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Escape to Mars after we’ve trashed the Earth?

Consumption

find-another-planet-climate-changeThe idea that we can go to Mars is touted by NASA, Elon Musk, and so many others that this dream seems just around the corner.  If we destroy our planet with climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, soil erosion, aquifer depletion and more, no problem!  We can go to Mars.

Though not if peak oil arrives, which it may have in October 2018, there won’t be fuel to get there, and certainly none to return to Earth.

But as Ugo Bardi points out in his book Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet we already have gone to another planet by exploiting Earth so ruthlessly that we have changed our planet into another world.

“The planet has been plundered to the utmost limit, and what we will be left with are only the ashes of a gigantic fire. We are leaving to our descendants a heavy legacy in terms of radioactive waste, heavy metals dispersed all over the planet, and greenhouse gases—mainly CO2—accumulated in the atmosphere and absorbed in the oceans. It appears that we found a way to travel to another planet without the need for building spaceships.  It is not obvious that we’ll like the place, but there is no way back; we’ll have to adapt to the new conditions. It will not be easy, and we can speculate that it will lead to the collapse of the structure we call civilization, or even the extinction of the human species”.

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Collapse Chronicles, Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report

***

Go to Mars?  Really?  Been there, done that on Earth, and it didn’t work out: Biosphere 2

Remember the $250 million 3.14 acre sealed Biosphere 2 complex near Tucson, Arizona?  It was built to show how colonists could survive on Mars and other space colonization but they only made it for 2 years ON EARTH.

Eight people sealed themselves inside in 1991, planning to live on the food they grew, recycled water, and the oxygen made by plants.

Some of the reasons the Biosphere failed are:

  • Oxygen fell from 20.9% to 14.5%, the equivalent of 13,400 feet elevation and after 18 months oxygen was pumped in
  • Carbon dioxide levels fluctuated wildly
  • Pests ran riot, especially crazy ants, cockroaches, and katydids. Nematodes and broad mites attacked the crops. Most of the other insect species went extinct.
  • Not enough food could be grown
  • It cost $600,000 a year to keep it cool
  • Extinction: The projected started out with 25 small vertebrates but only 6 species survived
  • Species included to pollinate plants such as hummingbirds and honey bees died
  • Water systems were polluted with too many nutrients
  • Morning glories smothered other plants
  • The weather was so cloudy the first few months that crops barely grew, leading to the Biospherians breaking into a 3-month supply of food that had been secretly hidden
  • The level of dinitrogen oxide became dangerously high, which can cause brain damage due to a lowered ability to synthesize vitamin B12

Astronauts will be damaged in space

We can’t go to Mars. Cosmic radiation in space is too harmful, bombarding  humans with the densely ionizing radiation found in space.  Mice who’ve been through this get dementia, suffer significant long-term brain damage, have cognitive impairments, lose memory and learning ability, critical decision making and problem solving skills, neuronal damage, and other cognitive defects (Parihar 2015, 2016).

Other studies have shown studies have shown the health risks from galactic cosmic ray exposure to astronauts include cancer, central nervous system effects, cataracts, circulatory diseases and acute radiation syndromes.

A recent study has shown that the risk of cancer is actually twice as high as what previous models had estimated for a Mars mission.  And cosmic radiation could not only damage gastrointestinal tissue, but increase the risk of tumors in the stomach and colon (Kumar 2018).

On top of that, going to space deforms brain tissue, perhaps permanently (Daley 2018).  Many astronauts have vision problems for years after returning from space from increased brain volume of 2% on average, perhaps because of pressure on the optic nerve (Kramer 2020).

Terraforming Mars to be like Earth (Carson 2020, Steigerwald 2018)

Terraforming is the concept of making a planet more hospitable to humans, and it’s been cropping up in pop culture since the early 1900s.

The planet, about 70% the size of Earth, has an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide and boasts an average temperature of -81 degrees Fahrenheit (-62 degrees Celsius). Because the atmospheric pressure is less than 1% of Earth’s (0.6%), there’s not much shielding from radiation. At best vaporizing the ice caps would increase CO2 enough to a pressure of 1.2% of Earth’s.  Heating soil would add another 4%, I’d like to see the size and energy consumption of that contraption.  And then even larger strip mining machines could try to squeeze CO2 out of the rocks below, for another 5%.

Mars does not retain enough carbon dioxide that could practically be put back into the atmosphere to warm Mars, according to a new NASA-sponsored study.   At best if all water vapor and carbon dioxide on Mars were exploited the pressure would only increase to 7% of Earth’s.  Nor is much of the CO2 or water accessible.

Mars atmosphere is too think and cold to support liquid water, which is essential for life. If energy were used to melt ice it would quickly evaporate or freeze.

