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'Colonizing the Red Planet,' a How-To Guide

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the add-water-and-stir dept.

Mars 288

Velcroman1 writes "A manned mission to Mars would be the greatest adventure in the history of the human race. And one man knows how to make it a reality. In fact, he just wrote the book on it — literally. Joel Levine, senior research scientist with NASA's Langley Research Center and co-chair of NASA's Human Exploration of Mars Science Analysis Group, just published 'The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet.' The book reads like a who's who of Mars mission science, featuring senators, astronauts, astrophysicists, geologists and more on getting to Mars, studying its atmosphere and climate, the psychological and medical effects on the crew and other details. The most interesting bit: Levine presents is a solution for funding the trip, something unprecedented for NASA: advertising. 'The suggestion is marketing to different corporations and professional sports leagues for advertising, which is something NASA never does.'"

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Fight Club was right (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723282)

When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

xkr (786629) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723310)

How come Microsoft gets to name an entire galaxy? I think this is another one of their b**s claims for "market share."

Sarcasm Warning.

Re:Fight Club was right (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723536)

How come Microsoft gets to name an entire galaxy? I think this is another one of their b**s claims for "market share."

Sarcasm Warning.

'cuz Apple has already got the iVerse. Galaxy, pah.

Re:Fight Club was right (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723710)

How come Microsoft gets to name an entire galaxy? I think this is another one of their b**s claims for "market share."

Sarcasm Warning.

That was Samsung that named an entire Galaxy.

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723370)

iMars...

Re:Fight Club was right (2)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723472)

...it'll be the corporations that name everything...

This just makes me so fucking sad. Everything in our future will be advertising. Imagine the golden arches painted on the surface of the moon, or a big Nike swoosh. I think for the most part that the future is going to be awesome, but this is the part that I don't look forward to. Libraries where advertisments line the walls. Public school buses painted not the friendly yellow that I grew up with, but with crazy in your face colors and giant logos. I guess I'm getting old.

Re:Fight Club was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723518)

Ha! Wait until you enter the rule of Corporate Law. You became subject to it after your government sold all of its assets to the corporations to pay debts to those corporations (they had bigger armies). You get to vote after you buy stock.

Re:Fight Club was right (2)

d6 (1944790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723616)

>>Ha! Wait until you enter the rule of Corporate Law.

until? Thought we were already there.

Re:Fight Club was right (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723582)

This just makes me so fucking sad. Everything in our future will be advertising. Imagine the golden arches painted on the surface of the moon, or a big Nike swoosh.

And you're sure this hasn't already happened? All those ancient 'hieroglyphics" - do they look like product placement or an actual language language? I thought so.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Re:Fight Club was right (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723620)

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Who was it who said that?

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723932)

That would have been George Santayana in "The Life of Reason".

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724128)

High school teacher. Just before finals.

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723670)

The Future:

logorama [vimeo.com]

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723718)

...it'll be the corporations that name everything...

This just makes me so fucking sad. Everything in our future will be advertising.

Its human. Its what we do.

Re:Fight Club was right (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723512)

When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

Uranus Proctology

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

W0lfRaven (1879918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723612)

If this happened, it would be because a government decided to sell the rights to naming such things... as a source of revenue for "public projects"

There are other powers than corporations. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723650)

I agree that various powerful organizations, not all of them governments, can be counted on to stake out turf and use this for their own advantage. But
A.) There are plenty of powers other than corporations.
B.) Staking out turf doesn't need to be zero-sum or destructive. At least not for the next few decades.

There's no reason that Wisconsin can't arrange to send Official Wisconsin Cheese and Salmon to be used by Mars settlers in return for an endorsement. And U. W. has more than enough of a space science program to get a fifty kilo payload to mars orbit as long as it can survive slow/frugal trajectories and launch. Same for an Official UCLA remote filming rig. Which could fight for better coverage with ILM and Digital Domain roving camera rigs. Or New Zealand Wool Mission staff sweaters. And so on.

