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Thread: Why we should go to Mars

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Why we should go to Mars



    This guy makes some excellent points and does so with a lot of passion. It would be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind if we discovered life on Mars. His point about Columbus was spot on. In 500 years from now no one is going to care about the Syrian Civil War and who had the upper hand this week. Our actions regarding Mars, on the other hand, will most likely have the greatest impact on future generations to come. Especially if we terraform that planet and make it habitable and suitable for human civilization. We would become a true interplanetary species.

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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Because its there.....
    Last edited by Phier; December 08, 2015 at 09:51 AM.
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    This guy makes some excellent points and does so with a lot of passion. It would be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind if we discovered life on Mars. His point about Columbus was spot on. In 500 years from now no one is going to care about the Syrian Civil War and who had the upper hand this week. Our actions regarding Mars, on the other hand, will most likely have the greatest impact on future generations to come. Especially if we terraform that planet and make it habitable and suitable for human civilization. We would become a true interplanetary species.
    I think a manned mission to Mars would end up like like the Space Station; a money sink which would in the end would hurt real science. Indeed, the ISS is more or less the reason the US stopped leading in particle physics. Congress shut down the SSC in favor of the ISS. If we want to do it, it should be 100% be detached from NASA budget and it shouldn't be advertised as scientific. It's not. We can do much more and better research without human involvement.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere View Post
    I think a manned mission to Mars would end up like like the Space Station; a money sink which would in the end would hurt real science. Indeed, the ISS is more or less the reason the US stopped leading in particle physics. Congress shut down the SSC in favor of the ISS. If we want to do it, it should be 100% be detached from NASA budget and it shouldn't be advertised as scientific. It's not. We can do much more and better research without human involvement.
    It's not really scientific for the BS we find on Mars. We mostly know what's on Mars. At least, enough to make us curious. It's scientific for the crap we have to figure out on how to get there. You know, testing ships, testing flight capabilities for intra-system flight without humans, and then with humans. This isn't just the Moon Landing again, we don't get to recycle designs. Maybe use them for heavy inspiration. Maybe. Keep in mind, there wasn't a whole lot interesting on the moon. What was interesting was what we got out of getting there. All the research that went into materials, fuel, rocketry, and just general useful crap they'd need on that ship. Now instead of for half a month they need a ship for half a year.

    Yea. Totally useless money sink that we'll get no interesting research out of there alright.
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Maybe we could kill two birds with one stone and put ___ on Mars.

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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    To get them before they get us. Remember Thunderchild!

    I think the race to the moon was a propaganda project. Space travel has been a boon to communications so the fundamental drive has been profit, a normal human motivation.

    Is there a valuable commodity on Mars that will drive an engine of development? Because that was what drove Columbus, economic motives more than anything else. He wanted to scotch the Portuguese discovery of the long route to the Indies by finding the short cut. Saving souls was a lovely bit of window dressing, but it was secondary to most conquistadores aspirations for wealth and status.
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    Caelifer_1991's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    To get them before they get us. Remember Thunderchild!

    I think the race to the moon was a propaganda project. Space travel has been a boon to communications so the fundamental drive has been profit, a normal human motivation.

    Is there a valuable commodity on Mars that will drive an engine of development? Because that was what drove Columbus, economic motives more than anything else. He wanted to scotch the Portuguese discovery of the long route to the Indies by finding the short cut. Saving souls was a lovely bit of window dressing, but it was secondary to most conquistadores aspirations for wealth and status.
    Well there are almost limitless resources in the Asteroid belt (platinum, etc, exist in quantities orders of magnitude greater than anything we could ever harvest on Earth), and Mars is very conveniently located between there and here, and also very conveniently has less than half the gravity of Earth. It would make for an ideal refining/ logistics/ manufacturing hub, and if/ when we mass produce spacecraft for interplanetary flight within the solar system, or create larger spacecraft for interstellar travel, it would make far greater sense to do so there than on/ in orbit around Earth. I see Mars less like the Americas and more like the Azores Islands, a stepping stone to everything else (or perhaps the Moon is the Azores and Mars is Cuba, alter as desired). Indeed we wouldn't even need to terraform it for Mars to be incredibly useful, and I imagine that in the centuries or millennia it takes to terraform Mars we will be making ample use of it in the above roles, in a manner not so dissimilar to the industrial focus seen in Warhammer 40k, and with the associated outposts looking not so much unlike what is seen in Mass Effect 3.
    Last edited by Caelifer_1991; December 10, 2015 at 04:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    ^Agreed

    Regarding resources and usefulness of going to Mars and anywhere else in the Universe. We know that all the planets and Asterods are full of one or more types of raw materials. I've heard there are planets made almost of diamond ! who doesn't want to have one of them as their own?




