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What is needed for a self sustaining Mars colony?

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posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 07:53 PM
On my blog a person commented that we need to have a Mars colony to give a lifeboat in case the earth is hit by a meteor or something tragic kills us off.

If earth did get wiped out, a Mars colony would be just a route to a slow death, without the technology, mining, etc to move beyond a mere outpost needing supplies from Earth to survive.

So, what do you need to make a self sustaining colony, and how much would it cost to build it. Can it be done inside our lifetime or is it just a science fiction fantasy?

Firstly I know we would need either 500 humans to avoid inbreeding or a large sperm bank from earth.

Secondly we would need equipment for mining, processng and refining, not to mention skills and equipment for silicon chip manufacture, etc.

I imagine it would be best to live in semi buried structures in a cliff face where they wouldn't be exposed to the elements so much, and could dig themselves bigger tunnels and rooms as the base grows.

That cuts out alot of the need to refine metals for structual construction.

What else, any stats on weights needed to be moved? costings? etc?

posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 07:57 PM
To me... the only things we'd need is some water and plants. The water is what we drink to stay alive, and also to water the plants. the plants use the Carbon-Dioxide in the air to create food. We grow our food, drink our water... that's all we need. After this we can start exploring for natural resources. It's probably not that simple but when I think about it, this scenario pops up in my head.

posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 08:08 PM
Hmmm, how do you refine / clean the water, what sort of plants do you have, are they in miles of greenhouses open to storms etc? What about ferilizing them? Do you then need bees and insects as well?

Can you genetically modify edable plants that are able to live on Mars?

Found this.....

Preparations Before the first crew is sent to the moons of Mars,
drilling equipment,
equipment for oxygen production,
earth moving equipment,
habitat modules, and
self contained greenhouses.

Drilling and earth moving equipment is big and heavy....

First of all, they will secure the habitat modules and possibly connect them together. These will then be covered with about a meter of regolith (soil) to shield the crew from cosmic rays and solar flares.

- I would imagine that digging caves to be easier than that, the mining equipemnt could do the job.

The first greenhouse will also be positioned, filled with soil, watered, and planted with crops which grow in low gravity. During this time the crew will also be engaged in oxygen production by liberating oxygen from magnetic iron ores. This ore will be mined from the regolith by using mobile machines with large magnets, in an operation similar to extracting iron filing from the backyard sandbox using a hand held magnet. After the first part of the base is finished, drilling will begin with the goal of looking for volatiles.

posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 08:22 PM
also found this....

Suppose we send 100 men and women to Mars to establish our first permanent base.
That would require 25 "Mars Direct" style missions with 4 men/women each.

A HAB (Habitat?)weighs 25.2 tons so we need 630 tons of them
An ERV (environment p- oxygen etc?) weighs 28.6 tons so we need 715 tons of them. Total:1345 tons.

Zubrin lists
0.8 tons for an open rover,
1.4 tons for a pressurized rover,
0.5 tons for lab equipment and
0.5 tons for field science equipment.
Total: 3.2 tons of this stuff in each HAB

How much cargo will we need to "Bootstrap."
A wild guess-another 1345 tons.
Total: 2690 tons.
@$40,000/kg. $107 billion
@ $1,000/kg. only $2.7 billion for shipping alone

two 15 tons 'dozers,
two 15 ton mining shovel trucks,
two 15 tons motor homes, that's 90 tons.
1345-90= 1255 tons

Another 1255 tons!!!
We could get alot of 1.4 ton pressurized rovers and science equipment in that!
Not to mention greenhouse domes and stuff for machine shops as well as a 200 ton machine for purifying and electrolyzing water and supercooling LH2 and LOX that makes 3,700 tons cryogens/year.
1255-200=1055 tons We're still good.
We could use a SP-100 reactor, some solar cells or solar thermal rigs, fuel cells, drilling equipment, etc. Two 25 ton NIMF ballistic "hoppers" would be cool.
Early missions, which would be fully supplied from Earth, should include a "laboratory-type set of equipment" to allow engineers and astronauts "to become familiar with the actual operating problems" of regenerable life support in lunar and martian environments.

The first regenerable life support module, a water recycler, slashes required logistics weight to 2.28 kilograms per man per day.

An algae-based system for converting exhaled carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen cuts logistics per man per day to only 0.57 kilograms.

Food growth and food waste recycler modules arrive from Earth later, after a test program develops a combination of six to 12 plants "which together provide all the vegetable nutrients for continued maintenance of human life. . .with a reasonable variety in the composition of meals."

posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 08:31 PM
We need water, soil that is useful to humans (capable of growing something of nutritional value to humans), shelter (to some extent natural shelter or materials to build shelter), and last but certainly not least an energy supply.

Obviously the most needed immediately would be water. Second would be a food supply with shelter and then energy probably tying for third place in degree of importance.

posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 08:34 PM
i was thinking on this very subject.

the first step would be the construction of a few massive greenhouse / buildings in which manufacturing could occur, including smaller greenhouses / buildings.

as the colony's population slowly grew, additional greenhouse buildings would be constructed.

a concern would be to thermally insulate the buildings from the severe temperature fluctuations. if the building could be sheilded from heat radiation, then it would probably only need insulation from the surface. with the extremely low atmoshperic pressure, heat loss to the atmosphere would be small.

is there potential for use of geothermal energy on mars? if so, would this be the place we may find life, deep under the surface?

the idea of underground habitation is interesting. does the temperature gradually increase as you go deeper as it does on earth? is the temperature stable? living underground could sheild the inhabitants from radiation and extreme temperatures. plants could be grown underground with artificial light, powered by massive solar-arrays on the surface (in addition to or instead of on the surface in greenhouses).

i think a plan would have to be devised here on earth on how resources on mars could be exploited by the colony, and what would be needed initially from earth.

without oil, i think they could grow plants that produce a lot of oil, for the production of plastic materials.

posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 08:35 PM
A NASA idea. live in the landed spacecraft...

