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Amlord
I watched a few very interesting programs on The Science Channel tonight, one on Solar Science and one on the future of mankind (colonization).

An interesting point was brought up that the colonization and terra-forming of Mars is within our technological grasp.

Mars potentially has an atmosphere, water presence, temperature range and mineral resources that would be necessary for us to survive on it. Of course, in its present state, the atmosphere and temperature are out of the range that we could use, but we could create pollution machines to warm up the planet (according to the program) to a point where we could seed the planet with algae capable of transforming the carbon dioxide heavy atmosphere into a more oxygen rich one. Eventually, plants and trees could be seeded, since they are much more efficient transformers of carbon dioxide into oxygen. At some point (the estimate given was 50 years), the planet would have a breathable atmosphere.

Of course, terraforming the planet would be a long-term project, but the idea of colonizing Mars (and living in domes, for instance) is not out of reach.

Even without changing things so radically, colonizing Mars is within our grasp. We can certainly build domes to live in and either import food and resources or innovate hothouses to grow food.

Here are a couple of interesting links on the subject:

Why Colonize Mars?
Humans Should Intentionally Seed Life on Mars.
Colonizing the Solar System

Questions for debate:

Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?
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SWM28WDC
What a colossally ridiculous set of questions. I love them.


Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes? I don't think that we'll colonize mars in the next century, but since I'm going to live forever, it's likely to happen in my lifetime. Actually, I'd be quite surprised if we see a human on mars in the next 50 years.

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological? I don't think the (social & technological) benefits outweigh the (economic) costs.
Furthermore, I would favor a decisively thorough search of mars before we completely contaminate it with our signs of life. Despite evidence to the contrary, we've still got quite a lot of room left on this planet. I will admit that I think that humans are at their best when there's a Frontier.

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?[B][/B]
In a heartbeat. Supposedly, i'm fairly closely related to Merriwether Lewis. Could we live in one of these?
Cube Jockey
Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?

I'd like to believe that we will, but then again perhaps I have read Red Mars a few too many times. I think that we'll be facing some very tough challenges in the next 70 years which will almost force us into some kind of action like this. Some of those include:

- Overpopulation: There have been numerous scientists who claim that if we continue to grow at the same rate, the earth won't be able to support us in the future. The only thing that will slow down the population is a war, a ravaging disease or some kind of social change in behavior.
- Environmental Damage: Some people don't buy in to the dangers of global warming, green house gases, holes in the ozone, etc but I think that is rather foolish. It simply isn't common sense to say that our actions are not having an impact on the planet, and again I don't see our behavior changing. Who knows what could happen here but I think that at our current rate the face of the planet will be different in 70 years.
- Resources: The big one that comes to mind here is oil, but there are certainly many other resources that are limited on this planet and we are mining and harvesting them all in record numbers. The other side to this coin is recycling and garbage production. A lot of cities now have token recycling programs, but we could be doing much more here. We will eventually have to deal with the very large amount of garbage we produce.

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?

I'd say that the primary barrier is an economic one. We certainly have many technology challenges to address, but we have always faced those and generally conquered them. If people can live and work under water for months at a time it seems like we have a good start in addressing the technical aspects of the problem.

However, something of this magnitude would take an incredible amount of resources, time, manpower and capital to pull off. This isn't something the government can do alone, there would have to be significant private investment for it to work. And for private investors to be interested there has to be some sort of payoff involved.

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?

If there were to be a ship leaving tomorrow? Definitely. In 30 or 40 years? It would depend on my situation but I'm always open to new adventures and have never been one for settling down.
NiteGuy
Questions for debate:

Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?
If we do, it will take some one with a much better ability to push the vision, than what I've seen from President Bush, the few times he's talked about sending a manned mission to mars.

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?
I believe it's both technically and economically feasable. The biggest problem is going to be convincing some people that it's not only economically feasable, but economically beneficial in the long run.

