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On the colonization of Mars/space exploration

Wodenofthegays

Fascist Dictator
That's the thing. Maybe or maybe not, we don't know yet.

We very much do, I'm afraid.

Maybe terraforming wasn't the right word then if it involves greenhouse gasses.

Using greenhouse gases to change the atmospheric makeup of a planet to change conditions on the ground is textbook terraforming. That is the correct word.

Greenhouse gasses do increase temperatures. This is a fact no matter if terraforming is real yet.

Yes, but that ability to increase temperature is related to the mass of the planet, the makeup and features of the planet's core, and the position of the planet in the solar system.

Greenhouse gasses can increase the temperature of a planet to a point.

Mars does not have the greenhouse gases needed or the mass and activity required to create and maintain a stable atmosphere producing the kind of temperature terraforming would ideally be used to reach.

We know this with certainty because of the Mars MAVEN mission. It would take technology on a massive, unimaginable scale to provide the required greenhouse gases and change the mass and activity of Mars to the point that greenhouse terraforming would be useful to the point that the technology is so absurd in scale that there isn't much point in talking about colonizing planets when we're all but making them ourselves.

We still don't know everything about Earth and like the OP said, Earth's got some problems, most notably with the people living on it.

We don't know everything about the nervous system, the organ system most closely-connected to who we are as humans. Should we stop searching for cures for skin cancers until we completely understand the brain? Should we stop advancing weather and crop-monitoring satellites until we know everything about the spine?

Discovery isn't linear, and efforts being made into one field don't have to hinder another and often, instead, end up helping.

at least until we've sorted out the issues we're facing in the here and now.

Did you know that, thanks in part to the aforementioned advances in weather and crop-monitoring satellites, the U.S., China, Russia, Ukraine, India, and a few others produce more than enough food to feed all of the world's population into clinical obesity, and we still have ample room to expand that production in a sustainable way?

We do have problems here, but it isn't like space exploration can't help or isn't helping. Famines are a thing of the past in the places that do have access to it.

And, like I said, discovery isn't linear. We don't have to wait until war stops to study the physics of the sun.

Mars is a wasteland that humans can't inhabit and I have no idea why anyone would want to inhabit it

This I actually very much agree with.

What's there for us except more things to exploit and another environment to ruin?

Studying a system in isolation is hard. Comparing one system to another system makes that much easier. Understanding the conditions that develop on and result in other worlds vastly improves our understanding of our own.

That is to say, a set of systems worth studying is there.

Though I do agree that we need to avoid the risk of taking it into space imperialism territory.

I don't think we'll ever truly understand the universe and I highly doubt understanding it would make us better. We're all still apes with a penchant for getting our own way.

Understanding that spin is a fundamental component of the particles that form from the fields that make up the universe allows us to cut tumors out of people's brains with microscopic accuracy. Even appendectomies used to leave people bed-ridden, but I can tell you from experience that understanding that previous fact meant that my surgeon was able to wave me out of the hospital as I walked out on my own the morning after the surgery.

It very much does make us better each step closer we get to a complete understanding even if you don't realize it.

We, as a species, are not ready for populating other planets.

We can very much populate other planets. We cannot make them universally habitable.

I think socially we are not ready, but only because at the moment that population would likely come from the efforts of a private company or the efforts of a state's government through contracts with private companies.

Company towns and indentured servitude are not things I want to spread which are very much being proposed as options for making this possible.

Space did lead to some medical advances, but I don't think it would be as effective in saving people as putting the billions of dollars towards improving healthcare. Unfortunately, the US healthcare system leaves many people untreated. More lives would be saved than if we happened to discover medical tech from space, which is not guaranteed at all.

Medical tech very much requires space exploration to make advances. The advances that lead to MRI, CT scans, medical lasers, modern surgeries, and many pharmacological production techniques were very much material and particle discoveries that could not have been made without a space-exploration effort.

Other than listing much of the foundation of modern medicine and the necessary space-exploration connection, I'm not sure how to convince you otherwise that you are misinformed.

Pumping huge amounts of funding into one discipline instead of making efforts across disciplines is not how advances have ever worked in any field.

The US military spending is also a massive waste..

To be clear, there is one discipline that I'm okay with stripping all funds for, and that discipline is warfare.

It's been decades since anyone has even been close to the moon

Like in person?

Because China, India, Russia, and the U.S. all have ongoing missions around and on the Moon, and China and the U.S. are both currently testing next-generation lunar orbiters for the explicit purpose of putting people close to the Moon within the next decade.

