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A Million People on Mars

Posted September 29, 2016 10:38 AM by Bayes

Elon Musk recently unveiled his dream for Mars colonization, envisioning one million people on Mars by the end of this century.

Here is the 90 minute speech where he outlines his plans:

Don't have 90 minutes? Here is a great write-up summarizing his proposals from ars Technica - Mars Colonization Plan Summary

It's an interesting plan that looks unlikely to succeed given its current form and the costs involved. However, it does seem to lay a framework from which a more practical, perhaps less glamorous plan for colonizing Mars could occur. Historically mass migrations and the formation of colonies have come about because people were searching for a better life and the current country in which they resided didn't mind seeing them leave.

It's not very poetic, but it does seem to point to where some of the funding may come from for the passengers seeking a new start. Certainly once could envision overpopulated countries partially subsidizing the journey (if the costs are around 200,000 or lower). We will have to wait and see, obviously a lot has to go right for SpaceX before this dream has even a chance to become reality...still, it is an inspired vision!

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#1

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 12:29 PM

A place where you have to make your own food, water and air out of sand is a nice place to visit, but you probably don't want to live there.

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 1:08 PM

I definitely hear what you're saying, but consider this...

Imagine what it must have been like for the first humans who came out of Africa all those hundreds of thousands of years ago. They had never seen a winter, never had to store food, never had to worry about the cold. All of a sudden they were in this inhospitable wilderness and only could survive through their ability to adapt to the environment through tools. They wore furs, lived in caves and used fire, hunted in new ways and stored food.

I'm sure once humans arrive on Mars, the technology needed to survive and adapt to its environment will develop quickly and it won't take long for Mars to be as habitable as Northern Europe (I don't mean terraforming but rather through adaptive tools). The only major issue that I'm not sure how they will overcome it is the .3 g gravity and distance from Earth. Other than that I think Mars is actually quite hospitable.

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#12
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 7:04 PM

Currently we can't even send a few men to the moon. Mars is 100 times as far away. When you get there, no air, no water, no food. No easy resupply from earth. Wilderness doesn't get much wilder than that. I would think it would make more sense to colonize the moon first. Sending supplies would at least be feasible.

Someday we'll have people on mars, but it won't be soon.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 8:08 PM

I see what you're saying but keep in mind there is atmosphere, it's just thinner, and there is water, it's just solid. I thought Elon Musk did a good job explaining how it could work. I certainly agree it will be very challenging.

The moon has no atmosphere, no water, etc. Except for its proximity, not a very desirable location. Whereas with the right technology Mars could be self sufficient (crops can be grown on Mars, its atmosphere has the stuff plants need if we process it). The moon never could be self-sufficient. At least not with any existing, or any near existing technology.

At the end of the day, an awful lot would have to go right for this to happen and that is pretty unlikely. Elon Musk said as much. But if it did work out, it really would be something.

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#16
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 11:02 PM

The only major issue is .3 gravity? Gasp! What about -100 degrees F at night, and the atmosphere being too thin to breathe? They would have to live in a dome, and that would be much more feasible on the moon. The average distance from the sun is the same for the moon and the earth, so temperature regulation would be within possibilities.

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#22
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/30/2016 1:07 PM

Your time line is just a little off. The hominin line left Africa to spread into Europe and Asia 1.3 to 1.8 million (106) years ago. They spread into continents that already have a flourishing ecosystems. The early homonids did not have to transport an ecosystem with them. It took several billion (109) years to make these self sustaining (just add sunlight) ecosystems naturally. AFAIK The largest self sustaining ecosystems people have designed have only brine shrimp at the apex.

Mr. Musk's numbers are also a little off. Now I'm all for setting lofty goals but Mr. Musk has yet to send a single person into orbit, let alone escape velocity of the Earth. Claiming that he can one day make a disposable rocket that can lift 100 people at a time into orbit is just another "pie in the sky" lofty goal. If each of these 100 person rockets can reach Mars and they procreate nine fold so only 100,000 people get transported from Earth to Mars then 1,000 disposable rockets must be made to put 1,000,000 people on Mars.

Lofty goals are good. This is sounding more like a carnival barker's tease than a realistic goal.

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#24
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/30/2016 5:20 PM

If each of these 100 person rockets can reach Mars

Hopefully they don't use the Tesla's autopilot.

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#23
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/30/2016 3:27 PM

Yeah, but.... I doubt any went directly from Africa to living in the Alps in one move. This migration was over many generations and humans became accustomed to a definitely cooler clime over many thousands of years. A few hundred generations got used to seeing snow once or twice a year, then the next few hundred generations....

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#8
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 3:25 PM

So, send people from the middle east first?

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#9
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 3:40 PM

More likely the poor from all over the world, countries like Bangladesh, along with technical talent that will be paid the big bucks could go to Mars and build the colonies. Eventually, once the colonies are established and growing, trade will take care of the rest of the growth. Basically the business model that led to the North American colonies back in the 16th and 17th centuries.

After all, if people are willing to go through this- Dubai Labor Camps

Then they will be willing to go to Mars.The conditions would probably be better. Same business model, the corporation sponsors their travel in return for their labor for x number of years.

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#2

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 12:52 PM

What's the pay....cuz it would have to be a lot....and there would have to be a lot of those green Martian chicks....

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#3

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 12:57 PM

Why?

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#5
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 1:16 PM

From Elon Musk's point of view it would be to make Humans an interplanetary species and thus harder to eradicate through natural disaster.

From the colonists perspective, the same as it always is...

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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#6
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 1:32 PM

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#7
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 2:18 PM

lol. Except it would look more like the one on the left below since there wouldn't be any oxidation!

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#10
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 3:52 PM

Maybe a more modern interpretation is called for....

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#13
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 7:07 PM

I could understand if there was a prospect of a better life. That was much of driving force for immigrants coming to the Americas. It's hard to believe there could be a better life on Mars. One of my biggest concerns is the lack of a strong magnetosphere to protect life on Mars from cosmic radiation.

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#15
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Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 8:15 PM

Radiation is definitely an issue. I read somewhere the daily dose at the surface is like 20 CT scans. Everything would have to be shielded. I also wonder about the gravity. Mars has 40% of the Earth's gravity. That's fine for a visit, but what does that do to humans who live there for years, or worse, for humans born there? Definitely there are some serious (and perhaps insurmountable) challenges.

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#11

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 6:42 PM

I think the Martians should build a wall to keep out the soon to be coming hoards of illegal immigrants from this third world planet.

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#17

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/29/2016 11:33 PM

It's not that I don't want to watch a ninety minute speech,,it's just that I don't want to waste ninety minutes worth of data when I can watch a ninety second video of one of his rockets exploding.

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#18

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/30/2016 6:16 AM

You all raise legitimate points. I don't think it's any secret I'm wearing Mars colored glasses, lol.

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#19

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/30/2016 10:03 AM
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#20

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/30/2016 10:43 AM

Maybe it could be like Australia and we send our prisoners there!

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: A Million People on Mars

09/30/2016 11:46 AM

Maybe Earth could be like Walgreens world by sending all politicians to Mars.

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