So, in fact the increased energy usage of emerging countries like China and India , while creating some challinging problems in the short term,
precisely for the reason of solving that will force us rapidly a few notches up the Kardashev scale....
Personally, from an efficiency point of view, I would opt to expand human colonisation, gradually hopping and utilising the asteroids between Mars and
Naturally that doesn't mean we shouldn''t send some robots to IO and Europa surface for scientific interest, but for human expansion in space,
asteroids have one big advantage and that is that the dont have the deep gravity well that planets and large moons have, wich increases the cost to
lift stuff from or drop to the surface. I would like to see a natural progression towards spacehaitats and worldships intead designed to have
superior surface to volume area and energy efficiency as opposed to clumsy planets, this should eventually lead to Dyson spheres
Following this reasoning, I question if we should go to Mars first instead of Mercury, sure Mars and Venus have that sex-appeal for terraforming, but
those processes takes hundreds or thousands of years, you could have expanded your civilisation to the next star by that time!!!
For the fastest expansion you would want to go to places that:
- host the richest resources (energy / water / oxgygen / metals)
- have low gravity for more affordable transport
- are close to your other supporting points, keeping routes between mines and plants short and thus maximising production turnover rates.
Therefore, once we take the Moon, I would propose to go to Mercury first instead of Mars , Why:
examing this factsheet:
MERCURY vs MARS
- the highest solar flux, making Mercury the Kuwait of photovoltaics
- very rich in in all kinds of metals, especially the heavy metals that are relatively rare in the outer solar system and that are very much usefull
for building photovoltaics...
- lower gravity than Mars
- The orbit of Mars can get it SLIGHTLY closer to the moon supply line, but IMHO the small difference in distance is made up by all the other
Mars DOES also have mercury in the water department, but I figure its better and cheaper to get that water from icy asteroids anyway.
Basically you would want to harvest mercury for energy and heavy metals, the asteroids for water and the moon and Lagrangepoints to house the plants
and assemblylines to put it all together and build worldships.
I fiigure that a nation that goes for mars first first, will after several decades of stealing the glory be surpassed by the sheer economics of
Mercury and the Mars colonists could witness Mercurians flyby with a worldship towards the next star while the Marsians are still extracting Ice from
Europe and collecting sulfur on IO.
[edit on 2-3-2005 by Countermeasures]