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Mars Advertising NASA Space Science

'Colonizing the Red Planet,' a How-To Guide 288

Posted by Soulskill
from the add-water-and-stir dept.
Velcroman1 writes "A manned mission to Mars would be the greatest adventure in the history of the human race. And one man knows how to make it a reality. In fact, he just wrote the book on it — literally. Joel Levine, senior research scientist with NASA's Langley Research Center and co-chair of NASA's Human Exploration of Mars Science Analysis Group, just published 'The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet.' The book reads like a who's who of Mars mission science, featuring senators, astronauts, astrophysicists, geologists and more on getting to Mars, studying its atmosphere and climate, the psychological and medical effects on the crew and other details. The most interesting bit: Levine presents is a solution for funding the trip, something unprecedented for NASA: advertising. 'The suggestion is marketing to different corporations and professional sports leagues for advertising, which is something NASA never does.'"
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'Colonizing the Red Planet,' a How-To Guide

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  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday December 31, 2010 @02:38PM (#34723282) Journal

    When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

    • by xkr (786629)

      How come Microsoft gets to name an entire galaxy? I think this is another one of their b**s claims for "market share."

      Sarcasm Warning.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:06PM (#34723536) Homepage

        How come Microsoft gets to name an entire galaxy? I think this is another one of their b**s claims for "market share."

        Sarcasm Warning.

        'cuz Apple has already got the iVerse. Galaxy, pah.

      • by icebike (68054)

        How come Microsoft gets to name an entire galaxy? I think this is another one of their b**s claims for "market share."

        Sarcasm Warning.

        That was Samsung that named an entire Galaxy.

      • by mickwd (196449)

        "How come Microsoft gets to name an entire galaxy [wikipedia.org]?"

        No, that's Mars [wikipedia.org] you're thinking of (and no, that's not the Mars [wikipedia.org] you're thinking of).

        (With Wikipedia links for the whoooooosh.... crowd).

    • iMars...

    • by pitchpipe (708843)

      ...it'll be the corporations that name everything...

      This just makes me so fucking sad. Everything in our future will be advertising. Imagine the golden arches painted on the surface of the moon, or a big Nike swoosh. I think for the most part that the future is going to be awesome, but this is the part that I don't look forward to. Libraries where advertisments line the walls. Public school buses painted not the friendly yellow that I grew up with, but with crazy in your face colors and giant logos. I guess I'm getting old.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ColdWetDog (752185)

        This just makes me so fucking sad. Everything in our future will be advertising. Imagine the golden arches painted on the surface of the moon, or a big Nike swoosh.

        And you're sure this hasn't already happened? All those ancient 'hieroglyphics" - do they look like product placement or an actual language language? I thought so.

        Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

      • The Future:

        logorama [vimeo.com]

      • by icebike (68054)

        ...it'll be the corporations that name everything...

        This just makes me so fucking sad. Everything in our future will be advertising.

        Its human. Its what we do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

      Uranus Proctology

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I agree that various powerful organizations, not all of them governments, can be counted on to stake out turf and use this for their own advantage. But
      A.) There are plenty of powers other than corporations.
      B.) Staking out turf doesn't need to be zero-sum or destructive. At least not for the next few decades.

      There's no reason that Wisconsin can't arrange to send Official Wisconsin Cheese and Salmon to be used by Mars settlers in return for an endorsement. And U. W. has more than enough of a space science pro

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And if it's anything like stadiums, the taxpayers will still pay for most of it, while $BIG_CORPORATION gets to put their name on it.

    • When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything ...

      Of course privatizing space will lead to corporate naming. Keeping to a more scientific naming scheme is one of the advantages of government leadership in space exploration. If government abdicates that role then corporations will fill that vacuum.

    • "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Coca-Cola!"

      (Yes, I know that I'm missing the 'A')

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

      No, you've got it all wrong. It's the AT&T Stellar Sphere, the Ford Galaxy, and Planet Hollywood.

