mikegarrison

Colonization Discussion Thread (split from SpaceX)

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17 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

The farms will obviously be large, probably in most cases corporate-owned, but there will be THOUSANDS of them for a population of millions.  Farms on Mars probably won't be nearly as productive as those on Earth (at least not as productive as in rich industrialized nations), so a significantly greater proportion of the population will haver to be dedicated to farming...

Before you get thousands, you need to have one. Then two. You don't get from zero to millions in a fortnight. If you want your colony to grow to millions, it has to be successful with a hundred, otherwise you never get to a thousand.

The difficulty isn't being successful once it has succeeded. The difficulty is succeeding.

Quote

And, it would be EXTREMELY unwise for any individual colony to allow all of its farming to become controlled by just one corporation.  You've heard of Too-Big-To-Fail, right?  It would be neither wise nor ETHICAL for a colony on a virgin planet with poor transportation infrastructure to allow a single owner to gain control over all its food resources.  So of course there will be multiple farms, and multiple farmers.  And hopefully, if they take a diversity if approaches to what they grow and how they grow it, not all those farms will fail at the same time... (this is also what granaries and food warehouses exist for, thpugh- to store surplus food in good years so there will be enough in bad ones...)

So you want free enterprise but you want a planned economy. You don't want capitalism but you do want competition. You want initial investment from Earth but you have nothing to export. How does that work exactly ?

Edited by Nibb31

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Just now, Northstar1989 said:

America trades because it has the OPTION to, and trade enables a better standard of living than would be possible without trading

Similarly, a Mars colony will likely trade with Earth because it will have the OPTION to, and that trade will enable a better standard if living on Mars.  However, what will CONSTITUTE the items of trade will most likely not be material goods, but intellectual property and knowledge.

Mars will require trading money for goods. Earth will require nothing from Mars, but might be happy to take their money. Assuming Mars can get some. Somehow.

In order to bootstrap, you need to convince investors that while they live (or even maybe their grandchildren) they will profit on their investment. Mars has no business model that works. I can't imagine attracting the best people on Earth to live in a hole (and my own house is termed into a hillside, so I'm halfway there, lol).

Someone start a colonization thread for this, and write their best sales pitch... you're gonna start the colony, and you want the reader to invest their money, and maybe their lives.

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6 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

America trades because it has the OPTION to, and trade enables a better standard of living than would be possible without trading

Wrong. America trades because it provides an outlet for its economy and produces a very significant part of its GDP.  isn't

Autarcy isn't an option.

6 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

Similarly, a Mars colony will likely trade with Earth because it will have the OPTION to, and that trade will enable a better standard if living on Mars.  However, what will CONSTITUTE the items of trade will most likely not be material goods, but intellectual property and knowledge.

Almost anything that can be made on Earth will eventually be able to be manufactured on Mars, and vise-versa.  With the enormously-high transport costs between Earth and Mars, it will almost never be beneficial to ship material goods from Earth when there is much more money to be made by a bootstrapping an industry and figuring out how to make it on Mars.

Why would anybody on Mars ever choose to run an import-export business between Earth and Mars (except in rare goods like artwork) when there will be much more money to be made by starting up a factory to make a good on Mars that would otherwise have to be imported from Earth?

You tell me.

Without trade, you can't fund imports. You can't provide an attractive environment for immigrants without a minimum of creature comforts.

Guess what country doesn't trade. North Korea. They are pretty much self-sufficient and it's much more pleasant than Mars, but who wants to sell their house and go live there ?

 

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3 minutes ago, tater said:

(and my own house is termed into a hillside, so I'm halfway there, lol)

Spoiler

?!
hobbiton-movie-set-tour-new-zealand-9.jp

 

4 minutes ago, tater said:

Someone start a colonization thread for this, and write their best sales pitch...

Musk has derailed the Space-X thread with his animations.
Probably, now it's easier to rename this one "Space-X and other things".

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41 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

But you don't need to go to Mars to do that. We could build Earth colonies that could reach over the oceans for a fraction of the cost of living on Mars.

 

You'd have to show me the research on that- I don't believe it would be cheaper in direct costs.  Colonizing the oceans or living underwater is a lot more expensive than you might think (the pressure-differences are GREATER than 1 atmosphere, and there is water you have to pump OUT in the event of a breach rather than just air you have to pump in.  Plus, there is native sea life to contend with...)

