Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mars Space Science

Richard Branson 'Determined To Start a Population On Mars' 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the did-not-specify-which-species dept.
RocketAcademy writes "British billionaire Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic company is backing the development of SpaceShip Two, has told CBS News he is 'determined to start a population on Mars.' He said, 'I think over the next 20 years, we will take literally hundreds of thousands of people to space and that will give us the financial resources to do even bigger things. That will give us the resources then to put satellites into space at a fraction of the price, which can be incredibly useful for thousands of different reasons.' Branson isn't the only billionaire interested in the Red Planet. Elon Musk, founder of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), wants to put humans on Mars in the next 12 to 15 years."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Richard Branson 'Determined To Start a Population On Mars'

Comments Filter:
  • by Garridan (597129) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:20PM (#41392731)
    Familiar with Branson's previous shenanigans, I must wonder: does he intend to impregnate all the women before they leave for / on the way to Mars?
    • Familiar with Branson's previous shenanigans, I must wonder: does he intend to impregnate all the women before they leave for / on the way to Mars?

      A trait that is a must for any real spacefarer!

    • ...so far (the latter even "to die on Mars, just not on impact [businessweek.com]"), and how two guys are going to start a population together shall remain the greatest mystery of Mars. ;-)
    • I'd be a little nervous about the teratogenic potential of the radiation you'd run into on the way; but (all joking aside) a plan like 'colonize mars' is really starting to get into the territory where somewhat... unconventional choices in order to save space/life support/etc. might start to be come eminently sensible.

      Barring truly impressive recycling/life support systems, for instance, you could ship a hell of a lot of sperm specimens in cryo for the same payload cost that a single man and supplies to las

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @06:25PM (#41393425)
      The guy is relatively attractive for his age, is a Billionaire, is famous, has an accent, has a Jet, has a car that turns into a plane, has a car that turns into a boat, owns an island, and owns a spacecraft... I'm not going to fault him for screwing everything in sight. That's the kind of DNA you want in the Gene pool anyway.
      • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @06:57PM (#41393715) Journal

        Which reminds me...

          CBS News: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

        Branson: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious...service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a...highly stimulating nature.

      • by countach (534280)

        I can picture some guy being stupid enough to go to mars just for all the shagging, but I'm not picturing any women being prepared to sign up.

        • by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid@gmail . c om> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @07:37PM (#41394085) Homepage Journal
          Hey, if serial killers can get groupies and girlfriends, anyone can.

          Wait! Except slahsdotters of course....
        • by rednip (186217)
          I'm sure that there will be thousands of volunteers from both sexes, but the problem is that we don't know what the effect of lowered gravity, etc on pregnancy, growing children, or even the decades long affect on adult humans. I can't begin to describe the ethical, legal and moral problems presented by such a venture, a careful scientist would have 20 years of animal studies in such an environment alone before trying to gestate/raise a human child under such conditions. Oh wait.
          • by khallow (566160) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:27PM (#41394827)

            I can't begin to describe the ethical, legal and moral problems presented by such a venture

            Then don't bother. My view is that it is better to try things out with human volunteers rather than attempt inadequate studies that just won't yield the results you want even in twenty years. And work on the problems as they appear.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              My view is that you are volunteering the kids.
      • by xaxa (988988)

        The guy is relatively attractive for his age, is a Billionaire, is famous, has an accent, has a Jet, has a car that turns into a plane, has a car that turns into a boat, owns an island, and owns a spacecraft...

        Well, I have the accent...

        * Or near enough, for non-Brits.

        (He also has 56 high (ish) speed trains, at least for another few weeks.)

  • dibs (Score:2, Insightful)

    I call dibs on first job interview for lead IT tech on the mars settlement.

    • Re:dibs (Score:5, Funny)

      by CommieLib (468883) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:35PM (#41392919) Homepage
      Get ready for endless bitching about network latency.
      • Re:dibs (Score:5, Funny)

        by Hillgiant (916436) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @06:20PM (#41393391)

        Don't worry. Once they solve the "there isn't any air" problem, the "there isn't any magnetosphere" problem, the "there isn't any water problem", and the "there isn't any soil" problem they will easily be able to whip up some FTL communications tech.

        • by khallow (566160)

          Once they solve the "there isn't any air" problem, the "there isn't any magnetosphere" problem, the "there isn't any water problem", and the "there isn't any soil" problem they will easily be able to whip up some FTL communications tech.

