22 thoughts on “Reason On Space”

  1. “There is even less economic justification for going to Mars—it’s far more difficult to reach, and in terms of habitability it makes the summit of Mount Everest look like Hawaii.”

    How habitable is Mars for humans?
    It’s death without spacesuit or something that could have pressure. Could be very deep cave which had enough pressure or a lake somewhere could have enough pressure. And then you oxygen to breathe in which Mt Everest barely has enough. And Mt Everest is as cold as Mars.
    Mars doesn’t naturally have enough oxygen and enough water [unless it’s ice and/or likewise in some unknown cave.
    Or Human habitable depends upon making it habitable, though some cave might make this easier.
    Humans need air to breathe and water to drink and they need electrical power on Mars.
    But for modern Human electrical power is needed anywhere- though we didn’t have it 150 years ago, when living was not as good- though billions of people don’t have much access to electrical power which is “not as good”.
    [[One thing good about Mars is will not have as many idiot people, who want other people not to have access to low cost electricity.]]
    Getting lowest cost of electricity on Mars would count as serious challenge which has a lot to do the cost of getting stuff from Earth. Whereas problem with access to electricity for billion on Earth is related to political leadership rather than transportation costs.
    And it possible that Mars could bad political leadership
    also.
    It seems critical aspect of Mars is having cheap water, it seems of Mars water costs more than $1 per kg [$1000 per cubic meter] Mars is not habitable.
    But terms crew exploration, water could cost far more than $1 million per cubic meter.
    Crew exploration doesn’t require a lake to be on Mars.
    A lake on Mars is slightly analogous to having a bank
    on Mars. Crew exploration don’t need a bank on Mars, people living on Mars, do require a bank on Mars.

    Anything could be money, water is money on Mars.
    Having water is having useful capital/money.
    Mars water is real estate.
    This also the case with Earth. Not having access to water on Earth, makes real estate worth less.
    Having access for decades of water in Mars makes Mars estate worth something.
    And under water, there is pressure. With oxygen you can live on Mars without a spacesuit.

  2. “NASA’s primary argument for lunar and Martian missions is science. Human beings certainly can do more science than rovers can, but robotic missions cost about 1 percent of what human missions cost. ”
    Perseverance and Curiosity  have cost about 3 billion dollar, but per year they are cheap.
    If 3 billion is 1 percent then talking 300 billion dollar
    at 5 billion per it’s 60 year. A mars crew program should cost as much 5 billion per year nor take 60 years. 4 to 5 billion over few decade, should be enough to send 3 people per year or around 30 crew per decade and have lots various robotic activity. And in 10 years know more than we could know with the 10 year of robots like Perseverance and Curiosity. 
    And running robotic missions from Mars surface would make robotic mission far more capable.

  3. “Nor do the advocates of manned missions agree on what the goal of such a program should be. One group argues that NASA has unfinished business on the moon and that the agency should return us there on a sustained basis—not just for flags and footprints, but for eventual settlement. The other group, sometimes called the “Mars mafia,” contends that it is best to skip the moon and focus entirely on sending astronauts to Mars.”

    Congress has refused to spend money on settlements on Mars or the Moon. And for once, Congress is correct. Moon doesn’t need settlements and probably doesn’t have enough water [yet] for settlements.
    We don’t know if Mars can support settlements. But we know Mars has about 25 trillion tons of CO2 in it’s atmosphere which is one thing which allows human settlements. And probably has trillion of ton of water which could be accessible- and need lots of water for human settlements. The Moon might have billion of tonnes of water, but most estimates are around a few million tons of mineable lunar water. Which a lot in terms of using it for rocket fuel.

    1. “Congress has refused to spend money on settlements on Mars or the Moon. And for once, Congress is correct.”

      Well I don’t want the US government creating “settlements” on the Moon or Mars per see; other than maybe relatively small bases for scientific exploration and such. I would (strongly) prefer free independent private colonies. Although I expect if the later succeeds it will create inadvertently more of the former; and vice-versa.

      1. A government scientific base requires power, habitats, life support, sanitation, and recycling, ISRU, & food production would be helpful. These are the very things needed by a private colony. So the government could play a very helpful initial role by funding the development and establishment of these things. Then, as the Starship fleet increases its cadence, and the per-seat and per-kg price comes down, incremental production could allow for wealthy private individuals to move to the Moon and Mars followed by not so wealthy individuals.

    2. There’s a huge amount of easily-available water on Mars — in the form of glaciers — as anyone who’s been following Robert Zimmerman’s (Behind the Black blog’s) series of postings on Mars would realize.

  4. I was disappointed with the article by Rebecca Lowe Re: property rights. As people groups on the Moon and Mars reach a certain size, they can simply renounce their citizenships and declare their political independence. Since they’re colony has never signed the OST, they would not be bound by it. No one’s going to send in the Marines to stop them and countries with relatives of those in the colony (e.g. the US) will allow continued re-supply of things like electronics. One doesn’t need a new treaty or agreement.