The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs gave this country a lot, in terms of economic and technological benefits, that a lot of people still aren't aware of. Simply put, there isn't really a whole lot that we come into contact with on a daily basis, that hasn't been either developed by NASA, or developed by the private sector based on research performed by NASA.

From the obvious advances in computer technology (smaller chips, compact discs, advanced database software) -- transportation (better brakes, electric cars) -- medicine (MRI's, ultrsound scanners, insulin pumps, implantable heart-aids) -- industrial use(self-locking fasteners, machine tool software) -- communications (cell phones, advanced radios for first responders) -- public safety (personal alarms, storm warning services (Doppler radar), bomb defusing robots) -- most home-recreation products (water purification systems, scratch resistant lenses, portable coolers/warmers, dustbusters, shock-absorbing helmets, home security systems, smoke detectors, flat panel televisions, high-density batteries, trash compactors, food packaging, hair styling appliances, fogless ski goggles and scuba masks, golf clubs, hang gliders, and timing equipment).

That's the tough sell - to make sure that the public is aware of all of the new "gee-whiz" technology and products that come from this research, so that it can be seen as cost-efficient to make the investment.

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?
In a heartbeat. Unfortunately, my heart probably wouldn't stand the strain of lift-off, unless of course, NASA has a solution to that in the near future as well. It wouldn't surprise me....

But to get the chance to be one of the initial "builders" of a new world? To prepare a planet for the next generation of colonists, and see to it they can build upon what we started? Yes, I'd jump at the chance.
Victoria Silverwolf
1. Within my lifetime? I seriously doubt it. Within the lifetime of a child born today (assuming she lives to be a centenarian)? Maybe. To be perfectly honest, I really have no idea. Back in 1968, the world of 2001: A Space Odyssey, with cities on the Moon a mere third of a century in the future, seemed like a reasonable prediction. Today, of course, it seems ludicrously optimistic. Maybe my skepticism in 2005 will seem ludicrously pessimistic in 2050. I sure hope so!

2. I don't see a lot of "social" barriers. I don't see an important, active anti-space movement. I see some technological problems (mainly creating a way to keep the crew alive and healthy for what will be a very long journey, then a way to keep them alive on Mars for an extended period of time) but nothing that could not be overcome with a lot of work, a lot of talent, and a lot of money. Which brings up the third and most important barrier. Sending humans to Mars will be a task which will make the Apollo Project look like nickle-and-dime stuff. I can't see it happening without an international effort, at a time when there is nearly universal prosperity and freedom.

3. As much as I would love to see it happen, I have to admit that I am too much of a coward to leave my creature comforts here at home.
CruisingRam
Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?
This has ALWAYS been a big dream of mine- I have read both real and fiction science related to Mars. It has the largest mountain in the solar system, The largest crater, and the deepest and widest canyon. With Earth pressure and atmosphere density, say in a dome, if the dome was big enough, you could literally make some bird like wings and have flying as a sport!

There is a REALLY thourough science fiction trilogy that deals with the colonization of Mars- it is Red Mars, Blue Mars, Gren Mars. It deals with all the social, political, technological aspects of this- and has one of the most interesting ideas of freedom, ecology, economy that I have ever seen.

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?

At this point, totally social. We have the technology, not the will. The resources needed for the first visit, then the first hundred, then the first thousand, would be enormous. It would take total cooperation of most of the worlds goverment. For instance, things like, "who owns mars?" and "at what point is the poeple of mars able to be free of earth governence and rules?" and "at the point of independence of mars, how is earth supposed to reap the investment made to settle mars in the first place?"

At this point, we are squabling over the space station pretty regularly LOL


Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?

I would be the first to sign up! There is a fish-fin shape mesa facing the great chasm that looks like it would make a great cave city LOL

The first place to be settled would probably be lowest point on the planet to take advantage of the higher atmospheric pressure, so a large "tent" of clear polymer could be "floated" over a small city. I would risk it all to be there! thumbsup.gif
Ptarmigan
Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?


