Mars Colonization Will Happen

George Dvorsky, Futurist and Transhumanist, has written at Gizmodo that Humans will never colonize Mars. This is an interesting position from George who wrote in favor of Dyson Spheres in 2012.

George wrote in favor of self-replicating space probes modifying the galaxy. George’s predictions for the future are not consistent. A tiny fraction of Dyson Sphere capabilities or self-replicating probe technology would make Mars colonization trivial.

The “no human colonization of Mars” will likely end up getting retracted if George Dvorsky and Gizmodo are still around in 10-40 years. The NY Times had to famously retract a 1920 article mocking Goddard and his early rockets. The NY Times retracted the 1920 article about the dismissed the notion that a rocket could function in a vacuum after the 1969 moon landing.

George notes the lower gravity and atmospheric pressure that is 140 times less than on Earth. He also notes the extreme temperature ranges.

George says he believes humans will eventually visit Mars and even build a base or two, the notion that we’ll soon set up colonies inhabited by hundreds or thousands of people is pure nonsense, and an unmitigated denial of the tremendous challenges posed by such a prospect.

There is some fuzziness over where things cross over from we will build a base or two on Mars and the impossibility of colonies of hundreds of people. Parsing the words it seems that the international space station has had thirteen people on it at one time. So two bases with 13 people on Mars would seem to qualify as doable according to George but 200 people in a long-term colony lasting over four years would be impossible.

There are currently dozens of permanent and summertime bases sprinkled around the Antarctic. McMurdo has up 1,000 people in it in the summer and about 200 people year round. It had a 1.8 megawatt reactor for ten years many years ago. George is clearly saying that we cannot and will not setup McMurdo scale colonies on Mars.

Historically the Jamestown colony started with about 100 people in 1607 and then only a few dozen lasted until 1610 when they were resupplied and 150 new settlers joined. Jamestown lasted until 1698 when a fire and the capital went to Williamsburg.

George also dismissed projections by astrobiologist Lewis Darnell, a professor at the University of Westminster. Darnell projects substantial numbers of people have moved to Mars to live in self-sustaining towns with 50 to 100 years. The United Arab Emirates is aiming to build a Martian city of 600,000 occupants by 2117. George is clearly stating that thousands of people by 2100 is impossible.

Mars Colonization Details

Elon Musk wrote a 16-page article that described a plan to reduce the cost to bring one person to Mars down to $100,000. Elon Musk has a ballpark assumption that allocating one-ton of mass is enough for the passenger, supplies, and luggage.

In 2017, Purdue University engineers created a 331-page analysis for the Mars City. They looked at Mars food production, mining and the use of large cyclers.

Purdue’s Project Destiny was to validate the claim that a colony of 1 million inhabitants
can be feasibly established on the surface of Mars within 40-100 years using the SpaceX
architecture presented. They accomplish this by developing a colony that minimizes cost and the number of launches to build the actual colony. We then will evaluate 3 different methods of delivering this colony based on SpaceX architecture. The plan would need to be updated with more recent SpaceX Starship Super Heavy designs.

Purdue restricted their Mars City Colony design to reject the use of future technologies that are not likely to be in production within 30 years.

The initial 300 colonists consists of a skilled construction crew whose primary objective is to layout and deploy the larger colonies architecture prior to the larger population’s arrival. Once the cargo has been confirmed as to have landed on the Mars surface and is awaiting crew arrival, the initial 300 colonists will board either the next Mars vehicle.

George is saying even the 300 person construction base is impossible and any of the mining and industrial operations and improvements upon what Purdue has proposed is not possible.

They had a high cost of about $4 billion for each SAFE-800 nuclear reactor for cycler power.

The cost of nuclear reactors for space could be greatly reduced with the Kilopower reactors and the Los Alamos Megapower reactor which could be built as the Westinghouse eVinci reactors.

The eVinci could have about thirty times the power level as the SAFE-800. The eVinci could produce 25 megawatts instead of the 800 kilowatts of the SAFE-800.

Purdue’s Cary Mitchell has led efforts to improve human ability to grow food in space for over 40 years. He has improved lighting for crops to testing the ability to grow leafy greens, fruits and vegetables that will keep astronauts nourished and satisfied on their long trips.