And now that we have a version of IP 6.0 that works in space, there's no reason we can't set up shared parking orbits with traffic control, and shared taxiing from orbit, allowing portioned out tasks to do this in ways that don't have to be predatory.

And oh by the way, lots of that kind of stuff can get going with the tech that we have right now.
http://streetcarstospaceships.typepad.com/s2s/2008/09/no-more-waiting-lets-start-sending-supplies-to-mars-now.html

Re:Fight Club was right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723664)

And if it's anything like stadiums, the taxpayers will still pay for most of it, while $BIG_CORPORATION gets to put their name on it.

Ironically, (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723716)

When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

That will buy old Bill a lawsuit from Mars:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy_(chocolate) [wikipedia.org]

Privatizing space will lead to corporate naming... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723734)

When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything ...

Of course privatizing space will lead to corporate naming. Keeping to a more scientific naming scheme is one of the advantages of government leadership in space exploration. If government abdicates that role then corporations will fill that vacuum.

Re:Fight Club was right (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723764)

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Coca-Cola!"

(Yes, I know that I'm missing the 'A')

In space, no one can hear you (advertise) (1)

xkr (786629) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723296)

How much does it cost to (re-)name Mars?

Re:In space, no one can hear you (advertise) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723394)

It needs to be renamed anyway. It's clearly in violation of Mars Inc's a trademark (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Mars,_Incorporated). So is Milk Way.

Re:In space, no one can hear you (advertise) (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723446)

How much does it cost to (re-)name Mars?

Nothing if you're the Mars Corporation. Maybe they'll win the bid by saving on paperwork.

The only tasteful way (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724098)

Would be "The Planet Mars, sponsored by Sprint". You can't rename a whole planet -- people would forget where the story is set and start tuning out.

Advertising! (4, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723312)

Advertising!
The best way to make an expensive thing look cheap.

Re:Advertising! (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723486)

But there are a lot of companies out there who want to pay lots of money to get their name mentioned on TV every time something happens. It's the same reason you see companies paying to have their name on the sports stadiums. By doing this, every time someone talks about the upcoming game for sports team X, they also mention the name of the stadium, which happens to be some corporate brand. Imagine if every time MIR or Hubble was mentioned on the news, it was instead the Coke Space Station, or the VISA telescope. Going to MARS would be a big deal, and it would be on the news a lot. Many companies would love to put their name on the thing to have their name mentioned every time someone talked about the Mars project.

The Doc Will Walk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723506)

They don't want us to know: MJ WAS AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL. That's why they never convicted him, they KNEW he could terminate the Earth if he wanted. They finally murdered him. The Doc Will Walk!

Re:Advertising! (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723768)

people are starving and were heading towards $5 gas an you want to colonize mars? where they don't have water or petrolium. we ought to be working on synthetic foods and reducing our addiction to fast paced high energy consuming video games.

Re:Advertising! (1)

Piata (927858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724000)

The Phoenix lander directly sampled water ice in shallow Martian soil on July 31, 2008 and while there may not be petroleum on Mars, I don't see how that makes it any less worthy colonizing.

It's stands to reason that if you can get people to survive, even thrive in such a harsh environment as Mars, that those lessons and technology created to sustain life there would have immediate long term uses back here on earth.

Not the best book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723330)

I think Mars For Dummies is the definitive reference at this time.

RACISTS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723340)

It's not a red planet, it's a native-american planet !! Kum on hear the noize !!

...which is something NASA never does. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723348)

You mean like actually going into space?

Just saying.

New Shuttle (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723352)

So the new shuttles will have decals on them like NASCAR? Will we hear over the radios "Houston, we have a problem, but first a message from our sponsors"? Maybe every 10 minutes in the colony they play an announcement saying "This next 10 minutes of being able to breathe brought to you by $COMPANY".

Re:New Shuttle (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723380)

And where will we find three-breasted hookers?

