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#1 2017-03-11 12:05:11

JohnX
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From: Thunder Bay
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Mapping a way forward

From reading previous debates on 'How Mars should be governed' both here and elsewhere, I can see some main ideas and would like to try summarising. Perhaps we can develop a little.

Practically speaking, what use will this be? Is it possible that this forum and others like it will ever affect the thoughts and actions of 'Marstronauts'? I hope so. Perhaps some who frequent this NewMars site will be on the first few colony crews.

Another hope of mine is that we can steer away from vitriol and ideological warfare. Let's call a truce. Find common ground. Respect the other. Let a peaceful Mars start here.

----------------
Major debates on law and governance in Martian colonies (please add because I may miss some):

- Independence from central control vs. the need to restrain criminality
-Need for a police force if there are any rules or laws at all?
- The need to promote industry and self-reliance vs. a desire to limit mega corporation-type dominance as common on Earth
- Life support should be free? The danger that life support could be used as leverage or control?
- many voices distrust ideological dominance & religious extremism... but can a Mars authority enforce that without becoming oppressive?

Sara Bruhns and Jacob Haqq-Misra at the Blue Marble Space Institute wrote a paper as a framework for Mars colonies to share the planet and settle disputes. This is a good place to start in my humble opinion.

Title: A Pragmatic Approach to Sovereignty on Mars

Get the pdf at: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1511/1511.05615.pdf

Last edited by JohnX (2017-03-11 13:57:41)


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#2 2017-03-11 18:53:56

louis
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Basically the Mars community and those who supply it/invest in it will be facing all the sorts of issues that generate politics on Earth.

However, I see some differences.

1.  The ultimate criminal sanction could be "Return" - a revival of the good old fashioned punishment of Exile. Any serious criminal activity could result in the guilty party being exiled back to Earth.  However, what about people born on Mars who know only Mars as their country?  If they don't have dual citizenship, to what country could they be returned.  Perhaps dual citizenship should be a requirement of permanent Mars residence.

2.  There is the opportunity to ensure all Mars citizens are highly prosperous and highly educated.  This may reduce social conflict.  I think all Mars citizens should have the right to free life support, though some may choose to go their own way, setting up their own homesteads.

3.  It should be possible to prevent the development or placement of of weapons of mass destruction on or around Mars.

4.  The early Mars colony is likely to be dominated by a single coporation (Space X) or consortium (also likely to be dominated by Space X). In that respect it will be very much like a "company town" on Earth.


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#3 2017-03-11 19:54:06

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Mapping a way forward

On the other hand we could set up a penal colony in the upper atmosphere of Venus, all the criminals could go there. We could keep them alive indefinitely by sending more and more supplies.

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#4 2017-03-11 19:59:34

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

On the other hand we could set up a penal colony in the upper atmosphere of Venus, all the criminals could go there. We could keep them alive indefinitely by sending more and more supplies.

Yes! That would be the ultimate deterrent! smile


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#5 2017-03-11 20:18:29

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

1. Exile does sound like a realistic sentence for major crimes.  At least,  as a would-be writer of SF it sounds dramatic to me.
The practicalities of it are something else- who pays for the exile's ticket.
For native-born Martians how about an ice-mine at the polar cap?
Seriously let's leave the details of the penal system to the experts. A restorative justice system has a great deal to recommend it though.

2. LS free in public places or 'cities' yes. But no free lunch for the able-bodied or you end up with loafers. Community service, rotas of duties to keep things running. Just suggestions.

3. Yes!
4. It depends on SpaceX business model.  If they're truly selling seats on a bus, what's to stop the Mars Society or Mars One or the Amish buying up 100 or 200 seats and building their own settlement?
This would assume that any group doing this contracted out for habitats and equipment and supplies. Who's to force them to stay put with everyone at the landing area? With transport they could head off into the wide red yonder.

