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Mars Space Politics

Mars Colonies and Class Warfare (examiner.com) 414

MarkWhittington writes: An argument about class warfare has broken out over the notion of a commercial Mars colony. It started when Elon Musk, who is said to be planning to retire on the Red Planet, mused that World War III could ruin his plans to settle Mars by destroying the Earth or at least damaging civilization sufficiently that space exploration has to be put off indefinitely, Newsweek, taking up the theme of another sort of planetary disaster, accused Musk and other space-minded billionaires of plotting to abandon the planet to the ravages of global warming while they go to Mars to live the good life.
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Mars Colonies and Class Warfare

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  • by al0ha ( 1262684 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:07PM (#51126539) Journal
    Living on Mars would suck, personally I'd rather be dead than Red.
    • Well said, Fred.

  • by bagboy ( 630125 ) <{neo} {at} {arctic.net}> on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:07PM (#51126541)
    Robert Heinlein would be proud.
  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:07PM (#51126547)

    I thought the Martians were coming here because they messed-up their planet?!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:11PM (#51126557)

    If you're rich enough to go to Mars, you're rich enough to have a bloody brilliant life on earth, whether it's ravaged or not!

  • stupid stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:12PM (#51126569) Homepage Journal

    Newsweek... accused Musk and other space-minded billionaires of plotting to abandon the planet to the ravages of global warming while they go to Mars to live the good life.

    You can jack up global warming until every single molecule of polar ice melts, and on top of that you can detonate every single nuclear warhead in existence, and Earth will still be an infinitely more habitable place than Mars. So the accusation of abandoning Earth to become a hellhole while billionaires live it up on Mars is stupid beyond belief.

    Mind you I'm totally in favor of Elon or somebody sending people to Mars, but that would be as an exploration and human achievement rather than some bullshit class warfare thing.

    • I think I figured it out, maybe the plan was to get everyone else to leave for Mars and leave Earth only to the richest.
    • Re:stupid stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @10:09PM (#51126923) Homepage
      It is even stupider than that because Musk is a major proponent of alternative energy and getting rid of the internal combustion engine (hence Tesla) precisely because he's concerned about global warming. So even if this did make sense (and it doesn't for the reasons you correctly identified) they'd still have the wrong billionaire.
    • The main thing that's wrong with the Earth is all the people - those pesky creatures with "equal rights" to your own.

      Mars would offer plenty of living space with little competition from "equal righted" neighbors, but I think I'd want to work on the biosphere for a few hundred years, at least, before staying there year round.

      • "Mars would offer plenty of living space with little competition from "equal righted" neighbors"

        Just adding up Sahara, Gobi and Antarctica you already get about 30% of Mars surface. If that's not enough, you can take open sea bottom for much, much more living space than Mars, also with little competition and much more hospitable conditions too so you can bet it's not living space the pushing force to go to Mars.

        • The remoteness of Mars might offer some advantages if you want to lord over your new world as an absolute dictator and reintroduce slavery on a massive scale or things like that which might draw attack anywhere on Earth. The ability to ration air would offer a new tool for ensuring your subjects don't revolt, as well.

          • "The remoteness of Mars might offer some advantages if you want to lord over your new world as an absolute dictator and reintroduce slavery on a massive scale"

            I'll tell you this:
            1) Going to Mars because there's no people.
            2) Applying massive scale slavery

            See the problem?

          • A world where the guy in charge is completely dependent on a lot of people for life support/food/water/heat strongly promotes being nice. Slavery? You need a large police/military force to guard slaves (or they will revolt and kill you) and Mars will have a shortage of workers to start with, so no slavery. Upset Earth? Your colony will be dependent on Earth for supplies for a while, that won't work for you. You could make it a Theocracy. Sending all the religious loonies and criminals to the new world
  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:13PM (#51126573)

    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Some people are locked into seeing everything as a function of class, leaving out about 95% of human existence.

    And... Newsweek is still around?

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:19PM (#51126619) Homepage Journal

    If those morons think that a small increase in temperature is worse than living on a barren empty planet with no air, water, or infrastructure... maybe we should send them there first so they can see what it's like. I hope they enjoy the many months traveling there eating rehydrated space food in a tiny room.

    • You may (accurately) mock them, but hey, this story has given Newsweek more page views than they've gotten all year!
      • You may (accurately) mock them, but hey, this story has given Newsweek more page views than they've gotten all year!

        Oh, you mean they've doubled their count to about 12?

    • If those morons think that a small increase in temperature is worse than living on a barren empty planet with no air, water, or infrastructure... maybe we should send them there first so they can see what it's like.

      Musk and the like don't think that. They are investing in space exploration and settling Mars because it's a frontier and a challenge, not because it's easy.