Re:New Shuttle (0)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723416)

You got what you wanted $COMPANY, now give the people air!

Re:New Shuttle (1)

Diakoneo (853127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723692)

"Houston, this is Commander Mark E. Kelly reporting in over the crystal clear Verizon Communications Network. The launch was extremely smooth because of our Quaker State oil used used in our Rocketdyne engines. While we're sipping on our ice cold Red Bulls in celebration, we'd like to say we're looking forward to that frosty Budweiser beer when we get back to earth. We're sure those Goodyear Tires will help is in a smooth landing, and meanwhile we're using our Snap On tools to make the final adjustments to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. I'd like to thank our sponsors NAPA Auto Parts and Home Depot for the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 3 we're going to deploy, and a big shout out to GEICO for insuring the trip..."

As long as it's a one-way trip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723364)

I volunteer APK for first man on mars

Free Mars (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723384)

You can never go back

Re:Free Mars (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723674)

Free Mars? I'll take two!

Levine edited it not wrote it (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723430)

This is a collection of papers. Levin is credited in the article for other peoples' work. But at a glance, there looks to be a lot of great work there.

Further, I don't buy the slashdot summary claim that Mars exploration or settlement (using current cost basis) can be funded solely through advertising and sponsorship. Sure if one looks at something like the Superbowl, World Cup, or the Olympics, you see many billions of dollars a year changing hands. That sort of money should be enough to run a space program. The problem is that Mars exploration doesn't have the guaranteed high interest viewership on a regular basis. Sure the actual first landing will be a big draw. But not so much the second, or third, etc. A long term program will need continuous funding over long periods of time. There's nothing to offer comparable permanent excitement to the repeated extremely popular contests of media sports.

OTOH, such a thing could be good funding for a first mission or two, especially if cost of access to space should go down considerable.

For me, the most interesting part is section 9, "Mars Base, Exploration, and Colonization of the Red Planet". Any sort of long term human activity on Mars, be it some sort of scientific mission, a new hobby for the extremely wealthy, or somebody else, is going to have to solve the sorts of problems discussed in this section.

Re:Levine edited it not wrote it (2)

bfree (113420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723502)

So you don't think "Big Brother on Mars" will draw enough advertising? What if they let people vote (by premium sms subscription service) to choose the next colonist to evict? Series one could evict all but one would be colonist on route with the winner getting to be the first person on Mars. Series 2 could have them competing with the next set of arrivals not to be evicted on the surface.

Re:Levine edited it not wrote it (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723666)

So you don't think "Big Brother on Mars" will draw enough advertising?

No, I don't. There are several things to keep in mind. First, you talk only of two seasons. We'd need funding for decades, not just a few years. Even the most cynical reality show (or perhaps especially the most cynical reality show) would have great trouble maintaining viewer interest past a few seasons.

Reality shows are also popular because they're low cost. A mission to Mars fails that.

Re:Levine edited it not wrote it (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723810)

Even the most cynical reality show (or perhaps especially the most cynical reality show) would have great trouble maintaining viewer interest past a few seasons.

Pop Idol, began 2001 on UK TV and still going there "rebranded", running in the USA since 2002. Big Brother stopped after 11 seasons in the UK and is going into it's 13th in the USA. Do you want to stick with your claim?

Of course any real Martian Reality TV won't actually have the draw of my tongue in cheek postulation as there is no way they will be throwing contestants out of airlocks in space or on the surface. Having said all of that I have no doubt that any colonisation mission to Mars could easily have massive viewing figures even if it is more like the Truman Show then Big Brother. My doubts over it's ability to be used in that way to fund itself would be the cuts taken by all the hands between the public and the mission.

Re:Levine edited it not wrote it (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723898)

Of course any real Martian Reality TV won't actually have the draw of my tongue in cheek postulation as there is no way they will be throwing contestants out of airlocks in space or on the surface.

But what if we find out they're really dirty Cylons?