Enough dreaming for now.... gotta do the washing up. tongue

Last edited by JohnX (2017-03-11 21:28:17)


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#6 2017-03-12 08:53:04

Terraformer
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Re: Mapping a way forward

louis,

Exile to Earth might work for a bit, until Terrans realise they can exile people to Mars in response. Turnabout is fair play. Why should Terra have to deal with Martian criminals?


"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

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#7 2017-03-12 11:58:06

Scott Beach
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Re: Mapping a way forward

JohnX wrote:

Sara Bruhns and Jacob Haqq-Misra at the Blue Marble Space Institute wrote a paper as a framework for Mars colonies to share the planet and settle disputes. This is a good place to start in my humble opinion.

Title: A Pragmatic Approach to Sovereignty on Mars

Get the pdf at: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1511/1511.05615.pdf

Bruhns and Haqq-Misra proposed “the formation of a Mars Secretariat as an administrative body with limited power to facilitate communication among parties”.  A “Mars Secretariat” might be established as a branch of the Government of Mars, as provided in a “Charter of the Government of Mars”.

Charter of the Government of Mars

Chapter I: This Charter shall become effective when it has been adopted by a vote of two thirds of the members of the United Nations General Assembly.

Chapter II: Mars Secretariat.

The Government of Mars shall have a branch named the “Mars Secretariat”. 

The Government of Mars shall have an officer known as the “Secretary of State of the Government of Mars”.  The Secretary shall be the chief administrative officer of the Government and shall supervise the operation of the Mars Secretariat.  The Secretary shall bring to the attention of the United Nations Security Council any matter which in his or her opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Secretary may authorize the establishment of municipal governments on Mars.  The laws enacted by a municipal government are subordinate to this Charter and to laws enacted by the Government of Mars.  A municipal law that conflicts with this Charter or with laws enacted by the Government of Mars is void to the extent of the conflict.

Chapter III: When 10 or more municipal governments have been established, the Secretary may call a meeting of a Parliament of Mars.  The Parliament may, in the name of the Government of Mars, enact laws that are consistent with and subordinate to this Charter.


"It is possible to build a rational and humane culture completely free from the threat of supernatural restraints."  Arthur C. Clarke, The Songs of Distant Earth

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#8 2017-03-12 14:31:58

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Terraformer wrote:

louis,

Exile to Earth might work for a bit, until Terrans realise they can exile people to Mars in response. Turnabout is fair play. Why should Terra have to deal with Martian criminals?

Good point. Exiled criminals from Earth would mess things up on Mars for sure.


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#9 2017-03-12 16:57:24

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Bruhns and Haqq-Misra proposed “the formation of a Mars Secretariat as an administrative body with limited power to facilitate communication among parties”.  A “Mars Secretariat” might be established as a branch of the Government of Mars, as provided in a “Charter of the Government of Mars”.

Thanks. Yes, so the Bruhns and Haqq-Misra paper could serve as a structure for reconciling disputes and setting limits on one colony's land-grabbing.

I respect your commitment to scientocracy but I'll have to read up on it before I can have much of an opinion. Except to say a note of caution- human nature being as fractured as it is, it would not be long before someone subverts it to their own ends.
But for sure Earth politics is bust, compromised and ineffective, and maybe always has been, so Mars needs something better.

Last edited by JohnX (2017-03-12 18:48:00)


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#10 2017-03-12 17:01:47

Scott Beach
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Registered: 2017-02-21
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Re: Mapping a way forward

JohnX wrote:
Terraformer wrote:

louis,

Exile to Earth might work for a bit, until Terrans realise they can exile people to Mars in response. Turnabout is fair play. Why should Terra have to deal with Martian criminals?

Good point. Exiled criminals from Earth would mess things up on Mars for sure.

A municipal government authorized in accordance with the "Charter of the Government of Mars" (see above) might give each person in the municipality a "Resident Permit" that allows the person to continue to reside within the municipal boundary.  The permit could be renewed each year.  However, if a person is convicted of a serious felony then that person might be required to return to his home country on Earth.  A different system would probably prevail for people born on Mars.


