To Mars (was: Re: My Supertanker right or wrong)

den Otter (
Sat, 28 Feb 1998 17:54:59 +0100


Anders Sandberg <> wrote:

> "den Otter" <> writes:
> > Seriously, if this isn't a project worth considering, then I
> > wouldn't know what is... Extropia: the mutual aid organization for
> > the survival of extremely rapid and profound future technological
> > and social change (a/k/a Singularity).
> A good idea. But does it have to be strongly linked with a physical
> location? It might be *useful* to have a place of operations, but the
> overall goal may require us to be more flexible than that would allow.
The need for a physical location varies with the political climate etc, but
in any case you'll need a safe place to launch the initial spacecraft from
to start the construction of your actual ship (in high lunar orbit?). Launching
from existing nations might be difficult (legally), while a launch from a
private island can only be stopped with brute force (always a bit tricky in
the age of omnipresent media coverage). Of course, the fact remains that
in this scenario the private island is just a tool, and maybe not worth the
effort. Maybe there are plenty of countries with no objections to private
manned space launches, as long as you pay them. Then again, a private
island might help to finance the space project if you make it into some
sort of Las Vegas...

> > Primary goal: establish a permanent independent space habitat (a
> > Marsbase makes most sense for obvious reasons).
> Mars? Why not an asteroid? I have never liked gravity wells, too
> little freedom.
Because Mars:
--is far enough from earth to avoid direct problems with its governments
(it's too expensive/far/difficult to just send marines or nukes -- and you
can see them coming for months) but is still near enough to reach by
spaceship and to "stay in touch" with earthly developments (just a
relatively small communications delay).
--is a huge ball of raw material, with considerable value (with or without
--has a nice natural gravity well, something fleshy humans (unfortunately)
need to prosper (i.e. need to avoid total degeneration). Of course uploading
would elliminate this problem, but we don't know when this will be safely
possible - could be as much as a hundred years. Besides, Mars is a good
place for uploads too (see above).
--has all the space to build your settlements (a whole planet can be devided
between a couple of hundred/thousand people).
--resembles somewhat our natural habitat (you can go "outside" for a
walk etc.), which might help psychological adjustment.
--is a very interesting place to visit from a scientific point of view.

> But yes, I would happily support a project I think has a good chance
> of creating a safe space habitat.
Cool! :-)