To say that nothing we have done to the planet is as bad for the environment as the Great Oxygenation Event would be to pat ourselves on the back for not literally poisoning the atmosphere.
Obligate anaerobic photoautotrophs: they photosynthesize, and need light to survive, but don't produce (and are killed by) O2. Unfortunately for them, post-GOE, there aren't many habitats that are anoxic but still have much light!
There's at least one clade of "green sulfur bacteria" that apparently lives off the basically-invisible glow from a black smoker at a mid-ocean ridge: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1166624/
The early biological history of Earth has a few 'Colored Earth' phases: Red-Purple-Green-White-Blue(hypothetically).
Heck, Mars is so oxidized it has soils that are 0.5% perchorate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perchlorate#On_Mars
and that stuff's so oxidizing it's not even common on Earth outside of fireworks and rocket propellants
As to why the water was lost, it basically all boils down to "Mars is too small". Too small to have a strong gravitational field that makes escape velocity hard for gas molecules to achieve, too small to have enough primordial+radiogenic heat driving a magnetic field to protect from solar wind, and too small to have primordial+radiogenic heat to drive plate tectonics and the silicate weathering feedback (https://doi.org/10.1029/JC086iC10p09776) that stabilizes liquid water on Earth on billion year timescales
As for how: ions and molecules reaching escape velocity. For water in particular, a lot of this would have been through hydrogen escape, which actually happens on Earth too (just slower). If you photolyze H2O, it's very easy to lose the H because it's so light, thermally or by solar wind, etc. There's more info on the how here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_escape
if we can smack enough comets into it to accomplish anything in the first place, then the maintenance is trivial.
I'm sure in a couple of centuries humans would be able to build superconducting magnets powerful enough to shield Mars from the solar wind (those would double as energy storage as well), but we can't do anything about the fundamental properties of gases and escape velocity.
Even if a meteorite hits Earth or Yellowstone erupts, Earth would be more "hospitable" to life than any other planet in our solar system because Earth has a lot of resources that are right under our noses: breathable atmosphere, radiation shielding, easily mined metals and organic matter.
It's much easier to build and maintain a bio-dome in the Sahara desert, Arctic region, Cheyenne mountains or underwater than on Mars.
Earth at it's worst is much better than anywhere else in our solar system.
Personally I see quite a few positive things behind colonising Mars.
I think it's not about having a "backup", it's not about resources (or in a really long time) it's about the challenge.
If we can put our best engineers to solve how we re-use and recycle water, how we grow crops in extreme condition, how to control the O2 CO2 cycle (at a larger scale than on the space station), how to engineer a space craft that survive such harsh conditions we will end up with:
- technology to help our crops on earth
- technology to help with our water crisis
- technology to build sturdier structures
- international collaboration, that usually keep engineers from working on mass weaponry (The USA/Russian space program is actually motivated by exactly that: keeping the rocket scientists busy instead of working on ICBMs)
Mars just happen to be a goal silly enough that we'll get interesting discoveries and advances that I can't even foresee.
Another way to keep engineers busy and force international collaboration is to have a common threat. For that I believe the asteroid threat is both a real enough threat and a good subject to work collaboratively.
It's easy to see what a tool is designed to do. It's very difficult to see what a tool can be used for and why you might want to use it that way, let alone when you might want to deviate from that or find alternatives due to limitations or new requirements. Or when you might need entirely different tools.
We learn best when we're working on a problem. Just like going to the moon required solving a lot of problems which led to major advancements in the 20th century, going to Mars, colonizing Mars, and colonizing the moon have even more challenges.
Goals give research and development a clear purpose beyond, "I dunno, make something people want that we can sell."
Besides the obvious - large-scale terraforming - a "practice" settlement of Mars gives us an opportunity to innovate and refine practically every engineering skill, form of social organization, or general skillful endeavor in humanity's repertoire.
Metallurgy, genetics, geology, farming, medicine, psychology - all of these fields are bound to discover new phenomenon and methodologies under the constraints and conditions of an alien planet.
Not to be glib, but necessity is mother of invention. And there is no necessity as powerful as the drive for survival.
Long term it is also interesting from an evolutionary aspect. Humans communities on earth are less and less isolated from each other, making it near impossible to evolve in different directions. That increases the risk of getting stuck in a bad local optimum.