"It is possible to build a rational and humane culture completely free from the threat of supernatural restraints."  Arthur C. Clarke, The Songs of Distant Earth

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#11 2017-03-12 17:15:33

SpaceNut
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Re: Mapping a way forward

I rarely join but do tend to monitor these types of topics. I wanted to welcome both JohnX and Scott Beach to NewMars....
This is definitely a topic for the far off future whether its just a decade away or a century, we all know that we will need rules of law in place that those on mars will need to follow as what they do may impact others as well.

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#12 2017-03-12 18:07:04

Scott Beach
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Re: Mapping a way forward

SpaceNut wrote:

I wanted to welcome both JohnX and Scott Beach to NewMars... This is definitely a topic for the far off future whether its just a decade away or a century, we all know that we will need rules of law in place that those on mars will need to follow as what they do may impact others as well.

Thanks for the “welcome” SpaceNut.

I believe that it is very important to establish some sort of governance system for Mars and to do so in the near future.  Entrepreneurs and others have to know that they can obtain good title to land and resources on Mars.

An important part of establishing good title is a viable land survey system.  Each municipal government on Mars should be authorized to establish its own Base and Meridian, marked by a modest monument inscribed, for example, “Sagan City Meridian, Initial Point”.  Coordinates based on a Base and Meridian survey system make it possible to write deeds that precisely describe a parcel of land.  For example, long ago I owned a farm described as the northern half of Section 18, Township 10 North, Range 12 East, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian.

willamette_meridian2.jpg

willamette_meridian1.jpg

The boundary of a municipal government could also be precisely described by a Base and Meridian survey system.


"It is possible to build a rational and humane culture completely free from the threat of supernatural restraints."  Arthur C. Clarke, The Songs of Distant Earth

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#13 2017-03-12 18:29:35

Scott Beach
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Re: Mapping a way forward

JohnX wrote:

Thanks. Yes, so the Bruhns and Haqq-Misra paper could serve as a structure for reconciling disputes and setting limits on one colony's land-grabbing.

When people apply to the “Mars Secretariat” for a permit to establish a municipal government their application should specify (1) the approximate location of the “Initial Point” of the Base and Meridian that the applicants plan to establish and (2) the proposed boundary of the municipality, based on the planned Base and Meridian.  With these application requirements, the Secretary of State of the Government of Mars could prevent efforts to engage in “land-grabbing”.


"It is possible to build a rational and humane culture completely free from the threat of supernatural restraints."  Arthur C. Clarke, The Songs of Distant Earth

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#14 2017-03-12 19:13:00

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Just found another paper by this Jacob Haqq-Misr.

It's called "The Transformative Value of Liberating Mars" and from the abstract he's promoting the idea of ensuring that all and every colony on Mars is free from Earth control, and that Mars colonisation doesn't become an exercise in nations or corporations of Earth extending their grasp. That's as far as I've got so far, but it promises to be a great read.

This is the kind of writer who should be onboard the Mars Society. Actually, I'd be surprised if he's not already an active member.

https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1404/1404.2315.pdf

Here's the final couple of paragraphs:

"Getting the first humans to Mars is the initial challenge, and establishing a self-sufficient
settlement will be a daunting task to say the last. Critics of this idea may argue that a Martian
colony, supported by nations or corporations of Earth, will have the greatest chance of
success, and that liberation should be considered only after a series of successful colonies. I
maintain that this will be too late: once the interests and ideals of Earth take root on Mars,
they will be very difficult to supplant. A second instance of civilization is a better use of
Mars than an extension of our resource base, if only because it holds the potential to
transform our core preferences and conceptualize new civilizational and environmental
values. Better to liberate Mars now and see who will heed its call.

