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Mandy Fisher

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The colonization of Mars vs. solving the problems at home

I am a space advocate and sci fi junkie. I look at the night sky like a teenage boy peeks at Playboy. The curiosity and wonder within me burns as red as that elusive rocky world next door.... And now, in this glorious age of technology, the dreams of Kim Stanley Robinson and geeks world round is finally becomming a reality. The colonization of Mars is just around the corner, and although many are thrilled, some are hesitant and even sour about the prospect. An argument aganist a human-occupied Mars is based on the belief that Earth has far too many problems, that are far more urgent and necessary to address, then the satisfication of curious scientists and hopeful investors. So, what do you think? Shall humanity step beyond our watery world and onto a rusty alien desert, or should we focus our efforts on Earth and find solutions to our dire issues before considering such a endeavor?

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    Aug 5 2013: Bernal spheres, Stanford tori, and O'Neill cylinders are all open air environments that simulate the outdoor experience pretty well. There's no upper limit to the size they can be built.

    Even if terreforming technology can advance far enough to make Mars an outdoor environment (which I very highly doubt), we still have the problem of the lower gravity, which cannot be fixed. think that artificial environments in space will be much more physiologically pleasing than the best terreformed planet could ever be. In fact, I believe that space environments will eventually be preferable to Earth itself.
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      Aug 6 2013: You may be right about that Lawren. I think the only problem would occur in our human tendency to think the grass is greener. The very fact that we know it is stimulated would be enough to drive people into wishing for escape.... I believe. It's not about how real they can make it, nor how pleasing it is... Consider the conundrum of The Matrix. .
    • Aug 8 2013: With the limited resources of a fresh colony world, you wouldn't have proper outdoor environment simulators.

      Space travel is as spartan as you can get (in the minimalist senses, not the military one), and as any colony will initially have the bare minimum of infrastructure, almost everything will have to be delivered to it via spacecraft.
      As result, they'll be scrapping by with the bare minimum, simply due to the horrific expense of sending over anything heavier.

      Its sort of like terraforming in that sense, except that rather than walking outside after a couple of centuries of hard work, they'll be building a luxury bunker in decades.
      While it may well be a key part of any future attempt to colonize mars, it doesn't really solve any of the fundamental problems. You can still only have as many people as you can build bunkers for, and at least at first, you'll hardly be able to build at all.

      One thing we don't have to worry about is envy from the people of earth though. Frontier life is harsh, frontier life off planet, is simply grueling.
      A bigger worry is the funding and interest in the project going dry half way through and leaving the poor colonists out to dry. It'll take years before any future colony can even sustain itself--its life the people posted in Antarctica; if outside support gets cut off for an extended period, they all die.
    • Aug 8 2013: Lawren, I am a huge proponent of the O'Neill cylinder. You get simulated gravity and enough space for thousands including farms etc.

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