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Humans Will Never Colonize Mars

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#26 DaveC2042

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 07:14 PM

This is kind of a strawman argument, really.  The ONLY reason Antarctica has not been mined and otherwise exploited is because of an international agreement prohibiting that very activity.  It's not because it's so technically difficult.

 

That said, there are large portions of Antarctica where it IS technically difficult, and I would argue that prospecting and mining through a couple of miles of solid, moving ice is actually more difficult than doing so through a hundred million miles, more or less, of empty space.

I'm not sure about that.

 

I suspect that while mining in Antarctica is technically feasible, it is very expensive compared to mining on other continents, and until we've mined out those other places there is no real need to mine Antarctica.  I further suspect that if this was not the case, all the treaty stuff would go out the window pretty fast.  It's very easy to do the right thing when it is cheaper and easier than doing the wrong thing.



#27 ColoHank

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 10:56 PM

Well, if those sentient machines are self-aware, self-motivated, and self-interested, it would be great...  for them!

Precisely.  Let the beneficiaries pay for it.


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#28 bobhen

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 07:14 AM

Fun discussion.

 

To the question of: if smart, sentient machines colonize other worlds what would be the benefit to us. The answer is very little. The great majority of other worlds won’t even be habitable for humans but could easily be habitable for self-aware machines.

 

What benefit is it to the elephant or the buffalo that we humans build skyscrapers? None of course.

 

My premise is that when it comes to deep space travel and colonizing other worlds and the galaxy in general is that sentient machines are just better suited to the task. And once let loose, could much more easily colonize the galaxy than we humans, and for some of the same reasons that we humans have colonized the earth: We humans are just better at it and better suited to the task than are other species.

 

Would this then mean humans might no longer be considered the pinnacle of evolution: Yes. Evolution gives no quarter. Survival of the fittest (best suited) also applies to us.

 

Of course my premise does not mean that it will happen, it’s just that the very early indicators of how we are currently exploring our solar system coinciding with the extremely rapid growth of computer capability indicate that the premise is certainly a viable one.

 

Bob



#29 EJN

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:32 AM

Fun discussion


But more suited for a science fiction forum.

#30 llanitedave

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:50 AM

I'm not sure about that.

 

I suspect that while mining in Antarctica is technically feasible, it is very expensive compared to mining on other continents, and until we've mined out those other places there is no real need to mine Antarctica.  I further suspect that if this was not the case, all the treaty stuff would go out the window pretty fast.  It's very easy to do the right thing when it is cheaper and easier than doing the wrong thing.

I take your point.  There are certainly countries that even today would love to ignore the treaty and start resource extraction around some of the less ice-bound coasts.  And there are areas that are more accessible,  and could probably be mined now.  But any one nation or corporation who wanted to do that would go up against several more powerful countries that won't allow it.  I don't see a political will anywhere right now to change that.  But, as you said, it could change in the future.

 

Still, I don't see it as a good analogy to Mars.  We know that extracting minerals on Mars for transport to Earth would be prohibitively expensive, even if it's not particularly challenging in a technical sense.  The main use for mining Mars, or any other extraterrestrial body for that matter, would be to serve the settlers on that planet.  And this is one of the reasons that colonizing Mars will be difficult and slow, because the immediate economic incentives, the short-term advantages, aren't there.  I agree with Elon Musk that humanity needs to become multi-planetary for its own long-term benefit, but to push that through, we need to find a short-term benefit to motivate us.  It's technically feasible, but I wouldn't know how to go about making it immediately profitable.



#31 llanitedave

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:52 AM

Fun discussion.

 

To the question of: if smart, sentient machines colonize other worlds what would be the benefit to us. The answer is very little. The great majority of other worlds won’t even be habitable for humans but could easily be habitable for self-aware machines.

 

What benefit is it to the elephant or the buffalo that we humans build skyscrapers? None of course.

 

My premise is that when it comes to deep space travel and colonizing other worlds and the galaxy in general is that sentient machines are just better suited to the task. And once let loose, could much more easily colonize the galaxy than we humans, and for some of the same reasons that we humans have colonized the earth: We humans are just better at it and better suited to the task than are other species.

 

Would this then mean humans might no longer be considered the pinnacle of evolution: Yes. Evolution gives no quarter. Survival of the fittest (best suited) also applies to us.

