Potential increases in real-estate values after terraforming will provide a sufficient financial incentive to do so. Take exploration from a scientific commercial exercise. Such a mechanism would not need to employ enforcers (e.g. Furthermore, such claims would be enforceable internationally and throughout the solar system simply by having the US Customs Office penalize with a punitive tariff any US import made anywhere, directly or indirectly, with material that was extracted in defiance to the claim. That brings us to the first reason why humans must colonize Mars: 1. While the Exploration and Base building phases can and probably must be carried out on the basis of outright government funding, during the Settlement phase economics comes to the fore. Necessity is the mother of invention; Mars will provide the cradle. So it will be scientific crews and people who keep the infrastructure going. Average of 3.5 children to an ideal Martian family. Inventions produced as a matter of necessity by a practical intellectual culture stressed by frontier conditions can make Mars rich, but invention is not the only way that Martians will be able to make a fortune. To Understand Earth: Mars is the planet in our solar system that is most similar to Earth. As human beings, the only home we have ever known is planet Earth. R. Zubrin and David Baker, "Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet by 1999" IAF-90-672, 41st Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, Dresden, Germany, Oct. 1990. The economics of colonizing Mars . In 1867 the Czar sold off Alaska for a similar pittance. The purpose of the exploration phase is to resolve the major outstanding scientific questions bearing on the history of Mars as a planet and a possible home for life in the past, to conduct a preliminary survey of the resources of Mars and determine optimum locations for future human bases and settlements, and to establish a modus operandi whereby humans can travel to, reside on, and conduct useful operations over substantial regions of the surface of Mars. Once Mars has been partially terraformed however, with the creation of a thicker CO2 atmosphere via regolith outgassing, the habitation domes could be made virtually to any size, as they would not have to sustain a pressure differential between their interior and exterior. Stanley Robinson: Well, I wrote my book based on the exploratory work of a group called The Mars Underground, a bunch of graduate students in planetology that were at first based at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This process of rejuvenation, and not direct economic benefits via triangle-trade for main-belt asteroid mineral resources, will ultimately be the greatest benefit that the colonization of Mars will offer Earth, and it will be those terrestrial societies who have the closest social, cultural, linguistic, and economic links with the Martians who will benefit the most. Expand. While I shall return to historical analogies periodically in this paper, the arguments presented here shall not be primarily historical in nature. However, with a cost per launch of about $1 billion, the cost per immigrant would be $40 million. Mars, on the other hand, has an atmosphere of sufficient density to protect crops grown on the surface against solar flares. The Economic Viability of Mars Colonization – Robert Zubrin (then Lockheed Martin) Mars Foundation presentation – Bruce McKenzie, 2006. The real wild card for long-term health is the low gravity. People are wealth and power. Discovering new life on the planet. But as soon as people commit to living there for their entire lives, they’re going to want to give the place an atmosphere to protect themselves from radiation. It will thus for a long time be necessary, and forever desirable, for Mars to be able to pay for import of specialized manufactured goods from Earth. What made it salable were two things: 1) That at least a few people believed that it would be exploitable someday, and 2) That a juridical arrangement existed (in the form of British Crown land patents) which allowed trans-Appalacian land to be privately owned. A frontier society based on technological excellence and pragmatism, and populated by people self-selected for personal drive, will perforce be a hot-bed of invention, and these inventions will not only serve the needs of the Martians but of the terrestrial population as well. Carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen are only present on the Moon in parts per million quantities, much like gold in sea water. Molly Wood and Kristin Schwab Oct 24, 2017. Therefore they will bring income to Mars (via terrestrial licensing) at the same time they disrupt the labor-rich terrestrial society's inherent tendency towards stagnation. Plants can stand a drop of perhaps a factor of 5 in their light intake compared to terrestrial norms and still grow, but the fact remains; the energetics of plant growth make it inconceivable to raise crops on any kind of meaningful scale with artificially generated light. After all, the Moon does have indigenous supplies of helium-3, an isotope not found on Earth and which could be of considerable value as a fuel for thermonuclear fusion reactors. Because of its complex geologic history, Mars may