Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mars Colonization: A Very Non-technical Perspective

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Mars Colonization
A Very Non-technical Perspective
When you think of Mars, do you also think of war and Romans? Mars was the Roman god of war, but this red planet is much more interesting than mythology. But depending on the picture, Mars sometimes looks like the one above or rusty red colors. This is because NASA uses special lenses which all pick up specific types of colors and lights depending on the spectrum. All of those nebulae and stars you look at come in varieties of colors depending on which lenses they use to detect specific gases and light wavelengths. In the end though, Mars is a dull reddish and white color with sandy, brownish dirt and a very inhospitable climate, ranging from
125°F (colder than Antarctica) in the winters to a steaming hot 23°F in the summers, just cool enough to freeze your pecker off
when you go pee. Nevertheless, Mars has sparked so much controversy as to whether it will someday be habitable, if it has water (somewhere) or has had water, and if it is capable of maintaining life if terraformed in some way. This is primarily because it is literally the only planet we've ever found that is:
1) An "actual" planet similar to Earth
2) Is not ten ba-gillion times larger than Earth
3) Is not ten ba-gillion light years away
Forgive the sarcasm, but I think it's a little funny that people look so far and come up with rather impossible spaceship designs to hunt for planets to colonize when we can literally look up in the sky with our naked eye and see one (Mars!) Some fairly famous astronomers have actually come up with some very wild atomic and antimatter-based starships ranging in size from 60,000lbs rockets to odd looking ships the same volume of Earth itself, not to mention some pretty insane nuclear fuel calculations like 2H + 2H → 3He + 1n0 + 4 MeV, or 2H + 3H4He + 1n0 + 17.8 MeV. For those of you who know what the last letters MeV are, congrats, because most people have no inkling. Basically, ships like these are fueled in the same way as small stars are, that is, by exploding... behind your skinny buttocks... with propulsive forces exceeding 40+ megatons every second (the largest bomb on Earth was 50 megatons and sure as hell did not explode for a few years like these ships would).
Instead, I think it's a tad more realistic to tell you about Mars, since it:
1) Has soil that can sustain plants with little need for terraforming (depends on plant)
2) Has an atmosphere! (almost forgot about this one), although the atmosphere is a tad thin
3) Is at or within ten ba-gillion light years from Earth
4) Is at or under ten ba-gillion Earth masses (gravity)
5) Does not turn your body to cinders when you stand outside to enjoy the breeze, although going pee outside is not recommended in winter
The biggest problems with planet hunting is that that they are usually hundreds and thousands of light years away (quadrillions and quintillions of miles, that is), often times have no atmosphere at all, in which case the thin Martian atmosphere is better than nothing, and the planets are several Earth masses (meaning, you'd weight hundreds or thousands of pounds on these planets, i.e.- get mushed), and the kicker is that no life (except some extremophilic life) could EVER be supported on them. And since the birth of astronomy we've all been looking toward the heavens for life, gods, and signs and wonders when after all this time it's been sitting in front of us. Don't get me wrong, I hate being optimistic, and this is not a Mars-colonization article, but rather if we are to live somewhere else then we ought to work with what's right in front of us, right? Duh, of course the answer is yes, not that flying at near light speed isn't tantalizing though. Or we could all just go now and arrive at...... let's see at our current maximum speed of 35,000 mph... hmmm... Proxima Centauri....4.243 ± 0.002 ly...carry the one...divided by the square hypotenuse of... it would take about 81,353.6 years to our nearest star P. Centauri! Who wants to road trip??
Anyway, Mars has a lot of work in store if we ever try something with it. It's 1/10th the size of Earth and could never take the environmental pounding we've given Earth by any means. Before we make Mars into a new planet to overpopulate with ugly humans, it needs plenty of oxygen and about triple its current gravity and atmospheric pressure to help prevent humans from barfing up their intestines. Gravity seems to hold water down on the surface too so that's a store discount if I ever saw one-- keep your intestines and have a glass of water at the same time.... nice! We don't want our drinking water to float away or something. In fact, Mars really just needs a full makeover with life in general and maybe an atmosphere's worth of air or so...and some sort of planetary-mass-gravity-enhancer (PMGE) to increase its gravitational field an extra 60% so none of the animals barf up their guts either... or maybe we can just mush together a few centillion neutrons into a superdense core and stick it in the center of the planet... that'll definitely increase the gravity (I think that'd be the all-natural approach to gravity on Mars...neutrons are natural, right? Just make sure there's no trans fat or MSG)...
Think of it! Then all we'd have to do is ship an ocean or two over to it (I'd recommend USPS media mail, it's cheaper), then breed a few trillion animals, a few nonillion insects, maybe a quadrillion fish, some bacteria, a couple hundred billion plants, then just till and sow a few thouand miles of soil for the plantings... and VOILA! Two centuries later and a ba-gillion inflated U.S. dollars spent on a 450ft x 75ft x 45ft Space-Arc and a couple million trained horti-bio-astro-chemists to breed the animals/plants and we gots us a new tiny Earth! We could just abduct several million of the U.S.'s unemployed college grads! And if we need to abduct more then there's a few million more too! We'll need lots of nets...
Now what clown said we needed to devise interstellar spaceships, hmm? He obviously did not realize Mars' potential! (I think the funny thing is, Mars would be many factors of magnitude easier to terraform and colonize than it would be to build an actual star ship...dang...)

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