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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Mars Colonization
Posted: February 22, 2021 at 2:16 pm
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to halt the turnover of former president Donald Trumps tax records to a New York prosecutor. While the documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release, the ruling is a loss for Trump, who has long fought to shield his financial records from prosecutors. Trump had repeatedly argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, which includes documents from January 2011 to August 2019, was overbroad and issued in bad faith. The documents from Trumps accounting firm, Mazars, relate to the Trump Organizations employment of Trumps former lawyer Michael Cohen and a hush money payment Cohen allegedly made to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump. Vance celebrated the ruling, which was issued without comment or noted dissent, saying in a tweet, The work continues. The work continues. Cyrus Vance, Jr. (@ManhattanDA) February 22, 2021 While Trumps personal lawyers may choose to fight their appeal in the case, the release of the documents by Mazars effectively ends the dispute, which began last July when the Supreme Court voted 72 to reject Trumps claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns. The Court said then that, as president, Trump was not entitled to any kind of heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens and sent the case back down to the lower court so the president could make more targeted objections to the scope of the subpoena. A federal appeals court said in October that there is nothing to suggest that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct. Trumps personal lawyers brought the case back to the high court, requesting that it put the lower court ruling on hold while the justices considered whether to take up the appeal. The subpoena is geographically sprawling, temporally expansive, and topically unlimited all attributes that raise suspicions of an unlawful fishing expedition, Trumps lawyer William Consovoy argued. He added that, even if disclosure is confined to the grand jury and prosecutors, once the documents are surrendered, confidentiality will be lost for all time.
Here is the original post:
Mission to Mars: New rover to aid in human colonization (Part 1) - Yahoo News
Posted: at 2:16 pm
A trip to Mars takes about nine months with current spacecraft. That means astronauts would have to spend a long time on the Red Planet after landing. Supplying them there with life-sustaining consumables is not easy, however, because in addition to the long travel time, safety aspects and transportation costs also figure into the equation. In other words, resources must be both created and recycled on Mars. Biological systems, or bioregenerative life support systems (BLSS), would be the best solution. More specifically, cyanobacteria could be the solution. Humboldt Fellow Cyprien Verseux from ZARM at the University of Bremen, Germany, has now published initial research results in the scientific publication frontiers which indicate that cyanobacteria reproduce excellently under Martian conditions. Thus, they could form the basis for biological life support systems.
We know cyanobacteria primarily as blue-green algae found in lakes during the summer. These bacteria are among the oldest living organisms on our planet and adapt well to many extreme conditions. They grow by absorbing nitrogen and carbon from the air and removing nutrients from the water supplied by agriculture, among other things. While the bacteria can be unhealthy for humans here on Earth in high concentrations, their full potential comes into play on Mars: Through photosynthesis, they produce oxygen, vital for humans and not sufficiently available on Mars. Moreover, unlike other plants, cyanobacteria can grow based on the nutrients present on Mars. Fed by Martian rocks and atmosphere, they would be suitable as the basis for a cyanobacteria-based life support system (CyBLiSS), allowing the crew to draw on local resources, thereby greatly reducing their dependence on Earth, according to Verseux.
But before cyanobacteria can be used on other planets, they must first demonstrate in the lab how they respond to different environmental conditions. A compromise must be found between Mars-like conditions and those that best support cyanobacterial growth. These conditions were created in Atmos (Atmosphere Tester for Mars-bound Organic Systems), an atmosphere-controlled negative pressure photobioreactor developed in the Laboratory for Applied Microbiology (LASM) at ZARM. Over the past several months, researchers worked to determine the optimal atmospheric conditions for the growth of cyanobacteria of the genus Anabaena sp while considering technical feasibility on Mars.
Earths atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and a small amount each of argon and carbon. The atmosphere on Mars consists of the same substances, but the composition is completely different: 95% carbon and only small amounts of nitrogen and argon. Oxygen is hardly present at all. In Atmos, the scientists repeatedly changed the proportions of the gases and the ambient pressure and observed the corresponding development of the bacteria. In doing so, they wanted to approximate the Martian atmosphere as closely as possible while at the same time maintaining strong growth in the cyanobacteria. In the end, the cyanobacteria were found to grow excellently in an atmosphere similar to Mars both in terms of gases (4% carbon; 96% nitrogen) and atmospheric pressure (100 hPa).
