Could we ever colonize another Earthlike planet?

hobbsyoyo

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I don't see this as unfortunate, I see that as the only way to do it?
It's unfortunate because it is difficult to bring enough air to Mars in the form of asteroid and comet impacts rather than baking it out of the crust gently through global warming.

There is enough trapped gas to start the process of giving it a decent atmosphere, but it will never be enough to allow live on without a spacesuit. The resulting pressure is just too low.
 

innonimatu

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Luckily, if you're throwing comets at Mars to deposit gas, you'll naturally bring a lot of water with them.

How feasible do you think will be to some day in the future throw comets at Mars to achieve this?
And how long could a dense atmosphere be expected to last there, with the lower gravity and probably no core activity?

I guess the neat thing about colonizing Mars is that the lower gravity and likely more available resources to be mined would make it a good stepping stone for further explorations. But I still doubt Mars can ever be made useful.
 

hobbsyoyo

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Very feasible. It's not that hard if you have lots of time on your hands.

I don't think we'll find anything on Mars that justifies the cost of colonization other than living space and technological growth, plus the insurance of having a backup planet for life. From a purely economic standpoint, I doubt it will be a net gain until tens or hundreds of millions live there and it becomes truly self-sustaining.
 

Tinkerharrison

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Haven't scientist now find out that there is the possibility to live on Mars? And i remember that they found some water on Mars so that organisms could survive but i am not sure any more.
i like the thought, that we could live on two or more planets...i think it would solve some of our problems...overpopulation, climate change, the bad environment..

sometimes i go for a camping weekend and then think of it as a weekend on another planet, with rest and just some people walking by...i bought myself a new tent (article can be translated easily with Google or something like that) at the beginning of the year but we all know how the year ends up so i wasn't in the nature this year... so sad about that...

what do you think about living on mars? possible or not?
 

hobbsyoyo

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I think you could live for at least 10 years on Mars with adequate external support. You would not be able to survive in out in the environment without a space suit or a sealed habitat.

I don't see a fundamental reason why someone couldn't live longer than a decade there, but I'm cautious to put a number to it as there are so many unknowns. And we do know that 10 years in 0 G may be lethal to many people as even a few months extract heavy tolls on physically fit astronauts. Unfortunately we have 0 data on environments between 0 and 1 G, and with Mars at ~1/3 G, we just don't know what will happen.

Radiation will be quite bad over 10 years, but there are pretty straightforward and easy ways to cut that drastically.
 

uppi

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I think you could live for at least 10 years on Mars with adequate external support. You would not be able to survive in out in the environment without a space suit or a sealed habitat.

I don't see a fundamental reason why someone couldn't live longer than a decade there, but I'm cautious to put a number to it as there are so many unknowns. And we do know that 10 years in 0 G may be lethal to many people as even a few months extract heavy tolls on physically fit astronauts. Unfortunately we have 0 data on environments between 0 and 1 G, and with Mars at ~1/3 G, we just don't know what will happen.

Radiation will be quite bad over 10 years, but there are pretty straightforward and easy ways to cut that drastically.

I would expect 1/3 g to be much better than 0 g, because you would use your muscles in a similar way as you would on earth, just with much less force applied. You would probably use a chair and sit instead of floating around in microgravity. Unfortunately, there is not going to be any data on this until somebody tries. And after staying on Mars long enough, living back on Earth would probably be difficult

Yes, you could cut radiation drastically if you stay holed up in an underground bunker, but if you are going to do that, why go to Mars? Still, radiation on the surface is not that bad (if you have that bunker to retreat to for solar events), so you would probably be able to live a few decades. But I would expect life expectancy to be significantly shorter than on Earth.
 

innonimatu

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I believe it's feasible with current tech to settle some people in Mars, but they might as well volunteer to be prison inmates here on Earth. Living in Mars will have no appeal at all for your average person.
 

EgonSpengler

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If we're talking about interstellar travel, "4 months later..." really isn't all that long, is it? :D

Leaving our solar system will be a massive undertaking but I think colonizing other planets in our own solar system is become less and less of a hurdle. Obviously we're not there yet but launch costs are falling precipitously as our technology improves. The shuttle cost ~$20k/kg to put things in space and there are rockets now that achieve around 1/10 to 1/20th of that with others in development that could conceivably bring the price down to the low $100's per kilo.
I was thinking that a possible solution to launch costs would be construction of vehicles and habitats out in space. iirc, Kim Stanley Robinson proposed an automated factory, built by robots, which would then produce more robots, which would then disassemble asteroids for base materials and construct an orbital station and a space elevator on Mars. Once you're up out of the gravity well, the need to eventually return people to the surface of Earth is the limiting factor, isn't it? With the amount of material available out there, I would think that you could construct a space station that's, like, the size of Manhattan and all it would take is time.
 

