Interesting read by sf author - about can we live on Mars?

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a425couple

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Dec 8, 2022, 2:06:38 PM12/8/22
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from
https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars

(Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)

Thriving on Mars
Dust storms, long distances and freezing temperatures make living on
Mars magnificently challenging. How will we do it?

Simon Mordenhas degrees in geology and planetary geophysics, and is the
author of 14 science fiction and fantasy novels. He was awarded the
Philip K Dick award in 2011 for the Petrovitch trilogy. His first
nonfiction book is The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars (2022). He
lives in England.

Edited byNigel Warburton
3,000 words

Can humans live on Mars? The answer is startlingly simple. Can humans
live in Antarctica, where the temperatures regularly fall below -50ºC
(-60ºF) and it’s dark for six months of the year? Can humans live below
the ocean, where pressure rapidly increases with depth to crushing
levels? Can humans live in space, where there’s no air at all?

As the limits of our ingenuity, our materials science and our chemistry
have grown, we’ve gone from being able to tolerate only a narrow band of
conditions to expanding our presence to almost every part of the globe,
and now beyond it. Even the most hostile environment we’ve ever faced –
the vacuum of space – has had a continuous human population for more
than two decades.

So why not Mars? If we can live in Antarctica, if we can live in space,
then surely it’s simply a question of logistics. If we can put enough
materiel on the surface of the Red Planet, then perhaps we can survive –
and even thrive – there.

Ted Nolan <tednolan>

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Dec 8, 2022, 2:18:15 PM12/8/22
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In article <_AqkL.8965$Tcw8...@fx10.iad>,
If Mars had life on it,
I might find my wife on it!
--Brian Wilson
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..

David Brown

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Dec 8, 2022, 2:59:23 PM12/8/22
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I've been posting my own retro future project that presupposes Martian colonization with 1960s-70s tech, which has mostly just shown how overoptimistic "golden age" sci fi was. The core "problem" is really going to be why, which also comes back to a number of questionable assumptions of vintage sci fi. We never had the overpopulation crisis that the 1960s-70s dystopias presupposed, and even at Baby Boom fertility levels, we were never going to simply run out of land. The other argument has been an "insurance policy" against nuclear war or some other disaster at home, which really just ignores the political tensions that managing off-world colonies would create. The last and most sensible proposition is to develop Mars as a logistical center for exploring and exploiting the further solar system. The realistic parameters would probably get no higher than 10-20,000, so not so much the Wild West as an atoll with a lighthouse.

a425couple

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Dec 8, 2022, 4:55:14 PM12/8/22
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On 12/8/22 11:06, a425couple wrote:
On 12/8/22 11:06, a425couple wrote:
> from
>
https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
>
> (Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)
>
> Thriving on Mars
> Dust storms, long distances and freezing temperatures make living on
Mars magnificently challenging. How will we do it?
>
> Can humans live on Mars?

"Burying the astronauts’ base beneath the ground is one
relatively easy solution to this radiation problem. So is
building it inside a cave – volcanic areas of Mars are the
sites of lava tubes that now form huge tunnels, with access
through partial roof collapses."

I've read this often.
How have we verified it? (other than in theory?)

On TV show ? Mars One, it was shown.
Have we with low elevation orbitors spotted
the holes / "partial roof collapses".
We need to send a flying drone into one
and check it out.

a425couple

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Dec 8, 2022, 5:01:17 PM12/8/22
to
On 12/8/22 11:59, David Brown wrote:
> On Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 12:06:38 PM UTC-7, a425couple wrote:
>> from
>> https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
>>
>> (Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)
>>
>> Thriving on Mars
>>
>> Can humans live on Mars?

> I've been posting my own retro future project that presupposes Martian colonization with 1960s-70s tech, which has mostly just shown how overoptimistic "golden age" sci fi was. The core "problem" is really going to be why, which also comes back to a number of questionable assumptions of vintage sci fi.

#1 We never had the overpopulation crisis that the 1960s-70s dystopias
presupposed, and even at Baby Boom fertility levels, we were never going
to simply run out of land.

I agree fully with that.

#2
The other argument has been an "insurance policy" against nuclear war or
some other disaster at home, which really just ignores the political
tensions that managing off-world colonies would create.

Interesting view. I think that if (very unlikely for real
long time) we could create a truly independant colony, then
that would be a nice 'insurance policy'.

#3
The last and most sensible proposition is to develop Mars as a
logistical center for exploring and exploiting the further solar system.
The realistic parameters would probably get no higher than 10-20,000, so
not so much the Wild West as an atoll with a lighthouse.

