Author Topic: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith  (Read 10841 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« on: 09/18/2023 05:55 am »
twitter.com/fuschmu/status/1700204852641677772

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Five years in the making, and less than 2 months until the book comes out. Yikes!

https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1703555994855293147

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Just finished reading my advcopy of 'A City on Mars'. A must-read! I believe successful long-term space settlement is not years to decades away but centuries to millenia; the Weinersmiths explain why and lay out the challenges we must (and I believe eventually will) overcome.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #1 on: 09/18/2023 05:57 am »
https://www.acityonmars.com/

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A CITY ON MARS
by Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith
Earth is not well. The promise of starting life anew somewhere far, far away—no climate change, no war, no Twitter—beckons, and settling the stars finally seems within our grasp. Or is it? Critically acclaimed, bestselling authors Kelly and Zach Weinersmith set out to write the essential guide to a glorious future of space settlements, but after years of research, they aren’t so sure it’s a good idea. Space technologies and space business are progressing fast, but we lack the knowledge needed to have space kids, build space farms, and create space nations in a way that doesn’t spark conflict back home. In a world hurtling toward human expansion into space, A City on Mars investigates whether the dream of new worlds won’t create nightmares, both for settlers and the people they leave behind. In the process, the Weinersmiths answer every question about space you’ve ever wondered about, and many you’ve never considered.

“Scientific, educational, and fun as hell.”
— Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary

“There is simply no more engrossing, entertaining, or thorough way to understand the intense challenge of humanity's off-Earth future than A City on Mars. I LAUGHED THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH.”
— Hank Green, New York Times bestselling author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

“Listen up, humans. How to poop in space will be the least of our concerns. Herein are challenges most space-heads, including me, never even considered: not just technological, but legal, ethical, geopolitical. Despite the breadth and depth of research and some impressive near-wonk-level detail, this is a clear, lively, and hilarious read. Slam dunk, Weinersmiths!”
— Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Fuzz and Packing for Mars

"A City on Mars is deeply researched, hilarious, and sobering. Zach and Kelly Weinersmith have given us a bracing to-do list for the new age of space. Highly, highly recommended.”
— James S.A. Corey, author of The Expanse series

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #2 on: 11/13/2023 03:19 pm »
https://twitter.com/penguinpress/status/1724068347015307375

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You have questions about space, @ZachWeiner and @FuSchmu have answers. Join them for a @reddit_AMA tomorrow at 12pm ET! @Reddit

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #3 on: 11/13/2023 07:16 pm »
Downloaded the Kindle free sample just now.

Offline Athelstane

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #4 on: 11/13/2023 07:51 pm »
Peter Hague has the first part of a review up on his substack now.

One snippet:

____________

One section of the book promotes the ideas of Daniel Deudney, a political science professor who has decided that space settlement is too dangerous because he read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress too many times, and wants to intentionally sabotage it by increasing launch costs. Here is what they say:



There is no way that asteroids make better weapons of mass destruction. An asteroid thrown across space does much the same thing, except it takes months or years to reach its target, is much easier to detect and much easier to stop. The idea that space could increase the risk of a nuclear exchange on Earth is also bizarre, as if the logic of MAD will suddenly stop applying? I am reasonably confident that having a Moon base, or even losing one to the Americans, will not make Xi Jinping suddenly become suicidal. There is a reason Deudney’s work has been largely ignored - its just a bit silly.

https://planetocracy.substack.com/p/review-of-a-city-on-mars-part-i

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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #6 on: 11/14/2023 05:04 am »
https://twitter.com/fuschmu/status/1724118892342386898

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Thanks to @peterrhague for taking the time to review A City on Mars. Here is @ZachWeiner and my response:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sK-U9NYQQFEyRN1IvhtffZJR_m96G9-Fd-hCw3lq7s8/mobilebasic

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #7 on: 11/14/2023 08:23 am »
So I read the first four or five chapters, what's available in the Kindle free sample.

The tone is very chatty and quite humourous (Uranus joke in the very first sentence of the book, think of that what you will). It is also very personal, with the author and her cartoonist husband putting themselves front and center and inviting us along to discover the subject matter alongside them. If you know Tim Urban and his waitbutwhy.com web site then that's exactly the style.

That's the good side, if that is your thing. The bad side of the writing is that the authors breezily sling out their opinions as if they're absolute truth on every single page. They also happily misrepresent facts and opinions of others, to make their insights all the more convincing. Yet how weird that they are the first to see the light.