Gravity well's are an isolating factor. Living on mars will require a highly isolated economy producing essential goods. Once that prove of concept exist can it be reproduced everywhere else in the solar system (or beyond).
Those communities would not be subject to many of the tragedy of the commons situations we have here on earth with our shared ecosystem. No climate change. No plastic in water. No gene manipulation. Hell, you can even build a space station for only white people, if you are into that. Down the line, we'll see what works best.
Earth being that highly interconnected / -depended makes it more peaceful than ever, so war might become a problem again. Communication is still somewhat easy, so working together will likely still be beneficial.
That is not how evolution works. You want more mixing to increase fitness, not less. Small, isolated populations are notorious for harboring deleterious genetic variants that decrease overall fitness.
This is an important concern, but I don't think it really improves on a space colony. To make it habitable the pool would be limited by size - and worse - by heavily controlled environment.
The real, immediate reasons are inspiration related. Some of that gets very practical, though it's always at least speculative. Technological spillover, for example, can be justification in itself. Earthen solidarity is maybe another, and I do actually think that the existence of a few of us elsewhere helps form the concept of "us." Both of these are "on mission" in the sense that they might be key to human survival.
Anyway... Mars colonization is a horizon goal. It's something to focus our minds. Practical activities are dictated by minor goals (eg visit Mars, generate energy locally, etc). A self sustainable mars colony that can survive earths vogon destruction is so far ahead that it's more of a symbol than anything.
We didn't have true practical reasons for going to the moon, or for the ISS either. The main reason is (imo) that space faring is a human mission, for its own sake.
No matter what though, I dont think space faring is something you could sell to your conservative money manager. It's imagination dependant (and inspiring)... a job for da Vinci, not Medici.
Most worlds in our system don't have a significant atmosphere, most of those that do have too much of it. Like gravity, atmosphere also poses a problem for getting back to space.
> no man-made spaceship can match that for billions of years.
Not unmaintained, no, but if it was unmaintained that probably means everyone who lives there is dead anyway.
I more-or-less agree with this much, but the most suitable place to start learning to colonize space rocks is probably Phobos.
I always believed that if humanity is to colonize something, it would be through robots that do all the exploring and mining for us.
Yes, robots are a cheaper and more reliable way to explore and extract resources but I doubt mankind will be happy with just that. We like to explore, and expand, and face challenges so I'd bet that no matter the setbacks or price tag, we will eventually prefer to do this things in person.
As an alternative: we could even redesign ourselves for space exploration if needed be.
As to your wider point, the ability to breath oxygen and have long term fat stores makes an Atlantic crossing very easy. We moved from one palace with humans to another place with humans, hardly a massive feat of engendering. Meanwhile people in far more primitive craft ended up living in Hawaii (2,200+ miles from the nearest land mass) of all palaces.
If you give a mars rover a command, it takes an average of 12 minutes for that command to reach mars, and another 12 minutes for the confirmation to come back. That makes remote control very hard, and we aren't all that good with autonomous robots.
So until we figure that whole artificial intelligence thing out humans are a much better bet for getting significant amounts of science and mining done than robots.
Which is exactly why low G-tolerance doesn't matter. You have a limited amount of delta-V, whether you apply it all in one go or spread out over a year makes little difference given the timescales that are already involved in interstellar travel.
For me, it's something inspiring, a grand adventure, and may allow us to confirm the presence of life outside of our own globe. That alone would pay the cost of tickets, since shattering the illusion that our globe is the only one endowed with life by a creator, that is an outcome devoutly to be wished by rational beings.
I find it very inspirational/motivational to re-energize my focus on my own work, even though I'm not working on anything Mars related:
However, I personally don't understand why everyone wants to land on a dirtball that has a fraction of earths gravity. It will be crippling for the human physiology and pretty much precludes travel back to earth after a few generations of adaption.
I'd much prefer to build rotating orbital space stations that provide 1G centrifugal force. Easier on the body, better view out the window and no need to enter/escape gravity wells all the time. The dirtballs can be colonized by robots that don't care about gravity that much and can harvest resources for the stations.
Not that I have a say about this at all.
I am correlating this back to when the Europeans are going around the globe and colonising every land mass they can land on. Why are should Mars be any different?
