The Tragedy of Considering Space for Human Survival
It’s easy to draw futuristic buildings on barren landscapes. But I wonder if these people have done even basic thinking and calculations about using Mars as a way to help humanity. By basic thinking, I mean, with all the extra hardships that Mars would bring, why would humans not just end up fighting with each other there when they haven’t been able to make things work on the “fruited plains” of mother earth? And by calculations, I mean just simple conservation of energy type thinking about the obstacles to moving enough people off the earth to eliminate the over crowding problems we have here.
In my article, the Collapse of the First Global Civilization, I noted the need for earth to reduce human population back to around 2B people. These were not my calculations. They came out of the Club of Rome computer simulations. To give earth some “elbow room”, let’s say we calculate the energy required to lift just half the 6B people off earth and then decelerate them to a soft landing on Mars. And, to add a little more reality, assume a few more “necessities”:
1. food and water for a one year, one way space trip. Use the highest density to weight ratio food known for protein and vitamins.
2. carry them in a vehicle with a payload ratio of 25%
3. assume an electric launch system to 14,000 feet in the direction of earth rotation to mach 1.
4. Assume a fuel load only needed to lift the weights listed in items 1 and 2 and the net fuel beyond #3.
I’ve seen these type of calculations before. Of course, until people do the calcs themselves, or follow a straight forward analysis done by someone else, I’m sure they won’t believe what I would tell them. Give it a try! And try to laugh when you get the results ;-)) And remember, this doesn’t include the cost and resources for any of the machinery, material, food etc. needed to set the colony up to a basic sustainable start-up level when they get there. ALSO, remember, the photo at the beginning of this post shows what we would be sending 3B people to! Not exactly a trip to Costa Rica ;-))
OK. I’ll save you some time. Many people, of course, have already done this calculation. Here’s a discussion from Move Forward — Mars. Note, that analysis was for 1 million people, so we’d have to multiply the results by 3000! What does it mean? In short:
• It would take the entire production of U.S. aluminum for 30,000 years!
• It would take the entire production of U.S. electricity for 12,000 years! Or, if we wanted to do it with solar power, it would take the entire global production of electricity (current 2016 rate) for 39,000 years!
The comedy in all of this was a suggestion in one post I read that we needed to get ALL of this done within the next 50 years or humanity probably wouldn’t survive!
The tragedy in all of this is that people keep wanting to believe that TECHNOLOGY is the answer, or going to Mars is any kind of solution. It isn’t. Technology, without very wise human management, is the culprit.