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

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Nov 6 12:32:28 PST 2003


On Thu, Nov 06, 2003 at 11:46:17AM -0800, Jim Whitehead wrote:
> > > 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
> intensive.
> 
> * 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
-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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