Western governments lack of vision

Posted by danno might on Jan 06, 2004 at 08:20

Re: Who will make up the first colonist on Mars (DA Morgan)

I think governments may muster the will for a photo opt type mission, but I agree that, Western-type governments at least, can not plan past their next election much less a 50 year plan to errect a city on Mars.

I don't think the Chinese will either since the moon is a much closer and easier to control asset. Once colonist are settled on Mars, they in effect become an independant nation. Who is going to go and enforce territorial claims when the Martians already control the means of production/survival on the surface. I don't think that prospect is very pleasing to Chinese planners. Luna colonies, on the other hand will be dependant on shipments from Earth for a long long time so authority is much easier to impose.

Luna is a much more difficult nut to crack (colonization wise) compared to Mars - primarly because you need to ship in Carbon as well as Hydrogen. Mars seems to have a sufficient supply of carbonate-type materials plus the abundant (in comparison to Luna certainly) atmospheric CO2.

Furnace/chemistry on Luna will have to be high energy compared to the lower Hydrogen-CO2 = Methane/O2 reactions which will run a Martian colony and Carbon weighs a significant ratio times more than Hydrogen to transport. If/when ice can be pried from the crust of Mars, then independance will be assured.

But lets talk dollars for a moment. Think about an average cost of $400 million per launch with about 10 launches needed to place explorer rovers, initial habitat and equipment, hydrogen starter and the first 10 colonist and toss in $15-20 Billion in equipment development/construction (Saturn 5 type launcher, martian jeeps, small furnaces and fabrication tools) so the total cost is somewhere around $25 Billion. A lot of money, but as a comparison, I wonder what the value of properties, investments and resources such groups as Scientologist, Mormans, the Catholic Church, Unification Church (Sun Yung Moon), etc - how many have funds close to that level today?

It is getting within the realm of possibility - sometime in the next century I believe it will happen.

Like in the European Colonial phase, individual groups will petition governments for "licenses" and become the first colonist on Mars. I believe that in this long term type commitment, that Futurist, Charasmatics, and closed focused groups stand a higher chance of success getting those first dedicated volunteers and making the colony work.

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