New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: We've recently made changes to our user database and have removed inactive and spam users. If you can not login, please re-register.

#51 2017-10-08 17:56:25

IanM
Member
From: Chicago
Registered: 2015-12-14
Posts: 251

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

In theory, it would be plausible that Mars in the long run could have a population in the billions. The land on Earth excluding Antarctica has a population density of 145 people/sq mi. Of the Martian surface area of 55.91 million sq mi., roughly 40% of it will be future seabeds, and another 5% would be too high up to ever be effectively terraformed (i.e., the vicinity of Olympus Mons), leaving 30,750,500 square miles of usable land, or around 4.46 billion inhabitants of Mars using Terran population density. Even taking out China and India, Earth's population density is reduced only to around 103 people/sq mi., still leaving 3.17 billion Martians. That being said, there are caveats. Newly-settled areas tend to have much lower population densities than older areas. The Americas collectively have a population density of 61 people/sq mi. (1.88 billion Martians), and Australia has one of a mere 8.3 people/sq mi. (255 million Martians). Depending on what exactly Mars has to offer for resources (of which this thread isn't too terribly optimistic), I myself would bet on an ultimate Martian population of around 250-500 million people. This isn't too terribly small, around the same population as the United States, and it's certainly enough to sustain a sizeable economy, though it likely wouldn't be achieved in this century.

For economy, I can't see much in the way of potential export products to Earth, with much of the economy being between different municipalities or services within the same municipality. I guess the massive amounts of Iron in the regolith would make Mars a good market for that in a niche sense. Ultimately though, I can't see there being much GDP per capita advantage over most OECD countries if there isn't that much to produce. For other statistics, I see an HDI of around 0.800-0.900 given a probably-lowered life expectancy of Martians relative to the first world, although how much education would make up for this I don't know.


The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. -Paraphrased from Tsiolkovsky

Offline

#52 2017-10-08 18:22:54

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

No, I don't think you right.  You put in 1 unit of energy to get the 4 units of energy (the "return") you can freely use for things other than making energy systems.  So you have 5 units of energy in total and your one unit of investment is 20% of the total energy produced.

I think the problem with your analysis is that you appear to assume we will be operating at Earth average outputs, or perhaps American style averages. Why? 

You list essential outputs like steel.  World production of steel is about 250 kgs per person per annum.  The people on Mars will easily be able to outproduce that per capita figure.  A 1000 strong Mars community with full access to robot machines and automated processes will probably be closer to 50 tonnes per person per person, which - after all -  is only  137 tonnes per day (about a thousandth of the UK's large steel works at Port Talbot in South Wales).

The point I am making is that the Mars community is already starting from such a high base that it will easily outperform Earth economies even if energy is more of a constraint on growth than on Earth.






JoshNH4H wrote:

On the subject of energy, firstly an EROEI of 4 would mean that 25% of your energy production goes to building more energy systems, not 20%.  The difference doesn't necessarily matter in the context of the discussion but it's important to get our definitions right.

Energy is one constraint among many in an economy.  Energy is one limit to GDP growth.  If your EROEI is 4 and your system lifetime is 12 years, you might theoretically be able to double your power production every three years.  Year-over-year that represents a growth rate of 26% (1.26^3=2). 

A 26% growth rate represents the ideal case where you plow 100% of your energy production as a capital investment* in more energy production.

That is not something that could ever actually be done.  Energy needs to be used, non-negotiably, for the following things:

  • Creating rocket fuel

  • Transportation

  • Heating

  • Lighting (are you not a strong supporter of indoor, artificially-lit farming?)

  • Iron/Steel production

  • Polymer Production

  • Efficiency losses in storage (e.g. with solar power you need to provide for a way to have energy at night and during dust storms.  This process will naturally be less than 100% efficient.  As an accounting convention in this post, I am assuming that the energy losses during storage are "charged" to their own category rather than being considered as a multiplier to whatever purpose they eventually are used on.  In the real economy it doesn't matter how you account for it but it does matter that these losses exist)

  • Communications

  • Manufacturing processes

  • Construction

  • Other

If you dedicate 50% of your energy production to applications outside of the energy field (low compared to every Terran economy) your doubling time is now 12 years, for an annual (maximum, idealized) energy growth rate of just 6%. 

