Author Topic: Mars  (Read 4154 times)

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Mars
« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2017, 06:55:34 PM »
It's not an unreasonable fear that the future labor relationships of our species are going to be shaped solely on the whims of private billionaires who happened to land somewhere first.

It's certainly a more reasonable fear to me than worrying about an extinction level event on Earth within the next several centuries.
Well there are political and moral problems to be solved with respect to planetary colonization to be sure; what I object to is the immediate assumption of the worst-case-scenario when the first hypothetical employee is 10 years in the future:

Imagine signing away years of your life to be a housekeeper in the Mars-a-Lago hotel, with your communications, water, food, energy usage, even oxygen tightly managed by your employer, and no government to file a grievance to if your employer cuts your wages, harasses you, cuts off your oxygen

The implicit assumption throughout the article is that corporations and the wealthy individuals at their helm should be modeled as sadistic sociopaths. Even if Musk is a sociopath, how many people would be pleased to see Facebook videos uploaded showing the last minutes of someone's life on Mars as they suffocated to death? Even taking the worst possible assumption for SpaceX's motivations behind colonizing Mars, the experiment will be a far more open one than the largely irrelevant East India Company example cited at length in the article. That openness and moral progress since the 17th century means that the criticism of the colonization initiative is being made in all the wrong places.

grenzbegriff

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Re: Mars
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2017, 03:51:53 PM »
I work in tech, and when the topic comes up, which is pretty often, so many people seem to think that going to mars is the most important thing because a meteor will destroy the earth and we need to spread to other planets ASAP to avoid that fate.

IMHO the pollution and destruction of habitat on our planet due to this technological race will kill us off more predictably and/or sooner than a meteor.

I sometimes wonder if the mars thing is functioning as a story we tell ourselves to make us feel better about investing all of our time and mental energy in this headlong technological development rush that is destroying life.  Because the horrors we'll see if we slow down and look around are too great to bear, and we need some kind of optimism and purpose for what we are doing.

scottish

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Re: Mars
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2017, 05:23:11 PM »
Diversification is good in all things, even in the planet you live on.

maizeman

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Re: Mars
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2017, 05:44:35 PM »
I guess I have two responses to that.

The first is that, while I don't dispute the damage done and currently being done to the planet by humanity, I don't think blaming current technological progress makes sense. If you imagine a world where technological progress stopped in the 1950s, and roll the clock forward to today, I think you would find a world with both a lot more human suffering and a lot more environmental damage than exists in the world we inhabit today.

The second is that, if we someday develop the technology to have a self sustaining colony on Mars, it will mean we already have the technology to continue to survive as a species on Earth even in the face of the worst pollution and global warming have to throw at us. ... the amount of human suffering and destruction of the natural world that would be entailed in that future scenario isn't something I like to think about though.
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grenzbegriff

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Re: Mars
« Reply #54 on: October 13, 2017, 06:08:11 PM »
I guess I have two responses to that.

The first is that, while I don't dispute the damage done and currently being done to the planet by humanity, I don't think blaming current technological progress makes sense. If you imagine a world where technological progress stopped in the 1950s, and roll the clock forward to today, I think you would find a world with both a lot more human suffering and a lot more environmental damage than exists in the world we inhabit today.
I respect your hypothetical -- but in general hypotheticals don't work well for me.  I could never-endingly argue about what might have been, and be countered, and counter again.  I could imagine both beautiful and ugly scenarios with tech progress stopping in the 50s.  But we could argue forever about which of these are likely, given "human nature" etc.  :)  I think it's not technology's fault, it's our willingness to oppress and exploit and hurt each other and other species and nature.  Technology just multiplies our power to do so, making it more likely and more destructive.  When we see everything in nature, including other humans, as beautiful and sacred, we might still develop technologies, but we could be much more careful about them.  We could go slowly, knowing they won't bring some kind of mythical happy life-ever-after that we need to race towards.  And we could create some really beautiful stuff.

The willingness to exploit others is useful to think about in our time.  It can actually inform how we live and what we do.  I see most current industrial technological progress as furthering the exploitation and pollution of nature.  It doesn't seem to be slowing down.  We keep needing to mine more, deforest more, frack more, etc.  I'm not saying no one should ever invent anything, just that most of our current efforts might be doing more harm than good, at least to what I love.

maizeman

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Re: Mars
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2017, 06:30:33 PM »
We keep needing to mine more, deforest more, frack more, etc.  I'm not saying no one should ever invent anything, just that most of our current efforts might be doing more harm than good, at least to what I love.

Well but this is my point. The reason we're mining and logging and fracking more and more isn't because of new technologies, it is because we have more and more people.

Take gasoline. The USA burned more gasoline in 2016 than in any other year on record (bad). But at the same time our use of gasoline per person is declining (good). If we were driving 1950s cars with todays population we'd be burning way more gasoline than the record breaking amounts we're already using.

Take farming. Technological progress means we can grow more food on less land than ever before (good). But more and more wilderness around the globe is being plowed up to make farmland every year (10 million hectares/year) because the demand for food is growing even faster than our ability to produce it (bad). If we were using 1950s crop varieties with today's population, there likely wouldn't be any rainforests left at all.

And so on...
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Linda_Norway

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Re: Mars
« Reply #56 on: October 14, 2017, 05:14:13 AM »
I work in tech, and when the topic comes up, which is pretty often, so many people seem to think that going to mars is the most important thing because a meteor will destroy the earth and we need to spread to other planets ASAP to avoid that fate.

IMHO the pollution and destruction of habitat on our planet due to this technological race will kill us off more predictably and/or sooner than a meteor.

I sometimes wonder if the mars thing is functioning as a story we tell ourselves to make us feel better about investing all of our time and mental energy in this headlong technologuical development rush that is destroying life.  Because the horrors we'll see if we slow down and look around are too great to bear, and we need some kind of optimism and purpose for what we are doing.

+1

When I really think about the future of the planet, I get depressed. Now I just hope the world will stay comfortably livable for another 40-50 years which should be my time left in this world. I have no faith in that goverments that are choosen to govern for 4 years have enough vision and guts to take the necessary actions to save the planet and risk becoming unpopular and not being re-elected.


WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Mars
« Reply #57 on: October 14, 2017, 05:45:28 AM »
I think it's kind of sad that the world needs to depend on eccentric billionaires to accomplish anything worthwhile these days. People used to unite and tackle these challenges. I think it was Buzz Aldrin who said "I was promised Mars colonies and got Facebook."

scottish

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Re: Mars
« Reply #58 on: October 14, 2017, 08:59:51 AM »
I work in tech, and when the topic comes up, which is pretty often, so many people seem to think that going to mars is the most important thing because a meteor will destroy the earth and we need to spread to other planets ASAP to avoid that fate.

IMHO the pollution and destruction of habitat on our planet due to this technological race will kill us off more predictably and/or sooner than a meteor.

I sometimes wonder if the mars thing is functioning as a story we tell ourselves to make us feel better about investing all of our time and mental energy in this headlong technologuical development rush that is destroying life.  Because the horrors we'll see if we slow down and look around are too great to bear, and we need some kind of optimism and purpose for what we are doing.

+1

When I really think about the future of the planet, I get depressed. Now I just hope the world will stay comfortably livable for another 40-50 years which should be my time left in this world. I have no faith in that goverments that are choosen to govern for 4 years have enough vision and guts to take the necessary actions to save the planet and risk becoming unpopular and not being re-elected.

