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How much resources would be needed to build a colony on mars or the moon, would the earth be able to provide all this resources?

The idea of establishing a colony on mars with the moon as rally point, has been sounding a lot in the last months, after the the Curiosity mission started.

If such idea one day really comes to life. What would or can be the cost of a project like that, and the most important, will the earth as planet and as community be able to provide the material and economic resources needed for a project that size? In the moon or in mars there is no oxygen or water and there is no way to harvest corn or wheat. So a there must be a constant supply line that would be vital for the survival of the first team that arrives. Maybe portable efficient greenhouses could help sustain them but. There will still be a supply line that must kept operating without interruption. And behind that there is a cost.

In order to accomplish such feats i think NASA will have to join forces with space agencies from Europe and Asia. And even the private companies that also have space exploration projects would have to join. Because the cost in money, material resources, and the time of the professionals involved will be very high

  • Nov 2 2012: If you plan to establish a colony on another planet you must base all your strategy, design and engineering on the assumption that such colony will be self-sufficient otherwise it is destined to failure. Just like the early European colonies in america, the ship will take months to return so you better be self-sufficient to survive that long, and when the ship comes you better be prepared to trade, because if Europeans don´t have an economic incentive to keep coming they will leave you on your own. The same story applies for a colony on another planet, so self-sufficiency is definitively a must.
    • Nov 2 2012: Thanks George
      If a colony is set in such a distant place there must be a real commitment by the organization or corporation that runs it. Because a departure delay, or a logistics situation that delays a launch only 1 day may be the difference between the success or the failure of the project and even can result in casualties. What i am really concerned about is the impact that this project may have in the economy of the planet. If it becomes a reality.
  • Oct 5 2012: "will the earth as planet and as community be able to provide the material and economic resources needed for a project that size?"

    No-because of the weather conditions. 225°F average temperature at day, -243°F at night. You do not need to fly to the moon to answer your question, and you do not need the NASA either. Just open a green house in your fridge or in your baking oven (both running at maximum), count the energy you need to get both cooled or heated up to comfortable temperatures, and see how far you gonna get. If you harvested something in there, it is time to think about flying, before its better to stay on the ground...
    • Oct 6 2012: Thanks Lars
      This temperature shift would require specialized and expensive technology in order to keep stable temperature inside the space that the first colonizers will occupy. After all they are planning to send humans to mars or the moon, and humans need certain conditions in order to live and perform daily activities. And all that we are talking about still involves costs.
    • Oct 6 2012: The Sun does shine on Mars and the Moon and there is also hydrogen present on both, so nuclear fusion is an option.
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    Oct 3 2012: First of all, you should be aware that all the resources we need to colonize space (including oxygen and water) are already in space, in the form of asteroids, and nothing need be provided by the Earth. Please read 'Mining the Sky' (1997) by John S. Lewis.

    However, colonization of other worlds is one of the most persistent remaining myths of futurism. Gerard K. O'Neill, one of the foremost experts on space colonization, believed it would be foolish to escape one gravity well only to go hunker down in another one:'Neill

    The true colonization of space will occur by building large-scale space habitats, such as Bernal spheres, Stanford torus', or O'Neill cylinders. Please read 'The High Frontier' by Gerard K. O'Neill. It will be possible to grow food, and provide for all other human needs within these habitats, without dealing with the harsh environments and gravitational deficiencies of other planets.
    • Oct 5 2012: Thanks Lawren
      I will look for that book. And you are right many processes on earth depend on the pressure and gravity conditions we have on earth. Lets say we finally land on mars. Different gravity and the newcomers should live in living spaces that are able to compensate the lack of gravity or the excess of gravity of the new planet. I think.
    • Oct 6 2012: O'Neill cyliniders, pretty and shiny as they are would be very costly. Terraforming a planet is much more economical.
  • Oct 3 2012: Th Earth can easily provide the necessary resources for colonies on both the Moon and Mars. The actual resource requirements are not that great. The real cost would lie with the contractors designing and building the ships and equipment. A wartime economy could easily build bases on the Moon and Mars within 10 years.
    • Oct 3 2012: Thanks John
      Because of the last economic issues the world have been facing i am a little concerned about the economic impact for that project.
      • Oct 3 2012: The financial crisis is purely financial, as always the problem lies with the distribution of resources, not the amount of resources.