What is your opinion on a Moon/Mars settlement?

EvilRoy

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While I agree with the "fix our own species' shit ASAP", I do think it's a good idea to not keep our eggs in one basket. For multiple reasons, both human-made, and natural, things could end up fatal for all of us on this planet. Having a second location for humanity, that is self-sustaining and thriving, is just good practice on a species level, in my opinion. Plus, the technologies we develop to facilitate that colony, will very likely be able to be applied here to improve our lives on various levels.
I see where you're coming from, but as much as I agree betting your life savings on one horse and praying isn't smart, I also don't feel great about hedging that bet by throwing money on other horses that seem just as likely to explode on the racetrack. If we are to pursue colonies on other planets I want them to have the best chances possible to succeed, and I don't feel we would be setting them up for victory by sending them off as things currently are.
 

Drathnoxis

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I don't understand why so many people seem to feel that colonizing other planets is somehow mutually exclusive with reducing greenhouse gasses. There are a a lot of humans on the planet, surely we can spare the manpower and resources to pursue both options. And why is space travel the line everybody immediately brings up? I don't really see the connection exactly. It's not like we can ruin the atmosphere of Mars, it's a desolate rock, it's already ruined. I'm actually really surprised by the unified response on that front, like, where does this idea come from that so many people have the same response?
 

Thaluikhain

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I don't understand why so many people seem to feel that colonizing other planets is somehow mutually exclusive with reducing greenhouse gasses.
Well, a lot of people feel that colonising other planets is somehow an alternative to worrying about our own environment, and this issue can drown out serious discussion.
 

happyninja42

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I see where you're coming from, but as much as I agree betting your life savings on one horse and praying isn't smart, I also don't feel great about hedging that bet by throwing money on other horses that seem just as likely to explode on the racetrack. If we are to pursue colonies on other planets I want them to have the best chances possible to succeed, and I don't feel we would be setting them up for victory by sending them off as things currently are.
The sad fact is that we can't learn how to do things properly, until we fuck them up a lot. The space program is a shining example of that. I mean it's not like we're just running out there with duct tape and a slingshot and hurling people to the planet and shouting "good luck!" people have been working on the details of this for decades, in some form or another. Every probe mission expands our knowledge base, and alters the plan. Sure it will be risky, perhaps even entirely a bust on the first few tries, but that's how progress is. We will NEVER get it 100% right while we sit here, theorizing all of it. All we can do, is what we've always done as a species. Make as many educated plans as we can, build as many failsafes and contingencies as possible, and then see what happens, and learn from that, and improve.

Besides the missions are many years away at best, and invariably there will be setbacks that will push timelines further away. While that's happening, people will be working to improve what they can.
 

Drathnoxis

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Well, a lot of people feel that colonising other planets is somehow an alternative to worrying about our own environment, and this issue can drown out serious discussion.
That doesn't even make sense to me. We aren't sending 7 billion people to the Moon or Mars. I'd consider it a success if we could have 100 people living sustainably off-world.

If people want to blame things for being an alternative to worrying about our own environment they should look at the entertainment industry. You don't have to worry about anything when you can endlessly distract yourself with fiction.
 

Terminal Blue

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I don't understand why so many people seem to feel that colonizing other planets is somehow mutually exclusive with reducing greenhouse gasses. There are a a lot of humans on the planet, surely we can spare the manpower and resources to pursue both options. And why is space travel the line everybody immediately brings up? I don't really see the connection exactly. It's not like we can ruin the atmosphere of Mars, it's a desolate rock, it's already ruined. I'm actually really surprised by the unified response on that front, like, where does this idea come from that so many people have the same response?
Basically, one of these options is astronomically (literally astronomically) harder than the other, and there are vastly, vastly more lives at stake in the easier one.