    1. As people groups on the Moon and Mars reach a certain size, they can simply renounce their citizenships and declare their political independence.

      That “certain size” will have to be very large for this strategy to work. Living on the moon and Mars, if practical at all, will require the resources of an advanced technological society. There is only one of those and it’s on Earth. Can it be replicated on the moon and Mars? Possibly, but the population would have to be at least within an order of magnitude of the terrestrial population for that to happen. And the only way that happens is if the moon or Mars is producing something of value to Earth and nobody has come up with a convincing case for what that might be.

      The notion that settlers on the moon and Mars will be able to give the finger to Earth is just fantasy on the order of Antarctic independence.

      1. I would think within two orders of magnitude. Tens of millions would be enough assuming a high quality society. To me high quality mostly would mean low parasitic percentage.

        1. In real life people are distributed along a bell curve and I doubt master race schemes will be any more successful on the moon or Mars than they have been on Earth.

          1. I definitely didn’t explain myself well. A political system that doesn’t destroy wealth with ever growing bureaucracy and rules. Corporate regulatory capture limited to the point of almost missing. A legal system that is fair and rapid, also not dependent on predatory lawyers. An educational establishment that builds people and society up more so than providing daycare and academic sinecures for the tenured. And so on not for perfection, but an improvement over most existing cultures. I have no idea how to implement these utopian goals other than stating their desirability.

            Master race schemes are definitely not what I had in mind as those schemes tend towards “looks and thinks like me” for any value of “me”. Or, racism at its’ unchecked worst.

          2. I have no idea how to implement these utopian goals other than stating their desirability.

            You pass the honesty test. Many space advocates simply assume that all the problems that plague societies on Earth will simply go away in space.

          3. –You pass the honesty test. Many space advocates simply assume that all the problems that plague societies on Earth will simply go away in space.–

            I assume that NASA wants to do it’s job.
            It’s interesting question I think if NASA didn’t exist.
            Two forms, NASA never existed, and if NASA was ended.
            If NASA never exist, would there be other countries with space agencies?
            Or I would assume there would be governmental military space, but there be civilian space agencies?
            And I don’t think NASA can be ended- but it seems NASA is trying to commit suicide, if they are successful with their suicidal effort, another NASA would be created, though I don’t think it would have to be an improvement or could be worst.
            But if NASA never existed, and no govts had civilian space agencies.
            Then one could not have any civilian space agencies, so I guess we would weather satellites from Military Space. And explored the Moon for military reasons [and with military people]. And Military could even reasons for going to Mars. And Military wouldn’t trying to commit suicide.
            Not sure there much downside to it.
            Though I think the Military could sell idea of government needing to support human settlement on Moon or Mars- and that could be bad.

      2. Energy from space has valuable to Earth, but as Bezos has said, Earth industry will move off planet.
        But if artificial gravity works, people will move to Venus orbit. Venus is better hub for solar system and can used to as hub for mining space rocks, and one use Venus atmosphere to brake with. Earth doesn’t want 1/2 km rock brought anywhere close to it.
        And Venus is fortress, you could live in it’s atmosphere and if a drop 1/2 km rock on it, and unless they impacted near you, it’s not much of problem- other than losing a useful rock.
        But living on Venus, but any better than living Earth.
        Though if artificial doesn’t work, Venus is only place with near Earth gravity. Also Nuclear Orion work best in atmosphere and no wants Nuclear Orion operating in Earth skies.

        1. Venus is lower in the solar gravity well than Earth. Not good strategically, any more than being in a valley is.
          A hub for mining space rocks? There aren’t any near its orbit, which means you need delta-v coming and going.
          Venus’ higher atmospheric pressure means concussive effects would be much worse, so a near miss becomes a hit. Not to mention what happens if you get a leak.
          Nuclear Orion works better in atmosphere? Not that I’ve heard.

          1. It faster [and shorter] to go to Mars from Venus
            as compared to Earth to Mars.
            And faster and shorter going to Jupiter from Venus as from Mars or Earth.
            From Earth, Venus is fastest and least delta-v compared to any Planet or space rock- other than the Moon.
            But fastest planet to get to from Earth is Mercury, but because inclination, it’s one hardest planets to orbit if coming from Earth.
            If was for it’s inclination, and lack of atmosphere, Mercury would be best planetary hub of our solar system. Or simple hohmann is about 105 day from Mercury to Earth or Earth to Mercury.
            “The Hohmann orbit from Earth to Mars requires about 260 (Earth) days; about two years and eight months would be needed for a round trip, allowing for a waiting period of 455 days on Mars while the planets realigned themselves properly so that the returning craft would meet Earth’s orbit when the Earth was present. To reach Venus 146 days would be required, and two years and one month for a round trip with waiting time included. ”
            https://www.britannica.com/science/Hohmann-orbit

            One could shorten round trip time by using Venus orbit to get to or back from Mars from Earth.
            With Earth to Mars the launch window is fixed- once every 2.1 year which include Venus it’s not fixed, but on average it shorten, Earth to Mars so average launch window [either way] is about 1 year. You are traveling further distance and using more delta-v, it only way to change the launch window from 2.1 year to about 1 year.