I wonder if there isn't a bit of 'first world bias' in this train of thought.   There are billions of people in the developing world who would love to get to our standard of living.    All of these people trying to reach our standard of living.   Isn't this the bigger environmental problem?   Who are we to say they shouldn't have it?

grenzbegriff

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Re: Mars
« Reply #59 on: October 14, 2017, 09:36:03 AM »
Well but this is my point. The reason we're mining and logging and fracking more and more isn't because of new technologies, it is because we have more and more people.
Yes and no.  Technology enables population growth by allowing us to use resources from everywhere on the planet to feed people in dense cities, until the resources run out.  Also, it's not strictly population growth that's the problem, but the size of the population * their consumption of resources.  There are ways to live where no pollution is created, and populations that live that way are not depleting the earth.

Quote
Take gasoline. The USA burned more gasoline in 2016 than in any other year on record (bad). But at the same time our use of gasoline per person is declining (good). If we were driving 1950s cars with todays population we'd be burning way more gasoline than the record breaking amounts we're already using.
I'm not advocating return to 1950s cars.  What we need is to stop using cars entirely (or almost entirely).  That won't happen overnight.  But the earth can't support everyone driving cars, not even electric cars.  The whole electric car thing usually ignores what's needed to create the infrastructure to support electric cars everywhere, and to produce the cars and batteries.

Quote
Take farming. Technological progress means we can grow more food on less land than ever before (good).
This is true, but it's not because of industrial tech farming.  The most productive land per acre is small scale regenerative permaculture farms, especially in the long term and when you consider the land depletion needed to create inputs such as fertilizers.  The small scale regenerative model could scale to almost everywhere the planet.  It's more efficient per acre, less efficient at first per human labor, but not in the long run when you consider all the work needed to maintain the infrastructure that supports industrial agriculture.  And we actually know how to do small scale non-industrial farming much more efficiently and productively than most cultures did in the past.  i.e. I'm not advocating returning to 1800s style monocropping that was done in the US.  Look into permaculture, food forests, soil regeneration, no-till, etc.

Quote
But more and more wilderness around the globe is being plowed up to make farmland every year (10 million hectares/year) because the demand for food is growing even faster than our ability to produce it (bad).
With regenerative agriculture, the land that is used for food production becomes healthier rather than being depleted.  I know this firsthand.  The monocrop fields where I grew up are mostly dead, not even worms in them, due to chemical use and tilling.  Whereas the food forests I've seen are thriving, tons of worms and other bugs, birds to keep the pests in check, etc.  So wildlife habitat does not need to go away for us to have plenty of food.  Besides all that, most of the farmland right now is used to grow monocrops to feed to animals for meat.  It's not necessary.

This isn't just a theoretical debate now -- plenty of people are living off these new ways of growing food, and more are flocking to it every day. 

grenzbegriff

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Re: Mars
« Reply #60 on: October 14, 2017, 09:38:29 AM »
I think it's kind of sad that the world needs to depend on eccentric billionaires to accomplish anything worthwhile these days. People used to unite and tackle these challenges. I think it was Buzz Aldrin who said "I was promised Mars colonies and got Facebook."
I beg to differ.  There are hundreds of thousands of ordinary people working on ways of meeting our needs in a sustainable way outside the dominant power structure.  If human life on earth continues much longer, it will be due to a grassroots sustainable revolution, not because a billionaire paid for the right high tech thing.

maizeman

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Re: Mars
« Reply #61 on: October 14, 2017, 09:50:50 AM »
Yes and no.  Technology enables population growth by allowing us to use resources from everywhere on the planet to feed people in dense cities, until the resources run out.  Also, it's not strictly population growth that's the problem, but the size of the population * their consumption of resources.  There are ways to live where no pollution is created, and populations that live that way are not depleting the earth.

Based on this and points below, it sounds like you're opposed to technology (or at least certain fields of technology*) in the first place rather than a focus on new technological development.

My point is that, if you're going to have a technological society, from an environmental perspective it really is good to work at developing better and better tech rather than freezing ourselves in place. That's why I keep using the example of comparing what our world would look like if we were trying to provide the same standard of living to today's population using 1950s tech. It would be a disaster.

Your point, if I understand you correctly, is that from a health of the planet perspective the absence of a technological society is going to be better than either a society with less efficient and more polluting technology (1950s), todays technology, or even hypothetical more efficient technology (2050s tech). I don't actually disagree with you here, I'm pointing out that these are not mutually contradictory ideas.

*As you point out, the new stuff we know about how to make permaculture work today compared to the farming practices of the 1890s is also a form of technology and technological progress.
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grenzbegriff

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Re: Mars
« Reply #62 on: October 14, 2017, 09:26:08 PM »

SecondBreakfast

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Re: Mars
« Reply #63 on: October 16, 2017, 02:49:03 AM »
The implicit assumption throughout the article is that corporations and the wealthy individuals at their helm should be modeled as sadistic sociopaths. Even if Musk is a sociopath, how many people would be pleased to see Facebook videos uploaded showing the last minutes of someone's life on Mars as they suffocated to death? Even taking the worst possible assumption for SpaceX's motivations behind colonizing Mars, the experiment will be a far more open one than the largely irrelevant East India Company example cited at length in the article. That openness and moral progress since the 17th century means that the criticism of the colonization initiative is being made in all the wrong places.

Disregarding the studies that show that the people who rise to high levels in business and politics are more sociopathic than the average population, a corporation doesn't have to be run by or employ sociopaths to act in a sociopathic way. Corporations follow incentives, and are quite elegantly designed to be able to do pretty horrible things whilst allowing their executives and shareholders to sleep soundly at night. I doubt anyone at Nestle cackled madly whilst they plotted to poison children's formula, but they still did it. Everyone is given just enough information be to able to say "I just did my job, I didn't do anything wrong." even if the facts were staring them in the face the whole time. The rule of capitalism is "If doing it makes you money, and you can get away with it, you have to do it". Anything else is just killing time waiting for someone else to buy you out.

So, that said, why on earth would you allow your employees to upload things to Facebook? Why would you allow them contact with earth, period? Any "experiment" of colonization by a private corporation will absolutely not be conducted openly because all the incentives are in the direction of privacy. Just as all the incentives are in the direction of exploiting any poor starry-eyed schmuck who gets onboard the rocket without a stake in the whole operation.

The openness and moral progress made since the 17th century are pure bunkum. People follow incentives, moderated by personal morals. Corporations have no morals so they just follow incentives.

edit: Oh, and back to Musk again, isn't he the guy who just sacked hundreds of his own workers whilst in the middle of a life-or-death struggle to get production moving, just because someone said the word "union"? Oh he is! Why, he sounds like the perfect guy to run a new moral model of society on Mars! [/sarcasm]. Seriously, he'll be airlocking people for not donating their salary to the company within the first three months.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 02:59:27 AM by SecondBreakfast »

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Mars
« Reply #64 on: October 16, 2017, 07:37:41 AM »
I work in tech, and when the topic comes up, which is pretty often, so many people seem to think that going to mars is the most important thing because a meteor will destroy the earth and we need to spread to other planets ASAP to avoid that fate.