1) No - why go and spend all that money when we have a perfectly good planet right here. Mars, even terraformed, is always going to be a cold and harsh environment, it is too far from the sun to be anything else.

2) Socially humans tend to explore - or a brave few do anyway. Technologically - well, we can get to Mars, so setting up a base there should be do-able. Terraforming the place and altering the atmosphere - I think that's still in the realms of sci-fi...

3) ABSOLUTELY - I cannot imagine anything more exciting! On some level I think we should probably concentrate on improviong living conditions for the world's poor before going, so morally I have a slight objection, but really - that looks like SOOO much fun!

(But I am going to leave the moment you guys go and stick a US flag on the place.)
Julian
Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?
I don't think we are likely to "colonise" it in the way America or Australia have been colonised at any time in the next two or three centuries.

We might colonise it the same way that we have (so far) colonised Antarctica (a largely transient, largely scientific or technical presence) in that time, but I don't think it will be within the next 100 years or so.

We may well live to see the first human Mars landing, however, though I think that expedition will not stay there for very long - the amount of food & water needed for such a distant destination is a technical challenge in itself.

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?
I don't think that the cost would be the main driver, nor the technical challenge (though they would both be dauntingly high). I think that the main barriers would be predominantly social, at least in the Western nations.

For two reasons.
Firstly, much of the population would (reasonably, in my view) think that such a speculative investment of massive resources would be better employed on the homeworld first, in such efforts as providing reliable and clean drinking water for the entire global populace, or final eradication of other big killer diseases like malaria that make even AIDS look like a tiny problem.
And secondly, I think that the American public in particular has changed since the 1960s. It would be a much harder sell to convince people to commit large amounts of tax dollars to a programme with little or no guarantee of any kind of return - the first unconscious response would almost certainly be "what's in it for me?".
There's nothing wrong with that - successive governments since the late 60s have led to disillusionment and cynicism, which while it isn't very noble is certainly a healthy way to think about governments.
But if a government that wants to commit to a space programme that will last longer than two full terms, there needs to be a political consensus that it's a good idea (currently absent from almost every area of US politics). There also needs to be a willingness to believe in any cost-benefit model put forward by government, or an acceptance that there can be no such thing and even if there could be it would have no guarantees. I do not see any evidence of such optimism in sufficient quantities for any future government action along these lines in the USA or Europe.

But I still suspect there might be a man on Mars before 2050. I just think he (or she) will more likely be Chinese or maybe Indian than American, or Russian, or European.

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?
It would depend on the potential benefits. I wouldn't do it just to be there; there'd need to be a chance of making a fortune there and then coming back here to spend it! devil.gif
CruisingRam
The first economic benefit will probably come in "spin offs"- the very computer you are typing on is an out growth of the space race- and if you have any velcro or use a micro wave- and ALL miniturization got it's start from the Space program. Ceramics got an enormous boost from the Shuttle program. The pistons in your car and the fact that they now have cars that need no tune up for over 100,000 miles are due to some of the materials that were created for the Shuttle.

Then there is straight up mining- and this is much harder to make money off of immediately- we would have to get the materials back, discover them in the first place etc- but you have to beat the gravity well to get them back! That being said- that is a WHOLE PLANET of untapped mining resources- and even NASA and others have recognized this- but getting it back might be a problem hmmm.gif

Really it is all about social maturity for the planet- we, as a world society, are still infants, with temper tantrums and the whole bit- we will have to grow up as a planet a bit first! thumbsup.gif

I personally think the first real spin off will be automation- in order to colonize, it will take a great deal of automated equipment, sent there to be waiting for the humans that follow. Several nuclear power plants will have to be set up almost immediately- you don't have to carry oxygen to live there- scrubbers can seperate the O from the CO2 atmosphere quite easily- heat is the most important part- so power is essential.