      It is Kevin Maney, the writer of the Newsweek article, who falsely attributes this belief and motivation to Musk and others. It's what's kno

    • No air?? No water?? When I was a kid we got air once a week and no complaints or else!
  • by siphonophore ( 158996 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:22PM (#51126649)

    Mankind is on the verge of its greatest accomplishment, to be executed by the bravest and most hardworking of us. Those that go will be miserable, scraping by on unending work and luck. If they get a foothold on the first thru tenth attempt (pre-foothold colonies will be likely wiped out, every inhabitant dead), a solution may emerge for economic transit and eventually tourism. Going early won't be pleasant--that will take decades. Once it's pleasant, it will become affordable to the middle class a few years later.

    Instead of celebrating these people, these children lash out, in a fit of short-sightedness, envy, and the weight of their personal failures.

    • > Mankind is on the verge of its greatest accomplishment, to be executed by the bravest and most hardworking of us.

      Thanks, but it's just a web site with a bit of scripting. Though, yeah, I am quite proud of it! It'll be finished next Thursday. I appreciate your support!
  • Musk running away (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pesho ( 843750 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:24PM (#51126665)

    accused Musk and other space-minded billionaires of plotting to abandon the planet to the ravages of global warming while they go to Mars to live the good life.

    Seems more likely to me that Musk is going to Mars to get as far as possible from the idiot who wrote this piece and the likes of him.

  • In other news... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mrthoughtful ( 466814 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:24PM (#51126667) Journal

    Time Magazine suggests that Elon Musk and other billionaires will abandon earth and live on the surface of Jupiter.. wait, Jupiter doesn't have a surface..

    "You got to love it when idiotic journalism bad sci-fi meets" -Yoda.

    The only thing I would agree on is that WW3 may well be around the corner. For some unknowably weird reason, there's a load of politicians who seem to consider that a better option than the status quo.

  • Stupid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 )

    I don't think we're CAPABLE as a species of making Earth less hospitable to life than Mars.

    No matter how bad things get here, it'll still be way easier to survive here (much less "live the good life") than on Mars.

    • Exactly my reaction to TFA. He expresses the desire to spend tens or even hundreds of Gigabucks to retire on a hellishly inhospitable planet, with little likelihood of return, and their reaction is to call him privileged and accuse him of going Galt?

      There are so many better places on Earth to abandon the proles and go "live the good life," without having to spend all of your fortunes on getting there.

    • No matter how bad things get here, it'll still be way easier to survive here (much less "live the good life") than on Mars.

      That depends on a lot of factors. My own personal chance of surviving the next 50 years on Earth are about the same as surviving them on Mars.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:29PM (#51126683) Journal

    Mars. ...good life... ... Mars... Good Life... MARS. ...LIVING THE GOOD LIFE. On FREAKING MARS.

    Isn't Mars a WASTELAND?

    Is this a really unusual definition of "good life"? Or maybe a complete misunderstanding of what Mars is like?

    • by suutar ( 1860506 )

      They just finished watching Elysium again and assume that nobody with that much money could possibly want to go somewhere uncomfortable.

  • Musk and others like him are the only real breath of fresh air and hope that we finally do something more with space than send a few probes and telescopes up in a very very long time. That Musk would like to live on Mars eventually doesn't in the least say he is "abandoning Earth". Although personally I would be happy to get the hell away for the sniveling jerks that resent anyone that has a bit more or does a bit more than they do.

    Also Musk just happens to be Chairman of the most one of the most effectiv

  • by Master Moose ( 1243274 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:36PM (#51126719) Homepage

    Mars aint the kind of place to raise your kids

  • and I've been reading /. for years. The 1% will benefit handsomely from a crashing environment. The value of what resources are left will skyrocket, and as always they skim off the top. No matter how bad things get they always come out ahead. That's the definition of a ruling class. They're not going to leave and there isn't going to be a WWIII. They won't allow either of those things to happen.
    • The 1% will benefit handsomely from a crashing environment. [...] That's the definition of a ruling class.

      To have a "ruling class" and a "the 1%", people actually need to stay in such a class system over time, otherwise the term doesn't make any sense. But, in fact, 12% of Americans will be a member of "the 1%" at one point in their life, and the majority of Americans (56%) will be a member of the top 10% of income earners. So the idea that there is a fixed group of "the 1%" that will escape to Mars is lud

      • assuming your stats are correct then people are cycling in and out of the top 10%. If that's true it means they do well when they're young and then everything goes to shit. At least I can't think of any reason why they'd drop out. In other words, after they're used up their quality of life goes down

        Now, the real ruling class is just that: A Class. You don't drop out of that. That's why golden parachutes exist. You don't spill the blood of kings. They take care of their own. Stop kidding yourself. Google
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          Upward mobility is no myth. Some of us have experienced it firsthand.

          Although it tends to be much more common with the newcomers. They tend to have less emotional baggage dragging them down and haven't been indoctrinated into the usual liberal excuses for not trying to fend for yourself.

