For surface to orbit vehicles, it is assumed that dry mass excluding tankage is equal to the payload. Potential increases in real-estate values after terraforming will provide a sufficient financial incentive to do so. In order to understand the economics of Mars colonization it is necessary first to examine briefly the different phases of activity that will be necessary to transform the Red Planet. Tourism will be a huge early driver for the Martian economy, and galactic parks might be one of its greatest boons. Mars, on the other hand, has an atmosphere of sufficient density to protect crops grown on the surface against solar flares. 43 No. Stanley Robinson: Well, I wrote my book based on the exploratory work of a group called The Mars Underground, a bunch of graduate students in planetology that were at first based at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Nevertheless, it is my contention that the argument against the feasibility of Mars colonization is flawed by essentially the same false logic and lack of understanding of real economics that resulted in repeated absurd misevaluations of the value of colonial settlements (as opposed to trading posts, plantations, and other extractive activities) on the part of numerous European government ministries during the 400 years following Columbus. Mars is a place where humans can live and multiply to large numbers, supporting themselves with products of every description made out of indigenous materials. 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That emigrant, in turn, would proceed to earn enough money to bring the rest of the family over. 2 we see one version of such a concept that could be used to transport immigrants to Mars. Enormous tracts of land were bought and sold in Kentucky for very large sums of money a hundred years before settlers arrived - for purposes of development trans-Appalacian America might as well have been Mars in the 1600's. While properly conducted initial exploration missions will make use of the Martian air to provide fuel and oxygen, in the base building phase this elementary level of local resource utilization will be transcended as the crew of a permanent Mars base learns how to extract native water and grow crops on Mars, to produce ceramics, glasses, metals, plastics, wires, habitats, inflatable structures, solar panels, and all sorts of other useful materials, tools, and structures. However the greatest source of Martian wealth, and the greatest benefit of its existence to the terrestrial world, will be as a pressure cooker for invention and innovation of every type. The difficulty of interplanetary travel may make Mars colonization seem visionary. Take exploration from a scientific commercial exercise. An edited transcript of their conversation follows. 7. Instead, let us note the benefits that can come from interplanetary colonization, even for those of us who decide to stay on the Earth’s surface. The NEP versions in Table 2 are 10 MWe for delivery from Mars and 30 MWe for delivery from Earth, with each NEP system massing 5 tonnes/MW. Space, a feel-good pill for the economy Under conditions of such large scale and open immigration, sale of real-estate will add a significant source of income to the planet's economy. On Tuesday, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk told the world he has a plan to help humanity establish a colony on the planet Mars. But as soon as people commit to living there for their entire lives, they’re going to want to give the place an atmosphere to protect themselves from radiation. Let us therefore examine an alternative model to see how low it is likely to drop. or self reproducing machines, such as Turing machines or nanotechnology. The wealth of America was in the fact that she could support people, and that the right kind of people chose to go to her. One huge economic benefit would be for funeral homes; their business will soar. A frontier society based on technological excellence and pragmatism, and populated by people self-selected for personal drive, will perforce be a hot-bed of invention, and these inventions will not only serve the needs of the Martians but of the terrestrial population as well. “Establishing a colony on Mars is incredibly technically ... economic motivation for a Martian colony is for it to ... on the moon before Mars. There is an immense amount of it - 143 million square kilometers - but it might seem that that it is all completely worthless because it cannot currently be exploited. If agriculture only areas are desired, the domes could be made much bigger, as plants do not require more than about 1 psi atmospheric pressure. Plants can stand a drop of perhaps a factor of 5 in their light intake compared to terrestrial norms and still grow, but the fact remains; the energetics of plant growth make it inconceivable to raise crops on any kind of meaningful scale with artificially generated light. 