That would make it cheaper...

The missions would begin two years before humans would be sent to Mars inside a multi- storied spaceship. The trip would take one year.

Once there, their ship would form the backbone of the base, which would include small garages for vehicles, greenhouses for growing vegetables, and a small nuclear power facility to generate electricy.

posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 08:45 PM
Phases of Mars colonization....

The exploration phase of Mars colonization has been going on for some time now with the telescopic and robotic surveys that have been and continue to be made. It will take a quantum leap, however, when actual human expeditions to the planets surface begin. As I and others have shown in numerous papers if the Martian atmosphere is exploited for the purpose of manufacturing rocket fuel and oxygen, the mass, complexity, and overall logistics requirements of such missions can be reduced to the point where affordable human missions to Mars can be launched with present day technology.

Moreover, by using such Mars Direct type approaches, human explorers can be on Mars within 10 years of program initiation, with total expenditure not more than 20% of NASAs existing budget.

The purpose of the exploration phase is to resolve the major outstanding scientific questions bearing on the history of Mars as a planet and a possible home for life in the past, to conduct a preliminary survey of the resources of Mars and determine optimum locations for future human bases and settlements, and to establish a modus operandi whereby humans can travel to, reside on, and conduct useful operations over substantial regions of the surface of Mars.

Base Building :
The essence of the base building phase is to conduct agricultural, industrial, chemical, and civil engineering research on Mars as to master an increasing array of techniques required to turn Martian raw materials into useful resources.

While properly conducted initial exploration missions will make use of the Martian air to provide fuel and oxygen, in the base building phase this elementary level of local resource utilization will be transcended as the crew of a permanent Mars base learns how to extract native water and grow crops on Mars, to produce ceramics, glasses, metals, plastics, wires, habitats, inflatable structures, solar panels, and all sorts of other useful materials, tools, and structures.

While the initial exploration phase can be accomplished with small crews (of about 4 members each) operating out of Spartan base camps spread over bast areas of the Martian surface, the base building phase will require a division of labor entailing a larger number of people (on the order of 50), equipped with a wide variety of equipment and substantial sources of power.

In short, the purpose of the base building period is to develop a mastery of those techniques required to produce on Mars the food clothing and shelter required to support a large population on the Red Planet.

The base building phase could begin in earnest about 10 years after the initial human landing on Mars.

Settlement :
Once the techniques have been mastered that will allow the support of a large population on Mars out of indigenous resources, the settlement of Mars can begin. The primary purpose of this phase is simply to populate Mars, creating a new branch of human civilization there with exponentially growing capabilities to transform the Red Planet.

While the Exploration and Base building phases can and probably must be carried out on the basis of outright government funding, during the Settlement phase economics comes to the fore. That is, while a Mars base of even a few hundred people can potentially be supported out of pocket by governmental expenditures, a Martian society of hundreds of thousands clearly cannot be.

To be viable, a real Martian civilization must be either completely autarchic (very unlikely until the far future) or be able to produce some kind of export that allows it to pay for the imports it requires.

Terraforming :
If a viable Martian civilization can be established, its population and powers to change its planet will continue to grow.

The advantages accruing to such a society of terraforming Mars into a more human-friendly environment are manifest. Put simply, if enough people
find a way to live and prosper on Mars there is no doubt but that sooner or later they will terraform the planet.

The feasibility or lack thereof of terraforming Mars is thus in a sense a corollary to the economic viability of the Martian colonization effort.

posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 04:43 PM
Is Leslie Watkins book ALTERNATIVE 3 fact or fiction. Was it and the British TV program declared a hoax because it was fiction or was it purposely discredited by the powers who don't want anyone finding out about the true story.

If the premise is true we already have a Mars colony in cooperation with our Soviet brothers commencing in the late 1970's. The Soviets supposedly detonated an atomic bomb on Mars on 1962 releasing a metamorphic reaction which recreated an atmosphere. The poles were subsequently melted to create water. And all the non-manned rovers presently on Mars are purposely equipped with very narrow non telescopic lens which are not able to see the truth.

And if the above is true there are elite scientists and people of the Arts(designated movers) who have in the ratio of 5 to 1 a slave force(batch-consignment-components) taken against their will and desexed to support the elite.

posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 05:00 PM
A self-sustainable atmosphere.
Sufficient materials to start an industrial base, from which a greenhouse effect can be sustained (a GOOD idea on Mars).
Sufficient local resources (mining sites?)
A sustainable biosphere - probably not self-sustaining for quite some time.
A repository of all the base liveforms of any and all types from the planet. Spores. Seeds. Bacteria. Fungi. Lichen. Ovum. Sperm. RNA samples. Viruses.
A plan for how to turn dust into farmland. (bacteria, fungi, lichen....)
A large supply of fast growing HARDY primary resources for building and eating (bamboo/hemp/grasses....)
At least a small base of live animals from which to implant the fertilzed ova.
A plan for how to keep the molten core hot. (drilling to release sulfur...pre-microwaving/infrared heating of the core....something)

Water. Water. Water. Water. And more Water.

Did I mention more water?

There will never be any colony on Mars that is not purely industrial unless we can find a way to flood the planet.

Mars is never going to be a colony the way you are thinking. Mars will be a pure industrial venture. With term "camp" like life for workers. Much like people working at mines in remote areas.

[edit on 2009/2/17 by Aeons]

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 11:55 PM
I hope that the Mars One mission answers that question in 2025.

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