# Would You Live on Mars?

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I think what FLeBlanc is trying to say that to make up a running colony, you have to TAKE a lot of machinery to Mars, not something that can be taken there in 1-2-3 Mars trips.

Take machines that make more machines.

That is the problem FLeBlanc is talking about. Well, if he's not understood, I don't know why I think I would be but WTF

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I think what FLeBlanc is trying to say that to make up a running colony, you have to TAKE a lot of machinery to Mars, not something that can be taken there in 1-2-3 Mars trips.

Take machines that make more machines.

Ah, yes, replicators. Forgot all about those things. Nevermind, everyone, the problems are solved. Let's get this thing going.

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Gonna use methane gas to lube your engine?

No. I'll use the methane as feedstock to make heavier hydrocarbons which I CAN use as lube. Also, what "engines" are you referring to? I don't know of anyone who wants to try to get an internal combustion engine working on Mars.

Hydrogenating CO2 to produce synthetic oil and fuel? Current plants use natural gas, coal or other biomass.

So... methane?

Seriously, in today's economic climate, can you honestly think of anybody that would be willing or even able to foot this kind of bill?

Elon Musk? The man has outright stated that he wants to retire and die on Mars.

Did you even read the process linked?  See, the process doesn't run on natural gas or coal; it runs on hydrogen and CO2, hydrating the CO2 to form various petrochemicals, including methane. It's a hydrogenization process, after all. The plants that operate on methane have to separate the hydrogen and CO2 from the methane, which requires a high-temperature/high-pressure process called steam reforming (thus introducing another requirement for high-temp/high-pressure materials into your supply chain). So, again, technically it would be possible to build this infrastructure on Mars. But, again, the cost...

Also, everything requires lubrication. As szecs state, dry lubrication can be used in a lot of application, but still somebody has to manufacture the lubricants, be they dry or wet. (I understand space technology commonly uses hexagonal boron nitride. Read the process for producing it. Yet another expensive, high-temperature process requiring expensive equipment. And lubrication is just one of many areas critical to this project requiring complex materials.

And Elon Musk doesn't have enough money for this big project. He might have enough money to die on Mars, that's always a possibility. But enough money to build a self-sustaining, productive, high-tech colony? Nope. Not even close.

Edited by FLeBlanc

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I think what FLeBlanc is trying to say that to make up a running colony, you have to TAKE a lot of machinery to Mars, not something that can be taken there in 1-2-3 Mars trips.

Take machines that make more machines.

Ah, yes, replicators. Forgot all about those things. Nevermind, everyone, the problems are solved. Let's get this thing going.

C'mon... everyone knows all you need to take to Mars is a MakerBot Replicator

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So, again, technically it would be possible to build this infrastructure on Mars. But, again, the cost...

You keep mentioning the cost. Do you have numbers to cite, or are you going on guesswork? How much do you think it is going to cost, and why? You've been throwing this cost argument around in basically every one of your posts in this thread and I've yet to see you back it up.

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So, again, technically it would be possible to build this infrastructure on Mars. But, again, the cost...

You keep mentioning the cost. Do you have numbers to cite, or are you going on guesswork? How much do you think it is going to cost, and why? You've been throwing this cost argument around in basically every one of your posts in this thread and I've yet to see you back it up.

Mars Science Laboratory mission cost: $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mass: 899 kg So, it cost 2.5 billion dollars to deliver one ton of technology to Mars. To date, nobody has launched an entire chemical and industrial complex infrastructure to Mars, so no, I don't have any friggin numbers to cite. Nobody has those numbers. You're not talking about another rover launch, or even a simple there-and-back-again manned mission. You're talking about a colony. How much do you think it'll cost? You're talking about hundreds of thousands or even millions of kg of mass to be delivered to Mars. Let's see [i]your[/i] numbers proving all this is possible and affordable. Because I just don't see it. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites [quote name='FLeBlanc' timestamp='1357679786' post='5019196'] So, it cost 2.5 billion dollars to deliver one ton of technology to Mars. [/quote] The solution to that sounds simple. Just don't build one aircraft carrier in the U.S. and one in China and use the combined money to send a few thousand tons of technology to mars. Start a competition between other countries to see who can contribute more so they can also have national representatives on the crew. Imagine using our collective wealth for advancing humanity instead of trying to destroy it. Money is not the constraint. Imagination is. There seems to be more than enough of the former and way too little of the latter. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites So, it cost 2.5 billion dollars to deliver one ton of technology to Mars. The solution to that sounds simple. Just don't build one aircraft carrier in the U.S. and one in China and use the combined money to send a few thousand tons of technology to mars. Start a competition between other countries to see who can contribute more so they can also have national representatives on the crew. Imagine using our collective wealth for advancing humanity instead of trying to destroy it. Money is not the constraint. Imagination is. There seems to be more than enough of the former and way too little of the latter. That would be pretty awesome. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites So, again, technically it would be possible to build this infrastructure on Mars. But, again, the cost... You keep mentioning the cost. Do you have numbers to cite, or are you going on guesswork? How much do you think it is going to cost, and why? You've been throwing this cost argument around in basically every one of your posts in this thread and I've yet to see you back it up. Mars Science Laboratory mission cost:$2.5 billion
Mars Science Laboratory mass: 899 kg