In the end, the growth achieved not only met but significantly exceeded expectations, say the researchers. This is promising, they say, in that it greatly facilitates the technical-logistical implementation of a CyBLiSS located on the surface of Mars. Firstly, because the pressure difference between the inside and outside of the photobioreactor would then be only slight and thus less stringent demands would be placed on the statics of the construction. Second, because it would be possible to generate the required gas from the local atmosphere with minimal processing. Other missing nutrients for bacterial growth could also be obtained locally from Martian debris (regolith). For example, the team showed that cyanobacteria could grow in the modified atmosphere in water on simulated Martian soil without additional nutrients.
In addition, studies of the resulting biomass showed that it is suitable as a substrate for subsequent modules of life support systems to generate additional resources on Mars.
Based on the results of the research, the team is pleased to say that the implementation of a CyBLiSS is moving further into the center of potential Martian life support systems on future Mars missions. However, with these results, work at LASM is just beginning. Over the next few months, Cyprien Verseux and his team plan to refine the CyBLiSS design to the point where they can improve its ability to grow cyanobacteria on Mars. Similarly, they want to improve their use to produce nutrients for biological organisms in subsequent BLSS modules.
Cover photo: Cyprien Verseux makes adjustments to Atmos. ZARM/University of Bremen
More articles on Mars missions can be found here and on cyanobacteria here.
Read more from the original source:
Colonize and live on Mars thanks to cyanobacteria? - Innovation Origins
Posted: at 2:16 pm
Much of our popular literature and films about Mars, such as "War of the Worlds," "Invaders from Mars," and "Mars Attacks!," has supposed that there is life on the red planet -- but life that is hostile and out to get us.
Consider the odds of your having been born: from the earliest stirrings of protohominid life the ones writer Arthur C. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick imagined in 2001: A Space Odyssey to the present, across untold generations.
The odds against your being you are massive, while the odds for your being you are infinitesimal. It is one of the great wonders of the universe that here you are, alive on Earth, breathing the air.
So it is with the stars, the planets with everything in the universe: The odds are always with nothingness and annihilation, and always against existence. It is remarkable and supremely unlikely that our planet survived the intense violence of the early solar system, though not without its dings: After all, one prominent theory holds, it was a collision with a body about the size of Mars that knocked the chunk of real estate called the Moon into our sky.
Miraculously, Earth did survive, allowing life and eventually, our kind to evolve. And for as long as humans have been around, we have been fascinated by Mars, and more than a little fearful of it, too.
Much of our popular literature and films about Mars, such as War of the Worlds, Invaders from Mars, and Mars Attacks!, has supposed that there is life on the red planet but life that is markedly hostile to ours and out to get us.
The widespread presupposition that there is life on Mars is fairly recent. It can be traced to the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who mapped the planet in 1877 and bestowed on its regions aspirational names such as Elysium, Eden and Utopia.
Schiaparelli believed that he could detect oceans on the planets surface, as well as canals that, he supposed, were made by beings with knowledge of engineering. Percival Lowell, an Arizona-based astronomer, did Schiaparelli better around 1895, believing that he could make out an elaborate irrigation system that required an advanced civilization to build.
Popular culture soon caught up to that science, especially through the pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose John Carter novels imagined that a time portal connected Earth and Barsoom, or Mars, allowing easy movement between the two. When Carter traveled there in the second volume, The Gods of Mars (1914), he encountered this watery scene: To my left the sea extended as far as the eye could reach, before me only a vague, dim line indicated its further shore, while at my right a mighty river, broad, placid and majestic, flowed between the scarlet banks to empty into the quiet sea before me.
Burroughss Mars was very much like our Earth, with all its struggles for power and wealth, and Burroughs had a good explanation for why the planet had no evident water on the surface: Its inhabitants had diverted it to underground waterways, to protect it from evaporation and hide it from one another.