Its been decades since anyone has been close to the Moon because doing it in the 60s and 70s was an extreme stretch of then-available technology and regularly had so many problems and was so expensive for the research that they could do that they just put it off for the future. Which also happens to be occurring now.

Mars has dust and rocks, confirmed by the rover we spent 2.5 billion dollars on

We have plenty of dust and rocks on Earth

Yes, but the dust and rocks we have on Earth are Earth dust and Earth rocks. Having Mars dust and Mars rocks expands the kinds of samples of dust and rocks we have, and being able to compare Earth dust and Mars dust tells us more about dust than just Earth dust.

In any case, the Mars Rovers did more than just look at dust and rocks, and have helped expand our understanding of dust and rocks and how they interact with atmospheres, water, solar radiation, and temperature over time.

You said "dust and rocks" to belittle those findings, but "dust and rocks" are very important when our world and every other terrestrial world is literally made of "dust and rocks" and when "dust and rocks" make up the majority of the systems that keep you alive, build your economy, and provide for your entertainment and leisure.

Dust and rocks are so important that the English name for our planet literally comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for dirt.

Pro-dust and pro-rocks is the hill I die on.
 
S

soro

Guest
Using greenhouse gases to change the atmospheric makeup of a planet to change conditions on the ground is textbook terraforming. That is the correct word.

I meant that terraforming may or may not be the only option for inhabiting other planets/Antarctica. Terraforming wouldn't be the correct word for a different method that doesn't involve heating up the entire planet.

We very much do, I'm afraid.

So we're absolutely positive that, no matter what, terraforming is and will be the only option ever?

Medical tech very much requires space exploration to make advances. The advances that lead to MRI, CT scans, medical lasers, modern surgeries, and many pharmacological production techniques were very much material and particle discoveries that could not have been made without a space-exploration effort.

Fine, sending stuff into space advances healthcare. Does this really require trying to inhabit Mars though? That's mainly what this argument is about. Advances may be a side effect of trying to inhabit Mars, but we are definitely not ready to terraform another planet with our current technology. It would take a ton of time and resources to do so. It can wait until the problems on Earth are solved with said resources.

"The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars."

"The Perseverance rover has four science objectives that support the Program's science goals: Looking for Habitability... Seeking Biosignatures... Caching Samples... Preparing for Humans...".


Source: mars.nasa.gov: Overview

As you can see, the focus of the mission was to progress eventual habitability on Mars.

You said "dust and rocks" to belittle those findings, but "dust and rocks" are very important when our world and every other terrestrial world is literally made of "dust and rocks" and when "dust and rocks" make up the majority of the systems that keep you alive, build your economy, and provide for your entertainment and leisure.

What good came from studying rocks on Mars? Why is studying extraterrestrial rocks important right now? What benefits has this had? How did it advance technology? How is it more worth than using 2.5 billion dollars elsewhere? Genuinely curious, because it seems like all we have are low quality pictures of dust and samples that we won't be able to reach for a long time.

It seems like the reasoning for space travel is hoping some good keeps coming out of it as a side effect, which isn't guaranteed at all.

Pumping huge amounts of funding into one discipline instead of making efforts across disciplines is not how advances have ever worked in any field.

I don't know about this one.
 
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Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
We still don't know everything about Earth and like the OP said, Earth's got some problems, most notably with the people living on it.

No offence, but we've gone to the moon already. We've sent rovers and satellites up. We've sent space telescopes to look at what lies beyond. I think that's enough. No one expected we'd ever get to that point, so let's just put the trophy in the fancy case and be done with it, at least until we've sorted out the issues we're facing in the here and now.

Mars is a wasteland that humans can't inhabit and I have no idea why anyone would want to inhabit it. What's there for us except more things to exploit and another environment to ruin?

I don't think we'll ever truly understand the universe and I highly doubt understanding it would make us better. We're all still apes with a penchant for getting our own way.


I mean, all of my research is about Earth and happens on Earth.

I don't think other people's research is in competition with my own though.

I am not sure why people think the goal of studying mars is to begin inhabiting it. Things like understanding how petrological processes operate in an alien geological setting are of greater value, because that has applications on Earth.
 

Vitamin B12

Ultimate Space-faring Fox
As an aerospace engineer (in training) I feel biased in saying “yes, human exploration cool”. But there are so many technical hurdles in just getting people to even just low earth orbit, I don’t think we’ll see any sort of permanent presence on Mars or the Moon for several decades. If you look at the logistical challenge of just keeping the ISS up and running, it’s pretty easy to see how impossible a lunar, let alone Martian, base would be. I think for now we should focus on just land, get out and look around for a few days, and then leave kinds of missions, cause it’s all that we can feasibly do right now.
 