So, it cost 2.5 billion dollars to deliver one ton of technology to Mars.

Bad comparison. Most of the $2.5 billion is development costs and the very expensive hardware (MSL was a one-off scientific instrument, not a rugged, mass-produced industrial machine) that's actually being landed. The actual launch costs are a fraction of that$2.5 billion. Furthermore, MSL was designed and built under the design constraint of a single launch on an Atlas V. Those kinds of mass constraints tend to drive costs up. Any Mars industrial hardware would be lofted in multiple launches, possibly on reusable launchers en masse if SpaceX succeeds with the reusable Falcon 9.

You're not talking about another rover launch, or even a simple there-and-back-again manned mission. You're talking about a colony. How much do you think it'll cost?

I have no idea, which is why I'm not immediately jumping to the conclusion of ruling out the possibility of this happening.

You're talking about hundreds of thousands or even millions of kg of mass to be delivered to Mars.

One hundred thousand kg is one hundred tonnes. One Saturn V launch to low Earth orbit (not trans-Martian injection) was about that, so at least getting it into space isn't all that bad. Now, once it's in LEO you've still got to get it on a Mars trajectory and land it, but again, you don't have to launch it all at once. You can send it in chunks. Supposing you could land 25 tonnes in your lander (mass unspecified) - that's about the payload of a Space Shuttle back in the day - you've got to have 4 landings per 100 metric tonnes. If you only flew this cargo spacecraft at a rate of 4 times per year, you could land 1 million kg in a decade.

This isn't sounding all that bad, actually.

Of course, your lander probably won't be able to handle 25 tonnes, at least on the early models, but even at half that (12.5 tonnes - a bit less than the heaviest ISS module), it's still 8 flights a year to get 100 tonnes on the surface of Mars every year. Given sufficient infrastructure Earth-side, that can (probably) be done. Even better, when you take into account the fact that each Mars lander of that size is likely to require at least two launches from Earth, you're getting to a flight rate that could justify reusable launch vehicles. So now you've got an excuse to get a reusable launch vehicle, and possibly bring down costs for everybody else who uses it (due to, again, economies of scale). Edited by Oberon_Command

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The solution to that sounds simple.  Just don't build one aircraft carrier in the U.S. and one in China and use the combined money to send a few thousand tons of technology to mars.  Start a competition between other countries to see who can contribute more so they can also have national representatives on the crew. Imagine using our collective wealth for advancing humanity instead of trying to destroy it.

Hey, here's an idea: how about using our collective wealth for feeding starving kids in Africa?!?

Sorry about that, but I tend to become highly annoyed when people want to reach other planets at the cost of willingly ignoring their neighbors. It's like caring more for a dog than for a human being, a homeless guy for e.g.

Regardless, I find this topic very interesting and will continue to follow it. I also find FLeBlanc's arguments to be very good; he seems like a guy who knows what he's talking about...

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Bad comparison. Most of the $2.5 billion is development costs and the very expensive hardware (MSL was a one-off scientific instrument, not a rugged, mass-produced industrial machine) that's actually being landed. The actual launch costs are a fraction of that$2.5 billion. Furthermore, MSL was designed and built under the design constraint of a single launch on an Atlas V. Those kinds of mass constraints tend to drive costs up. Any Mars industrial hardware would be lofted in multiple launches, possibly on reusable launchers en masse if SpaceX succeeds with the reusable Falcon 9.

