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Old 29th November 2018, 01:40 PM   #121
theprestige
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
How would those things be prevented and stopped if they happened? On earth we have police forces and punishment/prisons. But we already have inherent problems with corruption and bad cops. It seems to be a problem with common human nature. People with no criminal record will sometimes suddenly commit a criminal act.

If this is somehow solvable with a Mars colony (or even the spaceships going to/from) then whatever methods are to be used ought to be used right now on earth.
One thing I alluded to earlier is that we have enough surplus people on Earth to breed at better than replacement rate, without having to resort to draconian measures to ensure that happens.

Upthread, JoeMorgue posits a minimum number of 160 people, just to ensure sufficient genetic variation.

But you can't just put 80 men and 80 women in a biodome together and expect them to all start breeding like rabbits. What if Alice Admin isn't attracted to Bob Biologist? She'd rather have Carl Chemist's babies. But Carl is gay. He and Deepak Doctor are going to adopt Eric and Fran's baby, because they don't mind breeding but hate the thought of actually parenting. Meanwhile, Gail and Hannah have both decided they'd rather share John, then each pair off with a different mate. And Karen doesn't mind sleeping around - just not with Bob. Then there's Lewis and Mona, who both prefer not to get involved in the whole Tab A into Slot B thing at all. Etc. On Earth, these personal variances are easily solved by having plenty of other fish in the sea.

But when all you have are those 160 people... What then? Seems like the only way to ensure that humanity grows in number would be to institute a strict rota of impregnation, without regard to personal choice or preference in partners. And that doesn't seem like a good recipe for good neighbors and a productive community.
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Old 29th November 2018, 01:45 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Fair enough. I'll stop badgering you to support the proposal.


Then it seems like you probably don't have anything novel or interesting to say to me on the subject. Especially considering that it's not even a proposal you care to support.

Is it the case that everyone involved in the conversation has to have a definite position?

Obviously, colonising Mars would be cool, but is it a good idea? I don't know. Indulging in a conversation with people with knowledge of and views on the subject is, I think, a good way to arrive at a position.

YMMV.
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Old 29th November 2018, 01:50 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Mercury and the Gas Giant, not even worth considering at this point.
I don't know. The poles of Mercury are fairly cool. Low solar flux on the ground because of the angle, but you could still get a lot of solar power from a vertically positioned solar panel. Certainly a lot better option than Venus.
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:02 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
But when all you have are those 160 people... What then? Seems like the only way to ensure that humanity grows in number would be to institute a strict rota of impregnation, without regard to personal choice or preference in partners. And that doesn't seem like a good recipe for good neighbors and a productive community.
That sounds like an erotic fantasy. "Kevin, you are under direct orders to have sex with Maggie until she becomes pregnant." And Maggie is the hottest chick in the colony.
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:05 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
That sounds like an erotic fantasy. "Kevin, you are under direct orders to have sex with Maggie until she becomes pregnant." And Maggie is the hottest chick in the colony.
It sounds more like a brutal dystopia to me.
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:07 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It sounds more like a brutal dystopia to me.
It would be boner material if published as a short story in Penthouse or Playboy.
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:09 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
That sounds like an erotic fantasy.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It sounds more like a brutal dystopia to me.
You say that like it can't be both.
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:12 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
You say that like it can't be both.
The eroticism would be heightened if the "Sex Police" who give the brutish orders are a team of hottie babes.
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:18 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
You say that like it can't be both.
I mean, it *can* be both. But this new development in thread, in place of the oft-requested concrete details about a practical plan, heighten my perception that nobody actually has a serious proposal to colonize Mars at this time: Just a romantic (or sometimes sexual) fantasy (or sometimes fetish) about colonizing Mars. That's a program I can certainly support, but it doesn't seem to do much to advance the stated (and presumably Super Serious) goal of ensuring the survival of the human race.

I could be wrong, though. Do we have any real-world Handmaid's Tale type societies we can learn from? How good are they at maintaining or growing their population?

Maybe that's one of the enabling technologies the Romantic Survivalists should be working on: The necessary cultural revolution to ensure a small population of enthusiastically DTF breeders. Or at least a population of fertile and compliant Offreds.

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Old 29th November 2018, 02:26 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Who said that? It sure is possible to "fix" the atmosphere. It's just really hard. Terraforming is not crazy. It's just very difficult, technically.
Not really as difficult as you suppose. And the technology is well proven too, since agricultural technologies may be some of the oldest technologies we possess. They are constantly upgraded too.