          You're talking about Mars right? 1) Mars air has all the elements that humans and plants need though nitrogen content is very low. 2) Living underground solves the "there's no magnetosphere" problem. 3) There is water on Mars. 4) There is plenty of dirt on Mars. That plus plants growing in it for a time creates soil. Nitrogen fixing is probably the largest obstacle.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:23PM (#41392783) Journal

    I like (no, love!) the idea of colonists living in space.

    On the other hand, has this man taken even a cursory glance at the spreadsheets before making such pronouncements?

    For that many people, we're talking more money than he, Gates, and four other random billionaires combined have.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by wierd_w (1375923)

      Don't be silly!

      It all depends on how you define "person"!

      If you take the pro-life stance, you could send millions of people in a single trip, at lower levels of life support than you need to keep a container of mice alive!

      (Course, turning them into productive colonists when they arrive is a problematic 18 year process, minimum...)

      He might also decide to send midgets instead of full sized people, or any number of other shennanigans to cut the price.

      Stop thinking inside the box over there!

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)

      Elon Musk, as spectacularly successful at everything as he is, only originally planned to put a greenhouse on Mars. And he intended to take a total loss doing it, just to provide the world with the images of Earth greenery surviving there.

      A cool idea, but I'm glad he built a viable space company instead.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DJ Jones (997846)
      This is why we need to tax the rich more more than 10%.
      • Well, that explains why the rich want to go to Mars . . . it's a tax dodge. Like having an official residence in Monaco, because they have no income tax there. I guess private Cayman Island style asset hiding banks like Julius Baer will be some of the first folks to set up business on tax-free Mars.

        It would be good for Amazon, too:

        "Pay state sales taxes? No way, dude, we're incorporated on Mars!"

    • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @07:28PM (#41393993)

      That's what people like me (space systems engineer, ie rocket scientist) are for.

      Getting to Mars will be surprisingly inexpensive if you are smart about how you approach the problem:

      * Seed factories - this is a collection of computer and remote controlled machine tools and robots, which not only produce useful products, but make more equipment to expand the factory. This is a small step from current factory automation. You use these seed factories on Earth to build your main factories, which in turn build your vehicles to get to orbit. Once in orbit you build more seed factories, and progressively work out to high orbit, Phobos, then Mars.

      * Orbital mining - cuts way down on what you need to launch from Earth. The inner solar system if full of floating fuel depots and chunks of metal, otherwise known as asteroids/dead comets. We should use them.

      * High leverage propulsion - Plasma thrusters, Skyhooks, Ramjets, and others. All of them perform much better than chemical rockets.

      * Transfer Habitats - Pick an asteroid in orbit between Earth and Mars. Use the material for shielding, soil, possibly pressure vessel, and fuel production. Spin it at 1 gee. Ride in comfort to Mars and back, with fresh food, no bone loss, and no radiation worries. The habitat stays permanently in the transfer orbit, you use a capsule at both ends to arrive/leave the planet. Since the habitat is not going anywhere, it does not matter if it is heavy.

      The first part - seed factories, makes sense for it's own sake, even if you never go to space. It cuts the cost of manufacturing on Earth. But it can help pay for the rest of it.

      • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:42AM (#41396011)

        I like your optimism, but it's rather crazily optimistic.

        Your basic premise falls down on the very first step. Designing a successful seed factory would be extraordinarily expensive. It is not a small step from current factory automation. It is a very large, very complex, very expensive step from current factory automation, and that step is utterly useless. A seed factory that works in Earth conditions will not work in off Earth conditions. At all. People don't really think about it much, but almost nothing we build on Earth will work without Earth conditions, or at least not for long. Our primary power sources depend on free oxygen, our lubricants depend on temperatures that surround the human comfort zone for fluidity, our gaskets and seals all depend on the same, our machinery is built with the explicit requirement of a 9.8 m/s^2 G field, ALL of our chemical processes are designed to deal with the presence of Earth's atmosphere in one way or another, even the formulations of our metallic alloys depend on atmosphere to behave normally (ever heard of vacuum welding?). I won't even talk about cosmic rays and solar radiation. Nothing we build, except for rockets and satellites and rovers, will work off Earth, and we all know how ridiculously expensive those things are.

