, or $2.1B at $7M per launch.
The US Antartic program is not an investment program.  The 5000 tonnes per year gain no value and are used up every year.
5000 tonnes to Mars will mostly be infrastructure to create value locally.  Solar panels to Mars, for example, get energy from the sun and create value locally.  Or a furnace with a 3D printers takes sand, with little value, and creates glass, or other consumer products, with added value.
Greenhouses will take solar energy, local CO2 and water and create food locally, that has value, as opposed to shipping to food to Mars, that adds no value to the food, except for the shipping costs.

Online Tulse

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #94 on: 11/26/2018 07:36 pm »
large orbital habitats can allow large open spaces with breathable air, something Mars most likely could not have for centuries.
I think we'll find or make large caverns on Mars that we can make airtight well before we have the technology or resources to produce a similar enclosed volume in space, much less a volume that rotates to produce 1 g.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #95 on: 11/26/2018 07:40 pm »
There's nothing that we NEED to export from Mars to Earth, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can't do so and do it profitably.

Musk has suggested that colonization ships that are full going to Mars will be practically empty on their way back to Earth, so there will be room for "stuff" to be shipped back (including people).

However the word "profitably" implies that the cost of acquisition and shipment is less than the selling cost to the customer on Earth, and I'm not sure we can assume that yet.

Quote
Maybe you should consider including some form of reward in your charity model, e.g. contribute $100 get a 1 gram Mars rock. Seems to work for Girl Scouts and cookies... :D

Actually I think that makes sense, that things sent back from Mars are used as rewards, not direct profit.

We just had the inside of our house painted, meaning we had to move everything out of the house and into the garage. In moving back in we came across a lot of things we had saved because of the emotional significance of the time, including souvenirs, maps and brochures from trips. One could imagine mini Mars bricks with engravings that are shipped back to supporters on Earth, which eventually end up being knick knacks that get thrown out down the road once the novelty has worn off.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #96 on: 11/26/2018 08:22 pm »
large orbital habitats can allow large open spaces with breathable air, something Mars most likely could not have for centuries.

That's going to be WAY easier to do on Mars than in orbit.

Online Tulse

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #97 on: 11/26/2018 08:46 pm »
Musk has suggested that colonization ships that are full going to Mars will be practically empty on their way back to Earth, so there will be room for "stuff" to be shipped back (including people).
If we're looking for ways that a colony could finance itself, consider that the Mars 2020 rover, which will just be cacheing samples of Mars regolith, will cost around $2 billion.  To actually return those tiny samples back to Earth would likely cost a similar amount if not more.  A single Starship (BFS) could return literally tons of material for several orders of magnitude cheaper.  And could drop off equipment that is vastly more capable on to the Martian surface.

In other words, one "export" of a Mars colony could be Martian science.  Instead of sending multi-billion-dollar probes to Mars, pay to have colonists do science, and pack up samples for return.  Based on prior and proposed missions for the recent 20 year span (Spirit/Opportunity: $800 million; Curiosity: $2.5 billion; Mars 2020: $2 billion), for on-the-ground science at Mars there is a value of at least $300 million annually (very rough figures).  People on the ground could produce vastly more science for that amount, and could also ship back massive amounts of samples on otherwise empty ships.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #98 on: 11/26/2018 09:11 pm »


I don't think Mars will be a popular target for colonization long term just because orbital habitats will far more comfortable, convenient, and safer places for humanity to reside in.
I don't see why that would be the case.   Convenient, perhaps, but I don't see why orbital habs would be inherently more comfortable or safer.

More comfortable because you don't need a space suit to walk in large open spaces.

 On Mars and Moon people will be inside underground. Big glass domes that allow a view of landscape and sky aren't practical due to need for radiation shielding.

The question of long term survival in low G is still an unknown. Large orbital habitats can provide 1 G or any G level for that matter.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #99 on: 11/26/2018 09:26 pm »
Musk has suggested that colonization ships that are full going to Mars will be practically empty on their way back to Earth, so there will be room for "stuff" to be shipped back (including people).
If we're looking for ways that a colony could finance itself, consider that the Mars 2020 rover, which will just be cacheing samples of Mars regolith, will cost around $2 billion.  To actually return those tiny samples back to Earth would likely cost a similar amount if not more.  A single Starship (BFS) could return literally tons of material for several orders of magnitude cheaper.  And could drop off equipment that is vastly more capable on to the Martian surface.

In other words, one "export" of a Mars colony could be Martian science.  Instead of sending multi-billion-dollar probes to Mars, pay to have colonists do science, and pack up samples for return.  Based on prior and proposed missions for the recent 20 year span (Spirit/Opportunity: $800 million; Curiosity: $2.5 billion; Mars 2020: $2 billion), for on-the-ground science at Mars there is a value of at least $300 million annually (very rough figures).  People on the ground could produce vastly more science for that amount, and could also ship back massive amounts of samples on otherwise empty ships.
I agree, my guess is that universities will pay quite a bit for prestige operations, such as having graduates studies on Mars.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #100 on: 11/26/2018 09:44 pm »
On Mars and Moon people will be inside underground. Big glass domes that allow a view of landscape and sky aren't practical due to need for radiation shielding.
Probably a lot of underground, but I prefer cylindrical towers to domes anyway.
* Protection from radiation due to the levels above (and a water reservoir or swimming pool on top)
* Easier construction to varying heights and radii from uniform-sized window elements.. possibly even while lower levels are inhabited.
* more convenient shape for humans. Except at ground level domes have awkwardly sloping walls that waste space and probably obscure views.
* reflectors on the ground could be used to increase sunlight levels to closer to earth levels if desired, for vertical farming.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #101 on: 11/26/2018 09:57 pm »
More comfortable because you don't need a space suit to walk in large open spaces.

Largely because there won't be "large open spaces" on near-term rotating space stations.

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On Mars and Moon people will be inside underground.

If you're on a rotating space station you are inside spinning round and round.

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Big glass domes that allow a view of landscape and sky aren't practical due to need for radiation shielding.

Big glass domes on a rotating space station that allow a view of anything aren't practical due to the need for radiation shielding, and because it will make people sick watching everything spin...  ;)

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The question of long term survival in low G is still an unknown. Large orbital habitats can provide 1 G or any G level for that matter.

I'm a HUGE rotating space station proponent, so I won't say anything bad about rotating space stations. But they will not provide the same experience as being on planet.

We can and should have both - colonists on other planets and people living in rotating space stations. It's not an either/or situation.

My $0.02
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline fthomassy

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #102 on: 11/26/2018 11:02 pm »

I'm a HUGE rotating space station proponent, so I won't say anything bad about rotating space stations. But they will not provide the same experience as being on planet.

We can and should have both - colonists on other planets and people living in rotating space stations. It's not an either/or situation.

My $0.02

I heard Jeff Bezos speak earlier this month and my impression is that he'd agree with you that colonization in free-space, so to speak, is where the majority will live if for no other reason than energy would be effectively free. Living in space would become cheaper and more rewarding for most. The path to achieving that infrastructure is not exactly clear but cheap transportation is the first step.

I'd say Bezos at least partially agrees with Bill Nye in that Mars colonization would not be significant.
gyatm . . . Fern

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #103 on: 11/26/2018 11:33 pm »

I'm a HUGE rotating space station proponent, so I won't say anything bad about rotating space stations. But they will not provide the same experience as being on planet.

We can and should have both - colonists on other planets and people living in rotating space stations. It's not an either/or situation.

My $0.02

I heard Jeff Bezos speak earlier this month and my impression is that he'd agree with you that colonization in free-space, so to speak, is where the majority will live if for no other reason than energy would be effectively free. Living in space would become cheaper and more rewarding for most. The path to achieving that infrastructure is not exactly clear but cheap transportation is the first step.

I'd say Bezos at least partially agrees with Bill Nye in that Mars colonization would not be significant.

We really won't know if humanity can colonize a new planet until we try. And we might even have to try many times with decades or centuries in between. It will be tough.

And though space stations that use artificial gravity can give us a foothold in space, they suffer from many of the same limitations that expanding humanity on planets face - a lack of resources and a major reliance on Earth for being able to expand.

I'll cheer on efforts to try both, even though I have no idea if either can ultimately be sustainable on their own and independent of Earth...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #104 on: 11/26/2018 11:54 pm »

I'm a HUGE rotating space station proponent, so I won't say anything bad about rotating space stations. But they will not provide the same experience as being on planet.

We can and should have both - colonists on other planets and people living in rotating space stations. It's not an either/or situation.

My $0.02

I heard Jeff Bezos speak earlier this month and my impression is that he'd agree with you that colonization in free-space, so to speak, is where the majority will live if for no other reason than energy would be effectively free. Living in space would become cheaper and more rewarding for most. The path to achieving that infrastructure is not exactly clear but cheap transportation is the first step.

I'd say Bezos at least partially agrees with Bill Nye in that Mars colonization would not be significant.

We really won't know if humanity can colonize a new planet until we try. And we might even have to try many times with decades or centuries in between. It will be tough.

And though space stations that use artificial gravity can give us a foothold in space, they suffer from many of the same limitations that expanding humanity on planets face - a lack of resources and a major reliance on Earth for being able to expand.

I'll cheer on efforts to try both, even though I have no idea if either can ultimately be sustainable on their own and independent of Earth...
The idea with orbital stations is not to have them in earth orbit but outside it and it's gravity well. Resources would be asteriods within low DV or lunar materials delivered to orbit by mass drivers.
Processing these resources and using them to build solar power station for exporting energy to earth plus odd rare metal and anything high value item needs 0 G to manufacturer.


Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #105 on: 11/27/2018 12:08 am »


I don't think Mars will be a popular target for colonization long term just because orbital habitats will far more comfortable, convenient, and safer places for humanity to reside in.
I don't see why that would be the case.   Convenient, perhaps, but I don't see why orbital habs would be inherently more comfortable or safer.

More comfortable because you don't need a space suit to walk in large open spaces.

 On Mars and Moon people will be inside underground. Big glass domes that allow a view of landscape and sky aren't practical due to need for radiation shielding.

The question of long term survival in low G is still an unknown. Large orbital habitats can provide 1 G or any G level for that matter.

You can have large open spaces underground. Especially in low-g.