Other planets in the solar system are uninhabitable. Even Mars, which is a comparatively nice planet, is a barren frozen desert of poisonous dust with an atmosphere so thin it may as well not exist for our purposes and has no oxygen for us to breathe even if it was dense enough, not to mention all the radiation and gravity and all the other hazards. To survive on mars, we would need to survive in an environment that is so inimically hostile to human life that exposure to it will kill you in a couple of minutes max. Imagine trying to build a city on the south pole. Building a city on mars would be infinitely harder. This whole idea that moving people to Mars could reduce the human impact on earth's climate doesn't even work, Earth has hundreds of cities. Even if you could build a city on Mars, which is about as difficult as anything we could possibly imagine doing at this point, it wouldn't really change the situation on earth at all.

Earth's climate is in a bad and deteriorating situation, but even in the worst case scenario earth is a relatively hospitable planet. It has liquid water, it has air pressure and gravity we are adapted to living in, the soil isn't full of chlorine and other toxins and is suitable for growing plants in. Figuring out solutions to the problems on earth (the most imporant of which we already know but are just dicking around on implementing because capitalism is a great system that works) is infinitely, infinitely easier than trying to settle other planets. It's a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost and effort and will save millions (if not billions) of human lives.
 

Thaluikhain

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That doesn't even make sense to me. We aren't sending 7 billion people to the Moon or Mars. I'd consider it a success if we could have 100 people living sustainably off-world.
Just yesterday in this thread a poster was talking about off-world settlement solving Earth's overpopulation problem, and they are hardly unknown in that viewpoint.

But, ok, if you just want to set up a base of 100 people, fair enough. I'd myself start on something easier, like a settlement on the sea floor, first.
 

happyninja42

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Just yesterday in this thread a poster was talking about off-world settlement solving Earth's overpopulation problem, and they are hardly unknown in that viewpoint.

But, ok, if you just want to set up a base of 100 people, fair enough. I'd myself start on something easier, like a settlement on the sea floor, first.
I don't think making a human colony anywhere else in the system would solve our overpopulation problems. That's like saying because one city has implemented policies that have actually lowered their birth rate to the negative scale, means the rest of the planet is ok to keep boinking at the regular pace. It makes no sense.

My desire for a colony elsewhere is simply down to the "not all your eggs in one basket" mentality. We still need to fix our own shit here, and I don't think both of those things are mutually exclusive. I mean, we've got a LOT of us on this planet as you know :p Plenty of people can work on the whole "fixing our own shit" problem, and some can work on "make a backup pocket of us somewhere else" thing as a side gig. Which is pretty much what's going on. I mean it's not like the entire human endeavor, globally, is focused on the mars colony project. It's a fraction of a fraction of a % of people, globally speaking
 

Thaluikhain

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My desire for a colony elsewhere is simply down to the "not all your eggs in one basket" mentality. We still need to fix our own shit here, and I don't think both of those things are mutually exclusive. I mean, we've got a LOT of us on this planet as you know :p Plenty of people can work on the whole "fixing our own shit" problem, and some can work on "make a backup pocket of us somewhere else" thing as a side gig. Which is pretty much what's going on. I mean it's not like the entire human endeavor, globally, is focused on the mars colony project. It's a fraction of a fraction of a % of people, globally speaking
Well, making a back up colony, presumably that can be totally independent of Earth (or at least be able to repopulate the Earth is everyone there dies like the plans of certain Bond villains and the like) is a bit more ambitious than a settlement of 100 or so.

Personally, I think the reason to settle on Mars is because it's there. Didn't benefit anyone to climb Everest or be the first to reach the South Pole (well, excepting our society made them heroes, which is no small thing), but that's not a reason to do it.
 

happyninja42

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Well, making a back up colony, presumably that can be totally independent of Earth (or at least be able to repopulate the Earth is everyone there dies like the plans of certain Bond villains and the like) is a bit more ambitious than a settlement of 100 or so.
Yes...yes it is, but it's the ultimate goal in my opinion for any attempt to colonize any new location. To establish a human settlement, that will, in theory, grow and expand to some degree over time. It might not start at that point, but any colony will have to consider procreation, otherwise it's not really a colony. It's just an outpost with a very limited duration. So, might as well work towards a colony that is, ultimately, able to be viable on it's own, with enough genetic diversity to prevent any birth defects, and capable of sustaining itself, in the event of a massive fuckup here. I'm not saying start there, start small, make sure we have the tech right, adjust for the inevitable unforeseen hurdles that will happen, and improve on Colony 2.0, and then 3.0. Yes it is more ambitious, but, I mean the entire endeavor is ambitious as hell. That's never stopped us before, long term.