Yes. Perhaps on Mars, or one of the moons. Or even our moon.


Scott Lurndal

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Dec 8, 2022, 5:01:35 PM12/8/22
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a425couple <a425c...@hotmail.com> writes:
>On 12/8/22 11:06, a425couple wrote:
>On 12/8/22 11:06, a425couple wrote:
> > from
> >
>https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
> >
> > (Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)
> >
> > Thriving on Mars
> > Dust storms, long distances and freezing temperatures make living on
>Mars magnificently challenging. How will we do it?
> >
> > Can humans live on Mars?
>
>"Burying the astronauts’ base beneath the ground is one
>relatively easy solution to this radiation problem. So is
>building it inside a cave – volcanic areas of Mars are the
>sites of lava tubes that now form huge tunnels, with access
>through partial roof collapses."
>
>I've read this often.
>How have we verified it? (other than in theory?)
>

https://www.nasa.gov/chapea/habitat

pete...@gmail.com

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Dec 8, 2022, 11:37:47 PM12/8/22
to
On Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 4:55:14 PM UTC-5, a425couple wrote:
> On 12/8/22 11:06, a425couple wrote:
> On 12/8/22 11:06, a425couple wrote:
> > from
> >
> https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
> >
> > (Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)
> >
> > Thriving on Mars
> > Dust storms, long distances and freezing temperatures make living on
> Mars magnificently challenging. How will we do it?
> >
> > Can humans live on Mars?
> "Burying the astronauts’ base beneath the ground is one
> relatively easy solution to this radiation problem. So is
> building it inside a cave – volcanic areas of Mars are the
> sites of lava tubes that now form huge tunnels, with access
> through partial roof collapses."
>
> I've read this often.
> How have we verified it? (other than in theory?)

Yes.
https://www.space.com/18519-mars-caves-lava-tubes-photos.html

Pt

a425couple

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Dec 9, 2022, 12:35:46 PM12/9/22
to
Thank you Pete.

Thomas Koenig

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Dec 17, 2022, 6:24:16 AM12/17/22
to
a425couple <a425c...@hotmail.com> schrieb:
> from
> https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars

[...]

> Can humans live on Mars? The answer is startlingly simple. Can humans
> live in Antarctica, where the temperatures regularly fall below -50ºC
> (-60ºF) and it’s dark for six months of the year? Can humans live below
> the ocean, where pressure rapidly increases with depth to crushing
> levels? Can humans live in space, where there’s no air at all?

It is possible to live in these places, but you need high tech
to survive, and high tech needs enormously complex supply chains
(see my recent abriged example of an oil-resistant O-ring in
another thread).

Pournelle addressed this once, sort of, in one of his stories,
about independence from Earth for an asteorid colony. (It's been
a few decades since I read the story, and I lost the book, so
details are hazy). He finally had people winding copper wire because
that was identified by the protagonist as the main bottleneck.
Where they got the PVC and plasticisers from, and the extrusion
machinery, to manufacture the cables he didn't specify.

Nice story as far as I remember, but he underestmated the
difficulties by very many orders of magnitude.

See https://xkcd.com/1741/ on a similar topic.

Robert Woodward

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Dec 17, 2022, 12:57:11 PM12/17/22
to
In article <tnk8ss$12pbs$1...@newsreader4.netcologne.de>,
This might be "Spirals" (with Larry Niven), see
<https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?66159>.

--
"We have advanced to new and surprising levels of bafflement."
Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan describes progress in _Komarr_.
—-----------------------------------------------------
Robert Woodward robe...@drizzle.com

Michael F. Stemper

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Dec 17, 2022, 1:25:45 PM12/17/22
to
On 17/12/2022 11.57, Robert Woodward wrote:
> In article <tnk8ss$12pbs$1...@newsreader4.netcologne.de>,
> Thomas Koenig <tko...@netcologne.de> wrote:

>> Pournelle addressed this once, sort of, in one of his stories,
>> about independence from Earth for an asteorid colony. (It's been
>> a few decades since I read the story, and I lost the book, so
>> details are hazy). He finally had people winding copper wire because
>> that was identified by the protagonist as the main bottleneck.
>> Where they got the PVC and plasticisers from, and the extrusion
>> machinery, to manufacture the cables he didn't specify.
>>
>> Nice story as far as I remember, but he underestmated the
>> difficulties by very many orders of magnitude.
>
> This might be "Spirals" (with Larry Niven), see
> <https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?66159>.