Re:Levine edited it not wrote it (4, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723638)

Are you nuts? A Mars landing would have FAR more viewers than any sporting event. Hell, most people don't even know the rules of American football! And to keep funding a mars program going forward, you could sell the rights to sporting events on Mars where the gravity is much lower... but really, there would be a land rush as rich guys and hedge funds all scramble to purchase Mars real estate after colonization has been demonstrated to be possible.

Re:Levine edited it not wrote it (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723978)

A Mars landing would have FAR more viewers than any sporting event.

Which is fine for a one time visit. If you want to live there permanently, you'd going to need more than that.

Have you seen the World Cup numbers? (2)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724072)

In all seriousness, I think any World Cup would be more heavily viewed than a Mars landing. We're just not thinking very hard about the people we begrudgingly share this planet with. They like thems some soccer. Just sayin'.

Now, if the World Cup were held on Mars (The Off-world Cup?), then we're talkin' some numbers.

Defying Gravity (3, Interesting)

Goboxer (1821502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723448)

In that short lived tv show Defying Gravity, wasn't that how they secured a lot of funding? They would shoot video of them doing something for some company and the entire world would watch it because it was the most amazing mission the world had ever seen. Some people might consider that selling out the mission or the science. However, I say better to get there sometime in the next two decades riding on the collective backs of the commercial industry then get there sometime next century with the "no-strings attached" money of people's collective good will. We'll get there sooner this way, and we can all benefit from the resulting advances in knowledge and science.

Re:Defying Gravity (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723758)

Speaking of which, was that show based on a book or something? I'd love to know how it was supposed to turn out. It seemed like it was just getting to the interesting part when they cancelled

Mission to Colonize Mars Greatest Adventure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723454)

No, It would be a HUGE Waste of Earthly Resources. The Yield would be Nil.(Period)

Re:Mission to Colonize Mars Greatest Adventure? (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723524)

I agree completely with you. The few ones going to Mars will do it at the expense of the entire living humans left back with their problems and much less ressources to solve them. I don't agree to pay to see few ones escaping the problems we are having here and thinking they can have there own Dharma Initiative on Mars at the expense of others.

Re:Mission to Colonize Mars Greatest Adventure? (4, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723628)

The few ones going to Mars will do it at the expense of the entire living humans left back with their problems and much less ressources to solve them.

Fair trade. Keep in mind that the humans left on Earth have serious problems because they don't attempt to solve them, not because they don't have the resources to solve them.

Re:Mission to Colonize Mars Greatest Adventure? (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723892)

On which facts do you base your assumption humans left on Earth do not attempt to solve their problems? What about those leaving?

Re:Mission to Colonize Mars Greatest Adventure? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724028)

On which facts do you base your assumption humans left on Earth do not attempt to solve their problems?

Roughly a sixth to a third of humanity has figured out how to feed itself and a significant part of that has figured out peaceful resolution to conflict. That alone takes into account roughly a tenth of all deaths avoidable or otherwise over the past century.

Re:Mission to Colonize Mars Greatest Adventure? (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723564)

Reply to: Mission to Colonize Mars Greatest Adventure? No, It would be a HUGE Waste of Earthly Resources. The Yield would be Nil.(Period)

Isn't that really the problem with anything we do as humans? In reality everything we do is a meaningless waste of resources. Everything, if you look out far enough, yields nil (well, except if we create strong AI). We just hate to admit it to ourselves.

I disagree with you about it being the greatest adventure though! It'd be the greatest thing I've ever seen!

Greatest adventure in the history ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723456)

of the human race? A challenge, yes, but we pretty much know what mars is like. The discovery and conquest
of the new world was a far bigger adventure, with a lot more unknowns.

Not going to happen (0)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723520)

Colonizing Mars is just silly. The atmospheric pressure is about 1% of Earth's. Enough to have sandstorms, not enough to be useful. And it's 95% carbon dioxide. If the pressure was higher, there'd be some hope of terraforming, but no.

