Author Topic: Can We Ever Colonize Space?  (Read 13382 times)

Online Hydra009

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #75 on: March 10, 2013, 02:07:30 PM »
Quote from: "commonsense822"
We could most certainly colonize space, but personally I think it would be a better long term solution to terraform planets.  And believe it or not, we can theoretically terraform Mars if we chose to.
Yeah, but isn't the best case scenario on that taking tens of thousands of years?  It'd probably be easier to fabricate space-based colonies and live there.

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #76 on: March 10, 2013, 03:22:13 PM »
Quote from: "Hydra009"
Quote from: "commonsense822"
We could most certainly colonize space, but personally I think it would be a better long term solution to terraform planets.  And believe it or not, we can theoretically terraform Mars if we chose to.
Yeah, but isn't the best case scenario on that taking tens of thousands of years?  It'd probably be easier to fabricate space-based colonies and live there.

It wouldn't necessarily take that long though.  For example, one of the theories to terraform Mars is to reintroduce greenhouse gases to the planet to raise it's temperature and thicken its atmosphere.  Mars actually has CO[sub:30ixqar5]2[/sub:30ixqar5] frozen at its polar caps, which is the same gas that is causing a rise in temperatures here on Earth.  You melt those caps (ideally with large mirrors placed in orbit to reflect the light of the sun) and the planet will start to heat up and fill the planet with more Co[sub:30ixqar5]2[/sub:30ixqar5].  Then there is the matter of being able to breath on the planet.  This can be achieved simply by introducing plants to the Martian surface.  They breath CO[sub:30ixqar5]2[/sub:30ixqar5] and exhale oxygen, eventually filling the atmosphere with enough oxygen that we can breath.

And all we need is to increase the Martian temperature a few degrees and it will have further snowball effects that will work in our favor for terraforming, similarly to how just a few degrees change of our global temperature on Earth creates a snowball effect that works against us here.  Think about how long the effects of man made global warming have been acting on the Earth.  About 200 years, and scientists predict by 2100 if global warming continues it will be too late to change.  We would be working on a similar time scale with Mars, should take about 200-300 years.


EDIT: We could even build bases on the surface of Mars while we wait for the effects of the terraforming to kick in.  Eventually as the atmosphere thickens we would be able to walk the surface without the need for pressure suits, only oxygen masks, and those would eventually become unnecessary as well.

A planet offers a lot more natural protection than an orbital space station, space being one of the harshest environments we have encountered.

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #77 on: March 10, 2013, 10:04:38 PM »
It should be noted that if people ever move to Mars, they basically could never return to live on Earth, since their bodies would adapt to the decreased gravity, they could no longer handle Earth's gravity if they stayed on Mars for too long.

Also, they fact that Mars doesn't have a Magnetosphere means any man-made atmosphere we create would quickly be blown away by the Sun.
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline FrankDK

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #78 on: March 10, 2013, 10:28:15 PM »
> Also, they fact that Mars doesn't have a Magnetosphere means any man-made atmosphere we create would quickly be blown away by the Sun.

It also means if they spent much time above ground, they would all die soon from cancer, since the radiation would be very high.

Frank

Online Hydra009

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #79 on: March 11, 2013, 02:54:05 AM »
Quote from: "commonsense822"
It wouldn't necessarily take that long though.  For example, one of the theories to terraform Mars is to reintroduce greenhouse gases to the planet to raise it's temperature and thicken its atmosphere.  Mars actually has CO[sub:1f61au3i]2[/sub:1f61au3i] frozen at its polar caps, which is the same gas that is causing a rise in temperatures here on Earth.  You melt those caps (ideally with large mirrors placed in orbit to reflect the light of the sun) and the planet will start to heat up and fill the planet with more Co[sub:1f61au3i]2[/sub:1f61au3i].  Then there is the matter of being able to breath on the planet.  This can be achieved simply by introducing plants to the Martian surface.  They breath CO[sub:1f61au3i]2[/sub:1f61au3i] and exhale oxygen, eventually filling the atmosphere with enough oxygen that we can breath.

And all we need is to increase the Martian temperature a few degrees and it will have further snowball effects that will work in our favor for terraforming, similarly to how just a few degrees change of our global temperature on Earth creates a snowball effect that works against us here.  Think about how long the effects of man made global warming have been acting on the Earth.  About 200 years, and scientists predict by 2100 if global warming continues it will be too late to change.  We would be working on a similar time scale with Mars, should take about 200-300 years.
These are good points and all, but part of my hesitation in committing to such a grand project is precisely because of climate change.  I mean, we can't even stabilize our own climate, let an alien one.