What lacks in some cases is the business models to integrate into all economies of the World from the most primitive to the most modern. How to make it profitable enough to actually motivate enough people to actually accomplish the task is and always was the sticking point.

So to fix that for you, "Terraforming is not crazy. It's just very difficult, economically."

I think I may have a way that fits the bill. I have been working on it a long time. But I haven't even managed to raise the start-up funds for the first proof of concept prototype. So it sits.

I think you'll find many similar just sitting waiting...
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:43 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And I don't think we'd lose very much of the advances at all. Most of them would be right where we left them when we bunkered up.
And 'bunkering up' is exactly how our distant mammalian ancestors survived, it is said, the Chicxulub event. They were burrowing mammals. So burrow, and I'm certain we can take plenty of what we need and recover some of the rest later. Knowledge will not be lost. Pre-burrow; it's a breeze to dig holes in high places way beyond any tsunami's reach. Well, it's certainly a breeze compared to colonising Mars.

Oh, and fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and a host of invertebrates also survived Chicxulub (or whatever actually caused that 'extinction event') .
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Old 29th November 2018, 02:58 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
The eroticism would be heightened if the "Sex Police" who give the brutish orders are a team of hottie babes.

Way ahead of you as always, Parcher.

Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
A hot site, eh? Yes, I like where you're going with this, Joe. I think something like a 3D Planet of the Lingerie Wearing, Men Enslaving, Amazons should fill the bill nicely. Not a replacement for the Earth, certainly ... but definitely a ready spare...
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Old 29th November 2018, 03:20 PM   #133
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I wouldn't want to go start a colony on Mars. It's too far from home and my family and friends wouldn't be there with me.

Maybe the only people who would go would be found to have some form of mental illness. It isn't the same as moving to a different part of earth. It's antisocial behavior to go to Mars forever even if it's with 160 people. If it happens then I think that those people ought to live with each other for about 20 years first. Or something like that.
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Old 29th November 2018, 03:20 PM   #134
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The "all our eggs in one basket" argument has always struck me as strange. Instead of doing that, we should take one of the eggs and precariously balance it at the edge of a windy cliff?

Nah. Eggs suck for that job; they're way too fragile. We should be sending vegan egg replacement instead (but vegan egg replacement isn't very good yet, so we should probably wait a generation or two before bothering with that).
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Old 29th November 2018, 03:26 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
I wouldn't want to go start a colony on Mars. It's too far from home and my family and friends wouldn't be there with me.

Maybe the only people who would go would be found to have some form of mental illness. It isn't the same as moving to a different part of earth. It's antisocial behavior to go to Mars forever even if it's with 160 people. If it happens then I think that those people ought to live with each other for about 20 years first. Or something like that.
"Homeworld dysphoria." Best treated by surgically altering people to suffer less on Mars, and treating them as if Mars really is their home planet. Oh, and also sending them to Mars.
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Old 29th November 2018, 03:28 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Way ahead of you as always, Parcher.
I am haunted by your presence in my fossa.
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Old 29th November 2018, 03:32 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
"Homeworld dysphoria." Best treated by surgically altering people to suffer less on Mars, and treating them as if Mars really is their home planet. Oh, and also sending them to Mars.
Giving them Mars candybars to eat would complete their fake world.
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Old 29th November 2018, 04:00 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Giving them Mars candybars to eat would complete their fake world.
Probably cheaper than surgery, too.
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Old 29th November 2018, 04:15 PM   #139
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Just to make it clear, *I* would be all for having a planet redundancy, if I thought that that plan is actually feasible. And that's what I have trouble believing.

The tremendous cost alone is one reason for conservatives to start screaming about financial irresponsibility when the next bubble bursts, and I wouldn't even disagree with them for a change. And spreading a huge burden over decades or centuries is good and fine if you're sure that the next 50 governments or so will all think the same. You just need to look at the more modest moon program to see that that's not the case.

In practice it's just a way to blow a lot of money and end up with something at best half-assed, and which can't actually function as a redundancy. Or more likely stop when America puts a couple of guys there before the Russians, so the national dick size symbol exists and that's enough.

And that's for a basic bunker kinda colony. Terraforming-based plans are just flat out of our capability any time soon.
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Old 29th November 2018, 04:22 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Not really as difficult as you suppose. And the technology is well proven too, since agricultural technologies may be some of the oldest technologies we possess. They are constantly upgraded too.

What lacks in some cases is the business models to integrate into all economies of the World from the most primitive to the most modern. How to make it profitable enough to actually motivate enough people to actually accomplish the task is and always was the sticking point.

So to fix that for you, "Terraforming is not crazy. It's just very difficult, economically."