Aiken_Drumn

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I think the biggest hurdle will be the time it takes to get humans to this new planet. As @EgonSpengler suggests, it would seem logical a lot of this will be automated. Not perhaps to the level of factories (well not intitially) but sending robots which could harvest the resources around it, and turn it into materials ready for use.
 
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I think space colonization should start on Moon or Mars because is near. After start think Earth-like planets, who is in other constelations.
I guess the most Earth-like planet we have to go is the Europe Planet, who is around Jupter, I guess. It's a liquid planet as Earth, but the liquid isn't water.
 

Quintillus

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The optimist in me says, "yes". We've proven to be pretty decent at figuring things out, after all. From crossing oceans to going deep under the ocean surface to sending people to the Moon, not to mention surviving for many many years in prehistory when we didn't have so many advantages over mastodons and saber-toothed tigers as we do today.

We've also proven that we're not half bad at introducing flora and fauna to non-native areas, sometimes without even trying to do so. Thus, if the hypothetical planet is sufficiently Earth-like, we could likely figure out how to grow at least a subset of our native plants there as well. We don't need all of the soil to be good for growing tomatoes, for example. We just need some of our crops to grow well.

I also wouldn't be surprised if some of the local flora and fauna proved to be edible and non-toxic. Identifying which was edible and non-toxic might be a problem at first. But assuming we've identified a sufficiently similar planet, there may well be sources of sugars and fats and proteins. We've proven remarkably adaptable to highly processed foods, why not some alien plants as well?

Of course a lot of that hinges on just how "Earth-like" the planet is...

NukeAJS raises a very interesting point about travel times and colonist priorities, however. One of the things I loved about the film Sunshine is how things start going haywire as soon as the ship is outside of the radio communication zone with Earth and they have to start making their own decisions. Do they stick with the mission plan as originally stated? You'll have to watch the film to find out, but you can probably guess... if it really does take decades or longer for a fully active crew to reach the new planet, there's a major risk that they'll decide something else looks like a shinier, or just more convenient, destination. We could probably even dig up examples from the history of seafaring to illustrate that, and not just the early 1492-era ones where new landmasses were discovered, but likely later on when the captain or (mutinous) crew decides the original plan wasn't so great after all and why don't we go to this nice nearby tropical island instead?

The pessimistic answer would be, are we going to make it long enough as a species to get to that other planet before we nuke our technology back to the stone age? Which is all the more reason to start sending people to the Moon and Mars to hang out for a decade or two and learn more about living in space, sooner rather than later, if you ask me. That would also likely spur R&D into spacefaring survival, which surely hasn't been as much of a priority as it was in the 1960s, considering that it's been nearly 50 years since a human set foot on the Moon.
 

PPQ_Purple

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If we can ignore the travel costs altogether than the only issue remaining would be the same one that's blocking us from doing meaningful space expansion within our own solar system today. And that is the political will to invest huge amounts of resources away from the people on earth and our living standards and prosperity toward an uncertain colonial project that might only pay off hypothetically and in the long run. Indeed, a direct planetary colonization project is probably the worst in that respect because unlike say asteroid mining or power satellites it has basically nothing to offer to people back on earth. As far as everyone staying behind goes it would quite literally be a waste of resources.

So really, unless it turns out that planet is close enough to trade with somehow (by what ever magic space flight tech you have as per the OP) AND has some sort of ultra rare resource we just don't that Earth can import (much like we "imported" gold from the americas) the one and only scenario in which I see colonization happening at all is if it turns into a prestige driven contest between the great powers.

After all, in our reality we literally have rocks full of every precious mineral we can imagine including more gold and platinum than are in our entire economy each just floating around between us and Mars and we haven't taken so much as a baby step to harvesting them. And if we can't get that going what hope is there for a net loss space colony?
 

Kyriakos

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Would mining the asteroids be beneficial to those controlling the economy? Many there only wish to maintain their edge against the plebs, not at all to improve conditions for all.

I don't think any colonization will happen, before very large scale change on Earth - for either positive or negative reason.
Frankly, this is a failed planet.
 
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