Their motives for doing so will parallel in many ways the historical motives for Europeans and others to come to America, including higher pay rates in a labor-short economy, escape from tradition and oppression, as well as freedom to exercise their drive to create in an untamed and undefined world. But he delivered a sobering fact … R. Zubrin and David Baker, "Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet by 1999" IAF-90-672, 41st Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, Dresden, Germany, Oct. 1990. 1. The point, however, is that in contrast to colonists on any other known extraterrestrial body, Martian colonists will be able to live on the surface, not in tunnels, and move about freely and grow crops in the light of day. The temperature rise induced by the presence of these gases causes CO2 adsorbed in the regolith to be outgassed, increasing the greenhouse effect still more, causing more outgassing, etc. Examining the graph, we see that with this level of effort (and the technology frozen at late 20th Century levels forever), the rate of human population growth of Mars in the 21st Century would be about 1/5th that experienced by colonial America in the 17th and 18th Centuries. And while there were a lot of exciting technical details, some major issues I anticipated were not covered. Licensing on Earth of the inventions created under conditions of necessity on Mars will bring vast amounts of income to support the development of the Red Planet, even as these same inventions continue to raise terrestrial living standards and destabilize tendencies that would otherwise exist on Earth towards technological and social stagnation. Only Mars has the full set of resources required to develop a native civilization, only Mars is a viable target for true colonization. Oxygen is abundant on the Moon, but only in tightly bound oxides such as SiO2, Fe2O3, MgO, and Al2O3, which require very high energy processes to reduce. Mars is the best target for colonization in the solar system because it has by far the greatest potential for self-sufficiency. On Tuesday, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk told the world he has a plan to help humanity establish a colony on the planet Mars. Mars has every required element in abundance. 6. (The Moon has an additional problem with its 28 day light/dark cycle, which is also unacceptable to plants). Nevertheless, these smaller sophisticated items will have to be paid for, and their cost will be greatly increased by the high costs of Earth-launch and interplanetary transport. For a long time it might be considered to be an exotic place where we don’t need to change it. This in itself is a very significant result. 1. If government sponsorship is available, the technological means required for immigration on a significant scale are essentially available today. In Table 1 all the entries except the last two are based upon a transportation system using CH4/O2 engines with an Isp of 380 s and high thrust DV's. In the primary scenario, artificial greenhouse gases such as halocarbons are produced on Mars and released into the atmosphere. Dinkin, S. (2018). If the cycler employs a magnetic sail11 instead of simply using natural ballistic orbits with gravity assists, the hyperbolic velocity departing Earth required to rendezvous with it can be essentially zero, thereby allowing the entire LEO to cycler delivery to be done by electric propulsion, or conceivably even solar or magnetic sails. I’m sure he has his motives. 43 No. From the 17th through 19th centuries the classic pattern was for a family in Europe to pool it's resources to allow one of its members to emigrate to America. There is an immense amount of it - 143 million square kilometers - but it might seem that that it is all completely worthless because it cannot currently be exploited. These goods can be fairly limited in mass, as only small portions (by weight) of even very high-tech goods are actually complex. Thus eventually Earth to Mars transportation costs could be expected to drop another order of magnitude, to $30,000 per passenger or so. On Mars, even during the base building phase, large inflatable greenhouses made of transparent plastic protected by thin hard-plastic ultra-violet and abrasion resistant geodesic domes could be readily deployed, rapidly creating large domains for crop growth. O'Neill, "The High Frontier," William Morrow and Co. New York, 1977. It can be seen that the launch burden for sending the cargo to Ceres is about 50 times less for missions starting from Mars than those departing from Earth, regardless of whether the technology employed is all chemical propulsion or chemical launch vehicles combined with nuclear electric propulsion for interplanetary transfer. Ocean colonies are safer. 2. © 2021 Minnesota Public Radio. Even if Mars is a lifeless planet, whether it’s ethical to colonize Mars may depend on what kinds of consequences the mission has here on Earth. Yet their consistency shows a persistent blind spot among policy making groups as to the true sources of wealth and power. Put another way, the amount of power required to generate the sunlight falling on the tiny country of El Salvador exceeds the combined capacity of every power plant on Earth. In fact, if a mechanism were put in place that could enforce private property rights on Mars, land on Mars could probably be bought and sold now. However the greatest source of Martian wealth, and the greatest benefit of its existence to the terrestrial world, will be as a pressure cooker for invention and innovation of every type. If we then assume total system operation cost is 7 times propellant costs (roughly double the total cost/fuel cost ratio of airlines), then the cost of delivery to low Earth orbit (LEO) could be about $100/kilogram. If it were desired to increase the power rating of the Earth-based NEP vessel so that its burn time were the same as the