In contrast, we can have space colonies in Earth orbit at a fraction of the cost and time - and managing their climates would be much, much easier.  And they'd be well within reach in the case of an emergency.  One huge downside - and it is a doozy - is the utter dependence on the Earth for supplies.  Despite that, it sounds like a better option, at least short term.

Now, this might seem like a dumb question, but by the time that we have a habitable Mars with breathable air, would we even need it?  Let's look at it this way - why do we need to set up colonies on other worlds in the first place?  Space to live.  Arable land.  Raw materials.  Waystations for travel to even more distant celestial bodies.  Etc.

Could we find other ways of meeting those needs or at least minimizing them?  Suppose we find more efficient ways of making use of this planet.  Or greatly increase our spacefaring range.  Or some other novel technology that greatly changes how we live.  Could planetary colonization become an obsolete endeavor?

Offline Colanth

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #80 on: March 11, 2013, 10:25:25 PM »
Quote from: "commonsense822"
It wouldn't necessarily take that long though.  For example, one of the theories to terraform Mars is to reintroduce greenhouse gases to the planet to raise it's temperature and thicken its atmosphere.  Mars actually has CO[sub:145iiuot]2[/sub:145iiuot] frozen at its polar caps, which is the same gas that is causing a rise in temperatures here on Earth.  You melt those caps (ideally with large mirrors placed in orbit to reflect the light of the sun) and the planet will start to heat up and fill the planet with more Co[sub:145iiuot]2[/sub:145iiuot].  Then there is the matter of being able to breath on the planet.  This can be achieved simply by introducing plants to the Martian surface.  They breath CO[sub:145iiuot]2[/sub:145iiuot] and exhale oxygen, eventually filling the atmosphere with enough oxygen that we can breath.
Which, of course, reduces the percentage of CO[sub:145iiuot]2[/sub:145iiuot], reducing the temperature.  (Remember, Mars is receiving a lot less heat per square foot than we are, so you'd need an unbreatheable atmosphere to keep the temperature up to what we consider comfortable.)
Afflicting the comfortable for 70 years.
Science builds skyscrapers, faith flies planes into them.

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #81 on: March 12, 2013, 06:44:37 PM »
Quote from: "Colanth"
Quote from: "commonsense822"
It wouldn't necessarily take that long though.  For example, one of the theories to terraform Mars is to reintroduce greenhouse gases to the planet to raise it's temperature and thicken its atmosphere.  Mars actually has CO[sub:19l7zfzv]2[/sub:19l7zfzv] frozen at its polar caps, which is the same gas that is causing a rise in temperatures here on Earth.  You melt those caps (ideally with large mirrors placed in orbit to reflect the light of the sun) and the planet will start to heat up and fill the planet with more Co[sub:19l7zfzv]2[/sub:19l7zfzv].  Then there is the matter of being able to breath on the planet.  This can be achieved simply by introducing plants to the Martian surface.  They breath CO[sub:19l7zfzv]2[/sub:19l7zfzv] and exhale oxygen, eventually filling the atmosphere with enough oxygen that we can breath.
Which, of course, reduces the percentage of CO[sub:19l7zfzv]2[/sub:19l7zfzv], reducing the temperature.  (Remember, Mars is receiving a lot less heat per square foot than we are, so you'd need an unbreatheable atmosphere to keep the temperature up to what we consider comfortable.)

Which is why we need to lasso a couple of hydrogen-rich asteroids, haul them over to Mars, and use them to fuel some big-assed rockets stuck point-down into the planet's surface, to shove Mars into the same orbital plane as Earth.

Of course, we'll also have to come up with a way to liquify Mars' core while we're at it, and maybe haul another bunch of asteroids into orbit around Mars so it will have a Moon, and probably crash a buttload of ice asteroids into Mars to give it oceans, but those are mere quibbling details after we've moved an entire planet some 366 million KM.

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #82 on: March 13, 2013, 02:42:06 AM »
By the time we're capable of that (if it can be done...), we'll have almost certainly transcended any absolute need for Mars as another home.
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline Colanth

(No subject)
« Reply #83 on: March 13, 2013, 05:14:30 PM »
Or any need to live on planets.
Afflicting the comfortable for 70 years.
Science builds skyscrapers, faith flies planes into them.

 

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