If you dedicate 75% of your energy production to applications outside of the energy field (still low compared to Terran economies) your doubling time is infinite

These kinds of constraints are not unique to energy production.  They exist also in housing, in life support, in transportation, in manufacturing, in healthcare, in education--everything.  The choices you make of how to balance these competing needs and the natural desire of all people to have higher standards of living (Yes people have preferences, but it is a universal truth of human behavior that as income rises consumption also rises.  Consumption is the complement to investment, meaning that resources not invested are consumed) are the fundamental choices in an economy.  It's trade-offs everywhere.  While the particular nature of the trade-offs on Mars is not the same as Earth there's no reason to believe that an optimal solution there is orders of magnitude better than an optimal solution here. 

You can posit some kind of super-investment of capital, but you should ask yourself how that would be different from a place like Monaco, or from a new community in rural Alaska, or from a Siberian gulag.

*Okay well technically it's not all capital investment, especially in the case of something like petroleum that actually uses substantial amounts of energy in the refining process.  The "energy/capital investment" model is actually much more true for most kinds of solar than it is for fossil fuels.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#53 2017-10-08 18:23:19

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

The Roman empire collapsed because its physical resources (especially food) were no longer sufficient to maintain it's supply lines and armies and defend it against external invasion.  The collapse of Rome was a direct result of declining EROI.

Hall suggests that the minimum EROI for sustaining present day civilisation is 12-14.  No doubt it will vary from place to place.

http://energyskeptic.com/2016/lambert-h … y-of-life/

Ahmed presents solid evidence that declining EROI in fossil fuel extraction is leading to declining prosperity in Western economies.  The situation appears to be particularly severe in the UK, presumably because we have depleted our oil and gas reserves, closed our coal mines and trashed our initial technological lead in nuclear power.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence … 7344fab6be

I have presented plenty of evidence and reasoned arguments as to why low EROI energy won't work on a planet that is much harsher than any environment on Earth.  Perhaps I have overlooked something?

Last edited by Antius (2017-10-08 19:20:09)

Offline

#54 2017-10-08 18:50:19

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

louis wrote:

No, I don't think you right.  You put in 1 unit of energy to get the 4 units of energy (the "return") you can freely use for things other than making energy systems.  So you have 5 units of energy in total and your one unit of investment is 20% of the total energy produced.

I think the problem with your analysis is that you appear to assume we will be operating at Earth average outputs, or perhaps American style averages. Why? 

You list essential outputs like steel.  World production of steel is about 250 kgs per person per annum.  The people on Mars will easily be able to outproduce that per capita figure.  A 1000 strong Mars community with full access to robot machines and automated processes will probably be closer to 50 tonnes per person per person, which - after all -  is only  137 tonnes per day (about a thousandth of the UK's large steel works at Port Talbot in South Wales).

The point I am making is that the Mars community is already starting from such a high base that it will easily outperform Earth economies even if energy is more of a constraint on growth than on Earth.

Why would you assume that Mars colonists will be able to automate their processes to a greater extent than we do on Earth?  They will essentially have the same technology that we do.  They will be working with less than we have, not more.  And they won't have the economy of scale that we do here on Earth.  Economy of scale is key to increasing productivity.

Although it may be possible in the early days to subsidize a colony with automated factories that some Earth government or billionaire will pay for, that won't be the case for a city of millions, which is after all what Musk is looking to establish on Mars.

A Mars colony will not have any magic advantages over a community of equivalent size on Earth.  It will face a lot of difficulties that we do not face on Earth - specifically, a cold, airless environment, with no natural foods or fuels and huge import and export tariffs.  What magic ingredient is going to allow these people to greatly outperform equivalent groups on Earth?  If there is such a magic ingredient, then you can be sure Vladimir Putin would have established thriving economic power houses in Siberia.  Siberia is after all a lot like Mars in many respects.  It is cold, isolated and full of untapped resources.  It even has air.  If Mars is destined to be an economic power house because of some magic 'hyper capital' ingredient, then why has the same thing not happened in Siberia or Antarctica?  We could establish solar powered communities in these places, equipped with solar powered solar panel factories.  By Louis' logic, they should have a competitive advantage over the rest of Earth and should have higher GDP.  Yet it doesn't happen.  The reasons are actually quite obvious.  The environments are less productive than the warmer and more clement regions of the Earth.  Nor do people living in these places get round that problem with hyper intensive capital supported by subsidized solar panels.  They are more dependent on fossil energy just to stay warm and achieve the most basic level of survival.  They are less capable of affording expensive energy, not more.