Personally, I think the reason to settle on Mars is because it's there. Didn't benefit anyone to climb Everest or be the first to reach the South Pole (well, excepting our society made them heroes, which is no small thing), but that's not a reason to do it.
...I'm confused by this statement? Maybe it's a typo, but it seems like you contradict your first reason for doing it at all, with your last statement. You say you think the reason is "because it's there" Are you saying this is your theory on just why we are doing it? And that you don't agree that this is a valid reason to use the resources/time to accomplish it?

And regarding the comparison to Everest, while I agree, at this point it's mostly just thrill seekers, I do think there are things we've learned from the attempts. We learned what happens to the human body at extreme altitudes for long periods of time, and developed technologies to help address those problems. We've improved survival equipment as well, which is not a bad thing. The endeavor to get to Mars however, has already provided vast amounts of benefit to us, both from an engineering standpoint, and just pure, raw data about the universe. And those new developments, can very often be utilized in every day life to some degree. So it's not just tossing money into the void with zero benefit as a whole. The software and hardware developed to maximize rover capabilities have pushed technological understanding significantly, as well as communication equipment to transmit information over such a vast distance. Lot's of benefits
 

Drathnoxis

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Basically, one of these options is astronomically (literally astronomically) harder than the other, and there are vastly, vastly more lives at stake in the easier one.
Yes, it is harder, but that doesn't change that fact that it's a false dichotomy. You didn't give any reason that we can't do both.
Other planets in the solar system are uninhabitable. Even Mars, which is a comparatively nice planet, is a barren frozen desert of poisonous dust with an atmosphere so thin it may as well not exist for our purposes and has no oxygen for us to breathe even if it was dense enough, not to mention all the radiation and gravity and all the other hazards. To survive on mars, we would need to survive in an environment that is so inimically hostile to human life that exposure to it will kill you in a couple of minutes max. Imagine trying to build a city on the south pole. Building a city on mars would be infinitely harder. This whole idea that moving people to Mars could reduce the human impact on earth's climate doesn't even work, Earth has hundreds of cities. Even if you could build a city on Mars, which is about as difficult as anything we could possibly imagine doing at this point, it wouldn't really change the situation on earth at all.
Exactly. If it's not a solution to climate change, why are you viewing it as a possible solution to climate change?

Earth's climate is in a bad and deteriorating situation, but even in the worst case scenario earth is a relatively hospitable planet. It has liquid water, it has air pressure and gravity we are adapted to living in, the soil isn't full of chlorine and other toxins and is suitable for growing plants in. Figuring out solutions to the problems on earth (the most imporant of which we already know but are just dicking around on implementing because capitalism is a great system that works) is infinitely, infinitely easier than trying to settle other planets. It's a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost and effort and will save millions (if not billions) of human lives.
This dichotomy is like saying that we shouldn't work on improving VR until the mess that is mobile gaming is cleaned up. The two things don't really have too much in common.
 

Drathnoxis

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Well, making a back up colony, presumably that can be totally independent of Earth (or at least be able to repopulate the Earth is everyone there dies like the plans of certain Bond villains and the like) is a bit more ambitious than a settlement of 100 or so.

