Mars Colonization Thread

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Mars Colonization Thread

Postby mathmannix » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:12 pm UTC

OK, I wasn't sure what to call this thread, or even where to put it. (Really, it shocked me that there wasn't already a thread. Somebody tried to start a thread about Mars colonization in the Art forum a year ago, but it got locked quickly, because... Art forum?) Anyway, it's been making news lately, so News forum.

Here's a recent article in the Washington Post: 100 finalists have been chosen for a one-way trip to Mars.
Dutch nonprofit Mars One has named 100 people who will remain in the running for a one-way trip to Mars, expected to leave Earth in 2024. Out of more than 200,000 people who applied, 24 will be trained for the mission and four will take the first trip, if all goes according to plan.


Here's a human-interest piece from the Telegraph, for you who like your news more British-oriented: Mars One mission: 'My boyfriend is cool with me going to Mars on a one-way trip'.

For reference, here's the Wikipedia article on Mars One, and here's their actual website.

So. My first thought was, "This is awesome", but that was followed quickly by "This could be a hoax. And if it's not, it's not hard to imagine it ending quite horribly when the people need medical attention that is two years away."

My other thought was that having a bunch of civilian people on Mars - young, healthy, male and female people - probably will lead to having babies on Mars. I couldn't find a lot of details about the actual mission; mostly just human-interest stories about the people who may or may not get to go. So I don't know if the people are going to be sterilized before they go (although even if so, Dr. Malcolm taught me that nature will, ah, find a way!) I'm pretty sure that 24 isn't intended to be a breeding population, but that won't stop people from trying.

Thoughts from you all out there?
Last edited by mathmannix on Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:16 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:21 pm UTC

It's amusing drama, but I'm not seeing much in the way of practical development of anything for mars. Just publicity stunts.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby PeteP » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:37 pm UTC

About breeding population, that doesn't really matter here even with 24 it takes more than one generation before everyone is related with each other and if after several generation there are no new people from earth they probably have bigger problems than a limited gene pool.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Zamfir » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:38 pm UTC

It's not a hoax, in the sense that the foundation really exists, people did apply, and people really were selected. There doesn't seem to be much beyond that, though.

It's all based on the handwavy idea that a Mars mission would be easy, if there was no return trip. I guess it's the same reasoning as that behind burying people in the foundation of a building, or kamikaze pilots. The magic of sacrifice to solve your eningeering problems.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby speising » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:41 pm UTC

It's slow, public, suicide.
And medical attention won't be two years away. You think they'll lauch another ship with a doctor on board?
I'm all for colonization of space, but, realistically, this is rather useless at our current technological level/economi situation. (we could do a lot if we'd throw the money at it, but there's nowhere near enough of that right now.)
also, i don't think this is good psychologically for us here on earth: imagine getting all those status reports from mars, with them slowly dying off one by one, which is, in the end, inevitable.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby PolakoVoador » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:44 pm UTC

I can't see how and why so many people are taking this seriously. A tripulated expedition to Mars, even a no-return one, is mind-boggling complicated. This project doesn't sound to be anything other than a publicity stunt.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:46 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:It's not a hoax, in the sense that the foundation really exists, people did apply, and people really were selected. There doesn't seem to be much beyond that, though.

It's all based on the handwavy idea that a Mars mission would be easy, if there was no return trip. I guess it's the same reasoning as that behind burying people in the foundation of a building, or kamikaze pilots. The magic of sacrifice to solve your eningeering problems.


Yup. Honestly, though, boosting up the scale as they have done also introduces a bunch of issues. Primarily, that's a lot of mass to deliver. Even if we ignore fairly substantial engineering details like "landing it all safely on another world", it's just going to cost way, way more money than they have to blast stuff to mars.

But as a publicity stunt, it provides that before any investment is done, so...

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Whizbang » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:52 pm UTC

I read somewhere, though I can't find it now, that there would be a strict no sex rule, specifically because the pregnancy, delivery, and subsequent care of the child would be extremely risky and unethical. It is one thing to volunteer yourself for a suicide mission to Mars, quite another to give birth to a baby there.