Suffice to say, the Russians do have long-term plans for settlement of Siberia.  They involve fast breeder reactors and district heating systems.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akademik_Lomonosov

Not exactly what Louis had in mind.  Reality has a cruel habit of crapping all over utopian dreams.

Last edited by Antius (2017-10-08 19:08:05)

Offline

#55 2017-10-08 20:00:35

JoshNH4H
Moderator
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,377
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Antius,

I feel the need to push back on this one.  I agree that EROEI is an important parameter for a society in the long term, but I don't think it's been sufficiently well-established for any society (Not even for energy sources that are currently in use!) to give a firm minimum threshold cutoff.

EROEI is important, and combined with mean system lifetime it can give you an upper limit on the economic growth rate (provided GDP$ per Joule remains constant--this has not been true in Western economies over the last 50 years but on Mars might be a decent assumption).  It (along with the actual cost of energy in terms of labor-hours or dollars per joule) is probably the most important factor related to energy in an economy.


-Josh

Online

#56 2017-10-09 05:41:58

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,890
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Antius,

I think your figures are out of date. The link I posted earlier suggested that thin-film solar can get an EROEI of up to 60. Other figures have it around 10-20. Even so, that's far better than the figure of 4 that you provided. If it's 15 for Terra, then it will be 6 for Mars - low, but at least it should be sustainable.

------

Getting back to the original topic, I can't see much in terms of goods that could be economically sold to Terra. Food to Terran orbit might be a possibility, but growing it in orbit (we have to recycle the CO2 and water anyway, and there's a lot more sunlight) and getting any more volatiles we need from asteroids may be cheaper. If we need gravity, there's Luna - I doubt there are any processes which won't work with 1/6g which will work with 2/5g. Metals? Asteroids have much higher grade ore, and if you're after raw iron, just put a magnet on a truck and drive around Luna picking up the bits of already reduced iron in the regolith. Regolith? Pretty soon you're going to saturate the market.

Information, on the other hand, has an infinite value-to-mass ratio. Until we reach the point where Martian homesteading is viable and we can make money selling equipment to settlers, I think science bases are the  only viable MacGuffinite for Mars. It's too far for tourism, and I don't think it has anything that justifies mining camps, or much ability to support activity in Terran orbit


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Online

#57 2017-10-09 06:54:20

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Food is not energy for the purpose of this discussion and even if you see it as the source of human energy output, its EROI must be pretty stable in and of itself. War, taxation, cultural conflict, migrations, disease and invasions are all much better explanations of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. I have never read of EROI being cited as a cause by any reputable historian.

Antius wrote:

The Roman empire collapsed because its physical resources (especially food) were no longer sufficient to maintain it's supply lines and armies and defend it against external invasion.  The collapse of Rome was a direct result of declining EROI.

Hall suggests that the minimum EROI for sustaining present day civilisation is 12-14.  No doubt it will vary from place to place.

http://energyskeptic.com/2016/lambert-h … y-of-life/

Ahmed presents solid evidence that declining EROI in fossil fuel extraction is leading to declining prosperity in Western economies.  The situation appears to be particularly severe in the UK, presumably because we have depleted our oil and gas reserves, closed our coal mines and trashed our initial technological lead in nuclear power.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence … 7344fab6be

I have presented plenty of evidence and reasoned arguments as to why low EROI energy won't work on a planet that is much harsher than any environment on Earth.  Perhaps I have overlooked something?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#58 2017-10-09 06:56:05

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Regarding EROI, it has to be explained why countries like Denmark and Germany who are developing green energy at a fast rate can continue be so successful in terms of manufacturing and exporting.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#59 2017-10-09 07:40:36

JoshNH4H
Moderator
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,377
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Wikipedia explains EROI most clearly, but it's in agreement with other sources on this:

c458bd8454b21bcc39f8255059793d11aabdc4f7

If it takes 100 MJ to create a system that generates 1000 MJ over the course of its lifetime, the EROI for that system would be 10 (1000/100) and not 9 ( (1000-100)/100 ).