SpaceX architecture for Mars are:
* Fully Reusable Launch System – This could be achieved in 2020-2022 with the Starship Super Heavy. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy has flown three times and would be over 90% reusable with all three booster and the fairing reused.
* LEO refueling – NASA has just funded a SpaceX-NASA project to develop this capability.
* Propulsive Landings – done
* Direct flight – this is just the plan for Mars flight
* Hyperbolic Trajectory between Earth and Mars
* Return capability of landing vehicles through fuel production on Mars Surface using a
methane/LOX fed propulsion system.

Low Gravity Solution

Dr. Joseph Parker presented a gravity solution for living on the moon or Mars. We need to have people live in one gravity pods on a circular hyperloop like track.

A one-kilometer radius track going at 360 kilometers per hour provides on one G. The actual moon or Mars tracks would have pods or trains going a bit slower and on an angle to get the right gravity. It is a 70-degree angle on Mars.

People and their children would live on these large trains. A smaller train will dock with the habitation train and they will load supplies. People will go onto the docking train to go to work in the lower gravity and then return to one G living and sleeping.

This train solution aligns with Elon Musk’s development of the Boring company and Hyperloop.

So Technically Feasible But What About Economics and Why Mars Colonization Will Happen

Clearly, it is technically feasible to build a Mars colony and city.

Elon Musk and SpaceX are headed for massive income and revenues.

SpaceX has successfully deployed sixty production versions of the Starlink Satellite. They are targeting six Starlink launches through the next six months. Those six launches will place 360 Starlink satellites into orbit. The pace of Starlink launches will increase with six more launches by the end of April 2020. This will enable SpaceX to generate a lot of revenue for service to North America, Europe and Asia. The revenue will be from reducing latency in financial trading communication.

SpaceX and Elon Musk will be made financially secure by 2023 and will have the $20 billion per year budget of NASA. If Elon has a 30X on his 54% share of SpaceX, then with Elon would have 30 times $10 billion in 2024 (50% of $20 billion in 2024). This means Elon would be worth over $300 billion without including any valuation for Tesla.

SpaceX will start generating substantial revenue in 2020 equal or slightly exceeding launch revenue. This was based upon 2017 SpaceX revenue projections from a 2017 Wall Street Journal article.

Elon Musk is a true believer in Mars Colonization. Elon and SpaceX with $50-100 billion per year in revenue will be able to fund a Mars colony. Just as Jeff Bezos is funding Blue Origin with $1 billion per year from his Amazon wealth, Elon Musk would be able to sustainably devote $5-10 billion per year for Mars colonization.

This amount of money will be able to fund a dozen SpaceX Super Heavy Starships every year that are fully reusable. Each individual Starship would be able to transport and support 100 colonists on Mars. The colonists could live in the Starship.

86 thoughts on “Mars Colonization Will Happen”

  1. I get the science fiction side of people wanting to go to Mars, but why? They aren’t going to find the cure to cancer in the process. It seems like really smart people wasting research time on basically less useful ideas, but we live in a free country…for now.

    Reply
  2. The things that the people who are certain that Mars colonization is inevitable can readily calculate; the costs of the monetary costs of getting there and building infrastructure on the planet might turn out to be a mute point. Human physiology and biology might be far to finely adapted to the atmosphere’s trace, constituents gravity and countless other qualities to ever be able to adjust to generations of living on Mars. when my ideas were simpler I was completely in favor of just doing it.

    Reply
  3. No. I’m serious. You can be very careful what species you let in, so you can avoid roach, ant, flea, mosquito, rat, mouse, silverfish, house fly, gopher, termite, biting fly species, fruit fly, fabric eating moths, and other infestations, as well as weeds, many fungi, and other things that damage crops.

    You can also avoid all the parasitic species and skin infections and irritants that affect human populations: lice, fleas, ticks, scabies, crabs, foot fungus, ringworm, bed bugs, acanthamoeba, loa loa, chigoe fleas, screwworm, kissing bugs, chiggers and more.

    You are starting from scratch, the isolation is an asset as well.

    People can be thoroughly examined and quarantined, and possessions irradiated. This is not new. They currently irradiate everything that goes up to the Space Station to prevent anyone from getting ill which could get nasty and dangerous if it was very contagious.

    Even houseplants would be quarantined (though I would think most would be brought as seeds rather than as plants). And when they arrive they would have their soil removed, roots cleaned and soil replaced with known safe soil.

    People with immune issues, some allergies and germaphobes would likely be interested. There are also people who want to eat plants that did not have any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other poisons…but don’t like insects, and fungus in their food either.