That said, I don't think anyone seriously expects them to not have sex. I am guessing the men will probably get vasectomies beforehand, and the women will probably get NuvaRings or something (plus probably condoms will be smuggled aboard).

Also, I am extremely skeptical that this mission well ever get off the ground (literally). A bunch of prep missions need to occur first, where materials and supplies are shipped and dropped onto Mars beforehand, so we don't need to send people AND all their survival supplies in a single mission.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby mathmannix » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:56 pm UTC

speising wrote:It's slow, public, suicide.
And medical attention won't be two years away. You think they'll lauch another ship with a doctor on board?

Well, I'm sure the 24 will include several doctors. (There are 29 MD's in the 100 right now. I would hope each of the 6 groups of four would have a doctor, at least for the long trip.) But even so, my point was that it is alarmingly likely that somebody will come down with something that the doctors aren't prepared or equipped for, even something easily treatable on earth, that they didn't consider, and they will die before the next launch window makes it even possible for the supplies to reach them from earth. (Mars-Earth oppositions / "close approaches" are roughly 26 months apart; I'm not sure if the 6-8 month trip time factors in here as well.)
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:00 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:I read somewhere, though I can't find it now, that there would be a strict no sex rule, specifically because the pregnancy, delivery, and subsequent care of the child would be extremely risky and unethical. It is one thing to volunteer yourself for a suicide mission to Mars, quite another to give birth to a baby there.


Ya, that seems wildly unenforceable. Basically any laws would be fairly unenforceable from earth, really, at any better granularity than "we're cutting off your food, so you all die faster".

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:03 pm UTC

Loooooooook... Far be it from me to criticize a Martian Colonization effort, but... really? Mars One?

The whole thing is a bit like Bush saying he thinks science is important for that them there biggification of super kitties. You agreeeeeeeee in principal, but comon man...
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Diemo » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:39 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Whizbang wrote:I read somewhere, though I can't find it now, that there would be a strict no sex rule, specifically because the pregnancy, delivery, and subsequent care of the child would be extremely risky and unethical. It is one thing to volunteer yourself for a suicide mission to Mars, quite another to give birth to a baby there.


Ya, that seems wildly unenforceable. Basically any laws would be fairly unenforceable from earth, really, at any better granularity than "we're cutting off your food, so you all die faster".


This is really enforceable, just sterilize the people going. You just need to decide before the trip happens.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:22 am UTC

Yeah, if there's anything Kim Stanley Robinson and history can teach us about this sort of thing, it's once you set them loose, they're completely out of your control.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tirian » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:11 am UTC

Concerns about the fertility of the Mars One colonists is a little like the cleaning instructions for the Emperor's new clothes, dontcha think?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:57 pm UTC

As far as the idea of this being a one way trip, the first folks who ever left anywhere were on one way trips. Plenty of them died, too. Getting Eropeans to the west coast of north America cost thousands of lives. Getting humanity off this one rock will entail people dying. It's not like moving to the suburbs.
I'm delighted that there is public interest in the effort-after all, the U.S. keeps gutting public funding for this type of project. Look at how many people died in the early days of aviation. Now, thousands can die in plane accidents in just a few months and we ignore it. Doesn't even make a blip in ticket sales.
So, if there is any chance at all of this pushing the effort along, I'm all for it.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby oxoiron » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:41 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The whole thing is a bit like Bush saying he thinks science is important for that them there biggification of super kitties.
I seem to recall Bush being anti-science on the subject of human-animal hybrids. Good Lord, time flies! That was almost ten years ago.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:31 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:As far as the idea of this being a one way trip, the first folks who ever left anywhere were on one way trips. Plenty of them died, too. Getting Eropeans to the west coast of north America cost thousands of lives. Getting humanity off this one rock will entail people dying. It's not like moving to the suburbs.
They could breath the air and grow food. And at one point in time or another, you could walk to everywhere they eventually went, which was why almost everywhere we colonized already had someone there. There is no comparison.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Newt » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:59 pm UTC

Of course there's a comparison.