Today, yes. But the first step to terraforming a dead planet is to colonize a dead planet. If we take the first steps and commit to our colony there, maybe someday we can have a second Earth.
So will any place we colonize.
Rather, I think it is the power of the process of a global collaboration in what would be the most exciting adventure for humanity in a generation. Us embarking on such an adventure would lead (I think the majority) of people to consider the importance of a "global" perspective and would probably be good for people to treat others better and make countries less likely to kill each other over seemingly "trivial" matters.
Secondly, it acts as a separate bed of innovation. On earth we solve for earth problems, on mars they would solve for different problems, potentially leading to scientific and tech breakthroughs we would otherwise overlook.
That's a false statement. A large enough meteor could cause a sterilization event.
For the same reason in tech we have backup servers, HA clustering, disaster recovery sites, etc. A bit of redundancy helps in case something goes wrong.
> Earth would be more "hospitable" to life than any other planet in our solar system
Currently, sure. But other planets, especially mars, can be terraformed and made habitable one day ( it would take hundreds or thousands of years ).
> It's much easier to build and maintain a bio-dome in the Sahara desert, Arctic region, Cheyenne mountains or underwater than on Mars.
Sure but a terraformed mars can support more life eventually.
> Earth at it's worst is much better than anywhere else in our solar system.
The same goes for siberia, alaska, canada, etc. There are far more hospitable places to live on earth than those places. But people still explored, migrated and settled. It's human nature.
Edit: Not sure why I'm being downvoted but if anyone is interested in a talk of mars colonization, here is an interesting TED talk.
Correct, but short-sighted.
However much Earth has, we'll quickly gobble it all up.
To quote Bartlett : "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."
The only way out is up, and the first stepping stone is the Moon, next is Mars.
In which case the second greatest must be to assume that all growth is exponential.
>Massive planetwide dust storms lasting several months
>Average surface temperatures at or below freezing
>Space suit required
Things I know about Earth:
>Drinking water falls from the sky
>Food grows on trees
>Clothing optional in most areas
>I can feel actual sunlight on my face every day
"Breathable atmosphere" is a much bigger deal than everything else.
If we talk about the more humid climates found in much of Europe and the US, the weaker members of our society start dying on days just 15°C above baseline.
I think we handle cold much better than heat.
But in all seriousness, the point of colonizing Mars is not to be a replacement for Earth (although redundancy is quite motivating).
It's because colonization and population growth has been our MO for the last 200,000 years.
Sure, 99% of the population might die, the equator could become uninhabitable, and we might lose advanced tech in the ensuing wars, but it'll take much more than climate change to completely wipe out homo sapiens.
We do need to be colonizing other stars within a quarter billion years or so though. The sun won't last forever!
If we don't start now, when? It's the kind of thing that you can always put off for another million years.
Why? Tons of other species have been wiped out very easily, and they didn't even contribute to their own demise as much as we did.
No other species on the planet has attained a comparable ability to bend the environment to its needs like we have. Everything's had to evolve to live in differing conditions. We start fires, invent and build air conditioners, etc.
Most of them due to an external force they could not begin to comprehend actively or accidentally trying to kill them (ie humans). Also we are on the whole smarter, more creative and better with tools than they where.
they didn't even contribute to their own demise as much as we did.
The fact the we actively contributed to our (potential) demise gives us a massive head start in that we understand and can see the problem coming in a way no other species could. Realistically anything that could wipe out humans would have to be something so completely alien and beyond our current understanding or control that we cannot even currently imagine it. Basically anything we can comprehend we can control for and counter.
And so in the same way 'it is easier to imagine the end of civilization than to imagine the end of capitalism' the idea that we could survive for even a year without exploiting the planet beyond steady-state seems so unrealistic as to not be mentionable.
If no one is around to care, then who will care?
Suppose we do discover ABC and achieve XYZ, if at some point things end then no one will be around anymore to care. So what was ultimately the point of doing any of it, I mean long term?
Eventually everything will end in the physical universe. What’s the point of escaping the sun’s growth and keeping things going for a billion years versus 10 million years?
Humans will be very different. Will they even be considered human? In a few generations, cyborgs may start to replace humans and computer data can be cheaply replicated and thus the idea of self-preservation and “the self” may change. In that case, what is the goal of a hive mind?
