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#1 2021-05-13 13:36:24

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,733
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Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

I received a notification through LinkedIn from Robert Zubrin. He shared a post.

Robert Zubrin wrote:

The New Yorker article focuses on the ethics of space settlement. It includes me as the voice defending human expansion into space from the Wokeists who oppose it. #Mars #Space #Science #MarsSociety #SpaceX #NASA

The New Yorker: Is Mars Ours?

I find this article shocking. Claims made in this article... how do I describe them? Cognitive dissonance? I just have to vent.

Video-chatting from her home office on the New Hampshire coast, Prescod-Weinstein told me a story about the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French astronomers who travelled to the colony of Saint-Domingue, now part of Haiti. “Part of their mission was to figure out how to better measure distances, so ships could travel across the Atlantic faster—basically, so that it would be easier to move members of my family and enslave them,” she said. Tracing her ancestry back to both Barbados and Eastern Europe, Prescod-Weinstein is “a queer, Black, Jewish, agender woman,” and said that her second discipline has become “Black feminist science, technology, and society studies.”

Developing technology to better measure distance is not about you. It is not exclusively for transportation of slaves. Most people find slavery to be an abomination. Slavery has existed since before recorded history. Romans enslaved white people from Europe, neighbouring countries surrounding the Roman empire. Before that ancient Greeks kept slaves. They would even enslave other Greeks who were from other cities. So rich people in Sparta would enslave people from Athens, etc. After Rome left Britain, English aristocracy raided Ireland for slaves. This lasted a couple centuries. Then in the 1600s Britain conquered Ireland. They took "indentured servants", captured against their will at the point of a gun. Exported across the Atlantic to various British colonies. Some Irish "indentured servants" were sold at slave markets in the West Indies. How is this not slavery?

My ancestors were peasants. I'm tired of whiners using atrocities that happened centuries before any of us were born as an excuse to undermine all technology, all civilization.

As for that individuals sexuality: if she has an abnormal sexual preference, that's her business. It has no place in a discussion about space. I have argued that you can make love to whoever you want, as long as everyone involved is aware and consenting, do whatever. But how does that make the speaker more qualified? How does that relate to space?

I asked Prescod-Weinstein the question that I’d been contemplating: “Is Mars ours?” “Obviously, my answer to that is no,” she said, laughing. “Like, is the Earth ours? I’m sitting here looking at the trees on the land behind my house. I depend on that photosynthesis, the entire exchange of taking in carbon and making it easier for me to breathe. So does the Earth belong to me or the trees?” She worried about the disregard that humans can have for things that aren’t human; in some indigenous societies, she said, land is considered a family member. “If we think about Mars as family, what do we want for our Mars family? I think we need to learn a different way of being in relation with each other.”

I think this person needs serious mental help.

In speaking about why we might not want to destroy rock faces on Mars, many of the people I interviewed talked about living biospheres on Earth. But perhaps taking the regard that we’ve developed for natural things on our planet and extending it to places where there might not be life is too much of a stretch. “Rocks don’t have rights,” Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer and the founder of the Mars Society, which advocates settlement of the red planet, told me. “They don’t have the ability to do anything or desire to do anything. Michelangelo did not commit crimes against rocks by violating their right to be left alone in order to make statues.”

Obviously, I agree with Zubrin.

November, in an essay for National Review, Zubrin argued against the “wokeists” who he believes are trying to halt space exploration. The essay centered on a submission to the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey—a once-in-ten-years affair in which scientists discuss their research priorities—titled “Ethical Exploration and the Role of Planetary Protection in Disrupting Colonial Practices.” The paper’s twelve co-authors and hundred and nine signatories, Prescod-Weinstein among them, encouraged scientists to think about how to “prevent capitalist extraction on other worlds, respect and preserve their environmental systems, and acknowledge the sovereignty and interconnectivity of all life.”