"Settlers on new planets will have a harder time than settlers on new continents."

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:22 pm UTC

Newt wrote:Of course there's a comparison.

"Settlers on new planets will have a harder time than settlers on new continents."
Unless I am missing something, a harder time, is a vast understatement. Current state of the art is the Space Station. Only a couple of hundred miles more or less away, as the missile flies. They aren't self sufficient. Not even close. They have a standby space craft or so available, because they have mechanical breakdowns, fires, and things that will kill you given the environment they exist in. Mars is only marginally better.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:23 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:As far as the idea of this being a one way trip, the first folks who ever left anywhere were on one way trips. Plenty of them died, too. Getting Eropeans to the west coast of north America cost thousands of lives. Getting humanity off this one rock will entail people dying. It's not like moving to the suburbs.
I'm delighted that there is public interest in the effort-after all, the U.S. keeps gutting public funding for this type of project. Look at how many people died in the early days of aviation. Now, thousands can die in plane accidents in just a few months and we ignore it. Doesn't even make a blip in ticket sales.
So, if there is any chance at all of this pushing the effort along, I'm all for it.


Lots of people did take one way trips, yes. Not a lot of people planned for an utterly one way trip. That's like planning for failure.

Now, it's one thing for a grand endevour to be worth risk. It's quite another to essentially embrace spending lives solely for entertainment.

And in such an expensive, wasteful way, too. Hobo deathmatches are probably morally better AND cheaper.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:11 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:As far as the idea of this being a one way trip, the first folks who ever left anywhere were on one way trips. Plenty of them died, too. Getting Eropeans to the west coast of north America cost thousands of lives. Getting humanity off this one rock will entail people dying. It's not like moving to the suburbs.
They could breath the air and grow food. And at one point in time or another, you could walk to everywhere they eventually went, which was why almost everywhere we colonized already had someone there. There is no comparison.

It's a wholly valid comparison. No one is saying colonizing Mars is easy. But stop acting like it's impossible. Early explorers often brought all their food and supplies with them, instead of living off the land, and were still successful. With Mars, we have pretty good ideas about how to live off the land.

@Tyn: Historically, plenty of voyages were one way. Plenty.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:37 pm UTC

Certainly it isn't impossible. Certainly improbable.
Izawwlgood wrote:Early explorers often brought all their food and supplies with them, instead of living off the land
They expected things to be like things they already knew. Their functional expectation was that they could live if they could get started. They brought seed and livestock. And the migration was fairly large so it could tolerate losses. And the continent was already livable. They immigrated to go to a better place, where land existed and where they could build a life. They didn't decide to live on the boat that took them, in the middle of the ocean and grow crops in the hold. Anyway, I wish them luck.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:12 pm UTC

I'm not talking about early colonists, I'm talking about early explorers. They didn't bring seed and livestock, they brought hard tack and their own water.

You also suggest that we don't know what to expect of Mars, but we do. In spades. We could not only plan ahead better than Magellan or De Soto (heh, like... 2 of the 5 explorers I still remember from that unit in fourth grade), but we have better tools and better information than they did.

Also, many of the pilgrims who came over had no idea if their crops would be successful in the new land. I think it was Pollan who wrote about the gamble with apples, and how early apple (or maybe it was oranges?) varieties fared extremely poorly in some of the colonies.

Again, I'm not disputing that Mars is a different ballgame, perhaps a more challenging one, I'm disputing that it's an impossible one, or even one that we can't excel at. There are challenges, yes, but we can also do way better than 'give them a bunch of seed and hope some of it sticks after they dismantle the ship for scrap'.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Lazar » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:19 pm UTC

The differences between Europeans settling in the New World and humans settling on Mars are so vast that I think it does a major disservice to less informed people to suggest that they're the same sort of thing.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Quercus » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:24 pm UTC

speising wrote:It's slow, public, suicide.