IMHO the pollution and destruction of habitat on our planet due to this technological race will kill us off more predictably and/or sooner than a meteor.

I sometimes wonder if the mars thing is functioning as a story we tell ourselves to make us feel better about investing all of our time and mental energy in this headlong technological development rush that is destroying life.  Because the horrors we'll see if we slow down and look around are too great to bear, and we need some kind of optimism and purpose for what we are doing.

It'd probably be easier to deflect an meteor than to colonize Mars. Send astronauts on a one-way mission, paint the thing white, attach some solar sails, and it'll miss Earth. Most you can probably just lob a really big nuke at and they'll blow apart.


cerat0n1a

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Re: Mars
« Reply #65 on: October 16, 2017, 09:34:44 AM »
Anyone take part in Elon Musk's AMA on Mars on Reddit this weekend?

AlanStache

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Re: Mars
« Reply #66 on: October 16, 2017, 12:00:12 PM »
following.
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lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Mars
« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2017, 07:30:10 PM »
The implicit assumption throughout the article is that corporations and the wealthy individuals at their helm should be modeled as sadistic sociopaths. Even if Musk is a sociopath, how many people would be pleased to see Facebook videos uploaded showing the last minutes of someone's life on Mars as they suffocated to death? Even taking the worst possible assumption for SpaceX's motivations behind colonizing Mars, the experiment will be a far more open one than the largely irrelevant East India Company example cited at length in the article. That openness and moral progress since the 17th century means that the criticism of the colonization initiative is being made in all the wrong places.

Disregarding the studies that show that the people who rise to high levels in business and politics are more sociopathic than the average population, a corporation doesn't have to be run by or employ sociopaths to act in a sociopathic way. Corporations follow incentives, and are quite elegantly designed to be able to do pretty horrible things whilst allowing their executives and shareholders to sleep soundly at night. I doubt anyone at Nestle cackled madly whilst they plotted to poison children's formula, but they still did it. Everyone is given just enough information be to able to say "I just did my job, I didn't do anything wrong." even if the facts were staring them in the face the whole time. The rule of capitalism is "If doing it makes you money, and you can get away with it, you have to do it". Anything else is just killing time waiting for someone else to buy you out.

So, that said, why on earth would you allow your employees to upload things to Facebook? Why would you allow them contact with earth, period? Any "experiment" of colonization by a private corporation will absolutely not be conducted openly because all the incentives are in the direction of privacy. Just as all the incentives are in the direction of exploiting any poor starry-eyed schmuck who gets onboard the rocket without a stake in the whole operation.

The openness and moral progress made since the 17th century are pure bunkum. People follow incentives, moderated by personal morals. Corporations have no morals so they just follow incentives.

edit: Oh, and back to Musk again, isn't he the guy who just sacked hundreds of his own workers whilst in the middle of a life-or-death struggle to get production moving, just because someone said the word "union"? Oh he is! Why, he sounds like the perfect guy to run a new moral model of society on Mars! [/sarcasm]. Seriously, he'll be airlocking people for not donating their salary to the company within the first three months.
Is the crux of the argument, side-stepping the various diversions, back to the assertion SpaceX is likely to murder its employees and cover it up? Regarding the incentives angle of the issue, how does murder lead to Step 2: ???? and then onward to Step 3: Profit? Pre-crime detection didn't even work right in Minority Report.

SecondBreakfast

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Re: Mars
« Reply #68 on: October 17, 2017, 02:29:17 AM »
Step 1: Recognize that you have a disposable and endlessly replenishable workforce of starry-eyed young engineers over whom you have absolute and total control. Over everything from what they read to how much they breathe.

Step 2: Exploit the fuck out of them.

Step 3: Profit.

Why do you think garment factories in Bangladesh pay their workers pennies but Silicon Valley engineers are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars? It's not written in a holy book, it's market rates. Paying just enough so that the worker doesn't leave. Question, what does the market rate become when the worker physically cannot leave, cannot live, cannot breathe without the company's say-so, and there's always another rocket full of them on the way?

Hmmm...

Gondolin

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Re: Mars
« Reply #69 on: October 17, 2017, 02:15:10 PM »
Quote
there's always another rocket full of them on the way?

Worrying about the plot to Total Recall when the first human on Mars is likely still decades away seems like putting the cart before the horse.
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lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Mars
« Reply #70 on: October 18, 2017, 09:09:15 PM »
Step 1: Recognize that you have a disposable and endlessly replenishable workforce of starry-eyed young engineers over whom you have absolute and total control. Over everything from what they read to how much they breathe.

Step 2: Exploit the fuck out of them.

Step 3: Profit.

Why do you think garment factories in Bangladesh pay their workers pennies but Silicon Valley engineers are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars? It's not written in a holy book, it's market rates. Paying just enough so that the worker doesn't leave. Question, what does the market rate become when the worker physically cannot leave, cannot live, cannot breathe without the company's say-so, and there's always another rocket full of them on the way?

Hmmm...
I don't understand the irresistible appeal of shoehorning this issue into a fantastical narrative about a mass-murdering corporation (I suppose it might make a good novel). However, I will admit there is precedent for what you propose, since many early New World colonies were death traps. The critical difference, back to my transparency point that you unconvincingly shrugged off, is mass casualties on Mars would not be remotely easy to conceal. It is highly probable that first wave of colonists would experience many hardships up to (and including) death.

I presume even if death rates are high, there will be people who want to go. Subsequent colonists would do so even though the information on the extent of the dangers they face would be available. To think otherwise would be to suppose that a large number of early colonists would suddenly stop communicating with Earth and no one would notice or care. A BuzzFeed article titled Find Out How Dozens Died of Asphyxiation In Billionaire's Martian Slave Colony will get a lot of clicks. People will know what happens there and be able to make an informed decision.

The secondary questions is of the morality of allowing people to travel to an environment that dangerous (assuming high casualty rates are actually encountered). That might be a more lucrative way of attacking the plan.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Mars
« Reply #71 on: October 19, 2017, 12:44:40 AM »
Eventually if the desth rate is high, I think new people only want to go there if the pay is really good. I find it hard to believe that a slace like colony can continue to attract new people. Of course, those who are there don't have a choice, even if they regret.

SecondBreakfast

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Re: Mars
« Reply #72 on: October 19, 2017, 02:54:09 AM »
To think otherwise would be to suppose that a large number of early colonists would suddenly stop communicating with Earth and no one would notice or care. A BuzzFeed article titled Find Out How Dozens Died of Asphyxiation In Billionaire's Martian Slave Colony will get a lot of clicks. People will know what happens there and be able to make an informed decision.

Get off the zero level approach. Put yourself in the company's shoes and follow the chain you've already established. "If people are likely to die up here on Mars whatever we do AND we have total control over communication" - incidentally, one thing that people in this thread seem really confused by is the idea that a Martian colony, without reliable atmosphere or water, would have a GUARANTEED access to an open, earth connected wi-fi. Why? Who do you think is running this stuff, Comcast? It's Musk. It ALL belongs to Musk. - "Then we control the narrative of how they die and why." Find Out How Dozens Died of Asphyxiation In Billionaire's Martian Slave Colony becomes Brave Colonists Give Final Sacrifice for Greater Good of Humanity's Future. President Offers Condolences. Reality doesn't matter as long as one person/corporation/interest controls all the information. Reality willingly surrenders to the narrative.