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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Limitless whatever means it's far less valuable. Yes, we can mine infrastructure materials but ridiculous asteroid mining would take trillions of investment and transporting immensely heavy materials then massively adds to transport cost replicating the trade of spices by sea during the Age of Discovery. Great for colonists; bad for Earthlings.

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    Caelifer_1991's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by RubiconDecision View Post
    Limitless whatever means it's far less valuable. Yes, we can mine infrastructure materials but ridiculous asteroid mining would take trillions of investment and transporting immensely heavy materials then massively adds to transport cost replicating the trade of spices by sea during the Age of Discovery. Great for colonists; bad for Earthlings.
    Massively reducing the cost of raw materials and thus also diminishing the cost of production is something that will help everyone. Imagine there was a shortage of coal during the industrial revolution, a shortage of copper needed for electrical appliances or a shortage of iron inhibiting the production of steel, used today for almost everything from aircraft components to cutlery to skyscrapers. Would you not be in favour of investing into procurement of a greater supply of these resources, knowing the effect that they have had already on global industry and productivity, massively diminishing the cost of just about everything we have from clothing, to food, to utensils and tools, to equipment, transportation, power, and everything else we now take for granted? Marching out from the jungle into the savannah took investment as well, food was harder to come buy, shelter had to be produced, clothing manufactured, tools designed, produced and utilised, new skills learned... would you have preferred our distant ancestors to have stayed in the jungle? What of marching northwards into Europe and Asia, and the additional effort required to overcome new geographical challenges, colder climates, harder land to farm during winter, etc? Humanity is like a tribe looking out from a cave at the open virgin wilderness laid out in the open before it, asking itself whether it should take the first cursory steps to tame the infinite opportunity that lies therein. Stay in the cave if you want to, just don't expect me to join you.
    Last edited by Caelifer_1991; December 10, 2015 at 07:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    I kind of see mars as a place where we'll have a bunch of orbital waystations and facilities on our way to the asteroid belt while the planet itself will be used as a giant landfill for all our crap.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    You're not considering the cost of mined materials and then transported back. After trillions invested, most likely corporations, they then declare independence. There's no reason to share such immense resources with bankrupt nations.

    If terraforming is possible, it's doubtful Mars' inhabitants could return due to peculiar bone remodeling. Earth becomes irrelevant.
    Last edited by RubiconDecision; December 10, 2015 at 10:17 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Forget distance. If they figure out self-sustaining life model for living, not like earth can rule them at that distance anyway. All they can then do is business.
    One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas.
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    Papay's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Unfortunatelly Mars in not America. America was a huge continent with countless riches. You did an investment there and you multiplied your money. Mars on the other hand has nothing. An investment would be waisted money. Surely exploring Mars would be cool and you could discover one or two things interesting but in the end the planet is nothing more than a huge desert with nothing to justify the huge investment required to send people there. It would be interesting for humanity to try terraforming Mars but even then i doubt we can transform Mars to a friendly to life planet. Staying to Mars for some months is a possiblity but staying for a couple of years it would be devastating for your health

  15. #15

    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelifer_1991 View Post
    Well there are almost limitless resources in the Asteroid belt (platinum, etc, exist in quantities orders of magnitude greater than anything we could ever harvest on Earth), and Mars is very conveniently located between there and here, and also very conveniently has less than half the gravity of Earth. It would make for an ideal refining/ logistics/ manufacturing hub, and if/ when we mass produce spacecraft for interplanetary flight within the solar system, or create larger spacecraft for interstellar travel, it would make far greater sense to do so there than on/ in orbit around Earth. I see Mars less like the Americas and more like the Azores Islands, a stepping stone to everything else (or perhaps the Moon is the Azores and Mars is Cuba, alter as desired). Indeed we wouldn't even need to terraform it for Mars to be incredibly useful, and I imagine that in the centuries or millennia it takes to terraform Mars we will be making ample use of it in the above roles, in a manner not so dissimilar to the industrial focus seen in Warhammer 40k, and with the associated outposts looking not so much unlike what is seen in Mass Effect 3.
    problem is cost vs. profit as Rubicon pointed out. Currently we would lose more resources doing that than we could gain from it. It's not like the asteroid belt looks like in Star Wars. It's mostly empty so you need a big mobile system to move from asteroid to asteroid and the entire thing is for all intents and purposes in the middle of nothing.

    The main issue is going to space vs. e.g. deep core mining, there are plenty of rare minerals expected in the deeper layers of Earth, deep core mining is the financially more feasible approach.

    Otherwise the fact that there is not really something out there is essentially the reason why stuff like the ISS or LHC or going to Mars has to be publicly funded. It is high risk, only long term reward potential, not a clear financial decision.