I think I may have a way that fits the bill. I have been working on it a long time. But I haven't even managed to raise the start-up funds for the first proof of concept prototype. So it sits.

I think you'll find many similar just sitting waiting...
Actually, I think it IS flat out crazy. Not impossible, but crazy to even think about sustaining that kind of costs for ever.

Because here's the dirty little secret: the job isn't completed when you chucked some ice meteors at Mars and whatnot. The problem with Mars is that you don't actually have the gravity to hold on to that atmosphere, nor the magnetic shielding to hold on to the water. Solar radiation will break water vapour apart and blow away the hydrogen. (See what already happened to Venus, or yes, Mars.) It'll be like trying to inflate a balloon that has a hole on the other side.

So you don't just have insane costs to do it once, you have insane running costs from there to eternity.

So it's not impossible technically, but yes it IS crazy.
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Old 29th November 2018, 04:26 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Just to make it clear, *I* would be all for having a planet redundancy, if I thought that that plan is actually feasible. And that's what I have trouble believing.
This is pretty much my position as well. I think it's entirely likely that someday we'll be able to run self-sustaining communities on Mars, and perhaps even the clouds of Venus. But I think that day is still so far off as to be irrelevant to us here and now.

That's why Belz...'s proposal is so interesting to me. We can get there in a few centuries? Tell me more!

Here's an awesome, hypothetical conversation about colonizing Mars:

ROMANTIC SURVIVALIST: We should colonize Mars!

ME: Why?

RS: Why does Rice play Texas?

ME: Good point. I'm in, provisionally.

RS: Why provisionally?

ME: The idea of being part of a monumental achievement is extremely exciting to me, but these things have opportunity costs. What exactly are we trying to accomplish?

RS: Well, we figure we can get from Here to There in about 500 years. We've broken it up into 50-year project phases, with a series of major stepping stones to be built out in each phase. That way, each generation will have in living memory the experience of taking at least one project phase to completion.

ME: That way, each generation will stay interested and motivated about the long-term goal, and each generation will feel personal pride of ownership in their substantial contribution. I like it.

RS: Exactly! And while the costs for each 50-year phase will be significant, they won't be crippling. As long as public enthusiasm is maintained, we shouldn't have any problem paying for it.

ME: Tell me more about what happens in each project phase.

RS: Well, in the first 50 years, we'll need to lay the groundwork on several enabling technologies, at a cost of about...

[...]

ME: You've convinced me. Where do I sign up?

RS: Hallelujah, brother! You're doing a great work in the service of humanity's long-term survival!

ME: ... You do you, man. I'm just in it for the cool factor.

RS: That's fine, too. It takes all kinds to make humanity what it is.

But somehow these threads never turn out that way.
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Old 29th November 2018, 05:22 PM   #142
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As large-scale organizational units, we seem to just about be able to handle a five-to-ten-year plan. As a global civilization, we're now in our third decade of doing ****-all about a problem that threatens to end us.

A centuries-long plan that requires all of its unprecedentedly selfless stakeholders to remain interested the whole time? To guard against a problem that is unlikely to occur in the next, I dunno, 100,000 years? I don't think it will happen. If it did, I'd expect tragedy.

Maybe when/if we get out of the suffocate-in-a-wet-paper-bag stage of our development.
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Old 29th November 2018, 06:11 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
As large-scale organizational units, we seem to just about be able to handle a five-to-ten-year plan. As a global civilization, we're now in our third decade of doing ****-all about a problem that threatens to end us.

A centuries-long plan that requires all of its unprecedentedly selfless stakeholders to remain interested the whole time? To guard against a problem that is unlikely to occur in the next, I dunno, 100,000 years? I don't think it will happen. If it did, I'd expect tragedy.

Maybe when/if we get out of the suffocate-in-a-wet-paper-bag stage of our development.

What if I told you we don't even have a centuries-long plan?

Also, I like how at one moment it's exactly the kind of problem that humanity finds particularly difficult to solve, and at the next moment it's the kind of problem that could be solved by a three week old kitten.
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Old 29th November 2018, 06:26 PM   #144
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Yeah, that's kinda the problem. I don't see a coherent plan at all. Hell, make it NO plan that goes beyond the first stage at best. What it seems to be at the moment is just an idea.

But here's the thing I've learned from modding and coding: ideas are a dime a dozen. Everyone has ideas. Not all of them good, but they have. What matters is being able to make it work.

