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Thread: Should humans colonize Mars?

  1. #1
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    Here is a very recent space.com article concerning the possibility of humans going to Mars.
    http://www.space.com/news/wsc_future_021020.html

    Just curious; how many of you think humans should or should not settle on the red planet? I know it is a big debate right now, and I want to know what you all think concerning the subject.

    In my opinion, I think it would be a great opportunity for scientific research up close and personal on Mars. HOWEVER, if there indeed is some sort of life on there, I do not want to risk contaminating it. And actually terraforming the planet (and thus altering the current geological markings) seems like a bad idea because we still have many unanswered questions regarding the history and current state of Mars.


  2. #2
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    If the civilization does not turn to regress/termination in near future - there's no alternative to colonization of Mars.

  3. #3
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    IMHO, I think we should colonize. Of course, it would be very expensive at first, but in the long run, I think it'd probably prove to be profitable to the entire human race. Especially for astronomical purposes. If we could get the materials we needed to build spacecraft there, there wouldn't be as strong a gravity well to overcome to send out spacecraft, etc. I think we should do it.

  4. #4
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    Don't get me wrong, I'd love for us to colonize Mars. The only problem would be if there are living lifeforms on it; I just wouldn't want us to ruin our first opportunity to study extraterrestial life by killing the life. Hey, maybe there is a way we can colonize without cotaminating possible organisms, if so that would be great.


  5. #5
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    Well if the objective is to leave Mars unspoiled, I don't think we humans have a very good track record on that. If it ever becomes economically feasible to colonize Mars, we'd better hope we've already studied it as well as possible before then. It will become a human world after that. BTW, Kim Stanley Robinson's Red/Green/Blue Mars series is an excellent study on this topic. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    I'd like to see us make sure it's a dead planet before we start terraforming.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  7. #7
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    Make sure its dead??? A little cold, even for me. Personally, I think the Moon is a more logical target for the next step, even at 1/60th the size of Earth, it will still take a while to load it up. By which time we should be able to determine Mars's status and how to deal with it... It all depends on how far the treehuggers turned Moonhuggers and Marshuggers let us go in developing it. There is already a conservation lobby in action, God help us all. Let us hope common sense carries us through.

  8. #8
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    On 2002-10-21 09:42, Doodler wrote:
    I think the Moon is a more logical target for the next step, even at 1/60th the size of Earth, it will still take a while to load it up.
    The moon has 1/80th the mass of the Earth, so you must be talking about the surface area (which seems appropriate considering the topic of discussion), but then the surface area of the moon is more like 1/13th (7.4%) of the surface area of the Earth--and since only 29% of the Earth's surface is land, the moon has about 1/4th the land area of the Earth. Quite a bit of real estate.

  9. #9
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    Won't it be difficult for Mars to keep its atmosphere? It seems to me that the atmosphere will drift away, with Mars having a small mass.

  10. #10
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    There was a time when I was all for it. I grew up on science fiction. I was twenty when we landed on the moon. I fully expected lunar (and possibly Mars) colonies to be established within my lifetime. With any luck, soon enough that I might have a chance to go.

    Having seen how long it has taken to get from landing on the moon to the "orbiting money pit" (ISS), I don't expect anything meaningful to occur anytime soon. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif[/img] [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_mad.gif[/img] [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_evil.gif[/img]

    Pardon my pessimism.

    _________________
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    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Kaptain K on 2002-10-21 13:21 ]</font>

  11. #11
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    On 2002-10-21 12:20, tychobrahe wrote:
    Won't it be difficult for Mars to keep its atmosphere? It seems to me that the atmosphere will drift away, with Mars having a small mass.
    Mars with its low gravity would tend to lose an Earthlike atmosphere, but my understanding is that it would happen over a geological timespan. So it should be possible to keep it replenished and stable.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  12. #12
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    I'll confess to being a bit of a mercenary. I think we should collonize Mars whether there is life already there or not. Evolution placed us on Earth whether the rest of the organisms wanted us or not. How is Mars different? We've just evolved to the point where we can do it ourselves.

    Anything already on Mars will take 500 million years or more to evolve beyond simple bacteria. Let's go for it! Let's get ourselves established & sustainable before a big astroid/comet hits Earth and wipes out everything.

  13. #13
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    On the point of a dense Martian atmosphere, the evidence of previous liquid water on the surface suggests that at one time a denser atmosphere existed. A catastrophic event, eg, whatever created the Hellas Basin, blew it away.
    Wouldn't a dense atmosphere be self-perpetuating. Titan is much smaller (and a lot colder) with a very dense atmosphere. Venus is off the scale.
    What are the criteria for a planetary body to hold an atmosphere? A combination of mass, temperature, intrinsic water (or other liquids), lack of catastrophes? There seems to be too many variables to correlate from the small sample of worlds that we can observe.

  14. #14
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    Don't think it's a good idea - the low gravity (.37g) could do all sorts of nasty things to our physiology e.g. evolving us into 10ft geeks (and there's a lot of sand up there to get kicked in our faces). We can't even terraform the Sahara, so don't expect to see anything in your lifetime.

    (WeightWatchers might want to invest though...)

  15. #15
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    On 2002-10-21 22:01, Atko wrote:
    Don't think it's a good idea - the low gravity (.37g) could do all sorts of nasty things to our physiology e.g. evolving us into 10ft geeks (and there's a lot of sand up there to get kicked in our faces). We can't even terraform the Sahara, so don't expect to see anything in your lifetime.