Other cockamamie ideas require building giant orbital mirrors to reflect sunlight to raise the temperature of Mars, melt the frozen water to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, build factories to pump out artificial greenhouse gases like fluorocarbon gases, or harness tens of thousands of ammonia-rich asteroids, aligning them to hit Mars.

Better yet do what SpaceX founder Elon Musk advises: Nuke Mars. He insists that chucking nuclear bombs at the ice caps could melt the ice and put sufficient carbon dioxide into the air.

It turns out humans can’t do any of this.  Terraforming is way beyond the scale of any engineering we’ve ever attempted as humans.

Dvorsky, G. 2019. Humans will never colonize Mars.  gizmodo.com

The Red Planet is a cold, dead place, with an atmosphere about 100 times thinner than Earth’s. The paltry amount of air that does exist on Mars is primarily composed of noxious carbon dioxide, which does little to protect the surface from the Sun’s harmful rays. Air pressure on Mars is very low; at 600 Pascals, it’s only about 0.6 percent that of Earth. You might as well be exposed to the vacuum of space, resulting in a severe form of the bends—including ruptured lungs, dangerously swollen skin and body tissue, and ultimately death. The thin atmosphere also means that heat cannot be retained at the surface. The average temperature on Mars is -81 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 degrees Celsius), with temperatures dropping as low as -195 degrees F (-126 degrees C). By contrast, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was at Vostok Station in Antarctica, at -128 degrees F (-89 degrees C) on June 23, 1982. Once temperatures get below the -40 degrees F/C mark, people who aren’t properly dressed for the occasion can expect hypothermia to set in within about five to seven minutes.

Gravity on the Red Planet is 0.375 that of Earth’s, which means a 180-pound person on Earth would weigh a scant 68 pounds on Mars. While that might sound appealing, this low-gravity environment would likely wreak havoc to human health in the long term, and possibly have negative impacts on human fertility.

When it comes to terraforming Mars, there’s also the logistics to consider, and the materials available to the geoengineers who would dare to embark upon such a multi-generational project. In their 2018 Nature paper, Bruce Jakosky and Christopher Edwards from the University of Colorado, Boulder sought to understand how much carbon dioxide would be needed to increase the air pressure on Mars to the point where humans could work on the surface without having to wear pressure suits, and to increase temperature such that liquid water could exist and persist on the surface. Jakosky and Edwards concluded that there’s not nearly enough CO2 on Mars required for terraforming, and that future geoengineers would have to somehow import the required gases to do so.

A recent Nature study showed that radiation on Mars is far worse than we thought. Depending on the degree of exposure, excessive radiation can result in skin burns, radiation sickness, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Life in a Martian colony would be miserable, with people forced to live in artificially lit underground bases, or in thickly protected surface stations with severely minimized access to the outdoors. Life in this closed environment, with limited access to the surface, could result in other health issues related to exclusive indoor living, such as depression, boredom from lack of stimulus, an inability to concentrate, poor eyesight, and high blood pressure—not to mention a complete disconnect from nature. And like the International Space Station, Martian habitats will likely be a microbial desert, hosting only a tiny sample of the bacteria needed to maintain a healthy human microbiome.

We assume humans could reproduce on Mars, but that’s an open question. Casting aside the deleterious effects of radiation on the developing fetus, there’s the issue of conception to consider in the context of living in a minimal gravity environment. We don’t know how sperm and egg will act on Mars, or how the first critical stages of conception will occur. And most of all, we don’t know how low gravity will affect the mother and fetus. The developing fetus, she said, is likely to sit higher up in the womb owing to the lower gravity, which will press upon the mother’s diaphragm, making it hard for the mother to breathe. The low gravity may also “confuse” the gestational process, delaying or interfering with critical phases of the fetus’ development, such as the fetus dropping by week 39. On Earth, bones, muscles, the circulatory system, and other aspects of human physiology develop by working against gravity.

The toxins in the soil will kill humans, plants, and bacteria

If there’s any life on Mars, it’s deep down because there are three toxins in the soil inimical to life — perchlorates, iron oxides, and hydrogen peroxide. The high levels of perchlorate found on Mars would be toxic to humans and almost certainly breathed in as very fine dust particles entered space suits or habitats.  Plants would be poisoned too, and even if a way were found to get these toxins out of the soil it wouldn’t matter, there are no nutrients in the soil.

***

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of problems with going to Mars which Mary Roach’s delightful and hilarious book explains in “Packing for Mars“.

Rocket propulsion depends on fossil fuels, yet here we are at the cusp of the end of the oil age.  In a hundred years, they’ll be gone and we won’t be able to get to Mars or the Moon.

If only people appreciated how marvelous our planet is, and what a shame it would be if we destroyed our species, we may be the only intelligent, conscious life in the universe  (see Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe).