    I would think the main benefit of the ISS is political as an international thing and scientifically developing the processes and checking the difficulties in maintaining a bigger infrastructure in space. By now it kind of has outlived MIR, hasn't it though the construction period was obviously longer aka before it go into operation? But again, this level of complexity of constructing something non trivial with a ton of man hours in orbital operations in itself is a big thing for applied sciences. Mir was its precedessor but the ISS went a good way further.
    Last edited by Mangalore; December 10, 2015 at 05:34 PM.
    "Sebaceans once had a god called Djancaz-Bru. Six worlds prayed to her. They built her temples, conquered planets. And yet one day she rose up and destroyed all six worlds. And when the last warrior was dying, he said, 'We gave you everything, why did you destroy us?' And she looked down upon him and she whispered, 'Because I can.' "
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    Caelifer_1991's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    I can concur with some certainty that at present, exploitation of resources off-Earth is not currently financially feasible, as I worked on a conceptual study during my MSc on that very topic (well it was actually NEO's in this case, so a light version of the same thing really), defining the requirements and base specifications of the Communications, On-Board Data Handling and Launch systems. That doesn't mean it always will be however, even in the near future, new innovations and technologies such as the SABRE engine and associated vehicles such as Skylon have the potential to reduce the cost to orbit by an order of magnitude. Looking forward 50 years from now, or 100, or 200, and it seems absurd to me to think that exploitation of off-Earth resources will remain financially infeasible. We are at the early stages of a true space age, one going beyond cursory exploration missions and orbital infrastructure around Earth. This new age is not one that will come and go in a few years or decades however, it is our entire future, and my comments should be seen in light of that. Mars will take millennia to terraform, the costs for research, development and production of space infrastructure and vehicles will be extreme, but this is a long term process, our future lies in space or in extinction, it is merely a matter of time either way. None of us will likely live to see the day where we successfully exploit resources throughout the solar system, or see permanent settlements on Mars, we will almost certainly not see the terraformation of Mars, but we can live to see the first steps towards achieving these goals, goals which will transform everything as we know it and provide the path towards our future survival, evolution and prosperity as a species, and more than that we can do our parts to support these endeavours, either directly as I do, or at least in principle.
    Last edited by Caelifer_1991; December 10, 2015 at 05:55 PM.

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangalore View Post
    problem is cost vs. profit as Rubicon pointed out. Currently we would lose more resources doing that than we could gain from it.
    There is a distinct possibility that you have this absolutely backwards and that mining and resource exploitation in the Asteroid Belt would bring in astronomical, historic profits in the form of energy sources (the next energy revolution, to be honest). Caelifer brings up really good ideas about Mars being a midway point and resources like platinum being abundant in the Asteroid Belt, but he's really selling his point short by not naming perhaps the greatest potential resource, one that, economically speaking, would make current forms of energy obsolete and transform the entire global economy. It's true that precious minerals closer to home could be gathered via deep drilling operations. Yet you're not going to come across any condensed quark matter (that can be harnessed to produce large amounts of antimatter) that most likely exists on ultra-dense asteroids and "strange asteroids" in the Asteroid Belt. Here, read this:

    Quark Matter in the Solar System: Evidence for a Game-Changing Space Resource

    The amount of antimatter that we've been able to generate at CERN amounts to a rather pitifully small and insignificant amount. It would most certainly be exponentially smaller (and even that's an understatement) of the stupendous amount of power that could be harnessed simply from quark nugget content taken from the core of only one ultra-dense asteroid, a compact composite object (CCO) in a near Earth object.

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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    There is a distinct possibility that you have this absolutely backwards and that mining and resource exploitation in the Asteroid Belt would bring in astronomical, historic profits in the form of energy sources (the next energy revolution, to be honest). Caelifer brings up really good ideas about Mars being a midway point and resources like platinum being abundant in the Asteroid Belt, but he's really selling his point short by not naming perhaps the greatest potential resource, one that, economically speaking, would make current forms of energy obsolete and transform the entire global economy. It's true that precious minerals closer to home could be gathered via deep drilling operations. Yet you're not going to come across any condensed quark matter (that can be harnessed to produce large amounts of antimatter) that most likely exists on ultra-dense asteroids and "strange asteroids" in the Asteroid Belt. Here, read this:

    Quark Matter in the Solar System: Evidence for a Game-Changing Space Resource

    The amount of antimatter that we've been able to generate at CERN amounts to a rather pitifully small and insignificant amount. It would most certainly be exponentially smaller (and even that's an understatement) of the stupendous amount of power that could be harnessed simply from quark nugget content taken from the core of only one ultra-dense asteroid, a compact composite object (CCO) in a near Earth object.
    Sorry, but you are talking about a proposed idea concerning DM as a fact when it isn't. There is no most likely concerning this stuff when it has not even passed the theoretical physics gambit. Your study concludes just as a suggestion towards more study.