Most of Barsoom, he wrote, was instead covered by moss that grew in the dead sea bottoms that stretched across the planet. A few hidden valleys harbored forests and marshes, as well as warring kingdoms once rich in agricultural and mineral treasures that are foolish enough to do each other in and kill their planet in the bargain.
As recently as the 1960s, it was assumed that Mars had life. Only with the arrival of NASAs Mariner 4 mission in 1965 did we finally come to think of Mars as a definitively dead planet, the flybys showing a surface battered by meteoritic cratering and without the slightest hint of living things. Far from Eden, Mars was a kind of cold hell, gasping its last even as Earth was taking its first gulps of oxygenated breath.
Thats the Mars that Mark Watney finds in Andy Weirs brilliant 2011 The Martian. Apart from the plants he grows hes an accomplished botanist hes the sole life form on the red planet, having been lost in a howling sandstorm and abandoned by his fellow explorers. Eminently resourceful, he manages to keep himself alive, but not without plenty of close scrapes.
The odds are emphatically against him, he knows: If the oxygenator breaks down, Ill suffocate, he says. If the water reclaimer breaks down, Ill die of thirst. If the Hab (the Mars Lander Habitat) breaches, Ill just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, Ill eventually run out of food and starve to death.
Even with such risks, talk is increasingly turning to the colonization of Mars, now a very real prospect that was once the province of fiction. Kim Stanley Robinsons 1990s Mars Trilogy, made up of the novels Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars, posits that soon in 2026, to be exact well begin that colonization, bringing Mars back to life through terraforming and creating an oxygenated atmosphere.
The trilogy is also refreshingly utopian, unlike the usual gloomy stance of much Mars-set fiction, in that Robinson imagines how by remaking the planet, well become better, more equitable people, welcoming strangers into our midst and founding a true Eden on high.
For his part, Elon Musk, the inventor and entrepreneur, has announced preliminary plans to fund a colony of at least 80,000 settlers, which puts us squarely into the territory of Ray Bradbury, the science fiction writer whose 1950 novel The Martian Chronicles envisions a sort of suburban Earth transposed to Mars.
The only problem is that Martians are already there, and when humans land on the red planet in the then-distant year of 1999, it doesnt take long for the Martians to hunt them down. The Earthlings have their revenge as Bradbury imagines a pandemic that wipes out the Martians, leaving the planet to a new breed of colonists who just may, Bradbury hints, have been a distant cousin to the vanished Martians.
Musks colonists will be flying on one-way tickets, unlike Weirs Mark Watney. And even if they were to have round-trip fare, whether they would have a planet worth coming home to is another matter. Bradburys book ends with the folks back home nuking themselves into oblivion as surely as Burroughs Barsoomians did.
His is far from the only novel to imagine a ruined home planet, a trope thats becoming ever more common as, indeed, we befoul the one nest we now have. As science fiction vehicles such as Elysium and Blade Runner have instructed us, Earth is a place well be lucky to leave.
Think tank: City life on Mars? Creating human centred communities in space and beyond – SmartCitiesWorld
Posted: at 2:16 pm
The space race is well and truly on with outposts planned for the moon and settlements in preparation for Mars. As of February 2021, there are three separate Mars missions landing on the red planet - China, United Arab Emirates, and the USA. Last weeks awe-inspiring images of the red planet from NASAs Perseverance space rover just shows how much space exploration continues to capture our imagination.
But, as with humans major voyages across the seas some centuries ago on our own planet Earth, the primary focus seems to be on bragging rights and monetising whatever resources are there. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has embedded in the terms of service on its Starlight project that he will not adhere to international law but will create new legislation once on Mars. Based on how he treats the humans that work for him on Earth Im going to hazard a guess that anyone brave, or poor, enough to journey to a planet many years away is not going to have a strong union to ensure they are being treated fairly.