    (WeightWatchers might want to invest though...)

    I guess the 10ft. geeks would truly be martians. In other words I don't think we should fear being changed by the other worlds.

    I keep thinking of an old saying, "We are all passengers on The Space Ship Earth". I guess the idea is that, like a space ship, the earth has just so much in the way of supplies, and we need to manage them wisely. I like to think of our entire solar system as the space ship. Earth just happens to be the only functional greenhouse that we have at the moment. The other planets are either storage compartments and/or greenhouses that are not yet functional. It is kind of like we are passengers on an immense multi-generation spaceship and that we have lost all knowlege of the mission. or more like the true owners/passengers of the spaceship have long passed away, and we mice are just starting to creep out from our hiding places.

    can you tell i am a big fan of science fiction. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  16. #16
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    I have to agree with what others said before. I don't see us colonizing Mars anywhere in the near future.
    Too far away, too cold, too expensive, not enough solutions for current human affairs.
    If there's any life on Mars, they'll be safe for a long time yet.

    If we ever do get to Mars, I think economical and sociological factors will be the ones to decide whether we will change it (e.g. terraform), or not. If we're really desperate for more space, then we will, and no amount of good intentions will change that.
    At least now we know that, if there is any life on Mars, it's probably microscopic. Maybe some of it could be preserved in zoo-labs.

  17. #17
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    On 2002-10-21 22:01, Atko wrote:
    We can't even terraform the Sahara, so don't expect to see anything in your lifetime.
    Terraforming deserts surrounded by warm seas/oceans is relatively easy - all we'd need would be a drastic increase of water evaporation off the ocean surface at appropriate seasons and/or time of day so that vapours/clouds are then carried by the winds into the desert. It could be done by spraying ocean water over the ocean surface by a system of fountains or by floating fields of porous heat-absorbing mats around the shore line.
    The problem is that we don't know the odds of such interference with our natural processes.

    As to the Mars, we could start from heating it by a system of orbiting mirrors. The technology is almost here now.

  18. #18
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    BTW, Kim Stanley Robinson's Red/Green/Blue Mars series is an excellent study on this topic.
    I agree. Any of you interested in the terraforming of Mars should read this trilogy. It's very very interesting and a great read.

  19. #19
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    Back to the old gravity problem, there's no telling what the long-term effects will be on bone structure, cardiovascular system and possible slow muscle atrophy, but! the Mars Society are working on this area by designing a capsule to monitor the effects on mice. Mickey and his pals will be spun to one third g and allowed to breed to study the effects on first and second generation Martian mice. Perhaps we'll see the birth of a new race Giant rodents.....hey, you don't suppose those giant tubular glass structures on Mars are part of a.....nah!
    [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  20. #20
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    On 2002-10-22 13:11, Atko wrote:
    Mickey and his pals will be spun to one third g and allowed to breed to study the effects on first and second generation Martian mice.
    How would they do that? Keep them on the ISS? Seems to me that unless you are on a ballistic trajectory you will always have at least one g. I know mice breed fast, but I don't think they could get through a couple generations before they came crashing to Earth. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  21. #21
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    On 2002-10-22 13:18, Laser Jock wrote:
    Keep them on the ISS?
    Why not? I mean, while they still aren't overly gigantic [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  22. #22
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    Bet the low-g environments would be a hit with the elderly. Retirement in a 1/3g environment could add years to their lives by reducing the strain on their bodies. For a time, some healthier individuals could even be physically productive again.

  23. #23
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    More alien (well some of 'em won't have been born on Earth) mice stuff here -

    http://www.marssociety.org/translife/

    The door will open when the capsule returns and out will step mice bent on world domination...
    [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

  24. #24
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    On 2002-10-22 15:42, Doodler wrote:
    Bet the low-g environments would be a hit with the elderly. Retirement in a 1/3g environment could add years to their lives by reducing the strain on their bodies. For a time, some healthier individuals could even be physically productive again.
    Except that bone loss is one of the problems of extended low G. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif[/img]

  25. #25
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    Colonize - heck, I'd be happy to see a manned mission just to visit Mars in my lifetime



    BE

  26. #26
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    On 2002-10-23 01:07, RafaelAustin wrote:
    On 2002-10-22 15:42, Doodler wrote:
    Bet the low-g environments would be a hit with the elderly. Retirement in a 1/3g environment could add years to their lives by reducing the strain on their bodies. For a time, some healthier individuals could even be physically productive again.
    Except that bone loss is one of the problems of extended low G. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif[/img]
    But one that's being worked on.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  27. #27
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    On 2002-10-21 09:42, Doodler wrote:
    Make sure its dead??? A little cold, even for me. Personally, I think the Moon is a more logical target for the next step, even at 1/60th the size of Earth, it will still take a while to load it up. By which time we should be able to determine Mars's status and how to deal with it... It all depends on how far the treehuggers turned Moonhuggers and Marshuggers let us go in developing it. There is already a conservation lobby in action, God help us all. Let us hope common sense carries us through.
    Well despite the moon's size, there is no atmosphere, therefore nothing to protect us from U.V. and most importantly the constant bombardment from loose meteorites and solar winds/blasts. I mean, i doubt the standard issue space suit and helmet would protect from a solar "hail storm"... hm... what would the weather be like?

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