 

Of course my premise does not mean that it will happen, it’s just that the very early indicators of how we are currently exploring our solar system coinciding with the extremely rapid growth of computer capability indicate that the premise is certainly a viable one.

 

Bob

If we can agree that building sentient machines will not benefit humans, then there will not be much reason to build them.



#32 ColoHank

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 05:13 PM

I take your point.  There are certainly countries that even today would love to ignore the treaty and start resource extraction around some of the less ice-bound coasts.  And there are areas that are more accessible,  and could probably be mined now.  But any one nation or corporation who wanted to do that would go up against several more powerful countries that won't allow it.  I don't see a political will anywhere right now to change that.  But, as you said, it could change in the future.

 

Still, I don't see it as a good analogy to Mars.  We know that extracting minerals on Mars for transport to Earth would be prohibitively expensive, even if it's not particularly challenging in a technical sense.  The main use for mining Mars, or any other extraterrestrial body for that matter, would be to serve the settlers on that planet.  And this is one of the reasons that colonizing Mars will be difficult and slow, because the immediate economic incentives, the short-term advantages, aren't there.  I agree with Elon Musk that humanity needs to become multi-planetary for its own long-term benefit, but to push that through, we need to find a short-term benefit to motivate us.  It's technically feasible, but I wouldn't know how to go about making it immediately profitable.

Antarctica offers the promise of another feedback loop: mine the coal down there, burn it, watch more ice melt, and access and extract ever more coal.  There'd be no need to export the coal or derive any benefit from it, just burn it on-site for old times' sake.  When the continent's finally clear of ice and snow, populate the place.  Free land on probably the only inhabitable place left on Earth!  Why didn't I think of this sooner?



#33 Cali

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 08:44 PM

Here is something I found about this subject from a recent WTTW in Chicago episode.

 

- Cal



#34 llanitedave

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:17 PM

I hope both Musk and Bezos succeed.  It seems to me their individual visions complement one another.


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#35 bobhen

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 06:43 AM

If we can agree that building sentient machines will not benefit humans, then there will not be much reason to build them.

You would think that. However, there are thousands of examples of things that humans should not do but they do it anyway.

 

Example: Humans have built thousands of hydrogen bombs that could wipe out most life on earth if they were used. That technology could easily get out of control by mistake or through unwarranted action.

 

Example: Humans continue to build millions of machines that burn fossil fuels that are damaging the environment – even though most could easily be replaced buy machines that do not.

 

National security and profitability (greed) are just a few examples of humanities’ irrational thinking and misguided actions that are counter to humanities’ own long-term self-interest and survivability.

I can easily imagine a situation where AI technology is developed to assist humanity while also “drastically increasing profits” for a multitude of business (you see some of this happening today) and when that technology gets to the point where smart machines are designing and building other smart machines the danger is that through accident or missteps or purposeful sabotage or through any number of other scenarios the technology gets out of control and the really smart, self-aware machines move from being servants to looking out for their own interests.

 

Our it could be as simple as humans building smart sentient machines and sending them off to another world in order to prepare that world for human habitation but when we finally arrive, those darn smart machines decide to just keep the planet for themselves.

 

Whatever the scenario, the point is that once the AI genie is out of the bottle or reaches a tipping point, it might be impossible to put it back.

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 03 August 2019 - 06:44 AM.


#36 jmclaugh2001

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 09:04 AM

I'd be happy with a big fancy hotel in space!  That would be all I would want.



#37 ColoHank

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 11:35 AM

I'd be happy with a big fancy hotel in space!  That would be all I would want.

You'd probably also want a healthy supply of anti-nausea/dizziness/motion sickness medication to help keep you from barfing all over yourself and others while experiencing weightlessness in that fancy hotel.  


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#38 rockethead26

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 07:57 PM

You'd probably also want a healthy supply of anti-nausea/dizziness/motion sickness medication to help keep you from barfing all over yourself and others while experiencing weightlessness in that fancy hotel.  

All ya gotta do is add a little spin to that hotel.



#39 llanitedave

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 10:26 PM

All ya gotta do is add a little spin to that hotel.

The hotel has to be of large enough diameter so your feet aren't spinning at too different a velocity as your head.  So you're back to rings or tethers or what-not.