The United States has broken with tradition by leading the Artemis Accords, which critics say carves up the moons resources for participating nations. Prior to this there were two UN led treaties - the Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Treaty. In these agreements the moon and other celestial bodies should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, their environments should not be disrupted, and the UN should be informed of the location and purpose of any station established on these bodies. Unlike the Artemis Accords, these agreements state that the moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind and that an international regime should be established to govern the exploitation of such resources when such exploitation is about to become feasible.
We are now at a point where we have major decisions to make that will affect the future of humans living in space. The Covid epidemic and climate change are global phenomena that are revealing the systems that, in their best light, bind us together and provide support and at their worst create divisions and suffering for many. We are feeling the effects of colonisation and capitalism that have been weaving threads for hundreds of years and that are harming our planet and our people.
We are moving into space quickly, and in many ways quietly. My guess is that many of us have no idea the scope and scale of what is already taking place above us and how many billions in dollars are being invested.
Along with these capital investments, there are many groups that are looking at the incredible science that takes us into space and helps us learn about our amazing universe; many that are looking at alternate resources for our resource strapped planet; and there are discussions about the incredible engineering and design that will be needed to provide space travel and housing.
Many of us have no idea the scope and scale of what is already taking place above us
In all of this, I have found very few that have talked about the creation of cities in space. Human places where we have families, make friends, cook, read, play sports, worship, paint, write and build. Where we are born, grow, age, and eventually die. The everyday minutiae and the big dreams mixed together. We spend a great deal of time in government in the development of liveable cities. Cities where people work, live and play. Cities that are equitable, inclusive, safe, and secure. Cities that are creative, fun, and allow for human connections. Space communities should be no different. These ideals need to be planned into these spaces as they are being built rather than as an afterthought.
This is where smart cities can weigh in. Across the globe questions about equity, community, governance and digital rights have become a key topic in smart city conversations. We can look to places like Estonia and Barcelona to see human centred ways of approaching space communities. These communities can provide examples of good governance and developing engaged communities. For example, Estonia has declared the internet a human right and has also built citizen focussed government services that are based on trust.
In Barcelona, e-democracy has been implemented where citizens data are both protected and used for their benefit. This includes the citizen participation platform Decidim, which helps citizens, organizations and public institutions self organise democratically at any scale. This will be important as new communities develop in places that are foreign for everyone. Building communities in space will require careful thought and a lot of communication as everyone figures out the new societal norms and rules.
Digital infrastructure and communication will be the primary mode of communication throughout human communities in space including hotels; mining, engineering or communications companies; government science ports such as the International Space Station; medical stations or hospitals as communities grow; entertainment and other social spaces such as recreational facilities; and this is just scratching the surface.
These are areas that smart cities excel in and have been working on for many years - much longer than the term smart city has existed. Again we can look at issues that have arisen around the digital divide and that have been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Fair and equal access to digital tools must be available to all humans in space, no matter what their job is or how much wealth they have. A cleaner or a line cook at a space hotel should have the same ability to communicate with their family members on earth as an astronaut, CEO or celebrity.
So we need to ask, will we build these technological cities based on open, democratic and human principles as originally sought in The Outer Space Treaty or will we succumb to the issues we sometimes are having on Earth with technology in regards to division, authoritarianism, surveillance, and loneliness? The time to think about this is now before a culture is established that will be hard to erase.
Posted: at 2:16 pm
The mobile app from Warsaw-based firm Immersion VR presents NASAs Perseverance rover mission and the surface of Mars in an interactive way. Immersion VR
Polish developer Immersion has created an augmented reality application that allows users to follow NASAs Perseverance Mars rover on its historic mission to the Red Planet.
On Thursday, NASA successfully landed its rover in a deep crater, near the planet's equator, called Jezero.
The app takes users through the various stages of the Perseverance mission in an interactive way, including the launch, landing and exploration of Marss surface.Immersion VR
The app takes users through the various stages of the Perseverance mission in an interactive way, including the launch, landing and exploration of Marss surface.
It was developed for the US general science and culture television Smithsonian Channel and uses NASA data and pictures.
The technology also presents a vision of a future colonisation of the Red Planet, and, for fun, brings Perseverance closer to the users home by allowing them toImmersion VR
"Work on the concept started in September, which gave us very little time considering the challenge that we agreed to undertake," said Bartosz Roslonski, an Immersion board member.
