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#1 2021-02-21 18:27:29

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

How soon can Mars become independent?

An interesting video from the Whacky Couple:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_LeNq1hP7Q

BTW I think they must dip in here every now and again...the issues covered have been covered in depth here.


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

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#2 2021-02-26 07:50:28

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 1,154

Re: How soon can Mars become independent?

According to your video, there is a fairly consistent answer, which is 100 -150 years after first settlement.  So that would put independence towards the end of the 22nd century, or beginning of 23rd.

They envisage the transition of power being gradual and peaceful.  So there would be no need for an MCRN or UNN, as seen in the Expanse series.  I'm not so sure.  If the former colony begins to compete with the home world for access to resources from the asteroid belt, there is certainly scope for tensions.

The Expanse novels foresee a population of 4-9billion by about the middle of the 23rd century.  That also is surprisingly realistic.  If we reach a population of 1million by 2050 (ambitious, but possible) then 200 years of population growth at 4.5% per year, results in a population of 6.7billion by 2250.

At first sight, it might appear improbable that we could feed that many people on Mars, given its apparently desolate appearance.  But farming based on microalgae, blue-green algae, fungi, aquaculture and C4 land plants, etc, with integrated recycling of micronutrients, could be very productive.  Many people find the idea of algae as food unappetising.  But as a processed food ingredient, with flavourings added, it could mimic many foods that we are familiar with and be more healthy overall.  It roughly 3 times more efficient at converting sunlight photons into food starch, carbohydrates and proteins.  So all the food for one person could be grown in a space of a few tens of square metres.  A population of 10billion could be fed on a few hundred thousand square kilometers of equatorial Martian land, which is less than half of one percent of Martiansurface area.  With abundant fusion energy, indoor (stacked underground) farms are possible as well.  So a population rivalling that of Earth is certainly possible.

It seems odd to think of a thriving human civilisation of billions, on a planet where you would be dead in two minutes without an environment suit.  That is the greatest gift that technology has bestowed on human beings.  It allows us to live almost anywhere.  Provided of course,be have a suitable and sufficient energy source.

Last edited by Calliban (2021-02-26 08:29:45)


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#3 2021-02-26 08:55:53

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

Re: How soon can Mars become independent?

Why have a population of 6.7 billion eating processed pulp when you could have a population of 1 billion eating the most delicious range of fresh foods? What you need is a population policy, not one based on enforcement but on incentives either towards large families or smaller families, depending on where you are. I think a population of 1 billion is more than enough to sustain an Earth-like world economy.

Mars with about 40% of Earth's insolation could easily support a population of billions. And of course if we are talking about 2300 then by that point I am sure we will have mastered how to reflect huge amounts of solar radiation on to the planet, so bringing it up to Earth levels, if we so wish.

I am an Early Independencer, believing that the Mars community founded by Space X should declare itself independent at the earliest opportunity. Even if there are only 5000 people there, they should make the declaration of independence. It should be a self-governing democracy. Any future settlements should be subject to its approval and to those settlements joining the Republic on the the terms laid out in the constitution.

The alternative is to see Mars become a playground for dictatorships, oligarchs and religious fanatics.

Calliban wrote:

According to your video, there is a fairly consistent answer, which is 100 -150 years after first settlement.  So that would put independence towards the end of the 22nd century, or beginning of 23rd.

They envisage the transition of power being gradual and peaceful.  So there would be no need for an MCRN or UNN, as seen in the Expanse series.  I'm not so sure.  If the former colony begins to compete with the home world for access to resources from the asteroid belt, there is certainly scope for tensions.

The Expanse novels foresee a population of 4-9billion by about the middle of the 23rd century.  That also is surprisingly realistic.  If we reach a population of 1million by 2050 (ambitious, but possible) then 200 years of population growth at 4.5% per year, results in a population of 6.7billion by 2250.

At first sight, it might appear improbable that we could feed that many people on Mars, given its apparently desolate appearance.  But farming based on microalgae, blue-green algae, fungi, aquaculture and C4 land plants, etc, with integrated recycling of micronutrients, could be very productive.  Many people find the idea of algae as food unappetising.  But as a processed food ingredient, with flavourings added, it could mimic many foods that we are familiar with and be more healthy overall.  It roughly 3 times more efficient at converting sunlight photons into food starch, carbohydrates and proteins.  So all the food for one person could be grown in a space of a few tens of square metres.  A population of 10billion could be fed on a few hundred thousand square kilometers of equatorial Martian land, which is less than half of one percent of Martiansurface area.  With abundant fusion energy, indoor (stacked underground) farms are possible as well.  So a population rivalling that of Earth is certainly possible.

It seems odd to think of a thriving human civilisation of billions, on a planet where you would be dead in two minutes without an environment suit.  That is the greatest gift that technology has bestowed on human beings.  It allows us to live almost anywhere.  Provided of course,be have a suitable and sufficient energy source.


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

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#4 2021-02-26 09:51:32

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 1,154

Re: How soon can Mars become independent?

Choice of food will ultimately be driven by consumer preference. But there are a number of reasons why I would expect microalgae to dominate the food supply in early Martian settlement phase. Firstly, there is simple economics. Land based vegetable plants must be grown in pressurised greenhouses. The total area needed per person is quite large and they (may) need to be heated at night. This makes vegetable plants relatively expensive on Mars and cereal crops very expensive. Microalgae in contrast, can be grown in 3d printed plastic panels on the surface. You would need about a third of the total area compared to a greenhouse growing vegetables and you can drain the panels into an insulated tank overnight. So no absolute need for heating, though it may boost productivity. There are thousands of different edible microalgae. Not all of them are unpleasant to taste. As most human food is now processed, it will make little difference to the consumer whether the pasta on their plate comes from an algae panel or a field of wheat. But the price they pay will be very different. In a competitive market, the cheapest solution usually wins. Finally, microalgae are more nutritious than most land crops, because nutrition is not diluted by superfluous structure. So I think that by the 23rd century, this will be a normal food source and land plants and meat will be seen as niche.