    Reply
  4. Pretty sure that Venus Cloud cities would be a heck of a lot easier than all this… No worrying about radiation, temperature, or pressure is a big deal. Sure, clouds of acid are a problem…and a resource!

    Reply
  5. I think if

    1. Antarctica was open for colonisation and exploitation
    2. A large oil field was found there

    Then we’d have towns on the ground within a decade.

    Reply
  6. Let’s take a walk up Mount Everest.

    At the bottom is a whole range of plants and animals. But as we go up, first the trees and eventually everything else reaches a point that they just can’t survive.

    Evolution has had billions of years to exploit the evolutionary niche of the high mountain tops. And you can just walk there, there isn’t any barrier to species moving up the slopes.

    And there is motivation: the high mountain tops feature loads of sunlight energy, and heaps of water, and large areas of land. It is prime realestate, in the naive view of people looking at other planets.

    But no, life hasn’t taken advantage of these locations. Which strongly indicates that they can’t.

    And even the top of Mount Everest is super, super easy to survive compared to the warmest, wettest, highest air pressure valley on Mars.

    Maybe genetic engineering will be able to jump over barriers in the physiology to reach a state where they can make it there. But that’s a long, long way from “Plants and animals will thrive on Mars.”

    Reply
  7. I see Mars colonization as pretty hard.

    On Antarctica you have free air. You can call for med-evac and get someone out in.a few days, on Mars if planet too distance maybe 6 months. On Antarctica you have free water.

    Also I don’t think we could colonize Antarctica if we wanted – sure you can put a camp there but it would need re-supply of equipment.

    Modern economy is complex and specialized there is a huge critical mass make the required hardware. I think you’d need a few million people for self sufficiency.

    While I would like to go to Mars for cool factor not sure if I want to live there. I like outdoor activity and would miss going outside, life in a Musk Habi-trail would get old.

    Maybe you could terra-form Mars – maybe we just wait 500 years.

    Reply
  8. 88 comments when I got here, excited to read them. I managed to get through about a third before I decided this was just a bunch of dumb teenagers.

    Reply
  9. And a [too weak] of a gravity well, mostly uncontrollable atmosphere, fixed location, dust storms, poisonous free dirty, etc.

    Reply
  10. For most of human history, communication times were much longer than minutes, or even hours. People lived in small, more or less isolated communities. Fast communication and travel are fairly recent developments, and even today, there are people who prefer to live in remote areas. As long as there’s room enough for some greenery, many people will be ok with living in space. (And VR can help too.)

    Reply
  11. No one needs to. Robots will. Self replicating robots aren’t all that far away now, and an army of them will build any structure we desire from asteroids.

    Reply
  12. I think we could demonstrate feasibility here on earth, just show me a solar powered solar panel factory, starting with an electric furnace to melt down silicates and aluminum or some sort of conductor, maybe steel. I think the silicon should be relatively easy to come by everywhere, but the metals need to be surveyed and mined which will be much more expensive, small quantities at the surface. The break-even for these panels will likely be at least 10 years, probably more like 20 or 30 years.

    Another option is to send a nuclear reactor and equipment to mine nuclear fuel.

    I think if you can demonstrate self-sustaining energy production the rest of the mars economy will fall into place.

    Reply
  13. If your technology is capable of reliably keeping people alive for decades in a vacuum, it should also easily be up to fully robotic mining. In which case, why would anyone want to head off for years to some godawful frozen rock, light minutes from anyone else ? We’re a gregarious species, and one that evolved on this planet. Living surrounded by vacuum or rock might suit intelligent machines, once we make them, but will not suit the psyche, or soul if you like, of people.

    Reply
  14. ‘ exude confidence ‘ is a better phrase. ‘ Protrude ‘ is more for physical sticky-out things like horns, or when you’re happy to see somebody.

    Reply
  15. This inspiring vision of man’s future enterprises demonstrates the implacable focus of science and daring in a pragmatic formula for success. The potential revenue from discovery of minerals and development of human habitats make this venture both feasible and necessary. Kudos, Mr. Musk. Your place in history is secured with the many Giants of culture and business experiments in success.

    Reply
  16. I would bet anything that astronauts can live 2 years on Mars without
    big problems. Having healthy children is another story, but we dont need
    a 0.38g space station to make experiments, just to make the experiments there or even better, on the moon, where every green light means green for Mars also.

