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#1 2004-12-30 21:14:07

Scott G. Beach
Banned
Registered: 2002-07-08
Posts: 288

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Should we apply an ecological approach to the colonization of Mars?

I have advocated an ecological approach to the task of establishing a self-sustaining civilization on Mars.  My plan to accomplish that objective includes constructing a prototype Martian settlement on Earth, perhaps in one of the dry valleys of Antarctica.  My ecological approach to the colonization of Mars might be regarded as an example of “sociocultural systems engineering” (see http://www.geocities.com/scott956282743/sosse.htm ).

In a book titled “Guns, Germs, and Steel, geographer Jared Diamond laid out a grand view of the organic roots of human civilizations in flora, fauna, climate and geology. That vision takes on apocalyptic overtones in this fascinating comparative study of societies that have, sometimes fatally, undermined their own ecological foundations. Diamond examines storied examples of human economic and social collapse, and even extinction, including Easter Island, classical Mayan civilization and the Greenland Norse. He explores patterns of population growth, overfarming, overgrazing and overhunting, often abetted by drought, cold, rigid social mores and warfare, that lead inexorably to vicious circles of deforestation, erosion and starvation prompted by the disappearance of plant and animal food sources. Extending his treatment to contemporary environmental trouble spots, from Montana to China to Australia, he finds today's global, technologically advanced civilization very far from solving the problems that plagued primitive, isolated communities in the remote past.”

Jared Diamond's most recent book is titled Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.  In that book, “Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana” (Publishers Weekly).

If we undertake to establish a self-sustaining Martian civilization, and to transform Mars into a warm, wet, and bountiful New Earth, we should pay close attention to the lessons that Diamond provides in the two books cited above. Those lessons will help us to avoid the civilization-destroying mistakes that our ancestors have made time and again.[/color:post_uid0]


"Analysis, whether economic or other, never yields more that a statement about the tendencies present in an observable pattern."  Joseph A. Schumpeter; Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, 1942

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#2 2005-01-04 18:42:57

Martian Republic
Member
From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
Registered: 2004-06-13
Posts: 855

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]>>Should we apply an ecological approach to the colonization of Mars?<<

I don't see that we have a choice, but take an ecological type approach to Mars. Matter of fact, the Earth is just about the only planet or Moon that we don't have to take an ecological approach to. The reason for that is, the earth is the only planet or moon that doesn't need human intervention so that we live on it. For that reason alone we will have to take that type of approach to Mars or any other place that we might go within this star system. By the way, we should adopt similar principle to keep from destroying earth too.

Larry,[/color:post_uid0]

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#3 2005-01-04 21:20:27

Leifur
Banned
From: Reykjavík, Iceland
Registered: 2004-12-15
Posts: 40
Website

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Are you talking about this article:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/printer_010205Y.shtml

This is, in my opinion, and also to my knowledge as an Icelander, wich is one of the communities he talks about, mostly bollocks.

But of course Mars will have to be mostly selfsufficient, but as that is the obvious way the market forces will do it that way, as moving things from Earth is to exspensive, and Mars will have little to sell to Earth for the first decades at least. When the investment of terraforming will be paying off, they will be able to sell land, housing and in fact the right to live there, breathing earthlike air for good prices, provided that there still will be demand for places to live due to crowdedness on Earth and Moon.[/color:post_uid0]


Leifur

Es. [url=http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2776]Private creation and enforcement of law on Mars
Old-Icelandic/ Anarco-Capitalistic system on Mars[/url]

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#4 2005-01-05 05:44:18

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,385

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid14]Sounds sort of like a biosphere or domed facility, a dry run here on Earth to see if it can be done.

If we use the biosphere experiment of utah as the base line we can expect a few things before we start. IMO do not try to copy all the various environments here on Earth or to try and use all types of creatures or living organisms in it.

Things that effect changes with in the domed world would be solar energy recieved from the sun fluctuation, Earth weather patterns and of course Murphy's law sad[/color:post_uid14]

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#5 2005-04-27 11:14:08

CanalBuilder
Member
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Registered: 2005-04-07
Posts: 13

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]We don't need to start off with a great deal of variety in our creted ecology. A New Scientist article from a few years ago (I'll try to find it later) discussed experiments that had discovered a simple water-bourne ecology that worked in zero-g/microgravity. There was a type of under water plant, an underwater snail, and a breed of fish.