" Our current approach to space exploration has followed patterns of history so far, and
we must make a conscious effort to find new ways of thinking to avoid repeating past
mistakes. Mars is on our horizon, and the way we decide to use Mars will permanently
transform the future of humanity. As we fix our eyes on the red planet, is our goal to extend
our old ways into space to see how long they can last, or should we try bold new
experiments in civilization to find better ideas? I choose the latter: Mars should belong to the
Martians, especially if they are human."

Last edited by JohnX (2017-03-12 19:29:53)


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#15 2017-03-12 20:49:47

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

As a postscript to my own last post,  on Jacob Haqq-Misr's Liberation of Mars paper, I disagree with him that there should be no trade permitted between Earth and Mars. This is stated among five principles (p4):

1. Humans who leave Earth to permanently settle on Mars relinquish their planetary
citizenship as Earthlings and claim a planetary citizenship as Martians. This includes
giving up any national or local citizenships and affiliations. Humans living as
Martians cannot represent the interests of any group on Earth and cannot acquire
wealth on Earth.
2. Governments, corporations, and individuals of Earth cannot engage in commerce
with Mars and cannot interfere with the political, cultural, economic, or social
development of Martian civilization.
3. Scientific exploration may continue as long as it does not interfere with the
development of civilization on Mars. Sharing of research and information between
Mars and Earth is permitted only to pursue mutual scientific or educational goals.
4. The use of land on Mars will be determined exclusively by the citizens of Mars. No
Earthlings may own or otherwise lay claim to land on Mars.
5. Any technology, resources, or other objects brought from Earth to Mars become
permanent fixtures of the Martian civilization. Earthlings may not make any
demands for resources on Mars.

Perhaps others can put me straight on why a trade ban would be necessary, but it seems to me that

- a starter colony, even if self-sufficient in terms of life-support in the short-term, would require trade in order to replenish spare parts and to grow
- depending on gifts from Earth instead of trade (as Haqq-Misr suggests) opens the way to those gifts being used to influence decisions:
"Any equipment brought with the crew permanently becomes Martian property; gifts or aid
provided by Earth can be accepted but only without remuneration, and trade is strictly
prohibited. "

Is trade necessarily going to mess up a new and free Mars? How else will they grow if people lose interest in gifting them expensive equipment?

So while I think his paper has a lot going for it, I am not yet convinced it will work. It cuts directly against another paradigm of colonisation, which allows individuals and corporations to invest in colony-building for financial gain. After all, just getting to Mars and setting up will prove expensive to do, even with Elon Musk's $500,000 tickets.

Any comments?


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#16 2017-03-12 21:13:19

Scott Beach
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Re: Mapping a way forward

“…should we try bold new experiments in civilization to find better ideas?”
Jacob Haqq-Misra, “The Transformative Value of Liberating Mars”. New Space, May 2016, 4(2): 64-67.  https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1404/1404.2315.pdf

I am in favor of building “experimental communities” but I think that such experiments should be conducted on Earth, with successful communities being transplanted to Mars, together with all of the equipment and supplies that the new Martians will need to succeed.


"It is possible to build a rational and humane culture completely free from the threat of supernatural restraints."  Arthur C. Clarke, The Songs of Distant Earth

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#17 2017-03-13 09:36:58

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Here's Jacob Haqq-Misr's reply to my question about why trade between Earth and a new independent colony should be disallowed (at least at first). He has a well-thought-out rationale for it all, but his aims will not coincide with everyone else's. The question is, perhaps, what is the goal of building a colony on Mars? What's yours?

Hi John,

Thanks for your message. I appreciate your interest in my work, and I'm glad the topic of Mars colonization is receiving increased discussion.

I am in touch with members of the Mars Society, and I even participated at their last annual meeting as a panelist on the topic of space sovereignty and settlement. You can view a recording of the panel online:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ8oMj5ZoSE

On the topic of trade, commercial influence is a strong way of asserting political power, and it is important that a liberated Mars would not be required to engage in trade. This is a matter of limiting the influence of Earth parties--any resources brought to Mars are considered "fixtures" or gifts that can be accepted by the Mars society but cannot require anything in return. Eventually, as the Mars society develops its own martian economy, then the idea of trade agreements could be reopened. The purpose is to maximize the independence of the martian economy and minimize dependence upon the parties and interests of Earth.