There is no evidence of any life on Mars. There are no little green men, we looked. It's unlikely any bacteria is still alive, the best we can hope for is fossils from the time Mars had liquid water billions of years ago. But in the unlikely event there is living bacteria somewhere... how did Zubrin put it? We can't justify reserving the entire planet for bacteria. Dr Carol Stoker did an experiment some years ago. She had grad students remotely operate rovers, and asked them to find evidence of life. She didn't tell them where the rovers were located. They were in Dinosaur National Park, the richest fossil bed in the world. None of them found any fossils. I think she said one student found a living plant, but none found any fossils. Her point was we have to send trains human scientists with the Mark One Eyeball.

A degree of planetary protection is enshrined in international law, in order to prevent backward or forward contamination. In 1967, the U.S. signed the Outer Space Treaty; its Article IX prohibits signatories from allowing Earth microbes to reach Mars, or from letting Martian biota hitch a ride to our planet, where they might infect terrestrial organisms. At the moment, Martian life is hypothetical, though an increasing number of scientists think that it could exist. Earth and Mars have both been hit by meteors during their four-billion-year history; some have been large enough to knock debris into orbit, and perhaps out toward other planets. It’s possible that, in the past, microbes have travelled between our world and others. Tiny organisms might still be doing so today.

For these reasons, Zubrin is not terribly keen on planetary-protection laws. He argued, moreover, that the authors of the “Ethical Exploration” paper had gone further—into what he called “an extreme anti-human position.” In his view, ethical thinking must be based in the question of whether an action benefits human flourishing; the good that might come from having Mars as a second home, both for us and for the creatures we bring, outweighs the needs of a putative native biosphere.

Ok, so for the mostly likely places we might find extant life on Mars, we need to send scientists in gas bag suits instead of MCP. Because fabric of an MCP suit does not seal sufficiently: either keeping contamination from the human body in, or potential infection from Mars out. During Apollo, NASA built a lab at JSC to store and analyze Moon samples. That lab is designed to protect people from "Moon germs". Obviously we found the Moon is sterile. We could use that same lab to handle Mars samples.

“If we went to Mars today, what would we see?” he asked. “Some scattered debris, heat shields that have been broken up, parachutes flapping in the wind” ... Jah argues that governments should fold sustainability concerns into their licensing processes for space activities

He's concerned about debris from landing on Mars? Really? In Earth orbit, sure, it's a collision hazard. Later Apollo missions crashed the S-IVB stage on the Moon to avoid debris.

Now more than a half century old, the O.S.T. is starting to show its age. It includes almost no mention of private space companies, asteroid mining, or human settlement. Although it remains the ultimate arbiter on space law, its wording remains vague enough for multiple interpretations. Last year, as part of its plan to return to the moon, the U.S. unveiled the Artemis Accords, a set of legal guidelines for countries that wish to participate in American-led lunar activities. Nine countries have since signed on, agreeing to the pact’s most controversial provision: that resources extracted from celestial bodies can be owned, utilized, and sold.

Mining is somehow controversial? Where do you think the material comes from for your latte machine? Or batteries for your electric car? Mining a dead world with no atmosphere, no biosphere, is somehow controversial?

“Anywhere on Earth, if you’re going to exploit a natural resource, you have to pay royalties,” she said. “Why should space be different?”

What! Who do you think you are demanding royalties for something you don't own!

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#2 2021-05-13 15:47:28

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,855

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

I did try to warn you all this was coming down the line! The fact it's appearing in the New Yorker now after Kamala Harris has taken control of US Space Policy is significant in my view. This is only going to get worse. The idea of a maverick like Musk being the first person to set up a settlement on Mars will be anathema to many including China and most US Democrats.

I don't agree there is no evidence of life on Mars - there's seems to be pretty strong evidence for some sort of fungal life forms. Certainly it's an open issue at the moment.


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

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#3 2021-05-13 17:24:44

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,252

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

For RobertDyck re new topic ... Thanks for providing this alert !!

It is ** good ** to know you remain in the distribution for communications from Dr. Zubrin!

Bravo!

(th)

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#4 2021-05-13 17:41:35

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,855

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

It was wise of Space X not to offer any comment. To my mind, the lesson to be drawn is get there as fast as possible and create a sovereign republic on Mars as soon as possible. Don't give the Democrats, the UN, or the planetary protectionists time to draw breath!

This is a very narrow window of opportunity.


