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About 1000 Planets
Just for Fun
1KP SETI Team
1000Planets, Inc Mars Settlement Proposal
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I want to live on Mars. I want that to be where I am when I die. I want to be buried outside Harriman Hall in Marsopolis.
Even though Luna is closer and we may actually inhabit it sooner, living on the moon will not insure that mankind will stay a space traveling species. Only a viable colony on Mars can do that. At this time, Mars is the only other planet we know of that we can inhabit with any success. It is a hard fact that we can successfully colonize Mars. Sure we may have to live in close enclosed quarters for several hundred years but we can live and prosper there now. Here is how 1000 Planets. Inc intend to do it.
We have many purposes. The ultimate primary objective is to Settle Mars. Some of these purposes will be automatically accomplished if we put people on the surface of Mars permanently. Others will only happen if we go about things in the right way. The initial objective is to encamp as many people as possible on the surface of Mars. Their primary job will be to stay alive and to be truly self-sufficient. That should be achievable within the first 100 years. Their secondary job will be to maximize the productivity of the chosen industries. Their tertiary job will be to enable return trips for those who want to go back to Earth or the Moon.
We will insure mankind's future, we will open the high frontier, we will create economic opportunity, and we will explore our neighboring planet. We will settle Mars, not at the minimum cost, but for the maximum practical benefit. It will require a large investment of human and monetary resources to do this, so we will do everything with the goal of providing the maximum value to the human race. In some cases, we may spend more money than the minimum possible to achieve a narrow goal. But in every case this extra investment will be in order to reap even greater rewards. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that our plan continues. If we go there, have a half dozens missions, then leave we will have failed to meet our obligations.
I believe that our plan of an initial crew of about 100 would give us the best chance for success. Of course, that crew would have to be pre-supplied with enough supplies for at least one complete 2 ½ year cycle. Have excess capability, build big tanks, build your ship. Get that rocket propellant up there and USE it.
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How self-sustaining is this settlement going to be?
The purpose of the settlement is to provide the foundation for a nation. A self-sustaining colony is the ultimate goal. It will require a great deal of initial materials investments. The settlement on Mars can be and must be self-sustaining. The settlement will rely on what has been brought with them or manufactured on site. A growing settlement will have to have a means of at least partly paying for itself and should not have to go into debt to survive. It will require high efficiency recycling and the effort to contain the volatiles will be never ceasing.
We know there is water there. We know there is iron. We now know there are SO4's and probably much else there. Once the level of materials and resources mined is high enough, with enough population and the development of other local resources, the system can become self-sustaining. The point of self-sustenance is probably experimental. The whole key is a highly efficient combination of many reliable energy sources. Then using those efficient energy sources the colonists can take everything needed from Mars, itself.
If you want to hop to the other side of Mars, or if you want to go home, you will have to make your own propellant.
There are three kinds of problems: those we anticipate and eliminate, those we anticipate and fail to eliminate and those we never thought about until they come up. Which of these three types of problems does a smaller initial crew better address? I cannot think of any. Failure is not an option. We will deal with the issues that can be dealt with before settling. We will deal with them as best as we possibly can. But we will not try to deal with things we cannot deal with beforehand. That is one reason why most of the initial colonists will be "generalists" with some specialized training. One of these things is the question of long-term exposure to a gravity that is only 0.3.8 Earth normal.
First Settlement on Mars by 1000 Planets
This is the vision of the first Mars Settlement by 1000 Planets. This settlement is designed initially for 100 people and is expandable to 300 without major construction projects. This settlement will be located at the bottom of a smaller impact crater. Each crater will be large enough to hold 10 such settlements and then will be covered by additional protection.
This is the habitat module: It will be the home of up to 16 people. It is completely self-sustaining as built.
Any mission to Mars will inevitably encounter the same fundamental 'problem' that all explorers have experienced when facing the unknown. And, with that lack of knowledge or certainty as it were, comes risk. We have committed to settling, let us go about our business of making this happen without being distracted by trying to prove the unprovable. Of course, forewarned is forearmed and undoubtedly the initial settlers will want to be as informed as is possible about potential risks and solutions to those.
This mission will require a certain type of person, no question. There can be no substitute for experience. I am not going to ignore morality. The plan is driven by it. Is it more moral to risk fewer people with a lower chance of success? The type of person, who believes the most effective way to determine the long-term effects of reduced gravity is an on site example. Make no mistake; the settlement of Mars will require a group of very hardy and resourceful people if this is to work.
The individual settler can make up their own mind on the level of risk they want to accept as long as it does not endanger the settlement. The policy would be, anyone can go home at the next opportunity. Certain people would intend to never go back, others might commit to a five-year hitch (twice the "typical" 2-1/2 year round trip). There is an expectation that we will find out during the first hitch that it is not so bad and quite a few folks follow through on their original plan to live out their lives on Mars. If everybody bails out at every opportunity, we have a series of expeditions, not a settlement. If enough long-timers develop, so does the viability of the settlement. If everybody stays every time, we're on the way to a colony. The actual result would be somewhere in between. The success of the settlement would be judged on the primary criteria of population growth.
The settlement would soon include children. A growing settlement will have an extensive population of children that will need care, educating, and training. There will also be an expanding population of old people. There will be need for extensive medical facilities. The settlement will have to have a significant fraction of its population devoted to resource acquisition, infrastructure development and to maintenance, including human maintenance. Everyone there would be a willing participant in the great experiment.
Alternate view of the colony
This is a drawing of the Landing Unit. It will be used to land the habitat units on the surface of Mars.