And surface radiation is only an issue with 24/7 exposure. You wouldn't live in a dome on Mars any more than you live in a garden on Earth. They are nice to walk though, but that's not where you primarily work, eat, or or sleep.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #106 on: 11/27/2018 01:15 am »


I don't think Mars will be a popular target for colonization long term just because orbital habitats will far more comfortable, convenient, and safer places for humanity to reside in.
I don't see why that would be the case.   Convenient, perhaps, but I don't see why orbital habs would be inherently more comfortable or safer.

More comfortable because you don't need a space suit to walk in large open spaces.

 On Mars and Moon people will be inside underground. Big glass domes that allow a view of landscape and sky aren't practical due to need for radiation shielding.

The question of long term survival in low G is still an unknown. Large orbital habitats can provide 1 G or any G level for that matter.

You can have large open spaces underground. Especially in low-g.

And surface radiation is only an issue with 24/7 exposure. You wouldn't live in a dome on Mars any more than you live in a garden on Earth. They are nice to walk though, but that's not where you primarily work, eat, or or sleep.
If nature can make giant lava tubes, then people can make big structural tubes.  It's really more a question of lighting and comfort than a question of construction.

Again, Mars is probably a good stepping stone towards rotating space stations, as the development of a Mars colony will pay for the infrastructure that can be used latter for station construction.  But rotating space stations are hard to boot strap up from nothing.

It's importnt to note than large rotating space stations do not exist in any way.  Large pressure tunnels built for city water supplies and for power dams are common, and are in fact capable of surviving much harsher conditions that what will exist on Mars.

I don't think we will stop with Mars colonization, but it's a tempting and accessible first step.

Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #107 on: 11/27/2018 02:02 am »
Elon Musk seems to be increasingly gung-ho, it seems:

https://www.geek.com/tech/despite-deadly-prospects-elon-musk-wants-to-go-to-mars-1762726/

Quote
“I’m talking about moving there,” Musk told Axios co-founders Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen in an interview that aired Sunday. “We’ve recently made a number of breakthroughs that I am just really fired up about.”

The idea of humans colonizing and terraforming Mars is “science fiction,” according to Bill Nye.

Last week, the science communicator and TV presenter suggested that modern technology just isn’t up for the task. Nor is our neighboring planet—with an average temperature well below freezing, and a general lack of food or water.

“And the big thing,” Nye added: “There’s nothing to breathe.”

Musk remains undeterred, though.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #108 on: 11/27/2018 02:24 am »
The idea with orbital stations is not to have them in earth orbit but outside it and it's gravity well.

Sure. I never said otherwise.

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Resources would be asteriods within low DV or lunar materials delivered to orbit by mass drivers.

Asteroids are a source of VERY limited resources. And I emphasis VERY.

For instance asteroids are not a source of anything organic, including food, oils, cloth, and so much more. Plus even though an asteroid is made of many elements, we don't yet have any methods for separating and forming those elements in space and in zero gravity.

Quote
Processing these resources and using them to build solar power station for exporting energy to earth plus odd rare metal and anything high value item needs 0 G to manufacturer.

The laws of supply and demand can be very sobering.

For instance, as the cost of transportation to space drops then that lessens the need to build things in space. So why build solar power stations in space when you can just make them on Earth and ship them up (same as building in China and shipping to U.S.). And of course that ignores the impossibility that we can build such items in space anytime in the next century (manufacturing is HARD).

And as for beaming power from space in order to justify having space stations in space, I don't think that is a relationship that can be drawn - so let's leave that aside for now...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #109 on: 11/27/2018 02:52 am »
For instance asteroids are not a source of anything organic, including food, oils, cloth, and so much more.

Weird, they're full of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Sounds organic to me.

Quote from: Coastal Ron
Plus even though an asteroid is made of many elements, we don't yet have any methods for separating and forming those elements in space and in zero gravity.

We'll learn.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #110 on: 11/27/2018 03:13 am »
For instance asteroids are not a source of anything organic, including food, oils, cloth, and so much more.

Weird, they're full of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Sounds organic to me.

Yeah, I'm obviously not a scientist, but what I meant was material that is the result of living processes.

Quote
Quote from: Coastal Ron
Plus even though an asteroid is made of many elements, we don't yet have any methods for separating and forming those elements in space and in zero gravity.

We'll learn.

Oh no doubt. But we won't be building solar power stations in space from raw material anytime soon. Just the electronics portion of those require a vast supply chain that won't exist in space for a very long time.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #111 on: 11/27/2018 03:39 am »
Oh no doubt. But we won't be building solar power stations in space from raw material anytime soon. Just the electronics portion of those require a vast supply chain that won't exist in space for a very long time.
Just picking on this one point,

It might happen very suddenly. I think it is entirely possible that within a decade or so we will have a device that can (very slowly and with lots of energy) build almost anything out of constituent atoms. Making a diamond might cost the same as making a washer with this method so on earth it might be mainly a novelty. There are only a finite number of elements and only a finite number of problems for such a device to solve, and suddenly it can create basically anything. At that point every sensible process you add is just a bonus, and of course with this capability the first thing you would do is begin manufacturing these intermediate tools rather than the SSP panels and girders.

The massive supply chains on earth have more to do with competition IMO. Some things actually become easier on mars than on earth. On earth, all things being equal, a computer is unsellable if it is 10% inferior to another product of the same cost sitting right next to it on the shelf. On the moon, our 'iPhone' could be the size of a brick and held together with the same size wingnut we use for our shoes, and if both do the job this could be sufficient.

(And yes, I know that on earth even a wingnut no doubt has an absurdly long multinational supply chain)

Online freddo411

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #112 on: 11/27/2018 04:09 am »
Musk has suggested that colonization ships that are full going to Mars will be practically empty on their way back to Earth, so there will be room for "stuff" to be shipped back (including people).
If we're looking for ways that a colony could finance itself, consider that the Mars 2020 rover, which will just be cacheing samples of Mars regolith, will cost around $2 billion.  To actually return those tiny samples back to Earth would likely cost a similar amount if not more.  A single Starship (BFS) could return literally tons of material for several orders of magnitude cheaper.  And could drop off equipment that is vastly more capable on to the Martian surface.

In other words, one "export" of a Mars colony could be Martian science.  Instead of sending multi-billion-dollar probes to Mars, pay to have colonists do science, and pack up samples for return.  Based on prior and proposed missions for the recent 20 year span (Spirit/Opportunity: $800 million; Curiosity: $2.5 billion; Mars 2020: $2 billion), for on-the-ground science at Mars there is a value of at least $300 million annually (very rough figures).  People on the ground could produce vastly more science for that amount, and could also ship back massive amounts of samples on otherwise empty ships.

That's actually quite reasonable.   I believe the USA spends roughly 300 million per year running McMurdo and such in the antarctic

Offline speedevil

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #113 on: 11/27/2018 04:18 am »
Weird, they're full of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Sounds organic to me.

Yeah, I'm obviously not a scientist, but what I meant was material that is the result of living processes.

That doesn't really matter so much, and may even be doable with remarkably low tech.
Feed plants water and CO2, even if you import trace minerals from earth, and you get food.

There are existing reactors fed methane, and other gasses which output protein at 25% or so conversion efficiency.
(they are being touted around for livestock food, though have not found widespread use due to energy prices)

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #114 on: 11/27/2018 01:45 pm »
Oh no doubt. But we won't be building solar power stations in space from raw material anytime soon. Just the electronics portion of those require a vast supply chain that won't exist in space for a very long time.
Just picking on this one point,

It might happen very suddenly. I think it is entirely possible that within a decade or so we will have a device that can (very slowly and with lots of energy) build almost anything out of constituent atoms. Making a diamond might cost the same as making a washer with this method so on earth it might be mainly a novelty. There are only a finite number of elements and only a finite number of problems for such a device to solve, and suddenly it can create basically anything. At that point every sensible process you add is just a bonus, and of course with this capability the first thing you would do is begin manufacturing these intermediate tools rather than the SSP panels and girders.

The massive supply chains on earth have more to do with competition IMO. Some things actually become easier on mars than on earth. On earth, all things being equal, a computer is unsellable if it is 10% inferior to another product of the same cost sitting right next to it on the shelf. On the moon, our 'iPhone' could be the size of a brick and held together with the same size wingnut we use for our shoes, and if both do the job this could be sufficient.

(And yes, I know that on earth even a wingnut no doubt has an absurdly long multinational supply chain)
You are a little behind. In the mid 1980's I went to review a small company that was using electron beams to deposit diamond onto materiel. They had a contract with Intel to investigate using it as a heat sink material on ICs.  Diamond has some interesting heat properties. It transfers heat readily much more than metals.

As part of the AF we were interested in using the process to coat IR lenses for sats (specifically ICBM kill vehicles as part of the 1980's SDI initiative).

The key point is the technology is already here (multiple different Computer Additive Manufacturing [printing]) but it use costs a little more than the traditional processes. But the real challenge is the process of mining and processing to then produce the generic ingots of nearly pure or specialty alloys.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #115 on: 11/27/2018 03:43 pm »
Oh no doubt. But we won't be building solar power stations in space from raw material anytime soon. Just the electronics portion of those require a vast supply chain that won't exist in space for a very long time.
Just picking on this one point,

It might happen very suddenly. I think it is entirely possible that within a decade or so we will have a device that can (very slowly and with lots of energy) build almost anything out of constituent atoms.

3D printing has made remarkable progress since it's beginning, but it is still in it's infancy. If there was any chance for what you suggest to happen, we'd already be seeing it being demonstrated in a lab somewhere.

Quote
The massive supply chains on earth have more to do with competition IMO.

Having relied upon, and been part of supply chains, I disagree completely.

Just as one example, I moved over into the electronics assembly business right at the point where thru-hole components were getting ready to be phased out in favor of surface-mounted components. There is a MASSIVE amount of specialization in electronic components, and a MASSIVE amount of investment in making very specialized components. That can't be duplicated by a 3D printer spitting out atoms.

Quote
Some things actually become easier on mars than on earth.

Other than processes that rely upon vacuums or less than 1G of gravity, name three.

Quote
On earth, all things being equal, a computer is unsellable if it is 10% inferior to another product of the same cost sitting right next to it on the shelf. On the moon, our 'iPhone' could be the size of a brick and held together with the same size wingnut we use for our shoes, and if both do the job this could be sufficient.