I expand upon this idea in an article I wrote for the Boston Globe. The real problem in making this work is securing enough long-term funding so that any colony can reach the point of autonomy. The article is available here:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2016/ … story.html

Lots to think about! This is indeed an important time in history for new developments in space policy.

Cheers,
Jacob


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#18 2017-03-13 09:40:45

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Scott Beach wrote:

“…should we try bold new experiments in civilization to find better ideas?”
Jacob Haqq-Misra, “The Transformative Value of Liberating Mars”. New Space, May 2016, 4(2): 64-67.  https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1404/1404.2315.pdf

I am in favor of building “experimental communities” but I think that such experiments should be conducted on Earth, with successful communities being transplanted to Mars, together with all of the equipment and supplies that the new Martians will need to succeed.

Is this possible in the way Jacob H-M is proposing? To be independent economically and politically surely includes not building your colony on some other nation's land but being sovereign. Only way to do that on Earth might be ... maybe ... an ocean-going city. Tricky. True, you could set up a 'colony' on Earth based on experimental principles or ideologies and then transplant it. I wonder how workable or desirable that would be.


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#19 2017-03-13 10:30:27

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Mapping a way forward

There were something called Communes, but the Communists were never satisfied with them. Communism has to be involuntary and imposed with deadly force to get people to conform to their expectations, that is how Communists feel.

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#20 2017-03-13 10:57:41

JohnX
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Re: Mapping a way forward

A deal of discussion assumes that Mars could be mined for resources which could be sold on Earth at vast profit. But that's not a foregone conclusion. I would like to try some arithmetic to see if the expense would be worthwhile using current technology.

Reason: dV. The energy required to arrive on Mars is one thing; quite another is to mine a resource in a hostile environment and then lift it out of Mars's gravity well, propel it to Earth, decelerate it safely, and lower it onto Earth's surface intact.

Alternative: go asteroid mining. A great deal less dV required.

If this is true, it would alter the balance. Independent Mars colonies would not have to contend with multinational corporations landing next door to strip-mine the neighbourhood, unless the corporations had some longer-term plans on Mars, some other way to make huge profits.

On the other hand, Louis at http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7599 compiled a long list of possible Mars exports, including gold & diamonds. If such things were discovered in large quantities that would change things again.

Thoughts?

Last edited by JohnX (2017-03-13 10:58:19)


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#21 2017-03-13 12:21:17

louis
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Re: Mapping a way forward

The current gold price is nearly $39,000 per Kg. There could well be a profit of several thousands dollars per Kg if the right exposed surface seams are found.  Nuggets can be 90% pure and the largest return over 70 kgs of gold - getting on for $3 million. The early colony wouldn't be processing huge amounts of gold ore.  It could probably process to Mars a high degree of concentration using electric heat. If it could export a tonne of gold per annum, that would be to a value of £39 million.  Ten tonnes would be £390 million - not all profit of course, but the profit could be around £100 million potentially.  For comparison Earth produces 2,500 tonnes, albeit that is deep-mined.






JohnX wrote:

A deal of discussion assumes that Mars could be mined for resources which could be sold on Earth at vast profit. But that's not a foregone conclusion. I would like to try some arithmetic to see if the expense would be worthwhile using current technology.

Reason: dV. The energy required to arrive on Mars is one thing; quite another is to mine a resource in a hostile environment and then lift it out of Mars's gravity well, propel it to Earth, decelerate it safely, and lower it onto Earth's surface intact.

Alternative: go asteroid mining. A great deal less dV required.