E.g., probably billions of people who ever lived had an idea like "wouldn't it be cool if we had wings and could fly like the birds." It probably wasn't new when the Icarus legend was composed, and that's a couple of millennia in the past. And we also have no shortage of people who tried without a plan and failed, some rather spectacularly even. The credit goes to those who actually did the maths and designed something that worked.
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Old 29th November 2018, 06:45 PM   #145
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We could start colonising the moon today. We have the technology.

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Old 29th November 2018, 07:57 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
We could start colonising the moon today. We have the technology.

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We have the technology to mine water and ship it to Earth right here on Earth, for a fraction of the cost and risk.

ETA: But at least you actually posted some semblance of a realistic plan. Even a cartoon plan is a step up in this thread.

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Old 29th November 2018, 07:57 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What if I told you we don't even have a centuries-long plan?
You have your choice of centuries-long plans. It's just that they aren't currently feasible, and more importantly, they're all centuries-long.

Quote:
Also, I like how at one moment it's exactly the kind of problem that humanity finds particularly difficult to solve, and at the next moment it's the kind of problem that could be solved by a three week old kitten.
They aren't of a kind. One of them is relatively easy--we don't need to develop any new technology or demand enormous sacrifices of anyone. We just have to curb emissions. And we aren't doing it, because bacon-wrapped cheeseburgers taste too good.

But we're going to sacrifice a not insignificant portion of global production to send people on a one-way trip to Mars so that a rump population of humans can survive (in an envy-the-dead kind of way) a once-every-few-million-years calamity?

Nah.
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Old 29th November 2018, 08:04 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
You have your choice of centuries-long plans. It's just that they aren't currently feasible, and more importantly, they're all centuries-long.
Belz... seems to think there's at least one feasible plan that we could start working on today. But he says we don't need to know the details of it.

Now you say we have several plans (albeit none feasible).

Either way, what we haven't seen yet in this thread, is an actual plan.

Why don't you pick your favorite plan, and tell us about it. Tell us why you like it. Tell us why it's not yet feasible. Tell us what we'd need to do, to make it feasible.

That would be awesome.
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Old 29th November 2018, 08:31 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Why don't you pick your favorite plan, and tell us about it. Tell us why you like it. Tell us why it's not yet feasible. Tell us what we'd need to do, to make it feasible.
There's a whole family of terraforming-lite plans advanced by Christophy McKay and a handful of others which I think are relatively attractive, which generally fall under the heading of 'ecopoesis'. At a rough outline, it goes something like this: manufacture CFCs (highly efficient greenhouse gases) on Mars in sufficient quantities to warm the planet to the point where carbon dioxide and liquid water are released. Introduce microbes, then plants, and then just a few centuries later you might even have some breathable oxygen.

That plan is at least fun, and you'd end up with a Mars that would be a nicer place to live than, say, Phoenix. It's not feasible because there's not enough CO2 to produce enough atmosphere that you could walk around (even if you BYOO), and you can't get people to commit to 600 year plans.

But I hesitate to call this my favorite plan. My favorite plan is not doing any of this because I don't see any good reason to.

Last edited by mumblethrax; 29th November 2018 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 29th November 2018, 08:41 PM   #150
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What would the laws be on Mars? Would we need a Bill of Rights and a Constitution? Just take everything that the USA has created and apply that to Mars. We have the best human rights and laws and stuff.
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Old 29th November 2018, 11:57 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Maybe it because scientists, you know, those really intelligent people who actually understand this stuff, think Mars is a better proposition for colonization.
If you were to ask a scientist "what would be the best planet to colonize" the answer would be Mars. That doesn't mean it makes any sense to do so.
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Old 30th November 2018, 01:23 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
There's a whole family of terraforming-lite plans advanced by Christophy McKay and a handful of others which I think are relatively attractive, which generally fall under the heading of 'ecopoesis'. At a rough outline, it goes something like this: manufacture CFCs (highly efficient greenhouse gases) on Mars in sufficient quantities to warm the planet to the point where carbon dioxide and liquid water are released. Introduce microbes, then plants, and then just a few centuries later you might even have some breathable oxygen.

That plan is at least fun, and you'd end up with a Mars that would be a nicer place to live than, say, Phoenix. It's not feasible because there's not enough CO2 to produce enough atmosphere that you could walk around (even if you BYOO), and you can't get people to commit to 600 year plans.

But I hesitate to call this my favorite plan. My favorite plan is not doing any of this because I don't see any good reason to.
Ever heard of the chlorine attacks in WW1? Yeah, because that's what you're proposing

The mechanism by which CFCs ruin the ozone layer starts when a CFC molecule gets hit by an UV photon, and a Carbon-Chlorine bond breaks, releasing a chlorine atom.