Incidentally, there's been a few comments and posts along the lines of "This guy's so crazy, thinking a profit-making corporation might actually USE a monopolistic advantage to make more profit whilst externalizing the costs! What a fantastical sci-fi narrative!" This is called a psychological defense mechanism. It kicks in when you can't argue the premise but changing your beliefs would be too hard. It's psychologically much easier to disbelieve me a priori, thus allowing you to disregard anything I say.

Just so you know.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Mars
« Reply #73 on: October 19, 2017, 05:02:36 AM »
water, would have a GUARANTEED access to an open, earth connected wi-fi. Why? Who do you think is running this stuff, Comcast? It's Musk. It ALL belongs to Musk. - "Then we control the narrative of how they die and why." Find Out How Dozens Died of Asphyxiation In Billionaire's Martian Slave Colony becomes Brave Colonists Give Final Sacrifice for Greater Good of Humanity's Future. President Offers Condolences. Reality doesn't matter as long as one person/corporation/interest controls all the information. Reality willingly surrenders to the narrative.

These young engineers have somehow had all knowledge of the laws of physics sucked out of them on the way and can no longer utilise radio or lasers? China, India & other countries will stop sending spacecraft to observe Mars and will allow Musk to take the whole planet? What exactly would these slave workers be doing? It's hard to conceive of anything that wouldn't be accomplished more cheaply by machines. If you need intelligence or creativity to do something, it's a lot easier to access that on earth and send the output to Mars.

I think we are an extremely long way away from people going to work on Mars just because the promised pay is good. If we ever attain the ability to land people there and bring them back (decades away?) and the ability to have people live there for longer periods, or permanently (more decades away, so many hard problems to solve e.g how to avoid bone & muscle loss in low g) those people will be volunteers doing it because they believe in the project, not the modern day equivalent of people going to work in Dubai, Qatar or Saudi Arabia for a few years for the money.

ooeei

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Re: Mars
« Reply #74 on: October 19, 2017, 02:56:06 PM »
Step 1: Recognize that you have a disposable and endlessly replenishable workforce of starry-eyed young engineers over whom you have absolute and total control. Over everything from what they read to how much they breathe.

Step 2: Exploit the fuck out of them.

Step 3: Profit.

Why do you think garment factories in Bangladesh pay their workers pennies but Silicon Valley engineers are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars? It's not written in a holy book, it's market rates. Paying just enough so that the worker doesn't leave. Question, what does the market rate become when the worker physically cannot leave, cannot live, cannot breathe without the company's say-so, and there's always another rocket full of them on the way?

Hmmm...

So you think a smart business decision is to kill your employee, and fly another one TO MARS to replace them, rather than to hear out their probably reasonable requests? If your factory is in the middle of Bangladesh, sure, killing/firing them is cheap and replacements are basically free. Presumably someone on Mars will have some sort of specialized training, and getting someone new will cost you both in training and A FLIGHT TO MARS. Not to mention you don't know how well they'll perform once they're there. I'd wager for the foreseeable future the cost of getting someone to Mars will vastly outweigh their salary/benefits package once they are there.

No business wants to kill/fire hard to replace employees. Someone on Mars is about as hard to replace as it gets. If we're at the stage where flights to Mars are cheap enough that employees become disposable, this all becomes a moot point because there will be numerous different companies doing it, and presumably flights back will be doable as well. Someone working on Mars is much more similar to the Silicon Valley employee you mention than a factory worker in Bangladesh.


edit: Just googled it for fun. Within the last 5 years the rough estimate per pound to get something to the moon is $700,000-$1.5 million (this is for instruments and the like, not things that need life support). For a person who weighs 160 pounds that's $112,000,000 on the low end. Assuming the cost to get something to Mars ends up being 5% of the current cost to get something to the moon (extremely optimistic), that's a $5.6 million cost for each person they send. That's a pretty big transaction cost to get someone to work a few extra hours or whatever it is you think they're going to try to do. I suspect if my employer had to pay $5.6 million to replace me, they'd be doing anything they could to keep me happy.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 03:08:49 PM by ooeei »

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Mars
« Reply #75 on: October 19, 2017, 07:11:26 PM »
To think otherwise would be to suppose that a large number of early colonists would suddenly stop communicating with Earth and no one would notice or care. A BuzzFeed article titled Find Out How Dozens Died of Asphyxiation In Billionaire's Martian Slave Colony will get a lot of clicks. People will know what happens there and be able to make an informed decision.

Get off the zero level approach. Put yourself in the company's shoes and follow the chain you've already established. "If people are likely to die up here on Mars whatever we do AND we have total control over communication" - incidentally, one thing that people in this thread seem really confused by is the idea that a Martian colony, without reliable atmosphere or water, would have a GUARANTEED access to an open, earth connected wi-fi. Why? Who do you think is running this stuff, Comcast? It's Musk. It ALL belongs to Musk. - "Then we control the narrative of how they die and why." Find Out How Dozens Died of Asphyxiation In Billionaire's Martian Slave Colony becomes Brave Colonists Give Final Sacrifice for Greater Good of Humanity's Future. President Offers Condolences. Reality doesn't matter as long as one person/corporation/interest controls all the information. Reality willingly surrenders to the narrative.

Incidentally, there's been a few comments and posts along the lines of "This guy's so crazy, thinking a profit-making corporation might actually USE a monopolistic advantage to make more profit whilst externalizing the costs! What a fantastical sci-fi narrative!" This is called a psychological defense mechanism. It kicks in when you can't argue the premise but changing your beliefs would be too hard. It's psychologically much easier to disbelieve me a priori, thus allowing you to disregard anything I say.

Just so you know.
I guess ooeei discussed the bad economics of killing and transporting workers endlessly and cerat0n1a covered your unrealistic notion colonists will not be able to communicate. Anyway, I've also seen that Matt Damon movie about Mars where he was able to not only grow potatoes but hack a Mars rover to communicate with NASA. And I think Matt Damon was some kind of a horticulturalist and not even an engineer.

And regarding your meta-analysis of the discussion, I don't think you're understanding me. I'm not denying the possibility of crazy events of the sort you suggest happening on Mars; I just don't think it's remotely likely for various reasons already stated and our mental bandwidth would better be used talking about the problems colonists will certainly encounter (osteoporosis, cancer, etc.). Speaking of mental bandwidth, I've been working 12 hour days so forgive me if my half-assed replies suggest I haven't considered your argument.

But speaking of the novel, I think what should happen after Musk kills the colonists is he realizes after some time the families of the deceased are wondering what happened, so Musk hacks together a chatbot AI that impersonates the dead. The name of the novel is The Martian Chronikills (get it?--kills!) and the followup book will be War of the Words in which the chatbots malfunction and start a flame war with the family members of the dead colonists back on Earth.)
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 07:13:36 PM by lost_in_the_endless_aisle »

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Re: Mars
« Reply #76 on: October 20, 2017, 02:51:38 AM »
Other nations observing the Mars base? Hoping that other companies will also set up competing facilities? Matt Damon Hyperemployees capable of guerrilla broadcasting? Hmm, it almost sounds like you guys now think it's a good idea not to give total control and authority over a colony full of people to one profit-seeking corporation (though I notice none of you have gotten as far as allowing any non-corporate oversight on base. Sending some kind of independent or governmental observer would be a pretty obvious solution to me but hey maybe a Chinese satellite will achieve the same thing).

