Hi-tech versus lo-tech
Settlements on Mars will be artificial habitats, supported by complex technical systems. The construction of these systems require a variety of elements and materials, that must be produced from local Martian resources in order to build an autonomous colony. This page comprises knowledge about the difference and viability of Hi-tech and Lo-tech elements.
Generally, all hi-tech elements require a whole industry behind them. Rare minerals are needed in conjunction with chemical plants. Cleanrooms and complex machinery are required. Many people are required to monitor production. The population of a Martian colony might not be able to devote such manpower to hi-tech production.
Hi-tech equipment is hard to produce on Mars for the first time. May be in a few decades the Martian colonists develop own hi-tech factories. But before this is possible, all hi-tech equipment is brought from Earth, such as computers and communication devices.
If a colony is planned to be independent from Earth the vital equipment for pure surviving and modest expansion must be made with pure lo-tech elements, which gives the colonists a chance to continue, even if the supply chain from Earth stops completely and indefinitely.
Hi-tech equipment might, therefore, be used only for the initial setup phase of the colony, for communication with Earth and for further convenience.
Examples of Hi-tech
- Semiconductors for electronic circuits and computers
- Genetic engineering for optimization of greenhouses
- Nuclear power
- Solar panels
- Rapid prototyping
- Space access