8.G. What it means is that the distance to Mars and the transportation challenge that it implies is not a major obstacle to the initiation of a human civilization on the Red Planet. Open real-estate is that which is outside the domes. It can also be seen that there is a five-fold advantage in mass ratio delivering cargoes to the Earth's Moon from Mars over doing it from Earth. Of course, all open real-estate on Mars will not be of equal value; those sections known to contain valuable minerals or other resources, or which are located closer to the habitable areas will be worth much more. People are wealth and power. William Bradford, "Of Plimoth Plantation," 1621. The result that follows is simply this: anything that needs to be sent to the asteroid belt that can be produced on Mars will be produced on Mars. States spend more on security facing continued threat of violence. Requirements for Space Settlement Design – E.Gale, R. P.Edwards, The Boeing Company 4Frontiers Corporation. (Originally found as badly formatted text at http://www.magick.net/mars/docs/m_econom.txt, a part of Mars Direct Manned Mars Mission Home Page). A day on Mars is 24 hours and 39 minutes, which means that organisms from earth would find it similar. Let us consider two models of how humans might emigrate to Mars; a government sponsored model and a privately sponsored model. In fact, looking at Table 1 it can safely be said that useful trade between Earth and Ceres (or any other body in the Main asteroid belt) using chemical propulsion is probably impossible while from Mars it is easy. © 2021 Minnesota Public Radio. This contrasts strongly with the Moon, which is so dry that if concrete were found there, Lunar colonists would mine it to get the water out. The different power ratings give both systems about equal power/mass ratios; the system leaving Earth still burns 2.4 times as long. Only Mars has the full set of resources required to develop a native civilization, only Mars is a viable target for true colonization. The cost of colonizing Mars would far outweigh any economic benefit, unless the planet was solid gold. It's been done in the past, it'll be done in the future. Space colonization is a controversial topic for some people, though definitely not for me, and for a number of … Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. 11. Potential methods of terraforming Mars have been discussed in a number of locations.5,6. Furthermore, such claims would be enforceable internationally and throughout the solar system simply by having the US Customs Office penalize with a punitive tariff any US import made anywhere, directly or indirectly, with material that was extracted in defiance to the claim. Molly Wood and Kristin Schwab Oct 24, 2017. The exploration of Mars will also provide valuable scientific information about the history of the "Only by pushing mankind to its limits, to the bottoms of the … Such a mechanism would not need to employ enforcers (e.g. The purpose of the exploration phase is to resolve the major outstanding scientific questions bearing on the history of Mars as a planet and a possible home for life in the past, to conduct a preliminary survey of the resources of Mars and determine optimum locations for future human bases and settlements, and to establish a modus operandi whereby humans can travel to, reside on, and conduct useful operations over substantial regions of the surface of Mars. Oxygen is abundant on the Moon, but only in tightly bound oxides such as SiO2, Fe2O3, MgO, and Al2O3, which require very high energy processes to reduce. We should focus on … Moreover, on Mars, as on Earth, hydrologic and volcanic processes have occurred, which is likely to have concentrated various elements into local concentrations of high-grade mineral ore. Production of halocarbons at this rate would require an industrial establishment on Mars wielding about 5000 MW or power supported by a division of labor requiring at least (assuming optimistic application of robotics) 10,000 people. In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte sold a third of what is now the United States for 2 million dollars. These inventions, licensed on Earth, will raise both Terrestrial and Martian living standards and contribute large amounts of income to support the development of the colony. Such an operation would be enormous compared to our current space efforts, but very small compared to the overall human economic effort even at present. As mentioned before, the labor shortage that will prevail on Mars will drive Martian civilization towards both technological and social advances. Thus eventually Earth to Mars transportation costs could be expected to drop another order of magnitude, to $30,000 per passenger or so. It was answered that all great & honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages. If it were desired to increase the power rating of the Earth-based NEP vessel so that its burn time were the same as the Mars-based system, the mass of the Earth-based mission would go to infinity. In 1867 the Czar sold off Alaska for a similar pittance. A planet of refuge will be needed, and Mars will be there. While the initial exploration phase can be accomplished with small crews (of about 4 members each) operating out of Spartan base camps spread over bast areas of the Martian surface, the base building phase will require a division of labor entailing a larger number of people (on the order of 50), equipped with a wide variety of equipment and substantial sources of power. Arriving at Mars, the habcraft uses its