Well done, you've come around to my line of thinking. But you're still angry at me. Why is that?

ooeei

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Re: Mars
« Reply #77 on: October 20, 2017, 06:22:46 AM »
Other nations observing the Mars base? Hoping that other companies will also set up competing facilities? Matt Damon Hyperemployees capable of guerrilla broadcasting? Hmm, it almost sounds like you guys now think it's a good idea not to give total control and authority over a colony full of people to one profit-seeking corporation (though I notice none of you have gotten as far as allowing any non-corporate oversight on base. Sending some kind of independent or governmental observer would be a pretty obvious solution to me but hey maybe a Chinese satellite will achieve the same thing).

Well done, you've come around to my line of thinking. But you're still angry at me. Why is that?

If all you're arguing is that having multiple independent people/interests is better than having one, then yeah there's no argument. I'm arguing against the premise that a company has an incentive to regularly kill and replace its extremely expensive employees on another planet. It's not that it's impossible, but I think comparing it to a sweatshop in a developing country is quite a stretch.

In reality I bet that the first few trips will have passengers from multiple different places whose companies/countries pay a shitload to SpaceX to reserve a spot on the trip. They'll probably have some of their own equipment (including comm equipment) to take along for research.

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Re: Mars
« Reply #78 on: October 20, 2017, 07:16:58 AM »
Interesting and fun thread - finally decided to dip by toe in.

I'm a science dork and love the idea of space exploration - just finished reading Red Mars and Green Mars.
However, the pragmatist in me still can't accept the argument that we 'need' to colonize Mars for species diversification in response to rapid ecosystem degradation. 
Earlier someone made the point that:
Quote
The second is that, if we someday develop the technology to have a self sustaining colony on Mars, it will mean we already have the technology to continue to survive as a species on Earth even in the face of the worst pollution and global warming have to throw at us. ... the amount of human suffering and destruction of the natural world that would be entailed in that future scenario isn't something I like to think about though.

... I'd go even further than the wrost-case scenario for pollution and global warming. Even in the event of a large meteor strike or  fullscale nuclear war Earth will *still* have substantial advantages over colonies on either the Mars. For starters, we an atmosphere, a butt-load or liquid water and magnetic shielding.  I cannot envision a plausable scenario where even two of these disappear, and I think losing any of them is unlikely.  Under the most severe of catastrophies (meteor, supervolcano, nuclear fallout) we might need to go underground/live in heavily reflective structures, filter our air/water and grow all our food inside hydroponic structures, but these are all things we must do as a baseline for living on Mars. We are already very good at building underground bunkers and fallout shelters on earth - scaling them up to house several thousand residents each is less of a technical challenge than building such structures on Mars where delivering shipments and people is a challenge of ludicrous proportions and small leaks will be a constant challenge. More likely some continents or terrain will remain habitable on the surface post-ultimate-disaster, even if every major city becomes a radioactive fallout zone.

Then there's the question of energy - on Earth we have and will still have a whole bunch of different energy sources: wind, solar and hydro, plus nuclear and fossil fuels.  On Mars we're stuck with solar (and possibly mini reactors powered by radioactive decay, but those sources are extremely limited already). To get large-scale power on Mars we will have to ship a crap-ton of PVs there (see logistical hurdles of shipping). Its possible we might one day get to a point where we can manufactor stuff on-planet (Made on Mars!) but again the challenges there are so high and harder on a distant planet that I wonder why we wouldn't just continue making them on-Earth.  Terraforming is an option which will solve a lot of the inherent problems (the most pressing is the "instant-death-if-not-inside-a-pressurized-bubble-at-all-times"), and probably our best bet if we want to actually permanently colonize Mars.  But to do this we'll have to smash a few hundred asteroids into the planet, and while I could be wrong, during this process I'd imagine we'd want the target zone (i.e. Mars) to be devoid of all humans. Deflecting an asteroid into Mars' orbit would take several years-to-decades, depending on the initial size and energy expelled to force it into a collision orbit. Those seem like automated missions to me, where space-craft travel a few years to the target asteroid before acting as intersteller tugboats.  The amount of space necessary to keep humans alive for several years and hte extra fuel needed to return them to earth makes this seem like each 'asteroid tug' would be unmanned, and possibly single use.

...intersting thought experiment none-the-less.  I hope to see a lot more robotic missions to Mars and throughout the galaxy, which IMO is our most surefire path towards both exploration and ultimately living off-planet.
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DarkandStormy

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Re: Mars
« Reply #79 on: October 20, 2017, 08:19:06 AM »
If the original intent of colonizing Mars was to serve as a backup drive for the human race (who knows what might happen to Earth via global warming or a meteor or whatever else...let's make sure the human race has a backup drive on Mars) wouldn't it be A LOT easier and A LOT cheaper to cut back our carbon emissions on Earth and perhaps put in place some "defense mechanisms" against whatever might hit us from space?
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Re: Mars
« Reply #80 on: October 20, 2017, 08:57:21 AM »
If the original intent of colonizing Mars was to serve as a backup drive for the human race (who knows what might happen to Earth via global warming or a meteor or whatever else...let's make sure the human race has a backup drive on Mars) wouldn't it be A LOT easier and A LOT cheaper to cut back our carbon emissions on Earth and perhaps put in place some "defense mechanisms" against whatever might hit us from space?
Yes, a thousand times yes. Global warming isn't even a species-level threat (at least not our species).  It could lead to war, mass famine and a refuge crisis on a scale never before seen, but humanity will persist, somewhere, just fine. Planet wide catastrophies (the kind the happen ever ~50MM years or so) require meteors large enough that we can track and (potentially) defend against them given a few years warning.  Even if said meteor was to strike we still would be better off living in underground bunkers, growing our food hydroponically than we could on Mars or the Moon.

Spend the next ~century adding an atmosphere to Mars and it might be a compelling place for permanent habitation.  As is Carl Seagan's justification of an insurance policy against extinction doesn't hold water. Bottom line - I don't think a colony on Mars could survive sans support from Earth without its own atmosphere.
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Re: Mars
« Reply #81 on: October 20, 2017, 09:03:02 AM »
If the original intent of colonizing Mars was to serve as a backup drive for the human race (who knows what might happen to Earth via global warming or a meteor or whatever else...let's make sure the human race has a backup drive on Mars) wouldn't it be A LOT easier and A LOT cheaper to cut back our carbon emissions on Earth and perhaps put in place some "defense mechanisms" against whatever might hit us from space?

yes and no.  If we knew there was an meteor with our name on it then yes lets go take care of that one threat.  But we have no clue what might happen to threaten human life on Earth.  What if it is not a big rock but global disease?  While it might be a good idea to have 1k people in self sustaining isolated environments scattered around Earth this does not really advance humanity or expand our reach.  If we are going to go into space to defend ourselves from big rocks why not spend a bit more and get sustainable populations of people out there too?