So yeeaah, about that... do you actually want an atmosphere with a significant proportion of CFC? I don't think you'd want to breathe in the result in the evening, even if you add oxygen into the mix
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Old 30th November 2018, 03:52 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I would be fascinated by any concrete proposal to stand up a real, self-sustaining Mars colony, starting today and completing in a few centuries.

I would love to see the practical details of what would need to be done over the next 50 years or so, for example.

We're at the point where none of that has been forthcoming, from the people - including yourself - who say it can or should be done.
I don't believe you. There have been many proposals over the years, some pretty detailed, and I don't believe that you've never come across any of it. But if you're asking for exactly how many nuts and bolts and sunflower seeds the first batch of colonists need, then you're not asking a serious question; you're just making sure your challenge cannot be met.

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Gotcha. That's a fair point. But there are ways to store that information here on Earth, at a fraction of the cost of setting up such a storehouse on Mars plus a self-sustaining colony to exploit it.
What's the point of storing our culture if we can't use it? A monument, for instance, is only good when people are there to see it.

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And I don't think we'd lose very much of the advances at all.
If we're hit by a rock large enough, you can bet money on that. High-tech infrastructure requires a lot of people to maintain.

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Make your case.
You've made it impossible to do so. Deliberately, I gather.
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Old 30th November 2018, 05:27 AM   #154
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Well, maybe not at the level of how many seeds, but the costs being what they are, number of tons of seeds would be actually part of a finished plan.
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Old 30th November 2018, 05:34 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, maybe not at the level of how many seeds, but the costs being what they are, number of tons of seeds would be actually part of a finished plan.
Sure, but I don't think we need to discuss the plan on such a level in order to agree on the feasibility, necessity or usefulness of such a project. As I said earlier, extinction is a certainty if we stay in one spot. To me, that's a strong incentive to spread out regardless of the cost or difficulties. I understand the political hurdles, but that's not what we're discussing, I think.
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Old 30th November 2018, 05:36 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
As to the literary obsession with Mars, that's probably because, for most of human history, Mars has been much more interesting.

Venus, until we could get local images, was always just a white disk in the sky. No features, therefore no story.

Mars, for quite some time, has had mountains, plains, canals (alright, not canals, but you get the idea) valleys and canyons, in short, Mars has Geography and a non uniform appearance that fuels imagination. Venus has, for the most part, simply been a white dot.
I think it is the "canals" that are why we still favour Mars as much as we do. It's the remnants of the "dying ancient race" idea that became so popular once the canals were found.
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Old 30th November 2018, 05:42 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Well said.

I really wish those that talk so glibly of self-sustaining Mars colonies - or even 'terraforming Mars' - would work a calculation or two. The energy input, the expense, the time ... yet some of those very same people will tell you that it's not feasible to fix Earth's atmosphere or just to work out ways to survive if push really comes to shove 'down here'.

Any reasonably fit adult could pack a rucksack, wander into the wilds, and survive for the rest of their natural life. On Earth. The environment is essentially hospitable to human survival and will remain so - in places, at the very least - even under the worst foreseeable circumstances.

Oh, and by the way, Mars is just as likely (more?) to get slammed by a big fat space rock.
Even if we go with the idea of non terraforming and live underground or in shielded buildings people underestimate what it would take to make such a colony truly self sufficient at the technological level to maintain life. Probably the only way would be for the technogy base for the colony to be based on something like pre 1960s technology.
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Old 30th November 2018, 06:52 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
If we're hit by a rock large enough, you can bet money on that.
True, although the odds are very low. Setting up on Mars roughly doubles our survival prospects against an extremely unlikely event.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
High-tech infrastructure requires a lot of people to maintain.
Millions. Probably many millions, as production of essential (and also desirable) goods is distributed worldwide.

But you'd also need those numbers on Mars, yet would lack the natural resources for the relatively easy existence we enjoy here.
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Old 30th November 2018, 06:56 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
True, although the odds are very low. Setting up on Mars roughly doubles our survival prospects against an extremely unlikely event.
Unlikely only within a short time frame. Certain in the long term.

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But you'd also need those numbers on Mars, yet would lack the natural resources for the relatively easy existence we enjoy here.
No argument there.
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Old 30th November 2018, 07:08 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Unlikely only within a short time frame. Certain in the long term.
The question is, how long? It's certain for Mars too, in the sufficiently long term, so are we just increasing our survival expectation time by about 40%? And of course it's certain for the whole inner solar system in the somewhat longer term. If we want to survive past a few billion more years, we'll need interstellar travel too.

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