mikegarrison

Colonization Discussion Thread (split from SpaceX)

Recommended Posts

23 minutes ago, Codraroll said:

By contrast, asteroids full of rare earth metals are like treasure chests littered across the abyss

Until you dump all those rare minerals onto the market and they're suddenly ... common. Then you find yourself crashing the earthly extraction companies and the markets they rely on, and likely other subsidiary markets, which has an impact elsewhere and so on, down line. Look at my hands, now back to yours, that was really cool, now let's restructure our economy, and was asteroid mining really that great for the investors?

Edited by regex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, tater said:

There's nothing to exploit on Mars, though.

Is there anyone who can argue against this? Please?

4 minutes ago, regex said:

Until you dump all those rare minerals onto the market and they're suddenly ... common. Then you find yourself crashing the earthly extraction companies and the markets they rely on, and likely other subsidiary markets, which has an impact elsewhere and so on, down line. Look at my hands, now back to yours, that was really cool, now let's restructure our economy, and was asteroid mining really that great for the investors?

Do you mean to say that if the market has a sudden glut of a once rare mineral, they will just as suddenly have no use for that extra mineral?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Platinum, which is commonly used as a candidate for asteroid mining, is used for two things: jewelry and catalytic converters for the automobile industry.

The automobile industry is going to be moving away from internal combustion engines, making catalytic converters redundant, and the appeal of platinum jewelry is based on its rarity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, tater said:

There's nothing to exploit on Mars, though.

I wouldn't be quick to say that definitively. Reading about the CRISM instrument on the MRO makes me think that any minerology surveys of Mars; both past and present, has been to help identify areas where water had once been for future scientific research. A survey to determine whether or not there are any minerals of use exist on Mars has yet to be done as far as I know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, 55delta said:

Do you mean to say that if the market has a sudden glut of a once rare mineral, they will just as suddenly have no use for that extra mineral?

No, just that the value any such mineral previously had based on rarity will be much different under a glut. If large industries have built up on Earth around extraction of a relatively miniscule amount of a mineral, making it rare, and you suddenly introduce several tons of it to the market, it will have a very big impact.

Edited by regex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exploitation requires that there is something worth exploiting, a cost effective way to collect it, then a cost effective way to deliver it to the customer.

 

Edited by tater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, tater said:

Colonies brought some food for sea travel on Earth, but nearly everywhere on Earth has food for the taking, if nothing else, fishing (they by definition have boats, after all). Space colonization has almost no overlap with any historical colonization whatsoever.

That's what they said. Apparently not true with some sections however.

Pitcairn Island

Gambier Island

Howland Island

Baker Island

Jarvis Island

Kanton Island

Edited by YNM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, regex said:

Until you dump all those rare minerals onto the market and they're suddenly ... common. Then you find yourself crashing the earthly extraction companies and the markets they rely on, and likely other subsidiary markets, which has an impact elsewhere and so on, down line. Look at my hands, now back to yours, that was really cool, now let's restructure our economy, and was asteroid mining really that great for the investors?

You crash the mining marked of rare and expensive materials, however stuff like platinum is limited in uses because of cost reduce price and you increase uses. 
Rare earths is more in an limited need part, still this will be an major boom for everybody outside the ones mining of these metals, but no you will not get current platinum prices if you dump 1000 ton of it and all know its more incoming. 

And yes the asteroids are way more economical interesting than Mars. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

And yes the asteroids are way more economical interesting than Mars. 

In terms of exploitation costs, undoubtedly. You colonize Mars for the sole purpose of colonizing Mars, there need be no other reason. If you want to make money or change markets, the asteroids are your destination. As I see it, at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, regex said:

In terms of exploitation costs, undoubtedly. You colonize Mars for the sole purpose of colonizing Mars, there need be no other reason. If you want to make money or change markets, the asteroids are your destination. As I see it, at least.

Mars will eventually pay off- just not less than a couple hundred years down the line...  (stop trying to imply I said you would start reaping returns QUICKLY)

Asteroid-mining pays for itself much more quickly, but has a lower long-term potential (because once you glut the Earth markets with things like Platinum, there's no reason to go hunt down more asteroids with it).  Still a nice one-shot way to make money, though...