A very good read: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/08/how-and-why-spacex-will-colonize-mars.html

Musk has said that after scaling up he thinks he can get a trip to mars for 0.5-1$MM per person and that at this price there will be sufficient numbers of people who choose to go and can pay there own way and it will be profitable for SpaceX.  So all this may not be about what 'we'-humanity want or the best way to defend ourselves from a big rock/sea level rise/disease/etc; it may get done via capitalism because lots of people want to go.  Honestly it is really FUCKING cool that I could have the option to move to mars; in the time frames that are likely I might just be young enough yet rich enough to sign up!
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ooeei

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Re: Mars
« Reply #82 on: October 20, 2017, 09:08:38 AM »
If the original intent of colonizing Mars was to serve as a backup drive for the human race (who knows what might happen to Earth via global warming or a meteor or whatever else...let's make sure the human race has a backup drive on Mars) wouldn't it be A LOT easier and A LOT cheaper to cut back our carbon emissions on Earth and perhaps put in place some "defense mechanisms" against whatever might hit us from space?

I think the idea is that Mars is an important stepping stone. I don't think the idea is to get to Mars, dust off our hands, and quit thinking about any further exploration. I assume that the end goal is colonizing farther and farther out, Mars is just a step along the way.

If we're only looking at the next 100 years or so you're certainly correct. The question is will humanity be better off and more likely to survive in 1000 years if we have begun colonizing other solar systems, or if we quit space and turn all of our attention to Earth?  I think diversifying is probably a good thing as far as survival is concerned. In addition, if our past space exploration is any indication, we'll probably learn quite a bit from these trips and colonies that can be applied on Earth. Necessity is the mother of invention, and when colonies don't have Earth's resources to bail them out they'll probably come up with some pretty cool things.

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Re: Mars
« Reply #83 on: October 20, 2017, 09:22:36 AM »
If the original intent of colonizing Mars was to serve as a backup drive for the human race (who knows what might happen to Earth via global warming or a meteor or whatever else...let's make sure the human race has a backup drive on Mars) wouldn't it be A LOT easier and A LOT cheaper to cut back our carbon emissions on Earth and perhaps put in place some "defense mechanisms" against whatever might hit us from space?

I think the idea is that Mars is an important stepping stone. I don't think the idea is to get to Mars, dust off our hands, and quit thinking about any further exploration. I assume that the end goal is colonizing farther and farther out, Mars is just a step along the way.

If we're only looking at the next 100 years or so you're certainly correct. The question is will humanity be better off and more likely to survive in 1000 years if we have begun colonizing other solar systems, or if we quit space and turn all of our attention to Earth?  I think diversifying is probably a good thing as far as survival is concerned. In addition, if our past space exploration is any indication, we'll probably learn quite a bit from these trips and colonies that can be applied on Earth. Necessity is the mother of invention, and when colonies don't have Earth's resources to bail them out they'll probably come up with some pretty cool things.

+1
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nereo

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Re: Mars
« Reply #84 on: October 20, 2017, 09:31:15 AM »

yes and no.  If we knew there was an meteor with our name on it then yes lets go take care of that one threat.  But we have no clue what might happen to threaten human life on Earth.  What if it is not a big rock but global disease?  While it might be a good idea to have 1k people in self sustaining isolated environments scattered around Earth this does not really advance humanity or expand our reach.  If we are going to go into space to defend ourselves from big rocks why not spend a bit more and get sustainable populations of people out there too?

A very good read: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/08/how-and-why-spacex-will-colonize-mars.html

Musk has said that after scaling up he thinks he can get a trip to mars for 0.5-1$MM per person and that at this price there will be sufficient numbers of people who choose to go and can pay there own way and it will be profitable for SpaceX....
Musk's cost-estimate for one-way tickets to Mars aside, I am utterly unconvinced that it would be "a little bit more" to put sustainable populations onto another planet. I believe it would be orders-of-magnitude more expensive, plus it would be almost unfathomably difficult to sustain unless/until Mars has an atmosphere of its own.  For it truly to be a hedge against Earth getting wiped out any colony on Mars would need to be entirely and perpetually self-sufficient. That means it must be capable of surviving without any shipments from the home world not just for years but for generations. No raw materials, no new parts, no medicine, no input of new genetic material (i.e. more settlers) That's a much taller order, and I simply don't think we are anywhere close to even begin considering it now.  One disease outbreak, one explosion, one terrorist attack or a failure of some critical components could leave a tethered colony (one that requires periodic supply runs) desperately seeking assistance. To guard against this all systems will have redundancies and be compartmentalized, which adds both complexity and cost - but failures of colonies on the very fringe of existence (needing pressurized rooms, radiation shielding and a boat-load of supplies) will almost certainly happen, and IMO with some frequency.
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nereo

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Re: Mars
« Reply #85 on: October 20, 2017, 09:46:30 AM »

I think the idea is that Mars is an important stepping stone. I don't think the idea is to get to Mars, dust off our hands, and quit thinking about any further exploration. I assume that the end goal is colonizing farther and farther out, Mars is just a step along the way.

If we're only looking at the next 100 years or so you're certainly correct. The question is will humanity be better off and more likely to survive in 1000 years if we have begun colonizing other solar systems, or if we quit space and turn all of our attention to Earth?  I think diversifying is probably a good thing as far as survival is concerned. In addition, if our past space exploration is any indication, we'll probably learn quite a bit from these trips and colonies that can be applied on Earth. Necessity is the mother of invention, and when colonies don't have Earth's resources to bail them out they'll probably come up with some pretty cool things.

To paraphrase an earlier discussion:
"Anyone who thinks there are no other habitable planets out there does not fully comprehend the size of the universe, yet anyone who thinks we could get there does not appreciate the size of the universe."

Terraforming mars might be an interesting goal, but it will require a different set of technologies than getting to another "M class" planet in nother solar system. To do that we need to design, build & perfect a method for humans (or at least our genetic material and some way of preserving it and then repicating it into humans post-arrival) to reach another potential planet, which will almost certainly take multiple generations. We have to get going fast enough to escape the pull or our Sol (much harder than getting to Mars) and then figure out how to start slowing down once we get close to another star system (requiring more fuel and more mass). If we're living onboard we'll need to persist in a closed system for centuries, if not millennia. To avoid genetic bottlenecks downstream we'll either need a population of a few thousand or at least their genetic information (preserved eggs and sperm, perhaps?) After the great-great-great-grandchildren of the original settlers (or perhaps the cryogenicly frozen originals) get to their destination they need to hope the planet, selected for its size and atmosphere based on spectral analysis several trillion miles away is hospitable enough to not kill us somehow in the proceeding years ahead.

I know I'll seem like a party pooper here, but I firmly believe that our species cannot ever make it out of our solar system.
...I hope I am wrong.
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Re: Mars
« Reply #86 on: October 20, 2017, 10:27:21 AM »

yes and no.  If we knew there was an meteor with our name on it then yes lets go take care of that one threat.  But we have no clue what might happen to threaten human life on Earth.  What if it is not a big rock but global disease?  While it might be a good idea to have 1k people in self sustaining isolated environments scattered around Earth this does not really advance humanity or expand our reach.  If we are going to go into space to defend ourselves from big rocks why not spend a bit more and get sustainable populations of people out there too?