The worst places on Earth are far easier to explore and colonize than Mars. Even Luna is easier to work with. A base on Luna is mostly a logistic problem; with enough lift capacity, it could be done today. But none of this will ever happen with chemical rockets, except as a nationalistic ego trip.

Face it. There's no good off-Earth real estate in this solar system.

Re:Not going to happen (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723586)

The worst places on Earth are far easier to explore and colonize than Mars. Even Luna is easier to work with. A base on Luna is mostly a logistic problem; with enough lift capacity, it could be done today. But none of this will ever happen with chemical rockets, except as a nationalistic ego trip.

Consider your job. Is it easier than living on a beach while picking fruit and fishing? If the answer is "no", then why do you do it?

Re:Not going to happen (1)

W0lfRaven (1879918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723660)

well, the modern life is about 10^6 times more pleasant than the hunter gatherer existence, so i will disagree with you there.

Re:Not going to happen (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723994)

well, the modern life is about 10^6 times more pleasant than the hunter gatherer existence, so i will disagree with you there.

It's not more pleasant than the easiest hunter gatherer existence.

Re:Not going to happen (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724060)

I seriously doubt that anyone who actually lives as a hunter-gatherer....or hell, how about a step up to subsistence farmer, would agree that they have it "easy".

Re:Not going to happen (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723756)

Real estate, yes, but I suspect at some point in the next couple of hundred years (if not sooner) we're going to start running up against some pretty major resource walls. Remember, the early colonization efforts by the Europeans had little to do with colonization itself, and everything to do with making money. It's little wonder that the early colonization efforts were the founding corporate enterprises.

I can't imagine anyone seriously wanting to live on Mars, the Moon, or anywhere else out there. But at some point we'll want to start eating the resources out there; the metals, the minerals, the huge amount of hydrocarbons, and that's going to mean having the technological means to go get them. I rather look at this period as something like the Portuguese explorations of the African coast in early and mid 15th century; though clearly not very profitable.

The only way we're ever going to do manned missions beyond near Earth orbit as a continuous and expanding venture, and that's profit. Idealism is a Golden Age SF-Star Trek notion, and not one you can sustain something as complex and expensive as space travel on. At some point, whether because we figure out some way of getting into space and to other planets for cheap or because of some sort of resource scarcity here on Earth, it's going to have to pay for itself, much as the European colonies in the New World ultimately had to be able to feed and clothe themselves, to provide the core resources and technologies to keep the people breathing. If you don't have that, then it's a no go.

It isn't going to happen in my life time. If I'm really lucky, maybe I'll see the first manned mission to Mars, but beyond that, I'll wager we're probably looking at another hundred years or more before the technology and the economic attractiveness of space create a point at which manned interplanetary travel and colonization (and I use that word hesitantly, I really don't foresee some future Pilgrims founding a colony out there, it will be commercial or nationalistic interests, not idealistic ventures) become feasible.

Step 1: Think of a rational reason. (1, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723556)

Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?

Re:Step 1: Think of a rational reason. (2)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723594)

Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?

Getting farther away from Justin Bieber.

Re:Step 1: Think of a rational reason. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723934)

OK, OK, I have to give you that one.

Re:Step 1: Think of a rational reason. (2)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723702)

"Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?"

Not having to haul up EVERYTHING from a deep gravity well.

Re:Step 1: Think of a rational reason. (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723820)

Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?

The real estate to spread a colony upon. 1/3 gravity would be healthier. Local water is pretty damn nice too. Easier construction environment, simpler building designs, etc.

Re:Step 1: Think of a rational reason. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723956)

But are not all of these advantages not obviated by the costs of initial setup?

Oh no! (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723560)

Keep this book away from me! This guy's gonna spoil the next few episodes of Pioneer One [vodo.net] for me if I'm not careful. D:

Sponsored by Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723576)

All the computers will have to run Windows!