biconic shell to aerobrake, and then parachutes and lands on its own sets of methane/oxygen engines. Nevertheless, both of these can be bought and sold, and as transportation costs drop, both forms of Martian real-estate will rise in value. Moreover, by using such "Mars Direct" type approaches, human explorers can be on Mars within 10 years of program initiation, with total expenditure not more than 20% of NASA's existing budget. Nevertheless, even with optimistic extrapolation of robotic manufacturing techniques, Mars will not have the division of labor required to make it fully self-sufficient until its population numbers in the millions. Therefore wages will be much higher on Mars than on Earth; while $320,000 might be 6 year's salary to an engineer on Earth, it would likely represent only 1 or 2 years' salary on Mars. That said, the problem with using the natural sunlight available on the Moon or in space is that it is unshielded by any atmosphere. That brings us to the first reason why humans must colonize Mars: 1. 1 The triangle trade: 18th Century and 21st Century. Discovering new life on the planet. The Martians shall do well. Analysis assumes 100 immigrants/year starting in 2030, increasing at 2% annual rate, 50/50 male/female. Once Mars has been partially terraformed however, with the creation of a thicker CO2 atmosphere via regolith outgassing, the habitation domes could be made virtually to any size, as they would not have to sustain a pressure differential between their interior and exterior. And while there were a lot of exciting technical details, some major issues I anticipated were not covered. In Table 1 all the entries except the last two are based upon a transportation system using CH4/O2 engines with an Isp of 380 s and high thrust DV's. Carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen are only present on the Moon in parts per million quantities, much like gold in sea water. Today, the same method of obtaining passage is used by Third World immigrants whose salaries in their native lands are dwarfed by current air-fares. But he delivered a sobering fact … This is an extremely important point and it is not well understood. Exploring Mars may possibly answer origin and evolution of life questions. Use of reflectors and other light-channeling devices would not solve this problem, as the reflector areas would have to be enormous, essentially equal in area to the crop domains, creating preposterous engineering problems if any significant acreage is to be illuminated. Is it safe? R. Zubrin and David Baker, "Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet by 1999" IAF-90-672, 41st Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, Dresden, Germany, Oct. 1990. space police) on the surface of Mars; the patent or property registry of a sufficiently powerful nation, such as the United States, would be entirely adequate. Africa is one continent that was largely affected. Current knowledge indicates that if Mars were smooth and all it's ice and permafrost melted into liquid water, the entire planet would be covered with an ocean over 100 meters deep. Moreover the projected population growth rate, 1/5th that of Colonial America, while a bit slow, is significant on a historical scale, and assuming a cost of $1 billion per launch, the $4 billion per year program cost could be sustained for some time by any major power on Earth that cared to plant the seeds of its posterity on Mars. That is, while a Mars base of even a few hundred people can potentially be supported out of pocket by governmental expenditures, a Martian society of hundreds of thousands clearly cannot be. The asteroid belt enters into the picture here because it is known to contain vast supplies of very high grade metal ore10 in a low gravity environment that makes it comparatively easy to export to Earth. Because the necessary income will be there to pay for the trip after it has been made, loans can even be taken out to finance the journey. The former would allow nations to hold legal jurisdiction and exclusive rights to economic benefits derived from a parcel of land, whereas the latter would enable protection of areas of natural, ecological, scientific or cultural significance for the benefit of global community. The true value of America was as the future home for a new branch of human civilization, one which as a combined result of its humanistic antecedents and its frontier conditions was able to develop into the most powerful engine for human progress and economic growth the world had ever seen. Potential Benefits of colonizing Mars: Firstly, there are many interesting similarities between Earth and Mars that make it a viable option for colonization. silver, germanium, hafnium, lanthanum, cerium, rhenium, samarium, gallium, gadolinium, gold, palladium, iridium, rubidium, platinum, rhodium, europium, etc.) It is therefore anticipated that such efforts could commence as early as the mid 21st Century, with a substantial amount of the outgassing following on a time scale of a few decades. Indeed, the geologic history of Mars has been compared with that of Africa7, with very optimistic inferences as to its mineral wealth implied as a corollary. It’s crazy and nobody likes it. 2. Robert Zubrin no spacesuits) would be required to operate in the open, and city-sized inflatable structures could be erected (since there would be no pressure differential with the outside world) that could house very large settlements in an open-air shirt-sleeve environment. It will thus for a long time be necessary, and forever desirable, for Mars to be able to pay for import of specialized manufactured goods from Earth. 