        All of these things are solvable problems, and in a very very small sector of the economy, many of these problems have indeed been solved. We do build satellites and they do work on orbit for many years. However, no one has ever smelted metal in orbit. No one has ever manipulated a megaton of matter in orbit (gold mining companies on Earth do so routinely). No one has ever doped silicon in orbit. No one has ever manufactured a lubricant in orbit. Indeed, no one has ever designed a machine with sliding components that must repeat the same motion thousands or tens of thousands of times in orbit to be needing a lubricant in the first place.

        And all of that pales in comparison to the other problem: orbit is empty. Your seed factory isn't going to expand without matter to work with, and with the exception of the trash we've been generating, there isn't any matter to manipulate in Earth orbit. The closest accumulation of matter that's dense enough to be useful is the Moon (the Earth/Moon Trojan asteroids are as small and diffuse as the junk in orbit. Neither is useful). Running a factory on the Moon actually makes one problem a little easier. We're so used to assuming the presence of a gravity field that even 1/6th G is an improvement over microgravity. Unfortunately the fairly bizarre behavior of lunar surface dust brings its own entirely new set of problems, to add to all the others I've already mentioned.

        Could we do it? Yes. Could we do it as you describe, in a tightly coherent focused package Factory Of Everything? No. We can't. We're literally incapable. You're talking about bundling all of human industry into a nice neat package with a bow on top. The human race is not physically capable of doing that. We don't have the management skill to do it. We don't have the generosity to do it. You're talking about gathering together the best in class process engineers for everything we make on Earth, from smelting metals to refining chemicals all the way up to producing CPUs, and building an integrated system that doesn't get in its own way, and you're talking about doing it in the face of a world wide capitalist system, where what I know is what feeds me and I have a vested interest in making sure you don't find out what I know in consequence. It can not be done.

        Nor will it be done. If and when the human race expands its industry into space, it will be done piecemeal, as a thousand, a hundred thousand individual independent inefficient confused bumfuzzled efforts that will only work half by accident. That's how we do things. Get used to it.

  • Food? (Score:2, Interesting)

    How exactly do you feed people on the journey to Mars, what do they eat when they finally get there, and what type of food will even survive that long?

    I haven't given this much thought, but it seems that food might be the hardest obstacle for longer travels. Screw muscle atrophy and bone density issues - how do you FEED travellers to Mars?

    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      Algae?

      Waterbears grown in a vat exposed to raw solar radiation in transit, collected and baked into a protein paste?

      As long as you get rid of the notion of bigmacs and fries, and are willing to settle for "nutritious", things aren't so bad.

      • Can you even eat "nutritious" for two+ years on the journey? What does a protein paste do to your digestive system? What would the influences of radiation be on food; would the algae undergo mutation?

        And once you get there, how do you grow more food and what kind?

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          Waterbears can survive extended periods in hard vacuum, and direct solar irradiation. (As in, no atmosphere. Raw, direct cosmic rays.)

          They are little microscopic soft bodied animal organisms with 6 legs. Keep them moist, with plently of algae to eat, and they will flourish. Grow enough of them, and cook them into paste, and you have a very hardy food supply.

          They can withstand 1,000 times the radiation you can. The ALGAE would probably die before they would.

          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade#section_ [wikipedia.org]

      • Algae?

        Waterbears grown in a vat exposed to raw solar radiation in transit, collected and baked into a protein paste?

        As long as you get rid of the notion of bigmacs and fries, and are willing to settle for "nutritious", things aren't so bad.

        Cool, I already eat vegan so it's not even a stretch to subsist on a goopy nigh-inedible paste.

        Branson, I'm in.

    • Re:Food? (Score:5, Informative)

      by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#41392997)

      feed them things that are easy to grow and genetically modify,
      yeast cheap easy and fast growing
      algae is another great option and can be used to make clean air
      fungus is another posibility
      some plants would be easy to grow in a hydroponics system - lots of sprouts, and roots/ tubers(potatos, ginger, carrots, ect) and bamboo shoots can be grown repetitively quickly

    • You create a biodome. Which we haven't done successfully on Earth, let alone in space.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      How exactly do you feed people on the journey to Mars, what do they eat when they finally get there, and what type of food will even survive that long?

