RE: It may be hard for life to get started

From: Josh Martin (
Date: Thu Jan 11 2001 - 15:21:09 MST

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Russell Whitaker
> Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2001 11:52 AM
> To:
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: It may be hard for life to get started
> Someone please forward this to Robert Zubrin.

You can do it yourself, or at least to those in his organization, at Not to drop names or anything, but I do have his email
address, though I don't want to give it out here without his permission. In
my experience, though, he responds, however briefly, to most communications,
and, though he exudes an air of impatience, he will listen to what you have
to say when you talk to him.

The penultimate
> chapter of his *Entering Space*
> (""), "Meeting
> ET", is one of number of flaws* in an otherwise mostly excellent
> work**.

I agree it is a good work. His first book _The Case For Mars_ is also

> There, he jiggers the Drake Equation to show outrageous
> values for components such as f-sub-ell on the righthand
> side of the equation.
> Russell
> * - some other flaws, in brief:
> 1.) surprisingly unresearched typical statement about freezing
> damage (the "cells expand and rupture" business) due to cryonic
> suspension
> 2.) strawman arguments against feasibility of molecular
> nanotechnology

Don't know about these things, though I haven't read the whole book. A
little disappointing, though not unexpected. I know a guy who works on
Closed Ecological Life Support Systems, including implementing them in his
own home, who talked with Zubrin about his ideas in my presence, and Zubrin
was the embodiment of skepticism. Strange, from a guy who wants to send
missions to other planets, but it gives you an idea of how feasible he
believes the trip to be.

> 3.) his embrace of Apollo-style government expenditures
> - and government funding in general - to reach Mars

This one, though, I can comment upon. I think Zubrin is just pandering to
the guys with the money right now, to see if he can squeeze the mission out
of them. He already got them to adopt a minorly revised version of his plan
as their design reference mission, but funding does not seem to be
increasing, and they will not set the correct timetable. They still refuse
to drop the extraneous crap from their list of "necessary steps," the same
bureaucratic nonsense that killed Bush the Elder's plan (they had the balls
to ask for 900 billion dollars. HA!).

Zubrin is not waiting around for the government, however. He (and the Mars
Society) has already started to privately prepare with the Mars Arctic
Research Station ( sponsored by Flashline,
the Discovery Channel, and others. The next step will be to get private
support for a piggy-back mission on a NASA Mars flight, and then a private
robotic mission to Mars, all with the purpose of preparing for a human
mission. If NASA fails completely, the Society has the goal of a completely
private mission.

Zubrin is, at heart, a die-hard pragmatist. He doesn't feel the need to
help kill NASA by privatization of space flight if NASA will get us to Mars.

Josh Martin
Columbus, Ohio, Chapter Head,
The Mars Society

> ** - otherwise, I do highly recommend this book.
> >From: "John Clark" <>
> >
> >In today's issue of Nature a team of scientists from UCLA and the
> >Curtin University of Technology in Perth Australia present strong
> >evidence that liquid water existed on Earth at least 4.3 billion
> years ago,
> >400 million years earlier than previously thought. The oldest
> known fossil
> >is 3.85 billion years old and if we only started to get liquid water 3.9
> >billion
> >ago as had been believed then the origin of life, at least the simplest
> >forms of it, must have formed very quickly and thus be easy to do.
> >But if life needed those extra 400 million years to get started then it
> >might
> >not be effortless for nature to produce even the most rudimentary life
> >forms.
> >This may mean that simple life as well as the complex stuff like
> us is rare
> >in the universe.
> >
> > John K Clark
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
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