            Therefore if you refuel at Venus orbit and using using trajectories other Simple Hohmann, you could do something like 8 months total time, to go, Mars to Venus to Earth or the other way around. Otherwise with simple hohmann you get to Mars significant faster as compared waiting the 2.1 years for another launch window.
            Or NASA has planned crew to Mars [and never went of course] in years where rather than stop at Venus, you flyby Venus to get back to Earth quicker but as said it’s matter chance, and to just flyby is quite rare. As compared to going into Venus and waiting a month or whatever, then going. Or flyby is not braking to enter orbit, I am mostly talking braking and/or using Venus atmosphere to enter orbit [a high orbit}.
            And if live there, probably best to in very high orbit of Venus L-1 or L-2.

          2. We have reached Venus orbit from Earth in about 2 month [reached in terms of flyby].
            Musk wants get from Earth to Mars surface in 6 months. No one has done this, no one has hit Mars atmosphere this fast before- but he has ship which is suppose to hit Earth’s atmosphere even faster.
            If assume Starship hit Venus atmosphere fast [and not go to the surface [ie do aerocapture instead {which also hasn’t been done before- though have used atmospheres to slow down a bit and spiraled to lower orbit over many months- aerocapture is one pass}.
            Then like Starship getting to Mars in 6 months is not simple Hohmann, and require Starship using Mars atmosphere, one could non hohmann to enter Venus orbit and use it’s atmosphere in couple month coming from Earth, and if stars were aligned, and could refuel quickly, he then get to Mars in about 4 months. And taking same amount time to reach Mars, by going to Venus, first.
            But more likely is going to Venus and waiting 1 to 3 months, and then going to Mars, or average of about 8 months.
            But it might possible, to use same amount rocket fuel as it take to go Mars in 6 months and take about 8 month and using Venus in order to shorten launch window to about 1 year from 2.1 year. Though it could take a bit more rocket or can not take as much payload. And/or average time is 8 to 10 month.
            But it gets better if can refuel and people hang out in orbit, in artificial gravity environment- and if have settlements on Mars- this will happen.
            Whether it will happen within the next 10 years, is not likely. But it quite likely if doing Mars crew missions, they could be using Venus orbit, once or perhaps twice [with or without refueling or artificial gravity station at Venus].

          3. In addition to what gbaikie already mentioned solar-dependent propulsion works a lot better from Venus such as solar sails and solar-electric.

  5. “As people groups on the Moon and Mars reach a certain size, they can simply renounce their citizenships and declare their political independence.”

    Yes. They can claim sovereign independence; then they can accept “donations” from Earth like deposits in the Cayman Islands tax shelter.

  6. I was wondering if anyone thought Elon Musk was too pessimistic about his timeline of settlements on Mars?

    For instance, before SpaceX can build it’s 100th Starship, there are towns on Mars [and maybe the Moon].
    Perhaps staying on the Moon for 2 years is like staying in LEO for 6 months and staying on Mars is like 10 years for every 6 month in LEO.
    Also perhaps 6 month is LEO is as bad as it is, because NASA as failed to provide enough radiation shielding.
    And with enough radiation protection the Moon is 5 years and Mars is 20 years.
    Maybe one measure the amount of exploration of the Moon is needed in terms of the number of tons of lunar samples returned to Earth. Say the number is 10 tonnes or 10,000 grams. And lets say an overinflated
    value per gram is $200 per gram or brings back to Earth two million dollars worth of lunar sample. And then two years later someone not NASA brings back to Earth 100,000 grams at $100 per gram, so 10 million dollars and get tax write off 10 million dollars and part reason they could do this, is someone making rocket fuel on the Moon. And this start up, plans are to sell lunar rocket fuel to Starship going to Mars- or LOX and lunar water to Starships going to Mars.
    And during this time, NASA planning/thinking of going to send crew to Mars.

  7. Instead of tons returned to Earth, lets say it’s related to time spent on the Moon, say NASA gets 1/2 as sample return to Earth as time spent on the per crew on the Moon, compared to the Apollo 12 mission spent.
    And at south pole one can spend more time at a site than then Apollo crew did. I believe they want send more than 2 crew [for some reason- but it could allow more sample collection]. And make simple say they land, again 6 times- 4 south pole, 2 somewhere else.
    And in terms of year spent, say same as Apollo.
    Despite probably having far more launch capability- a Starship every month, a few SLS, maybe other significant launch- European, Indian, and other American, maybe Russian and even Chinese. And every nation involve probably wants lunar samples.
    Or at least twice as much sample return as Apollo, but maybe not more than 5 times as much. But seems to we should be more than 5 times as much.
    Why can’t one major university have more lunar samples than Apollo?

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