What is your opinion on a Moon/Mars settlement?

Drathnoxis

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Let's have a discussion about colonizing other planets and satellites in our solar system. In general what do you think about the feasibility, purpose, and usefulness of offworld settlements?
 

Hawki

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In the long term, it's a good idea, but you'd need to start with the moon first, build up infrastructure there, then go to Mars. I doubt many people would actually want to live there, because there's all sorts of things that want to kill you, but if only for the resources available, it's a good idea.

In the short term, it's a terrible idea. We need to sort out a lot of issues on Earth first and keep it habitable, before we start living on other planets. Heck, we could colonize Antarctica, or have deep sea bases, and it would still be more hospitable than trying to live on the moon or Mars.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Well, its one of those things that is conceptually cool and something our species will need to be able to do eventually for our continued survival, but at the moment there is no real way economically to really make it feasible.
 

Elfgore

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No way in hell anything is seriously going to get going for at least another 100+ years, minus unforeseen circumstances that put pressure on it or if there is a breakthrough in AI/robotics so they can build the colonies for us and humans will just come later. I also don't see wide scale space colonization to be a thing until we get some type of infrastructure for it setup, be that a space elevator, skyhook, or something else entirely. I'd like to think that we've learned from history and how many people died due to poor infrastructure when Europe started making colonies on other continents. I'd personally rather not have anyone die for some rushed attempt to do something that right now isn't very useful. Plus, both locations for colonization have an absurd amount of issues that we need to prep for or there will be long term side effects to both the people and colony that I've heard no useful counters for. Building underground is kind of a solution, but people and their stuff will be exposed to dust and radiation on both locations to some degree.

Don't mistake this as nihilism or thinking it's foolish. I think space colonization is the future of humanity and I love learning about it. I recommend people check out Isaac Arthur, he covers some cool topics on futurism. Right now, it's romanticized out the ass by people, when in reality if it's tried right now, it will be dangerous and most likely deadly. We have issues here we need to work on now, save the stars until Earth isn't about to be broiled alive and we have the logistics to make sure there aren't people living in poverty or starving at home.

Heck, we could colonize Antarctica, or have deep sea bases, and it would still be more hospitable than trying to live on the moon or Mars.
I've been led to believe deep sea bases are more difficult than space. That oceanic pressure is insane and any structure built there will be under constant barrage and need maintenance all the time. Those geothermic vents better be worth it. On a more human side, kiss any chance of there being windows goodbye. It will be artificial lighting for as long as someone is down there. Don't know about you, I'd probably go insane.
 

Fieldy409

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It needs to not be hideously expensive and/or the benefits outweigh the cost. That simply isn't the case yet. It costs a fortune to keep these people alive.
 

SupahEwok

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It's not feasible, and there's not really any point to it. You mentioned in another thread that it's good "not to have all our eggs in one basket". But the thing about those particular baskets is that they'll be made out of wicker and dropped into the ocean with a hurricane on. It is vastly more likely for those colonies to have a disaster to wipe them out then it is for Earth to be wiped out. And even if Earth is wiped out and the colonies continue, they won't be going on for long, because it took centuries for New World colonies on Earth to be settled enough to start making major contributions to scientific progress, and it's arguable if these hypothetical colonies in space will ever be able to reach that point.

What is feasible in the future is asteroid mining. The point where automated robotics can do it is within sight, and once we get the hang of it, it'll actually pay for itself, and it will alleviate resource scarcity on Earth (if we can exploit asteroids with minerals and metals difficult to find here). It's also a good step towards colonization, because if we can get the tech down for processing the metals in space, it'll vastly increase our potential for space construction.

But aside from asteroid mining, money and time spent on space colonization is wasted. Resources would be far better focused on researching the development of infrastructure on our own planet for the incoming changes that climate heating will bring upon us.

Another good avenue for research is underwater colonization. Creating underwater colonies presents many of the same challenges as extraterrestial colonization, while being much more accessible and more immediately useful.

Extraterrestial colonization at this point is an overly romantic notion to distract us from our real problems. Colonization in the past of human history was messy and very, very hard. Extraterrestial colonization will be orders of magnitude harder even with advanced technology. Many of the colonies that get sent up will die. Full stop. They will die messily in sealed environment pandemics, oxygen deprivation, starvation-induced cannibalism, and isolation-induced civil war. It's not romantic. It's everything colonies on this world faced and more, minus indigenous peoples' genocide.
 
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Thaluikhain

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As mentioned above, not going to happen any time soon for various reasons.