Blue screen of death will be literal.

Step up Obama! (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723592)

There were 3 major reasons I voted for Obama:

1. Sensible universal health care. (semi-FAIL)
2. Maintain net neutrality. (semi-FAIL)
3. A JFK-esque speech to get us going to Mars. (TBD)

That was Bush not Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723688)

There were 3 major reasons I voted for Obama: ... 3. A JFK-esque speech to get us going to Mars. (TBD)

That was a Bush goal. The Obama goal is to let private enterprise go to space so government can focus on social issues here on earth. JFK bears little resemblance to modern democrats, he would be a blue dog democrat by today's standards.

Re:Step up Obama! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34724006)

1. Who's fault is that?
2. Who's fault is that?

Um, why? (4, Interesting)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723640)

I know this is going to be a hugely unpopular opinion on Slashdot, but has anyone actually made a decent argument to answer why, instead of how? I've never heard one. People usually just stare at me, when I ask, then say something akin to, "Because it's there." or "You weren't alive when we landed on the moon. You just don't understand." Occasionally I hear something like, "It's an investment in science (or the tech industry)," which is much better than "you just don't get it", but still hardly a winning argument, in my opinion. I'm not against space travel, but I'd like to see some compelling arguments, rather than nerd rage.

And, yes, maybe I would have said the same thing about the European obsession with exploring the New World. So what? What good idea has ever suffered from a little debate?

Re:Um, why? (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723856)

At the moment I can't think of a better one than laying the groundwork. There aren't really a lot of compelling reasons to go beyond near Earth orbit. But like I said in another post, at some point, and no one knows when, the cost of extracting certain key resources will go up enough that people will begin eying the rest of the Solar System. It isn't going to happen today, and it's probably not going to happen in a hundred years, but it will happen eventually, and by laying the groundwork for that, we enable future generations to start accessing resources in the rest of the Solar System.

Re:Um, why? (3, Interesting)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723926)

Easy, and you touched on it. Past experience has taught us that the new frontier is bountiful. Even if it is not clear at the outset, exploring new places leads to profitable discoveries often enough that the risks are worth it.

That, and it's fucking badass to shoot up in a rocket into space going a million miles per hour, eat astronaut ice-cream, and drink Tang while floating around. Having heroes is damn well worth it, to inspire future greatness.

Re:Um, why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34724002)

Ok, how's this for why: Having sustainable human populations on more than a single dot in the universe is a bit more sensible for species survival than hoping that our political/ economic overlords can resolve their differences in a way that does not involve self extermination.

THIS is the elephant in the room that nobody seems willing to talk about, as I have yet to see anyone actually address this compelling point in a serious manner.

Re:Um, why? (5, Insightful)

BadEvilYoda (935532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724076)

Here's a good answer. At the moment, all of humanity's eggs are in one, and some might argue very fragile, basket. We're exactly one extinction level event away from going the way of the dinosaurs. I agree that another "boots and flags" mission is fairly pointless. But setting up a long-term viable colony on the moon, or Mars, such that the human race has a chance at surviving even if some catastrophe was to happen to Earth, seems like a pretty decent idea. If Shoemaker-Levy 9 had Earth in its crosshairs instead of Jupiter - we had absolutely no chance of stopping it. And, if you want to go out out on an even longer timescale - the sun isn't going to be here forever. Of course, hopefully by that time we will be well past the point of using chemical rockets, etc. But, babysteps... get off this rock first.

venus is a better target for colonization (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723648)

for a number of reasons, not least of which its "fake" magnetosphere, which mars does not have:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Venus#Induced_magnetosphere [wikipedia.org]

also note:

Despite the harsh conditions on the surface, the atmospheric pressure and temperature at about 50 km to 65 km above the surface of the planet is nearly the same as that of the Earth, making its upper atmosphere the most Earth-like area in the Solar System, even more so than the surface of Mars. Due to the similarity in pressure and temperature and the fact that breathable air (21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen) is a lifting gas on Venus in the same way that helium is a lifting gas on Earth, the upper atmosphere has been proposed as a location for both exploration and colonization.[11]

cloud city anyone?