S

soro

Guest
As an aerospace engineer (in training) I feel biased in saying “yes, human exploration cool”. But there are so many technical hurdles in just getting people to even just low earth orbit, I don’t think we’ll see any sort of permanent presence on Mars or the Moon for several decades. If you look at the logistical challenge of just keeping the ISS up and running, it’s pretty easy to see how impossible a lunar, let alone Martian, base would be. I think for now we should focus on just land, get out and look around for a few days, and then leave kinds of missions, cause it’s all that we can feasibly do right now.

Thanks for the informed opinion. This is kind of what I was getting at. Studying space doesn't have to involve trying to populate other planets.
 

KD142000

Leather-clad Lobo
We don't know everything about the nervous system, the organ system most closely-connected to who we are as humans. Should we stop searching for cures for skin cancers until we completely understand the brain? Should we stop advancing weather and crop-monitoring satellites until we know everything about the spine?

Discovery isn't linear, and efforts being made into one field don't have to hinder another and often, instead, end up helping.



Did you know that, thanks in part to the aforementioned advances in weather and crop-monitoring satellites, the U.S., China, Russia, Ukraine, India, and a few others produce more than enough food to feed all of the world's population into clinical obesity, and we still have ample room to expand that production in a sustainable way?

We do have problems here, but it isn't like space exploration can't help or isn't helping. Famines are a thing of the past in the places that do have access to it.

And, like I said, discovery isn't linear. We don't have to wait until war stops to study the physics of the sun.

Studying a system in isolation is hard. Comparing one system to another system makes that much easier. Understanding the conditions that develop on and result in other worlds vastly improves our understanding of our own.

That is to say, a set of systems worth studying is there.

Though I do agree that we need to avoid the risk of taking it into space imperialism territory.


Understanding that spin is a fundamental component of the particles that form from the fields that make up the universe allows us to cut tumors out of people's brains with microscopic accuracy. Even appendectomies used to leave people bed-ridden, but I can tell you from experience that understanding that previous fact meant that my surgeon was able to wave me out of the hospital as I walked out on my own the morning after the surgery.

It very much does make us better each step closer we get to a complete understanding even if you don't realize it.
At first, I was going to respond to all this in a lengthy way. Then I realised there's no point in doing that. I'm an idiot, so thanks for pointing it out.
 

contemplationistwolf

The Restless Maverick
I'll clarify something important here: there are an infinite number of things we could be researching. Even if we spent 100% of our resources on R&D, we'd still have to pick and choose. We could spent all this budget on obscure and unpractical mathematical problems (trust me, there are an infinite number of those around too), but I suspect that wouldn't be very desirable. Ultimately, we have to estimate the value of research pursuits anyways, both as sources of immediate return, and as potential stepping stones ... hmm, that 'estimation' could be quite the topic of research itself too.

Frankly, I think we are very far from fully utilizing the population capacity of our own planet (BTW, that is bounded by resources, not by space). How much do we utilize our oceans (i.e. 70% of our planet)? Additionally, looking at the lives most people live, and looking at the amount of poverty: I think we are very far from properly utilizing the 7.8 billion people we already have (though in this case, the term 'utilization' raises a lot of philosophical and moral questions). I think for the foreseeable future (perhaps for (several?) millennia), these avenues will be far more profitable than any kind of terraforming of other planets (also, Mars has only 28% of Earth's surface area anyways, so the return won't be that big).

I honestly think that Mars is over-hyped, and there are two astronomical bodies that are more interesting, namely: Moon and Mercury; and for very different reasons.

The value of Mercury lies in the fact that it's so close to the sun, it's around 58 million km away (the Earth is 150 million km away). This makes Mercury excellent for harvesting solar energy, and frankly, the biggest source of energy in our solar system is the Sun (in fact, fossil fuels are basically accumulated solar energy). Solar energy dissipates in quadratic rate by distance from source, Mercury is around 2.59 times closer to Sun than Earth, thus Mercury gets around 6.69 times the amount of solar energy per surface area as Earth does (this means solar panels would be 6.69 times more effective). This could be excellent for heavy industry, especially if we could use the materials already on Mercury rather than having to transport the stuff from Earth!

The value of Moon lies in the fact that it has (almost) no atmosphere. From what I gather, that could be very valuable for delicate machinery, particularly, specialized computers. It could be far easier (cheaper) to isolate this machinery from outside environment on Moon than on Earth. That could be valuable for quantum computers! The Moon could become our base of computation in the future!
 