But, this will take an truly international effort in order to work, something we just don't have now!
Ptarmigan
QUOTE
I personally think the first real spin off will be automation- in order to colonize, it will take a great deal of automated equipment, sent there to be waiting for the humans that follow. Several nuclear power plants will have to be set up almost immediately- you don't have to carry oxygen to live there- scrubbers can seperate the O from the CO2 atmosphere quite easily- heat is the most important part- so power is essential.


Hmm - I was thinking more along the lines of using plants to seperate the oxygen from carbon dioxide. Possibly room for bioengineering to create Martian friendly plants etc...
Google
SWM28WDC
This is a REALLY fun topic, maybe all you conservatives arent' stuffed shirts afterall, amlord. (for the record, I'm jesting here).

I would like to point out that one of the main reasons we were able to spend so much on the mission to the moon, was that we were competing with the Soviets. It's quite a different animal when we cooperate.

I'm not quite the pure libertarian that thinks that such efforts should only be done by private means (though I did think it amazing that ole Burt Rutan put a man into space, sort of, for a couple of million). In the LONG run, we have to go to the stars, or face extinction. Likewise, having a redundant planet enhances the species survivability in the face of some cataclysmic event on earth.

I think it's important that we develop some form of social systems that allows us to live and prosper amongst each other in a sustainable manner. See the thread on capitalism.

Recently I've taken an interest on reading about the first permanent english colony in the new world: Jamestown, VA. There were two main reasons the English Crown backed this venture: 1) to preempt the spanish from the new continent and 2) to extract resources, namely lumber, but also perhaps gold.

What saved the colony was the introduction of John Rolfe's hybrid tobacco: fetching a dear premium back in England, the colonists had to be ordered by the governor to plant food crops, or face starvation.

I picture the 'terraforming' of Mars to take place over centuries, if not millennia, and be largely due to the introduction of simple algae, lichen, etc., with the gradual introduction of more diverse species. I believe algae to be the best converters of CO2 to O2 per unit weight, though per surface area I suppose biodiverse jungle is better.

The thought of parachuting a couple of autonomous nuclear pebble reactors down to do the atmospheric conversion job might be feasible.

As for mars being cold, remember that earth's surface temperatures have more to do with the solar angle of incidence than the distance from the sun. Currently surface temperatures peak around 80F on summer days, but there's not much atmosphere to trap the heat.

I'll be reading www.redcolony.com now.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(SWM28WDC @ Feb 23 2005, 10:28 AM)
I would like to point out that one of the main reasons we were able to spend so much on the mission to the moon, was that we were competing with the Soviets.  It's quite a different animal when we cooperate.
*


That is a good point, as much as I'd like to think we will strive to achieve this on our own I don't think it would really be possible unless the world banded together to do it. In my (pessimistic) opinion, that would take some catastrophe happening here on earth for everyone to work together like that and spend money without thought of getting a return on the investment.

Incidently if anyone is really interested in this topic the Red Mars, Blue Mars, Green Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson can't be recommended enough.
NeoCon30
Questions for debate:

Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?
No, humans will not colonize Mars. What would be the purpose? There is no reason to further the exploration of Mars since there is no discernible life on that planet. I am more interested in seeing what is on Venus. Exploring a planet that we cannot inhabit is only playing to the egos of the NASA scientitsts.

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?The barriers are irrelevant. It serves no purpose to go to that planet other than to say we did it. Mars does not have any resources that we can mine to advance our civilization.

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?I do not play these types of games.
logophage
Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?