living chambers or entire cities, pressurized to earth-friendly atmospherics, floating like balloons. with human-friendly gravity and a good-enough magnetosphere, and, on top of the clouds, a much nicer temperature (although the venusian day > venusian year! so you'd have a hot and cold cycle that's pretty dramatic)

still, all this points to life above the venusian clouds as something better than mars. colonial life, floating on the venusian cloudtops. on a number of merits, compared to mars, with much less atmosphere, no magnetosphere and paltry gravity to offer... venus comes out the superior choice. and then there's the closer solar proximity (power source anyone?)

one drawback to venus is it seems to boiled off most of its hydrogen. but mars seems to have done that too, so the deficiency is simply a problem with both mars and venus

overall, venus is the future folks, not mars

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723682)

But there is the crippling counter argument. Mars has ground. Everything you build on Venus either has to be built from the atmosphere or imported. It also can't be too dense that it won't float. That greatly limits what you can do.

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723788)

well yeah, no ground. but a human-friendly atmosphere on venus equals hot air balloon on earth: it floats. with some future technology, you could have entire cities comfortably floating above the clouds

with mars you have no magnetosphere, awful atmospheric pressure, and paltry gravity. venus doesn't have these problems

both don't have enough hydrogen. that's a ding against both planets

obviously mars and venus are pretty hostile for colonization. i am merely making the case, that you don't have to agree with, but i think is true, is that when comparing venus's pluses and negatives with mars pluses and negatives, venus comes out ahead as a slightly more attractive target for colonization

but all sorts of future technology changes can change the pluses and minuses. maybe building floating cities will be made easy with some future technological jump in materials science (nanofibres self-assembling and self-sealing, for example). or maybe dealing with no magnetosphere on mars will be made moot with some future technological jump in biotechnology (curing cancer proactively and continually, for example)

who knows. but what i am saying is the mars colonization bandwagon, to me, is overhyped and preassumed without enough real rational examination. no one gives enough thought to venus, which in many respects represents a superior colonization target

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723830)

[...] on top of the clouds, a much nicer temperature (although the venusian day > venusian year! so you'd have a hot and cold cycle that's pretty dramatic)

Couldn't you just move the city such that it stays in the sun?

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723866)

thank you, exactly. since the venusian day moves so slowly (and the day moves backwards!: sun rising in west, setting in east!), it wouldn't be an energy taxing effort. and plenty of solar power so much closer to the sun than earth (and mars)

better yet, you could position the city in permanent twilight, where the temperature would be perfectly balanced for humans

so you have:

1. human friendly temperature
2. human friendly gravity
3. human friendly atmospheric pressure
4. magnetosphere

mars can offer none of these things. all it has is ground (minor detail? lol)

all you have to do is make the dramatic jump in materials science to make building such a floating city possible

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (4, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723872)

Mars has a LOT of hydrogen, in the form of good old H2O.

Venus is a dead end. Sure, you can make floating cities, but HOW would you do this? Venus has no satellites to mine and conditions on the surface are waay too extreme.

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724106)

if your standards for saying there is "a lot" of hydrogen on mars are that loose, then the concentration of water vapor in venus's atmosphere is more than suitable for your needs

the same atmosphere that is basically nothing but hot dense carbon dioxide, from which your solar powered nanobots are continually spinning carbon tube nanofibers that are then assembled into gigantic ultrastrong self-sealing cloud cities for happy colonists. the oxygen from breaking down CO2 is for breathing... the limited nitrogen and water vapor making the rest of life possible. mars has pretty much the same atmosphere, but way less dense. advantage: venus. waaaaay more sulfur than needed though

mars:

too cold
sun too feeble
no magnetosphere
human unfriendly gravity
human unfriendly atmospheric pressure

your venusian cloud city is slowly moving with the venusian day, constantly in twilight for perfect temperature. with perfect atmospheric pressure, gravity, and magnetosphere. none of which mars can offer

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723942)

overall, venus is the future folks, not mars

Yes. The future for organic humans, anyway.