I just skimmed it, and couldn't find any mention of winding coils
or anything similar. And it's not set on an asteroid, but in an
O'Neill colony at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point.

--
Michael F. Stemper
The FAQ for rec.arts.sf.written is at
<http://leepers.us/evelyn/faqs/sf-written.htm>
Please read it before posting.

Quadibloc

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Dec 18, 2022, 3:05:45 AM12/18/22
to
On Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 12:18:15 PM UTC-7, Ted Nolan <tednolan> wrote:

> If Mars had life on it,
> I might find my wife on it!
> --Brian Wilson

That does not follow. Life could just mean microbes, and intelligent life
could be completely alien.

I mean, it would be wonderful if Mars were filled with lovely women like
Dejah Thoris, but that's too much to hope for these days; we know enough
about Mars that, with regret, we must cross such a picture off of the list
of possibilities.

John Savard

Quadibloc

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Dec 18, 2022, 3:15:54 AM12/18/22
to
On Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 2:55:14 PM UTC-7, a425couple wrote:

> "Burying the astronauts’ base beneath the ground is one
> relatively easy solution to this radiation problem. So is
> building it inside a cave – volcanic areas of Mars are the
> sites of lava tubes that now form huge tunnels, with access
> through partial roof collapses."
>
> I've read this often.
> How have we verified it? (other than in theory?)

Well, it has been experimentally verified on Earth that
a thick enough layer of rock will attenuate radiation.

Are there convenient caves on Mars? Now, we don't
know _that_ for sure. But we do know that aluminum
foil or even aluminized Mylar can reflect light and is
light in weight, so you could take a large amount with
you to Mars, along with light structural supports.

And we know that there is sunlight available on Mars.

True, we know that if you melt permafrost, you get
goo that is very difficult to work with (something called
muskeg). But not impossible, especially if you only make
a little of it at a time.

So if you send _enough_ equipment to Mars, at vast
expense (but sending equipment to Mars, of course,
is vastly cheaper than sending _people_ there), that
you _could_ make a huge underground base, to which
you could then bring sunlight by means of an arrangement
of mirrors... does not violate any fundamental laws
of physics.

Plant trees, grow algae, and you will manage to set up
an ecology that produces enough oxygen to support a
few humans.

If you can support _enough_ humans to use that equipment
to make *another* underground habitat, you can, if you
wait long enough, have a population on Mars of any desired
size - since both plants and humans reproduce.

John Savard

Quadibloc

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Dec 18, 2022, 3:19:24 AM12/18/22
to
On Sunday, December 18, 2022 at 1:05:45 AM UTC-7, Quadibloc wrote:

> I mean, it would be wonderful if Mars were filled with lovely women like
> Dejah Thoris, but that's too much to hope for these days; we know enough
> about Mars that, with regret, we must cross such a picture off of the list
> of possibilities.

On the other hand, if we could only turn Russia into something like the scene
of _another_ Burroughs story (Beyond Thirty, also known as The Lost Continent)
by holding onto sanctions long enough...

John Savard

Quadibloc

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Dec 18, 2022, 3:28:26 AM12/18/22
to
On Sunday, December 18, 2022 at 1:15:54 AM UTC-7, Quadibloc wrote:

> True, we know that if you melt permafrost, you get
> goo that is very difficult to work with (something called
> muskeg).

Come to think of that, this is only an Earth problem. Earth
has an atmosphere that allows the existence of liquid
water.

Mars, on the other hand, has such a thin atmosphere that
subjecting ice to heat would cause it to sublimate. So
instead of muskeg, concentrating sunlight on permafrost
would create *sand*, which is rather easy to work with.

Dealing with solid rock, though, is still hard, so it
certainly is worthwhile to investigate the openings in Mars'
surface that have been found.

John Savard

Robert Woodward

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Dec 18, 2022, 12:48:31 PM12/18/22
to
In article <tnl1j4$3n6rf$1...@dont-email.me>,
"Michael F. Stemper" <michael...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 17/12/2022 11.57, Robert Woodward wrote:
> > In article <tnk8ss$12pbs$1...@newsreader4.netcologne.de>,
> > Thomas Koenig <tko...@netcologne.de> wrote:
>
> >> Pournelle addressed this once, sort of, in one of his stories,
> >> about independence from Earth for an asteorid colony. (It's been
> >> a few decades since I read the story, and I lost the book, so
> >> details are hazy). He finally had people winding copper wire because
> >> that was identified by the protagonist as the main bottleneck.
> >> Where they got the PVC and plasticisers from, and the extrusion
> >> machinery, to manufacture the cables he didn't specify.
> >>
> >> Nice story as far as I remember, but he underestmated the
> >> difficulties by very many orders of magnitude.
> >
> > This might be "Spirals" (with Larry Niven), see
> > <https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?66159>.
>
> I just skimmed it, and couldn't find any mention of winding coils
> or anything similar. And it's not set on an asteroid, but in an
> O'Neill colony at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point.

