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#1 2003-10-01 16:32:29

Tyr
Member
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 83

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

To clarify the poll choices:
1) Exports to Earth, the Moon, space colonies, and asteroids.
2) Imports from Earth, the Moon, space colonies and/or asteroids.
3) Imports and exports, trading with Earth, Luna, space colonies and asteroids, etc.
4) self explanatory

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#2 2003-10-01 16:44:13

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Actually, this poll does not strike me as self explanatory at all. Human beings will associate with each other, and that means they will buy and sell. So of course Mars will buy; of course it will sell; and of course it will be partially integrated into the human economy. The real question is how much. It is not clear that complete economic independence is a good thing, nor is it clear complete economic dependence will be good. There will be little girls on Mars watching terrrestrial tv on cable who will want the latest Barbie Dolls. Why should we say they can't have them? There will be Martian filmmakers who want their movies to sell on Earth; shouldn't they get royalties?

         -- RobS

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#3 2003-10-01 16:49:14

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

I voted for independence, because I don't see why Mars should be dependent, and I honestly don't see how it could be economical, because interdependence would require, I think, too much infrastructure to keep everything working properly. Plus, new, more efficient techniques will be invented over time, so some processes we are used to will definitely change, and the things we once thought were important trade items will no longer be.

This doesn't mean that I think that all trade would be non-existant (and I don't think that the independence vote suggests that, either). I think it would just be minimized greatly, and only reserved for cultural or other luxury items.

I think AI will make things easier. smile


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#4 2003-10-01 16:52:08

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

RobS, I think the keyword is "need."

Certainly we'll continue human traditions. I don't think this poll suggests that we wouldn't. But are those traditions necessary for survival? I think that's what he's talking about.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#5 2003-10-01 17:39:21

Tyr
Member
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 83

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Yes, "need" is the keyword.  Will Mars rely on 3He from Saturn or will Mars have an abundance of geothermal energy???  Will there be local martian talent, a Beatles of the future, that rocks the solar system?  A "martian invasion." Certainly, entertainers from Mars would be an export.

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#6 2003-10-02 10:22:45

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

I think the answer, at least in the inner solar system, lies in the availablity of energy. You require energy to get things done, and it just so happens that the sun provides ridiculous amounts of energy up until about Mars or the asteroid belt. And this energy is basically free, no one can possibly 'control' it; so it would be quite wise to base your inner solar system life support and travel systems upon using energy from the sun, this way you don't have to worry about having enough He3 to make a journey or whatever.

I do think people will try to work it that way, though (ie, first everyone would depend on one elevator, then everyone might depend upon the first interplanetary travel system, and so on), I just think that in the end it will prove to be too costly.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#7 2003-10-13 17:36:31

dgagauzov
Member
From: Sofia, Bulgaria
Registered: 2003-10-13
Posts: 5

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Of course Mars will have export and import. To colonize Mars you will need a lot of machines that are so complex that it will be impossible to produce them on Mars until the population is at least several million people. So you will have to import them from Earth. To pay for them Mars has to export something that Earth wants or take credit which later to pay with it’s production.

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#8 2003-10-14 05:14:41

alokmohan
Member
From: india
Registered: 2003-09-14
Posts: 169

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

It may be gold?

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#9 2004-03-20 15:56:55

JammerG55
Member
From: Shasta lake ca, 7 hrs north of
Registered: 2004-02-18
Posts: 46

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Mars will have to have both imports and exports because it wont be able to do anything really because the factroies wont be set up very quickily :up:


The sky is the limit...unless you live in a cave big_smile

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#10 2004-03-20 15:59:03

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Curiously, a possible export is WATER.

Unless we develop cheap access to LEO, water might well be worth $10,000 a pound in LEO. Even with cheap access to LEO water would be worth far more than $10,000 a pound on Luna, if the supposed lunar polar ice deposits cannot be located.

If magnesium based solid rockets could be fabricated on Mars using Mars-made plastics for rocket casings and payload fairings or by using salvaged spacecraft aluminum having no other use then close to 100% of the market value of water shipped to Luna could be repaid to Terran investors in the Mars colony.

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#11 2004-03-29 14:48:08

SBird
Member
Registered: 2004-03-10
Posts: 490

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

The proximity of asteroid belt resources to mine platinum group metals is also potentially lucrative.  Those metals are one of teh few things that would actually be economical to ship across the solar system.  Platinum is presently $30,000/kg.  The delta V to get from the asteroids to Mars LMO is about 2.7 km/s and from there, a 0-energy trajectory to LEO is prety much free.  A total delta V of about 3 km/s requires relatively little money to accomplish.  The demand for platunim group metals is nearly limitless.  Many thigns like pollution reduction, hydrogen storage cells and other technologies are basically stymied by a low availability of these metals.  A Mars base, properly equipped, could actually start paying for it's own development.