So's any life, ultimately, for a certain value of public and a certain value of slow. I'm not particularly comfortable with the "reality TV" aspect of it (though that's because I find that distasteful rather than any moral objection). There are plenty of people who have hobbies sufficiently risky that there's a high likelihood that they are going to die in the pursuit of them - think BASE jumpers, extreme mountaineers and cave divers to pick three examples. If people want to risk their lives so that they can go and live on Mars, who am I to judge? If they manage to do some useful science while they are there, so much the better.

I don't think it should be given any public funding until there's either a realistic prospect of permanent colonization, or enough of a scientific programme to justify the expense, and I strongly suspect that Mars One isn't going to be the project to make any of it happen, but in principle, have at it.

In fact this all reminds me of early polar exploration - that was also extremely risky and often privately funded, with science usually very much secondary to exploration for its own sake.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:00 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:The differences between Europeans settling in the New World and humans settling on Mars are so vast that I think it does a major disservice to less informed people to suggest that they're the same sort of thing.
I respectfully disagree, though I also never suggested they were 'the same sort of thing'. Pointing to parallels, and explaining those parallels is not a disservice to the less informed, especially when many people have the wrong idea about European explorers in the first place.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Zamfir » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:11 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:So, if there is any chance at all of this pushing the effort along, I'm all for it.

That's the smoke and mirrors of the proposal. The pathos of dying, to divert attention from the part where they don't much of a plan, or reasons why their approach is better than others.

If for some reason it were absolutely needed to have a human on Mars for a few days or perhaps weeks, then a suicide mission makes tragic sense. It eases engineering, saves cost. It might be an enabling choice.

But the Mars One plan is not such a 'simple' suicide mission. It's on first sight more complicated and ambitious than a return mission, and return missions to Mars already have some trouble making their business case.

The one-way part is not a feature to enable the mission, it's a PR stunt.
The differences between Europeans settling in the New World and humans settling on Mars are so vast that I think it does a major disservice to less informed people to suggest that they're the same sort of thing.

Yeah, there just doesn't seem much useful similarity there.

A neighbour of mine moved to Hong Kong a few years ago, and hasn't returned. An uncle moved to New Zealand and did come back. Last year I cycled to my grandmother, carrying my own food and water with me. I once met a couple who were cycling from Australia to Chile, by way of India. They bought food on the way. The Franklin expedition went to the Arctic and everyone died. Jacques Piccard went to the bottom of the ocean and survived. The Virginia colony grew out to a 300 million people country. The Darien colony died off and no one lives there to the day of today. Conshelfs were supposed to be the future of underwater industry, but robots turned out more useful. Maunsell forts above the Thames were built for WW2, but people still live in them today.

People can pick any comparison they want to Mars expeditions, to end up at any conclusion desired. You want to sell space exploration to Americans, you say it's like their founding mythologies. Doesn't seem more useful than that.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:22 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Certainly it isn't impossible. Certainly improbable.
Izawwlgood wrote:Early explorers often brought all their food and supplies with them, instead of living off the land
They expected things to be like things they already knew. Their functional expectation was that they could live if they could get started. They brought seed and livestock. And the migration was fairly large so it could tolerate losses. And the continent was already livable. They immigrated to go to a better place, where land existed and where they could build a life. They didn't decide to live on the boat that took them, in the middle of the ocean and grow crops in the hold. Anyway, I wish them luck.


Right. The goal was often "go live over here". Not so much "go die over here".

Unless we're including particularly wonky cults in this...

Explorers almost invariably planned to return. Yeah, things sometimes didn't work out, but it'd be frigging odd to plan to not return to civilization. It's not like you could email your findings home.

Hell, robotic explorers and reality tv shows kind of throw a wrench in any comparison by themselves.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Quercus » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:25 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:The one-way part is not a feature to enable the mission, it's a PR stunt.


Eh, I didn't realise that. If that's true then the mission should obviously be two way, and deliberately putting people on an unnecessarily one-way mission is pretty clearly unethical in my books (of course that only applies if there's a realistic chance of the thing going anywhere).

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:30 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
Zamfir wrote:The one-way part is not a feature to enable the mission, it's a PR stunt.