I've been led to believe deep sea bases are more difficult than space. That oceanic pressure is insane and any structure built there will be under constant barrage and need maintenance all the time. Those geothermic vents better be worth it. On a more human side, kiss any chance of there being windows goodbye. It will be artificial lighting for as long as someone is down there. Don't know about you, I'd probably go insane.
Depends what you mean by "deep", loads more nations can get a working submarine program than a space program. Antarctica would still be easier, though.
 

Elfgore

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Depends what you mean by "deep", loads more nations can get a working submarine program than a space program. Antarctica would still be easier, though.
Oh certainly when it comes to submarines, but submarines have the advantage of coming up for air every now and again. I guess if we're going for close to surface or floating habitats there wouldn't be too much of an issue either. When I mean deep, I'm talking like Rapture from BioShock deep. From my rudimentary knowledge of the ocean, is that not where some of the more valuable materials are located?
 

Dalisclock

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Pretty much on the same page as the rest of the people here. I love Space travel/exploration. I owned Kerbal Space Program since it was in Alpha. There's a lot of cool things we can do with space travel.

But in the short term, saving the Human Race off world isn't feasible. The sheer amount of time and resources needed to get a self sustaining offworld colony up and running is staggering and the risks are really, really high. As I said in the other thread, unlike an accident at sea, there is no rescue possible anywhere beyond Earth Orbit(and even then only because you can hypothetically deorbit and hope you land in a safe spot). You need to have enough people to be able to survive indefinitely in case the earth is totally fucked(and even then you're gonna get a tiny fraction of the population up there) but you also need the resources to keep them alive without any help from earth. That's a huge lift and not one to be taken lightly.

This is not to say we give up on space entirely but we're a LONG way from being able to keep humans alive on another world for more then a couple days/weeks/months(In case of Mars, they'd need to survive for years just to get there and back). The first humans to go to mars will be stuck in a small space with probably a half dozen others for 6 months just getting there. Think people are going nuts right now stuck in thier homes, have fun literally not being able to go outside while stuck in a tin can with 6 co-workers for half a year just for each leg of the journey.

We can keep working tech and techniques but colonization just ain't in the cards unless things have gotten so bad we literally throw everything in a Firefly/Alpha Cenurai-style colony ship and hope not only they not die on the way there, but are able to survive long enough to build a settlement.

In the meantime, we have a biosphere that ain't doing so good and we need to be thinking how to protect the only livable planet we do have. I can only imagine there are some rich people who do love the idea of space colonization if only for the idea of being able flee to their own gated community offworld while the rest of us rot. I can derive some small measure of satisfaction that their riches won't save them either and maybe, just maybe, they're invest in actually preventing ecological disaster if only for their own sake.
 
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Neuromancer

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Right now it's nothing more than a marketing stunt for cheap PR and product selling. Fix the underlying problems of our planet first before looking to the stars. A colony built by a for profit organisation like Tesla is laughable at best, horrifying at worst.
 

Agema

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Let's have a discussion about colonizing other planets and satellites in our solar system. In general what do you think about the feasibility, purpose, and usefulness of offworld settlements?
You mentioned in the previous thread before about "eggs in one basket".

In order to avoid this, any Mars / Moon colony needs to be capable of self-sustaining. This patently isn't going to happen for an incredibly long time. Both Mars and the Moon are fundamentally hostile to human life, and there's little evidence of sufficient resources on either that appear conducive to healthy self-sustenance. In practice, they would need to have the capability to manufacture for themselves everything they might need to continue. Solar panels / nuclear power, food, power, metals, glass... likely stuff like rubber, fabrics, plastics, etc. They need to be able to reasonably acquire water, air, carbon sources that can be turned into food - they can't just keep recycling because they could have no growth and replacement of inevitable losses from accidents, etc. And if the worst happens and the Earth goes belly-up, they need to be able to develop up to get into space again on their own. Otherwise they're just prolonging the inevitable demise of humanity a very modest distance. We really need to get our heads round the idea that for the time being, there's only one basket.

To an extent, setting up colonies would lead to practical understanding and perhaps speed up technologies that would help such colonies achieve self-sustenance. But on the other hand, the prospect of self-sustenance is so distant that we could as easily not bother until we're closer to the time, as I suspect it's a very long way off.
 

Terminal Blue

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As others have said, it's not going to happen within the next century. In fact, in practice I would imagine that the deteriorating situation here on earth will probably occupy so many resources for the next few centuries that people might not get round to it for a very long time.