Z

ZeroVoidTime

Guest
Just a heads-up, somebody seems to be actually working on this:
Warp-field experiments - Wikipedia
upload_2020-6-3_20-25-6.jpeg

(I pray this is not the case......)
warhammer40k.fandom.com: Immaterium
 

Miles Marsalis

The Last DJ.
I want to reply in detail to this, but I need to do some work.

However, I feel that more emphasis needs to be put on researching extraterrestrial environments before we begin sending people outside of cislunar space. Partly because of what @Fallowfox said about space research having practical applications here on Earth like how Venus is teaching us interesting things about climate change and the greenhouse effect, but also because robots can perform research tasks while enduring the rigors of extraterrestrial environments far better than humans can currently. Also, if robot malfunctions, while costly, it is simply a setback in space exploration and research. If a human astronaut dies, it is not only tragedy, but a major setback for space research, exploration, and certainly colonization. Robots and probes are expendable.

I think there is also reason in knowing what the place you're going is like before actually going there, especially if you are looking at multi-year launch windows before you can send a rescue team after a manned mission.

There piece lays out the problems and premises behind space colonization and probably will bum you out, but these are the hurdles space colonization faces.

www.antipope.org: The High Frontier, Redux - Charlie's Diary

This informal piece lays out how we should go about sending manned mission and colonizing when we're actually ready to do so while explaining how we can actually get ready to do so.

hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com: Hop's Blog: One Legged Stools

I'm just posting this picture because it's funny while being informative.

zubrin.jpg

Tell me what you think.
 
S

soro

Guest
One of my earlier posts here linked NASA's article on the Mars rover, which emphasized that the mission was to prepare for eventual colonization. I may be wrong, but I don't think much benefit came from the Mars rover. The samples are unreachable until a manned mission to Mars, so other than that, all we have are photographs of its surface. Even if some benefit came out of it, we have to think of the opportunity cost. The 2.5 billion dollars could've gone elsewhere, such as healthcare.

I think there is also reason in knowing what the place you're going is like before actually going there, especially if you are looking at multi-year launch windows before you can send a rescue team after a manned mission.

These stepping stones are necessary for eventual colonization, but that time doesn't have to be now.

Regarding the picture/blog, funny, but yeah I agree with the blogger. Just because we can send a "monster rocket" to Mars doesn't mean its exactly a good idea. It would take a massive amount of time, money, manpower, etc. It just doesn't seem feasible and necessary when we still have plenty of problems on Earth to be solved.

Double posting, but these technologies came out of the space program, along with satellite communications, ICBM technology, and ... Velcro.

www.jpl.nasa.gov: JPL | 20 Inventions We Wouldn't Have Without Space Travel

Yup, I won't deny that a lot of good came from sending stuff to space. But it still doesn't mean all space exploration is worth it just because it can potentially lead to some discoveries (keyword here is all, I'm not against sending stuff into space, I'm against trying to colonize Mars.)
 
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Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
It's very important we develop the capacity to deliver humans to Mars, otherwise we will have to keep Elon Musk on Earth. :{

One of my earlier posts here linked NASA's article on the Mars rover, which emphasized that the mission was to prepare for eventual colonization. I may be wrong, but I don't think much benefit came from the Mars rover. The samples are unreachable until a manned mission to Mars, so other than that, all we have are photographs of its surface.

Mars rovers like curiosty have on-board chemistry laboratories. Analysis is performed inside the rover and data is transmitted back to earth.
Curiosity's mission is actually just to better understanding Martian Geology, in order to understand whether Mars could have supported microbial life in its past.

Understanding why geological processes may differ between different worlds helps geologists understand the one we happen to live on in a wider context.
 

Miles Marsalis

The Last DJ.
One of my earlier posts here linked NASA's article on the Mars rover, which emphasized that the mission was to prepare for eventual colonization. I may be wrong, but I don't think much benefit came from the Mars rover. The samples are unreachable until a manned mission to Mars, so other than that, all we have are photographs of its surface. Even if some benefit came out of it, we have to think of the opportunity cost. The 2.5 billion dollars could've gone elsewhere, such as healthcare.
I'm certain @Fallowfox could explain better, but Mars has provided critical insights into the our own early geological history, its unique natural history, and the early formation of the Solar System. This is a dated article from 2013, but these were major discoveries:

www.space.com: Top 5 Discoveries by Mars Rover Curiosity (So Far)

Also, I believe the Curiosity rover and as well as the other rovers we sent had instruments onboard to analyze samples in situ and send data back to NASA, negating the need for the samples to come to Earth.

However, I feel there is a wider issue at play where research and development needs to be done even if it seems innocuous initially because it can yield dividends for science and technology later on.

I do agree about putting space colonization on the back burner for a bit.
 
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