          THAT right there is why we should never shut out immigrants. They make up for the fat entitled slobs that blame everyone else for their own shortcomings.

          • Haha. That's exactly what my girlfriend used to tell me. She's a teacher and experienced it first hand. Poor immigrants come, live 5 families to a room, work hard, start a business, make a better life. Have kids who look around wondering why they have to work and complain about not having Porches then join a gang and threaten to turn in parents to immigration if forced to do homework.
        • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @11:39PM (#51127303)

          If that's true it means they do well when they're young and then everything goes to shit. At least I can't think of any reason why they'd drop out. In other words, after they're used up their quality of life goes down

          No, in fact, it's the exact opposite: incomes go up as people get older. It should also be obvious why: as people get older, they gain more experience and advance in their careers, so they get salary raises. You have to be utterly disconnected from economic life not to understand such a basic fact. http://tinyurl.com/pebklkm [tinyurl.com]

          Now, the real ruling class is just that: A Class. You don't drop out of that.

          True. But the argument progressives and people like Sanders make is that "the 1%" actually constitute "the ruling class", that the problem is money, and that the problem can be fixed by redistribution and taxation. That argument is obviously bullshit given the intragenerational income mobility we see.

          The US may or may not have some other form of "ruling class" that isn't rooted in money. You're welcome to make an argument for that. There certainly are such ruling classes in Europe, in countries with much more economic equality and higher relative upward mobility.

          Google "Upward Mobility In America" sometime. When the top 3 results stop being about how it's a myth we'll talk.

          I did better: I immigrated to the US and experienced upward mobility that people in other countries can only dream of. People like you strike me as whiny, greedy, and ignorant because you simply lack any appreciation of how well the US works.

          The statistics that people cite on intergenerational mobility and comparing it between countries are bullshit; they are based on relative mobility, and that's high in countries with government-imposed equality, for all the wrong reasons.

  • At least not in an attempt to create a thriving colony. We might maintain a scientific outpost there, but it will be temporary structures, suitable for extended stays lasting a year or two, but not equipped to be self sufficient over longer terms. It will be forever dependent on regular re-supply. There is no other possible way. Think of it as a remote space station, just harder to get to. Think of it like the south pole station, only in a place that takes a year to get to, is colder, and you cannot ever

  • Forget about "escaping global warming". Earth at its worst will be better than Mars at its best.

    The real benefit of moving to Mars would be to get away from earthbound governments and their desire to control everything in sight: encryption, bitcoin, guns, speech, genetics, what you drink, what you smoke, what you eat, the internet, the DMCA, the Patriot Act, and so on, and so on. Being able to jettison all the governments on earth and live self-sufficient on Mars would be highly tempting to me.

  • This quote from the article made my eyes pop:

    The real migration will start post-2040. Volume will drive down flight prices from tens of millions of dollars a person to $500,000. People will start companies on Mars. They’ll take their families.

    Wow, what a prediction, with precision down to the decade and a dollar value.

  • Isn't that like saying rich billionaires are living the good life on Antarctica? Who really thinks this way?

    • Isn't that like saying rich billionaires are living the good life on Antarctica? Who really thinks this way?

      Living in Antarctica would be a picnic compared to living on Mars.

  • Damn, that's some seriously flawed arguing you've got going there.

    Escape route for the 1%. Closely followed by an illustration of the advances made towards expanding the target market "beyond the Forbes 400" and examples of families selling everything they own to move to the new world.

    Question: How many Jay-Z's are going to be wanting to do that, really? Leave all the money, power, luxury behind for a precarious, spartan existence on a hostile planet billions of miles from the nearest private airport lounge

  • He might get buried there, either shipped as a corpse or dying on the way, but it's not likely that he'd actually ever live there, it's not anywhere near as close as some people might think it is.
  • ...accused Musk and other space-minded billionaires of plotting to abandon the planet to the ravages of global warming while they go to Mars to live the good life.

    And proving, once again, J-school is mostly populated by the "math is hard" crowd.

  • It's called a "breakaway civilization" and it's not a new idea. It's been a fantasy of the elite for a long time. The only problem is they want you to pay for them doing it.

    Transhumanism, it's a cookbook!

    https://youtu.be/9f7wOxw4fQI [youtu.be]

  • If the radiation doesn’t kill you, the perchlorates will. If the perchlorates don’t kill you, the lack of food will. If the lack of food doesn’t kill you, the low gravity will weaken your muscles and bones to the point that return to Earth will be impossibleand you’ll still die on Mars.

    My bet: the trip to Mars will last longer than you will on the Martian surface.

    Sorry Elon, but it would make more sense to build floating colonies on Venus than to colonize Mars.

  • So much cynicism in that article, any tech is expensive when starting out

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