    Reply
  17. The percentages you are quoting seem to be averages from rover samples, but we know there is significant variation across Mars from orbiting spectrometers, and Curiosity has come across different rock types as it has explored Gale Crater.

    We won’t know what materials will have a competitive advantage until transport costs are known, resources more fully explored, and the state of technology at some point in the future, which affects what you need. What we do know is some materials are more concentrated in certain places:

    Reply
  18. Only a madman is burning money like crazy, in amounts that harm the US ecconomy.
    This money could be spend way better, I assure eventually distances are to large between the plannets, and a rocket-taxi company doesnt make global profit, the profit is based on its travelers who can reach their economical profit faster here on earth than mars.

    Reply
  19. Asteroids have primarily water, organics (carbon compounds), iron group metals (iron, nickel, cobalt), platinum-group metals, and rock materials (oxides of mainly silicon, magnesium, and calcium, maybe some aluminum and iron). The organics also include sulfur compounds.

    The Moon has some water at the poles, basalt, and various oxides in its soil, primarily of silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron, magnesium, titanium, and sodium (rock stuff, similar to the rocky asteroids).

    Mars has water ice, CO2, some nitrogen and argon, and various metal oxides in its soil (aluminum, magnesium, calcium, etc). Some metal meteorites lying around, but those are basically asteroid fragments – much more of the same stuff in the asteroid belt. Some chlorides and other chemicals in the soil.

    The most notable stuff I see in Martian soil that isn’t obvious elsewhere are 6% sulfur oxides, ~3% zinc, and ~0.5-1% each of chlorine, bromine, and oxides of phosphorus, potassium, chromium, and manganese. The latter two may be found in larger amounts in metallic asteroids.

    So from what I can tell, there’s a lot of overlap. If there’s going to be significant trade between these three sources, it would have to come from concentrated deposits that we haven’t found yet (and haven’t really had the chance to look for), or from differences in extraction (plus transport) costs.

    Can you give some examples of which resources each of those sources may have a competitive advantage with?

    Reply
  20. The Moon, asteroids, and Mars all have different compositions, due to their different origin and history. Mars had enough active geology and hydrology to generate differentiated ores.

    If you can affordably colonize Mars, you can also affordably colonize asteroids and the Moon. Trade will naturally arise from the different availability of materials.

    Reply
  21. There are native metallic meteorites sitting on the Martian surface – various rovers have driven past them. Mars skims the inner edge of the Asteroid Belt, and it has just enough atmosphere to slow them down. There are likely a lot more buried under the sand.

    The native metal is an Iron-Nickel-Cobalt alloy. We can add some carbon derived from the atmosphere and get a decent grade of steel. No need to use pork-based iron.

    Reply
  22. Regardless of whether I agree with the person on point the being argued: “Look for your own citations” is inexcusable laziness.

    Reply
  23. I think that trying to build a closed ecosystem in a giant garbage can
    would soon turn into a cockroach-infested nightmare, so the gravity
    well would come back in the form of supplies. Further, the gravity
    wells of Mars and the Moon are no big deal, if you can make rocket fuel there.

    Reply
  24. I think the Moon, Mars, and half a dozen other rocks in the Solar System will have populations above 10,000 in 100 years. And there will be spaceships and spaces stations with sizable populations as well.
    Much of the mining, manufacturing and building though will be done by robotics.
    Key to this happening is resupply being a luxury rather than a necessity (including humans that are born there…many probably from gestational chambers). Building and growing materials and energy and the provision of everything needed coming from these places. Some may come up short on one thing or another. Those things can be achieved by trade between these places without resorting to the high gravity well of the Earth.

    These places will probably be attractive because of low disease, low crime, no weeds, pleasant climate, and low gravity.

    Low gravity in particular may be attractive to the elderly because it is easier on the joints and may encourage cartilage growth between joints. Though, maybe that will no longer be an issue at all, and people will come for the low gravity sports and activities.

    Reply
  25. On Mars you’d be starting from either the metal meteorites that are lying around there, which are nearly pure iron/nickel, or from the iron-rich soil, which is mostly oxides. So you’re starting off carbon-poor. To make that pig iron (or equivalent precursor), you’d be introducing carbon from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (not directly – need to convert it to other carbon forms first). So on balance, you’d be left with an excess of oxygen, not a shortage.

    If you tune the process just right, you’d have just as much carbon in the precursor as you want there to be. What you’d still need to remove is all the other impurities. The limiting resource isn’t oxygen, but water. You need water to make hydrogen (more oxygen byproduct there), and you need hydrogen to do everything else.