"It is the second project that we've carried in collaboration with the Smithsonian Channel."
The technology also presents a vision of a future colonisation of the Red Planet, and, for fun, brings Perseverance closer to the users home by allowing them to "park" the rover in the their garage or in front of their house.
Immersion has been creating augmented reality products since 2014.
According to Roslonski, each element of the app was developed in consultation with NASA and the Smithsonian Institute, a US organisation that brings together some of the world's most famous museums.
The app can be downloaded free of charge from both Google Play and AppStore.
Posted: at 2:16 pm
Big news, space fans! Theres a new six-wheeled, one-tonne exploratory rover the size of a Mini Cooper parked on Mars. Yep, last night, at 8.55pm GMT, NASA pulled off one of the most audacious parking manoeuvres in history so we can find out more about the Red Planet. Which with a bit of Top Gear logic means were now one step closer to the inaugural MarsGP.
Perseverance is the largest, most advanced rover NASA has ever sent to another world, and getting it to land on the Martian planet was no mean feat. Seriously, if the thought of parallel parking into a tight space gives you sweaty palms, youve got to give props to the parking job NASA just pulledoff.
See, Perseverance left Earth seven months ago and has since travelled 293 million miles to Elon Musks future home. Last night, it punctured the Martian atmosphere at a pretty brisk 12,000mph, to then begin its approach to touchdown on the dusty red surface. The spacecrafts self-guided descent included using a heatshield to slow it down to a still-pretty-brisk 1,200mph, before a supersonic parachute (thats a great Indie band name) popped out of the rover to reduce its speed to a more palatable few hundred miles perhour.
Thats when a set of rocket thrusters came in to play to counteract the severe act of falling; slowing it down even further and placing it in a hover about 20 metres above the planets surface. The final act of this complex series of manoeuvres NASA dubbed the seven minutes of terror, was for the rover to be lowered by cables to the surface using a rocket platform called a skycrane.
Unsurprisingly, everyone at mission control lost their beans when flight controller Swati Mohan announcedTouchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking signs of past life,and a circus ofsocial-distanced fist-bumping and hollas rang out as PPE clad space scientists began toparty.
The six-wheeled vehicle landed in the Jezero crater, and like anyone in a new environment, will spend the next week or so assessing its surroundings and taking lots of pictures to beam back to its family and friends to post on social media. Then itll get to work, spending at least the next two years drilling into the local rocks, looking for evidence of pastlife.
Why? Well, that spot is thought to have held a giant lake billions of years ago. Because where theres been water, theres the possibility of signs of life. And Perseverance will use its seven cameras and suite of tech to find and sample fossilized remains of ancient microscopic Martian life with the help of a mini-helicopter called Ingenuity. Thats currently strapped to its belly but will be freed for the first powered flight on another planet in history. Now doesnt that soundcool?
Landing on Mars is always an incredibly difficult task and we are proud to continue building on our past success, said JPL Director Michael Watkins. But, while Perseverance advances that success, this rover is also blazing its own path and daring new challenges in the surface mission. We built the rover not just to land but to find and collect the best scientific samples for return to Earth, and its incredibly complex sampling system and autonomy not only enable that mission, they set the stage for future robotic and crewedmissions.
If Perseverance is a success, it then lends itself to human exploration of the Red Planet. And then if thats a success, the possibility of colonisation of that big Red Planet up there, which is what Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are having a pretty expensive tte--tte. Until then, if we hearthat Perseverance is doing six-wheeled drifts around the rim of the Jezero crater (or that its found NASAs Curiosity rover for a drag race), well let youknow.
Greta Thunberg’s ironic video of the colonization of Mars within hours of the arrival of NASA’s Perseverance rover – Explica
Posted: at 2:16 pm
Greta Thunberg satirical tourism ad
The young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg released a video in which she ironic about the colonization of Mars by humans while the Earth is neglected, a planet that according to experts is going through a climate change that puts its existence at risk.
