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martian colonization! [Jun. 3rd, 2008|12:10 pm]
And while I did indeed just say that no kind of extinction is good, it should also be pointed out that giving up a bolthole for human breeding pairs — which are, make no mistake, the stakes on a Martian colonisation drive — on the basis that we might kill something less substantial and self-aware than a cough is no way to run a railroad.

Could not agree with this piece more. Warren hits squarely on the boner exactly why we need to get humans on Mars.

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[User Picture]From: happymrlocust
2008-06-03 05:20 pm (UTC)
Richard Branson needs to step it up!

I'm not sure I could cope with Virgin Colonisation.
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[User Picture]From: ferrouswheel
2008-06-03 11:07 pm (UTC)
It'd be a bit of a step back from Virgin Galactic though.
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[User Picture]From: happymrlocust
2008-06-03 11:10 pm (UTC)
I suppose in the same way Virgin Trains is a step back from Virgin Atlantic.

I'm going for Virgin Interplanetary. Possibly Virgin Geostationary as well. That'll cover all the bases!
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[User Picture]From: coyotecoyote
2008-06-03 04:48 pm (UTC)
I thought the major roadblocks for the terraformation and colonization of mars were expense and time.

Are there really environmentalists with picket signs chaining themselves to rocks on mars to stop the space bulldozers?
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[User Picture]From: laliatk
2008-06-03 05:15 pm (UTC)
Please, let's keep the humans quarantined on earth; there's truly no excuse for us to run around destroying other planets/solar systems/galaxies.

If we can't even get along here on Earth (with other humans who generally look and act sortakinda similar to one another) without screwing everything up with wars, politicians and everything-devastation, I REALLY don't think that rubbing shoulders (if they have shoulders?) with unknown extraterrestrial life forms is a good idea. AT ALL.

on the basis that we might kill something less substantial and self-aware than a cough

That is one of the most arrogant, self-important assertions I've read in a long time. How the hell can we even START to determine whether a non-Earth form of life is substantial or self-aware? We have absolutely no frame of reference; just our own carbon-based brains. Who knows what other forms of life are out there?
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[User Picture]From: happymrlocust
2008-06-03 05:24 pm (UTC)
We have absolutely no frame of reference; just our own carbon-based brains. Who knows what other forms of life are out there?

I dunno, I thought we knew that there were bacteria on Mars. And we can make a pretty good guess about the cognitive abilities of bacteria. If killing off bacteria (not exactly easy) is an act of genocide, pharmacists are going to have some very awkward questions to answer.
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[User Picture]From: bogmad
2008-06-03 05:46 pm (UTC)
That is one of the most arrogant, self-important assertions I've read in a long time.

Where would the human race be without arrogance and self importance?
I'll accept the "mankind is a virus" metaphor, sure, but if so we're a virus I'm pretty glad to be a part of.

The other option is what? we die?

And how do we figure out what other forms of life are out there, unless we get out there ourselves? Sure that entails some risks we might fuck some shit up, but without risk what is there to gain?
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[User Picture]From: coyotecoyote
2008-06-03 06:36 pm (UTC)
How will these planets be "destroyed"?

The whole concept of environmentalism is about keeping an environment livable for the lifeforms which live in it. If there are no lifeforms, the condition of an evironment isn't good or bad, it just is. Who are we preserving these uninhabited planets for?
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[User Picture]From: rstevens
2008-06-03 07:33 pm (UTC)
If we die, there will be no more cartoons. Kill 'em all, I say!
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[User Picture]From: ndgmtlcd
2008-06-03 05:54 pm (UTC)
Warren Ellis is a pretty optimistic fella. We have the Science and the basic industrial know-how right now to start developing technologies to put a few persons on mars within ten to twenty years, but no more. We don't have the technologies or even the basics of how to develop those techs to put more people there yet.

And we don't even have the Science needed to start making theories on the kinds of GM bugs and plants we'd need to sustain say a hundred persons there. So we're talking about forty years of constant high level expenditure just to be able sustain the indsutrial base needed to start to develop and then build the technologies needed to make settlements on Mars.

We need a whole lot more robot explorers (thousands of them, not one here and there) on Mars and the asteroids (we might need water from the main belt comets if it turns out that the mars water is useless) in the next years just to get the basic Science needed to develop the technologies required.
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From: iconoclastzach
2008-06-03 07:46 pm (UTC)
If cost wasn't an issue... which is to say if we just spent money like it was water, we could probably have a hundred men on mars inside five years. The same tech we used to put people on the Moon would work. Not well, or confortably, or easily, but it would work.

Now, those hundred men aren't going to be able to do much, and they'll probably all starve and die off with no way to get home, but they could probably dig some bunkers for the next hundred men. I mean, not that there would be a next hundred men in any kind of reaonable political climate... but I started with the assumption that cost wasn't an issue, so it's not like I'm arguing political feasibility here, just tech.

And I'm pretty sure we have the science to start making theories on the kinds of GM bugs and plants we'd need to begin a long, slow terraforming process: I was making guesses at it in middle school, and I'm pretty sure that we have a decent picture of soil and atmosphere composition on Mars, at this point. I'm pretty sure we could whip something up in a few years. By all means, if you know more than I do on this, please correct me.

The problem with robot explorers is that they are slow, unexciting, and expensive in development costs and not very useful when they do arrive. A human being with a decent set of tools could do as much unearthing of data about Mars in an afternoon as one of our mechanized skateboards does in a week.
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[User Picture]From: holly_hox
2008-06-03 07:07 pm (UTC)
Am I the only one who actually doesn't like humanity that much? I hate to sound like a super villain here, but I totally see nothing wrong with the human race dying out.
And even if we did colonize Mars, we're STILL going to all die out EVENTUALLY.
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[User Picture]From: bogmad
2008-06-04 03:41 pm (UTC)
This kind of defeatist, negative thinking is exactly what killed off the dinosaurs.
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From: seangrimm
2008-06-03 07:17 pm (UTC)
The sentiment is similar to something I just read in a career guide. We won't get anywhere if we sit on our butts and try to plan every variable out to make it some kind of flawless Earth two-point-oh. Instead we need to go ahead smart, calculate for what we can prevent and if mistakes are made they need to be ones we learn from to improve upon.

Even with the bad rep humanity has I don't think there is any startrek-like perfect pacifist race of aliens living under the shell of Mars that we will disrupt by colonizing it. If there is they should have said hello a while ago so it would be their own fault really. Make it so!
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[User Picture]From: gdh
2008-06-03 07:42 pm (UTC)
Mars won't be colonized until someone can make money by colonizing it -- and no one's even figured out a way to make colonizing Antarctica economical yet. And that's with plenty of water, no Death Radiation, a breathable atmosphere, and no billion-kilometre commute.
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[User Picture]From: ferrouswheel
2008-06-03 11:08 pm (UTC)
Umm, there are international treaties against the colonization of Antartica. People want to exploit it, but they are not allowed.
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