    Reply
  26. We don’t colonize the Antartica because we can’t. It’s because we don’t want. In fact it’s a multinational agreement to conserve Antartica as it is.

    It has sense. Antartica has a lot of biological value plus scientific value. And colonize it requires a lot of work that it will damage this values.

    Space, on the contrary, has a lot of potential values. It requires huge transformation and investment, but there is no worries for contamination the place which are lethal as it is, and it’s a huge place, so it’s plausible a multinational treat agreement to make it possible. It’s just we have not ready to take the first steps until now.

    Reply
  27. I think that 1G is a good idea. In fact i have the same idea long time ago. I posted in new mars forums then.
    I imaged this like a gigant wheel underground. In the axis you can enter and the speed here is low so you can literally enter the rotation zone walking in a way similar to a scalator. Then, you walking through a “twisted” stair and “go down” from the walker perspective.

    Depending of the height of the wheel, you can have a very nice colony.
    People there could have full health. No radiation (underground) or gravity problems.

    Obviously, it has no sense to use this space for other than habitation.

    I envisioned a weird lift too that feels like going forward and later go down an the opposite as an alternative to the stairs.

    In the low pressure of Mars, using a inductrak configuration, the wheel/rotating building could need very small energy to maintain the rotation.

    Of course, a emergency shutdown is needed, so behind the magnetic levitation would be emergency rails and the rooms would be build to drop the things in the right direction in case of a fast stop.

    For very long presence on Mars, this allow full health without physical adaptation. In long term, physical adaptation is better. Genetics, prosthesis and things like this.

    Not for martians. But a good solution for earthlings that go to stay on Mars some years.

    All of this is for long term, of course. Too much infrastructure for pioneers.

    Reply
  28. Can’t think of a better way to consume oxygen in a location where it is a limiting resource… Am I right? Gotta get the excess carbon out of the pig iron.

    Reply
  29. Colonizing space is a 100% natural process in the evolution of a species imho. It’s absolutely clear that we have to colonize first the moon and mars, and then the other bodies in the solar system.
    At some point then, exoplanets in the neighbouring star systems. Life in this universe has probably arisen to colonize everyhting, why else would there be such insane gigantic amounts of space and planets available.
    The very same way we colonized the world when leaving Africa 100k years ago. The same way we colonized America, Australia etc. The exact same stuff will happen for space, it is nothing different.
    And the people who are against space colonization should always be aware, that should we decide to stay on earth, we will go extinct sooner or later with a probability of 100.0%. So yeah, it’s logical, it’s natural, it has to be done.
    And moon and mars are the first steps.

    Reply
  30. Pig iron is too brittle to be a useful structural material. But wrought iron should work. Cast iron should also be ok for some applications.

    Reply
  31. We can expect Mars has bigger caves, but likely deader. Still, they can be quite impressive – Mars had both active geology and hydrology. There might be active hydrology still, in some areas – particularly in the deeper caves where temperature and pressure are higher than on the surface. And who knows, we might be surprised on the “deader” part. Caves may indeed be the prime target to search for remnants of life on Mars.

    Reply
  32. If it can be externally funded long enough to become self-sustaining, it won’t need to pay for itself. So the real questions are:
    1. Can it be made self-sustaining?
    2. How much will it cost to get it there?
    3. Are there large enough funding sources?

    The loophole is if it becomes close to self-sustaining, but not 100%, but the remaining gaps can be paid for by whatever means are available (such as tourism).

    Reply
  33. You could treat the soil. But more importantly, you don’t need soil to grow plants.

    (Herein lies a concession to nbfdmd: assuming hydroponics or airponics in a sealed, controlled environment, the only factor that’d be different on Mars is gravity.)

    Reply
  34. I may be splitting hairs with this, but there’s a difference between “survive” and “thrive”.

    Second, assuming even genetic engineering is not useful. It takes a lot of time to develop the correct modifications. What are the colonists supposed to eat until then? Terraforming would take even longer.

    For the short term, we have to assume unmodified plants (and bacteria), or very minimally modified at best.