Which went voyaging to the asteroid belt. The protagonist was planning
to use copper wire (assuming they could find copper) to make big
electromagnets to use to fling cargos back towards Earth (of course,
somebody had to build catchers of some sort in Earth orbit).

Michael F. Stemper

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Dec 19, 2022, 10:37:36 AM12/19/22
to
On 18/12/2022 11.48, Robert Woodward wrote:
> In article <tnl1j4$3n6rf$1...@dont-email.me>,
> "Michael F. Stemper" <michael...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On 17/12/2022 11.57, Robert Woodward wrote:

>>> This might be "Spirals" (with Larry Niven), see
>>> <https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?66159>.
>>
>> I just skimmed it, and couldn't find any mention of winding coils
>> or anything similar. And it's not set on an asteroid, but in an
>> O'Neill colony at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point.
>
> Which went voyaging to the asteroid belt. The protagonist was planning
> to use copper wire (assuming they could find copper) to make big
> electromagnets to use to fling cargos back towards Earth (of course,
> somebody had to build catchers of some sort in Earth orbit).

Okay. Can I change the meaning of "I just skimmed it" from "I skimmed it
very recently" to "I only skimmed it"? If not, I'd like to buy a vowel.

--
Michael F. Stemper
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

The Horny Goat

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Dec 29, 2022, 10:21:39 PM12/29/22
to
On Thu, 8 Dec 2022 11:06:34 -0800, a425couple <a425c...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>from
>https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
>
>(Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)
>
>Thriving on Mars
>Dust storms, long distances and freezing temperatures make living on
>Mars magnificently challenging. How will we do it?

Thanks for the link - it was an interesting read.

However the story is factually correct in saying Nixon had a speech
for Apollo 11 failure in his desk - he actually had TWO speeches
prepared.

#1 was for an in flight accident or a crash on the Moon.

#2 was for a descent where landing was made at too high a speed to
allow for a sucessful take off from the Moon to return home, thereby
fatallying stranding Armstrong and Aldrin - the idea being that
politically Nixon couldn't turn off the video but at the same time
America would go nuts seeing two astronauts die from asphyxiation (or
other cause) on national TV.

https://www.archives.gov/files/presidential-libraries/events/centennials/nixon/images/exhibit/rn100-6-1-2.pdf

https://www.space.com/26604-apollo-11-failure-nixon-speech.html

As you can see - related but different. And bear in mind this was in
the Nixon era BEFORE Watergate when the presidency had a lot more
credibility than subsequently.

It's not really surprising - Eisenhower had an alternative text for
his D-Day speech where the troops failed to gain a foothold and were
withdrawn.

Paul S Person

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Dec 30, 2022, 12:41:15 PM12/30/22
to
On Thu, 29 Dec 2022 19:21:34 -0800, The Horny Goat <lcr...@home.ca>
wrote:

>On Thu, 8 Dec 2022 11:06:34 -0800, a425couple <a425c...@hotmail.com>
>wrote:
>
>>from
>>https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
>>
>>(Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)
>>
>>Thriving on Mars
>>Dust storms, long distances and freezing temperatures make living on
>>Mars magnificently challenging. How will we do it?
>
>Thanks for the link - it was an interesting read.
>
>However the story is factually correct in saying Nixon had a speech
>for Apollo 11 failure in his desk - he actually had TWO speeches
>prepared.
>
>#1 was for an in flight accident or a crash on the Moon.
>
>#2 was for a descent where landing was made at too high a speed to
>allow for a sucessful take off from the Moon to return home, thereby
>fatallying stranding Armstrong and Aldrin - the idea being that
>politically Nixon couldn't turn off the video but at the same time
>America would go nuts seeing two astronauts die from asphyxiation (or
>other cause) on national TV.
>
>https://www.archives.gov/files/presidential-libraries/events/centennials/nixon/images/exhibit/rn100-6-1-2.pdf
>
>https://www.space.com/26604-apollo-11-failure-nixon-speech.html
>
>As you can see - related but different. And bear in mind this was in
>the Nixon era BEFORE Watergate when the presidency had a lot more
>credibility than subsequently.