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#12 2004-03-29 16:29:07

RobS
Member
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Of course, export enough Platinum and the value will drop.

Keep in mind that the lunar regolith is one percent meteoritic material. Martian regolith should be the same. A robotic magnetic separator should be able to extract the nickel-iron from the regolith pretty easily, and since the machine will be near humans, it can be serviced often. Mars has the carbon to extract platinum and such using carbonyl fractionation. The moon doesn't, but could import carbon and is closer to earth. So those worlds will do "asteroid mining" first; on their own land. Who knows whether mining of real asteroids will prove to be cheaper, because the remoteness and long flight times will be formidable challenges for human involvement.

       -- RobS

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#13 2004-03-29 19:02:57

SBird
Member
Registered: 2004-03-10
Posts: 490

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

The value will drop but not as much as one would expect.  For one thing, as price drops, more and more technological applications will open up, keeping the price from dropping excessively.  Even if platunum group metals drop 10-fold in price, it will still probably be profitable to send it to Earth.

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#14 2004-03-31 01:05:30

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

big_smile
Like a Gold Rush, played out once again ?

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#15 2004-03-31 12:27:53

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

SBird, hmm, interesting comments about platinum, but the value of platinum wouldn't necessarily be Mars' alone. Shipping asteroids into Earth orbit (be it the lagrange points or actual orbit) could prove far cheaper.

I think Bill may be on to something, if only for the fact that most water is out past Pluto (moons of the giant planets could also prove lucrative places to find water). Author C. Clarke accurately, I think, surmises that water is the most valuable thing in the future. Certainly it would be for any organic species wishing to expand.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#16 2004-04-05 06:08:39

Gennaro
Member
From: Eta Cassiopeiae (no, Sweden re
Registered: 2003-03-25
Posts: 591

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Okay, once more I'll state the obvious. Water is all good and well but remains an in space commodity. What's really important are commodities demanded on the Terran market. It's people on Earth who pay for space programs, after all.

Not to flood Earth with cheap PGM's or deuterium is certainly an important balancing issue. I wrote a post a while back listing the current world consumtion of Platinum Group Metals and it settled somewhere in the several hundreds of tonnes range. SBird is correct that lowered prices will meet new applications and increased demand, but a balancing issue it remains. Economical development on Earth will still have to be able to keep up.
Fusion technology breakthrough on Earth will provide an obvious watershed for a potential import staple in the form of deuterium.

Agree with RobS about the industrial activity sequence to be expected: Mars will start out doing "asteroid mining", followed by the Moon and then the asteroids. If for nothing else it's a question of demand.

As for the poll choices both the last points are equally valid in my opinion. Mars will need to import and thus to export but will also have to develop an independent economy to the greatest extent possible, simply because of reasons that should be obvious to everyone concerned.

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#17 2004-04-05 07:57:31

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Curiously, a possible export is WATER.

Unless we develop cheap access to LEO, water might well be worth $10,000 a pound in LEO. Even with cheap access to LEO water would be worth far more than $10,000 a pound on Luna, if the supposed lunar polar ice deposits cannot be located.

If magnesium based solid rockets could be fabricated on Mars using Mars-made plastics for rocket casings and payload fairings or by using salvaged spacecraft aluminum having no other use then close to 100% of the market value of water shipped to Luna could be repaid to Terran investors in the Mars colony.

This post was made before I started reading about the low cost Russian rockets. The price of water will match the price per pound of launch to LEO or Luna.

Since Mars to Luna and Mars to LEO are similiar in terms of delta V, Mars is a logical source of food and water for a lunar base, as paradoxical as that might seem.

Zubrin discusses this in Case for Mars.

If Mars settlers can fabricate Mars to Luna transport from materials derived substantially from Mars (magnesium solid fuel boosters, for example in plastic or salvaged aluminum rocket casings) then nearly 100% of the value of food and water shipped to Luna can be counted as income to offset the costs of building a settlement.

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#18 2004-04-05 08:06:35

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

I always thought it would make more sense for Mars to supply any space station at the Larange points versus the Moon. The moon, by and large, can become self sufficient in the production of food and water (assuming water ice). If Mars can do it, then the Moon can to.

Buildings are largely the same. Power requirements are largely the same. The only major difference is radiation levels and gravity.

I might add, it would be cheaper to build and send advanced material used in construction on Earth from the Moon versus Earth. One reason why those who wish to settle the red planet may want to support a return to the Moon. It simply lowers the price a little bit for the future Martians.

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#19 2004-04-05 08:57:47

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

I always thought it would make more sense for Mars to supply any space station at the Larange points versus the Moon. The moon, by and large, can become self sufficient in the production of food and water (assuming water ice). If Mars can do it, then the Moon can to.