 

Besides, if people are going to go to space for recreation, I'd think they'd want to be weightless, at least part of the time.



#40 rockethead26

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 11:02 PM

The hotel has to be of large enough diameter so your feet aren't spinning at too different a velocity as your head.  So you're back to rings or tethers or what-not.

 

Besides, if people are going to go to space for recreation, I'd think they'd want to be weightless, at least part of the time.

That's what the hub of the ring hotel is for.



#41 llanitedave

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:47 AM

That's what the hub of the ring hotel is for.

Let's do it!  jump.gif


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#42 rockethead26

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:58 AM

Let's do it!  jump.gif

Far out! Got a few billion?fingerscrossed.gif



#43 mich_al

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:59 AM

...

 

Our it could be as simple as humans building smart sentient machines and sending them off to another world in order to prepare that world for human habitation but when we finally arrive, those darn smart machines decide to just keep the planet for themselves.

 

...

OR, once underway, they decide to redirect their efforts to the place they came from.



#44 Jeff B1

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 01:28 PM

Hum, will Martians Colonize Earth?


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#45 llanitedave

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 12:16 AM

Far out! Got a few billion?fingerscrossed.gif

If you're talking gut bacteria, the answer is yes!


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#46 BillP

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 10:34 AM

Here's an interesting one on impacts from long space journeys...and a critical issue still needing solution...

 

Using a new “low-dose” radiation facility at Colorado State University, a team of scientists observed that when mice spent months exposed to radiation similar to that found in deep space, they started acting strangely. The mice in the study displayed “severe impairments” in learning and memory, and they became extremely anxious. These symptoms may sound unsurprising since the mice had just spent six months as part of an experiment, but the team also found physical changes in their brains that may explain the changes.

 

“Thus, in a crew of five astronauts traveling to Mars, we would expect at least one member to display severe deficits in each of those cognitive functions by the time they return to Earth,” the teams writes.

 

https://www.inverse....space-radiation

 

Also very interesting short video by the paper's author - https://www.youtube....h?v=zSqNQCT2tAY


Edited by BillP, 06 August 2019 - 10:48 AM.


#47 ColoHank

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 01:17 PM

That's what the hub of the ring hotel is for.

That's the role that science-fiction movies play: putting ideas in peoples' minds about large ring-structures in space that nobody could ever afford to build.  Meanwhile, the more attainable solutions to problems on Earth are postponed or ignored altogether because...



#48 bobhen

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 01:48 PM

That's the role that science-fiction movies play: putting ideas in peoples' minds about large ring-structures in space that nobody could ever afford to build.  Meanwhile, the more attainable solutions to problems on Earth are postponed or ignored altogether because...

Because…

 

Power, wealth, and material accumulation without regard to consequence or morality have, throughout history to the present day, always come first, even before enriching the human condition and even before human life itself.

 

Humans could build just about anything is space AND still have way more than enough resources leftover to also…
Stop climate change
Reduce/eliminate poverty
Reduce/eliminate illiteracy
Maximize healthcare for all
Ect. ect. ect.

 

That these are not done is a political issue NOT a technological or financial or resource issue.

 

Bob


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#49 rockethead26

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 04:09 PM

That's the role that science-fiction movies play: putting ideas in peoples' minds about large ring-structures in space that nobody could ever afford to build.  Meanwhile, the more attainable solutions to problems on Earth are postponed or ignored altogether because...

Just fantasizing and joking here a little, Hank. No need for a scolding on social/environmental problems. 



#50 llanitedave

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 09:02 AM

That's the role that science-fiction movies play: putting ideas in peoples' minds about large ring-structures in space that nobody could ever afford to build.  Meanwhile, the more attainable solutions to problems on Earth are postponed or ignored altogether because...

Well, it seems to me all those "more attainable" solutions on Earth are being postponed or ignored altogether despite the fact that we're not wasting any money or effort on rotating ringed space stations.  So they can hardly be blamed for the unattainability of those more attainable solutions.

 

Somehow, I suspect that whatever time and energy we spend, or do not spend, attaining these goals in space will matter not one whit to the problems on Earth.  So far, space has enriched our lives on Earth, it has a history contributing to solutions here, not delaying or preventing them.  I doubt that pursuing more sophisticated space stations, or even Mars transport ships with spin-induced artificial gravity, are going to change that.


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