Eh, I didn't realise that. If that's true then the mission should obviously be two way, and deliberately putting people on an unnecessarily one-way mission is pretty clearly unethical in my books (of course that only applies if there's a realistic chance of the thing going anywhere).


Well, they're aiming for crews of four, building up to twenty in total. Why twenty? Who knows. It's not really a standard or necessary number for space missions, it certainly isn't large enough to be a genetically diverse pool. If it's a somehow necessary number, then taking 10+ years to reach it also seems strange.

If you are worried about cost/feasibility, and are worried about bringing people back, the first thing you'd do is severe minimization of risk. You send no more people than you have to, and lay out a solid rationale for anyone sent.

Or you hold a several tiered contest generated to gin up publicity and donations, I guess. Maybe that's the responsible option. :roll:

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Quercus » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:50 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Quercus wrote:
Zamfir wrote:The one-way part is not a feature to enable the mission, it's a PR stunt.


Eh, I didn't realise that. If that's true then the mission should obviously be two way, and deliberately putting people on an unnecessarily one-way mission is pretty clearly unethical in my books (of course that only applies if there's a realistic chance of the thing going anywhere).


Well, they're aiming for crews of four, building up to twenty in total. Why twenty? Who knows. It's not really a standard or necessary number for space missions, it certainly isn't large enough to be a genetically diverse pool. If it's a somehow necessary number, then taking 10+ years to reach it also seems strange.

If you are worried about cost/feasibility, and are worried about bringing people back, the first thing you'd do is severe minimization of risk. You send no more people than you have to, and lay out a solid rationale for anyone sent.

Or you hold a several tiered contest generated to gin up publicity and donations, I guess. Maybe that's the responsible option. :roll:


I'd figured the contest was basically a scam - that they already know pretty much the sort of people they want to send, but were using the "contest" for publicity and funding.

I'd also forgotten about the 4 people every two years aspect. That's indeed an asshatted way of going about things - if you can afford to send 5 missions, you can afford to send one mission and a return stage, or probably even two missions and a return stage. Yep, count me in the "publicity stunt" camp.

Edit: I think I was confusing Mars One with a proposed mission I read about that would send people on an initially "one-way" mission, and have them manufacture fuel for the return trip on Mars, which seems like a halfway sensible proposal.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:58 pm UTC

Waitwaitwait - are you guys under the impression 'one way mission' means they're going over with the expectation of dying of starvation or popping those cyanide tablets in a few years?

You're aware this is to set up and continue a self-sustaining base of operations, yes? I.e., that more people may follow, and eventually, people may even return?

The point is they aren't sending return plans. It's one way insofar as there's no return date scheduled at the time of launch.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tirian » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:20 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:I'd also forgotten about the 4 people every two years aspect. That's indeed an asshatted way of going about things - if you can afford to send 5 missions, you can afford to send one mission and a return stage, or probably even two missions and a return stage. Yep, count me in the "publicity stunt" camp.


I don't think that's true at all. We know how to send a payload to Mars and have proven that we can afford to do that more times than I care to look up. But we've never even tried to get anything back from Mars. That's not because NASA is a publicity stunt (at least, not totally :wink: ) but because relaunching a rocket capable of escaping a planetary gravity well in an inhospitable environment without a large team of repair engineers is fucking hard. I don't personally that the solution to the problem is one-way trips, but believing that such a shortcut is necessary to colonize Mars in our lifetimes given sufficient funding has a daring intellectual appeal that is missing from the position of NASA that we could make a round-trip visit in our lifetimes given sufficient funding.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:23 pm UTC

There's also little reason to bother with sending a return vehicle - it's possible that after 10, 20, 30, 40 years of colony development and additional colonists and resources being sent to continue bolstering their capacities, that they'll be able to manufacture return vehicles on Mars.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby freezeblade » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:28 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Also, many of the pilgrims who came over had no idea if their crops would be successful in the new land. I think it was Pollan who wrote about the gamble with apples, and how early apple (or maybe it was oranges?) varieties fared extremely poorly in some of the colonies.


