Hi Laertes! Welcome to Marspedia! My name is Ian O'Neill, one of the admins here and I'm available most of the time if you need any assistance. We're hoping for a big 2008 for lots of new additions to the Marspedia wiki, so it's great to have you on board. Hopefully see you soon -- Ioneill 06:53, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi, you are doing a great job here:-) My English is not so good, and I really appreciate every enhancement. Don't worry about lack in space experience. Nobody went to Mars so far, and hence nobody knows how to do it. There are many challenges that are completely new, and every contribution is welcome. Enjoy! -- Rfc 10:34, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Welcome back! - Jarogers2001 06:38, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi Laertes, my understanding of a Martian settlement is a rather spartan economy, that can be run by a limited number of persons. Which technology is really vital? This seems to be a very important questions. Recently I have been thinking a lot about this question.
First of all, I wonder how big such a colony must be, in oder to produce everything on their own. Probably, an autonomous colony can not be run by 5 people. It requires more manpower, but how much more? I am trying to get an idea how the start of an autonomous colony may look like. There is probably a certain minimum of technology, and therefore a minimum of persons necessary. In order to find that out, I am trying to leave out all comfort and all unnecessary dead freight. Just keeping the inevitable. Pure survival. This is what I am trying to find out at the moment.
Because of the vast effort of shipment, I am pretty sure that the start of a Martian colony will be a rather small one. Let's say, a group of 5 persons make the start. They can start to build an autonomous colony, based upon technology shipped from Earth to Mars. But they can not maintain all systems including production of all spare parts from local resources. At least I am really in doubt about that. May be, we can bring 20 persons to Mars, which is very very expensive. May be, we can bring 50 people to Mars, in a time frame of 20 years. This is an optimistic (and may be an unrealistic) imagination, though. And with this limited number of persons we have to find a way to build a livelihood from scratch, albeit with settlers with a huge amount of enthusiasm, but still with heavy limitations in maintenance manpower.
I am still not sure whether or not such an autonomous colony is possible at all. If it is possible with such a limited manpower, it can not include complex chemical and microelectronic factories. I think, the settlers will be busy primarily with energy and food production, which is extremely cheap on Earth, and which is hard on Mars. On Earth we can afford doing further business, because the food is growing almost of its own volition.
That is what I am mostly concerned about at the moment, and I just want to explain my thoughts to you. Probably, I will not be able to contribute much to Marspedia during the holidays, but I'm back next Monday. I am happy about your being part of the team. Merry X-mas to you and your family. -- Rfc 21:55, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
The Need for Advanced Technology
Merry Christmas to you and yours too, RFC :). I tend to think more long term (both views are critical). I think the critical mass for a sustainable, self reliant colony will be a little larger. At a minimum, they will need to replace or repair critical components, such as life support, medical technology, food production, etc. Many of these require complex electronics and chemistry. In addition, there need to be enough reproducing individuals to avoid inbreeding (frozen embreyos/sperm are alternatives, of course). An initial colony could be the size you are suggesting, as long as more colonists arrive later.
In my mind, an autonomous settlement is not a closed system without any outside input, but rather an independent sovereign state, fully in control of its destiny. In that regard, it need not supply all of its needs locally. Even on Earth, no sovereign state would think of eliminating all trade with other nations. Napoleon tried such a strategy, which ultimately failed. Until critical mass is attained, the autonomous settlement will need to buy certain advanced technology. --Nate 01:08, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
- Obviously, there are two strategies to build an autonomous settlement. Your favored strategy has some interesting advantages, indeed. It allows starting much simpler and earlier. However, if I was asked to go to Mars as part of the first group, with a promise for further technology and more settlers to be shipped some years later, I would not accept. I would be afraid. I would fear the abortion of the colonization program at some stage, due to some reason. And there are a lot of reasons. The full independence from Earth is something I find very important. I will try to start an article about all the possible colonization strategies. -- Rfc 20:11, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Financing Imported Technology
A successful business model will be the key to success, so that more people and resources can be afforded. I propose a model similar to those used by many small nations, such as the Vatican, Monaco, San Marino, and some Pacific islands. These states also lack the infrastructure to manufacture advanced technology.
My amazing gnomish three-step PowerMoney™ model involves:
- Massive amounts of regolith
- (Still working on the second step...)
- Tourism - Certain people with a lot of money have historically been interested in Space Tourism, even when there are significant risks.
- Scientific Lease - A settlement can lease space and sell resources to governments or institutions that want to send their scientists to Mars. Alternately, settlers could be paid to do the work for them.
- Offworld Backup - Offsite backup is a vital aspect of data security for any business. It ensures data backup in the event of natural disasters. No location could be more offsite than Mars!
- Internet Domain Sale - People could buy the .mars domain.
- Licensed Merchandise - While Mars itself cannot be trademarked, likenesses of the settlement/settlers could be. Possibilities include stamps, coins, playsets, etc. First colonists would likely gain celebrity status.
- Land Speculation - While historically not the most respectable business, an actual presence on Mars lends much more credibility to the transaction.
- Tax Shelter - Legality may vary by your location...
- Consultancy - Advising governments in their own exploration/colonization efforts.
- Martian Cemetery - People might pay to have their ashes buried on Mars.
- Investment - I don't know much about this , but I hear that your mileage may vary...
- Host Hazardous Research - Nothing says bio-secure like an irradiated near-vacuum environment. Any facility would necessarily be isolated from the colony, of course. It would be the perfect location for biotechnology research without the risk to terrestrial life.
- Genetic Legacy - Ensure your genetic legacy by sending your sperm/eggs/embryos to Mars. Having descendants on two worlds is more secure.
- Commercial Sponsorship - Pay to place a logo on a wall, use "the official << insert commercial product here >> of Mars" in advertising.
More to follow if I can think of them...
The eventual goal, of course, is to get to a state where Martian settlements can rely on each other for most, if not all, technology. I think that the realization of such a goal will likely take several generations of colonists.
--Nate 01:08, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
- Many of the aspects listed here also apply to Lunar business models. - Jarogers2001 10:47, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
- The financing ideas are brilliant! I think we need an article with this contents ... -- Rfc 20:11, 28 December 2008 (UTC)