I'll answer the second question first. In contrast to other most other posters, I believe there are some real technological hurdles to overcome. These are mostly in the realm of biotech and radiation protection. Mars does not have a magnetic field like Earth, thus the amount of deadly radiation hitting the Mars is significant for humans. A space suit simply does not have sufficient protection for long term exposure. If you buried the colony underground or if it were in a deep hole, then it would be possible to live there. However, we simply don't have the technology to dig deep holes in Mars' surface or construct "stairs" down a deep hole (in a safe manner). Not that we couldn't have this technology but it has never been done. We would need to do this "safely" which means avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure which means telepresence. Telepresence and robotics is still a new field. It isn't good enough to build rugged robots; you need a repair and manufacturing facility in situ. Fabricating things requires equipment and raw materials which means mining or shipping all the materials you could ever need. Again, this is something which has never been tried. Food is also a major issue. Unless you were to ship all food from Earth, then we will need to grow it. Growing food on an alien planet has never been done. The soil is not "seeded" with healthy bacteria or any of the ecosystem elements. If you recall, Biosphere 2 proved that it is very difficult to create a self-contained ecosystem (the study was unsuccessful); I can only imagine that doing such on Mars would be orders of magnitude harder.

Mars at best speed using nuclear rockets is months away from Earth. This means that rescue missions would be delayed by at least that long. Since we have no experience with long term, outside of the Earth's magnetic field exposure to radiation, there are a number of technologies which exist only theoretically that must be invented and tested.

I could go on about technological issues: propulsion technologies, energy technologies, robotics, biotech... Suffice to say that there are a number of issues for which we simply don't have working solutions. This is to say nothing of the tremendous economic costs.

Okay, that said, I do believe it will be possible to colonize Mars, but I advocate a "baby steps" approach to it. Specifically, most of the technological hurdles associated with Mars can be vetted by colonizing the Moon which is much, much closer.

Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes?

Unless there are life extension technologies available, no. However, I do think that there will be a non-permanent human mission to Mars.

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?

Hmm... Maybe. I wouldn't mind a "working vacation" on the Moon, however Mars is just too far away given current propulsion technologies for it to be a viable choice for me.
Christopher
Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?

QUOTE
That is a good point, as much as I'd like to think we will strive to achieve this on our own I don't think it would really be possible unless the world banded together to do it. In my (pessimistic) opinion, that would take some catastrophe happening here on earth for everyone to work together like that and spend money without thought of getting a return on the investment.


I disagree. The spread of humanity into space will be done privately. The potential for profit is too great to be ignored. The X Prize was fun and all but there is a larger one going on right now for whoever can go all the way out from orbit and back.
This is the danger--for I firmly believe that there will be so many who think all should be held back because it would either be unfair to developing nations--or even worse those who would shackle those with the sense of adventure because "the resources would be better spent elsewhere" in some pathetic quest to "save the world" first. huh.gif

The biggest hurdles are beauracratic not technological. I have no doubt that any company that wishes to undertake a private enterprise into space for any kind of profit will have to do so in a nation that is willing to ignore global sentitment for a share of the take. One could easily start on the moon and work out

But there would come the inevitable "They're gonna destroy the moon's natural habitat and then kill us all with their arrogance"
Or some silly fear of the rockets coming down in some populated area.
The amount of resources--metals almost pure compared to what we extract here on earth--would destroy earthbound enterprises--who would work their government contacts to ensure such efforts are then banned.

There are also those who would prevent any claiming of soil either on the moon or another planet because it isn't fair to developing nations, or evidence of someones Imperialistic tendencies............... dry.gif


QUOTE
But I still suspect there might be a man on Mars before 2050. I just think he (or she) will more likely be Chinese or maybe Indian than American, or Russian, or European.
I agree and I would bet Chinese. They are a growing capitalistic juggernaut and Communism is on its way out there whether they like it or not. I still think my fellow Americans will get out there privately--but will probably have to do so from places other than America's borders. America's complete failure to maintain a decent educational system will doom us if changes aren't made. We are very short on the brainpower types, the engineers and the like--although i will always support the claim that only we are crazy enough to take the kinds of risks that will be required to explore and colonize space and other planets.




Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes? Yes. It will be a looonnng time until it is safe for the transport of settlers and "civilization" but there will be working outposts within 50 years.


Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?