have concentrated mineral ores, with much greater concentrations of ores of precious metals readily available than is currently the case on Earth due to the fact that the terrestrial ores have been heavily scavenged by humans for the past 5000 years. Under conditions of such large scale immigration, sale of real-estate will add a significant source of income to the planet's economy. Just as the labor shortage prevalent in colonial and 19th century America drove the creation of Yankee Ingenuity's flood of inventions, so the conditions of extreme labor shortage combined with a technological culture and the unacceptability of impractical legislative constraints against innovation will tend to drive Martian ingenuity to produce wave after wave of invention in energy production, automation and robotics, biotechnology, and other areas. The exploration phase of Mars colonization has been going on for some time now with the telescopic and robotic surveys that have been and continue to be made. Thus, if plants were grown in greenhouses on the Moon ( a very difficult proposition, as we shall see) most of their biomass material would have to be imported. Improving the quality of life on Earth. It is obvious that habitable real-estate is far more valuable than open real-estate. 1, Fall 1992, pp 25-80, 3. A frequent objection raised against scenarios for the human settlement and terraforming of Mars is that while such projects may be technologically feasible, there is no possible way that they can be paid for. By habitable real-estate I mean that which is under a dome, allowing human settlers to live there in a relatively conventional shirt-sleeve open-air environment. The only kind of land that exists on Mars right now is open. As shown in the table below, Mars has an overwhelming positional advantage as a location from which to conduct such trade. States spend more on security facing continued threat of violence. I define four phases, which I term "exploration," "base building," "settlement," and "terraforming.". Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. In analogy to frontier America, social conditions on Mars will make it a pressure cooker for invention. The costs impacts as each of these innovations is progressively introduced is displayed in Table 3. An Shuttle derived heavy lift launch vehicle lifts 145 tonnes (A Saturn V had about this same capacity) to low Earth orbit, then a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR, such as was demonstrated in the USA in the 1960's) stage with an Isp of 900 s hurls a 70 tonne "habcraft" onto a 7 month trajectory to Mars. These pieces of short-sighted statecraft, almost incomprehensible in their stupidity, are legendary today. The Earth's Moon, close to the metropolitan planet but impoverished in resources compares to Greenland. For example use of air-breathing supersonic ramjet propulsion to perform a significant part of the Earth to orbit DV could cut orbit delivery costs by as much as a factor of 3. In Table 2 the mass numbers are for the total mission, it is understood that the total launch requirement could be divided up into many launch vehicles, as required. On Mars, in contrast, the strong greenhouse effect created by such domes would be precisely what is necessary to produce a temperate climate inside. This would be the most monumental achievement in our history to date and would likely be a point in history we would never forget. Being close to civilization offers one more advantage: safety. Examining the graph, we see that with this level of effort (and the technology frozen at late 20th Century levels forever), the rate of human population growth of Mars in the 21st Century would be about 1/5th that experienced by colonial America in the 17th and 18th Centuries. or self reproducing machines, such as Turing machines or nanotechnology. Ask the question and there will be no shortage of responses, with many experts citing the strategic, practical and scientific reasons for a Mars colony including: Mars is the most accessible planet in the solar system. Networks of such 50 to 100 meter domes could rapidly be manufactured and deployed, opening up large areas of the surface to both shirtsleeve human habitation and agriculture. Miners operating in the main belt, for reasons given above, will be unable to produce their necessary supplies locally. The Moon is also deficient in about half the metals (for example copper) of interest to industrial society, as well as many other elements of interest such as sulfur and phosphorus. A confined world will limit opportunity for all and seek to enforce behavioral and cultural norms that will be unacceptable to many. 11, Nov. 1990 pp. 2, pp 197-203, March-April 1991. http://www.magick.net/mars/docs/m_econom.txt, Mars Direct Manned Mars Mission Home Page. I know I would! In analogy to frontier America but going well beyond it, Mars will be a society of self-selected immigrants, operating in a harsh, labor-short environment in which practical innovation and technological acumen will be at a premium. Once that is in place, however, even the undeveloped open real-estate on Mars represents a tremendous source of capital to finance the initial development of Martian settlements. 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