  • How much does it cost to (re-)name Mars?
  • Advertising! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Friday December 31, 2010 @02:42PM (#34723312) Journal

    Advertising!
    The best way to make an expensive thing look cheap.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      But there are a lot of companies out there who want to pay lots of money to get their name mentioned on TV every time something happens. It's the same reason you see companies paying to have their name on the sports stadiums. By doing this, every time someone talks about the upcoming game for sports team X, they also mention the name of the stadium, which happens to be some corporate brand. Imagine if every time MIR or Hubble was mentioned on the news, it was instead the Coke Space Station, or the VISA t
      • by pspahn (1175617)

        When I talk about sports events, only when discussing how absurd stadium names have become does the actual brand name get brought up. It's doubtful a conversation would go:

        "Wow did you see the Heritage Partners Limited Sun City Fiesta Bowl at National Transport Corporation Stadium last night?"

    • by kesuki (321456)

      people are starving and were heading towards $5 gas an you want to colonize mars? where they don't have water or petrolium. we ought to be working on synthetic foods and reducing our addiction to fast paced high energy consuming video games.

      • by Piata (927858)

        The Phoenix lander directly sampled water ice in shallow Martian soil on July 31, 2008 and while there may not be petroleum on Mars, I don't see how that makes it any less worthy colonizing.

        It's stands to reason that if you can get people to survive, even thrive in such a harsh environment as Mars, that those lessons and technology created to sustain life there would have immediate long term uses back here on earth.

    • The best way to make an expensive thing look cheap.

      I totally agree, but I don't care how cheap it is if it gets us to Mars.

  • You can never go back
  • by khallow (566160) on Friday December 31, 2010 @02:53PM (#34723430)
    This is a collection of papers. Levin is credited in the article for other peoples' work. But at a glance, there looks to be a lot of great work there.

    Further, I don't buy the slashdot summary claim that Mars exploration or settlement (using current cost basis) can be funded solely through advertising and sponsorship. Sure if one looks at something like the Superbowl, World Cup, or the Olympics, you see many billions of dollars a year changing hands. That sort of money should be enough to run a space program. The problem is that Mars exploration doesn't have the guaranteed high interest viewership on a regular basis. Sure the actual first landing will be a big draw. But not so much the second, or third, etc. A long term program will need continuous funding over long periods of time. There's nothing to offer comparable permanent excitement to the repeated extremely popular contests of media sports.

    OTOH, such a thing could be good funding for a first mission or two, especially if cost of access to space should go down considerable.

    For me, the most interesting part is section 9, "Mars Base, Exploration, and Colonization of the Red Planet". Any sort of long term human activity on Mars, be it some sort of scientific mission, a new hobby for the extremely wealthy, or somebody else, is going to have to solve the sorts of problems discussed in this section.
    • by bfree (113420)
      So you don't think "Big Brother on Mars" will draw enough advertising? What if they let people vote (by premium sms subscription service) to choose the next colonist to evict? Series one could evict all but one would be colonist on route with the winner getting to be the first person on Mars. Series 2 could have them competing with the next set of arrivals not to be evicted on the surface.
      • by khallow (566160)

        So you don't think "Big Brother on Mars" will draw enough advertising?

        No, I don't. There are several things to keep in mind. First, you talk only of two seasons. We'd need funding for decades, not just a few years. Even the most cynical reality show (or perhaps especially the most cynical reality show) would have great trouble maintaining viewer interest past a few seasons.

        Reality shows are also popular because they're low cost. A mission to Mars fails that.

        • by bfree (113420)

          Even the most cynical reality show (or perhaps especially the most cynical reality show) would have great trouble maintaining viewer interest past a few seasons.

          Pop Idol, began 2001 on UK TV and still going there "rebranded", running in the USA since 2002. Big Brother stopped after 11 seasons in the UK and is going into it's 13th in the USA. Do you want to stick with your claim?

          Of course any real Martian Reality TV won't actually have the draw of my tongue in cheek postulation as there is no way they will be throwing contestants out of airlocks in space or on the surface. Having said all of that I have no doubt that any colonisation mission to Mars could easil

          • by ae1294 (1547521)

            Of course any real Martian Reality TV won't actually have the draw of my tongue in cheek postulation as there is no way they will be throwing contestants out of airlocks in space or on the surface.

            But what if we find out they're really dirty Cylons?

    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:17PM (#34723638) Homepage

      Are you nuts? A Mars landing would have FAR more viewers than any sporting event. Hell, most people don't even know the rules of American football! And to keep funding a mars program going forward, you could sell the rights to sporting events on Mars where the gravity is much lower... but really, there would be a land rush as rich guys and hedge funds all scramble to purchase Mars real estate after colonization has been demonstrated to be possible.