    Reply
  35. This whole article is biased against colonization so they in fact cherry-picked quotes to support that frankly idiotic thesis that Mars will never be colonized. And even in this biased article there is this statement that says: “The effects of living in partial gravity compared to microgravity may not be as severe and research suggests astronauts in microgravity eventually adapt”.  I am telling you from my perception NASA is deeply anti mars colonization and of the idea that the planet needs to be treated like some kinda sterile lab nature preserve with humans only sending sterile robots to take small samples for dozens if not hundreds of years.  If you don’t believe me just listen to what Robert Zubrin states on this topic.

    Reply
  36. No showstopper but a lot of work. A lot of “Para-terraforming” I would think. This would go quickly with advanced automation.

    Reply
  37. A weight vest will strengthen your chest muscles, and the spine and leg structures holding up your Torso.

    Now design something to

    • Increase the load on your arms, hands and fingers
    • Increase the load on your neck and head.
    • Increase the internal loading on your internal organs and structures.
    • Improve the gravitational sorting and buoyancy effects on individual blood cells
    • Improve the gravity drive convection currents in the fluids in your eyes.
    • etc.

    That last point in particular is a known hazard of zero G, and we just don’t have the data to point to what gravity it stops being a problem at.

    Reply
  38. Good solid comment, though you’re going to need some citation for Mars not having the best caves.

    We have no idea how good Mars’ caves are.

    I could tell a story about how Mars has the best caves!

    Caves are produced by volcanic action (which Mars had plenty off, back a few billion years). And by water action, ory about how Mars has the best caves! Caves are produced by volcanic action (which Mars had plenty off, back a few billion years).

    And caves are limited by gravity, which Mars has significantly less of than Earth.

    So Mars has more, bigger and better caves.

    Now that’s just a story. I just made that up. But it is more than a bald statement that

    Mars does not have the best caves

    with nothing to back up or explain it.

    Reply
  39. You will need more than a few bags of sand.

    Minimum shielding required is ~700 g/cm2„, thickness depends on density, @1.3 g/cm3(min), your regolith thickness will need to be 5.4m.

    Ideally, long term residents will need shielding of compacted regolith 1000-2000 g/cm2.

    Gut thinkers will not last too long living on Mars or the moon.

    doi:10.1555/mars.2006.0004

    Reply
  40. Who is going to build these station? Oh yea NO ONE.

    We have been waiting for the “people who know better” to do ANYTHING in space what is the best we get from them…..well? More telescopes joy

    Reply
  41. Yea, but if you’re going to do that why not just build O’Neill Cylinders and have 100% control over everything around you without the gravity well?

    Reply
  42. Ok some of this is really weird. It assumes technological stagnation and innovation as well as absolute innovation in how you do things.

    I mean Look no one is going to bring over 26000 nuclear reactors.

    Reply
  43. I’m a biologist And I think that plants and animals will not thrive on Mars.

    Yeah yeah, anybody can claim to be anything on the internet so call me a dumb troll. But seriously, why would you think this is a normal thing to assert? Why ask for me to learn the chemistry and biology here? This is a sort of obvious objection. A little knowledge of chemistry and biology will not make anyone suddenly say “Oh wait yeah, the Martian environment and life evolved in the array of conditions on Earth are totally compatible.” So please quit being a dumb troll.

    Reply
  44. I read that article, and it in fact made the opposite point to “People who study microgravity agree that humans will most likely adapt to Mars gravity” – with more logic from specialists than your one cherry-picked quote. So I expected that you must have had something bigger, if you wanted to say that the people who study microgravity actually think humans will adapt to Mars gravity. Did you have anything else besides citing an article which disagrees with you?

    Reply
  45. “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” -Christopher Hitchens

    Or we can always go with “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan

    Both are relevant. And you’re not.

    Reply
  46. …McMurdo scale colonies…

    McMurdo isn’t a colony, it’s a science outpost. People don’t go there to settle down and raise a family. Being just cold and barren is enough a turnoff to exclude the idea of a possible colony. Maybe in 50-100 years things will warm up enough to reduce the extremes and make the idea slightly more palatable.

    Lots of things are possible, but that does not make it practical or a good business venture.

    Reply
  47. One could argue that the Mars Underground would offer more efficacy in shielding against consequences of a GRB. Consider the Mar’s approach as added insurance.

    Reply
  48. On the plus side, you can make everything on mars out of pig iron because there’s no water to rust it… and it welds together really easy… easier than steal…you don’t need any shielding gases either….

    Reply
  49. The asteroids are closer and easier and probably have more ore to process than deposits on Mars … plus no gravity well.

