Techdirt Podcast Episode 102: Can We Really Colonize Mars?

from the where-no-one-has-gone-before dept

Elon Musk got plenty of attention recently for announcing his plans to colonize Mars. But that's not exactly a new idea -- so we wondered if it was really a different, exciting and realistic plan, or just a reiteration of the standard far-flung dream. To answer that question, we brought in three experts: Amy Shira Teitel (a space and flight historian and creator of YouTube's Vintage Space videos), JPL's Fred Calef (a Mars geologist and "keeper of the maps" for Mars rovers), and the New Space Intiative's Tanya Harrison (who worked on Curiosity and several other Mars missions). The result was a fascinating discussion about Mars and whether or not we're actually headed there any time soon.

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Filed Under: amy shira teitel, elon musk, fred calef, jpl, mars, nasa, podcast, space, tanya harrison
Companies: spacex


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  1. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 13 Dec 2016 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Why Mars?

    Gravity.

    Colonization means having children. You want their bones to develop normally. The problem is that in micro-gravity we LOSE calcium from our bones.

    We don't know the minimum amount of gravity needed. The Centrifuge Accommodations Module would have done research on this, but its launch to ISS was cancelled in 2005. It's sitting in a parking lot.

    So all we can assume is that you want gravity as close to Earth-normal as possible to promote the kids' bone growth. With Mars's gravity being twice that of the Moon and 13 times that of Ceres, its the clear winner.

    Eventually our colonies may have stadium-sized carousels with living quarters, schools and offices, tilted inwards and spinning to give a full 1G for children and pregnant women. But that's further into the future.


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