Done on a larger scale this could provide food. Solar radiation on Mars would probably increase mutation rates which would result in faster evolution. So we could start off with a limited range of species, and watch them grow.

See you there,

Ed[/color:post_uid0]


third star on the right and straight on til morning

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#6 2005-04-27 12:42:29

Trebuchet
Banned
From: Florida
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 419

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Well, what *kind* of ecological approach are you going to use? I can think of several 'models' of ecology that could be used:

1) The Purist - This would be an attempt to build as reasonably complete and earth-like an environment as possible, with an eye towards terraforming Mars into an Earth-like state overall, a second "Blue Planet". This would involve a lot of effort in maintaining the initial nursery biospheres in individual habitation units (domes, vaults, whatever).

Pros- variety, overall completeness of the inventory of species protects you if you overlooked the important contributions of some species.

Cons - initial expense and continuing expense of maintaining the nursery ecosystems... that, and if you really want an Earthlike environment that bad, why are you leaving Earth?

2) McWorld - Take the stuff you like and whatever is expedient to close biological cycles, keep it stashed in spare areas and try to keep it alive. Don't bother aiming towards a perfect reproduction of Earth. Import new critters/plants from Earth along with new colonists from time to time.

Pros - less hassle, less planning. Also less likely to bring pest species and unexpected pathogens.

Cons - general lack of biodiversity; Mars will be sort of a bland suburb of Earth's ecological system. Terraformed Mars will be kind of bland.

3) The Hermit Kingdom - You aren't planning on terraforming, and instead are going to just bring species of direct use to the colony for food, industrial, and pet uses.

Pros - Keeping Mars red ensures an alien feel to the world. The fact that everything will essentially be grown in controlled enclosures allows for very specific, specialized strains of plants to be grown. The world will be less appealing to colonists.

Cons - You need those specialized plants because croplands will always be limited. The world will be less appealing to colonists (I listed it twice because whether this is a fault or not depends on the person). Probably more psycologically stressful, and likely to breed religious fanaticism (no one expects the Martian Inquisition).

4) The Microsoft Ecology - Bring over a short term mix of stuff to grow in domes along with biotech equipment and trained personell. Terraform and fill the niches you don't have by adapting and hybridizing the species you do have to patch up the holes in your ecosystem.

Pros - Creates a nicely unique world and ecosystem, saves on time and effort in the initial stages and shifts it to later when you presumably have more time and people to throw at such problems. May create useful export goods ("Giant Martian Grazing Rats! The perfect pet for your family!") which could return profits under biological patent laws.

Cons - Generally speaking people have a low reliability with designing 'bug-free' complex systems; the ecosystem will probably be insanely unstable for a century or so and thus require extensive 'repair'.

Personally, I lean towards the last two options... when making a new world, make it new, IMHO, not Earth Version 2.0[/color:post_uid0]

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#7 2005-04-29 07:37:41

CanalBuilder
Member
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Registered: 2005-04-07
Posts: 13

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Where can I get one of those 'Giant Martian Grazing Rats'? They sound great. smile[/color:post_uid0]


third star on the right and straight on til morning

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#8 2005-04-29 10:13:29

srmeaney
Member
From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

Where can I get one of those 'Giant Martian Grazing Rats'?[/quote:post_uid0] You cant have one. They keep failing to pass the quarantine regs. Besides, the last thing you are likely to be allowed to have is something likely to "graze" on small kids and pets.[/color:post_uid0]

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#9 2005-04-30 14:04:49

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

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Forget ecology;
All the supergreenhouse gasses,
extreme pollution is just a small step in terraformation.[/color:post_uid0]

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#10 2007-07-06 06:32:12

m1omg
Banned
From: Q Continuum
Registered: 2007-07-03
Posts: 70

Re: Should we use an ecological approach? - Creating a Stable Martian Civilization

Forget ecology;
All the supergreenhouse gasses,
extreme pollution is just a small step in terraformation.

Supergreenhouse gases are harmless for any life.
And we are talking not about terraformed Mars but colonies on a wild red Mars...

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