      • by khallow (566160)

        A Mars landing would have FAR more viewers than any sporting event.

        Which is fine for a one time visit. If you want to live there permanently, you'd going to need more than that.

      • In all seriousness, I think any World Cup would be more heavily viewed than a Mars landing. We're just not thinking very hard about the people we begrudgingly share this planet with. They like thems some soccer. Just sayin'.

        Now, if the World Cup were held on Mars (The Off-world Cup?), then we're talkin' some numbers.

      • but really, there would be a land rush as rich guys and hedge funds all scramble to purchase Mars real estate after colonization has been demonstrated to be possible.

        Almost certainly not - because a) it's not going to be possible to get clear title to the land (under current space treaties), and b) because the returns are going to be very small and decades (if not centuries) out (if at all).

        • The finance industry does not always concern itself with cashflow (returns). Purely-speculative asset prices are more than enough to draw billions in investment dollars.

          Take precious metals, for example. The GLD fund pays no dividend, has no cash flow, no earnings, no return--it's just a piece of paper saying some lump of metal in a vault on the other side of the planet has your name on it. Yet people have sunk $70 BILLION into it.

      • by Walzmyn (913748)

        Hell, most people don't even know the rules of American football!

        Oh c'mon. The Refs are having a bad enough season, there's no reason to pile on.

    • OTOH, such a thing could be good funding for a first mission or two, especially if cost of access to space should go down considerable.

      You could reduce the cost of access to zero - and not noticeably affect the cost of the mission. The vast majority of the costs are related to R&D and then construction and operation.

  • Defying Gravity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Goboxer (1821502) on Friday December 31, 2010 @02:54PM (#34723448)
    In that short lived tv show Defying Gravity, wasn't that how they secured a lot of funding? They would shoot video of them doing something for some company and the entire world would watch it because it was the most amazing mission the world had ever seen. Some people might consider that selling out the mission or the science. However, I say better to get there sometime in the next two decades riding on the collective backs of the commercial industry then get there sometime next century with the "no-strings attached" money of people's collective good will. We'll get there sooner this way, and we can all benefit from the resulting advances in knowledge and science.
  • Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?

    • by TheL0ser (1955440)

      Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?

      Getting farther away from Justin Bieber.

    • by Cyberax (705495)

      "Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?"

      Not having to haul up EVERYTHING from a deep gravity well.

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:36PM (#34723820)

      Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?

      The real estate to spread a colony upon. 1/3 gravity would be healthier. Local water is pretty damn nice too. Easier construction environment, simpler building designs, etc.

      • But are not all of these advantages not obviated by the costs of initial setup?

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          But are not all of these advantages not obviated by the costs of initial setup?

          You could say the same for the down payment on a house. In the short term it would cost less out of pocket to just rent an apartment.

          However a house and a mars colony are long term investments and in the long term are rational.

      • by gobbo (567674)

        >1/3 gravity would be healthier.

        Really? Are you so sure? Sounds nice, but also sounds like a recipe for all kinds of bone and muscle problems.

    • Really, what's on Mars that can't be done more cheaply by building near earth orbital environments?

      Actually, to build near earth orbitals large scale, we'll probably have to go to mars first. If you are talking city sized orbital environments, you need resources, lots of resources. Moving those up from the Earth's gravity well is probably not as cheap as moving them in from comets and asteroids in the solar system. For that matter, for the investment of the first thousand or so, Mars could be made habitable

    • Really, what's on Mars...

      Mars.

  • Keep this book away from me! This guy's gonna spoil the next few episodes of Pioneer One [vodo.net] for me if I'm not careful. D:

  • Um, why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Elbereth (58257) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:17PM (#34723640) Journal

    I know this is going to be a hugely unpopular opinion on Slashdot, but has anyone actually made a decent argument to answer why, instead of how? I've never heard one. People usually just stare at me, when I ask, then say something akin to, "Because it's there." or "You weren't alive when we landed on the moon. You just don't understand." Occasionally I hear something like, "It's an investment in science (or the tech industry)," which is much better than "you just don't get it", but still hardly a winning argument, in my opinion. I'm not against space travel, but I'd like to see some compelling arguments, rather than nerd rage.

    And, yes, maybe I would have said the same thing about the European obsession with exploring the New World. So what? What good idea has ever suffered from a little debate?