1, Fall 1992, pp 25-80, 3. Ensuring the survival of our species. If we then assume total system operation cost is 7 times propellant costs (roughly double the total cost/fuel cost ratio of airlines), then the cost of delivery to low Earth orbit (LEO) could be about $100/kilogram. This wage differential, precisely analogous to the wage differential between Europe and America during most of the past 4 centuries, will make emigration to Mars both desirable and possible for the individual. The primary analogy to be drawn is that Mars is to the new age of exploration as North America was to the last. Wood: The first book in the trilogy is so detailed in the story of colonization. References. For every kilogram of payload delivered to orbit, about 70 kilograms of propellant are required. Mars is the best target for colonization in the solar system because it has by far the greatest potential for self-sufficiency. “Exploring and colonizing Mars can bring us new scientific understanding of climate change, of how planet-wide processes can make a warm and wet world into a barren landscape. Thus in a single booster launch, 24 people, complete with their housing and tools, can be transported one way from Earth to Mars. Each 100 meter diameter dome, massing about 50 tonnes (32 tonnes for the inflatable Kevlar pressure dome, 16 tonnes for the Plexiglas geodesic rigid shield dome, 2 tonnes for miscellaneous fittings), would enclose an area of about 2 acres. Not so. What do you think are the dangers of that? In the 21st Century, Earth's population growth will make real-estate here ever more expensive, making it ever harder for people to own their own homes. The results are shown in fig. If a viable Martian civilization can be established, its population and powers to change its planet will continue to grow. China's Simulated Mars Colony Is its First Small Step to the Red Planet - Inverse - August 11th, 2017 How Space-Based Design Will Keep Martians and Moon-Dwellers Sane - Motherboard - August 9th, 2017 Elon Musk is focused on the colonization of Mars - Blasting News - August 8th, 2017 It will take a quantum leap, however, when actual human expeditions to the planet's surface begin. Even without the problems of solar flares and a month-long diurnal cycle, such simple greenhouses would be impractical on the Moon as they would create unbearably high temperatures. One objection that often gets raised when talking about … The costs impacts as each of these innovations is progressively introduced is displayed in Table 3. To understand this, it is necessary to consider the energy relationships between the Earth, Moon, Mars, and the main asteroid belt. The economic viability of colonizing Mars is examined. And also since I wrote my Mars books, we’ve discovered that the surface is way more poisonous than we thought it was. Despite the benefits attained during and after colonization, it is evident that the features of colonialism enhanced lots of negative effects. However in the case of self-replicating machines the ultimate source of power would be solar, and this provides the basis for an upper bound to system performance. If the launch vehicle used has a 1000 tonne liftoff mass, if would require 107 launches to assemble the CH4/O2 freighter mission if launched from Earth, but only 2 launches if the departure is from Mars. Mortality rates are 0.1% per year between ages 0 and 59, 1% between ages 60 and 79, 10% per year for those over 80. Since such systems are well outside current engineering knowledge it is difficult to provide any useful estimate of how quickly they could complete the terraforming job. In reference 6 it was shown that a rate of halocarbon production of about 1000 tonnes per hour would directly induce a temperature rise of about 10 K on Mars, and that the outgassing of CO2 caused by this direct forcing would likely raise the average temperature on Mars by 40 to 50 K, resulting in a Mars with a surface pressure over 200 mbar and seasonal incidence of liquid water in the warmest parts of the planet. But provided one can survive the regimen, it is the toughest schools that are the best. Put another way, the amount of power required to generate the sunlight falling on the tiny country of El Salvador exceeds the combined capacity of every power plant on Earth. At the same time, the ongoing bureaucratization of the former terrestrial frontier societies will make it ever harder for strong spirits to find adequate means for expressing their creative drive and initiative on Earth. The space agency also says that scientific advancements that humanity gains from such a … Ensuring the survival of our species. It is certainly true that the technological and economic problems facing Mars colonization in the 21st century are vastly different in detail than those that had to be overcome in the colonization