I'd be gone SO FAST!
Mrs. Pigpen
Do you think that humans will colonize Mars within our lifetimes? No. I remember when I was in elementary school, the teacher said that we would have colonies on the moon by now. She also said that all of the oil in the world would run out by the year 2000 (the textbooks confirmed her assumptions). As logophage mentioned, biosphere II was a failure. The first hurdle to overcome is to create a self-sustaining environment here on this little planet. We haven't come close yet. Biosphere was plagued by excess carbon dioxide and limited oxygen. Oxygen had to be pumped in a year and a half into the program. Then, there was the problem of extreme extinction rates for species of all types...plants, vertebrates, insects. Some types of insects that were needed to pollinate the plants died off and the plants could no longer propagate. A balanced ecosystem was unsustainable.

Do you think that the barriers are primarily economic, social, or technological?
All of those things.

Given the chance, would you leave the safety of Earth to colonize a new planet?
I don't even like to travel for hours in a car, and I like to be outside. I wouldn't relish the opportunity to colonize a wasteland with an average temperature of -85 F, in which I'd have to live indoors or only go outside (to see sand, rock, and ice?) for minutes in a special spacesuit made to deflect deadly ultraviolet rays. In fact, if hell exists, that's what I'd imagine it to be like.
CruisingRam
There are still technological hurdles to clear, no doubt, but they are relatively minor compared what had to be solved to get to the moon back in the sixties, in terms of whole new technologies invented! Just think about how rudimentary the computers were in a 1969 NASA control room compared to what you are typing on right now!

The biosphere failed as a closed system enviroment- Mars NOT a closed system. For instance, with power, srubbing the atmosphere for the first scientists habitats would suffice. More oxygen than 1000 poeple could consume could be produced by one nuke plant's power. Soil seeding would definately be possibly the largest problem of all! But it could be done with power once again- getting all the organic molecules to do the soil would be no problem- it is the microbes and living matter that makes up soil that is the real hard part. One automated ship with nothing but soil starter would be needed just to start an arboretum.

Kim Stanley Robison (Red mars, Blue mars, Green mars) SOOO thoroughly went over EVERY detail.

His focus on the politics of colonization would probably interest anyone on this board. He has a wonderful story contruction of the political battles of the settlers- and the war for independence that is woven through all three books!

His idea for sending the "first hundred" was great- and this was done after the first 5 landed on mars on a Moon style race for mars, but with the whole planet participating, and a early Martian Authority through the G-7 and the UN that is supposed to be the model for the new planet that fails- very good political debate there!

There is one other part to consider that Kim Stanley Robison made so vividly. The competition to be one of those first hundred would be extremely intense- with only the best of the best of the best scientists able to make the "cut". Almost everyone of the 1rst hundred would be nobel lauretes. Each one of those poeple would also neccesarily be experts in more than one field, cross trained experts if you will. With all these super experts accumulated in one place, breakthroughs are bound to happen in every field!
Victoria Silverwolf
QUOTE(NeoCon30 @ Feb 23 2005, 03:16 PM)
There is no reason to further the exploration of Mars since there is no discernible life on that planet.  I am more interested in seeing what is on Venus.  Exploring a planet that we cannot inhabit is only playing to the egos of the NASA scientitsts.

*




I have to point out here that the planet Venus is much more hostile to life-as-we-know-it than Mars. The extraordinarily thick atmosphere and extremely high temperatures of Venus would make it much more of a challenge to survive on the surface. For human exploration beyond the Moon, Mars is definitely the first step.
logophage
QUOTE(CruisingRam)
Kim Stanley Robison (Red mars, Blue mars, Green mars) SOOO thoroughly went over EVERY detail.

I've read the Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson. And it does paint a picture of Mars colonization that makes a good read. It has just enough science and technology to create a plausible story. However, it glosses over some real technological hurdles as I've mentioned in my previous post. I am all for pushing the limits of technology as in the Apollo missions...but colonization is a profoundly different beast than sending less than 20 people for a week long lunar vacation.