    • Re:Um, why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:39PM (#34723856) Journal

      At the moment I can't think of a better one than laying the groundwork. There aren't really a lot of compelling reasons to go beyond near Earth orbit. But like I said in another post, at some point, and no one knows when, the cost of extracting certain key resources will go up enough that people will begin eying the rest of the Solar System. It isn't going to happen today, and it's probably not going to happen in a hundred years, but it will happen eventually, and by laying the groundwork for that, we enable future generations to start accessing resources in the rest of the Solar System.

    • Re:Um, why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SpeZek (970136) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:47PM (#34723926) Journal

      Easy, and you touched on it. Past experience has taught us that the new frontier is bountiful. Even if it is not clear at the outset, exploring new places leads to profitable discoveries often enough that the risks are worth it.

      That, and it's fucking badass to shoot up in a rocket into space going a million miles per hour, eat astronaut ice-cream, and drink Tang while floating around. Having heroes is damn well worth it, to inspire future greatness.

    • Re:Um, why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BadEvilYoda (935532) on Friday December 31, 2010 @04:05PM (#34724076)
      Here's a good answer. At the moment, all of humanity's eggs are in one, and some might argue very fragile, basket. We're exactly one extinction level event away from going the way of the dinosaurs. I agree that another "boots and flags" mission is fairly pointless. But setting up a long-term viable colony on the moon, or Mars, such that the human race has a chance at surviving even if some catastrophe was to happen to Earth, seems like a pretty decent idea. If Shoemaker-Levy 9 had Earth in its crosshairs instead of Jupiter - we had absolutely no chance of stopping it. And, if you want to go out out on an even longer timescale - the sun isn't going to be here forever. Of course, hopefully by that time we will be well past the point of using chemical rockets, etc. But, babysteps... get off this rock first.
      • Most dinosaurs were cold blooded. It's a pretty big disadvantage in a decades long winter.
        Some of them still survived. Think of all the lizards, snakes, crocodiles. (I think birds evolved from warm blooded ones.)

    • Eventually humans need to expand off planet. The sooner that is done the better.

      Do you keep offsite backups? Same philosophy.

    • Re:Um, why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Facegarden (967477) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:33PM (#34725954)

      I know this is going to be a hugely unpopular opinion on Slashdot, but has anyone actually made a decent argument to answer why, instead of how? I've never heard one. People usually just stare at me, when I ask, then say something akin to, "Because it's there." or "You weren't alive when we landed on the moon. You just don't understand." Occasionally I hear something like, "It's an investment in science (or the tech industry)," which is much better than "you just don't get it", but still hardly a winning argument, in my opinion. I'm not against space travel, but I'd like to see some compelling arguments, rather than nerd rage.

      And, yes, maybe I would have said the same thing about the European obsession with exploring the New World. So what? What good idea has ever suffered from a little debate?

      If you're genuinely curious about some of the reasons, I highly suggest reading Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot. He goes over many reasons why we should keep exploring.

      Off the top of my head, there's the extinction argument - one big asteroid impact and we could all be wiped out if we're only on one planet. There's also science. For example, we never knew about global warming until we studied Venus (he discusses that in another book, I think). The scientists responsible for the worldwide end of CFC production first started pushing for the bans after learning of the global warming that causes Venus to be 700 degrees F on the surface. We could learn similarly impressive stuff by studying Mars more closely (we've been studying Earth for a long time, so a lot of the basic stuff is covered. Mars may hold new information that is easy to discover. That may help us back on earth.)

      Also, studying Mars can help us advance out space travel capabilities so we can further study even more interesting places, like Europa, Titan, etc that will require large rockets to get to.

      Almost all of our science is limited to what is going on on earth. Surely there are physical and chemical phenomena on other planets that simply don't happen here. The more we know about those things, the more we can do for ourselves here. I personally think that science is the path to world peace. The more easily we can provide for people and the higher the minimum standard of living for people becomes in the world, the happier people will be, and the more connected we will all become.

      Space exploration also gets more kids interested in science, many of which may decide to study science in college instead of liberal arts or something. The world needs more scientists, so flashy stuff like a Mars landing can go a long way towards encouraging young people to become scientists.