My iPhone 6s is 3 years old and working fine, so sure we don't need the latest technology to live our lives.

However I've made smartphones and cell phones, and the level of technology required even for a basic version is massively complicated. And that's not even considering the "chips" in them which are currently make in factories that cost $Billions.

Quote
(And yes, I know that on earth even a wingnut no doubt has an absurdly long multinational supply chain)

Not really. The first factory I worked in we took raw material in one door, and shipped finished electronic connector assemblies out of another door. And that was not that big of a factory.

For a wingnut you would likely stamp the part out of bar stock steel, then form the part to the finished outer form, then send the parts to a threading machine, and then move them over to the plating department for a hot dip in whatever coating you want on them.

But you can't do that with 3D printing in high volume, especially the plating process.

Unless you've worked in a factory it may be hard to understand, but even simple factory processes will be extremely hard to do in space. It won't happen in 10 years, or maybe not even this century. But if we keep lowering the cost to access space we won't need to build factories in space early on - which is actually a good thing.
« Last Edit: 11/27/2018 06:38 pm by Coastal Ron »
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #116 on: 11/27/2018 03:52 pm »
{snip}
Other than processes that rely upon vacuums or less than 1G of gravity, name three.
{snip}

Earth surface to Mars has major transportation problems. So anything weighting more than 10-20 tonne will be difficult and expensive to move. So roads, walls, towers, other buildings, oxygen and water are better made with local to Mars materials.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #117 on: 11/27/2018 09:42 pm »
The key point is the technology is already here (multiple different Computer Additive Manufacturing [printing]) but it use costs a little more than the traditional processes. But the real challenge is the process of mining and processing to then produce the generic ingots of nearly pure or specialty alloys.
But that is what I meant. The technology is not here yet mainly because the processing is not here.. but it is quite possible that if you don't mind being very energy inefficient you could do something like hit a sample with laser pulses and use magnets to split elements into a spectrum... though probably the most reasonable solution would be to limit yourself to a small subset of elements that can be gathered and purified more easily, such as the CHON elements.

Life does use other elements so maybe this is not sufficient to build a 3d printer that can built its own parts.. Im not sure which are indispensable for complex machines. We can do additional miracles with these elements that life can't because life also has to be alive. There are probably a few other elements that are also available without complex refining.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #118 on: 11/27/2018 10:33 pm »
I hate this sort of line by line dissection of arguments. It often misses the point as below. Also getting the quoting right becomes a nightmare.


It might happen very suddenly. I think it is entirely possible that within a decade or so we will have a device that can (very slowly and with lots of energy) build almost anything out of constituent atoms.
3D printing has made remarkable progress since it's beginning, but it is still in it's infancy. If there was any chance for what you suggest to happen, we'd already be seeing it being demonstrated in a lab somewhere.
Lets say "A decade or so" can reasonably be stretched to 20 years. oldAtlas_Eguy mentioned some related technology with electron beams in the 80s, but it required highly pure feedstock.. Many other fascinating experiments are in the lab right now. Im not talking about the time for this technology to be in stores, Im talking about the point that we know we can do it. Then you can launch your ten year project with confidence.



Quote
The massive supply chains on earth have more to do with competition IMO.
Having relied upon, and been part of supply chains, I disagree completely.

Just as one example, I moved over into the electronics assembly business right at the point where thru-hole components were getting ready to be phased out in favor of surface-mounted components. There is a MASSIVE amount of specialization in electronic components, and a MASSIVE amount of investment in making very specialized components. That can't be duplicated by a 3D printer spitting out atoms.
This is a demonstration of my point. This is why you have massive supply chains (and massive numbers of specialised machinery even if in the same factory) You have to use this latest technology to be competitive with other products, so even if you had a 3d printer spitting out atoms that could make all its own parts and allow self sufficiency on mars, it would not be good enough on earth. On mars it is good enough if it gets the job done.


Quote
Some things actually become easier on mars than on earth.
Other than processes that rely upon vacuums or less than 1G of gravity, name three.
This is why dissecting arguments sentence by sentence is so frustrating. I explained what I meant in the following paragraph, and I just explained it again above.


Quote
(And yes, I know that on earth even a wingnut no doubt has an absurdly long multinational supply chain)
Not really. The first factory I worked in we took raw material in one door, and shipped finished electronic connector assemblies out of another door. And that was not that big of a factory.
Im descending to nitpicking here since this does not add to my point, but you forgot about the supply chain for processing the ore etc, that is very likely international. Also this may not be technically the 'supply chain', but to actually get the job done you need transportation and tools, so all their supply chains are integral to that wingnut too.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #119 on: 11/27/2018 10:51 pm »
Oh no doubt. But we won't be building solar power stations in space from raw material anytime soon. Just the electronics portion of those require a vast supply chain that won't exist in space for a very long time.

The summer studies program in the 80s identified all the processes to produce solar power satellites from lunar material - it was all of high technology readiness. This is pretty common in space settlement circles - the engineering is really easy, it's been the cost of launch that has stalled everything. That's changing.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #120 on: 11/28/2018 02:06 am »
3D printing has made remarkable progress since it's beginning, but it is still in it's infancy. If there was any chance for what you suggest to happen, we'd already be seeing it being demonstrated in a lab somewhere.
Lets say "A decade or so" can reasonably be stretched to 20 years. oldAtlas_Eguy mentioned some related technology with electron beams in the 80s, but it required highly pure feedstock.. Many other fascinating experiments are in the lab right now. Im not talking about the time for this technology to be in stores, Im talking about the point that we know we can do it. Then you can launch your ten year project with confidence.

If we can't do it today, in a lab, then it won't be ready to launch into space in a decade. And in general the level of technology you are suggesting - creating complex material atom by atom - is currently in the realm of science fiction, not known science.

Quote
Quote
Quote
The massive supply chains on earth have more to do with competition IMO.
Having relied upon, and been part of supply chains, I disagree completely.

Just as one example, I moved over into the electronics assembly business right at the point where thru-hole components were getting ready to be phased out in favor of surface-mounted components. There is a MASSIVE amount of specialization in electronic components, and a MASSIVE amount of investment in making very specialized components. That can't be duplicated by a 3D printer spitting out atoms.
This is a demonstration of my point. This is why you have massive supply chains (and massive numbers of specialised machinery even if in the same factory) You have to use this latest technology to be competitive with other products, so even if you had a 3d printer spitting out atoms that could make all its own parts and allow self sufficiency on mars, it would not be good enough on earth. On mars it is good enough if it gets the job done.

I don't think you're being consistent. Your original point was that supply chains on Earth have more to do with competition, but now you are arguing that they have to use the latest technology. Neither are correct.

The first factory I worked in one of our workhorse machines from was the 50's, and in the field of machining CNC machines can be pretty old. Capital equipment usually has a very long lifetime in the machining world.

Now maybe you are trying to say that colonists won't need to use electronics, that they can get by with "dumb" machinery with mechanical relays and such. And maybe they could, but you're not going to be building such equipment without modern electronics with your atom-by-atom magical equipment, so where will that be coming from?

Quote
Also this may not be technically the 'supply chain', but to actually get the job done you need transportation and tools, so all their supply chains are integral to that wingnut too.

Transportation is transportation, but keeping the transportation systems running requires their own supply chain. I've been responsible for keeping a factory up and running, and that requires a vast supply chain - transportation will likely be just as complicated, especially if it involves rockets and spacecraft.

My bottomline point though is that by lowering the transportation costs over time by a significant amount, that we won't need to worry about being independent of supply chains. Supply chains are good, not evil, and they support rapid innovation and accomplishment. Having fleets of cost effective spaceships arriving at Mars every synodic period should be able to support a growing colony without risking the success of the colony on their ability to do everything themselves.

My $0.02
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #121 on: 11/28/2018 02:11 am »
Oh no doubt. But we won't be building solar power stations in space from raw material anytime soon. Just the electronics portion of those require a vast supply chain that won't exist in space for a very long time.

The summer studies program in the 80s identified all the processes to produce solar power satellites from lunar material - it was all of high technology readiness. This is pretty common in space settlement circles - the engineering is really easy, it's been the cost of launch that has stalled everything. That's changing.

1. Studies are nice, but they don't always line up with reality. According to Michael Griffin the Ares I rocket and Orion spacecraft should have been easy to build, but as we know the reality was that there were not - and Griffin is a smart guy.

2. I hate arguing about something that has little chance of happening, which seems to be the case for solar power satellites. Show me the demand for the service and then we can debate how the equipment gets built...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Oli

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #122 on: 11/28/2018 03:01 am »
I'm a space station guy. Mars is freaking ugly, even on NASA's fake color pictures.

Start with an equatorial LEO station (the view!), then grow outwards to the Moon and Asteroids etc. If we want to leave this solar system in human form at some point, we need a self-sustaining station (an ark).

All fantasy, but one can dream.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2018 03:02 am by Oli »

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #123 on: 11/28/2018 04:24 am »
My bottomline point though is that by lowering the transportation costs over time by a significant amount, that we won't need to worry about being independent of supply chains. Supply chains are good, not evil, and they support rapid innovation and accomplishment. Having fleets of cost effective spaceships arriving at Mars every synodic period should be able to support a growing colony without risking the success of the colony on their ability to do everything themselves.

My $0.02
What SpaceX is doing looks very promising. I think I have made my case and only time will tell.

Two final points though.

(1) Im not religious about the "atom-by-atom" assembly, that is just one way that we may suddenly have a "3d printer that can create all its own parts"

A few ways this could occur are:
* Some "atom by atom" approach, along with some ionising approach that splits essentially anything into its atomic spectra.. i mean the ratio between its charge and atomic mass when ionised.
* Something limited to a small set of elements such as the CHON elements, perhaps some water soluble salts, that can produce a small range of technology (plastics, circuitry that is still sufficient to get that  "3d printer that can create all its own parts".
* And another possibility I just recalled is life, eg a biosphere that can support a handful of humans plus enough structural material plus reflective material to create more hulls to extend the scope of the biosphere and concentrate heat into it. Most of this work could be done at earth pressure if you are guiding heat 30+ meters under the ice.
* Advances in genetic engineering. It could easily explode in a decade or so. In particular it might only need to deliver a few 'colors' of quality feedstock for your printer and you have closed the loop. Dump the right mix of regolith, mars atmosphere and water into a vat. Add sunlight. scrape the goo off the surface and put it in your 3d printer. Loop closed.

My point is that you cannot really extrapolate from the complexity of manufacture on earth to these methods.. maybe you will have a 3d printer that can print its own parts.. and feedstock created by goats milk and soybeans or something.. When the loop closes it could close suddenly.

(2) Also, Im not concerned about whether it is ready to be launched 10 years away. The point is how close are we to having utter confidence we can close the "business case" using no trade but 100% self sufficiency. If you have that confidence in 10 years, and you have the budget in the bank to finish the project then it does not matter if your first crew are sent with big bottles of oxygen and frozen rations. They are still the first colonists, going there to do simple engineering that will deliver a self sufficient settlement, not take a massive gamble on future advances or future trade appearing in time to save them.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2018 10:16 pm by KelvinZero »

Online sanman

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #124 on: 11/28/2018 06:09 am »
Mars-related excerpt from Musk's latest interview  -- he says 70% chance that he'll move there:


Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #125 on: 11/29/2018 08:09 pm »
Bill Nye is generally a dope, but I agree with him on this one.  Set aside all of the technical challenges - none of them are really insuperable.  But even if you gave away transportation and housing on Mars for free, you wouldn't get enough people interested in moving there to help settle a colony. 

I know Elon always points to survey questions that seem to indicate there are lots of people who would be interested. That means very little, once people are educated and think through the reality, you are only going to get some die-hard adventurers interested in uprooting their life to live on Mars.  Mars is a dim, cold desert.  People will be living mostly underground, with perhaps an occasional stroll outside in a pressure suit.  It only gets 40% of earth's sunlight, so people will get Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The Antarctic outposts are instructive.  There are on the order of hundreds of people who live on the continent on a seasonal basis, most of them being paid to do so.  Whereas there are only on the order of some dozens of people who live there year-around, and even then these people are not living there for the rest of their lives.  Even in the relative comfort of their facilities, morale is a big issue.

That is probably the more likely paradigm for a Mars settlement.  Dozens or perhaps a few hundred staff who rotate in and out every 2 years.  Not a self-sustaining colony of tens of thousands.

Online edkyle99

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #126 on: 11/29/2018 08:46 pm »
Bill Nye is probably right.  He may even represent the scientific consensus view.  Many planetary scientists, for example, go much further.  They are flat-out opposed to any humans stepping on Mars period, because humans would bring microbes that would contaminate the still-to-be-studied Martian environment.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 11/29/2018 08:47 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #127 on: 11/29/2018 09:10 pm »
The point is how close are we to having utter confidence we can close the "business case" using no trade but 100% self sufficiency.

Certainly the goal that Elon Musk has set is not just the colonization of Mars, but that it be able to sustain life on its own in case something happens to Earth. The way I see things unfolding is:

- The first era of humans arrives on Mars and tries to figure out how to survive. This might take thousands of people and decades of time to figure out.
- The second era of humans will be able to focus on reproduction and growth, since survival is not a concern anymore.
- The third era of humans on Mars will focus on making Mars independent of Earth. This may happen for any number of reasons including economic, political, or the continuation of the original Elon Musk goal.

Independence from Earth for material required to allow a remote civilization to not only survive but thrive, may take centuries.

Quote
If you have that confidence in 10 years, and you have the budget in the bank to finish the project then it does not matter if your first crew are sent with big bottles of oxygen and frozen rations. They are still the first colonists, going there to do simple engineering that will deliver a self sufficient settlement, not take a massive gamble on future advances or future trade appearing in time to save them.

Here on Earth we have not demonstrated self-sufficiency within any community or country, and if it was easy I have no doubt it would have already been done by at least one of the undesirable countries we have here on Earth.

But so far no one has been able to demonstrate that they can be 100% self-sufficient, and they don't have the air, gravity, radiation, water and other limitations that Mars will have. So if we can't do it here on a near-perfect planet, then we won't be able to demonstrate self-sufficiency on Mars for a very long time. Likely centuries.

And we don't need to worry about self-sufficiency to colonize Mars, we only need to worry about how to lessen the logistics burden in key areas like water, air, and food.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #128 on: 11/30/2018 01:08 am »
That is pretty much how I see it for mars. Self sufficiency cannot be promised on a schedule. No solid business case has been demonstrated. This does not worry me overmuch. What we can analyse quantitatively is a fixed cost/year outpost/experiment in self sufficiency. There are various reasons why governments will fund things like antarctica bases indefinitely, and perhaps companies or billionares like Elon Musk could be successful enough to also fund this for as long as it takes.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #129 on: 11/30/2018 01:16 am »
Bill Nye is probably right.  He may even represent the scientific consensus view.  Many planetary scientists, for example, go much further.  They are flat-out opposed to any humans stepping on Mars period, because humans would bring microbes that would contaminate the still-to-be-studied Martian environment.

 - Ed Kyle
The microbe thing is a whole other issue. The grating thing about the Bill Nye comment is that it didn't really have qualifiers that allow it to make sense. He could have for example made a specific argument that the time was not right for an Elon Musk like approach, and if it was a useful argument it would probably have underlined key technologies and milestones that must be achieved. He wasn't really making an argument beyond a call to his own authority as a science populist. Saying "there is no air" is so trivial it is sort of trollish.

(edit)
I just tried going back to the page to check my memory of it. It is now blasting me with pop ups so I literally could not read the article. Im not totally clear whether he was specifically talking only about Terraforming, or if he was implying terraforming was the only option on the table.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2018 01:23 am by KelvinZero »

Online envy887

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #130 on: 11/30/2018 07:43 pm »
Bill Nye is probably right.  He may even represent the scientific consensus view.  Many planetary scientists, for example, go much further.  They are flat-out opposed to any humans stepping on Mars period, because humans would bring microbes that would contaminate the still-to-be-studied Martian environment.

 - Ed Kyle

They've had 50 years to study it robotically. It's time for human exploration.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #131 on: 11/30/2018 07:55 pm »
Bill Nye is probably right.  He may even represent the scientific consensus view.  Many planetary scientists, for example, go much further.  They are flat-out opposed to any humans stepping on Mars period, because humans would bring microbes that would contaminate the still-to-be-studied Martian environment.

 - Ed Kyle

They've had 50 years to study it robotically. It's time for human exploration.

no really it is not

there are at least three basic questions to answer in terms of Mars exploration that robotics can answer and humans would be not so good tat

1. what are the value of the moons of Mars?  do they have ornot have water?  how hard is it to get if it is there

2.  where is the water on Mars?  or ice? and how does that even out with the issues of terrain, atmospheric pressure etc.

3.  how hard is internal resources to use?

it is possible that BFR/whatever it is called works (I doubt it but lets go on) and it loads up 1 billion or more dollars of equipment...and simply lands at the wrong place because nothing like the 1 billion in equipment has been spent on figure out where it would best be used.

Online Slarty1080

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #132 on: 12/01/2018 06:18 pm »
Bill Nye is probably right.  He may even represent the scientific consensus view.  Many planetary scientists, for example, go much further.  They are flat-out opposed to any humans stepping on Mars period, because humans would bring microbes that would contaminate the still-to-be-studied Martian environment.

 - Ed Kyle

They've had 50 years to study it robotically. It's time for human exploration.

no really it is not

there are at least three basic questions to answer in terms of Mars exploration that robotics can answer and humans would be not so good tat

1. what are the value of the moons of Mars?  do they have ornot have water?  how hard is it to get if it is there

2.  where is the water on Mars?  or ice? and how does that even out with the issues of terrain, atmospheric pressure etc.

3.  how hard is internal resources to use?

it is possible that BFR/whatever it is called works (I doubt it but lets go on) and it loads up 1 billion or more dollars of equipment...and simply lands at the wrong place because nothing like the 1 billion in equipment has been spent on figure out where it would best be used.

You are correct to a certain extent. We know in general terms where the water is on Mars but not in enough detail to make it useful without a lot more research. For example what is it mixed with and what percentage exists at what depth etc. So it might be necessary to take fuel down to the surface for the return journey and use ISRU to generate O2 from CO2 in the atmosphere for the initial missions.

Having humans on Mars or in Mars orbit would speed up exploration immensely as it would remove the time delay and allow vehicles to be driven remotely at a much greater speed. Human driven rovers could probably cover the same distance in a day that a robotic rover does in its lifetime.

Complex operations could also be greatly simplified if humans were present e.g drilling by robot v drilling supervised by a human. Humans can also fix things much more easily.
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #133 on: 12/01/2018 06:36 pm »


You are correct to a certain extent. We know in general terms where the water is on Mars but not in enough detail to make it useful without a lot more research. For example what is it mixed with and what percentage exists at what depth etc. So it might be necessary to take fuel down to the surface for the return journey and use ISRU to generate O2 from CO2 in the atmosphere for the initial missions.

Having humans on Mars or in Mars orbit would speed up exploration immensely as it would remove the time delay and allow vehicles to be driven remotely at a much greater speed. Human driven rovers could probably cover the same distance in a day that a robotic rover does in its lifetime.

Complex operations could also be greatly simplified if humans were present e.g drilling by robot v drilling supervised by a human. Humans can also fix things much more easily.

good points and I dont disagree with any of that.

two points I would make

first before we try a base on the Moon or Mars we need to have the answers I noted in my original post and you commented on...and second that includes a lot of "rovers" and penetrators and really good ground search radar...all of which imply a base somewhere in orbit to both manage that equipment/satelliltes and retrive samples from the ground for study

for Mars it is not hard for me to imagine that base on one of the moons (Phobos does restrict what you "see" but for things like ground search radar it is a lot closer although you could put very large arrays on Deimos)

these are however in my view essential before any kind of landing that depends on local resource use is planned...

this is of course one reason Lockmarts "space station" concept has gotten traction at least in studies


« Last Edit: 12/01/2018 06:37 pm by TripleSeven »

Online Slarty1080

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #134 on: 12/01/2018 07:17 pm »


You are correct to a certain extent. We know in general terms where the water is on Mars but not in enough detail to make it useful without a lot more research. For example what is it mixed with and what percentage exists at what depth etc. So it might be necessary to take fuel down to the surface for the return journey and use ISRU to generate O2 from CO2 in the atmosphere for the initial missions.

Having humans on Mars or in Mars orbit would speed up exploration immensely as it would remove the time delay and allow vehicles to be driven remotely at a much greater speed. Human driven rovers could probably cover the same distance in a day that a robotic rover does in its lifetime.

Complex operations could also be greatly simplified if humans were present e.g drilling by robot v drilling supervised by a human. Humans can also fix things much more easily.

good points and I dont disagree with any of that.

two points I would make

first before we try a base on the Moon or Mars we need to have the answers I noted in my original post and you commented on...and second that includes a lot of "rovers" and penetrators and really good ground search radar...all of which imply a base somewhere in orbit to both manage that equipment/satelliltes and retrive samples from the ground for study

for Mars it is not hard for me to imagine that base on one of the moons (Phobos does restrict what you "see" but for things like ground search radar it is a lot closer although you could put very large arrays on Deimos)

these are however in my view essential before any kind of landing that depends on local resource use is planned...

this is of course one reason Lockmarts "space station" concept has gotten traction at least in studies

I think it's an open question. If we can extract O2 from the Martian atmosphere (experimental version flying on ExoMars I believe) and if we can make do with just ISRU O2 rather than CH4 as well, then that’s the way to go because the atmosphere is uniform an presents very few special "access" problems except dust filtration.

If there are problems with the O2 extraction technology or the mass saving of ISRU O2 alone is insufficient, then orbital or entirely robotic missions would be the only viable options until detailed studies had been carried out of the Martian moons / surface landing sites and robotic water extraction prototypes had been tested.

As soon as a reliable water source finding and extracting process was available then that would be the way to go.


The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #135 on: 12/01/2018 09:09 pm »
I don't think most (informed) people doubt the technological viability of a Mars colony.  Even if a lot of resources had to be regularly imported from earth, it would be possible, although probably wildly expensive.

My question again is, who would want to travel all the way to a cold, dim, desert planet, only to live in an underground tin can? Even if it was free, what is the point?  The market realities, not technological roadblocks, will make a colony impossible.  The fanboys need to give it up and cast a more realistic vision.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #136 on: 12/01/2018 09:18 pm »


You are correct to a certain extent. We know in general terms where the water is on Mars but not in enough detail to make it useful without a lot more research. For example what is it mixed with and what percentage exists at what depth etc. So it might be necessary to take fuel down to the surface for the return journey and use ISRU to generate O2 from CO2 in the atmosphere for the initial missions.

Having humans on Mars or in Mars orbit would speed up exploration immensely as it would remove the time delay and allow vehicles to be driven remotely at a much greater speed. Human driven rovers could probably cover the same distance in a day that a robotic rover does in its lifetime.

Complex operations could also be greatly simplified if humans were present e.g drilling by robot v drilling supervised by a human. Humans can also fix things much more easily.

good points and I dont disagree with any of that.

two points I would make

first before we try a base on the Moon or Mars we need to have the answers I noted in my original post and you commented on...and second that includes a lot of "rovers" and penetrators and really good ground search radar...all of which imply a base somewhere in orbit to both manage that equipment/satelliltes and retrive samples from the ground for study

for Mars it is not hard for me to imagine that base on one of the moons (Phobos does restrict what you "see" but for things like ground search radar it is a lot closer although you could put very large arrays on Deimos)

these are however in my view essential before any kind of landing that depends on local resource use is planned...

this is of course one reason Lockmarts "space station" concept has gotten traction at least in studies

I think it's an open question. If we can extract O2 from the Martian atmosphere (experimental version flying on ExoMars I believe) and if we can make do with just ISRU O2 rather than CH4 as well, then that’s the way to go because the atmosphere is uniform an presents very few special "access" problems except dust filtration.

If there are problems with the O2 extraction technology or the mass saving of ISRU O2 alone is insufficient, then orbital or entirely robotic missions would be the only viable options until detailed studies had been carried out of the Martian moons / surface landing sites and robotic water extraction prototypes had been tested.

As soon as a reliable water source finding and extracting process was available then that would be the way to go.

Yes Zubrin is correct on this

Online Slarty1080

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #137 on: 12/01/2018 11:17 pm »


You are correct to a certain extent. We know in general terms where the water is on Mars but not in enough detail to make it useful without a lot more research. For example what is it mixed with and what percentage exists at what depth etc. So it might be necessary to take fuel down to the surface for the return journey and use ISRU to generate O2 from CO2 in the atmosphere for the initial missions.

Having humans on Mars or in Mars orbit would speed up exploration immensely as it would remove the time delay and allow vehicles to be driven remotely at a much greater speed. Human driven rovers could probably cover the same distance in a day that a robotic rover does in its lifetime.

Complex operations could also be greatly simplified if humans were present e.g drilling by robot v drilling supervised by a human. Humans can also fix things much more easily.

good points and I dont disagree with any of that.

two points I would make

first before we try a base on the Moon or Mars we need to have the answers I noted in my original post and you commented on...and second that includes a lot of "rovers" and penetrators and really good ground search radar...all of which imply a base somewhere in orbit to both manage that equipment/satelliltes and retrive samples from the ground for study

for Mars it is not hard for me to imagine that base on one of the moons (Phobos does restrict what you "see" but for things like ground search radar it is a lot closer although you could put very large arrays on Deimos)

these are however in my view essential before any kind of landing that depends on local resource use is planned...

this is of course one reason Lockmarts "space station" concept has gotten traction at least in studies

I think it's an open question. If we can extract O2 from the Martian atmosphere (experimental version flying on ExoMars I believe) and if we can make do with just ISRU O2 rather than CH4 as well, then that’s the way to go because the atmosphere is uniform an presents very few special "access" problems except dust filtration.

If there are problems with the O2 extraction technology or the mass saving of ISRU O2 alone is insufficient, then orbital or entirely robotic missions would be the only viable options until detailed studies had been carried out of the Martian moons / surface landing sites and robotic water extraction prototypes had been tested.

As soon as a reliable water source finding and extracting process was available then that would be the way to go.

Yes Zubrin is correct on this

I must be a bit out of date. I think in the Case for Mars he was arguing to take liquid hydrogen to the surface? If Zubrin suggested that ISRU O2 from the atmosphere is sufficient then I'm greatly encouraged.
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Offline Yaotzin

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #138 on: 12/02/2018 03:54 am »
I don't think most (informed) people doubt the technological viability of a Mars colony.  Even if a lot of resources had to be regularly imported from earth, it would be possible, although probably wildly expensive.

My question again is, who would want to travel all the way to a cold, dim, desert planet, only to live in an underground tin can? Even if it was free, what is the point?
To work and make money of course. People will have other reasons (Mars is cool!) especially as the population expands (happening art scene? whatever). They're not required though. Why do you think people moved to mining/industrial etc towns?
Quote
The market realities, not technological roadblocks, will make a colony impossible.  The fanboys need to give it up and cast a more realistic vision.
As far as I've seen, everyone has the same rough vision: start as a research location funded by government, philanthropy plus whatever else you can find funds expansion. Disagreements are on the expense of expanding it, cost and time to reduce costs/ISRU etc.

What "market realities" make this impossible?

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #139 on: 12/02/2018 03:44 pm »
Bill Nye is generally a dope, but I agree with him on this one.  Set aside all of the technical challenges - none of them are really insuperable.  But even if you gave away transportation and housing on Mars for free, you wouldn't get enough people interested in moving there to help settle a colony.
My question again is, who would want to travel all the way to a cold, dim, desert planet, only to live in an underground tin can? Even if it was free, what is the point?  The market realities, not technological roadblocks, will make a colony impossible.  The fanboys need to give it up and cast a more realistic vision.

Either there will be sufficient people who want to go or there won't. Either market realities will make a colony possible or they'll make it impossible. We'll have to see, but it's not taxpayers money we're talking about here. If Elon or Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson or whoever want to use their own money to try and make their dreams actuality, what's it to anyone else?

('Fanboys' is pejorative. What's your real problem here?)

Bill Nye is probably right.  He may even represent the scientific consensus view.  Many planetary scientists, for example, go much further.  They are flat-out opposed to any humans stepping on Mars period, because humans would bring microbes that would contaminate the still-to-be-studied Martian environment.

The Planetary Society is in favour of robotic exploration and basically opposes funds spent on human spaceflight because they naively believe those funds would then be available for more robots. Bill Nye reflects that thinking.

The vast majority of scientists have never even considered the question. Some planetary scientists (who are by no means the only scientists interested in the question) take the position you descibe, but others do not. In any event, there's no way any group of scientists is going to stop human exploration. Scientists simply don't have that kind of political clout. The entire scientific establishment is warning (rightly IMO) about global warming. The political effect is limited, and that's on a subject that affects the welfare of every human being on Earth. Hardly anyone is going to care that some scientists might not have a pristine Mars to study. And anyway, even with humans on Mars it's going to be a long time before there aren't any pristine areas of Mars to study.

And once human scientists are on Mars, they'll soon become the most influential voices on how Mars should be explored.

They've had 50 years to study it robotically. It's time for human exploration.

no really it is not

there are at least three basic questions to answer in terms of Mars exploration that robotics can answer and humans would be not so good tat

1. what are the value of the moons of Mars?  do they have ornot have water?  how hard is it to get if it is there

2.  where is the water on Mars?  or ice? and how does that even out with the issues of terrain, atmospheric pressure etc.

3.  how hard is internal resources to use?

it is possible that BFR/whatever it is called works (I doubt it but lets go on) and it loads up 1 billion or more dollars of equipment...and simply lands at the wrong place because nothing like the 1 billion in equipment has been spent on figure out where it would best be used.

1 can wait - it might be nice to know, but hardly essential. 2 and 3 will best be answered by a combination of orbital sensors and humans on the ground. After all, that's exactly what we did and still do on Earth. And it's not an either/or - with humans on Mars there'll be more satellites in Mars orbit, not less.

And they don't need to figure out the ideal place to land. It just has to be good enough. And it has to be good enough to enable a Mars base to be established. Scientific utility is not the driver here.

Offline Athelstane

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #140 on: 12/02/2018 04:47 pm »
Bill Nye is generally a dope, but I agree with him on this one.  Set aside all of the technical challenges - none of them are really insuperable.  But even if you gave away transportation and housing on Mars for free, you wouldn't get enough people interested in moving there to help settle a colony.
My question again is, who would want to travel all the way to a cold, dim, desert planet, only to live in an underground tin can? Even if it was free, what is the point?  The market realities, not technological roadblocks, will make a colony impossible.  The fanboys need to give it up and cast a more realistic vision.

Either there will be sufficient people who want to go or there won't. Either market realities will make a colony possible or they'll make it impossible. We'll have to see, but it's not taxpayers money we're talking about here. If Elon or Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson or whoever want to use their own money to try and make their dreams actuality, what's it to anyone else?

('Fanboys' is pejorative. What's your real problem here?)


Exactly.

Clearly, there *are* people willing to go to Mars and live there - we have some evidence of *that*. Perhaps some would chicken out if the dream suddenly stood within reach of becoming reality. How many? Who knows?

To some real degree a decision to become part of the first or second generation of Martian colonists is going to be an irrational one. People will move there and put up with living in an underground warren for the romance of living (and dying) on an alien world, to walk valleys and rilles where no human foot has ever trod. It is the same romance we have seen in polar explorations and early mountain climbing. Come to that, how rational was it to be part of the first wave of colonists to Jamestown? Because you had a better than even chance of being dead, almost certainly in an awful way, within your first eighteen months.

So let Elon Musk and the Mars entrepreneurs find out what the market is for colonizing Mars. I don't know if they can get Musk's million people. But several thousand seems quite plausible.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #141 on: 12/02/2018 04:58 pm »


1 can wait - it might be nice to know, but hardly essential. 2 and 3 will best be answered by a combination of orbital sensors and humans on the ground. After all, that's exactly what we did and still do on Earth. And it's not an either/or - with humans on Mars there'll be more satellites in Mars orbit, not less.

And they don't need to figure out the ideal place to land. It just has to be good enough. And it has to be good enough to enable a Mars base to be established. Scientific utility is not the driver here.

In my view at the rate things are planned or actually occuring there will be insufficient information to stage a Mars base in the next decade...thats just my view :)

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #142 on: 12/02/2018 05:49 pm »


PGM = Precision Guided Missile? Pokémon Gem Mine? Paternal Grandmother?

I'm going to hope you mean Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), and if so then I would suggest they are far more valuable staying on Mars than in exporting back to Earth where there is already a robust supply of them.

And this is the thing, that unless we discover "Unobtainium" on Mars, there is nothing on Mars that we need to export back to Earth. Which is what Elon Musk has been saying, and I tend to agree with him.

Certainly one of the reasons why people think Mars cannot be colonized is because of how much it will cost over a long period of time. And we don't know if that can be solved. But I think it is likely that once SpaceX lands the first humans, and they have some modest form of success, that it will becomes clearer what forms of funding can be expected.

Then the question becomes what growth rate that amount of funding supports?

Platinum group metals.


The thing is if BFR/Starship manages to be within half an order of power as cheap to operate as promised it would be cost effective to load up a ship with refined materials for the trip back to Earth.
It would not even have to be fully refined just do the bulk of the refining on Mars.
Probably cheapest load it up with as much material as it can get off the surface of Mars with and push through TEI then split the load among several cargo ships once it aerocaptures into LEO.
Besides if we cut down all the rain forests it may not be possible live on this planet without using supplementary oxygen.
« Last Edit: 12/02/2018 05:52 pm by Patchouli »

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #143 on: 12/02/2018 07:50 pm »
And yet it's been pointed out that the market for any precious item including platinum group metals would crash if a large supply were suddenly introduced. Suppose you hauled a big asteroid filled with platinum back to Earth - then it suddenly wouldn't be such a rare and precious material anymore, and thus its value would plunge. How do you create a sustainable business model out of that?

Offline Stan-1967

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #144 on: 12/02/2018 08:00 pm »
A winning business plan could force consumers of PGM’s to source them through space based supply chains.  There could be a definable social benefit in doing this.  It could be both environmental & strategic.   A model of this type of constrained trade is how conflict minerals ( gold, tin, titanium, tungsten)are handled in the Frank-Dodd legislation.  This also has the effect of removing from the supply side any earth based materials that would add excess to the market and crash prices.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #145 on: 12/02/2018 08:08 pm »
A winning business plan could force consumers of PGM’s to source them through space based supply chains.  There could be a definable social benefit in doing this.  It could be both environmental & strategic.   A model of this type of constrained trade is how conflict minerals ( gold, tin, titanium, tungsten)are handled in the Frank-Dodd legislation.  This also has the effect of removing from the supply side any earth based materials that would add excess to the market and crash prices.

the problem is the space based PGM would cost more than the ocean mined PGM that is why the Chinese want the SCS.   

Offline Yaotzin

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #146 on: 12/02/2018 09:22 pm »
And yet it's been pointed out that the market for any precious item including platinum group metals would crash if a large supply were suddenly introduced. Suppose you hauled a big asteroid filled with platinum back to Earth - then it suddenly wouldn't be such a rare and precious material anymore, and thus its value would plunge. How do you create a sustainable business model out of that?
Do the same as De Beers. Fill warehouses with the stuff and sell it at a trickle.

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #147 on: 12/02/2018 10:19 pm »


PGM = Precision Guided Missile? Pokémon Gem Mine? Paternal Grandmother?

I'm going to hope you mean Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), and if so then I would suggest they are far more valuable staying on Mars than in exporting back to Earth where there is already a robust supply of them.

And this is the thing, that unless we discover "Unobtainium" on Mars, there is nothing on Mars that we need to export back to Earth. Which is what Elon Musk has been saying, and I tend to agree with him.

Certainly one of the reasons why people think Mars cannot be colonized is because of how much it will cost over a long period of time. And we don't know if that can be solved. But I think it is likely that once SpaceX lands the first humans, and they have some modest form of success, that it will becomes clearer what forms of funding can be expected.

Then the question becomes what growth rate that amount of funding supports?

Platinum group metals.


The thing is if BFR/Starship manages to be within half an order of power as cheap to operate as promised it would be cost effective to load up a ship with refined materials for the trip back to Earth.
It would not even have to be fully refined just do the bulk of the refining on Mars.
Probably cheapest load it up with as much material as it can get off the surface of Mars with and push through TEI then split the load among several cargo ships once it aerocaptures into LEO.
Besides if we cut down all the rain forests it may not be possible live on this planet without using supplementary oxygen.

Unfortunately refined PGM materials are not available on Mars. Initially it will be hard enough to find and process sufficient water let alone start a Platinum mine and crush and process millions of tons of rock.

I predict that Starship / Superheavy will be ancient history before anyone thinks seriously about mining Platinum on Mars. Not to say that it might never happen, just not in the next 30 years at the very least.

PGM are generally produced as a by-product of copper and Nickel mining or require large amounts of water in their processing. A complex heavy industrial process is required just to get to the concentrate and iron is a problematic impurity. As Iron is ubiquitous on Mars this may well prove a problem. PGM are expensive for a good reason.
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Offline ThereIWas3

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #148 on: 12/02/2018 10:53 pm »
The initial "export" of Mars might turn out to be simply the experience of going and living there.  The residents will find things to do.  Remember, the people who made reliable money in the settlement of the Western US were the railroads and shop owners.
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #149 on: 12/03/2018 04:29 pm »
And yet it's been pointed out that the market for any precious item including platinum group metals would crash if a large supply were suddenly introduced. Suppose you hauled a big asteroid filled with platinum back to Earth - then it suddenly wouldn't be such a rare and precious material anymore, and thus its value would plunge. How do you create a sustainable business model out of that?

Well yes, if you brought back a 'big' asteroid's worth, the price would crash. (Though it wouldn't go down to zero and you'd have rather a lot of it. Plus the lower price would stimulate demand. It would probably be a boon for humanity, though it does make closing the business case harder!) But nobody's going to be bringing back that much for a while. Even on Earth, we've only managed to mine about 200,000 tons of gold in all of history.

Going to Mars for the purpose of mining for gold is probably financially unwise. But if you've established a Mars base or colony anyway and you stumble across a gold deposit near the surface you could probably make it work.

Offline BeamRider

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #150 on: 12/03/2018 04:34 pm »
Spacex should throw an all-hands party - this is great news for their plans!

Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #151 on: 12/03/2018 05:26 pm »
To work and make money of course. People will have other reasons (Mars is cool!) especially as the population expands (happening art scene? whatever).

Quote
The initial "export" of Mars might turn out to be simply the experience of going and living there.  The residents will find things to do.

This hand-waving is the same problem basically all colony-proponents suffer from, all the way up to Elon and Zubrin.  What work?  Outside of exo-geology, there is nothing you can do in an underground tin can on Mars that you can't do more easily in an underground tin can in a desert or in Antarctica.  And there are only going to be so many exo-geologists to go around.

The novelty of being on Mars will wear off quickly, especially once Seasonal Affective Disorders kicks in.

Quote
As far as I've seen, everyone has the same rough vision: start as a research location funded by government, philanthropy plus whatever else you can find funds expansion. Disagreements are on the expense of expanding it, cost and time to reduce costs/ISRU etc.

What "market realities" make this impossible?

There still has to be demand, no matter how much the cost and technological barriers are eliminated.  There might be a fair amount of demand to do a stint for a few years on Mars, but very little to live there permanently to establish a colony.
« Last Edit: 12/03/2018 05:30 pm by DaveJes1979 »

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #152 on: 12/03/2018 06:48 pm »
What work?  Outside of exo-geology, there is nothing you can do in an underground tin can on Mars that you can't do more easily in an underground tin can in a desert or in Antarctica.
As I've noted elsewhere, in the past decade the US alone has spent billions on surface landers for Mars, precisely to do exo-geology (and exo-biology), so there is clearly a robust market for that service.  For about what is spent now as an annual average, around half a billion a year, one could produce vastly more science with people on the ground.  Half a billion may not be enough on its own to make a colony profitable, but it is nothing to sneeze at.  (And again, that is just US government and academic research, not science from other countries or private organizations.)

And of course should organisms be discovered on Mars, one can only imagine the value those might have, and what both academics and industry might pay to have access to them. (And such research would almost certainly be done directly on Mars, due to fears of contamination.)

Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #153 on: 12/03/2018 07:10 pm »
As I've noted elsewhere, in the past decade the US alone has spent billions on surface landers for Mars, precisely to do exo-geology (and exo-biology), so there is clearly a robust market for that service.

Not that robust, it will only get you to the levels of the Antarctic outposts, in the dozens or low hundreds. 

Also, like those outposts, most scientists will only want to stay for limited-time stints doing research.  So again, a South Pole Station-type model is a far more realistic vision than the colony model.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #154 on: 12/03/2018 07:17 pm »
To begin with, people going to Mars will probably only stay 2-4 years doing things.  Scientists will come first, before colonists.  If gold or platinum is found, especially in abundance.  Then colonization will speed up.  There  will also be agriculture to support the scientists, explorers, miners, and fuel manufacturing for return rockets.  This alone could grow into a sizable colony.  Depending on where metals are located, various colonies will pop up across the planet.   

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #155 on: 12/03/2018 07:26 pm »
As I've noted elsewhere, in the past decade the US alone has spent billions on surface landers for Mars, precisely to do exo-geology (and exo-biology), so there is clearly a robust market for that service.

Not that robust, it will only get you to the levels of the Antarctic outposts, in the dozens or low hundreds. 

Also, like those outposts, most scientists will only want to stay for limited-time stints doing research.  So again, a South Pole Station-type model is a far more realistic vision than the colony model.
Hundreds at a single facility sounds like the makings of a colony to me, and certainly actual Antarctic levels of 1,000 (winter) to 5,000 (summer) would be.  And sure, it is likely that not everyone who arrives will want to stay.  But given that one is looking at a visit of at least 26 months, it seems to me that an emphasis will be placed on making the facilities comfortable, and thus would be more likely to keep folks there past a single synod. 

Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #156 on: 12/03/2018 07:42 pm »
To begin with, people going to Mars will probably only stay 2-4 years doing things.  Scientists will come first, before colonists.

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Hundreds at a single facility sounds like the makings of a colony to me

People keep acting like there is some natural evolution from a small scientific base to a colony.  There is no such logical connection. 

For instance, McMurdo Station in Antarctica is not going to magically become a colony if we just give it a few more decades.  Scientists and support staff spend up to 18 months, including one winter season, then leave.  Today it is fairly rare for anyone to spend even two winters there.  There are zero permanent residents.

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If gold or platinum is found, especially in abundance.  Then colonization will speed up.

Wishful thinking on top of wishful thinking.  Even assuming the existence and market profitability of such metals, mining will be done by robots (a certain owner of a self-driving car company and underground boring company will know how to do this), with perhaps a small handful of support staff.  People - are you really going to hang your hat on humans doing *manual labor* to realize the vision of a Mars colony?

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fuel manufacturing for return rockets.

One of the first things that will be fully automated.

Offline Yaotzin

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #157 on: 12/03/2018 08:00 pm »
This hand-waving is the same problem basically all colony-proponents suffer from, all the way up to Elon and Zubrin.  What work?  Outside of exo-geology, there is nothing you can do in an underground tin can on Mars that you can't do more easily in an underground tin can in a desert or in Antarctica.  And there are only going to be so many exo-geologists to go around.

The novelty of being on Mars will wear off quickly, especially once Seasonal Affective Disorders kicks in.
Build housing and industry - construction materials, food etc. The people doing that need all the usual support stuff, so there's more jobs. In other words, the same way you'd build a new city on Earth.

Yes, this is easier to do in the Sahara. Mars has no economic case, this is common cause. I don't know why people keep pointing it out.
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There still has to be demand, no matter how much the cost and technological barriers are eliminated.  There might be a fair amount of demand to do a stint for a few years on Mars, but very little to live there permanently to establish a colony.
You know those stories about a small town bribing people to come live there? Yeah.

It's basically a size thing. Cities have lots of reasons to stick around because there are lots of people. Small towns are dying everywhere because there aren't. You'd have to bruteforce a Mars city in the same way you'd have to bruteforce a new city on Earth (no reason to move to an empty city on Earth, either).

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People keep acting like there is some natural evolution from a small scientific base to a colony.  There is no such logical connection. 

For instance, McMurdo Station in Antarctica is not going to magically become a colony if we just give it a few more decades.  Scientists and support staff spend up to 18 months, including one winter season, then leave.  Today it is fairly rare for anyone to spend even two winters there.  There are zero permanent residents.
Well, that and it would be illegal.

I'm not sure what you're saying. Obviously a Mars research base would become a colony because EM/USA/whoever decided to build a colony, and expanding it from the research base is a no brainer. No one thinks it would happen naturally because there is no economic case and no one has ever claimed there was.
« Last Edit: 12/03/2018 08:14 pm by Yaotzin »

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #158 on: 12/03/2018 08:19 pm »
For instance, McMurdo Station in Antarctica is not going to magically become a colony if we just give it a few more decades.
DaveJes1979, the antarctica analogy is not a new one. It was old when Bill Nye used it in the story that started this thread, as I mentioned in the second post in this thread. There is a whole previous thread just on the Antarctica analogy and it's problems that lived and died before this thread began.

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #159 on: 12/03/2018 08:35 pm »
Obviously a Mars research base would become a colony because EM/USA/whoever decided to build a colony,

Who is "whoever" and why would they invest in a colony if, as you admit, there is no economic case?  If you are relying on government machinations (via the tax dollars of its citizens) to subsidize a colony, you don't have a great plan, gang. It is (and should) only going to happen with a free market.

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #160 on: 12/03/2018 08:43 pm »
DaveJes1979, the antarctica analogy is not a new one. It was old when Bill Nye used it in the story that started this thread, as I mentioned in the second post in this thread.

All analogies will, of course, have some disanalogies.  The question is whether the disanalogies are relevant.

My point at the moment is fairly narrow - there is no inevitable or even likely connection between a scientific outpost and a colony.  The Antarctic outposts are just one line of relevant evidence.  If the colony proponents want to deny this, they need to show a detailed plan on how this transition takes place through realistic mechanisms.  All I'm getting is hand-waving.

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #161 on: 12/03/2018 09:38 pm »
Unfortunately refined PGM materials are not available on Mars. Initially it will be hard enough to find and process sufficient water let alone start a Platinum mine and crush and process millions of tons of rock.

Unoxidized nickel-iron meteorites exist just laying on the surface of Mars. And there are likely more just below the surface that could be located by a big metal detector. Some of them probably contain high concentrations of PGMs (where, and how much, is certainly a good question). You wouldn't mine ore like on Earth because you shouldn't need to, and because it would be rather difficult.

And yet it's been pointed out that the market for any precious item including platinum group metals would crash if a large supply were suddenly introduced. Suppose you hauled a big asteroid filled with platinum back to Earth - then it suddenly wouldn't be such a rare and precious material anymore, and thus its value would plunge. How do you create a sustainable business model out of that?
Do the same as De Beers. Fill warehouses with the stuff and sell it at a trickle.

PGMs aren't just pretty. They have many, many industrial uses and those uses would skyrocket if the materials were cheaper.

Offline Yaotzin

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #162 on: 12/03/2018 09:41 pm »
Obviously a Mars research base would become a colony because EM/USA/whoever decided to build a colony,

Who is "whoever" and why would they invest in a colony if, as you admit, there is no economic case?  If you are relying on government machinations (via the tax dollars of its citizens) to subsidize a colony, you don't have a great plan, gang. It is (and should) only going to happen with a free market.
EM seems to be only one with both means (maybe) and desire to get things started. USG as an outside bet as some national pride/oneupping China thing, or indeed China for the same reason. Many others would have various reasons to contribute pieces here and there, but it would certainly require a philanthropic or government backing.
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My point at the moment is fairly narrow - there is no inevitable or even likely connection between a scientific outpost and a colony.  The Antarctic outposts are just one line of relevant evidence.  If the colony proponents want to deny this, they need to show a detailed plan on how this transition takes place through realistic mechanisms.  All I'm getting is hand-waving.
1) Build a research base.
2) Expand it to a colony.

1 comes first because you can probably get governments to fund it, and much research is needed for a colony anyway. AFAIK no one claims 2 will inevitably happen, only that *if* someone does decide to fund a colony, expanding the research base is the obvious way to do it.
« Last Edit: 12/03/2018 09:43 pm by Yaotzin »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #163 on: 12/03/2018 10:01 pm »
Unoxidized nickel-iron meteorites exist just laying on the surface of Mars. And there are likely more just below the surface that could be located by a big metal detector. Some of them probably contain high concentrations of PGMs (where, and how much, is certainly a good question). You wouldn't mine ore like on Earth because you shouldn't need to, and because it would be rather difficult.

How many of those exist? Could you build a colony with them, and how far out would you have to venture to find them?

Unlike a vein of ore that can be quantified, relying on randomly finding meteorites with the right compositions does not sound like a predictable way to provide resources for a growing colony.

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PGMs aren't just pretty. They have many, many industrial uses and those uses would skyrocket if the materials were cheaper.

What materials will need to be transported from Earth, and in what quantities, in order to refine 1mT of platinum group metals?

Or would it be cheaper to just ship refined platinum group metals to Mars?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #164 on: 12/03/2018 10:24 pm »
When I was growing up there where still people starting a new life in Australia at £10 a go. Australia needed colonists and was prepared to subsidize the cost. I expect Mars will be the same. I would certainly buy my ticket to Mars for £10 to start a new life.  :)

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #165 on: 12/04/2018 01:14 pm »
Unoxidized nickel-iron meteorites exist just laying on the surface of Mars. And there are likely more just below the surface that could be located by a big metal detector. Some of them probably contain high concentrations of PGMs (where, and how much, is certainly a good question). You wouldn't mine ore like on Earth because you shouldn't need to, and because it would be rather difficult.

How many of those exist? Could you build a colony with them, and how far out would you have to venture to find them?

Unlike a vein of ore that can be quantified, relying on randomly finding meteorites with the right compositions does not sound like a predictable way to provide resources for a growing colony.

That's going considerably beyond the initial assertion that there is nothing worth shipping back from Mars. I rather doubt that "colony as a profitable mining camp" is likely to happen near term. A colony is likely to be a money sink for a long time, but that doesn't mean they can't send things back to offset part of the costs.