So what would be the development costs for the equipment suitable for a Mars colony? It most likely wouldn't be rugged, mass-produced machinery either, since such machinery would certainly be engineered for Earth conditions, and not the conditions of Mars. Anything that goes to Mars is likely going to require rigorous development and testing before it is allowed on the mission, and since it would literally mean life or death for the colonists (unlike the science equipment on the rover) I'd warrant the testing standards would need to be even more rigorous.

You're not talking about another rover launch, or even a simple there-and-back-again manned mission. You're talking about a colony. How much do you think it'll cost?

I have no idea, which is why I'm not immediately jumping to the conclusion of ruling out the possibility of this happening.

You're talking about hundreds of thousands or even millions of kg of mass to be delivered to Mars.

One hundred thousand kg is one hundred tonnes. One Saturn V launch to low Earth orbit (not trans-Martian injection) was about that, so at least getting it into space isn't all that bad. Now, once it's in LEO you've still got to get it on a Mars trajectory and land it, but again, you don't have to launch it all at once. You can send it in chunks. Supposing you could land 25 tonnes in your lander (mass unspecified) - that's about the payload of a Space Shuttle back in the day - you've got to have 4 landings per 100 metric tonnes. If you only flew this cargo spacecraft at a rate of 4 times per year, you could land 1 million kg in a decade.

You're kind of making my point for me, here. 4 flights a year over a decade to land 1 million kg. That sounds like a supply line, not a self-sufficient colony. Granted, that's a shaky argument (what, exactly, is the timeframe for establishing a self-sufficient colony?) but still, it means that any investors looking at this from a for-profit standpoint will need to look at very long timeframes for their return; ie, decades before the colony is up and running, even more decades before it starts to generate a profit. Certainly doable if companies are far-sighted enough, but still pretty unlikely.

This isn't sounding all that bad, actually.

Of course, your lander probably won't be able to handle 25 tonnes, at least on the early models, but even at half that (12.5 tonnes - a bit less than the heaviest ISS module), it's still 8 flights a year to get 100 tonnes on the surface of Mars every year. Given sufficient infrastructure Earth-side, that can (probably) be done. Even better, when you take into account the fact that each Mars lander of that size is likely to require at least two launches from Earth, you're getting to a flight rate that could justify reusable launch vehicles. So now you've got an excuse to get a reusable launch vehicle, and possibly bring down costs for everybody else who uses it (due to, again, economies of scale).

Given Mars's gravity, you could probably construct a space elevator (more feasibly than on Earth, at least) and reduce lander costs at some point in the project. I think an orbital colony to start would be the best bet.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I might sound like a cynical bastard, and I might not think that this really has any significant likelihood of success. I honestly believe that the free fossil-fuel ride is going to run out long before we short-sighted humans come up with good long-term solutions to the energy problem. In a way, fossil fuels have inspired a sort of species-wide delusion of grandeur; all this abundant free energy and the mad rush of "innovation" it inspired has us thinking that the sky is the limit and anything is possible if we just throw enough good, old-fashioned human ingenuity at it. The truth, though, seems to me to be a bit more depressing: once the easy energy runs out, we are left with good, old fashioned energy starvation and overall contraction in growth, with more and more of the dwindling resources required for mere survival of a slowly starving population, rather than extremely ambitious ventures to Mars.

But just because I have this grim view of things, doesn't mean I don't want them to try. If L.Spiro manages to spend the rest of his/her life on Mars, I will be overjoyed. I honestly want nothing more than for you to come back in thirty years (I'll prolly still be posting on gd.net then, if I don't die of my various vices first) and say "in your face, you cynical faithless bastard." Please do so, if such is warranted.

I'm just not really holding my breath.

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A sustainable space colony close to earth would have hurdles also experienced by a mars colony, but would lack a bunch of the hurdles a mars colony would have (notably the resources spent traveling to mars).

But it would have hurdles that a Mars colony wouldn't, too. Notably, water and fuel access. On Mars, water can be extracted from the ground and either used as is or turned into drinking water. Short of anchoring to a comet, you can't do that on a naked space colony.

Not to go off on an old tangent, but you can recycle a good amount of water. If not 100%, then you're in earth's atmosphere and you just get more sent to you. What happens when a mars colony finds out it can't generate as much water as it needs for it's colonists to survive?

My point was only this. Comparing the two scenarios they both have similar end goals; being able to set up a sustainable colony on other planets. So comparing the processes it would look like this.