However, even if living on/undrr Earth's oceans WERE cheaper than colonizing Mars in direct do annual costs, it's MUCH more expensive in REAL costs.

Why?  Economic Externalities.  An ocean colony on Earth would generate pollution and CO2 that would interfere with the rest of Earth's biosphere.  This would leverage massive unaccounted-for (at least in your accounting) costs on the rest of humanity, making ocean colonization far more expensive than colonizing Mars.  Thos is not to mention the direct economic disruption ocean colonies could create by shifting the world patterns of trade to their benefit.

By contrast, Mars HAS no biosphere to disrupt, and there are no pre-existing cities on Mars to disrupt either climatically or economically.  Mars has a totally separate atmosphere from Earth, and is too far away for large-scale trade in material goods to be viable except for by necessity.

What happens on Mars STAYS on Mars.  The very isolation from Earth that so many critics have pointed out is actually a massive blessing in disguise.  Mars is too isolated from Earth to cause any real damage or disruption to it with today's technology except for in the intellectual property sectors of the economy...  Similarly, Mars is isolated from any event that might disrupt life on Earth once it a Mars colony is self-sufficient, which is why it serves as a useful lifeboat for humanity in the case of an extinction-level event... (massive volcanic eruptions, anyone?  Wars due to Climate Change?)

Edited by Northstar1989

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9 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

You'd have to show me the research on that- I don't believe it would be cheaper in direct costs.  Colonizing the oceans or living underwater is a lot more expensive than you might think (the pressure-differences are GREATER than 1 atmosphere, and there is water you have to pump OUT in the event of a breach rather than just air you have to pump in.  Plus, there is native sea life to contend with...)

Who said under the sea ? The idea of ocean colonies in international waters has been floating around for a while (see what I did there?).

Ever heard of Sealand ?

Quote

However, even if living on/undrr Earth's oceans WERE cheaper than colonizing Mars in direct do annual costs, it's MUCH more expensive in REAL costs.

Why?  Economic Externalities.  An ocean colony on Earth would generate pollution and CO2 that would interfere with the rest of Earth's biosphere.  

Hey! Weren't we supposed to be talking about self-sustainence and closed-loop life support ?

If we can have self-sustaining closed systems on Mars, why can't we use the same technologies on Earth to become a zero-emissions civilization as a solution to our global warming problem ? That might actually be a better use for such an investment.

Quote

This would leverage massive unaccounted-for (at least in your accounting) costs on the rest of humanity, making ocean colonization far more expensive than colonizing Mars.  Thos is not to mention the direct economic disruption ocean colonies could create by shifting the world patterns of trade to their benefit.

I contend that a multi trillion dollar Mars colony would disrupt the world's economy quite a bit too.

My point is that there is no need for ocean colonies or self-sustaining dome cities in the Australian outback. So there is also no need for the same on Mars.

 

Edited by Nibb31

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37 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

Before you get thousands, you need to have one. Then two. You don't get from zero to millions in a fortnight. If you want your colony to grow to millions, it has to be successful with a hundred, otherwise you never get to a thousand.

The difficulty isn't being successful once it has succeeded. The difficulty is succeeding.

You've heard of the concept of Minimum Viable Population haven't you?

Mostly, the term is used in a genetic sense- what's the smallest population you can have without tons of inbreeding-related problems quickly appearing (although as many backwater communities on Earth have demonstrated, these problems are rarely ever sufficient to actually wipe out a community, or even stop its population from growing naturally...) but it can also be thought of to exist in an economic sense- what's the smallest number of people you need to establish a Mars colony that can eventually survive without support from Earth?

Musk (and myself) seems to think this is around a million people, spread out in a half-dozen or more small cities.  Any smaller and one catastrophe could easily cripple the colony's ability to survive, and you wouldn't be able to develop the kinds of Economies of Scale and specialized industries thst are needed for a truly self-sufficient colony.

Obviously, to get to that point you have to have some support from Earth.  But Musk's plan, and one I agree with, is to try and get to that point relatively quickly- because the period in between is when living on Mars will actually be at its most dangerous and difficult...

Small communities are inherently vulnerable to the vagaries of fate.  Most of your criticisms could be leveled against nearly ANY tiny colonial community here on Earth.  Most small isolated communities are only ever a single crop-failure away from starvation.  That is why Economies of Scale, trade and mutual interdependence between communities is so important...