But I would ask the question about even the next generation. Why do you care what happens when you’re not around? Maybe you care out of empathy. But I don’t see how you extend that to 50,000 years in the future.
I may not care individually about the specie or the planet, but I suppose all our desires/visions/goals add up in an objective sense. If that makes any sense.
Given the mechanics, interstellar travel will most likely always be a pipe dream, because techies still have to believe to some fairy tales...
1) the ability to avoid debris at those speeds (which would obliterate the ship)
2) to survive radiation,
3) the nearest stars to be of value life-support wise,
4) a couple of generations to pass,
5) us not to hear back from the mission for years upon arrival,
So, a more far-fetched version of solar system exploration, with the next steps even further...
This is pretty different from a "fairy tale" and not addressed at all by the blog posts you used as arguments.
“If u breathin u achievin”
ㅓㅁ.먀 - ㅌ
Numerical odds are not the same as laws of nature like e.g. the speed of light or the economics of the energy required and so on. Odds are quite low to win the lottery too, but someone always does. Few have travelled faster than the speed of light though (superman comes to mind), or any other of the many physical limitations to overcome.
And the fact that we went from carriages to planes doesn't guarantee any continuous growth to interstellar travel. Not the fact that we're "ingenious" (whatever that means) or that we "really want it".
Plus, I'm not even sure about the odds being that low (for all we know life can also be easy to develop over time as long as they have some basic conditions, similar to which we know tons of planets in the universe to have).
But sure, no actual on-topic arguments needed, whatever keeps the faith alive...
I think some form of self replicating technology we create will be dispatched en masse into the universe where it will float around for millions of years relying as much on probability as anything and blindly utilise resources as it goes. It will have no intelligence, just programmed to reproduce itself. And we will be the scurge of the universe.
I don't think 5-10k years is a major risk and doesn't require interstellar travel. I think we have closer problems on the horizon to deal with.
Also, there is lot of planet size bodies between us and nearest stars. I expect 10 planets with mass of Jupiter between Solar system and Alpha Centaur system, or 1000 planets with mass of Earth. We can colonize them one by one.
I think there's pretty good historical evidence of this. The establishment of the USA is an example.
It can be a good way to, over time, enact change within the established societies.
A similar argument can be made that the unique technological challenges involved will spur innovation that will again help deal with problems in the established societies.
>Massive coral die off from ocean acidification.
>Rising sea levels salinating farm lands.
>Rising sea levels causing saltwater contamination of aquifers.
>Falling fish populations due to above factors as well as over fishing and pollution
And then we have the space-people telling us that Terraformed Mars is achievable/desirable/affordable when I'm not even sure my family will be able to grow food on our land in 40 years.
I'm sorry. You won't. It won't get better. Please move before everyone starts moving.
Like you’re right, the inertia of established countries probably holds us back a lot, but I’m unsure that we have evolved sufficiently to do better. It’s possible to imagine, but it doesn’t seem like an obvious outcome just yet.
See for example
The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity, by Steven Pinker
Or the first chapter of
Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World, by Rutger Bregman
But it has also gotten much much worse in others (environmental destruction, military capability).
We can't just focus on one aspect and neglect the other. One doesn't take away the magnitude of the other. The magnitudes of the bad as well as the good are both enormous.
Who is doing that? I said "That's not to say there aren't big issues, or no things that have gotten worse, but there's a clear and very strong overall trend."
When you look at the magnitudes it's clear that overall the direction is overwhelmingly in the positive direction.
You say it has "gotten much much worse in others (environmental destruction, military capability)". I agree in the case of environmental issues. But if you're talking about wars and violence (and in what other sense could military capabilities be bad?) things have gotten much better not worse.
No, we are quickly and increasingly progressing towards depleting all our means for life on Earth. And our current response to that is massively inadequate. This nullifies all other progress.
> and in what other sense could military capabilities be bad
With more military power it becomes easier to oppress and harder to revolt against bad politics. Democracy relies in some part in the potential of people to revolt.
All our means for life? That's hyperbole.
It's a serious problem, but it doesn't allow you to pretend that all that progress hasn't happened and hasn't made a difference to people's lives.