Mars is the future for post-humans. Mars is already just perfect for them because they -- being inorganic -- will absolutely adore the cold dry oxygenless environment.

And never mind the possibilities of moving en masse into cyberspace, leaving our bodies in tiny nutrient vats which take up almost no space at all, etc. etc.

Re:venus is a better target for colonization (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724014)

the one thing robots hate more than humidity and oxidation is ultrafine dry martian dust. it gums up everything

Introducing NASACAR (2)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723678)

Oh boy, won't this be fun? Artist's conception... [spatula-city.org]

Next planet, please (3, Interesting)

tokul (682258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723686)

Martian surface temperatures vary from lows of about -87 C during the polar winters to highs of up to -5 C in summers.

Colony should be able to sustain itself someday. Top temperature of -5 C does not look like some place that can sustain people from planet Earth. They might be able spend some time there, but they won't last for long without supplies coming from Earth. I am even not sure if Mars atmospheric pressure level allows humans to breath without aids. Forget all Sci-Fi movies that you saw and look for better planet.

Re:Next planet, please (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723880)

The problem is that the planets and moons out there that do have substantial atmospheres are in pretty much every way much less hospitable than Mars. Venus is a hell hole, with high pressures and high temperatures that make it difficult to have a probe that can survive for more than a few hours. Io is a hellhole of another kind. Titan has a dense atmosphere, but is damned cold, and I suspect the atmosphere would be a bigger pain than anything else.

Of all the planets in the Solar System, Mars is the best. It still sucks, but it's the best available other than Earth.

TeamCOCO on Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34723722)

Red heads to the red planet!

Sex in Space... If you read only one chapter (1)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723750)

The Sex in Space article is interesting but seems to read as if it is from the 1960's. Many monkey studies are quoted. I thought psychology had advanced beyond this point.

Reality TV (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723816)

Wasn't this already done in a TV show or movie? They had setup cameras on the entire ship that was used to go to Mars, and were airing it as a Reality TV show with advertising spots, equipment / clothing etc with logos for more advertising, etc etc.

Anyone know the name? I don't think it made it past 2 episodes if it were a TV show.

Cheaper alternative (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723874)

Considering budget problems, a cheaper, and already being implemented, is to turn red an already colonized planet, like this one. Governments just dont need to do anything, and will be there by the end of the century.

for the cheapskates: (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34723896)

This "book," or rather, this arranged collection of papers, can be read simply by clicking links on the web page in the summary. The only reason to buy it would be for the convenience of the printed form (at a $100 price!). No pdf or kindle version seems to be available.

One of the most moronic things I ever read (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724050)

The naming rights section just fuckin' killed me for its raw retardness about economics.

The reason a corporation pays $400m for the naming rights to a stadium is because there's a high level assurance the fucking thing will be built.

Selling rights to shit in a Mars mission has one fatal flaw: there's no proof the goddamned thing will ever happen. Only a complete dumbfuck or someone totally desperate to see their idea get off the ground would make this sales pitch without realizing the simple assurances that all corporations expect in exchange for their promotional consideration.

Space settlement will start occurring when the minerals crisis starts hitting here on Earth in about 20 to 30 years. And we're not gonna hit Mars -- it's going to be prospecting the asteroids for scarce minerals.

When your business model is "Shit! Corporations'll fall for any bullshit!" then you are legally required disclaim yourself as a dumbfuck in all future conversations.

Ooo, my eyes (1)

Kapiti Kid (1003167) | more than 3 years ago | (#34724052)

That website (Journal of Cosmology) is right up there with the worst ever designed.

Can someone explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34724094)

Why is their site hosted on geocities?

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