A very good read: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/08/how-and-why-spacex-will-colonize-mars.html

Musk has said that after scaling up he thinks he can get a trip to mars for 0.5-1$MM per person and that at this price there will be sufficient numbers of people who choose to go and can pay there own way and it will be profitable for SpaceX....
Musk's cost-estimate for one-way tickets to Mars aside, I am utterly unconvinced that it would be "a little bit more" to put sustainable populations onto another planet. I believe it would be orders-of-magnitude more expensive, plus it would be almost unfathomably difficult to sustain unless/until Mars has an atmosphere of its own.  For it truly to be a hedge against Earth getting wiped out any colony on Mars would need to be entirely and perpetually self-sufficient. That means it must be capable of surviving without any shipments from the home world not just for years but for generations. No raw materials, no new parts, no medicine, no input of new genetic material (i.e. more settlers) That's a much taller order, and I simply don't think we are anywhere close to even begin considering it now.  One disease outbreak, one explosion, one terrorist attack or a failure of some critical components could leave a tethered colony (one that requires periodic supply runs) desperately seeking assistance. To guard against this all systems will have redundancies and be compartmentalized, which adds both complexity and cost - but failures of colonies on the very fringe of existence (needing pressurized rooms, radiation shielding and a boat-load of supplies) will almost certainly happen, and IMO with some frequency.

"a little bit more" :-)

Think bigger.  The idea is not for 100 people to be living on mars, the idea is for tens of thousands/millions to be on mars.  And for people to be not just on mars but everywhere we can be; for there to be a full society and economy beyond LEO.  Can we get a million people on mars in 10 years - no.  Is going to mars the best global scale use of resources to maximize humanities chance of survival over the next 10-20 years - no.  This is not a short term 20 or 50 year project.  Getting a colony there is one more step towards getting us off this single rock.  And in someways all the 'ink' used here does not matter, if Musk can get the transportation costs low enough, as he says he can, as part of a for profit enterprise, it will happen; there will be redundant systems up there.
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Re: Mars
« Reply #87 on: October 20, 2017, 10:54:33 AM »
points well taken.
To be clear, I'm not attacking the idea of sending paying customers to mars or even suggesting we don't continue our development of off-earth living.
What I'm objecting to is this pervasive justification that this is a smart thing to do based on species diversification. IMO it's not, both because the risk of an event which would lead to human extinction on earth (but not on some satellite campus) is practically non-existent, and because should this be our justification the 'smart' money would be spent protecting and ensuring life on earth, not on other planets or moons.

Absoltuely keep exploring and keep learning how to live in space, on the moon and elsewhere. We can learn a lot this way.
IMO what's lacking is a driving plan and a sensible justification for executing this plan.  Do we want to really colonize Mars?  Fine - but our efforts should be on creating the one thing there we absolutely need to have a real colony - an atmosphere. Sending rich, mostly older folks to live in a bubble on an inhospitable rock is all fine and dandy, but it isn't self sustainable.
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Re: Mars
« Reply #88 on: October 20, 2017, 11:14:41 AM »
IMO, it is a lot more likely that AI will make it to other solar systems rather than humans as we know it. Maybe humans become AI, I don't know (waitbutwhy has a great post on this too). But humans with a max 120 year lifespan with ailments that can't be fixed by replacing parts making it thousands of lights years away? Not a chance. Humanity will have to fundamentally change before a true, million+ "person" colony exists anywhere besides Earth.

I think it is much more likely that humanity for the most part turns inward on itself via VR over the next several generations. Self sustaining computers will keep us going, and well, you've seen the movie.

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Re: Mars
« Reply #89 on: October 20, 2017, 11:30:27 AM »
@nereo

I'm in agreement with ooeei, the bigger reason to colonize mars isn't a backup against something that'd take out earth but leave people on Mars okay, but because it's a useful goal that serves to spur the development of space-based infrastructure that can 1) mean we'd actually have the capacity to deflect an asteroid that was likely to hit the earth 2) be able to build the craft that could spread humanity to other stars which does start to provide protection against things like nearby supernovas (for which there is no credible engineering solution).*

I know I'll seem like a party pooper here, but I firmly believe that our species cannot ever make it out of our solar system.
...I hope I am wrong.

There is no fundamental science that needs to be overturned for our species to leave the solar system on generation ships, only (big) engineering challenges.

OTOH being able to travel from star to star in a single person's lifetime (the star trek vision) would require fundamentally new science/physics.


If the original intent of colonizing Mars was to serve as a backup drive for the human race (who knows what might happen to Earth via global warming or a meteor or whatever else...let's make sure the human race has a backup drive on Mars) wouldn't it be A LOT easier and A LOT cheaper to cut back our carbon emissions on Earth and perhaps put in place some "defense mechanisms" against whatever might hit us from space?

I'd say the answer to your question is a qualified no. By 2030 we would (will? I hope will) need to be spending  on the order of $930 billion/year to reduce or recapture carbon emissions to a sustainable level. (Note that this isn't the total price tag, it's the annual price tag.)* If we cannot manage to colonize mars for at least an order of magnitude less money than that, I don't think we are ever going to colonize mars.

Space based defenses against asteroids would also cost at least an order of magnitude less than combating climate change, maybe two orders of magnitude less so I'd argue we should be investing in those in addition to both the other things.

Note, I'm not arguing that colonizing mars is a substitute for trying to stabilize the climate here on Earth, I'm just trying to address the specific question of how much two unrelated activities would cost.

*Source (I converted from euros to dollars) https://ourworldindata.org/how-much-will-it-cost-to-mitigate-climate-change/
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Re: Mars
« Reply #90 on: October 21, 2017, 04:20:06 PM »
We're a lot more likely to go colonize Mars than we are to spend 1T USD/year on carbon capture.   We can't even plant trees faster than they're cut down!

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Re: Mars
« Reply #91 on: October 21, 2017, 05:15:36 PM »
We're a lot more likely to go colonize Mars than we are to spend 1T USD/year on carbon capture.   We can't even plant trees faster than they're cut down!

There;s a lot to disagree with here, so let me unpack it slowly

The figure of $1T/yr is both objectionable and misleading. For starters, where do you place the "sustainable level" threshold.  Taking the article linked at face value for a second, if we are talking about reducing our global carbon output to 50 gTCO2/year (we are currently at 60gTCO2/yr, so this would be a ~17% reduction from current levels) the annual cost would be effectively $0, as we'd be utilizing strategies that provide a net savings (waste recycling, retrofitting the worst energy hogs, etc).  Per the article, we could further reduce emissions  - including everything that would cost up to 60Euro/tCO2 - for 200-350B euro/year ($235-412B USD) 

This level of reduction would blow away what we are calling for through the Paris Climate Change accord.  It's also a global cost (not specific to the US or any other country) and given GDP projections will be a ~0.5%GDP in 2030.

If we make a giant leap and say each country pays based on its GDP, the US's share would be $54B to $90B.  That's roughly what we spend on the military every 5-6 weeks now and about what we spend annually on education int he US Assuming 2% GDP growth that amount will be $41B to $69B in today's dollars.

So where does that ~$1T/year figure come from?  According to the article its what it would cost using current technologies (and assuming some greater efficiencies of cost at larger scales) to leverage all carbon capture strategies available to us.  With that level of reduction we'd walking back decades in terms of green-house emissions.  And you are probably right that this is currently fairy-tale land to go that far.  Behavioral changes have almost as large an effect as the more expensive carbon capture methods estimated here.