On 10/1/2017 at 6:20 PM, regex said:

Until you dump all those rare minerals onto the market and they're suddenly ... common. Then you find yourself crashing the earthly extraction companies and the markets they rely on, and likely other subsidiary markets, which has an impact elsewhere and so on, down line. Look at my hands, now back to yours, that was really cool, now let's restructure our economy, and was asteroid mining really that great for the investors?

When you eliminate the need for a lot of jobs in an industry, like Platinum mining, you free up labor for other purposes.  Not only can you now use Platinum in a lot more technology, you also free up lots of technically skilled people who can re-train and move on to other things- like designing bridges and office buildings and discovering new pharmaceuticals.  As long as the labor required to obtain that asteroid was a lot less than the labor that would have been needed to mine an equivalent mass of Platinum here on Earth, society benefits in the end.

Edited by Northstar1989

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, YNM said:

That's what they said. Apparently not true with some sections however.

Pitcairn Island

Gambier Island

Howland Island

Baker Island

Jarvis Island

Kanton Island

Yes, some isolated desert islands are pretty awful. Drop 10 people on any of those with whatever they could carry off a sailing ship. Then drop 10 people off on Mars with whatever they could carry off a sailing ship. Who is dead first?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tater said:

Yes, some isolated desert islands are pretty awful. Drop 10 people on any of those with whatever they could carry off a sailing ship. Then drop 10 people off on Mars with whatever they could carry off a sailing ship. Who is dead first?

Obviously those on Mars.

But I just try to say that we haven't even nailed it down here. Those islands require regular shipping. There are still no underground field/plantation in the Antarctic.

How are you going to nail it out there ?

Edited by YNM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, YNM said:

Obviously those on Mars.

But I just try to say that we haven't even nailed it down here. Those islands require regular shipping. There are still no underground field/plantation in the Antarctic.

How are you going to nail it out there ?

I agree completely. I think I was saying that anywhere on Earth is easier than Mars---you are saying even being able to breath and likely fish for food, it can require constant inputs---Mars is far, far harder.

Think I misread you. My bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2017 at 6:08 AM, Nibb31 said:

Like the USA? Or like Spain and Portugal?

Like France, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, and Italy.  And yes, Spain and Portugal are actually MORE prosperous than they would have been if not for their colonial history.  Their decline was inevitable- whereas their Golden Ages were brought on by colonizing the New World...

Earth is, similarly, rapidly approaching a socioeconomic peak- a Golden Age after which will follow a long period of decline before any hope of another worldwide Rennaisance similar to what we are experiencing today.  The planet as a whole has maybe only a couple hundred years of improvement left. Some countries, such as the United Ststes, have arguably already reached their peak [snip]

No amount of money invested back here on Earth is going to prevent the inevitable orgy of war and violence that will destroy much of what has been achieved recently.  THAT is why colonizing Mars is a great investment- because anything we achieve in Earth now is doomed to be undone in Workd War III.  By contrast, any investments we make in colonizing Mars will continue to benefit Earth long after the current world order is nothing but ash and dust...

TANGENT:

Which talk of a nuclear-irradiated future reminds me of this song, by the way...

 

23 hours ago, tater said:

Yes, some isolated desert islands are pretty awful. Drop 10 people on any of those with whatever they could carry off a sailing ship. Then drop 10 people off on Mars with whatever they could carry off a sailing ship. Who is dead first?

If you send 1 million colonists (breaking the islanders up among several thousand such islands- if that many existed) and give the Martian colonists all the equipment and supplies they need to survive for 60 years, and don't allow the islanders or Martians to trade with anywhere else or leave, it's the islanders who die first due to lack of many critical metals.  Mars has all the metals humanity needs for a technological civilization, regardless of the inability to breath the atmosphere.  Most desert islands do not- and contrary to your belief, it is NOT possible to survive on a desert island just by fishing (and you NEED metal just to fish effectively enough to feed a large population).  You NEED agriculture- and on a desert island that's simply not possible without metals (unlike somewhere much more fertile like in Polynesia or the Fertile Crescent).  The islanders will mostly all eventually starve or die of severe inbreeding (without metals, you can't build long-distance sailing ships for their populations to trade and intermarry with each other...  The Age of Sail, was enabled by metal nails).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one is dropping anyone anywhere with 60 years worth of supplies. 