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

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#5 2021-05-14 04:31:09

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

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

louis wrote:

It was wise of Space X not to offer any comment. To my mind, the lesson to be drawn is get there as fast as possible and create a sovereign republic on Mars as soon as possible. Don't give the Democrats, the UN, or the planetary protectionists time to draw breath!

This is a very narrow window of opportunity.

Agreed.  The people behind the planetary protection movement are basically enemies of western civilisation, who spend life looking for ways to undermine it in any way that they can.  That is what the Woke movement is all about.  Non-whites looking for ways of suppressing and undermining whites.  Those people are natural Democrat supporters.  Zubrin approaches their arguments with logic, but the people behind it aren't interested in logic.  They are interested in vandalising western achievements in any way that they can.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#6 2021-05-14 05:55:43

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,855

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

Hmmm I don't see things racially, the way you do. There are plenty of white wokeists. And even tactically, if  you're interested in achieving Mars colonisation, presenting it as a racial issue is definitely the worst thing you could possibly do.


Calliban wrote:
louis wrote:

It was wise of Space X not to offer any comment. To my mind, the lesson to be drawn is get there as fast as possible and create a sovereign republic on Mars as soon as possible. Don't give the Democrats, the UN, or the planetary protectionists time to draw breath!

This is a very narrow window of opportunity.

Agreed.  The people behind the planetary protection movement are basically enemies of western civilisation, who spend life looking for ways to undermine it in any way that they can.  That is what the Woke movement is all about.  Non-whites looking for ways of suppressing and undermining whites.  Those people are natural Democrat supporters.  Zubrin approaches their arguments with logic, but the people behind it aren't interested in logic.  They are interested in vandalising western achievements in any way that they can.

Last edited by louis (2021-05-14 05:56:09)


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

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#7 2021-05-14 06:27:43

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

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

louis wrote:

Hmmm I don't see things racially, the way you do. There are plenty of white wokeists. And even tactically, if  you're interested in achieving Mars colonisation, presenting it as a racial issue is definitely the worst thing you could possibly do.

Everyone in the Woke movement has their own point of view I'm sure.  There are many who still see themselves engaged in a class war against Capitalists.  But now that the Capitalists themselves have become no-nation Globalists, the emphasis has shifted to opposing 'White Privilege'.  This should tell you all that you need to know.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#8 2021-05-14 15:46:46

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,252

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

From today's email:



The Profound Potential of Elon Musk’s New Rocket (Op-Ed)

By Dr. Robert Zubrin, President, Mars Society, Nautilus, 05.13.21

In the late afternoon of May 5, SpaceX’s Elon Musk tweeted, “Starship landing nominal!” Musk is not known for understatement. But seeing that stainless steel behemoth soar was, for many, something more like phenomenal. Over 5 million people watched the spectacle on YouTube, perhaps many with bated breath, as every prior attempt at landing Starship had gone up in flames. Not SN15. This Starship, after having climbed 12 kilometers and then coasted down in a “belly flop” configuration—using its wide silver body as a brake—descended slowly, the force of its Raptor engines offering a soft, safe landing.

Some folks at NASA probably felt a sense of relief. To the astonishment of the space industry, in April, NASA had awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to modify Starship to serve as the system that’ll take astronauts to the moon. The favorite to win the job wasn’t SpaceX, but the heavyweight “National Team,” consisting of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, veteran aerospace contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper Labs. The selection was so unexpected that, when word of it was first leaked by the Washington Post, some well-informed observers refused to believe it. Politics suggested the National Team was the safe and sure bet.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the losing teams (which also included an alliance of small businesses led by Dynetics) promptly protested NASA’s choice, temporarily freezing the program. But, since SpaceX offers the most capability, at less than half the price bid by the others, it will likely prevail. NASA will no doubt take heavy fire from Congress for not playing ball. Politicians believe that NASA exists to serve their need to provide economic benefits to their constituents.1 But the government agency also carries the banner of America’s pioneer spirit. It is a human organization, subject to all the flaws of the system that supports it. But it has its moments. And boy, was this one of them.