Personally, I think the reason to settle on Mars is because it's there. Didn't benefit anyone to climb Everest or be the first to reach the South Pole (well, excepting our society made them heroes, which is no small thing), but that's not a reason to do it.
There's likely a lot of valuable resources on Mars that would be worthwhile to take advantage of. Elements that are rare on Earth are possibly in greater supply on Mars and you don't have to worry about environmental damage during the excavation.
 

happyninja42

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Exactly. If it's not a solution to climate change, why are you viewing it as a possible solution to climate change?
I don't think anyone (a few posters in this thread aside) ARE viewing it as a solution to climate change? I mean I've certainly never heard anyone express that as why. It seems more likely that, if it's at all associated with the topic of climate change it's the "emergency life raft" idea, that I mentioned. Assuming we don't get our shit together to fix climate change, it's the "well, it's all fucked here, at least Mars is viable and a pocket of humanity will survive." But, mostly I've not seen anyone seriously pushing it as an "answer" to climate change.

Now, that being said, I think it's entirely plausible, that the research into sustaining a human colony on Mars, might help us find ways to tackle climate change here. From atmospheric scrubbing technology, water and waste recyling/alternate uses technologies could help areas with high pollution perhaps. Treatments for soils no longer viable for crops might benefit. Any number of things. I mean theoretically, every aspect of an ecosystem will have to be replicated and improved, to sustain a colony long term, and all of those fields, would very likely have application to our own ecosystem here, assuming it's feasible to scale them up.
 

Drathnoxis

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I don't think anyone (a few posters in this thread aside) ARE viewing it as a solution to climate change? I mean I've certainly never heard anyone express that as why. It seems more likely that, if it's at all associated with the topic of climate change it's the "emergency life raft" idea, that I mentioned. Assuming we don't get our shit together to fix climate change, it's the "well, it's all fucked here, at least Mars is viable and a pocket of humanity will survive." But, mostly I've not seen anyone seriously pushing it as an "answer" to climate change.

Now, that being said, I think it's entirely plausible, that the research into sustaining a human colony on Mars, might help us find ways to tackle climate change here. From atmospheric scrubbing technology, water and waste recyling/alternate uses technologies could help areas with high pollution perhaps. Treatments for soils no longer viable for crops might benefit. Any number of things. I mean theoretically, every aspect of an ecosystem will have to be replicated and improved, to sustain a colony long term, and all of those fields, would very likely have application to our own ecosystem here, assuming it's feasible to scale them up.
I don't think you can do any of that on Mars. Mars isn't capable of sustaining an atmosphere because it doesn't have a magnetic field so any atmosphere you try to build will be stripped away by the solar wind. You also aren't treating the soil because Mars doesn't have soil, it has sand. Soil is created by organic life. It would help us achieve more reliable recycling technologies for water and air and such for use in the case that Earth is no longer habitable and we all need to live in bubbles, but that's about it.
 

happyninja42

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I don't think you can do any of that on Mars. Mars isn't capable of sustaining an atmosphere because it doesn't have a magnetic field so any atmosphere you try to build will be stripped away by the solar wind. You also aren't treating the soil because Mars doesn't have soil, it has sand. Soil is created by organic life. It would help us achieve more reliable recycling technologies for water and air and such for use in the case that Earth is no longer habitable and we all need to live in bubbles, but that's about it.
There's no reason a colony can't be sustained indoors. That will in fact, be how we try and do it for centuries, if not indefinitely.
 

Thaluikhain

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Yes...yes it is, but it's the ultimate goal in my opinion for any attempt to colonize any new location. To establish a human settlement, that will, in theory, grow and expand to some degree over time. It might not start at that point, but any colony will have to consider procreation, otherwise it's not really a colony. It's just an outpost with a very limited duration. So, might as well work towards a colony that is, ultimately, able to be viable on it's own, with enough genetic diversity to prevent any birth defects, and capable of sustaining itself, in the event of a massive fuckup here. I'm not saying start there, start small, make sure we have the tech right, adjust for the inevitable unforeseen hurdles that will happen, and improve on Colony 2.0, and then 3.0. Yes it is more ambitious, but, I mean the entire endeavor is ambitious as hell. That's never stopped us before, long term.
Fair enough.