The answer to my question is that the mars people die within minutes, because mars is not habitable. 

Mars is not habitable. Built environments on Mars are habitable, and pressure tight, built environments could be placed anywhere and be habitable. Mars has almost nothing going for it. 

PS- don't ruin a standing thread with posts that might lock it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To @Green Baron, BFR is an entirely reasonable design. 

Regarding Mars, any number of airless worlds with little gravity would do just fine.

The desert island people might be able to build boats, they don't need metal, they used wood. Regardless, they might starve to death, but they'd live long enough to starve. If you have to live in a tube, you might as well put it where it makes things easiest.

It needs to be said that until good studies are done on mammals at 0.38g, including a few generations of offspring, we don't know at all if Mars is someplace for people long term.

Edited by tater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Northstar1989 said:

Clearly, you don't know much about ship-building.  Large ships (the kind that are capable of crossing the Atlantic, and not just short, risky voyages between Polynesian islands) REQUIRE metal to build.  You simply can't hold a large ship together without lots of metal nails, at a minimum...

Many, many ships in the age of sail went on a lee shore, stranding their crews---who then built ships out of local materials, though they'd have to forage nails from the wreck. The large bits were usually bolted (keel, etc), BTW.

FWIW, Bligh sailed an open long boat over 3600 miles, including a typhoon as I recall after the mutiny. 

The point wasn't that they'd prosper, it was that they wouldn't die in under a minute, and they might live for quite a while, even on a terrible island that comprises a vanishingly small % of places they could accidentally land on, instead. 100% of Mars is fatal without a constant influx of technology.

60 years of supplies for a million people will not be front loaded to the project that already has---even under your optimistic forecast---hundreds of years before any possible RoI.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tater said:

60 years of supplies for a million people will not be front loaded to the project that already has---even under your optimistic forecast---hundreds of years before any possible RoI.

Why not?  Assuming food, clothing and oxygen/water are easily produced in-situ from plants grown in greenhouses, 60 years of supplies wouldn't actually be that hard to send.

Assuming colonists were upper-middle class or wealthy, and tickets sold for $250,000 each, most colonists could probably scrounge together an extra $720,000 with some government subsidies/grants on their initial ticket, corporate sponsorships, help from family, etc.  That would be enough money, assuming they invested their money at 6% ROI in index funds (which average 6-10% ROI a year in the long run) to send a cargo mission every 6 years for FOREVER for each ship-load of colonists.  I'm pretty sure any Mars colony could relatively quickly attain sufficient self-reliance to get by with an average of just 1 cargo shipment per 100 colonists every 6 years... (that's 1.5 metric tons of cargo per colonist every 6 years- a little less than the mass of a midsize car!)

$720,000 invested at 6% ROI is worth $1,021,333.76 after 6 years with all dividends re-invested so as to avoid paying Capital Gains Taxes until the stocks are sold.  Compound Interest really is the most powerful force in the Universe!

http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm

They wouldn't have to actually scrounge together this much, of course, as they could afford to slowly draw down the balance so it is depleted after 60 years (much longer than most colonists would live on Mars).  $632,000 invested at a 6% ROI with a 1.2% average annual inflation rate would be enough for that purpose...

Colonists might also be able to deposit additional money into this fund over time, by producing media (such as movies, books, and reality TV) and occasionally, scientific discoveries, they could sell back to Earth.  So really, they wouldn't have to put together as much in savings as I listed here...

SpaceX could also sell package-deals to future colonists, where they get future resupply shipments for themselves or any selected friend/spouse/successor/descendant at closer to cost.  It would be worth ot if it tempted more people to become Mars colonists in the first place...