      Dude, canned food was invented over 200 years ago. Many military field reserve rations have a 20+ year shelf life. For a Mars colony you probably have to grow food but for a field mission you can bring freeze dried food and reuse filtered water. I see our current day rations are 3-400 grams freeze dried, 100-150 kg and you're good for a year.

      • How exactly do you feed people on the journey to Mars, what do they eat when they finally get there, and what type of food will even survive that long?

        Dude, canned food was invented over 200 years ago. Many military field reserve rations have a 20+ year shelf life. For a Mars colony you probably have to grow food but for a field mission you can bring freeze dried food and reuse filtered water. I see our current day rations are 3-400 grams freeze dried, 100-150 kg and you're good for a year.

        Better remember to bring a can opener then.

    • easy, just send them more people.

    • Pressurized greenhouses with recycling. Grow whatever you like.

      Use asteroids between Earth and Mars (there are thousands of them) as a source of materials, at the least for radiation shielding and soil. At first bring the pressurized structure with you, when you get more advanced you can build them out of asteroid metals.

      Plasma thrusters like VASIMR can use oxygen as reaction mass. Your typical asteroid is 40% oxygen, so they are *full of fuel*. Any moving around to get asteroid material in the right or

  • To what end? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485)
    What are those people going to be doing on mars that will justify the enormous expense of keeping them alive? Ultimately this is the problem with most Mars or Moonbase plans: there needs to be a compelling reason to be there. Something you can't do on Earth or in Earth orbit. It's going to be hard to be productive when most of your energy is going to just keeping people alive.

    If we had some magical way of getting the people there without spending millions of dollars on fuel alone it could be useful as
    • Re:To what end? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:46PM (#41393047)

      Compelling reasons: well, for starters, that colony would be insurance against an extinction-level asteroid impact here on Earth. So there's that.

      I think wanting Mars-tronauts to be "productive" and whinging about the cost and the "enormous expense of keeping them alive" somewhat disqualifies you from this conversation. Humans moving beyond the confines of Earth is Manifest Destiny. It's inevitable. Man must always have frontiers, else, he is not Man.

      Also, Richard Branson isn't requiring you to bless his spreadsheet, because his effort is privately funded. No one asked you if you thought it would be profitable.

      (I'm all for renewables, but you can't demand that private individuals pay for solar panels for all of us. Realistically, it's probably a reasonable thing for an obscenely rich guy to do with his own money. He could be blowing it influencing elections or any number of worse things. Use your imagination.)

      • by erice (13380)

        Compelling reasons: well, for starters, that colony would be insurance against an extinction-level asteroid impact here on Earth.

        Aside from the small area that gets turned in a crater, everywhere on Earth post-impact will be more habitable than anywhere on Mars.

        Even given a hypothetical event that somehow sterilizes the Earth, a Mars colony will only save you if they can be completely self sufficient. That means they need to be able to produce every piece of technology needed to keep the colony going from raw materials. Chips from sand. Metals would need to be extracted from mines on Mars. Chemicals produced from, perhaps, biolog

        • by tragedy (27079)

          (On Earth, most start from oil, and sometimes coal and natural gas. None of these exist on Mars)

          But you can make them. Especially "natural gas", which is pretty much just methane.

      • by Bo'Bob'O (95398)

        Compelling reasons: well, for starters, that colony would be insurance against an extinction-level asteroid impact here on Earth. So there's that.

        I think wanting Mars-tronauts to be "productive" and whinging about the cost and the "enormous expense of keeping them alive" somewhat disqualifies you from this conversation.

        I believe that we absolutely should and must continue exploring the universe, continue with probes, satellites and occasionally maned space flight. However the idea of manifest destiny is pur

      • Insurance only makes sense if the premium is much much lower than the catastrophic event you're protecting against. For example, Google shows me an ad for life insurance: "Get $500,000 of Coverage For Only $21/Month". That makes sense, because the $500,000 protects your family against financial ruin, and you can afford the $21. A Mars colony protects against human extinction, which I would expect most people care about a great deal less than their families. Hell, at least one major religion embraces apocaly
    • by antek9 (305362)

      Ultimately this is the problem with most Mars or Moonbase plans: there needs to be a compelling reason to be there. Something you can't do on Earth or in Earth orbit.