Mars-based system, the mass of the Earth-based mission would go to infinity. Even during the base building phase, domes of this type up to 50 meters in diameter could be deployed on Mars that could contain the 5 psi atmosphere necessary to support humans. For example, if the United States chose to grant a mining patent to any private group that surveyed a piece of Martian real-estate to some specified degree of fidelity, such claims would be tradable today on the basis of their future speculative worth (and could probably be used to privately finance robotic mining survey probes in the near future). Mars has no known helium-3 resources. Under conditions of such large scale immigration, sale of real-estate will add a significant source of income to the planet's economy. If a viable Martian civilization can be established, its population and powers to change its planet will continue to grow. For chemical interplanetary systems, it is assumed that the dry inert mass excluding tankage is equal to 20% the payload. If nuclear electric propulsion is introduced the story changes, but not much. There are many reasons why colonizing Mars is likely to follow the touchdown of a human spacecraft on the Martian surface. A confined world will limit opportunity for all and seek to enforce behavioral and cultural norms that will be unacceptable to many. In the 21st Century, Earth's population growth will make real-estate here ever more expensive, making it ever harder for people to own their own homes. Tourism will be a huge early driver for the Martian economy, and galactic parks might be one of its greatest boons. While the initial exploration phase can be accomplished with small crews (of about 4 members each) operating out of Spartan base camps spread over bast areas of the Martian surface, the base building phase will require a division of labor entailing a larger number of people (on the order of 50), equipped with a wide variety of equipment and substantial sources of power. There are plenty of creatives who have already been doing lots of brainstorming about this. At this rate, the creation of habitable land by the mass production and erection of large numbers of domes to house the waves of immigrants should prove to be one of the biggest businesses on Mars and a major source of income for the colony. It can be seen that if chemical systems are used exclusively, then the mass ratio required to deliver dry mass to the asteroid belt from Earth is 14 times greater than from Mars. While properly conducted initial exploration missions will make use of the Martian air to provide fuel and oxygen, in the base building phase this elementary level of local resource utilization will be transcended as the crew of a permanent Mars base learns how to extract native water and grow crops on Mars, to produce ceramics, glasses, metals, plastics, wires, habitats, inflatable structures, solar panels, and all sorts of other useful materials, tools, and structures. CH4/O2 bipropellant costs about $0.20/kilogram, so $14 of propellant costs will be incurred for every kilogram lifted to orbit. Take exploration from a scientific commercial exercise. And significantly for interplanetary commerce, Mars and Earth are the only two locations in the solar system where humans will be able to grow crops for export. Africa is one continent that was largely affected. That emigrant, in turn, would proceed to earn enough money to bring the rest of the family over. The asteroid belt enters into the picture here because it is known to contain vast supplies of very high grade metal ore10 in a low gravity environment that makes it comparatively easy to export to Earth. Analysis assumes 100 immigrants/year starting in 2030, increasing at 2% annual rate, 50/50 male/female. Among extraterrestrial bodies in our solar system, Mars is unique in that it possesses all the raw materials required to support not only life, but a new branch of human civilization. The purpose of the exploration phase is to resolve the major outstanding scientific questions bearing on the history of Mars as a planet and a possible home for life in the past, to conduct a preliminary survey of the resources of Mars and determine optimum locations for future human bases and settlements, and to establish a modus operandi whereby humans can travel to, reside on, and conduct useful operations over substantial regions of the surface of Mars. In contrast, the Moon has had virtually no history of water or volcanic action, with the result that it is basically composed of trash rocks with very little differentiation into ores that represent useful concentrations of anything interesting. H2/O2, while offering a higher Isp (450 s) is not storable for long duration's in space. These pieces of short-sighted statecraft, almost incomprehensible in their stupidity, are legendary today. Discovering new life on the planet. For example use of air-breathing supersonic ramjet propulsion to perform a significant part of the Earth to orbit DV could cut orbit delivery costs by as much as a factor of 3. Potential increases in real-estate values after terraforming will provide a sufficient financial incentive to do so. Far more valuable than the open real-estate will be habitable real estate beneath the domes. All logistics … Exploring Mars may possibly answer origin and evolution of life questions. Nevertheless, even with optimistic extrapolation of robotic manufacturing techniques, Mars will not have the division of labor required to make it fully self-sufficient until its population numbers in the millions. This wage differential, precisely analogous to the wage differential between Europe and America during most of the past 4 centuries, will make emigration to Mars both desirable and possible for the individual. This uniqueness is illustrated most clearly if we contrast Mars with the Earth's Moon, the most frequently cited alternative location for extraterrestrial