-Josh

Online

#60 2017-10-09 08:14:19

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

louis wrote:

Food is not energy for the purpose of this discussion and even if you see it as the source of human energy output, its EROI must be pretty stable in and of itself. War, taxation, cultural conflict, migrations, disease and invasions are all much better explanations of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. I have never read of EROI being cited as a cause by any reputable historian.

That's probably because few if any historians have a scientific background.  They would probably say the same thing in a different way.

The EROI of food supply is clearly important if most of the work in an economy is carried out by human and animal labour, as it was until the industrial age.  If more human time and energy are spent gathering food, and less fodder is available to animals, it would have a deleterious effect on other areas of a pre-industrial economy, including defence, high culture, maintenance of roads, etc.  Eventually, the food supply is incapable of supporting the population at any achievable level of human labour input.  That sort of scenario describes the Maya collapse, in which corn yields declined due to soil erosion, triggering civil wars and a catastrophic decline in Maya population.  The civilisation was well past its peak by the time the Spanish arrived in the Yucatan.  Most historians don't describe it in terms of EROI, but it certainly could be explained in those terms.

Incidentally, growing food on Mars is an activity that will be more energy intensive than on Earth, as it will need to take place in pressurised, heated structures, under controlled conditions, maybe even using artificial light.  Under those conditions, expensive energy will mean expensive food.  Not a very sustainable situation for a growing colony.

Offline

#61 2017-10-09 08:15:54

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Yes, but you still have to use the energy (investment) to create the energy system, so you still have to add the 1 to the 4 in terms of overall energy output to get the 5. And so 20% is correct. 

JoshNH4H wrote:

Wikipedia explains EROI most clearly, but it's in agreement with other sources on this:

https://wikimedia.org/api/rest_v1/media … 11aabdc4f7

If it takes 100 MJ to create a system that generates 1000 MJ over the course of its lifetime, the EROI for that system would be 10 (1000/100) and not 9 ( (1000-100)/100 ).


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#62 2017-10-09 08:28:08

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Take a look at my new post on the Mars economy then...

http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7870

Just look at one item: publishing books about Mars.  The total value of the publishing market on planet Earth is about $104 billion. 

Written material and photographs can be sent digitally from Mars at hardly any cost. 

I think the global market for coffee table style books about Mars would be strong - in the millions.  You could sell the big coffee table books at $30 and make a profit on each of probably $5.  Your profit would be $5 million for every million sold. You could market books aimed at children and young people - again potential to sell millions across the globe as this will interest people in all countries. Likewise all the main universities will purchase academic books on Mars that the Mars community publishes.  They can be priced very high. 

Mars photographs could also be used on posters, T shirts, in newspapers, magazines, on TV and elsewhere, all earning revenue.




Terraformer wrote:

Getting back to the original topic, I can't see much in terms of goods that could be economically sold to Terra. Food to Terran orbit might be a possibility, but growing it in orbit (we have to recycle the CO2 and water anyway, and there's a lot more sunlight) and getting any more volatiles we need from asteroids may be cheaper. If we need gravity, there's Luna - I doubt there are any processes which won't work with 1/6g which will work with 2/5g. Metals? Asteroids have much higher grade ore, and if you're after raw iron, just put a magnet on a truck and drive around Luna picking up the bits of already reduced iron in the regolith. Regolith? Pretty soon you're going to saturate the market.

Information, on the other hand, has an infinite value-to-mass ratio. Until we reach the point where Martian homesteading is viable and we can make money selling equipment to settlers, I think science bases are the  only viable MacGuffinite for Mars. It's too far for tourism, and I don't think it has anything that justifies mining camps, or much ability to support activity in Terran orbit


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#63 2017-10-09 09:09:51

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,890
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Sure, but you don't have to *go* to Mars to write a book about Mars.