      Surviving an impact that kills all sentient life on earth is all the reason I need. Earth orbit or a sprawling Moon base might serve that purpose just as well, but the existing ISS is far too small and way to fragile to ensure our species' survival. And while it's unthinkable right now, Mars shows at least some promise of eventually enjoying some degree of terraforming. Until then, set up domes and indoor greenhouses to nurture the colonists, don't forget to send all the heavy machinery needed for exploring

      • by countach (534280)

        I think the point is there needs to be a compelling reason THAT BENEFITS THOSE PAYING FOR IT. And that cost would be astronomical. Some abstract idea about preserving the human race doesn't actually motivate me to spend my tax dollars on it.

        • by antek9 (305362)
          Just the contrary, it's a very /concrete/ idea about preserving the human race. Considering how many tax dollars are being wasted year after year on stuff like saving private enterprises from going bankrupt, I figure some of that /abstract/ money might just as well be redirected towards this useful purpose. But that's just me then, and folks like Branson.
        • by khallow (566160)
          It's worth noting that once your money becomes a tax payment, it's no longer your money. At that point, there's no compelling reason for that money to benefit you.
      • no don't ban religion in space, religion is great for colonies religious groups through out time have been more than willing to go to colonize new land knowing that they could not return which would be true for most astronauts on a mars colony. And their being no indigenous life on mars there would be no moral complications of destroying the native culture because there is none. Puls religion provides hope to people hope would be something people far away from all other life in a inhospitable enviroment wit

        • by antek9 (305362)
          I'm fine with your 'middle of the road' selection, and yes, founding fathers and original trekkers sure relied on their faith a lot to help them endure whatever crossed their way. But each trek shared the same faith, while a modern, multinational trek to Mars would have to have quotas on how many of each faith were allowed on board, and automatically you would just export all the trouble that implies. Second or third generation might be in full fanatic mode once again (and one last time, most likely).

          By
    • by tp1024 (2409684)

      Spending money on something nobody else is spending money on. This is harder than it seems to be for us mere-mortals, once you're flirting with your n-th billion of dollars. (n>1)

    • If we had some magical way of getting the people there without spending millions of dollars on fuel alone

      We do : Nuclear Thermal Rockets [wikipedia.org] also the proposed Project Orion [wikipedia.org].

      Unfortunately both these obvious solutions require the use of the emotionally-charged "nuclear" word, which means the FUD-mongers will NEVER let it happen.

    • What are those people going to be doing on mars that will justify the enormous expense of keeping them alive? Ultimately this is the problem with most Mars or Moonbase plans: there needs to be a compelling reason to be there. Something you can't do on Earth or in Earth orbit. It's going to be hard to be productive when most of your energy is going to just keeping people alive.

      Probably similar things to what they do in Antarctica. That's another place where people need expensive outside support to stay, yet there's a town and various assorted outposts that have been there for decades.

  • How can you not love this guy?
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      He's a 1%er.

    • Re:Seriously (Score:4, Insightful)

      by isorox (205688) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:48PM (#41393061) Homepage Journal

      How can you not love this guy?

      He's great at publicity. Let's talk Mars when he's got people doing regular low-orbit flights.

      • How can you not love this guy?

        He's great at publicity. Let's talk Mars when he's got people doing regular low-orbit flights.

        That's a completely retarded attitude.

        These are LONG TERM development projects, think like 10 maybe 20 years before liftoff.

        Waiting for the current coolness to be live and in production before starting development of the next one leads to lack of momentum and failure to kickstart the next project.

        • by khallow (566160)
          I agree with the other poster. Branson can think and plan as many moves ahead as he likes. But I'd much rather see progress on his current efforts than hear talk about his future ones.
  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:44PM (#41393011)
    Everything else about this man, his wealth, or his goals aside - this is a good thing. A great thing. Having people with the resources to make progress pushing us to get off our dumpy human butts and really settle space beyond our own planet is going to be a net win for our species. It will lead to more jobs, advances in technology, advances in art (I can't wait to read the first poems written by native Martians!). We'll up our chances of surviving a number of extinction level events, and edge ourselves ever closer to exploring beyond our tiny little solar system. To get us started, it just takes an insane impulse, strong will, and the resources to burn. Full speed ahead!
  • Alternative headline: "Branson wants to fuck off to Mars." Can't wait.
  • Populating Mars. Hundreds of thousands of people in space. It's a nice dream, but there's some serious limitations that he's going to have to overcome.
    Simply put, space is expensive. Unless we developed some sort of space elevator, we'd have to burn a hell of a lot of fuel to get people into space, not to mention all the supplies they'd need to sustain themselves for any length of time. And you would have to have some reason for them to go. Some way to make money up there. Like mining the moon for fuel. O
  • I sure hope he's better at running a space colony than he is at running a cell phone company.

  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @06:16PM (#41393349)
    that would explain the Fermi Paradox of "where are they (intelligent species in space) ?" [wikipedia.org]:

    now for the first time in almost four billion years, it's been possible - very difficult, but possible - for life to extend to another planet. [...] who knows how long that window will be open?

  • ... 'Determined To Start a Population On Mars'

    Worker drones.

  • What do these guys know that we don't?

    Seriously, this sounds way out there. But then again, heavyer than air flight did sound so too, just a few years before the wright brothers finally found a solution to all the problems Lilienthal and others had been battling with. As did portable mass market Cray 2 supercomputers you can hold in your hand and make phonecalls with. ... And are mostly used to make fart noises and play Angrybirds.

    Another question would be: For these guys to be right, which three things wou

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @06:49PM (#41393641) Homepage
    Mrs Branson not so keen.
  • So we now have Richard "Martian" Branson vs Newton "Moonbase" Gingrich? FIGHT!!

    Of course the way things are going it's likely that either India or China will win both those races.

  • Mars ain't the kind of place to raise a kid...

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @11:27PM (#41395483) Homepage

    From a site I maintain: http://www.openvirgle.net/ [openvirgle.net]

    On April 1st, 2008, a fierce discussion started at Google's latest effort, Project Virgle. It proposed a grassroots effort to get a colony on Mars. What they didn't expect is that the Internet would respond so positively to what was hastily discovered as an April Fools Joke. Dissatisfied with what that first 24 hours of discussion and work represented, a number of members struck out to do what Google thought was only a joke, and start a real grassroots effort to inhabit space. Thus OpenVirgle was born, with every intention of gathering talent from across the globe, and focusing it all on creating ideas and ways in which humankind can live sustainably in space using free and open source technology.

    This project remains a place for all space enthusiasts to cooperate in a playful learning community of individuals and groups chaordically building free and open source knowledge, tools, and simulations, which lay the groundwork for humanity's eventual joyful, compassionate, and diverse expansion into space (including Mars, the Moon, the Asteroids, or elsewhere in the Universe), and also pool our current resources to make all of these ideas a physical reality. We believe that humanity works much better when they work together, and that the fastest way to advance knowledge rapidly is to have it shared equally amongst the largest group possible.

    OpenVirgle's mission is, first and foremost, the consolidation of information. There are many pro-space-settlement groups out there, each with great ideas. The problem is, they are all competitive for funding, and they can't seem to agree on space settlement tactics and technologies. We will attempt to bring together all of these ideas and all of this information, and put it all up for proper comparison and discussion. Hopefully, future groups, or future iterations of OpenVirgle ourselves, will be able to use this collected knowledge to "put our eggs into a few more baskets" than just Earth.

    We hope to end a history of secrecy and paranoia surrounding high technology development, and bring us all together towards a larger shared purpose, pooling resources and sharing the benefits of our combined work with the entirety of the human race. Yes, it's idealistic, but all the best grassroots efforts are, and if you don't shoot for the stars, you will never leave the planet.

    ====

    In practice though, over the last couple years, that energy has moved into the Open Manufacturing and DIY and Maker movements, which are more general. But the geenral idea is stil what will get us there. An SSI conference paper I presented on this theme in 2001:
    http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/SSI_Fernhout2001_web.html [kurtz-fernhout.com]

  • by MooseTick (895855) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:41PM (#41401101) Homepage

    Before billions are spent going to Mars, I'd like to see a self-sufficient or at least semi-self-sufficient colony go live in Antarctica or the bottom of the ocean for an extended period. That includes growing food, climate control, recycling air, getting along with each other, etc. If an extinction level event happened like a giant asteroid hitting the earth, I believe a successful colony living at the bottom of the ocean may have a better chance than one on Mars.

    True, living in the south pole or 3 miles under water isn't as cool as living on Mars but if you really are concerned with the human race living past an extinction level event this would likely be a better choice.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre

Working...