It was a milestone moment for Musk, too, of course, who founded SpaceX in 2002, fresh off the sale of his digital payments company PayPal, for no less of a purpose than getting humans to Mars. I know, I know. Entrepreneurs—they’re usually in it for the money, right? But the cynics are wrong about Musk. I was among those who helped convince him to make Mars his calling. If he wanted more money, he knew plenty of easier ways to get it than to start, of all things, a rocket company, a notoriously difficult venture with little chance of success. He was looking to do things of immortal importance. Colonizing Mars (along with electric cars and solar energy) made the cut.

Let me underscore just how transformative, and how profound, Starship could prove to be to our future in space, and to our understanding of life. I’ve been in this business for a decent chunk of time. In the late 1980s, I was on the team at Martin Marietta, now Lockheed Martin, that did the preliminary design for what is now called the Space Launch System, NASA’s flagship vehicle. It was originally devised as a quick and dirty way to create a heavy-lift booster out of the then-operational Space Shuttle system components. Starship is nothing like the Space Launch System. It’s unlike anything NASA has made before. It represents an entirely new concept of space operations, and the impact it very well may have on science is extraordinary.

To read the full commentary, please click here.


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(th)

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#9 2021-05-14 16:26:46

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

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

Full article here.

http://m.nautil.us/issue/100/outsiders/ … new-rocket

I can only hope that Musk achieves all that he dreams of.  There will definitely be a very impressive statue of him on display in the capital city of the Mars Congressional Republic two centuries from now.

One passage from Zubrin's article stood out in my mind:

'Rather than opting to analyze everything for years or decades before any flight tests, as NASA has done, Musk’s approach is to build, launch, crash, fix problems, then try again. He’s pushed his way through almost the entire flight envelope of Starship’s upper stage system. With the success of the SN15 flight, he is now in position to fly it again and again.'

I was reminded of the words of Admiral Sauveterre on the Expanse:

"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act.  It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyze every possible obstacle and begin nothing.  Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

I wonder if a future Mars, two hundred years hence, will look as it was depicted in The Expanse?  I am 42 years old, so will likely see only the beginnings of that future.  But the success that Musk has achieved so far, gives me cause to hope that humanity's future will be more than a slow descent into chaos on a depleted planet.  We now have a practical means of accessing space and it's resources.  And we can do so cheaply enough to really change human prospects in the years ahead.  I do wonder if, some 30 years from now, we will be witnessing a rapid change in human affairs, as a large fraction of the population leaves the Earth and makes home either in the new colonies on Mars, or in high Earth orbit, using new materials available thanks to Lunar mining.

Last edited by Calliban (2021-05-14 16:43:32)


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#10 2021-05-26 17:19:58

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,868

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

The trouble is I can see both sides
There is the scientist looking to Mars as a great untouched living Laboratory
And then there is the engineer who will transform the planet to provide homes for a human population

Do you know what is the worst problem both ideas are not only honourable but also right


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#11 2021-05-26 17:30:41

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,855

Re: Response to article in The New Yorker - Is Mars Ours?

I believe they are compatible. Firstly, sending any type of probe to Mars means sending organisms from this planet. Those hairnets look impressive but the truth is every probe is covered in thousands of organisms.

But the vast majority will have not even a slim chance of survival on Mars.

We of course need to take extra measures to ensure no extremophile from Earth (probably originally from Mars in any case!) is ever taken to Mars.

Once there though the interaction between humans and Mars will be very limited to begin with - I mean the first few decades. There will have been no terraformation and people won't be walking about without protective suits and breathing equipment. During that time we will lean a huge, huge amount about life on Mars - whether it ever existed and whether it still exists.

If it does still exist well then we will have to proceed cautiously. Paraterraformation will present little threat to any existing life forms on Mars.

If there are existing life forms then we will be faced with an ethical dilemma when it comes to terraformation. I think my own view would be that if the life forms are primitive, they should be preserved in special facilities, so they are never lost to us while the rest of the planet is terraformed. But if they were advanced species, on our sort of cognitive level or above, then I think we would have to accept that the planet was already "occupied" and we should not advance to full terraformation.


Grypd wrote:

The trouble is I can see both sides
There is the scientist looking to Mars as a great untouched living Laboratory
And then there is the engineer who will transform the planet to provide homes for a human population

Do you know what is the worst problem both ideas are not only honourable but also right


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

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