Okay, that's the most ridiculous suggestion I've heard you've make, and pretty much all suggestions you make are ridiculous, louis.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Online

#64 2017-10-09 09:57:55

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

You do have to "go" to Mars to take up-close, dramatic photographs of the landscape and be there using all the photographers' tricks of the trade to get the pic perfect. No one on Earth can replicate that, not even Rover cams. You have to have humans there to have humans in the pics as well. You also have to be there to write about the experience.

If you really think a Mars colony couldn't sell huge numbers of books on Earth, there really isn't much I can say is there? I guess you think no books on the lunar missions were ever bought either.

Terraformer wrote:

Sure, but you don't have to *go* to Mars to write a book about Mars.

Okay, that's the most ridiculous suggestion I've heard you've make, and pretty much all suggestions you make are ridiculous, louis.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#65 2017-10-09 11:28:26

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

louis wrote:

You do have to "go" to Mars to take up-close, dramatic photographs of the landscape and be there using all the photographers' tricks of the trade to get the pic perfect. No one on Earth can replicate that, not even Rover cams. You have to have humans there to have humans in the pics as well. You also have to be there to write about the experience.

If you really think a Mars colony couldn't sell huge numbers of books on Earth, there really isn't much I can say is there? I guess you think no books on the lunar missions were ever bought either.

Terraformer wrote:

Sure, but you don't have to *go* to Mars to write a book about Mars.

Okay, that's the most ridiculous suggestion I've heard you've make, and pretty much all suggestions you make are ridiculous, louis.

This is a joke though, isn't it?  No one makes much money out of books.  Music, software, films, are a little more lucrative.  But still wouldn't be more than small change for a Mars colony.

Exports need to be something a bit more lucrative.  Is there something valuable that can be made under Martian conditions that would be much more expensive if we tried to make it on Earth?

Last edited by Antius (2017-10-09 11:42:51)

Offline

#66 2017-10-09 11:41:22

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

What is? Books are big money. You will be able to sell books on Mars in their millions every year.  You transfer photos and text digitally.  What part don't you understand?

Antius wrote:
louis wrote:

You do have to "go" to Mars to take up-close, dramatic photographs of the landscape and be there using all the photographers' tricks of the trade to get the pic perfect. No one on Earth can replicate that, not even Rover cams. You have to have humans there to have humans in the pics as well. You also have to be there to write about the experience.

If you really think a Mars colony couldn't sell huge numbers of books on Earth, there really isn't much I can say is there? I guess you think no books on the lunar missions were ever bought either.

Terraformer wrote:

Sure, but you don't have to *go* to Mars to write a book about Mars.

Okay, that's the most ridiculous suggestion I've heard you've make, and pretty much all suggestions you make are ridiculous, louis.

This is a joke though, isn't it?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#67 2017-10-09 11:43:14

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,890
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Actually, I think there's a place for no-mass products like books in funding space colonisation. But it comes from successful, wealthy authors paying their own way, more likely to a Lunar city than anywhere else, not from sending people and hoping they write something that sells.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Online

#68 2017-10-09 11:47:07

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

It's not rocket science - you produce photos and text on Mars and get a well known pop science personality to write the foreword and have their pic on the front cover (all for a slice of the proceeds of course).

Terraformer wrote:

Actually, I think there's a place for no-mass products like books in funding space colonisation. But it comes from successful, wealthy authors paying their own way, more likely to a Lunar city than anywhere else, not from sending people and hoping they write something that sells.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#69 2017-10-09 12:43:41

JoshNH4H
Moderator
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,377
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

louis wrote:

Yes, but you still have to use the energy (investment) to create the energy system, so you still have to add the 1 to the 4 in terms of overall energy output to get the 5. And so 20% is correct. 

JoshNH4H wrote:

Wikipedia explains EROI most clearly, but it's in agreement with other sources on this:

https://wikimedia.org/api/rest_v1/media … 11aabdc4f7

If it takes 100 MJ to create a system that generates 1000 MJ over the course of its lifetime, the EROI for that system would be 10 (1000/100) and not 9 ( (1000-100)/100 ).


It's not correct because a system cannot deliver the energy used to manufacture itself. That's sort of like if Abraham Lincoln had built the log cabin in such he was born.