Local sustainable space colony:

1. Set up unsustainable space colony (ISS for example or another one depending on how livable the conditions need to be)

2. Develop technology locally and either adapt it to existing colony or use existing colony as a launch pad for work on new one.

3. Eventually create sustainable space colony locally; if anything goes wrong, earth is right there. Anything but a catastrophic failure could be dealt with quickly.

4. use what you learned with local space colony to build one with an engine on it.

5. Have a sustainable colony ANYWHERE YOU WANT IT.

Mars sustainable space colony:

1. Establish mars environment specs (curiosity, etc)

2. Create the technology for both the first sustainable extra-terrestrial colony and the longest human journey ever.

3. Send it all to Mars.

4. Set up space colony after arrival; if anything goes wrong, most likely everybody dies as help can't get there fast enough to save anyone and if unlucky there won't be enough of a payload to get close to getting back any sooner (try again?).

5. have a sustainable colony on mars.

I just don't see the point in jumping to mars, when we can solve a lot of the problems within 10,000km of earth and then go to Mars or anywhere else instead of solving mars specific problems and then being just on mars.

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Hey, here's an idea: how about using our collective wealth for feeding starving kids in Africa?!?
I like Stuhlinger's words on this subject.

This is a tired old sentiment and I can think of a number of problems with it. The most obvious one is that throwing money/wealth at a problem isn't always the answer. What is a poor farmer supposed to do with your coin when there's a drought and his crops won't grow? He can't eat money. What is that wealth actually doing, exactly? The next most obvious one is that giving wealth to any country isn't necessarily going to result in the changes we want - I have heard tell of charity money flowing into a country, only to be "redirected" to the coffers of the powerful elite of that country instead of the impoverished folks who were supposed to receive it.

There is also the fact that taking money away from space endeavours isn't necessarily going to cause money to be redirected to Africa in the first place. In general, you need to convince people to spend money on something other than their own advancement. You need to convince people to spend money on starving kids in Africa, rather than bombs and tanks and other such things - I would go so far as to wonder why you even bother complaining about the relatively paltry expenditure (less than a percent of the US federal budget goes to NASA; even less private capital goes towards space) of space when the US alone spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year on its war machine and the populace itself spends some non-trivial amount on beauty products, devices which serve little purpose other than the placation of vanity! A space colony at least advances our species and technology levels and employs people here on Earth. In fact, that last fact goes for space endeavours in general - not a single dollar spent on the space shuttle was spent "in space," it was spent employing the thousands of people needed to launch and maintain the shuttle.

So hey, here's an idea, if we're going to redirect wealth from some task and give it to starving children in Africa, let's pick one of the less productive human endeavours. I hope you will agree with me that there are things that are vastly less productive and progress-promoting things humans do than space exploration.

Given Mars's gravity, you could probably construct a space elevator

Now THAT I am most skeptical of. It sounds promising, I know, and I admit that it may be easier on Mars, but still - a working space elevator not only requires materials technology that we do not currently have, but there's the problem of debris avoidance. Space is not empty. I'm frankly amazed that anyone thinks any kind of space elevator is more feasible than a small, sustainable Mars base. I'd rank even space-based solar power as being more likely at this point than a space elevator, and I'm pretty skeptical of that, too.

Create the technology for both the first sustainable extra-terrestrial colony and the longest human journey ever.

It's about 6 months, about the same length as the usual tour of duty on the international space station (coincidence?), and with better propulsion technology that could be reduced. The longest time a human has been in space at this time has been over a year.

I just don't see the point in jumping to mars, when we can solve a lot of the problems within 10,000km of earth and then go to Mars or anywhere else instead of solving mars specific problems and then being just on mars.

The distance argument is a good one, and I'd like to see space-based colonies, but I still feel like you're ignoring the fact that the space colon will have their own equally troublesome problems. Among other things, there's the gravity issue (probably solvable, though), the radiation issue (need radiation shielding, which on Mars is its atmosphere, to protect people from solar flares and cosmic rays - don't want your colony to die of radiation poisoning the first solar maximum after you build the colony!), and the micrometeoroid/debris issue - there's a LOT of debris in cislunar space, especially near geosynchronous orbit where most comsats are, which is what really kills the Earth-based space elevator idea for me. Again, I like the idea of a space-based colony, I just think its own problems are being glossed over. Edited by Oberon_Command

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NASA designed liveable space colonies in the 70's, solving most of the issues back then, it's just that they're way too expensive to build.