In the video, Mars is ironically shown as an ideal place for humans to live, where there are no wars, crime, pandemics or pollution.
Mars, a pristine planet, a new world where we can start over. Mars offers maximum freedom. Freedom to pave a new path for humans. Freedom to create a new way of life. Freedom to forever change the course of humanity says a voiceover as images of the red planet appear.
At the end of the spot launched by Fridays for future (FFF), the environmental student movement created by Greta Thunberg, claims that 99% of the population will stay on Earth, which is why it calls for taking care of it and fighting climate change.
The campaign aims against the arrival of the Perseverance rover on Mars, the most ambitious space mission of the POT It will look for signs of ancient microbial life.
FILE PHOTO. Image of the Rover Perseverance, the largest and most sophisticated laboratory spacecraft to reach Mars, in an illustration courtesy of the US space agency. NASA / JPL-Caltech / Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
In this regard, FFF, through a statement, assured that Space programs funded by governments and 1% of the worlds ultra-rich are focused on Mars and states that NASAs Perseverance cost 2.7 billion dollars to develop, launch, operations and analyze while most humans will never have the opportunity to visit or live on Mars..
This is not due to a lack of resources, but to the fact that our global systems do not care about us and refuse to take equitable action, the document reads.
It is estimated that the arrival of the Perseverance rover to Mars will be this Thursday at 20.55 GMT.
Perseverance rover arrives on Mars, NASAs most ambitious space mission to the red planet
Greta Thunberg registered her name and the motto of the environmental movement she leads
Greta Thunberg was left in the middle of a controversy with the Indian police after expressing her support for the farmers protests against the Government
Elon Musk faces rejection by French villagers as they deny permission to install antennas – Republic TV
Posted: at 2:16 pm
Recently, residents of a small village in France have objected to SpaceX owner Elon Musk using their lands for the purpose of providing satellite-powered internet to Earthlings. Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron asked Musk to keep the new antennas far away from their land. This is because they fear that the signals could pose some kind of harm to the residents.
Musk aims at providing fast internet for remote areas all over the world. For this, he needs to install thousands of satellites and antennas on the ground which will help in capturing the signal. These signals will then be bounced back to the individual user terminals that will be connected by cables. The contractor had already secured permission in France to install nine three-metre-tall radomes which will help in protecting the antennas. It was in December when Saint-Senier issued a decree to block all construction on the field.
Read:'Exclusive Community': Elon Musk Stans Have Their Own Dating App For Tesla Owners
The installation of antennas has created a lot of chaos among the villagers. The farmers are worried that this would lead to less production of milk by the cows. However, there are farmers who have started naming their cows on Musk and his company. One of them is SpaceX du Beuvron.
In another significant development, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently said during an interview that he is not a "Mars person" and would rather invest his money on something that poses greater challenges to humanity. Speaking to New York Times opinion writer Kara Swisher, Gates said he is not a person who would invest his money for travelling to space when he can buy vaccines to save life on Earth. Gates' comment is in contrast to the views of Musk, who has, on several occasions, expressed his desire to colonize Mars.
Read:'I Am An Alien': Elon Musk Responds To Indian Entrepreneur's Query On Success
Gates, however, praised Musk for his contributions towards the fight against climate change by making electric passenger cars. Gates said "underestimating Elon Musk is not a good idea", adding he has made important contributions with Tesla in the fight against climate change. Gates further added that while Tesla was doing some important stuff, it is not sufficient to tackle climate change, which would require focus from other industries as well.
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Elon Musk faces rejection by French villagers as they deny permission to install antennas - Republic TV
NASA lands Perseverance rover: Why going to Mars ought to matter to you – The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette
Posted: at 2:16 pm
This artists illustration shows a sky crane gently lowering Perseverance to the surface of Mars.
NASA on Thursday successfullylanded its most advanced rover ever on the surface of another planet. The Mars 2020 Perseverance roveris the fifth such rolling robot the space agency has sent to the red planet, and when the mission is over, it will have cost nearly $3 billion.