Bringing us back to colonizing Mars - what would a sustained (tethered) colony on Mars cost us per year?  I have no idea, but given the number of people who rely on earth's ecosystem (approaching 8Billion by 2030) and the number who *might* rely on the artificial Mars habitat in several decades (a few thousand, maybe?) I... well... you see where I'm going with this.
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Re: Mars
« Reply #92 on: October 21, 2017, 06:13:30 PM »
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maizeman

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Re: Mars
« Reply #93 on: October 22, 2017, 08:05:30 AM »
The last estimate I saw was that if the Paris agreement fulling goes into effect, we'd see a 3.4 C increase by the end of the century. That's about 80% of an [img=https://xkcd.com/1379/]http://Ice Age Unit[/img]. The same report I saw claimed that to keep warming below 2C by 2100 at this point (which is commonly used as the threshold past which the disruption to human civilization gets ... scary), we'd need to cut worldwide carbon emissions to ~42 gigatons/year in 2030, but ~22 gagatons/year by 2050.* However, this is not my area of expertise (after all this is a thread on spaceflight, not climate change) so I'd be happy to be corrected if I'm either misinterpreting the report, or that report isn't a good summary of the current consensus climate model.

Nereo, your $235-412B/year number from earlier in the report and my $930 billion/year number are actually looking at the exact same reduction in carbon emissions. Yours is the average "net" cost per year, taking into account the fact that, as you point out, many carbon mitigation strategies are save more money than they cost over the long term. The final number the report gives, $930 billion/year, looks at upfront spending required, since for most carbon mitigation strategies you have to spend money on infrastructure right at the start (for example manufacturing the LED light or the electric car), while the pay off in reduced spending accumulates over many years.

*Source: Figure ES2 in this report. http://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/10016/emission_gap_report_2016.pdf
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maizeman

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Re: Mars
« Reply #94 on: October 22, 2017, 08:08:09 AM »
Anyway, I don't want to argue we shouldn't try to mitigate climate change. Just our nation (and our world) spends so little on our space program that trying to shut that down to get the funding for carbon emissions mitigation just doesn't add up.
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Re: Mars
« Reply #95 on: October 22, 2017, 12:59:40 PM »
Anyway, I don't want to argue we shouldn't try to mitigate climate change. Just our nation (and our world) spends so little on our space program that trying to shut that down to get the funding for carbon emissions mitigation just doesn't add up.

well I'll agree with you on the spending aspect - one of the reasons I used the military budget for comparison.  I should have been more clear - i'm not suggesting we tank our existing space budget in favor of more carbon emissions mitigation, but rather that we increase both while reducing our defense budget somewhat.  From my perspective climate change is as threatening to our future prosperity as any hostile foreign nation, yet we treat it as some afterthought to be dealt with later after us scientists have everything figured out and our engineers have developed techonological solutions that won't cost us any money.
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Re: Mars
« Reply #96 on: October 23, 2017, 08:26:19 AM »
To paraphrase an earlier discussion:
"Anyone who thinks there are no other habitable planets out there does not fully comprehend the size of the universe, yet anyone who thinks we could get there does not appreciate the size of the universe."

Terraforming mars might be an interesting goal, but it will require a different set of technologies than getting to another "M class" planet in nother solar system. To do that we need to design, build & perfect a method for humans (or at least our genetic material and some way of preserving it and then repicating it into humans post-arrival) to reach another potential planet, which will almost certainly take multiple generations. We have to get going fast enough to escape the pull or our Sol (much harder than getting to Mars) and then figure out how to start slowing down once we get close to another star system (requiring more fuel and more mass). If we're living onboard we'll need to persist in a closed system for centuries, if not millennia. To avoid genetic bottlenecks downstream we'll either need a population of a few thousand or at least their genetic information (preserved eggs and sperm, perhaps?) After the great-great-great-grandchildren of the original settlers (or perhaps the cryogenicly frozen originals) get to their destination they need to hope the planet, selected for its size and atmosphere based on spectral analysis several trillion miles away is hospitable enough to not kill us somehow in the proceeding years ahead.

I know I'll seem like a party pooper here, but I firmly believe that our species cannot ever make it out of our solar system.
...I hope I am wrong.

Well we live in an age where someone in Hong Kong can communicate in real time with someone in New York who doesn't speak the same language as them, then if they decide they need to meet in person, can fly around the world and be there in less than a day on a plane that basically flies itself, all while browsing the entire archives of humanity's knowledge, music, and art in a device that fits in the palm of their hand.

150 years ago cars didn't exist, germ theory was one of many theories on sickness, and the light bulb hadn't been invented yet.

I understand that science and knowledge as a whole is huge leaps forward from where it was then, and we know more about how/why things work and why it will be difficult to do what you propose. Even so, to make such a definite statement seems a bit arrogant to me.

Just off the top of my head, I can imagine a colonizing ship that has an automated sperm/egg storage system and the capability of raising children through automated means if it reaches a hospitable planet. Yeah plenty of them would fail, but then the loss is the cost of the ship and some sperm/eggs. This strategy isn't outside the realm of possibility with reasonable improvements to technology and automation over the next few years/decades. It certainly doesn't require some giant leap forward like teleportation or light speed travel.

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Re: Mars
« Reply #97 on: October 23, 2017, 11:48:56 AM »

nereo

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Re: Mars
« Reply #98 on: October 23, 2017, 01:53:15 PM »

I understand that science and knowledge as a whole is huge leaps forward from where it was then, and we know more about how/why things work and why it will be difficult to do what you propose. Even so, to make such a definite statement seems a bit arrogant to me.

...wait, what? 
Which statement are you referring to when you say "such a definite statement seems a bit arrogant to me"?  That I firmly believe something?  Or the statement about the size of the universe and the distances between planets?

I'm trying to have a discussion here, not start a fight. 
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Re: Mars
« Reply #99 on: October 23, 2017, 02:32:56 PM »

I understand that science and knowledge as a whole is huge leaps forward from where it was then, and we know more about how/why things work and why it will be difficult to do what you propose. Even so, to make such a definite statement seems a bit arrogant to me.

...wait, what? 
Which statement are you referring to when you say "such a definite statement seems a bit arrogant to me"?  That I firmly believe something?  Or the statement about the size of the universe and the distances between planets?

I'm trying to have a discussion here, not start a fight.
I think the point is once when we find other hospitable planets that meet incredibly narrow criteria well beyond a reasonable doubt, it's not a limitation on the science of getting there relatively speaking, just the when - even if that technology to send a group of human with supplies for journey AND the new life somewhere else at the speed of Voyager 1 isn't available for 50 years.  However, this "when" isn't framed in terms of an individual leaving Earth and showing up in a different region of the galaxy/cluster/etc. - it's framed in terms of survival of the species.  The person or DNA leaving Earth is all but sure to die on the journey and it will likely be successive generations that actually land somewhere else.

It's hard to outright dismiss something when you consider a "success" on a species level simply ANY human organism (including the unborn at that point) making it by having their predecessors zooming off on a rocket pointed at some section of sky that is set to rendezvous with a livable planet thousands of years (or millions, whatever) into the future.  Assuredly we'd have many vessels pointed in many directions increasing the odds that at least one works.

It seems easier to take the agnostic approach and just say "It's highly unlikely currently but who knows what kinds of fuel, landing, energy harvesting, hibernation, replication, food, and terraforming technologies will exist at some point in the future that make interstellar journeys feasible, even if they take a shitload of time to get there."