An example of their writing:

"A quotation used in 99.9999 percent of all books about space settlement comes from rocketry founding father Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who wrote in a 1911 article, “The earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot forever live in the cradle.” Perhaps. But we should remember that what emerges from a cradle is not a full-grown adult, but a toddler—lacking in knowledge, very excited, and prone to self-destruction. If we do plan to leave this place, better to do so as an adult. Let’s spend the awkward years learning and then strike out for new vistas."

- So on the face of it, yeah, very cool put-down of Tsiolkovsky. They really got him there, didn't they. Except, wait a minute, did Tsiolkovsky actually say that a toddler should go out and explore space? No, of course he didn't.

And that's my beef with this book and why I don't want to buy it. The authors keep using strawman argumentation, unfaithfully misrepresenting others to put their own opinions in a better light. It is sophomoric, if not straight-down puerile.

Offline thespacecow

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #8 on: 11/28/2023 02:07 am »
Peter Hague's the critic of the book, part two: https://planetocracy.substack.com/p/review-of-a-city-on-mars-part-ii

It's increasing clear to me that this recent surge of anti-space settlement literature is nothing but a symptom of EDS.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2023 02:12 am by thespacecow »

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #9 on: 11/28/2023 04:08 am »
Peter Hague's the critic of the book, part two: https://planetocracy.substack.com/p/review-of-a-city-on-mars-part-ii

It's increasing clear to me that this recent surge of anti-space settlement literature is nothing but a symptom of EDS.


Online Emmettvonbrown

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #10 on: 11/28/2023 10:29 am »
Peter Hague's the critic of the book, part two: https://planetocracy.substack.com/p/review-of-a-city-on-mars-part-ii

It's increasing clear to me that this recent surge of anti-space settlement literature is nothing but a symptom of EDS.

You need an EDS to land on Mars, actually: Entry and Descent System.  Also Earth Departure Stage.

Oh, wait, wrong EDS -  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDS   
« Last Edit: 11/28/2023 10:32 am by Emmettvonbrown »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #11 on: 12/04/2023 06:09 pm »
Review by Robert Zubrin:

https://quillette.com/2023/12/04/why-we-should-go-to-mars/

No surprise, he’s not a fan!

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #12 on: 12/06/2023 04:16 pm »
Peter Hague's the critic of the book, part two: https://planetocracy.substack.com/p/review-of-a-city-on-mars-part-ii

It's increasing clear to me that this recent surge of anti-space settlement literature is nothing but a symptom of EDS.

What do you refer to when you say EDS?

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #13 on: 12/06/2023 04:24 pm »
Review by Robert Zubrin:

https://quillette.com/2023/12/04/why-we-should-go-to-mars/

No surprise, he’s not a fan!

Beautiful article by Zubrin.

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #14 on: 12/06/2023 07:34 pm »
"Of course, there are some kooks within the space community—as there are within all interest groups."--Robert Zubrin


Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #15 on: 12/06/2023 07:55 pm »
Peter Hague's the critic of the book, part two: https://planetocracy.substack.com/p/review-of-a-city-on-mars-part-ii

It's increasing clear to me that this recent surge of anti-space settlement literature is nothing but a symptom of EDS.

If you mean so-called "Elon Derangement Syndrome" (EDS), then you are absolutely wrong.

The idea of space settlement has been around for a lot longer than the period of time since SpaceX (i.e. Elon Musk) actually started looking like it might be able to somehow play a part in future space settlement.

However remember that SpaceX itself has only ever been pitched as a low-cost transportation entity to ENABLE space settlements (starting with Mars), so opinions about whether space settlements can succeed are completely separate from the ability to move people and cargo to space settlements.

For instance, we have had the ability to move people and cargo to locations under water here on Earth for decades, but despite predictions that we would have cities under the oceans, it hasn't happened.

Personally I WANT space settlement to happen, and I WANT humans to expand out into space. And I am always looking for facts, information and opinion that can help make that happen.

Apparently this book may not be a source of facts or information to make help that happen, but that doesn't mean I won't stop doing what I can to support future space settlement.

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 Robotbeat

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #16 on: 12/06/2023 09:10 pm »
Peter Hague's the critic of the book, part two: https://planetocracy.substack.com/p/review-of-a-city-on-mars-part-ii

It's increasing clear to me that this recent surge of anti-space settlement literature is nothing but a symptom of EDS.