> With more military power it becomes easier to oppress and harder to revolt against bad politics. Democracy relies in some part in the potential of people to revolt.
It's unclear what you're referring to. Are you saying there has actually been greater oppression because of greater military power? That this has increased over time?
And you'd start a settlement on Mars just because you don't like some of the social systems?
just buy yourself an island from a govt somewhere, that would be cheaper and far more manageable.
- One is that it is a hell of a lot harder to cheat on Mars than it is in the remotes of Earth. Once you establish the outpost, its not like you can just call in a maintenance team and have assistance at your door within a few days. This forces teams to find ways to make it work. This also makes it much harder for changes in leadership to cancel the mission.
- The other is that developing tech for extraordinarily hostile remote environments tends to produce more potent solutions because the cost of not being sustainable is so much greater.
- Near identical day/night cycles to Earth, and it even has seasons.
- Extremely calm weather. One thing some may not know is that the 'sand storm' used to create the precipitating disaster in 'The Martian' was intentionally faked. Mars minimal atmospheric density means a hurricane would feel like a slight breeze. That a hard sci-fi book had to turn to complete fiction to create a disaster scenario speaks for itself.
- Extensive mineral and elemental resources. Another issue 'The Martian' got wrong was accidental. One of the big problems that was solved in the movie was finding water. This was before Curiosity discovered there's water everywhere. You can get about a liter of water from a single cubic foot of Martian soil. And of course the atmosphere is loaded with CO2. That's not only what plants crave, but you've also got great potential there for something like the Sabatier reaction which combines CO2 and hydrogen to produce methane (which can be used, among other things, as rocket fuel) with water as a byproduct. Of course you can even just split the CO2 into carbon monoxide and oxygen -- this will be one of the critical experiments on MOXIE, part of NASA's Mars 2020 rover. We haven't been able to discern the exact mineral resources, but there's no doubt they're there - and vast.
- It's big. The surface area of Mars is oddly enough near identical to the land area of Earth above sea level.
- Comparable temperatures. The moon ranges from -260 to +280 degrees fahrenheit. By contrast Mars ranges from -195 to 70 degrees. And there are seasons. That -195 on Mars is during winter on the poles, granted that 70 degrees is on the equator during summer. But in general there are many places on Mars where the temperature would regularly be quite reasonable at many times.
There are many other reasons as well. These are mostly just off the cuff, though it's obviously a topic I'm invested and interested in. By contrast when you look at places like the Moon, really it's only benefit is that its close to Earth. But in terms of potential and environment, the Moon is to Mars, as Mars is to Earth.
- Very dense rich atmosphere, carbon dioxide 96.5%
- The pressure at its surface is equivalent to that at a depth of nearly 1 km under Earth's oceans; while it is 20 times less dense than fluid water
- It is the closest planet to Earth and has similar mass and size
- It has stable constant surface temperatures everywhere at any time around 450 C
Most semiconductors will not work in this conditions. This is the problem we may need to solve first.
Once all the techs have matured on the Moon then Mars is just a longer trip.
He writes "It is ultimately much easier to journey to Mars from low Earth orbit than from the moon".
His argument is completely different and unrelated and not the point at all.
No-one is arguing about where to start a journey to Mars from. The point is that settling on the Moon is an obvious first step.
Yes it is.
What benefit do we get from this?
It means we could go there more frequently. I don't see why that itself is reason enough for it, once you consider all the other pros and cons.
It does not mean it requires less fuel to get there. The fuel requirements are primarily for getting into orbit. Once there it doesn't really matter the distance you travel.
> It is obviously a much better ground to learn to live in a self-sustained way on another planet.
It is not obviously so. The wikipedia link I provided goes into this a bit, and Zubrin goes into much more detail in his book.
If it's so obviously better, why don't you outline the reasons why it's meant to be better.
> The point is that settling on the Moon is an obvious first step.
But you haven't argued this point, aside from saying it's closer to us and asserting that "It is obviously a much better ground to learn to live in a self-sustained way".
When we start on Mars, with a difficult challenge, make a bit of headway and then wipe-it out for some short term benefit on Earth, then it can serve as an object lesson.
Surely that will convince us to conserve life on earth when none of the other obvious arguments seem to do that convincing.
