Talk:Settlement Strategies

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Using a Lunar Stepping Stone

If we want to keep all various colonization ideas it makes no sense to present an idea in a deficient form. I believe that my portrayal of the to Mars by way of a lunar stepping stone idea is closer to what its proponents have in mind.--Farred 01:44, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

It should have both sides of the argument so I've added back a modified version of my text. Frontiersman 04:15, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
We should present representative arguments in favor and opposed to various strategies, within the limits of what is reasonable for an article and provide links to more thorough discussion. I would change the title from "Develop industry on the Moon and then transport it to Mars" to "Develop industry on the Moon to support Mars colonization." We will not be transporting lunar industry to Mars because different industries are suitable for Luna and Mars. Sending an operating space habitat to Mars with a solar power satellite should help.
This strategy is not just moving the problem to a different place. It is addressing a different set of problems in order to use new resources for colonizing Mars. Also it provides a ready-made market for Mars industry. I would argue that exporting volatiles to Luna would likely be economically viable, because a fully reusable to orbit launch vehicle for use on Mars should be much easier to build than one for Earth because only 20.2% of the energy needed to orbit Earth can get to Mars Orbit. The volatiles should be extremely valuable on Luna. Being continually reused, they would determine the size of lunar industry. Why do you think it would not be viable?--Farred 01:30, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Since there has been no response as to why trade of volatiles to Luna would not be profitable, I will remove the assertion. When there is some reason for it, it can be added back.--Farred 02:30, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
You've removed far more than such an assertion. Don't remove the counter-argument to this dubious proposal. Frontiersman 21:42, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
And BTW you are seriously missing my point that you have *moved* the problem, the problem being how to develop a self-sufficient economy in space when launch costs from earth are so high. You have simply *moved* the problem to a new locale and used some hand-waving about trade. But you can trade between places on Mars too: if trade between Mars and the moon could solve the problem so could trade between different places on Mars. The moon doesn't have anything fundamental that isn't also on Mars. Please, try to understand what other people are saying before undoing what they write. Frontiersman 21:46, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I think I understand Frontiersman's idea that if trade between Luna and Mars could solve problems then trade between two places on Mars could solve the problem too. If it were just a case of shipping material goods from Luna to Mars in exchange for material goods shipped from Mars to Luna He would have a point, but there are other things to consider. Luna could potentially ship containers of liquid oxygen into low Earth orbit so that the cost of getting reaction mass in LEO would be greatly reduced. This would reduce the cost of transportation from Earth to Mars and from Earth to Luna. This advantage cannot be duplicated by trading between two places on Mars and transportation of goods from Earth is something required to set up the colony on Mars at least. As far as moving the problem of setting up industry is concerned, the "develop industry on the Moon to support Mars colonization" strategy enlarges the area of development rather than moving it. After developing Luna, the problem of colonizing Mars still remains, with some automatic equipment in place on Mars and industry on Luna to support it. As I suggested above, a solar power satellite sent from cis lunar space to synchronous Mars orbit could help Martian industry. The advantage of shipping material to orbit to build it that Luna could have is beyond the reach of Mars-Mars trade. Likewise, building a space habitat and sending it to Mars provides a benefit that cannot be reproduced by Mars-Mars trade. Furthermore, building space-based solar power satellites for Earth cannot be duplicated by Mars-Mars trade, and it is a source of money to Luna which Luna could spend for volatiles from Mars and Mars could spend for imports from Earth. The idea that Mars-Mars trade could solve any problem that Luna-Mars could solve just does not seem to be supported by any facts.
The comparison of shipping water to Luna to shipping river water by truck to "the top of the mountains where the river comes from" is a nonanalogous analogy. Luna is not where volatiles come from. It is a place where they could be put to good use. The top of mountains is not a place where there is any specified use for water. Certainly water is necessary for industry. It will be necessary on Mars where it will need to be recycled because digging it out of the permafrost is more difficult than pumping it from an Earthly river to Earthly industry. The Martian polar caps probably hold down some liquid water where it flows beneath the cap to the edge of the ice cap and serves as the source of water for the lower latitude permafrost. However, the vast majority of Martian water is frozen. A Mars colony will recycle water and Luna will recycle water. The motivation on Luna will just be more intense. In "Equipment for autonomous growth" Frontiersman wrote: "By the time we are done with our analysis this economy and its technology will likely be radically different both from the traditional frontier town and from the modern technology with which we are familiar." With nothing more specific than that, readers should take on faith that the network of industrial processes supplying each other will be fully closed. If Frontiersman can swallow that, why does he have problems with Luna recycling water and using only a small amount of imports for anything other than expansion? It certainly seems more reasonable to get water out of Mars' gravity well than out of Earth's, and on Luna volatiles should be as valuable as gold. Why then does Frontiersman refer to my specific suggestions for Luna-Mars trade as "some hand-waving"?--Farred 07:14, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
If the volatiles are "as valuable as gold" industry certainly won't be able to afford to operate on Luna. There is no such thing as 100% recycling technology. The expense and not recycling was the point of my water-truck analogy. And the closed-loop of operations and inputs/outputs needed for a self-sufficient economy has nothing to do with recycling, they are two very different concepts. Raw materials simply have to be available, they are not product, the closed loops have only to do with tooling and workers skills and the lowered efficiency that comes from less division of labor. BTW "Luna could potentially ship containers of liquid oxygen into low Earth orbit so that the cost of getting reaction mass in LEO would be greatly reduced" is a point and you should add it to the article (you might want to rephrase it to clarify though). Frontiersman 16:00, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Golden Mars scenario

The Golden Mars scenario paragraph seem to fit better in Interplanetary commerce or Earth-Mars Trade. How about keeping a more vague mining business strategy here in this article and moving the detailed gold business to one of the other articles? -- Rfc 21:10, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

It's an example for financial strategy, and financial strategy is a crucial part of colonization strategy. No money, no colony. It may well be that finance should have its own article, summarized in this one. It's about far more than commerce and trade, it's about exploring what the finances of a colony would be like and how one designs a colony based on financial constraints (with the Golden Mars scenario just being an example of such financial constraints). Frontiersman 02:23, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
It's not the only possible example, BTW. We could have "The Hacker Scenario" based on a bunch of computer programmers resettling on Mars and selling their services or code back on earth in exchange for the imports they need. Again the trade and finances are quite central to the colonization strategy that the hackers would pursue (e.g., how self-sufficient they'd have to be would be based on what imports they could afford). Frontiersman

Examples are very good for understanding, so I fully agree with you having examples in Marspedia. The more in number, the better. The more detailed, the better. What I mean is, we can use the wiki technology (links, categories, etc.) for better structuring. The article is already pretty long, which is fine so far, but it will grow even more. The strategy thing is a really big topic. So, how about creating an own article for each example, for instance Golden Mars scenario? This allows to create many more examples, each in its own article, but neatly linked to each other and to Colonization strategy and vice versa. All the example articles may then be in category:colonization business models, which I am creating right now.-- Rfc 19:51, 25 February 2010 (UTC)