Right now, we are very firmly at the stage of space exploration, not space colonisation. The technologies we are developing for space exploration are exciting because they may one day allow us to colonise other planets, but we are not even close to being there yet. There are many challenges which need to be solved.

Honestly, I think the biggest and hardest challenge to solve would be to develop some kind of inter-generational thinking or consciousness. We like to think that the Americans "won" the space race, for example, but they didn't. They got to the moon first, and they did so only as a propaganda effort against the Soviets. After the lunar landing, there was no need to make the effort any more. The Soviets, for all the problems with their society, were capable of a kind of bigger picture thinking that I don't think has ever been shown to be possible under capitalism. They put the first space station in orbit. They made space travel cheap and practical to the point that we're still using their technology today.

When people think about going to colonize Mars today, they think of themselves doing it, but that's not going to happen. If we wanted to colonize other parts of the solar system at this point, we would need to spend several generations preparing, putting significant resources and effort into this project spanning many decades, and the material rewards would not be felt for centuries. If we can't manage the kind of collective effort required to reduce carbon emissions for the sake of future generations, how are we supposed to manage the much, much harder effort of laying the groundwork for future generations to colonize space?

I think if there's one ray of hope, and it's a very bittersweet ray of hope, it's that climate change is going to be so destructive that in order to survive people will need to develop a new economic system and a new way of looking at the world in order to come out of it. The fastest way to get to space may well to be to start preparing people to deal with climate change here on earth, because once you have that mentality which is able to think intergenerationally and not just in terms of short-term reward or profit, then people can start to think about space colonisation seriously.
 
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Ravinoff

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The Moon and Mars specifically? Not great places other than for the scientific and mineral value. Space colonization in general? Fuuuuck yes, starting with the Lagrange Point orbital stations proposed in The High Frontier. Use that experience to perfect construction and assembly of large objects in zero-G, and from there you can start building things with a bit more range - nuclear thermal rockets of some kind, most likely. Once you can access the outer solar system reliably using those, start building on Europa and Titan, if we hit it big with geoengineering tech it might even be worth trying to terraform (at least partially) Venus.

Beyond that...well, interstellar really depends on how much we can bend physics, but it's achieveable if you can build a relativistic drive. Anything extrasolar will have to be totally self-sufficient, the lag times beyond the very nearest systems will essentially leave colonists completely isolated from Earth. You'd almost need something like the Warhammer 40k Standard Template Construct for that to work.
 

Thaluikhain

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The Moon and Mars specifically? Not great places other than for the scientific and mineral value. Space colonization in general? Fuuuuck yes, starting with the Lagrange Point orbital stations proposed in The High Frontier. Use that experience to perfect construction and assembly of large objects in zero-G, and from there you can start building things with a bit more range - nuclear thermal rockets of some kind, most likely. Once you can access the outer solar system reliably using those, start building on Europa and Titan, if we hit it big with geoengineering tech it might even be worth trying to terraform (at least partially) Venus.
What, no point trying the Moon or Mars, but we can with Venus? And what are space stations as colonies for? Space stations to allow people to send things further, sure, but that's not really the same as building them to live there.

Beyond that...well, interstellar really depends on how much we can bend physics, but it's achieveable if you can build a relativistic drive. Anything extrasolar will have to be totally self-sufficient, the lag times beyond the very nearest systems will essentially leave colonists completely isolated from Earth. You'd almost need something like the Warhammer 40k Standard Template Construct for that to work.
Depends on how good your flying carpets are. You're essentially talking magic by that point.
 

meiam

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I think if there ever was something that we could call a "goal" for humanity it would be space colonization, so yeah I think we need to seriously start thinking about it.

But most of the technological challenge are not directly related to colonization itself. You'll need a lot of energy, well our solar panel and wind turbine aren't at peak capacity yet, so becoming better at making those would help the future colonization. And if we ever freaking crack fusion that would really help. Same for plenty of stuff, if we get much better at tinkering with DNA we'd be able to make planet that will be better adapted to those condition.
 

Ravinoff

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What, no point trying the Moon or Mars, but we can with Venus? And what are space stations as colonies for? Space stations to allow people to send things further, sure, but that's not really the same as building them to live there.



Depends on how good your flying carpets are. You're essentially talking magic by that point.
Point one: Venus has the enormous advantage of an atmosphere and active geology. Sure, that atmosphere is corrosive and actively hostile, but that's easier to deal with than the wisps around Mars or hard vacuum on the Moon. We're nowhere near the requisite tech level yet, but basically what Venus needs is...remember in Aliens, the Xenomorphs nested in the bottom of a giant atmosphere reprocessor on LV-426? That.