Edited by Northstar1989

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Afaik, ~10 khumans.

Less, if specially selected.

Edited by kerbiloid

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4 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

You've heard of the concept of Minimum Viable Population haven't you?

Mostly, the term is used in a genetic sense- what's the smallest population you can have without tons of inbreeding-related problems quickly appearing (although as many backwater communities on Earth have demonstrated, these problems are rarely ever sufficient to actually wipe out a community, or even stop its population from growing naturally...) but it can also be thought of to exist in an economic sensr- what's the smallest number of people you need to establish a Mars colony that can eventually survive without support from Earth?

Musk (and myself) seems to think this is around a million people, spread out in a half-dozen or more small cities.  Any smaller and one catastrophe could easily cripple the colony's ability to survive, and you wouldn't be able to develop the kinds of Economies of Scale and specialized industries thst are needed for a truly self-sufficient colony.

Obviously, to get to that point you have to have some support from Earth.  But Musk's plan, and one I agree with, is to try and get to that point relatively quickly- because the period in between is when living on Mars will actually be at its most dangerous and difficult...

Small communities are inherently vulnerable to the vagaries of fate.  Most of your criticisms could be leveled against nearly ANY tiny colonial community here on Earth.  Most small isolated communities are only ever a single crop-failure away from starvation.  That is why Economies of Scale, trade and mutual interdependence between communities is so important...

My question, how do you persuade so many people to go? Obviously the whole pioneer thing appeals to some, but for that many people to go there has to be a tangible benefit

Edited by Steel

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14 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

Hey! Weren't we supposed to be talking about self-sustainence and closed-loop life support ?

If we can have self-sustaining closed systems on Mars, why can't we use the same technologies on Earth to become a zero-emissions civilization as a solution to our global warming problem ? That might actually be a better use for such an investment.

I contend that a multi trillion dollar Mars colony would disrupt the world's economy quite a bit too.

My point is that there is no need for ocean colonies or self-sustaining dome cities in the Australian outback. So there is also no need for the same on Mars.

Colonies on Mars would be heavily dependent on mining and exploitation of natural resources, just like on Earth.  They would also almost assuredly produce emissions.  The difference is, on Mars there are no other cities around to be polluted by those emissions and that mining activity, whereas on Earth there are already plenty...

Even if none of that were a concern and closed-loop communities were possible (they're not, and Mars colonies will produce their share of waste and garbage, just like Earth cities do- although recycling will likely be much more extensive due to the relative difficulty in obtaining new resources), on Earth it will always be CHEAPER to burn fossil fuels than to avoid doing so, when you can offload the Economic Externalities of all the pollution you produce on every one else.

This means so long as no laws (such as a Carbon Tax) are in place to prevent this, communities here on Earth will always pump out tons of pollution when given the option.  The only way to prevent this is to force them to pay for the damage that pollution causes to all the other people on the planet.  On Mars, there are no naturally-occurring fossil fuels, and no freely-available Oxygen to burn them with, so none of this is even a concern...

Edited by Northstar1989

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49 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

ECLSS on a Mars colony will be expensive to run and probably a centralized utility, like power and water, that you either you will have to pay for, or your employer pays for you.

So you're saying that you have to pay for life support? What happens if you run out of money? You would hardly be kicked out of the airlock, would you?

Colonists will never have to pay for their life support. It's included in their Mars ticket. The same can be said about their habitation and power/water.

Also, I don't think there will be an Earth-like "rent" system for a long time on Mars. Early on (i.e. the first 50-100 years), only necessary people will go to Mars. You won't have some random rich guy from New York boarding the rocket, you'll have engineers, biologists, chemists, doctors, etc. You'll have people that are needed for the success of the colony. And therefore, you can't just kick them out, because you need them.

That's what I think, anyway.

Edited by TheEpicSquared

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Spoiler
6 minutes ago, TheEpicSquared said:

What happens if you run out of money? You would hardly be kicked out of the airlock, would you?

Brutal and expensive way. Don't forget that every colonist has two kidneys, two eyes, a liver and 5 liters of blood plasma

 

6 minutes ago, TheEpicSquared said:

You won't have some random rich guy from New York boarding the rocket, you'll have engineers, biologists, chemists, etc.