I don't know when the optimum time will be for Mars to declare independence. But I doubt it will be taken kindly by the Earth government elites. These people tend to be hostile towards regimes that they cannot directly control. The US reaction towards Russia expelling Jewish oligarchs being a good example. Even with all of the natural resources and land that Russia has, the US restrictions imposed on it has an impact on the prosperity of its people. If you are stuck on an airless planet, where all botanical products and many technology products must be imported, a trade embargo could be devastating. Of course, that might not be an issue if the Mars government policies just happened to be approved of by Earth political elites. If it was a woke establishment, controlled by Earth approved oligarchs, for example. But I accept the fact that that is unlikely to be appealing to most people. The question is, how far along does a Mars colony have to get, before it can do without the approval of these people?  If Mars is providing something essential, that cannot easily be substituted from other sources, it could be soon.  If it is instead one nation amongst many, it may take a while.

I don't think Mars will need to control population numbers for a long time to come.  If population pressures increase, then space based manufacturing will provide abundant new living space by the 23rd century.  In fact Mars may struggle to maintain a large resident population, when the asteroid belt offers so many more opportunities.  The Belta Lowda may turn out to be the most prosperous people in the solar system.

Last edited by Calliban (2021-02-26 10:00:07)


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#5 2021-02-26 17:39:51

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: How soon can Mars become independent?

Independence means we make things on mars and if we are still launching replacement or new items we will not get out of that rut very soon as what we will need to do. Made on mars should be a mantra to those that stay to build and settle to keep from wanting any or all things from earth.
That means a two way system of commerce must start not just sending rockets from earth only to return as planned but rockets created from mars parts to be able to build up trade routes.

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#6 2021-02-26 19:30:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

Re: How soon can Mars become independent?

Re food:

How you grow your food will depend on the population numbers. Early on there will be no problem using indoor agriculture with artificial lgihting. When pressurised greenhouses become necessary we can move into that sort of farming. They don't have to be earth pressure - they can be near 100% CO2 and about 20% of earth atmospheric pressure - allowing transparent plastics to be used. We can use lightweight reflectors to increase insolation into the farm domes. You can also build in farms into hillsides, again reducing construction costs.

I really don't see the need to be base the diet on algae.

The Mars Republic will have a whole planet to dip into! It won't really be that easy to intimidate into compliance from Earth.

Musk's plan clearly relies on shipping out huge amounts of industrial equipment to kickstart the local economy. Mars will be the most invested-in economy anywhere in the solar system - the per capita amounts of investment will be off the scale...US per capita capital investment was something like $60,000 per capita in 2017. In the early Mars community you will be talking more about $6 million per person in a community of 5,000, a hundred times more...at least! These sorts of levels of capital equipment, reflected in things like robot mining equipement, life support tech, 3D printers, service robots etc. will provide a strong platform for further growth. I think Mars will be surprisingly independent of Earth imports at a very early stage. There will be a strong financial incentive to make it so, given the costs of importation.


Calliban wrote:

Choice of food will ultimately be driven by consumer preference. But there are a number of reasons why I would expect microalgae to dominate the food supply in early Martian settlement phase. Firstly, there is simple economics. Land based vegetable plants must be grown in pressurised greenhouses. The total area needed per person is quite large and they (may) need to be heated at night. This makes vegetable plants relatively expensive on Mars and cereal crops very expensive. Microalgae in contrast, can be grown in 3d printed plastic panels on the surface. You would need about a third of the total area compared to a greenhouse growing vegetables and you can drain the panels into an insulated tank overnight. So no absolute need for heating, though it may boost productivity. There are thousands of different edible microalgae. Not all of them are unpleasant to taste. As most human food is now processed, it will make little difference to the consumer whether the pasta on their plate comes from an algae panel or a field of wheat. But the price they pay will be very different. In a competitive market, the cheapest solution usually wins. Finally, microalgae are more nutritious than most land crops, because nutrition is not diluted by superfluous structure. So I think that by the 23rd century, this will be a normal food source and land plants and meat will be seen as niche.

I don't know when the optimum time will be for Mars to declare independence. But I doubt it will be taken kindly by the Earth government elites. These people tend to be hostile towards regimes that they cannot directly control. The US reaction towards Russia expelling Jewish oligarchs being a good example. Even with all of the natural resources and land that Russia has, the US restrictions imposed on it has an impact on the prosperity of its people. If you are stuck on an airless planet, where all botanical products and many technology products must be imported, a trade embargo could be devastating. Of course, that might not be an issue if the Mars government policies just happened to be approved of by Earth political elites. If it was a woke establishment, controlled by Earth approved oligarchs, for example. But I accept the fact that that is unlikely to be appealing to most people. The question is, how far along does a Mars colony have to get, before it can do without the approval of these people?  If Mars is providing something essential, that cannot easily be substituted from other sources, it could be soon.  If it is instead one nation amongst many, it may take a while.

I don't think Mars will need to control population numbers for a long time to come.  If population pressures increase, then space based manufacturing will provide abundant new living space by the 23rd century.  In fact Mars may struggle to maintain a large resident population, when the asteroid belt offers so many more opportunities.  The Belta Lowda may turn out to be the most prosperous people in the solar system.


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

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