      There is no one impressive reason to go to Mars, but many very compelling ones. Though the extinction risk is a big one. If we don't go to Mars, and then get hit with a major asteroid, we'll sure wish we had.
      -Taylor

  • for a number of reasons, not least of which its "fake" magnetosphere, which mars does not have:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Venus#Induced_magnetosphere [wikipedia.org]

    also note:

    Despite the harsh conditions on the surface, the atmospheric pressure and temperature at about 50 km to 65 km above the surface of the planet is nearly the same as that of the Earth, making its upper atmosphere the most Earth-like area in the Solar System, even more so than the surface of Mars. Due to the similarity in pressure and temperature and the fact that breathable air (21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen) is a lifting gas on Venus in the same way that helium is a lifting gas on Earth, the upper atmosphere has been proposed as a location for both exploration and colonization.[11]

    cloud city anyone?

    living chambers or entire cities, pressurized to earth-friendly atmospherics, floating like balloons. with human-friendly gravity and a good-enough magnetosphere, and, on top of the clouds, a much nicer temperature (although the venusian day > venusian year! so you'd have a hot and cold cycle that's pretty dramatic)

    still, all this points to life above the venusian clouds as something better than mars. colonial life, floating on the venusian cloudtops. on a number of merits, compared to mars, with much less atmosphere, no magnetosphere and paltry gravity to offer... venus comes out the superior choice. and then there's the closer solar proximity (power source anyone?)

    one drawback to venus is it seems to boiled off most of its hydrogen. but mars seems to have done that too, so the deficiency is simply a problem with both mars and venus

    overall, venus is the future folks, not mars

    • by khallow (566160) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:21PM (#34723682)
      But there is the crippling counter argument. Mars has ground. Everything you build on Venus either has to be built from the atmosphere or imported. It also can't be too dense that it won't float. That greatly limits what you can do.
      • well yeah, no ground. but a human-friendly atmosphere on venus equals hot air balloon on earth: it floats. with some future technology, you could have entire cities comfortably floating above the clouds

        with mars you have no magnetosphere, awful atmospheric pressure, and paltry gravity. venus doesn't have these problems

        both don't have enough hydrogen. that's a ding against both planets

        obviously mars and venus are pretty hostile for colonization. i am merely making the case, that you don't have to agree with,

        • by khallow (566160) on Friday December 31, 2010 @05:19PM (#34724536)

          both don't have enough hydrogen. that's a ding against both planets

          Mars has plenty of water. And from the geology angle, it appears to have a number of hydrated (that is, water containing) minerals as well.

    • [...] on top of the clouds, a much nicer temperature (although the venusian day > venusian year! so you'd have a hot and cold cycle that's pretty dramatic)

      Couldn't you just move the city such that it stays in the sun?

      • thank you, exactly. since the venusian day moves so slowly (and the day moves backwards!: sun rising in west, setting in east!), it wouldn't be an energy taxing effort. and plenty of solar power so much closer to the sun than earth (and mars)

        better yet, you could position the city in permanent twilight, where the temperature would be perfectly balanced for humans

        so you have:

        1. human friendly temperature
        2. human friendly gravity
        3. human friendly atmospheric pressure
        4. magnetosphere

        mars can offer none of thes

    • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:41PM (#34723872)

      Mars has a LOT of hydrogen, in the form of good old H2O.

      Venus is a dead end. Sure, you can make floating cities, but HOW would you do this? Venus has no satellites to mine and conditions on the surface are waay too extreme.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        if your standards for saying there is "a lot" of hydrogen on mars are that loose, then the concentration of water vapor in venus's atmosphere is more than suitable for your needs

        the same atmosphere that is basically nothing but hot dense carbon dioxide, from which your solar powered nanobots are continually spinning carbon tube nanofibers that are then assembled into gigantic ultrastrong self-sealing cloud cities for happy colonists. the oxygen from breaking down CO2 is for breathing... the limited nitrogen

        • by Cyberax (705495)

          Why would you need to mine water from vapor on Mars?

          There are freaking ice caps (yes, they mostly consist of frozen CO2, but there's plenty of water there too).

          • the point is there is very little ice on mars. just like there is very little water vapor on venus

            i also think mining mars and separating the ice from the dry ice and the martian rocks is a much more labor intensive effort than simply siphoning up massive amounts of venusian atmosphere and sequestering the water vapor

            nevermind the fact you have a lot more power at your disposal on venus, since you are so much closer to the sun

        • by pspahn (1175617)

          I would be compelled to determine whether or not you actually want such a floating city to remain at a constant temperature. I imagine that many bio-mechanical processes function as a result of a variable temperature gradient. Keeping at one temperature seems like it could be a bad thing.