Yes, the Earth is overpopulated by engineers, biologists, chemists, etc.

P.S.
And lawyers.

Edited by kerbiloid

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1 hour ago, tater said:

Home is close. Raw materials can be simply imported from space (asteroids, etc). People are certain to thrive at 1.0g instead of 0.38g. The product? IP, I guess. 

Possibly but I wouldn't bet on it, and apologies in advance if anything I'm about to say is just stating the blindingly obvious!

For a start, thinking about IP as a product is a bit simplistic. Different types of IP work in different ways, are intended to protect different things, are more or less difficult to enforce etc. 

Assuming that we're only talking about patents for example, then your orbital habitat is likely to be less like a nice neat patent production line churning out saleable product and more like a vast antique shop. There will undoubtedly be some real gems in there. There will also be a vast amount of dross. For added fun, one man's gem is highly likely to be another man's dross. :) Finding the right gems and matching them up to the right buyer is difficult - there's certainly been no shortage of patent trading schemes proposed over the years but I'm not aware of one that really stands out.

Put another way - if dealing in patents was straightforward, many more universities would be considerably richer.  :) 

For Space Patents as generated by the inhabitants of your colony, you've got the added twist that any inventions made in space may or may not be especially valuable back on Earth, simply because the problems necessitating those inventions may not be particularly applicable back on Earth.

Of course, for inventions that solve a problem peculiar to your orbital colonists, there may be good money in manufacturing your Space Patented widgets dirtside and shipping them up to orbit for sale. Likewise, if your colony is large enough to have an internal market economy, then your Space Patents will factor into that economy in the same ways that patents already do here on Earth.

In both cases though, you're talking about a fairly small market size, making your Space Patents correspondingly less valuable.

TL: DR version. If your off-world colony is big enough to support its own economy then I'd expect patents to play a part in that economy. Setting your colony up as a kind of University of Outer Space / Interplanetary Science Sweatshop (pick a metaphor you like) churning out patents purely for export (i.e. for selling or licensing to third parties) is a lot more dubious and not a model I'd expect to work particularly well.

This is just for patents of course. Other forms of IP might fare better. Bob's LEO Fashion House (for clothing that's out of this world!) could make a mint by selling its zany space themed beanie hat designs to fashion houses on Earth  for example. Although for that example, I'm struggling to see why Bob wouldn't just set up shop on Earth. :) 

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56 minutes ago, tater said:

Why would this corporation invest in Mars in the first place, and how would the colonists pay them for food? Oh, they're all doing important intellectual labor? This should really be in a colonization thread...

You completely fail to grasp my argument.  Early on, almost NONE of the colonists would be doing intellectual labor.  They would be scrabbling just to survive.  What I'm talking about is what a fraction of the original colonists' great-great-grandchildren would be doing 160 years down the line.

If you start with 1 million colonists, then in 160 years you could easily have 15 million colonists, just by natural population-growth, and a million of them might be doing work that produces some kind of intellectual property (these are the artists, scientists, engineers, authors, and professors all put together).

THAT is the eventual return on investment in Mars, and no corporation would need to invest in it specifically.  People would pay to go to Mars out of their own personal finances, and then corporations would follow to start industries there providing them goods and services in exchange for whatever residual savings they had left.  These budding industries would grow with tine, and the whole thing would likely receive additional help from governments.  But the prinary drivef of geowtg woukd be the colonists themselves- learning to exploit Mars' many mineral resources and building an industrial base to provide a better future for themselves and their children...

Edited by Northstar1989

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1 minute ago, KSK said:

Possibly but I wouldn't bet on it, and apologies in advance if anything I'm about to say is just stating the blindingly obvious!

For a start, thinking about IP as a product is a bit simplistic. Different types of IP work in different ways, are intended to protect different things, are more or less difficult to enforce etc. 

That was my quip back at northstar for saying that IP was the product Mars would be selling. Space colonists have nothing to sell--except maybe rare earth elements.

I don;t see any economic reason for people to live in space at all. I think that if you could imagine a solar system where people were living off Earth in sufficient numbers, then they'd have some reason to trade amongst themselves within the limits of the marketplace (sort of dv budget limited in terms of transport). Water, hydrocarbons, etc, as the important bits.