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Spoiler:
it was apples, most of the english varitites (we are talking grafts here) weren't very successful, so nearly every variety that we (in the US) know where chance seedings, some of them planted by Johnny apple seed, who was a follower of swedenborg, and thought that grafting was against god, so he planted entirely from seed, selling them to people moving west. Part of the requirment to show you owned a piece land back in the day was to plant a fruit tree, because it showed that you were going to stick around for a while. Apples from seed can take 5-8 years to give fruit, pears even longer. There is even a saying "Plant pears for your heirs," because there was almost no way that you were going to see fruit in your lifetime.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Quercus » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:39 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Waitwaitwait - are you guys under the impression 'one way mission' means they're going over with the expectation of dying of starvation or popping those cyanide tablets in a few years?

You're aware this is to set up and continue a self-sustaining base of operations, yes? I.e., that more people may follow, and eventually, people may even return?

The point is they aren't sending return plans. It's one way insofar as there's no return date scheduled at the time of launch.


This is from another FAQ entry. It seems that people returning is a pretty distant possibility.

Because our astronauts are likely to spend the rest of their lives on Mars it follows that they will pass away there as well.


I'm not disputing that a permanent colony on Mars is a good idea in principle, I just think it's a bit strange as a "first goal".

I suppose if you're expecting to kickstart a truly self-sustaining (i.e. children on Mars) colony within one human lifespan then there's some justification for it, otherwise you're just sending out more and more people from earth, some of which are eventually going to have to become full time carers for elderly astronauts who can't look after themselves any more. If you stop sending people out for any reason (and there's lots of reasons that might happen), then the last people up there are going to have a pretty rough time of it as they age. I don't know about you, but a group of elderly astronauts growing steadily less able to maintain their living environment due to ill health and cognitive decline doesn't exactly scream heroic exploration to me, but that's the inevitable outcome of the success of this project, unless you either have return plans, or children.

It just seems more humane to plan for a return after at most a working lifetime. That doesn't have to be sending a functional return vehicle, but having at least some sort of feasbility study and outline plan for the construction of a return vehicle in 30-40 years, as you suggest as an option, seems sensible.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Zamfir » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:41 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Waitwaitwait - are you guys under the impression 'one way mission' means they're going over with the expectation of dying of starvation or popping those cyanide tablets in a few years?

Quite the opposite. I could see the point of a direct suicide mission. Send someone to Mars with a few weeks supply, that's it. Harsh, but I bet you could find qualified volunteers for it. And it would genuinely shift the difficulty and cost of a Mars mission. Perhaps to something resembling a moon return mission.

This open ended proposal on the other hand is harder and costlier yet than a return mission, and it's not like return missions have an easy time getting their funding organised.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:43 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:There's also little reason to bother with sending a return vehicle - it's possible that after 10, 20, 30, 40 years of colony development and additional colonists and resources being sent to continue bolstering their capacities, that they'll be able to manufacture return vehicles on Mars.
That is about as optimistic a statement as I have ever seen. It takes a civilization to produce spacecraft. Just the materials list boggles the mind. Not to mention the technical skill sets required.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby mathmannix » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:48 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:There's also little reason to bother with sending a return vehicle - it's possible that after 10, 20, 30, 40 years of colony development and additional colonists and resources being sent to continue bolstering their capacities, that they'll be able to manufacture return vehicles on Mars.
That is about as optimistic a statement as I have ever seen. It takes a civilization to produce spacecraft. Just the materials list boggles the mind. Not to mention the technical skill sets required.

Well, to be fair, it's not like they'd have to mine and process ore, and reinvent plastic. They'd have the ships that brought them there; eventually there would be enough left over from the one-way trips that wouldn't be necessary for continued operations, although I'm sure they are planned right now to be as efficiently transformed into living/working/growing quarters as possible. Fuel, on the other hand - that they would probably have to find somehow. Drilling, I suppose. Does Mars have fossil fuels?
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Quercus » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:50 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Does Mars have fossil fuels?


Stop and think about that question for a second. Note especially the definition of the word "fossil". :D
Last edited by Quercus on Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:52 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.


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