Buildings are largely the same. Power requirements are largely the same. The only major difference is radiation levels and gravity.

I might add, it would be cheaper to build and send advanced material used in construction on Earth from the Moon versus Earth. One reason why those who wish to settle the red planet may want to support a return to the Moon. It simply lowers the price a little bit for the future Martians.

Lunar agriculture will be hampered by a lack of carbon dioxide, no? Matching human respiration to plant respiration will be far more tricky than simply drawing in CO2 from the atmosphere.

Lunar water remains a big "IF" - - If meters thick glaciers are found in the shade of craters, my enthusiasm for significant lunar development grows considerably.

Otherwise, "moon first" is mostly for the experience and the perceived closeness.

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#20 2004-04-05 09:02:29

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Lunar agriculture will be hampered by a lack of carbon dioxide, no? Matching human respiration to plant respiration will be far more tricky than simply drawing in CO2 from the atmosphere.

You won't have much of a space faring civilization, in space, unless we figure out how to keep the plants alive. And getting to Mars takes time- don't we want to grow plants on the way, or back? Same problem as the Moon, no?

Plant's don't need that much CO2. Even a saturated environment is breathable for humans, and I think it's not that much of a problem if were talking about converting all these other different gasses/materials into other things.

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#21 2004-04-05 09:55:31

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

I think Lunar water is increasingly unlikely... I mean, it's probably there in very small quantities somewhere or another, but the experiments we have done to discover it in larger quantities have so far found nothing. We knew there was water on Mars way back in the freakin' 70s.

So water is still quite a valuable resource, space commodity or not. All organics need it.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#22 2004-04-05 09:58:02

Gennaro
Member
From: Eta Cassiopeiae (no, Sweden re
Registered: 2003-03-25
Posts: 591

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

And getting to Mars takes time- don't we want to grow plants on the way, or back? Same problem as the Moon, no?

Why would you want to grow plants on the way to Mars or back? A passage to Mars will take about six months give or take depending on the trajectory and the propulsion system used.
Adequate provisions for that kind of journey can always be supplied, I think. It worked in the age of wooden ships and iron men, so why not now?

Lunar agriculture will be hampered by a lack of carbon dioxide, no? Matching human respiration to plant respiration will be far more tricky than simply drawing in CO2 from the atmosphere.

Not to mention that there is no nitrogen on the Moon. This is a main reason why I don't see Lunar agriculture happening, even if they do find meters of polar ice glaciers.
It will always be easier just to carry food along, especially by unmanned freighters from Mars.

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#23 2004-04-05 10:05:22

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Cyclers dude. Permanent ships in a Earth-Mars transit orbit are more robust if they can supply as much of their own needs as possible.

Isn't nitrogen an issue on Mars too?

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#24 2004-04-05 10:18:40

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Polyethylene. Plastics! Mars future is found in making plastics.

US Space Command troopers on Luna will need drinking cups and tableware and sleeping bags and polyethylne shielding for their roof. Mars-made plastic can be sold for at least the launch costs of Earth to Luna.

Shipment to L1 is even better although with a solar ion tug at L1, shipping cargo from L1 to Luna is fairly close to free.

= = =

Longer term, Mars will be the general store for asteroid missions. Made on Earth ships travel to low Mars orbit to refuel, give the crew ground leave, and stock up on fresh food. Then off to the Belt.

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#25 2004-04-05 10:34:49

Gennaro
Member
From: Eta Cassiopeiae (no, Sweden re
Registered: 2003-03-25
Posts: 591

Re: Martian Economics - Imports, exports or independence?

Cyclers dude. Permanent ships in a Earth-Mars transit orbit are more robust if they can supply as much of their own needs as possible.

Cyclers was exactly what I was thinking about. I just don't see the reason of must-have-big-floating-greenhouse with soil, fertilizer, water and all the other things in a cycler. Besides, cargo freighters would benefit from being unmanned and then you won't need any life support at all.

Granted, if you somehow could design a fully self sustaining system for provisions, it would save a few SSTO flights to the cycler. From Earth such launches are costly because of the limited payload capacity, but all in all, it's hardly a showstopper.
Anyhow, I wouldn't rule out that small scale agriculture could be practical in spaceships and therefore on the Moon, I don't know exactly, but for any large scale sustenance operation, like in fantasies of lunar cities, you need nitrogen and carbon easily at hand. It won't do shipping dirt to the Moon.

Isn't nitrogen an issue on Mars too?

I believe it's a superficial issue. Thing is the Viking landers weren't equipped to take nitrogen measurements from Mars soil, so it's actually a big unknown, but it's present in the atmosphere in about the same percentage relative to other elements as on Earth I think, given that the Martian atmosphere is much thinner. Well, I like to recall as much at least. I'll check it out.

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