With a pandemic bringing everyday existence on the surface of our own planet to arguably its lowest point since humans entered the space age several decades ago, its fair to wonder why were devoting any resources to sending our best tech to explore a cold, dead desert planet bathed in radiation.
There are actually a number of arguments that range from the philosophical to more practical. Here are three for those who cant fathom how sending a nerdy dune buggy carrying a tiny helicopter on a 100-million-mile road trip is justifiable.
Theres some evidence that suggests our two nearest planetary neighbors, Mars and Venus, were once habitable. Today, theyre both deadly places, though the dangers of Mars are at least theoretically manageable through technology and perhaps some ambitious terraforming.
Perseverance landed in Jezero Crater, which is thought to have once been the site of a large river delta flowing into a crater lake. Conditions may have been right for life, which the rover hopes to find evidence of.
This Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image shows the Jezero Crater delta region.
But something happened. Mars lost much of its atmosphere and it dried up and became the colder, inhospitable world we know today.
Somewhere in this past there might be some lessons and cautionary tales for earthlings. If our two closest neighbors were transformed from more friendly climes to the relative hellscapes they are today, we should want to know more about what happened. Its certainly worth more than one visit.
A visible green line reflected by oxygen molecules is seen at the edge of Earths atmosphere.
We imagine Earth as a big floating ball teeming with life, but the reality is more tenuous. When viewed from orbit, a greenish line of glowing oxygen marking the edge of our atmosphere is visible above our planet. This glowing line reveals the true fragility of our planets habitable zone, which is not the entire planet, but rather a small bubble on its surface extending from roughly sea level to a few miles in altitude, and not really including the polar regions, either.
When seen this way, it almost feels as though that bubble could easily pop. It happened on Mars, so maybe it could happen here.
Im paraphrasing John F. Kennedy doing the hard things because they are hard speaking about the Apollo project to put humans on the moon. Its not an entirely honest justification for spending the big chunk of the US budget that was dropped on NASA to get us there, however.
The dawn of the space age, the Apollo program and the breathtaking speed with which we went from fully earthbound to hitting golf balls on the moon was motivated in no small part by military and geopolitical concerns.
Its easy to look back and think that we wasted a significant chunk of our gross domestic product on a Cold War space race that was more about ego and national pride than science and exploration. Its a fair criticism. But whatever the motivation, the results were more than just bragging rights and a flag in the Sea of Tranquility.
See all photos
By going to space, we have revolutionized life on Earth.
The ways this is true are too numerous to list, so think of just one: What began with the terrifying (to Americans) successful launch of the Soviet bucket of bolts named Sputnik eventually created our modern lifestyle that depends on thousands of successor satellites beaming all our information, images, transactions and communications around the world at light speed.
What started as technological muscle flexing between global powers has changed countless aspects of the daily life of billions of humans.
Exploring Mars involves overcoming countless challenges through engineering and innovation, not to mention Perseverance and Ingenuity. What we learn from the successes and failures of meeting those challenges may spark the next revolution that will make life in 2071 beyond anything we can imagine right now.
Elon Musks goal is to establish a city on Mars.
Youve already heard this one. Elon Musk, one of the richest dudes in history, wants to build a city on Mars and make humans a multiplanetary species or something like that. Part of this argument is that Earth is not nearly as safe and secure as it seems. Massive solar flares, impact by a comet, nuclear annihilation, environmental collapse and perhaps catastrophes we havent even thought of are all very much possibilities, so it makes sense to have a backup plan.
Thats the pessimistic version of this case thats easiest to argue. But we rarely hear the other side of this vision argued, which is more in line with the Star Trek ethic: To boldly go
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These days it can be hard to even talk about setting up shop on Mars because the words I might use to describe such an activity have become justifiably taboo words like colonize, settle and occupy. Its true that the history of human expansion is littered with horrors, and Musk using the fear of an uncertain future to sell a new kind of colonialism does give me pause.
But I dont think thats the right way to look at it, and its not how the people behind Perseverance think about it. The missions goals are strictly about scientific discovery and technological demonstration. So much so that some of the wonder of whats actually being accomplished can get lost.