And, of course, ALL of this assumes that SpaceX doesn't develop technologoes/improvements that bring down the cost of re-supply even further in the future, such as refueling outbound cargo BFR's in highly elliptical orbits (like they plan to do with Lunar missions) so they can carry more than 150 tons of payload to Mars onboard with each trip, capturing into Mars orbit before final re-entry so they can partially refuel before landing (and thus reach Mars without any landing-fuel onboard), making use of Lunar gravity-assists to increase the cargo per trip, or developing ion-engines they can use to slowboat cargo shipments to Mars for lower cost than a 4-5 month journey on the BFR... (a 12-18 month journey requires less Delta-V)

Edited by Northstar1989

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tater said:

FWIW, Bligh sailed an open long boat over 3600 miles, including a typhoon as I recall after the mutiny. 

I'm.pretty sure most people attempting that would end up dead, and certainly at least losing all the cargo that they were *supposed* to be transporting between islands.

No.  Surviving on an island requires timber, metal, and high ground to protect against storms- none of which are present in sufficient quantities to sustain a permanent settlement on your average desert island.

By contrast, Mars has all the minerals needed to eventually sustain a self-sufficient civilization.  It might take 100, even 200 years (building advanced societies took longer in the past- but they had less sophisticated technology available to them than we do today, and certainly a much less educated/motivated/intelligent citizenry than your average Mars colonist...)

And, as I've pointed out in my previous post, if colonists, governments, and corporations put aside enough money at the beginning (about $882,000 per colonist including the cost of the initial ticket) it would be possible to send colonists a re-supply mission every 6 years for the first 60 years, assuming a price of $25 million per BFR launch (Cargo OR Crew version) and 100 colonists per passenger variant.  More often, or for less money, if colonists sold media back to Earth, SpaceX provided re-supply missions at closer to cost, or SpaceX made improvements to their mission architecture and technology over time...

Edited by Northstar1989

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Northstar1989 said:

Clearly, you don't know much about ship-building.  Large ships (the kind that are capable of crossing the Atlantic, and not just short, risky voyages between Polynesian islands) REQUIRE metal to build.  You simply can't hold a large ship together without lots of metal nails, at a minimum...

Pot calling the kettle black? Said Polynesians settled the entire tropical Pacific, including some of the most remote islands on the planet. They weren't just blown around like flotsam in the breeze on one way trips, either. They knew what they were doing and were extremely skilled mariners.

(Ref. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_Piailug and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupaia_(navigator)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Northstar1989 said:

Why not?  Assuming...

Assuming...

Ignoring the totally made up numbers, that's a lot of assumption there. You keep on harping as if your Mars colony was totally self-sufficient with a million people from day one, attracting highly qualified people who are ready to spend $250.000 to relocate with their families as "farmers", "miners" or "space cowboys".

 It will take decades (if ever) to get to the point where living on mars is going to be cheap, comfortable, attractive, and safe. Decades during which everything will have to be shipped over 2 year synods for a huge costs. Decades during which all the technology will have to be developed on Earth. Decades of sending people to live in poor survival conditions while they supervise the construction of the colony. Decades of massive spending to keep those people alive with no return on investment. Decades of uncertainty about the goal of becoming a totally self-sufficient with a million people.

As long as you ignore the economical, political, sociological, and technical realities of actually reaching that goal, your assumptions about how an already established colony would work are irrelevant.

Now I really suggest that we stop derailing this thread, which is supposed to be keeping track of SpaceX, and move this colony discussion to another thread. It would be great if a friendly neighbourhood moderator could split this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Northstar1989 said:

 

Clearly, you don't know much about ship-building.  Large ships (the kind that are capable of crossing the Atlantic, and not just short, risky voyages between Polynesian islands) REQUIRE metal to build.  You simply can't hold a large ship together without lots of metal nails, at a minimum...

 

It might be the other was round, that you know little about wooden shipbuilding ;-).

Flexible Polynesian boats were indeed oceanworthy without metal. But things aren't as easy as you put them and i fear that's valid for your Mars colony as well wooden boat construction.

Vikings crossed the Atlantic in highly flexible wooden boats without any metal. These were and are more performant than many modern sloops, just can't as close to the wind as a regatta boat.

Phoenicians sailed the Atlantic down the African coast in wooden boats. I know from experience that the African coastal waters are nastier than the open ocean if there is wind and wave.

Greek and Romans sailed the Med in wooden boats.

Until the 19th century the world's waters were sailed by wooden boats.

 

No iron nails before the invention of stainless steel, and even the latter corrodes if unprotected. (Best is indeed plastic). A wooden ship can lasts centuries, a metal one still has to prove so.