If this is true, it would alter the balance. Independent Mars colonies would not have to contend with multinational corporations landing next door to strip-mine the neighbourhood, unless the corporations had some longer-term plans on Mars, some other way to make huge profits.

On the other hand, Louis at http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7599 compiled a long list of possible Mars exports, including gold & diamonds. If such things were discovered in large quantities that would change things again.

Thoughts?


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

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#22 2017-03-13 13:54:57

Scott Beach
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Re: Mapping a way forward

JohnX wrote:

To be independent economically and politically surely includes not building your colony on some other nation's land but being sovereign. Only way to do that on Earth might be ... maybe ... an ocean-going city.

How about on a currently uninhabited island?

The Republic of Malta is not a party to the Outer Space Treaty.

     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oute … arties.svg

So we might be able to side-step the Outer Space Treaty by persuading the Republic of Malta to claim its "fair share" of Mars and to issue “Mars Settlement Permits”.  Some number of ProtoMartians might then undertake to build a prototype Martian settlement in Malta, perhaps on the island of Comino (Kemmuna) or Cominotto (Kemmunett).  The “Blue Lagoon” between those two islands is a popular tourist destination and there would probably be lots of tourists who would pay a fee to visit a prototype Martian settlement.

198_world_beautiful_islands__comino_island_maltese_1.jpg


"It is possible to build a rational and humane culture completely free from the threat of supernatural restraints."  Arthur C. Clarke, The Songs of Distant Earth

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#23 2017-03-13 22:21:44

IanM
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Re: Mapping a way forward

Scott Beach wrote:

An important part of establishing good title is a viable land survey system.  Each municipal government on Mars should be authorized to establish its own Base and Meridian, marked by a modest monument inscribed, for example, “Sagan City Meridian, Initial Point”.

I'm going to have to partially agree/disagree with you there. I believe there should be a uniform planet-wide survey system, to prevent clashes of different municipal systems in rural areas if/when they eventually get populated,especially if different unit systems are involved. That being said, I do respect the right of municipalities to set aside their own base-line and meridians, and to employ their own surveyors, within that system.


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

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#24 2017-03-14 05:04:33

louis
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Posts: 3,486

Re: Mapping a way forward

The case for a Mars World Government is I think unassailable. There has to be a single entity to take on the task of terraformation which must be reserved to it (given that otherwise differential terraformation efforts could conflict).

However, I think a Mars World Government should have a fairly limited brief:

1. Terraformation.

2. Earth-Mars transit and migration control.

3. Currency and free trade (unlike on Earth, it probably makes sense to have a single planet-wide free trade area from the get-go).

4. Earth-Mars relations.

5. Defence and major civil emergency.

6. Unified standards for calendar, weights and measures.

7. Settlement policy.

No doubt there will be more that needs to be dealt with on a planetary scale but those are for me the main ones.

Ideally one would have a formal system for how settlements of say 100 people or might have limited self-government.  Those over say 1000 could then become fully self-governing or could elect to join other settlements in self-governing entities.


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

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#25 2017-03-14 08:39:35

Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Mapping a way forward

20131025_mars-major-features_f840.jpg
I would suggest a federal republic with a number of Mars states including Vastitas Borealis, Amazonis Planitia, Oympus Mons, Alba Mons, Tempe Terra, Chryse Planitia, Arabia Terra, Utopia Basin, Elysium Mons, Isidius Basin, Tharsis Montes, Valles Marineris, Tharsis Rise, Argyre Basin, Noachis Terra, Hellas Basin, Hesperia Planum, and Southern Highlands. About 18 Mars States.

We can have a Mars Senate with 36 Senators, Each state will have an elected governor and lieutenant governor, an Assembly and State Senate, a state Judiciary. Also we can have a House of Representatives, with each state having at least 1 Representative and one electoral district and a number of electoral districts proportional to population, which is determined by a Census every 5 Mars years. (Which is about a decade) Mars should have a Supreme Court a President in charge of the Executive Branch and a Vice President.

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