Think about how you, as an individual, have grown as a person each time you visit a new place or experience something new. Your first day of school, first time outside your town or state, first plane ride, first time abroad, etc.
I remember one particular jet-lagged morning in my 20s in a dirt-cheap hostel in Thailand waking up before dawn and walking around a little neighborhood in Bangkok. Around every corner was something unfamiliar: words I couldnt understand, things being sold as food I never thought of as edible, people doing activities I couldnt identify as exercise or prayer or something in between.
It became clear that morning that I knew very, very little about the wider world. When I finally die or get uploaded to the cloud, I will hopefully be a bit less ignorant, but the same basic statement will certainly still be true.
Going to Mars and beyond could be the same sort of eye-opening experience for humanity as a species. Becoming multiplanetary doesnt have to be about having a backup plan, it could be about evolving and becoming better, wiser and a little less ignorant about the universe and our place in it.
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Elon Musk’s Mars plan rocked as SpaceX CEO fears humans will ‘self-extinguish’ before 2050 – Daily Express
Posted: February 10, 2021 at 1:21 pm
Elon Musk explains risks of moving to Mars
The tech mogul previously detailed plans to colonise the Red Planet by building a one-million-strong city before 2050, but received a blow to that when the Starship SN9 prototype crashed and exploded after its first high-altitude test flight last week. Mr Musk said he hoped to one day produce 1,000 spaceships over 10 years and launch three a day. The rockets would blast off from Earth, each carrying roughly 100 tonnes of equipment, as well as 100 people in the hope of building a permanent settlement on Mars.
And the SpaceX CEO gave an insight into the rollercoaster ride hed already experienced during the 2020 Mars Society Virtual Convention.
He said: Weve gone through many iterations, starting from not really knowing how to build rockets at all, with Falcon One and having three failures before reaching orbit.
We only barely survived, I was at zero cash basically when we got this fourth one to orbit if that didnt work it would have been curtains.
I think its helpful to have as the objective the creation of a self-sustaining city on Mars.
This has to be the objective, not simply a few people or a base, but a self-sustaining city.
The acid test really is if the ships from Earth stop coming for any reason, does Mars die out?
Mr Musk made reference to the Great Filter theory the idea that somewhere along the trajectory of life's development, there is a massive and common challenge that ends life before it becomes intelligent enough and widespread enough in the universe.
He said: If the ships stop coming for any reason does the city on Mars die out?
If it does were not in a secure place, I mean I think this really might come down to the great filter front.
READ MORE: Elon Musk's plan to send one million people to Mars boosted with colonisation 'solution'
Are we going to be able to create a self-sustaining city on Mars before or after World War 3?
Hopefully there is never a World War 3, but the probability of launching after World War 3 are low.
We should try to make this city self-sustaining before any possible World War 3.
Mr Musk said the success of his project hinges on this, but he does not think the outlook is great.
He continued: Really we just face a series of probabilities. Theres some chance we could have a giant war, a supervolcano, or a comet-strike or we might just self-extinguish.
Quite frankly, right now, civilisations not looking super strong, you know, were looking a little rickety right now.
Its not an escape vehicle unless Mars is made self-sustaining, which will probably not happen in my lifetime.
Its meaningless to have an escape lifeboat if youre simply moving to another place where you will soon die out. That doesn't count.
This is really about minimising existential risk for civilisation as a whole and having a future where we are a spacefaring civilisation and a multi-planet species.
Global catastrophic risks also include anthropogenic risks caused by humans, such as through technology, governance and climate change.
Express.co.uk has today launched a revolutionary campaign to help save Britain's environment and give a 21billion boost to the economy.
Along with green entrepreneur Dale Vince, we are calling on the Government to scrap VAT on green products and to make more space for nature.
An exclusive poll commissioned by the Daily Express revealed 66 percent of adults are worried by the state of the planet, climate change and the decline of wildlife and nature.
The majority are also in favour of changing the tax laws to encourage a greener approach and to make polluters pay.
Express.co.uk is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to show world leadership on the issue in the run-up to the G7 summit in Cornwall in June and the crunch Cop 26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November.