However, seeing that we're entering the age of commercial asteroid mining, the issue of getting resources into space from earth will soon (i.e. some decades away) be circumvented. As well as construction materials, this would also provide an abundance of cheap water (which = life and rocket fuel).

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Hey, here's an idea: how about using our collective wealth for feeding starving kids in Africa?!?
I like Stuhlinger's words on this subject.

That does sound like a solid argument. And it is! Thank you for sharing it; very well said. However, there's a small problem: USA it's not the Earth, as a whole. While that count in the story is free to spend his money anyway he wants (Who is John Galt?) and NASA's budget can only be directed to a specific goal, my issue is that Earth as a whole doesn't do enough to fight poverty in third world countries.

When Bregma stated, "Imagine using our collective wealth for advancing humanity instead of trying to destroy it." I was thinking to Earth as a whole, all countries, and not to NASA specifically. In your mentioned article there was also the subject of stimulation of technological development, and generation of scientific knowledge. I believe we do this very well onboard the SSI right now. I even believe we can do this here on Earth by setting up laboratories throughout the desert and giving scientists the opportunity to research new technologies. It's also safer.

These people would also be pioneers and WOULD help advancing humanity. Occasionally cut supplies, input new events, force them to build a self-sustainable colony for themselves. Think of it as a reality show... Give these men a lot of money to participate and yet it would be less costly than actually sending a spaceship to Mars. Besides, there is still much to learn from living under the sea. Our oceans should be the next logical step for colonization since they're enormous, you can use blue-green algae to feed the population and there's an abundance of hydrogen and oxygen available. Colonizing other planets seems only logical for spreading human life, for making sure we continue to exist in case of a global, catastrophic event. Still, I will repeat myself, I would go to Mars if given the opportunity.

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NASA designed liveable space colonies in the 70's, solving most of the issues back then, it's just that they're way too expensive to build.

However, seeing that we're entering the age of commercial asteroid mining, the issue of getting resources into space from earth will soon (i.e. some decades away) be circumvented. As well as construction materials, this would also provide an abundance of cheap water (which = life and rocket fuel).

Why would they be more expensive than creating a colony on mars? If we're talking about making a mars colony, I feel like alternatives being prohibitively expensive goes out the window.

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I have replies for some things that were recently said in this topic, even typed them out and mailed them to myself for later when I have time (I have so many things on my plate it really is no joke).

But for now I have a quick-and-easy reply.

If you have subscribed to their news feeds as any dedicated individual would, you would have received 2 links in the mail within hours ago.

#1 is a basic update:

http://mars-one.com/en/mars-one-news/press-releases/11-news/364-mars-one-issues-requirements-for-2013-astronaut-selection

#2 is a set of requirements for astronauts:

http://mars-one.com/en/faq-en/21-faq-selection/204-how-will-the-astronauts-be-chosen

I have spent the past month thinking about what to say in a video resume and what to answer in an online questionnaire, and I am fairly sure I am a plausible candidate for all 4 phases.

If you believe you are capable, disease-free, and know what to say on-camera, then good luck to you!

Note that I am not going to feed news feeds constantly and if you want to keep up you should sign up for their feeds yourselves.

L. Spiro

Edited by L. Spiro

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NASA designed liveable space colonies in the 70's, solving most of the issues back then, it's just that they're way too expensive to build.

However, seeing that we're entering the age of commercial asteroid mining, the issue of getting resources into space from earth will soon (i.e. some decades away) be circumvented. As well as construction materials, this would also provide an abundance of cheap water (which = life and rocket fuel).

Why would they be more expensive than creating a colony on mars? If we're talking about making a mars colony, I feel like alternatives being prohibitively expensive goes out the window.

I never meant to imply that mars is cheaper than space.

To re-phrase: Most of the space-colony issues were solved in the 70's, but no kind of off-earth colony has been built in the decades since, except for small, non-self-sufficient, temporary low-earth-orbit stations (Mir/ISS), and no off-world colonies have been built, but asteroid mining will make in-space construction feasible, which will greatly lower the costs of both and might finally make space colonies a feasible project.

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I never meant to imply that mars is cheaper than space.

To re-phrase: Most of the space-colony issues were solved in the 70's, but no kind of off-earth colony has been built in the decades since, except for small, non-self-sufficient, temporary low-earth-orbit stations (Mir/ISS), and no off-world colonies have been built, but asteroid mining will make in-space construction feasible, which will greatly lower the costs of both and might finally make space colonies a feasible project.

Ah. Sorry for misunderstanding you :)

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But just because I have this grim view of things, doesn't mean I don't want them to try. If L.Spiro manages to spend the rest of his/her life on Mars, I will be overjoyed. I honestly want nothing more than for you to come back in thirty years
Good. Then I will be at my most polite in replying to all that you have posted instead of being my most direct.

You have missed some very important points (well that was a bit direct).
• The blunt fact is that many of those willing to go are already so satisfied with their lives that they don’t even care that terribly if they die on the way, never even ending up setting foot on the planet itself. That certainly would be the best end result (to set foot on Mars that is), but speaking for myself I am willing to accept death-on-the way as just the icing on an already unbelievable life. I am still young and already I have enough stories to tell that would keep anyone interested for hours. I have traveled the Earth, spent years in foreign countries. My office building was bombed while I was working in it. I have a second job acting and my face has been plastered over entire movie theater screens, not to mention countless TV appearances in Japan. It was also one of my childhood dreams to be an author and I have a contract right now with Addison-Wesley. It may not be done yet but it would be before I blew up in space or died on Mars.

The point is I am 30 and could die right now and still feel that I have lived more of a life than most. I have dated a celebrity, I have discovered a body, I have dodged bullets, I have evacuated bombed buildings, I have witnessed a train suicide, I was born and raised within a few miles of the BTK killer, I have reached my dreams of working on Final Fantasy games, living in Tokyo, writing a book, and being on the big screen, and so much more I could talk your ear off. Death on Mars (or en-route)? How many people get to do that! Add it to the list. Seriously.

We already know it is a 1-way trip and we will die out there without a proper burial. That doesn’t mean we have given up on life. It means we are so satisfied with our current lives that that is acceptable, and “the next big thing” in our lives just does not await us here on Earth.
• Mental states of those ready to go aside, you seem to under-estimate how many supplies will already be there before the astronauts even first land. 8 shipments of supplies will be there before the first team lands (with even more supplies with them). The rovers are necessary for extracting water from under the soil, and will certainly need repair at times, but Opportunity has already lasted over 8 years with no support from humans. Our rovers are expected to last much longer even without support, but since they will have support they will last even longer than that. Essentially all of the supplies will be there for no shorter than a 30-40-year self-sustainable period, so if funding does get cut (which is inevitable) it wouldn’t really shorten the lives of anyone on Mars.

Assuming 1 team goes, a 2nd team is also guaranteed. Funding will probably allow for a 3rd, possibly a 4th. The first team gets to assess what supplies the 2nd team should bring. This is a bit of a fail-safe because it allows us to account for the unexpected, and a second shipment of supplies is guaranteed.
• So it is established that the colony would last no fewer than about 40 years, plus the 10-year training period on Earth and the 20-year
-old minimum barrier. Meaning you would be 70 by the time you died on Mars in the worst case. Meaning you are more likely to die by car on Earth than by a sudden lack of shipments to Mars.
• But let’s assume the worst anyway and say the funding has run dry and the colony is doomed. It wouldn’t shorten your life nor would it nullify all of your efforts. The program is guaranteed to be resumed at some point in the future. Even if it takes 100 years for technology to make up for our current shortcomings both in money and efficiency, it will be resumed. A new colony would not just be started over from scratch and all of our efforts wasted. Even if that did happen, the original site of the original colonists gets preserved as a planetary monument.
• But why assume the worst when we have 10 years before we even lift off and 30-40 more years to figure things out out there? If you want to discuss the worst case, don’t forget the best case. Technology advances quite rapidly and it may easily be cheaper to get there just in the next 10 years, let alone the next 50. Every argument you have made is thinking in the now, yet it will be 10 more years before anyone even takes off. Instead of thinking about the challenges we face today, think about the challenges that will be faced in 10 years with better technology and most of today’s problems solved.

There are also 40 years’ worth of discovery on the surface of Mars to save our own asses, minimum. There are minerals to be mined and plastics will be manufacturable. There are underground rivers to be discovered and 1,000-foot potholes into which to accidentally step.
It just doesn’t pay to be so pessimistic.
Is the journey safe?
As it says, should we sit here and do nothing but twiddle our thumbs?

L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro