Testimony of Dr. Robert Zubrin to the Senate Commerce Committee, Oct 29, 2003

Jim Whitehead ejw at cse.ucsc.edu
Thu Nov 6 11:46:17 PST 2003

> > that goal be? In my
> > view, the answer is straightforward: Humans to Mars within a decade.
> You can get sustainable Moon colonization for the price ticket of
> a couple of Mars missions. You just have to bootstrap via teleoperated
> fabbing first. You can't do that on Mars. Two second relativistic lag is
> already difficult for hand-eye motorics to coordinate (can use local
> reflexes for augmentation, though).

Do you have a reference for this? Or, put another way, who are the primary
proponents of "Moon first"? Zubrin is clearly a leading figure in the "Mars
first" community.

Parroting Zubrin's "The Case for Mars"
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0684835509/), the reasons you
would choose Mars over the Moon are:

* Martian atmosphere protects against solar radiation -- handy during
intense solar flare activity. This protection makes surface greenhouses
easier to create, since you need less shielding in your glass.

* The Martian day is more amenable to greenhouses, since the Martian day is
closer to ours, instead of the 22(?) day long lunar day. Lunar greenhouses
would require lighting during the lunar night, and this is very energy

* Mars has more readily accessible water sources than the Moon.

* The Martian atmosphere can be leveraged in many ways to provide fuel,
combution material (for CO2-driven combustion cycles), etc.

* DeltaV costs are higher for the moon than for Mars (not sure I completely
understand all the aspects of this argument).

> killer human risk,

Radiation risk is much lower on Mars. Gravity is closer to Earth normal, so
less osteoporosis effects. What risk are you referring to?

> just enough atmosphere to ruin your vacuum for industrial processes

Most industrial processes you'd want to perform would involve the Martian
atmosphere. Creating a vacuum from Martian atmosphere wouldn't be that
tricky anyway.

- Jim

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