    Since we are still struggling with fusion technology it is a bit of a catch to suggest hunting for anti matter being an option.

    The main issue remains that the necessary conventional rocket fuel to create a meaningful infrastructure would at this moment deplete Earth's resources quite fast and would not have a simple turnover rate as you suggest. I'm not against research but still ongoing research in theoretical physics is not a good basis for economic investment.
    "Sebaceans once had a god called Djancaz-Bru. Six worlds prayed to her. They built her temples, conquered planets. And yet one day she rose up and destroyed all six worlds. And when the last warrior was dying, he said, 'We gave you everything, why did you destroy us?' And she looked down upon him and she whispered, 'Because I can.' "
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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangalore View Post
    Sorry, but you are talking about a proposed idea concerning DM as a fact when it isn't. There is no most likely concerning this stuff when it has not even passed the theoretical physics gambit. Your study concludes just as a suggestion towards more study.

    Since we are still struggling with fusion technology it is a bit of a catch to suggest hunting for anti matter being an option.

    The main issue remains that the necessary conventional rocket fuel to create a meaningful infrastructure would at this moment deplete Earth's resources quite fast and would not have a simple turnover rate as you suggest. I'm not against research but still ongoing research in theoretical physics is not a good basis for economic investment.
    I'd like to make the point here that the issue is one of profitability vs cost, and from this, primarily cost to orbit (the expensive bit); depletion of our own resources is not an issue at all. Conventional rockets come in a variety of forms and may use a variety of fuels, and many of these fuels have light molecular masses necessary to attain a high C* efficiency and thus high specific impulse, one of the most common types being hydrogen/ oxygen engines. Since literally 70% of the Earth's surface is covered with water, which we can convert at will to hydrogen and oxygen, I can assure you we will not run out of fuel any time in the next few million years. Indeed, when looking at the cost even of a launch vehicle, let alone anything that you are launching on it, this is reflected quite heavily in the costing, with fuel being basically the cheapest 'component' to consider by a notable margin. This may sound like a joke, but insurance is more expensive, at between about 5 to 10% the cost of the launch.

    To both you and Roma_Victrix, I won't comment on anti-matter, dark matter, theoretical physics, or the like. It lies thoroughly outside my field of expertise, my area of knowledge is in Space Systems Engineering and other Aerospace Engineering related areas.
    Last edited by Caelifer_1991; December 11, 2015 at 06:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Why we should go to Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelifer_1991 View Post
    I'd like to make the point here that the issue is one of profitability vs cost, and from this, primarily cost to orbit (the expensive bit); depletion of our own resources is not an issue at all. Conventional rockets come in a variety of forms and may use a variety of fuels, and many of these fuels have light molecular masses necessary to attain a high C* efficiency and thus high specific impulse, one of the most common types being hydrogen/ oxygen engines. Since literally 70% of the Earth's surface is covered with water, which we can convert at will to hydrogen and oxygen, I can assure you we will not run out of fuel any time in the next few million years. Indeed, when looking at the cost even of a launch vehicle, let alone anything that you are launching on it, this is reflected quite heavily in the costing, with fuel being basically the cheapest 'component' to consider by a notable margin. This may sound like a joke, but insurance is more expensive, at between about 5 to 10% the cost of the launch.
    ...
    I may have used to blunt wording but the thing is rocket fuel even liquid hydrogen takes far more resources to make and you can't just use anything fuel-like with the same ease/energy/money investments, it takes more and more resources to get what you want. E.g. Fusion technology is supposedly great because of hydrogen, but actually people are worried about the specific isotopes necessary for fusion and that those are not that easy to aquire on Earth. Also: Building up an actual infrastructure capable of asteroid mining would necessitate a supply chain chewing through fuel and expensive materials at pretty exorbitant rates given how limited our current launch capacities are because the stuff we currently send into space are pretty flimsy in mass and material and still guzzle through fuel and materials to get them even into orbits that wouldn't suffice to send big, heavy machines into the asteroid belt (who then still need capabilities to send whatever they mine back to us which means a constant supply chain of fuel and return vehicles).
    "Sebaceans once had a god called Djancaz-Bru. Six worlds prayed to her. They built her temples, conquered planets. And yet one day she rose up and destroyed all six worlds. And when the last warrior was dying, he said, 'We gave you everything, why did you destroy us?' And she looked down upon him and she whispered, 'Because I can.' "
    Mangalore Design

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