The article makes the distinction between net energy gain and EROEI quite clear and I strongly recommend that you give it a read


-Josh

Online

#70 2017-10-09 12:56:06

JoshNH4H
Moderator
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,377
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Terraformer wrote:

Antius,

I think your figures are out of date. The link I posted earlier suggested that thin-film solar can get an EROEI of up to 60. Other figures have it around 10-20. Even so, that's far better than the figure of 4 that you provided. If it's 15 for Terra, then it will be 6 for Mars - low, but at least it should be sustainable.

------

Getting back to the original topic, I can't see much in terms of goods that could be economically sold to Terra. Food to Terran orbit might be a possibility, but growing it in orbit (we have to recycle the CO2 and water anyway, and there's a lot more sunlight) and getting any more volatiles we need from asteroids may be cheaper. If we need gravity, there's Luna - I doubt there are any processes which won't work with 1/6g which will work with 2/5g. Metals? Asteroids have much higher grade ore, and if you're after raw iron, just put a magnet on a truck and drive around Luna picking up the bits of already reduced iron in the regolith. Regolith? Pretty soon you're going to saturate the market.

Information, on the other hand, has an infinite value-to-mass ratio. Until we reach the point where Martian homesteading is viable and we can make money selling equipment to settlers, I think science bases are the  only viable MacGuffinite for Mars. It's too far for tourism, and I don't think it has anything that justifies mining camps, or much ability to support activity in Terran orbit

I think there may actually be some market for Mars-to-Moon export products. The Moon/Earth Orbital Space has a competitive advantage over Earth in certain ways, specifically in energy production and products that require a lot of energy (I've suggested Aluminium). You could imagine a kind of triangle trade, where the early solar system economy goes three ways with outposts on the Moon (And Earth Orbital Space), Mars, and Earth.


-Josh

Online

#71 2017-10-09 13:08:49

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

But it is correct because the system can produce the energy to replicate itself.

I agree the EROI  figure would be 10.  But the total energy output would be 1100 and 100 as a proportion of 1100 is about 9.09%, not 10%. You seem to be ignoring the original energy investment (100) when calculating the overall total energy ouput.  How can that be?

JoshNH4H wrote:
louis wrote:

Yes, but you still have to use the energy (investment) to create the energy system, so you still have to add the 1 to the 4 in terms of overall energy output to get the 5. And so 20% is correct. 

JoshNH4H wrote:

Wikipedia explains EROI most clearly, but it's in agreement with other sources on this:

https://wikimedia.org/api/rest_v1/media … 11aabdc4f7

If it takes 100 MJ to create a system that generates 1000 MJ over the course of its lifetime, the EROI for that system would be 10 (1000/100) and not 9 ( (1000-100)/100 ).


It's not correct because a system cannot deliver the energy used to manufacture itself. That's sort of like if Abraham Lincoln had built the log cabin in such he was born.

The article makes the distinction between net energy gain and EROEI quite clear and I strongly recommend that you give it a read


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#72 2017-10-09 13:48:12

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Mars might have a competitive advantage in manufacturing processes, especially those that use vacuum.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_deposition

Also, Mars could have a competitive advantage in heavy industry, if it can unlock nuclear energy without the bureaucratic straight jacket that it faces on Earth.

Last edited by Antius (2017-10-09 14:03:24)

Offline

#73 2017-10-09 13:57:24

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 929

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

Moon has a much harder vacuum than Mars. Mars has an industrial rough vacuum mostly.

Offline

#74 2017-10-09 14:46:33

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,890
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

It's kind of hard to see anything that Mars could produce that couldn't be better done either on Luna (manufacturing, tourism), asteroids (mining for metals/volatiles), or even in free space (food production? We need to recycle the air anyway...).


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Online

#75 2017-10-09 15:00:16

JoshNH4H
Moderator
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,377
Website

Re: Possible Martian Export Products?

louis wrote:

But it is correct because the system can produce the energy to replicate itself.
I agree the EROI  figure would be 10.  But the total energy output would be 1100 and 100 as a proportion of 1100 is about 9.09%, not 10%. You seem to be ignoring the original energy investment (100) when calculating the overall total energy ouput.  How can that be?

You ignore the energy used to manufacture the energy production system because it did not come from that particular energy system.


-Josh

Online

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB