Author Topic: Bill Nye doesn't think we'll colonize Mars  (Read 17103 times)

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.

Online 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?

Online 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

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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)


Online 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

Online 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.

Online 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.

Online 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.

Tags: Mars colony