...I'm confused by this statement? Maybe it's a typo, but it seems like you contradict your first reason for doing it at all, with your last statement. You say you think the reason is "because it's there" Are you saying this is your theory on just why we are doing it? And that you don't agree that this is a valid reason to use the resources/time to accomplish it?
I mean that it'd be totally awesome to have a settlement on Mars, and that's a good reason to do it. Awesome in the most literal sense, people have looked up at that red dot in the sky that moved relative to the white dots for thousands of years, it's been visible for all of human existence and long before that. To actually have people living there is a worthwhile goal.

My issue is with people that come up with convoluted reasons for doing so. Settling Mars isn't going to solve this or that, and I'm not sure how many people claiming it will truly believe that, they are just justifying a desire for something with little tangible benefit. It would, IMHO, have a great intangible benefit.

And regarding the comparison to Everest, while I agree, at this point it's mostly just thrill seekers, I do think there are things we've learned from the attempts. We learned what happens to the human body at extreme altitudes for long periods of time, and developed technologies to help address those problems. We've improved survival equipment as well, which is not a bad thing. The endeavor to get to Mars however, has already provided vast amounts of benefit to us, both from an engineering standpoint, and just pure, raw data about the universe. And those new developments, can very often be utilized in every day life to some degree. So it's not just tossing money into the void with zero benefit as a whole. The software and hardware developed to maximize rover capabilities have pushed technological understanding significantly, as well as communication equipment to transmit information over such a vast distance. Lot's of benefits
Well, lots of benefits compared to sitting around doing nothing, but embarking on any great endeavour is going to be a learning experience. To take a frivolous example, build a mile high statue of me that shoots champagne out of its ears and the people involved will have to learn all sorts of things, that doesn't mean it's the best use of their time and resources.

Again, not to say that I'm against settling Mars, just I think the benefits are exaggerated.
 

immortalfrieza

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We get to grow and expand, using as many resources as we can choking out other life wherever we find it, until the universe is no longer capable of sustaining life. Like a plague. Self explanatory, really.

On topic, I think it would probably not be feasible until we can do one of two things, preferably both.

1. Alter humanity to be more adaptable and versatile in order to be able to handle alien environments better, while by necessity ensuring that we would not damage our ability to survive on Earth in the process. For instance, even just modifying the human body to be able to survive off of primarily breathing something other than oxygen, like say nitrogen or even just something with oxygen in it like carbon monoxide would open lots and lots of options for worlds for humanity to live upon. We'd probably start with plants and animals first long before we'd do anything to ourselves, which would mean the life we bring with us would be much more adapted and rigourously tested than we ourselves would be. The main problem with colonizing moons and planets is that humanity simply isn't designed by evolution to survive in those locations, which makes space in general very hostile to humanity. The more ability we have to survive in other environments the less hostile space gets and the easier anything we'd have to build to survive on other planets sustainably would be.

2. Terraforming planets. Not only is any development of technology to do this going to help our own climate change problem, it would be in many ways much easier than addressing climate change itself. The main reason why we can't just solve climate change is that for every 1 person on the planet who wants to do something about it, there's literally 10,000 more who don't know, don't care, or simply can't do anything about it. We could easily fix climate change were it not for the fact that there are far more people who don't give a crap than those who do and as such undermine any efforts made.

The other issue is how complicated the whole Earth's ecosystem is. Anything we try to do to stop climate change could have innumerable consequences down the line that we can't possibly forsee due to literally billions upon billions of different factors.

On the other hand, any attempt to terraform a planet would have to be meticulously planned and all involved would be working towards the same goal. It's a lot easier to accomplish something when everybody is all trying to do the same thing. As complicated as it still would be, it would be a lot simpler to build and maintain a planet that we built from the ground up and thus know how everything we put there is supposed to function.

Combine these two to make life that can survive better in harsher environments and terraforming to make the planet less hostile to life in general and you've got what we need to make space colonization possible.
 
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