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Old 2021-06-30, 23:01   #37
kriesel's Avatar
Mar 2017
US midwest

3·52·79 Posts

1) Manage planet earth as if Diep is correct about Mars and any other "backup" location being beyond impractical.
I've done project support for things at the South Pole Station. They have their own machine shops, diesel mechanic, etc. There's adequate O2 concentration and atmospheric pressure there, and frozen water, normal gravity, several advantages relative to Mars. Yet decades later, it's still reliant on regular resupply of building materials, food, fuel, and other consumables, scientific equipment, personnel, etc. The total human population of the content is transient and fluctuating 1000-4000, and not self sustaining; only 11 have been born there. It's more economic to resupply than try to do it all there.

2) By all means hammer Diep on some clear inaccuracies. Progress the debate onto a sounder basis.

3) Manage space exploration and technological development with an eye to proving Diep wrong, in the very long term by normal human standards, as a small side project along with using what's here far more efficiently and sustainably.

4) Realize that time may be short; humanity may do itself in here before there's a good viable alternative location found / made feasible. (My nightmare scenario is a psychopathic religious zealot getting hold of enough genetic engineering to create a race-or-ethnicity-specific deadly virus, and they get it (even more) wrong, with too broad coverage, or it mutates while on the loose to general primate fatality.)

5) Realize that "terraforming" Mars is a short term proposition; it lacks the gravity and magnetism to retain a human-compatible atmosphere beyond ~5000 years from some hypothetically created earth-like atmosphere, never mind the incredible energy budget and technology and patience creating such an atmosphere would require.

6) Information transfer is probably the easiest part. Send some high storage capacity low power computer gear that survives the trip well, and preloaded with the most-likely-needed and perhaps-urgently needed data, and more available space for what you discover later you need to know also. The round trip latency by radio or laser link, Mars-Earth-Mars, assuming a visible satellite in orbit at each end, is similar to my round trip driving to the nearest public library, and perhaps lower energy usage. Otherwise, with no Mars satellite relay, you might need to wait for long-latency internet access up to about half a Martian day for establishment of a line of sight transmission path. My local library closes every night and all weekend.

7) A working space elevator system on earth would substantially change the economics to orbit and beyond.
The megatons of payload for various purposes are large undertakings with rockets but inconsequential compared to earth's approx 6x1021 metric ton mass, which is very slowly shrinking, at ~-55,000 metric tons/year.

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2021-06-30 at 23:09
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