 

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45 minutes ago, tater said:

(please note that I don't think O'Neill colonies are any more economically realistic, just easier)

It would be far easier to make money out of an O'Neill colony than Mars, first is obviously an way station to deep space: fuel depot and waiting area also an tourist destination, repair and assembly of deep space ships, repair of satellites, building larger structures you can not launch. zero g manufacturing is bonuses, also you can start small, some biglow habitats on an 300 meter boom. zero g in center. 
 

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2 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

You completely fail to grasp my argument.  Early on, almost NONE of the colonists would be doing intellectual labor.  Tgey would be scrabbling just to survive.  What I'm talking about is what a fraction of the original colonists' great-great-grandchildren would be doing 160 years down the line.  If you start with 1 million colonists, then in 160 years you could easily have 15 million colonists, just by natural population-growth, and a million of them might be doing work that produces some kind of intellectual property (these are the artists, scientists, engineers, authors, and professors all put together).

You're failing to grasp mine.

1 million people, plus their descendants for a few generations would be entirely on the dole from Earth, at ridiculous expense. Skipping that "hurdle" is skipping the only part that matters. A million people who require 2+ years worth of stuff delivered to them, every year, for life, at hundreds of $/kg, when none of them produce anything of value to pay for it.

200k for a ticket? Even if the rocket trip cost was just 1/10th of that, and the rest was "investment" it's not enough. They should each be paying 10s of millions... or more.

 

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25 minutes ago, TheEpicSquared said:

So you're saying that you have to pay for life support? What happens if you run out of money? You would hardly be kicked out of the airlock, would you?

Colonists will never have to pay for their life support. It's included in their Mars ticket. The same can be said about their habitation and power/water.

How does that work ? SpaceX is only going to operate the transportation system. Once you're there, you're going to need some other arrangement. We have no idea who is going to run the colony or what the political system is going to be. In all likelihood, those who pay for it have the power, but nobody has any idea how the economics of keeping a million humans alive in a bubble is going to work.

On Earth, utilities like power, water, communications for a city of 1 million, require a massive investment and people have to pay to use them. How do you finance an even bigger investment on Mars ? I have no idea, which is why I'm asking the question.

Quote

Also, I don't think there will be an Earth-like "rent" system for a long time on Mars. Early on (i.e. the first 50-100 years), only necessary people will go to Mars. You won't have some random rich guy from New York boarding the rocket, you'll have engineers, biologists, chemists, doctors, etc. You'll have people that are needed for the success of the colony. And therefore, you can't just kick them out, because you need them.

I don't know how that can work. Highly qualified people are expensive to hire. Somebody has to pay them. They also have families and friends and they usually live in relative comfort compared to the less qualified members of society. So either you make them settlers and convince them to give up a comfortable life on Earth to move to Mars with their families, or you expect them to come back home to spend their expat money.

 

Edited by Nibb31

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Wasn't there some speculation that a single asteroid could pretty much crash the Earth mineral markets? That is, as soon as you introduce that much raw material to Earth economies its worth becomes pretty meaningless. Wealth takes on whole new meanings and you start pondering the realms of post-scarcity. BFR may make that future a reality with so much mass on orbit so cheaply.

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Use food as an analog for all supplies needed combined (since they could make some of their own food, etc). ~2kg/day. Also assume a really low cost/kg to Mars of $100 (small markup on cost from SpaceX  doing 6 launches per trip (1 BFS, 5 tankers) of 150 tons. That's 73,000/yr in subsidy per person. 73 trillion a year.

You can drop their subsidy needs to just 0.2kg/day, and it's now 7.3 trillion...

4 minutes ago, regex said:

Wasn't there some speculation that a single asteroid could pretty much crash the Earth mineral markets? That is, as soon as you introduce that much raw material to Earth economies its worth becomes pretty meaningless. Wealth takes on whole new meanings and you start pondering the realms of post-scarcity. BFR may make that future a reality with so much mass on orbit so cheaply.

Yeah, and more intelligent machines (to do the work) can only move that along faster.

Edited by tater

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6 hours ago, KSK said:

Possibly but I wouldn't bet on it, and apologies in advance if anything I'm about to say is just stating the blindingly obvious!

For a start, thinking about IP as a product is a bit simplistic. Different types of IP work in different ways, are intended to protect different things, are more or less difficult to enforce etc. 