    Reply
  50. I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy…heh, heh…at the bottom of ah…some of the deeper lava tunnels. Radioactivity would never penetrate a tunnels hundreds of feet deep, and in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in drilling space could easily be provided. It would not be difficult Mein Fuehrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh…I’m sorry, Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plant life. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A survey would have to be made of all the available lava tube sites on Mars, but I would guess that dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided. Colonists could be chosen could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross-section of necessary skills. Of course, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. Ha!

    Reply
  51. Earth gravity on Mars is not needed.  People who study microgravity agree that humans will most likely adapt to Mars gravity.  The article against Mars colonization has an agenda just like NASA has anticolonization agenda to protect precious “mars bacteria”.  You got to read between the lines…  This quote comes from the very article that claims Mars colonization is impossible: “The effects of living in partial gravity compared to microgravity may not be as severe, she said, but in either case, different sensory inputs are going into the brain, as they’re not loaded by weight in the way they’re used to. This can result in a poor sense of balance and compromised motor functions, but research suggests astronauts in microgravity eventually adapt.”  This is from a specialist in microgravity and human body effects.

    Reply
  52. That helps with some things, but doesn’t produce quite the same cardiovascular effects as gravity. Probably good enough for your muscles and skeleton.

    For all we know, 0.38 gravity is enough for long term health. We just don’t know yet.

    Reply
  53. You are ignoring something a very simple that George Dvorsky says. It is easier to set up Dyson colonies than Mars colonies. It will be harder to set up earth gravity in Mars, bring equipment and mine mars, and build mega structures on mars. Space also obviously has more space. Stop taking a blind copious position, Because the Musk read comics books about Mars colonies when he was a kid does not mean that this is the best thing to do.

    Reply
  54. I agree we will be able to do whatever we want on Mars, shortly after Bezos and others begin to fill O’Neill habitats!
    But Mars is and will remain too tiny, being merely a planet.

    Reply
  55. The bets are open on the length of Super Heavy booster. I think it will be a lot longer
    than expected. My bet is 75 m. Wins who gets nearest.

    Reply
  56. That is so dumb: to go to such trouble, cross vast distances in space, land on another planet, just to try and survive in a subway train going nowhere at 1g, while telling oneself “I am colonising Mars”. No, you are a freaking excibit in an extraterrestrial zoo with no visitors.

    Putting material processing infrustructure on Mars, make fuel and construction materials, all that rocketry — that is all good and reasonable. But 1g habitat should be in orbit, in a station or ship large enough to be called “Mars city”, if that is so important. Martian atmosphere is essentially vacuum by terran standard, and magnetic field is not worth mentioning, so no radiation protection on the surface, unless one wants to go deeper on the scale of stupid — cross the vastness of space in an interplanetary ship, to descend into a cave and “colonize” it. Mars does not have the best caves, you know, just for everyone’s reference.

    Reply
  57. NASA and other international space agencies will pay for it, at least.

    Their overall problem is they can’t get their act together to make all the required parts for sending people to the surface of Mars.

    Well, that problem will be solved soon enough.

    When there is a passenger and cargo service, others will join them. For luxury adventure tourism, R&D or for making documentaries and media.

    But yeah, baseline living will be very expensive at first, and a real obstacle for population growth. As long as your home module costs tens of millions USD or more, and your food and goods come from Earth and costs hundreds or thousands per pound, people won’t be living there merely as a lifestyle decision.

    But humans are smart apes, and some will figure out how to make several things in situ, reducing costs significantly.

    Reply
  58. Unrealistic. Never gonna happen. No mentioning on how organism designed for Earth gravity or going to survive and thrive permanently in space or Mars gravity. And that is just focussing on this challenge.

    Reply
  59. That study didn’t mention lava tubes ?. I don’t understand how they can omit a perfect habitat already built and waiting for us to be used : isolated and protected from cosmic radiation and meteorites, warm constant temperature, … Just seal a section, pressurize it with breathable air and you get an habitat a couple hundred meters wide and a few kilometers long. Add a nuclear reactor and you are good.

    Reply
  60. The economic justification of a permanent population on Mars is that it will be a great hobby for a billionaire?

    Economic justification of a moon population makes sense: smaller gravity well to deliver mass and/or energy to satellites.

    How does a Mars colony ever pay for itself? Is the only business model as an insurance policy for the species in case Earth is destroyed? If so, the Mars plans obviously need to be fully and permanently self-sustaining.

    Reply

Leave a Comment