of the New World in the 17th century, or Australia in the 19th century. The point, however, is that in contrast to colonists on any other known extraterrestrial body, Martian colonists will be able to live on the surface, not in tunnels, and move about freely and grow crops in the light of day. I believe that it is certain that two hundred years from now, the current apathy of governments towards the value of extraterrestrial bodies, and Mars in particular, will be viewed in a similar light. We have shown, that of all bodies in the solar system other than Earth, Mars is unique in that it has the resources required to support a population of sufficient size to create a new branch of human civilization. For example a single square kilometer of cropland on Earth is illuminated with about 1000 MW of sunlight at noon; a power load equal to an American city of 1 million people. The Benefits of Colonizing Space: Space Habitats and The O’Neill Cylinder ... Mars One graphics. Increasing the degree of closure of the life support system on the cycler would reduce the consumable delivery requirement for each passenger, thereby reducing passage costs still more. Robert Zubrin, founder and President of the Mars Society, has come forward with his suggestions to aid economic recovery… President John F. Kennedy at Rice University in 1962. Yet their consistency shows a persistent blind spot among policy making groups as to the true sources of wealth and power. Listen to our extended interview with Kim Stanley Robinson here. Improving the quality of life on Earth. This would be the most monumental achievement in our history to date and would likely be a point in history we would never forget. Among extraterrestrial bodies in our solar system, Mars is unique in that it possesses all the raw materials required to support not only life, but a new branch of human civilization. To be viable, a real Martian civilization must be either completely autarchic (very unlikely until the far future) or be able to produce some kind of export that allows it to pay for the imports it requires. For these reasons, as with land speculators on Earth in the past, the owners of open unexplored real-estate on Mars will exercise all their influence to further the exploration of, and encourage the settlement of land under their control. The feasibility or lack thereof of terraforming Mars is thus in a sense a corollary to the economic viability of the Martian colonization effort. For chemical interplanetary systems, it is assumed that the dry inert mass excluding tankage is equal to 20% the payload. Inventions produced as a matter of necessity by a practical intellectual culture stressed by frontier conditions can make Mars rich, but invention is not the only way that Martians will be able to make a fortune. EIN: 41-0953924. M. Fogg, "Advantages of Terraforming for the Human Settlement of Mars," Presented to the Case for Mars V, Boulder CO, June 1993. The exploration phase of Mars colonization has been going on for some time now with the telescopic and robotic surveys that have been and continue to be made. Other destinations, such as the Main Belt asteroids may be richer in potential future exports to Earth but lack the preconditions for the creation of a fully developed indigenous society; these compare to the West Indies. By exploring and understanding Mars, we may gain key insights into the past and future of our own world.” – Buzz Aldrin Networks of such 50 to 100 meter domes could rapidly be manufactured and deployed, opening up large areas of the surface to both shirtsleeve human habitation and agriculture. What the Mediterranean was to the Greeks, what the New World was to the Western Europeans, Mars will be to the pioneering nations of the next several centuries; the engine of progress of the coming era. With Bitcoin's popularity increasing, what new regulations will we see? Thus plants grown in a thin walled greenhouse on the surface of the Moon or an asteroid would be killed by solar flares. Its short travel time can providing an easy approach to basic materials for building and other necessities, access to the water, access to the fuel for fusion drives and easier communication make it an ideal location to colonize the humanity at an initial stage. The other way is trade. So it will be scientific crews and people who keep the infrastructure going. Rather, they shall be based on the concrete case of Mars itself, its unique characteristics, resources, technological requirements, and its relationships to the other important bodies within our solar system. Consider once again out CH4/O2 SSTO vehicles used to transport payloads from the surface of the Earth to low Earth orbit. I reckon that a very high percent of colonists and space tourists would spend loads extra in order to see the largest mountain and canyon in the galaxy. For example, if the United States chose to grant a mining patent to any private group that surveyed a piece of Martian real-estate to some specified degree of fidelity, such claims would be tradable today on the basis of their future speculative worth (and could probably be used to privately finance robotic mining survey probes in the near future).
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