Taking in mind that we'd simply come up with a new clear and present enemy #1 to focus on, would you then suddenly become supportive of interplanetary colonization just because humanity's contribution to climate change was curbed? We will always have issues, and indeed dire issues.
Because we will eventually turn this into an inhabitable and will be needing a new one, you stupid. :D
But seriously, "saving the planet" makes us less likely to expand (expansion needs some gradient where the new place has something better than we have here), so why would life want that?
The discussions ensuing about the usefulness of space exploration are always passionate and of course argue the humanitarian point of using that money to better our planet before doing anything somewhere else.
How much combat ship, Nth generation fighter, railgun and hypersonic weapon R&D do you get for the same price?
Please note, every household in Germany pays a special tax, so called "GEZ TV tax" which is approximately 250 USD per year per household. Additionally, every company, every small business in Germany pays 250-44000 USD per year (depends on how many people are employed by this business).
Still, it's a drop in the bucket against the military budget of the US.
However spreading your species across two self-supporting planets makes a planet ending catastrophe less likely to destroy your species.
The knowledge gained from any large engineering/science project is often applicable in unforeseen ways, although I have to think it should be easy enough to see how doing a trial run making mars habitable might translate into ways to save the Earth from becoming inhabitable.
In fact, I'll argue that any money spent on vanity Mars settlements is going to save more lives in a calamity if it is spent helping developing countries lift people out of poverty.
> although I have to think it should be easy enough to see how doing a trial run making mars habitable might translate into ways to save the Earth from becoming inhabitable.
That is hilarious. It is far easier to save the earth than make Mars habitable. It is far easier to study self sustainable pods on Earth than a settlement on Mars.
Atleast be frank why you are interested in a Mars settlement, it has nothing to do with saving humanity.
And smaller impacts that might not completely wipe us off but could cause millions of casualties are possibly even more frequent. Something like Tunguska meteor can potentially kill millions of people if it hits a big metropolis given our current population density. If it hits Tokyo or New York instead of middle of nowhere in Siberia, it would be devastating.
Finally, I don't think a meteor which wiped out dinosaurs will wipe out humans. We can always use a nuclear bunker and save a few hundred humans with years of food to survive on.
Those problems cannot be solved - finding balance is a continual process and part of being human, they will always be with us.
Also what impact have you made on those issues on Earth? Far less than Musk with Tesla and Solar City I’d wager. It’s easy to commentate on decisions others make, and hard to make real progress.
I think both efforts are absolutely necessary for the survival of our species.
2) I would argue that putting too much money in vanity space projects is actually more harmful. We would same more lives if we spent that money here to help educate people out of poverty so that they'd survive a calamity.
A Mars settlement is basically rich idiots (read Musk) trying to have a legacy while fear mongering common people.
You cannot deny that our best bet for long-term survival is to get off this planet. Musk is perhaps a rich idiot, as you put it, but at least he has the right vision.
And when such pods are built, and self sustaining technology mastered, what use is mars really? Why not make big self sustaining spaceships? What do you really need a planet for?
Then followed by a plunge in temperature that will be the last nail in the coffin of whatever agricultural capability we have left after most of the civilisation was washed away. It seems difficult for me to imagine how we could survive that. I agree that it probably wouldn't kill of entire species but it would definitely end the modern civilisation and set the survivors back hundreds/thousands of years.
Does having a settlement on mars change any of that? Should we not first create self sustaining pods on the earth? After that, what do we need mars for? Just for access to water, sunlight, protection from radiation, and gravity? Surely, a settlement on a big spaceship would be viable too?
If something like what happened 10,000 years ago happened today, I'm less optimistic about our ability to survive very long. If we were reduced to couple of hundred people back then when we were used to living in the wild, we might go to 0 this time. There are some small tribes of indigenous people in Amazon rain forrest and couple other places who might be better equipped to survive but that is not guaranteed.
I think you are overestimating resilience of our species, we have not yet been tested by any serious cataclysm since modern civilisation, compared to our ancestors, who were much tougher than us though, and they only barely survived.
Actually, terraforming a barren wasteland might indeed be easier than preventing the oasis we have from being turned into a barren wasteland.
Then it can probably wait another 2,000 years or so, while we figure out how to not trash civilization on this planet. It's practically a blip in the grand scheme of things.
No established legal or social framework.