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PGMs aren't just pretty. They have many, many industrial uses and those uses would skyrocket if the materials were cheaper.

What materials will need to be transported from Earth, and in what quantities, in order to refine 1mT of platinum group metals?

Or would it be cheaper to just ship refined platinum group metals to Mars?

Maybe initially. But if a colony is going to keep growing, its going to need metal extraction and refining equipment eventually anyway.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #166 on: 12/05/2018 05:54 am »
I rather doubt that "colony as a profitable mining camp" is likely to happen near term. A colony is likely to be a money sink for a long time, but that doesn't mean they can't send things back to offset part of the costs.

Just like with our Moon I believe that any resource extraction and processing will be for local consumption, not export.

I agree that it will likely not be profitable, though being able to avoid importing material and supplies required for a growing colony may not be profitable but still valuable.


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...But if a colony is going to keep growing, its going to need metal extraction and refining equipment eventually anyway.

Agreed. Though I think it will be a long time, and might require processes that we don't need to use here on Earth because of the abundance of air and liquids. When things are scarce innovation tends to be in abundance...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #167 on: 12/05/2018 06:32 am »
For instance, McMurdo Station in Antarctica is not going to magically become a colony if we just give it a few more decades.  Scientists and support staff spend up to 18 months, including one winter season, then leave.  Today it is fairly rare for anyone to spend even two winters there.  There are zero permanent residents.
This has been discussed before. Permanent residents are limited (if not outright banned) in Antarctica by international treaty.


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Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #168 on: 12/05/2018 05:52 pm »
1) Build a research base.
2) Expand it to a colony.

We aren't really talking about the logistics of expanding the buildings or facilities of a small base to accommodate a colony (although that has its own problems).  The point is that there are no market forces that would cause a research base to expand in to a colony.  It is going to take more than fanboy-power, wishful thinking, and rich uncle Elon to make a colony happen.  There needs to be good reasons...real good reasons...for people to be interested in living in an underground tin can under a cold desert.  Things that can only be done on Mars and not on earth, and these have to be things that machines can't do (sorry, exo-miners).  Until you can come up with concrete reasons, you don't have a case for a colony.

Even Elon and Zubrin seem to at least realize that this is a real problem.  They have suggested that intellectual property licensing might be a way to make a Mars colony profitable. But this, of course, is a chicken or egg problem.  Even if we buy the highly dubious idea that intellectual property could be *that* profitable somewhere down the line, we still have to have a reason for people to want to go to Mars to live in the first place.

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This has been discussed before. Permanent residents are limited (if not outright banned) in Antarctica by international treaty.

So are you seriously arguing that there might be permanent residents if the legal roadblocks were eliminated?  It is rare for people to spend even 2 winters in Antarctica, on extremely rare occasions some have done 3 winters, tops, and it took a huge psychological toll on these people.
« Last Edit: 12/05/2018 05:56 pm by DaveJes1979 »

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #169 on: 12/05/2018 08:48 pm »
Mars doesn't have 6 month nights, as least not anywhere you would build a colony.

Also, about 4 million people live permanently north of the Artic circle.

Offline Yaotzin

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #170 on: 12/06/2018 03:04 am »
We aren't really talking about the logistics of expanding the buildings or facilities of a small base to accommodate a colony (although that has its own problems).  The point is that there are no market forces that would cause a research base to expand in to a colony.  It is going to take more than fanboy-power, wishful thinking, and rich uncle Elon to make a colony happen.  There needs to be good reasons...real good reasons...for people to be interested in living in an underground tin can under a cold desert.  Things that can only be done on Mars and not on earth, and these have to be things that machines can't do (sorry, exo-miners).  Until you can come up with concrete reasons, you don't have a case for a colony.
You seem to insist that a colony can only look like a market driven investment funded enterprise. I don't understand why; no one has ever said this will happen unless we discover unobtanium there. The idea is more like a library or university; built by a rich benefactor, along with a fund to help with ongoing costs. And for the same reason: there's no economic case for them (please don't get me started on the abomination that is for-profit universities).

As reasons to go; at first it would be temporary and a pretty fascinating job, so there'd be plenty of interest. Longer term would depend on QoL that's been built up which is difficult to predict. Worst case, pay people to go. We don't live in a post scarcity society; you can find lots of people who will do anything for a little money.

So yes, seriously, a rich enough uncle Elon is the only requirement. We can discuss how rich he'd have to be for x size colony, but money is really all it takes.
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Even Elon and Zubrin seem to at least realize that this is a real problem.  They have suggested that intellectual property licensing might be a way to make a Mars colony profitable. But this, of course, is a chicken or egg problem.  Even if we buy the highly dubious idea that intellectual property could be *that* profitable somewhere down the line, we still have to have a reason for people to want to go to Mars to live in the first place.
IP or any other export would be a way of partially funding the colony. It is not required; a colony could be built with zero exports*. Exports make it more financially viable, they increase the size of the colony you can afford etc. It's 'just' money, which can come from any source.

*in the colloquial sense, in the accounting sense they're there of course.

Offline MaxTeranous

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #171 on: 12/06/2018 10:44 am »
People are bright, use cases usually come once the enabler is there. Remember that there is a world market for maybe 5 computers...

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #172 on: 12/06/2018 11:04 am »
We aren't really talking about the logistics of expanding the buildings or facilities of a small base to accommodate a colony (although that has its own problems).  The point is that there are no market forces that would cause a research base to expand in to a colony.  It is going to take more than fanboy-power, wishful thinking, and rich uncle Elon to make a colony happen.  There needs to be good reasons...real good reasons...for people to be interested in living in an underground tin can under a cold desert.  Things that can only be done on Mars and not on earth, and these have to be things that machines can't do (sorry, exo-miners).  Until you can come up with concrete reasons, you don't have a case for a colony.
You seem to insist that a colony can only look like a market driven investment funded enterprise. I don't understand why; no one has ever said this will happen unless we discover unobtanium there. The idea is more like a library or university; built by a rich benefactor, along with a fund to help with ongoing costs. And for the same reason: there's no economic case for them (please don't get me started on the abomination that is for-profit universities).

As reasons to go; at first it would be temporary and a pretty fascinating job, so there'd be plenty of interest. Longer term would depend on QoL that's been built up which is difficult to predict. Worst case, pay people to go. We don't live in a post scarcity society; you can find lots of people who will do anything for a little money.

So yes, seriously, a rich enough uncle Elon is the only requirement. We can discuss how rich he'd have to be for x size colony, but money is really all it takes.
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Even Elon and Zubrin seem to at least realize that this is a real problem.  They have suggested that intellectual property licensing might be a way to make a Mars colony profitable. But this, of course, is a chicken or egg problem.  Even if we buy the highly dubious idea that intellectual property could be *that* profitable somewhere down the line, we still have to have a reason for people to want to go to Mars to live in the first place.
IP or any other export would be a way of partially funding the colony. It is not required; a colony could be built with zero exports*. Exports make it more financially viable, they increase the size of the colony you can afford etc. It's 'just' money, which can come from any source.

*in the colloquial sense, in the accounting sense they're there of course.
"A rich enough uncle Elon is the only requirement. We can discuss how rich he'd have to be for x size colony, but money is really all it takes."

A very good point, I do wonder how rich Elon Musk might become if Tesla and SpaceX continue to grow at their current rate for another decade or two (obviously not a given by any stretch but who knows). If a large enough amount of money could be gathered to start the ball rolling, perhaps a Mars colony is possible. IP /rocks / tourists would provide some income and if the flight costs could be driven down enough it might just work.
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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #173 on: 12/06/2018 11:34 am »
A very good point, I do wonder how rich Elon Musk might become if Tesla and SpaceX continue to grow at their current rate for another decade or two (obviously not a given by any stretch but who knows). If a large enough amount of money could be gathered to start the ball rolling, perhaps a Mars colony is possible. IP /rocks / tourists would provide some income and if the flight costs could be driven down enough it might just work.

The time is pretty good to raise money through IP and other means. Amazon just paid 250 million $ for twelve episodes of the Hammond, Clarkson and May, Netflix has a yearly content budget of 13 billion $ and several reality stars do appear to be doing quite well. If they can get enough people around the world interested in Mars, any media coming back would be extremely valuable.
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Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #174 on: 12/06/2018 11:58 pm »
Government or international funded is also a very reasonable option, similar to Antarctica and the ISS, especially if SpaceX shows how to bring costs dramatically down for such an endeavour.

I think that like Antarctica, if one nation had an outpost there then other nations would want to stake a claim also, just so that if a business case suddenly does emerge, the government with the sole base is not so far ahead before the others ramp up that it essentially takes possession of the entire world.

(Note: using Antarctica as an analogy for funding an outpost is not accepting the analogy "we won't colonise Mars because we have not colonised Antarctica". That is still a silly analogy IMO. )


« Last Edit: 12/06/2018 11:59 pm by KelvinZero »

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #175 on: 12/11/2018 08:38 pm »
Love all this back and forth about Mars Colonies, mir=grating technology and manufacturing.
I'm interested in what type of cam indexing and CNC are used in the aeronautical space.

Thanks for sharing any other reads.


{snip}

Any 3D manufacturing machine or CNN for use on Mars will probably be made-to-measure machines. Low gravity, light weight to transport and super strict pollution standards will force that.

3D printing experiments have taken place on the International Space Station.
http://spaceflight101.com/iss/made-in-space-1st-iss-3d-printer

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #176 on: 12/11/2018 09:30 pm »
Love all this back and forth about Mars Colonies, mir=grating technology and manufacturing.
I'm interested in what type of cam indexing and CNC are used in the aeronautical space.

Cam-operated subtractive manufacturing machines are not a very good choice for space, so when the time comes to send subtractive manufacturing tools into space they will likely be CNC (computer numerical control). For instance, you have to have a separate machining center to make and rehabilitate cams, which takes up more room and more resources.


Cam-operated machines are great when you're churning out lots and lots of the same part, but at least for the first few decades our needs will likely be for small lots of parts.
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Re: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars
« Reply #177 on: 12/18/2018 04:47 am »
We have had threads on how to fund a colony, and on how to motivate people to go. Don't rehash those general arguments. Thank you.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Tags: Mars colony