human colonization. The exploration phase of Mars colonization has been going on for some time now with the telescopic and robotic surveys that have been and continue to be made. Science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson is one. It seems our current environment, political environment and otherwise, suggests that companies will be a key part of colonizing other planets. Inventions produced as a matter of necessity by a practical intellectual culture stressed by frontier conditions can make Mars rich, but invention is not the only way that Martians will be able to make a fortune. Vehicle sales tell story of separate economic realities Moreover, it is an unsuitable propellant for a cheap reusable space transportation system, since it costs more than an order of magnitude more than CH4/O2 (thus ruling it out for true cheap surface to orbit systems) and its bulk makes if very difficult to transport to orbit in any quantity using SSTO type vehicles. References. no spacesuits) would be required to operate in the open, and city-sized inflatable structures could be erected (since there would be no pressure differential with the outside world) that could house very large settlements in an open-air shirt-sleeve environment. J. Lewis and R. Lewis, "Resources from Space: Breaking the Bonds of Earth". William Bradford, "Of Plimoth Plantation," 1621. Assuming complete coverage of the planet with photosynthetic plants, it would take about a millennia to put the 120 mbar of oxygen in Mars' atmosphere needed to support human respiration in the open. 1, Fall 1992, pp 25-80, 3. It is shown, that of all bodies in the solar system other than Earth, Mars is unique in that it has the resources required to support a population of sufficient size to create locally a new branch of human civilization. During the period of their global ascendancy, the Spanish ignored North America; to them it was nothing but a vast amount of worthless wilderness. “Establishing a colony on Mars is incredibly technically ... economic motivation for a Martian colony is for it to ... on the moon before Mars. An Shuttle derived heavy lift launch vehicle lifts 145 tonnes (A Saturn V had about this same capacity) to low Earth orbit, then a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR, such as was demonstrated in the USA in the 1960's) stage with an Isp of 900 s hurls a 70 tonne "habcraft" onto a 7 month trajectory to Mars. As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism. Reasons for colonizing Mars include pure curiosity, the potential for humans to provide more in-depth observational research than unmanned rovers, economic interest in its resources, and the possibility that the settlement of other planets could decrease the likelihood of human extinction. I define four phases, which I term "exploration," "base building," "settlement," and "terraforming.". 3. It's not a sum of money that anyone would spend lightly, but it is a sum of money that a large number of people could finance if they really wanted to do so. However, with a cost per launch of about $1 billion, the cost per immigrant would be $40 million. Thus plants grown in a thin walled greenhouse on the surface of the Moon or an asteroid would be killed by solar flares. We have seen that despite the fact that Mars may lack any resource directly exportable to Earth, Mars' orbital elements and other physical parameters gives a unique positional advantage that will allow it to act as a keystone supporting extractive activities in the asteroid belt and elsewhere in the solar system. The different power ratings give both systems about equal power/mass ratios; the system leaving Earth still burns 2.4 times as long. Ask the question and there will be no shortage of responses, with many experts citing the strategic, practical and scientific reasons for a Mars colony including: Mars is the most accessible planet in the solar system. Assuming, as appears to be the case, that a method of terraforming Mars could be found with a total cost much less than this, then those who own Mars would have every reason to seek to develop their property via planetary engineering. In 1781, while Cornwallis was being blockaded into submission at Yorktown, the British deployed their fleet into the Caribbean to seize a few high-income sugar plantation islands from the French. Put simply, if enough people find a way to live and prosper on Mars there is no doubt but that sooner or later they will terraform the planet. The result that follows is simply this: anything that needs to be sent to the asteroid belt that can be produced on Mars will be produced on Mars. Furthermore, such claims would be enforceable internationally and throughout the solar system simply by having the US Customs Office penalize with a punitive tariff any US import made anywhere, directly or indirectly, with material that was extracted in defiance to the claim. It is therefore anticipated that human terraformers would accelerate the oxygenation process by artificial technological approaches yet to be determined, with the two leading concepts being those based on either macroengineering (i.e. The mission to colonize Mars runs into three major challenges. What can Mars possibly export back to Earth in return? Its short travel time can providing an easy approach to basic materials for building and other necessities, access to the water, access to the fuel for fusion drives and easier communication make it an ideal location to colonize the humanity at an initial stage. Consider once again out CH4/O2 SSTO vehicles used to transport payloads from the surface of the Earth to low Earth orbit. But the biggest problem with the Moon, as with all other airless planetary bodies and proposed artificial free-space colonies (such as those proposed by Gerard O'Neill8) is that sunlight is not available in a form useful for growing crops.
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