Probability of finding a place to be left alone with a small group of like minded people. 0
A certain type of person is interested in living a life where they have a large amount of control over the political and social systems they live with. The American frontier was an ideal place for such people to move to. Many took advantage of the opportunity. This frontier is now closed.
Off Earth is the only viable place for similar frontier to exist and Mars is the best place. It has a ~24hr day, decent gravity(0.38g), Ok solar radiation, H,C,O,N readily available on the surface, and possible terraforming to a open-air livable planet.
Probability of doing the same on Mars, where even getting there means submitting to all kinds of established legal and social frameworks to be accepted on a mission, and where you'd need to stick close to other members (whatever minded they are) to survive and constantly report back home: below zero.
>A certain type of person is interested in living a life where they have a large amount of control over the political and social systems they live with.
Mars is the last place that type of person should be concerned with.
(On top of total establishment control of any "political and social systems" there for the next 100+ years, they'd also relinquish control over the environment to whatever capsules of livable space said establishment can build and give them in its own terms).
There's always Western Sahara and Antarctica, much more realistic (and already habitable) places, with internet and everything.
Just float around in an airtight habitat. Gravity is the same as on Earth, pressure is the same, temperature is 25C. You literally only need to be airtight to keep the noxious atmosphere at bay.
Why, where would you get them on Mars?
It might be cheaper to get to Venus than to Mars but on Mars you can actually start mining and building factories on the ground. At some point, it becomes much cheaper and more economical. It's just the initial hurdle of getting there with enough stuff and people to start a colony which can self sustain itself and grow.
Once you have brought enough initial stuff to Mars, you get to a point where you can start extracting materials from the ground and free up all the cargo in the ships for just people and perhaps some special items you still cannot manufacture on Mars. But majority of cargo space is freed up.
Assuming you overcome all the other difficulties and have a colony on Venus' skies, what prevents you from having ships that can go to the ground, get stuff, and come back?
Since for humans it is inconceivable to go down to Venus ground (they'd die immediately from the heat), mining materials and then lifting again and returning back to the habitat in the upper atmosphere, then you'd need to automate the whole process.
The automated machine would have to be incredibly durable to survive the hellish ground environment and be able to fly away again. Also drones that would do the mining work would need to be made from incredibly strong materials. There's a reason we only send suicide probes to Venus that live maybe for couple hours before dying.
Also for humans, cold temperature is easier to survive compared to very high temperature. We can generate heating for astronauts (batteries in space suites can generate heat, we can recharge batteries from solar panels brought by the mothership or on previous automated mission, or from RTG). I'm not sure how would a cooling system for astronauts to be able to survive in 700 degrees Celsius for longer than few minutes even work.
First idea: use wind to power instruments directly via mechanical or pneumatic link.
Second idea: use silicon to produce machinery and tools.
Third idea: high temperature means it's much easier to melt ores, some metal can be collected directly in liquid form.
Fourth idea: air balloons should be very inexpensive way of transport ores to top of atmosphere, where they can be picked up by colonists.
Fifth idea: use mechanical computers to control equipment. It's not so hard to create surfaces which will perform calculations required to navigation, landing, mining, and floating back to surface. Mechanical computers can be crawled out of silicon, with liquid metal for transportation of messages, and vibration can be used to power such computer. 100kHz vibration is easy to reach. At 100kHz, it will be equal to 1kHz electronic computer.
If you want to build a closed system, it doesn't make sense to put it into a gravity well.
Not true. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty
- "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"
The whole reason of spending trillions to get people there would be to exploit and control the shit out of the place...
Moving planets doesn't let you escape power-structures, and anarchism is still stupid - you still have to hope you get a good power-structure.
Not saying that we should colonize all Earth, but IMO it'll happen way before any significant Mars population due to costs.
My wife's grandmother lives in a remote part of Eastern Europe, the nearest small town with a supermarket is half an hour drive away and the nearest neighbour is a few km away. She (aged 78) grows most of their food, and milks cows for a living. In the winter it can get down to -20c, but with modern insulation that's nothing to worry about. The fire/boiler is fueled by wood they chop down on their property. There are plenty of similar places in even more favourable climates like Spain or the US.
However these places lack the advantages like no government. Oceans are ideal for that, deserts less so.