Assuming that we're only talking about patents for example, then your orbital habitat is likely to be less like a nice neat patent production line churning out saleable product and more like a vast antique shop. There will undoubtedly be some real gems in there. There will also be a vast amount of dross. For added fun, one man's gem is highly likely to be another man's dross. :) Finding the right gems and matching them up to the right buyer is difficult - there's certainly been no shortage of patent trading schemes proposed over the years but I'm not aware of one that really stands out.

Put another way - if dealing in patents was straightforward, many more universities would be considerably richer.  :) 

For Space Patents as generated by the inhabitants of your colony, you've got the added twist that any inventions made in space may or may not be especially valuable back on Earth, simply because the problems necessitating those inventions may not be particularly applicable back on Earth.

Of course, for inventions that solve a problem peculiar to your orbital colonists, there may be good money in manufacturing your Space Patented widgets dirtside and shipping them up to orbit for sale. Likewise, if your colony is large enough to have an internal market economy, then your Space Patents will factor into that economy in the same ways that patents already do here on Earth.

In both cases though, you're talking about a fairly small market size, making your Space Patents correspondingly less valuable.

TL: DR version. If your off-world colony is big enough to support its own economy then I'd expect patents to play a part in that economy. Setting your colony up as a kind of University of Outer Space / Interplanetary Science Sweatshop (pick a metaphor you like) churning out patents purely for export (i.e. for selling or licensing to third parties) is a lot more dubious and not a model I'd expect to work particularly well.

This is just for patents of course. Other forms of IP might fare better. Bob's LEO Fashion House (for clothing that's out of this world!) could make a mint by selling its zany space themed beanie hat designs to fashion houses on Earth  for example. Although for that example, I'm struggling to see why Bob wouldn't just set up shop on Earth. :) 

I was never implying that all of this IP would actually be SOLD.  So e would.  Some would simply be shared, or stolen/ripped-off.  What I was saying is that the IP, even if not monetized, would contribute to the betterment of humanity, and that some small PORTION would be commercialized- which would provide governments and corporations at least some incentive to invest in Mars...

The most easily-commercialized IP just happens to be straight out of my fields of biology and medicine- pharmaceuticals, patents on medical devices, cures for diseases, and GMO's.  There's no reason a new drug developed to treat Cancer (likely a high-priority research topic there, due to all the radiation) on Mars couldn't also be licensed out to a pharmaceutical company on Earth.  Similarly, a new strain of genetically-engineered soybean designed to grow with 10% less water than existing varieties could sell just as well on Earth has on Mars.

Once Mars' economy becomes sufficiently advanced to make such products, there is PLENTY of return governments will see on their investment.

Until that time, Mars colonists will probably embark out of a sense of adventure and a search for new frontiers- not because they're in it to make money (although, governments could incentivize select groups of people with certain critical skills yo go with cash-transfers, to help subsidize their tickets or provife a bdtter living for loved ones they leave behind on Earth...)

Edited by Northstar1989

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4 minutes ago, tater said:

Yeah, and more intelligent machines (to do the work) can only move that along faster.

So access to space (colonization) may not be so much a matter of wealth and economies as a matter of time.

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How many supply ships are needed per colonist?

If a person needs only 200 grams of subsidy per day (equip/food/etc), that's around ~150kg every synod. That means each BFS can carry stuff to supply ~960 people. A million colonists then require 1041 BFS flights per synod.

At bargain basement prices (10M/flight) that's 10 billion in launches, with the supplies costing nothing.

Edited by tater

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37 minutes ago, Steel said:

My question, how do you persuade so many people to go? Obviously the whole pioneer thing appeals to some, but for that many people to go there has to be a tangible benefit

Governments who want to see the Mars effort succeed, or just see greater representation of their cultural values in the new society, could incentivize people to go by paying for part/all of their ticket, and even providing cash transfers to relatives they leave behind on Earth.

Corporations might pay for employees to go so they can start up enterprises on Mars to sell certain products to the colonists at a lower price than importing them from Earth.

And, of course, there's the whole pioneer-spirit thing you mentioned before.

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Just now, regex said:

So access to space (colonization) may not be so much a matter of wealth and economies as a matter of time.

Maybe it's because I finally read Bostrom, and then Max tegmark's new book, but I think that the intelligence explosion will be transformative, yes. Imagine being able to send narrowly intelligent machines to build designs optimized by even better intelligences to make habitats with no human labor required. Build a place to go, then go there.

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