As much as I enjoy a good science fiction read, I also realize it is a story. It cannot be treated as a design document for the colonization of Mars. There are huge technological hurdles to overcome.
CruisingRam
QUOTE(logophage @ Feb 23 2005, 11:24 PM)
QUOTE(CruisingRam)
Kim Stanley Robison (Red mars, Blue mars, Green mars) SOOO thoroughly went over EVERY detail.

I've read the Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson. And it does paint a picture of Mars colonization that makes a good read. It has just enough science and technology to create a plausible story. However, it glosses over some real technological hurdles as I've mentioned in my previous post. I am all for pushing the limits of technology as in the Apollo missions...but colonization is a profoundly different beast than sending less than 20 people for a week long lunar vacation.

As much as I enjoy a good science fiction read, I also realize it is a story. It cannot be treated as a design document for the colonization of Mars. There are huge technological hurdles to overcome.
*



Yes, science fiction is quite a ways off from the real world, well, sometimes anyway LOL

But what is so interesting about that series is that he so thouroughly explores all the angles mentioned here- socio, techno, political etc that need to be addressed to make it happen!

I think he very well makes the point that the biggest hurdle, while being also the biggest help, is the trans-national corporations. There are several points he makes in that book that would make excellent threads here on AD- how big is too big for a corp? What is freedom? How far do you let a culture practise it's culture before it becomes anti-freedom? How much wealth for one person is too much? Does earth get to own Mars? Etc etc- all of them VERY relevent questions that need to be asked when taking on a super-project like this.

But the bottom line is- it is neccesary for our survival as a species!
logophage
QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf @ Feb 23 2005, 11:36 PM)
QUOTE(NeoCon30 @ Feb 23 2005, 03:16 PM)

There is no reason to further the exploration of Mars since there is no discernible life on that planet.  I am more interested in seeing what is on Venus.  Exploring a planet that we cannot inhabit is only playing to the egos of the NASA scientitsts.
*

I have to point out here that the planet Venus is much more hostile to life-as-we-know-it than Mars. The extraordinarily thick atmosphere and extremely high temperatures of Venus would make it much more of a challenge to survive on the surface. For human exploration beyond the Moon, Mars is definitely the first step.
*

I'm going to add that human surface exploration of Venus is all but impossible for the forseeable future. Here are some interesting facts from the link:

Average surface temperature: 480 C (900 F)
Atmospheric pressure at surface: 90 Earth atmospheres at sea level

Just as a point of reference, that's more than hot enough to melt lead and the equivalent pressure of being 3000 ft under water.

No, humans are not going to Venus anytime soon.
droop224
QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf @ Feb 24 2005, 02:36 AM)
QUOTE(NeoCon30 @ Feb 23 2005, 03:16 PM)

There is no reason to further the exploration of Mars since there is no discernible life on that planet.  I am more interested in seeing what is on Venus.  Exploring a planet that we cannot inhabit is only playing to the egos of the NASA scientitsts.

*




I have to point out here that the planet Venus is much more hostile to life-as-we-know-it than Mars. The extraordinarily thick atmosphere and extremely high temperatures of Venus would make it much more of a challenge to survive on the surface. For human exploration beyond the Moon, Mars is definitely the first step.
*



Logopage
QUOTE
I'm going to add that human surface exploration of Venus is all but impossible for the forseeable future. Here are some interesting facts from the link:

Average surface temperature: 480 C (900 F)
Atmospheric pressure at surface: 90 Earth atmospheres at sea level

Just as a point of reference, that's more than hot enough to melt lead and the equivalent pressure of being 3000 ft under water.

No, humans are not going to Venus anytime soon.


Sometimes, I think, we are too intellectual for our own good. I think NeoCon was showing us he has a sense of humor... Think....Tennis!! thumbsup.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
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