Two: orbital stations do a few things. To start with, they put your workforce for building and working the shipyards and support elements in place so you don't need to fly them in and out regularly. They're a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but would also be a huge symbol of commitment and capability.

Three: I mean yeah, it's not gonna be SOON, but interstellar is the eventual goal. How it'll work really depends on physics beyond what we can predict now, but there's no reason to discount the concept entirely. There's plenty of time to figure that one out once we at least rate on the Kardashev Scale.

And as an aside: without going off into tinfoil hat land, we should keep in mind the possibility of...unexpected discoveries both in our own technological advancement and our exploration of space. I'm not saying I expect someone to make a breakthrough on FTL or reactionless propulsion, or aliens to suddenly show up and welcome us to the Federation, mind you. Put it this way: I don't necessarily believe the theories about things of nonhuman origin in the solar system...but I certainly wouldn't mind a closer look at Cydonia or some of the stranger outer moons and Kuiper Belt objects.
 

Terminal Blue

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And what are space stations as colonies for? Space stations to allow people to send things further, sure, but that's not really the same as building them to live there.
Well, what would a colony on the moon or on mars be for?

Initially, it's going to be for research. You'd be there to perform experiments, test technology and learn about the environment, and there's a lot to be learned in space. Even just a larger microgravity lab which can house people for longer than the ISS would be useful. As space mining takes off, these stations could also become important for manufacturing things which are difficult to make on earth. They'd also be a good place to test how humans react to living in extra-terrestrial environments, different levels of gravity could be simulated through centrifugal force without endangering lives, and living conditions would likely be very similar to those people would encounter on mars or the moon (cramped, utilitarian and not very fun).

Long term, space stations would likely become nice places to live far, far sooner than any terrestrial planet. They could maintain normal gravity, grow their own food and produce their own oxygen, meet most of their own resource needs through space mining, generate huge amounts of clean, free energy and, since there's really no upper limit to the size of a space station beyond the material properties of whatever is used to make it, could ultimately provide space for huge numbers of people to live in comparative luxury, assuming people even spend much time in meatspace at all. I think something science fiction seldom deals with is that by the time it becomes possible to terraform mars or venus, the idea of living on terrestrial planets at all may be starting to look a little quaint and outdated.
 
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PsychedelicDiamond

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It's a pipe dream, held by people who desperately want to believe that if Earth becomes uninhabitable, as it threatens to do in the long run, we'll have a Plan B. Nice thought, but also extremely naive. Thinking we'll be able to establish sustainable, self sufficient settlements on some rock out in space before we get our shit together here on earth? Sounds like coping to me. This planet is where we live and where we always have lived. It's where we are, on a most fundamental level, adapted to living. This planet goes down, we go down. We should see that it doesn't.
 

Gethsemani

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Honestly, I think the biggest and hardest challenge to solve would be to develop some kind of inter-generational thinking or consciousness. We like to think that the Americans "won" the space race, for example, but they didn't. They got to the moon first, and they did so only as a propaganda effort against the Soviets. After the lunar landing, there was no need to make the effort any more. The Soviets, for all the problems with their society, were capable of a kind of bigger picture thinking that I don't think has ever been shown to be possible under capitalism. They put the first space station in orbit. They made space travel cheap and practical to the point that we're still using their technology today.
To be fair, it was not a case of the USSR having some kind of broader perspective, bigger goal or even consistent organizational vision. What happened was that both the USSR and the USA wanted to be the first to exploit space (space bases with nukes!) and the USSR managed to be the first to push pretty much all the milestones. They did the first satellite, the first re-entry, the first animal in space, the first human in space, the first lunar crash, the first unmanned lunar landing and, after the moon landing, the first space station.

The USSR was for all intents and purposes ahead of the USA for most of the space race, but their focus was always on gaining a tangible advantage over the USA and being the nation that had space stations, satellites and the capacity to use them for a variety of purposes was seen as more important than an inconsequential PR stunt. The USA had less of a realpolitik focus with their space missions, seeing it more as a prestige project to show that they were better then the USSR and NASA used this to do a lot of science that the USSR was uninterested in doing. This can be clearly seen in that after Apollo 11 the US kept doing Lunar missions for scientific purposes, while the USSR continued with space stations and satellites, which they hoped would have espionage and military applications. Neither nation was really seeing a bigger picture then the other, rather both had very different perspectives on why the ability to go to space was important.
 

PsychicTaco115

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If we can't set-up colonies on the Moon, we'll just have to nuke it to be safe