In contrast to "you can't build without ...." you must say that wooden oceanworthy boats must avoid metal in parts that a are vital for the construction. Wooden boats have no metal nails, at least not at the hull and in no case below the waterline. That'll be foolish. This is because, if the metal is not protected against corrosion, it is gone fast. And such a protection wasn't possible to the Polynesians, neither the others above. So a wooden ship was built completely out of wood (below the waterline). Because of that, many repairs could as others have pointed out be carried out when anchoring in a bight on a remote shore.

You can use bronze for example (and it is done), but the copper is higher in the chain than zinc, so after a few months you'll have a copper sponge if you don't protect the parts through sacrificial anodes. Electrolytical corrosion in saltwater, yaknow ;-) A bronze seacock and bronze fittings must be checked regularly and exchanged if they show signs of corrosion.

 

 

Conclusion: things aren't as easy as they are put here, and rockets are even more complex than wooden boats (though have less "human factors" ;-) Keeping a crew together can be tempting ...). And SpaceX has already underestimated things and apparently keeps on doing so. But we'll see !

 

Edited by Green Baron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/3/2017 at 1:16 AM, PakledHostage said:

Pot calling the kettle black? Said Polynesians settled the entire tropical Pacific, including some of the most remote islands on the planet. They weren't just blown around like flotsam in the breeze on one way trips, either. They knew what they were doing and were extremely skilled mariners.

(Ref. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_Piailug and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupaia_(navigator)

Polynesian were skilled navigators, but their BOATS could never have survived something like an Atlantic Crossing.  They were only able to spread like they did because the islands tgey reached were relatively close together (there's a reason Easter Island, for instance, was isolated from the rest of the Pacific islands- it was much too far for boats built without nails to travel.  There is evidence the first settlers were shipwrecked there or blown off-course by a storm, and unable to return home due to the distance...)

21 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

Ignoring the totally made up numbers, that's a lot of assumption there. You keep on harping as if your Mars colony was totally self-sufficient with a million people from day one, attracting highly qualified people who are ready to spend $250.000 to relocate with their families as "farmers", "miners" or "space cowboys".

That's a grossly inaccurate characterisation of everything I said, and nothing but a straw-man argument.

A resupply ship every 6 years for 60 years is NOT "totally self-suffclient from day one", and the numbers I provided were not totally make-up, they were calculated based on the known laws of Compound Interest and the predicted price of a SpaceX ticket to Mars.  Mathematics is a hard science, you CANNOT argue with it, as much as you might like to- only with my (very conservative) assumptions...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Northstar1989 said:

Polynesian were skilled navigators, but their BOATS could never have survived something like an Atlantic Crossing.  They were only able to spread like they did because the islands tgey reached were relatively close together (there's a reason Easter Island, for instance, was isolated from the rest of the Pacific islands- it was much too far for boats built without nails to travel.  There is evidence the first settlers were shipwrecked there or blown off-course by a storm, and unable to return home due to the distance...)

Thor Heyerdahl disagrees with you. The Kon-Tiki expedition sailed a balsa log raft, constructed in indigenous style (most notably with no metal parts) from Peru to the Polynesian islands. Could the raft have survived an Atlantic crossing? I don't know. However, crossing the Pacific is a pretty long journey and has demonstrably been accomplished using vessels with no metal parts.

Incidentally, this note on a follow up expedition by a different crew just blew my mind.
 

Quote

Tahiti-Nui II

A second Tahiti-Nui was built in Constitución, Chile; they left on April 13, 1958, towards Callao, then towards the Marquesas, but they missed their target (after 4 months, it began to sink). His crew built a new smaller raft, the Tahiti Nui III, in the ocean out of the more buoyant parts of the Tahiti Nui II[22] and were swept along towards Cook Islands where on August 30, the raft went aground and was wrecked at Rakahanga atoll. Eric de Bisschop was the only person who died in this accident.

Emphasis added. I haven't checked the citation.

Edited by KSK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Spoiler

Made a note in the colonization plan:
"Make some greenhouses vertical to grow timber wood for vessels."

 

Edited by kerbiloid

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.