I once saw /Moonwalkers/ [https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2718440], a
film about a CIA agent sent to England to bribe (hire) Stanley Kubrik
to provide a live fake Moon landing in case something went wrong.

It was very funny.

Oh, and Rupert Grint is in it.

>It's not really surprising - Eisenhower had an alternative text for
>his D-Day speech where the troops failed to gain a foothold and were
>withdrawn.

This is fairly common among politicians. And, which Ike was in the
Army at the time, his job was /very/ political.

Most /sane/ candidates probably have two speeches to choose from after
the election -- one for victory and one for defeat.
--
"In this connexion, unquestionably the most significant
development was the disintegration, under Christian
influence, of classical conceptions of the family and
of family right."

Thomas Koenig

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Dec 30, 2022, 3:37:09 PM12/30/22
to
Quadibloc <jsa...@ecn.ab.ca> schrieb:
> On Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 2:55:14 PM UTC-7, a425couple wrote:
>
>> "Burying the astronauts’ base beneath the ground is one
>> relatively easy solution to this radiation problem. So is
>> building it inside a cave – volcanic areas of Mars are the
>> sites of lava tubes that now form huge tunnels, with access
>> through partial roof collapses."
>>
>> I've read this often.
>> How have we verified it? (other than in theory?)
>
> Well, it has been experimentally verified on Earth that
> a thick enough layer of rock will attenuate radiation.
>
> Are there convenient caves on Mars? Now, we don't
> know _that_ for sure. But we do know that aluminum
> foil or even aluminized Mylar can reflect light and is
> light in weight, so you could take a large amount with
> you to Mars, along with light structural supports.
>
> And we know that there is sunlight available on Mars.

Unless you're in the middle of a dust storm, then it gets _very_
dark, _very_ long.

See the dust storm in 2018 that affected Opportunity, it went up
to tau=10.8, that is exp(-10.8) of sunlight reached the surface, or
around 1/50000, or 0.002%.

Thomas Koenig

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Dec 30, 2022, 3:38:53 PM12/30/22
to
The Horny Goat <lcr...@home.ca> schrieb:
> On Thu, 8 Dec 2022 11:06:34 -0800, a425couple <a425c...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>>from
>>https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
>>
>>(Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)
>>
>>Thriving on Mars
>>Dust storms, long distances and freezing temperatures make living on
>>Mars magnificently challenging. How will we do it?
>
> Thanks for the link - it was an interesting read.
>
> However the story is factually correct in saying Nixon had a speech
> for Apollo 11 failure in his desk - he actually had TWO speeches
> prepared.

Plus a few more, as revealed by xkcd:

https://xkcd.com/1484/

-dsr-

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Jan 2, 2023, 7:52:07 PMJan 2
to
On 2022-12-08, David Brown <davidn...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 12:06:38 PM UTC-7, a425couple wrote:
>> from
>> https://aeon.co/essays/what-dangers-must-we-overcome-before-we-can-live-on-mars
>>
>> (Best to go to the above citation to see the pictures and videos.)

> I've been posting my own retro future project that presupposes Martian colonization with 1960s-70s tech, which has mostly just shown how overoptimistic "golden age" sci fi was. The core "problem" is really going to be why, which also comes back to a number of questionable assumptions of vintage sci fi. We never had the overpopulation crisis that the 1960s-70s dystopias presupposed, and even at Baby Boom fertility levels, we were never going to simply run out of land. The other argument has been an "insurance policy" against nuclear war or some other disaster at home, which really just ignores the political tensions that managing off-world colonies would create. The last and most sensible proposition is to develop Mars as a logistical center for exploring and exploiting the further solar system. The realistic parameters would probably get no higher than 10-20,000, so not so much the Wild West as an atoll with a lighthouse.


You're going to be interested in this series of essays (first one is now
posted):

https://idlewords.com/2023/1/why_not_mars.htm

First paragraph:

The goal of this essay is to persuade you that we shouldn’t send human beings to
Mars, at least not anytime soon. Landing on Mars with existing technology would
be a destructive, wasteful stunt whose only legacy would be to ruin the greatest
natural history experiment in the Solar System. It would no more open a new era
of spaceflight than a Phoenician sailor crossing the Atlantic in 500 B.C. would
have opened up the New World. And it wouldn’t even be that much fun.

-dsr-
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