If you mean so-called "Elon Derangement Syndrome" (EDS), then you are absolutely wrong.

The idea of space settlement has been around for a lot longer than the period of time since SpaceX (i.e. Elon Musk) actually started looking like it might be able to somehow play a part in future space settlement.

However remember that SpaceX itself has only ever been pitched as a low-cost transportation entity to ENABLE space settlements (starting with Mars), so opinions about whether space settlements can succeed are completely separate from the ability to move people and cargo to space settlements.

For instance, we have had the ability to move people and cargo to locations under water here on Earth for decades, but despite predictions that we would have cities under the oceans, it hasn't happened.

Personally I WANT space settlement to happen, and I WANT humans to expand out into space. And I am always looking for facts, information and opinion that can help make that happen.

Apparently this book may not be a source of facts or information to make help that happen, but that doesn't mean I won't stop doing what I can to support future space settlement.

My $0.02
You missed his point I think. Of course the idea of space settlement has far preceded Musk. But the current flowering of anti-space-settlement literature (articles and books) is a direct response to billionaires like Musk popularizing it and, to some degree, making it more realistic by founding space launch and technology companies.

It’s reactionary. And I think this is correct, at least to some degree. A lot of people who would’ve been “rah, rah, send humans to Mars, that’s so cool” are down on the idea because it’s not NASA leading it as much but instead people they don’t like.

It’s a really stupid trend, and people who do this sort of reactionary thing have lost a lot of my respect (it shows how much their thought and logic process is influenced by political fads and peer pressure). But Musk doesn’t really do space settlement any favors by engaging in politically charged culture war stuff, either.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #17 on: 12/06/2023 09:23 pm »
...It’s a really stupid trend, and people who do this sort of reactionary thing have lost a lot of my respect (it shows how much their thought and logic process is influenced by political fads and peer pressure). But Musk doesn’t really do space settlement any favors by engaging in politically charged culture war stuff, either.

Musk doesn't do electric cars any good either with his political views, or satellite internet, or low-cost space launch.

But I don't see this book as some sort direct response to the idea of Elon Musk wanting to make humans multi-planetary, starting with Mars. In fact from the sample they show on Amazon of the book, Elon Musk is barely mentioned, and not even in a bad way.

The authors of this book truly wanted to look into the possibility of space settlement, and in their view they found lots of barriers. People seem to disagree with their assessment, and I'd probably be one of those (if I bothered to buy and read the book), and my only reason for my previous comment was to push back on the idea that this is some sort of anti-Musk screed.

Maybe their conclusions are ill-informed and wrong, but from the sample on Amazon they are only pushing back on the general idea of space settlement, not any one particular effort.
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 Robotbeat

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #18 on: 12/06/2023 09:43 pm »
I think that’s somewhat naive. There’s a lot of unknowns in this topic, and a lot of the impetus for it is, shall we say, aspirational. That means that in a lot of ways, the conclusion is influenced by who or what sources they choose to use.

For instance, they pick Duedney as a kind of expert on space settlement because he wrote a book about it. But Duedney is 100% not an expert in any of these technical questions! He’s a social science expert in *checks notes* international relations, and he wrote a screed against space settlement that was borderline racist (if it’s possible to be racist against future “races”) against future space settlers, calling them “monstrous.” But this is treated as a serious critique! There are several other instances of this sort of thing. The most subjective aspects are treated as authoritative experts. And a lot of this critique didn’t exist pre-Musk.

I think the authors are being sort of sincere here. But I think they’re biased by the ideological circles they run in (which to be clear, I also sort of do). There has been a huge influx of social science folks who haven’t the slightest clue about the technical aspects of space flight and have very little interest in engaging with the space settlement community on friendly terms who are treated as experts on the topic when their primary motivation for discussing the topic at all is explicitly ideological, ie “critiquing settler colonialism in the space settlement discourse” sort of thing. It’s a sort of laundering of credentials. And I think a lot of well-meaning people buy into it, unfortunately.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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

Online Emmettvonbrown

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Re: Book: A City on Mars by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
« Reply #19 on: 12/07/2023 06:27 am »
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"Elon Derangement Syndrome"

Okay, but - unfortunately - it works both way. It has a mirror, reverse syndrome. "Elon can't be wrong, he is a visionary, blah blah blah".
The proverbial mote & beam.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mote_and_the_Beam

Funny how the fhanbioys imagined EDS and  ignored their own EDS : working the opposite way.

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