          If the tech is there to build a floating city on Venus, I'm guessing the tech is there to keep the city constantly moving so that a Earth-like 24 hour day/night cycle could be mimicked. We have evolved for a long time, mes

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Venus is a dead end. Sure, you can make floating cities, but HOW would you do this? Venus has no satellites to mine and conditions on the surface are waay too extreme.

        No, but given enough propellant, it could still be very useful. Crash it into Mars. That would add enough mass to Mars to give it the necessary gravity for human life (about 1.2 G, I think), and it would also provide a much-needed atmosphere that Mars basically lacks. The higher CO2 levels would make up for the added distance from the sun,

    • by inviolet (797804)

      overall, venus is the future folks, not mars

      Yes. The future for organic humans, anyway.

      Mars is the future for post-humans. Mars is already just perfect for them because they -- being inorganic -- will absolutely adore the cold dry oxygenless environment.

      And never mind the possibilities of moving en masse into cyberspace, leaving our bodies in tiny nutrient vats which take up almost no space at all, etc. etc.

  • by Mr Z (6791) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:20PM (#34723678) Homepage Journal

    Oh boy, won't this be fun? Artist's conception... [spatula-city.org]

  • Next planet, please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tokul (682258) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:21PM (#34723686)

    Martian surface temperatures vary from lows of about -87 C during the polar winters to highs of up to -5 C in summers.

    Colony should be able to sustain itself someday. Top temperature of -5 C does not look like some place that can sustain people from planet Earth. They might be able spend some time there, but they won't last for long without supplies coming from Earth. I am even not sure if Mars atmospheric pressure level allows humans to breath without aids. Forget all Sci-Fi movies that you saw and look for better planet.

    • The problem is that the planets and moons out there that do have substantial atmospheres are in pretty much every way much less hospitable than Mars. Venus is a hell hole, with high pressures and high temperatures that make it difficult to have a probe that can survive for more than a few hours. Io is a hellhole of another kind. Titan has a dense atmosphere, but is damned cold, and I suspect the atmosphere would be a bigger pain than anything else.

      Of all the planets in the Solar System, Mars is the best.

    • A small nuclear reactor could provide plenty of heat for any colonists, and there are a lot of raw materials on Mars. -5c isn't great to support life just ambling around, but with intelligence and applied material science it would work just fine.

  • Wasn't this already done in a TV show or movie? They had setup cameras on the entire ship that was used to go to Mars, and were airing it as a Reality TV show with advertising spots, equipment / clothing etc with logos for more advertising, etc etc.

    Anyone know the name? I don't think it made it past 2 episodes if it were a TV show.

  • Considering budget problems, a cheaper, and already being implemented, is to turn red an already colonized planet, like this one. Governments just dont need to do anything, and will be there by the end of the century.
  • This "book," or rather, this arranged collection of papers, can be read simply by clicking links on the web page in the summary. The only reason to buy it would be for the convenience of the printed form (at a $100 price!). No pdf or kindle version seems to be available.

  • The naming rights section just fuckin' killed me for its raw retardness about economics.

    The reason a corporation pays $400m for the naming rights to a stadium is because there's a high level assurance the fucking thing will be built.

    Selling rights to shit in a Mars mission has one fatal flaw: there's no proof the goddamned thing will ever happen. Only a complete dumbfuck or someone totally desperate to see their idea get off the ground would make this sales pitch without realizing the simple assurances tha

    • I gotta agree with your prognosis on the economics that it certainly is an unworkable "Shit! Corporations'll fall for any bullshit!" business model. Doesn't make any sense and at best it's laughable that even a small fraction of the trillions of dollars required for a serious colonization effort could be paid for that way.

      Also, if economics justify heading mining resources from asteroids, corporations will do it much smarter than trying to house hundreds or thousands of people in deep space. 98% of it wil

  • by ignavus (213578) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @01:27AM (#34728050)

    We Martians would like to remind you of that famous Earthling work "The War of the Worlds".

    We could not succeed in our invasion and settlement of Earth because of your Earth's microbes and diseases.

    We don't look forward to our new Earthling Overlords, and remind you that we have our own microbes and diseases.

    That's a nice looking planet you have. Pity if anything were to happen to it...

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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