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Nikolai
August 7th, 2003, 11:51 PM
More specificaly, are there any known reasons to permanently settle Mars or the Moon. Beyond the realm of pure science, does there exist any potential profit? What materials could be mined?

Ouroboros
August 8th, 2003, 03:57 AM
1 . We could enslave the martian race.

2. It would be really cool to settle on Mars.

Lucky Joe
August 8th, 2003, 06:19 AM
3. It hasn't been trashed yet.

Mongoose
August 8th, 2003, 07:47 AM
As I understand it, there are vast amounts of frozen hydrogen just under the surface of the moon, which could be used to power spacecraft launching from the moon without having to use up masses of fuel breaking out of the earths atmosphere.

Or something like that.

Wesleycl
August 8th, 2003, 09:11 AM
Yeah but the technology in dealing with hydrogen fuel is not good enough to warrent the risk yet, maybe in 10 years it would be!

Chlestron
August 8th, 2003, 11:30 AM
Perhaps not frozen hydrogen but there are literally hundreds of natural resources that we use on a daily basis to make plastics and metals and other things. The problem is that nobody really knows what's there. I bet that if Mars turns out to be rich with a rare metal or mineral like uranium or some of the more exotic ones that go into consumer products, there will be corporations who will foot the bill to get there and exploit it.

KatG
August 8th, 2003, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by Nikolai
More specificaly, are there any known reasons to permanently settle Mars or the Moon. Beyond the realm of pure science, does there exist any potential profit? What materials could be mined?
What makes you think that science doesn't produce profit? Most of the profit on our little rock comes from scientific research. The research and technical developments done on the space shuttles, space station and the like have already yielded a lot of practical applications, beside of course Tang. Bases on the Moon and Mars would allow for more experiments that can't be performed on Earth and which would hopefully produce commercial benefits. The bases would also be useful in beginning space traffic and commerce. Telecommunications would no longer be limited to floating sattelites. Because Mars is largely unexplored territory, there is speculation that we'll find resources of use to us on the planet. In the longer view, there's tourism, which has already started thanks to the Russians, and terraforming the two dustballs or hydroponic farming.

The building of space stuff keeps a lot of engineering companies in the funds, so they are supportive of continued exploration. Nor do governments explore space purely out of the goodness of their hearts. There are strategic, military reasons to be out there and also the hope of future commercial gain for everyone.

Ouroboros
August 8th, 2003, 12:56 PM
Peter F. Hamilton's Fallen Dragon, to some extend deals with issues surrounding the exploitation of new planets opened up by space travel.

The coporations in that novel found that only in very rare cases could they produce technology or mine materials which could then be transported to the marketplace cheaper than the marketplace (earth) could produce locally. Investments were pumped into colonial operations, but the dividends always went back the same way.

I'm not suggesting this is more likely a scenario than any other kind of speculation (cos that's all this is), but the original poster might have a flick through the novel, Hamilton is good for this kind of detail.

Hungry Jo
August 8th, 2003, 01:00 PM
It's also worth bearing in mind that as time goes on and earth's natural rescources become more scarce mineral exploitation of earth planets and stuff will become more economically viable. But that's quite a long way off yet.

jfclark
August 8th, 2003, 02:45 PM
I'd say that the short answer is that there is *no* economic justification for space colonization. Based on current knowledge and current technology, any colonization effort would be wildly cost-prohibitive, would take decades, and would be based on insufficient hopes of economic return. There's nothing out there that governments or corporations need enough to want to spend untold trillions of dollars and decades of work to go out and get.

Now if you're wondering how to build a *story* that includes colonization, I'd suggest you invent some extrinsic factor that gives super-special urgency and/or priority to colonizing space. That urgency may or may not be economic (it could be some sort of threat to Earth, uncontrollable overpopulation, some incredibly risky arms race, or even the discovery of some super-duper mineral/natural resource). But I think it would be hard to tell a plausible tale of space colonization based on current economic realities.