Poetry says it best: “This Splendid Speck” by Paul Boswell

There are no peacocks on Venus,
No oak trees or water lilies on Jupiter,
No squirrels or whales or figs on Mercury,
No anchovies on the moon;
And inside the rings of Saturn
There is no species that makes poems
and Intercontinental missiles.

Eight wasted planets,
Several dozen wasted moons.
In all the Sun’s half-lighted entourage
One unbelievable blue and white exception,

This breeding, feeding, bleeding,
Cloud-peekaboo Earth,
Is not dead as a diamond.

This splendid speck,
This DNA experiment station,
Where life seems, somehow,
To have designed or assembled itself;
Where Chance and Choice
Play at survival and extinction;
Where molecules beget molecules,
And mistakes in the begetting
May be inconsequential,
Or lethal or lucky;

Where life everywhere eats live
And reproduction usually outpaces cannibalism;
This bloody paradise
Where, under the Northern lights,
Sitting choirs of white wolves
Howl across the firmament
Their chill Te Deums.

Where, in lower latitudes, matter more articulate
Gets a chance at consciousness
And invents The Messiah, or The Marseillaise,
The Ride of the Valkyries, or The Rhapsody in Blue.

This great blue pilgrim gyroscope,
Warmer than Mars, cooler than Venus,
Old turner of temperate nights and days,
This best of all reachable worlds,
This splendid speck.

For more information see the 2013 NewScientist article “Biosphere 2: saving the world within the world” and Wiki.

energyskeptic



28 Comments on "Escape to Mars after we’ve trashed the Earth?"

  1. makati1 on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 12:19 am 

    Another techie wet dream. Not going anywhere. We will soon go extinct in the sewer we created called “Earth”. Dinosaurs >160,000,000 years. Humans < 1,000,000. Intelligent life? HA!

  2. Abraham van Helsing on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 3:06 am 

    I have little doubt that humanity will survive the coming geopolitical transformation, away from empire towards a multi-polar world, and that in the remainder of this century there is going to be a competition between Global-Euro (EU+Russia+(T)Rump-Amerika) and Chinaman who will land on Mars first. But for the coming thousands of years that will be a scientific-technological enterprise only, a luxury, a hobby. Perhaps a little mining of very rare materials at best. But Mars will not replace Earth for the foreseeable future.

    Currently, the success of the energy transition is more important than Startrek.

  3. makati1 on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 6:34 am 

    Abe, keep dreaming. No one will ever land on Mars and probably not even the moon again. Do you think there will be an desire/ability when the world is at war? I see that as a much larger probability than any space travel, and, the space station does not count.

  4. makati1 on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 6:36 am 

    BTW: The ONLY energy transforming will be from current use to less, not some techie dream of replacement with techie toys. LOL.

  5. Sissyfuss on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 8:35 am 

    Watched the latest transmissions from the Mars rover. We should be looking at these pictures of a barren, rock strewn landscape not as a future home but as a future picture of what the Earth, out home will look like as we continue our destructive lifestyles.

  6. Antius on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 8:56 am 

    I am an advocate of space colonisation. But I think Earth orbit is a more promising bet.

    The problem with this idea is that there isn’t really anything that a Mars colony could produce that would justify the enormous cost of setting it up. It isn’t impossible from an engineering perspective. But I do doubt that there will ever be an economic incentive to do it.

    The place itself is harsh and unforgiving. Rather like the wastes of Northern Canada, but without air that can be breathed. Life would be limited to pressure domes or underground. Would you pat several hundred thousand dollars for a ticket to such a place?

  7. dissident on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 10:19 am 

    Mars is a glorified moon. It has 12% of the volume of the Earth. With 1/3 the surface gravity humans would develop serious bone loss issues.

    Nope, there is no second Earth nearby to trash.

  8. Abraham van Helsing on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 10:29 am 

    Abe, keep dreaming. No one will ever land on Mars and probably not even the moon again. Do you think there will be an desire/ability when the world is at war? I see that as a much larger probability than any space travel, and, the space station does not count.

    What “world at war”? I’ll give you:

    – Clash SCS (your area)
    – Clash Gulf Iran-Turkey vs KSA
    – Overthrow Egyptian ZOG-vassal regime
    – Occupation Taiwan, Ps, Australia, New Zealand by China
    – CW2 in the US, with at the end Russian troops in Alaska, EU troops in the Heartland and Chinese troops invading from Vancouver

    That’s about it.

  9. mars is like bochen777 is a mass false flag deception bochen777 is member of CCP and i appointed him supertard china has advantage over everyone because they use their muzzies to make cheap goods which you and i buy but bochen777 doesnt talk on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 10:32 am 

    about lifting up fellow human,he wants total control of the world by CCP

    he could teach us how to harvest our muzzies like china does but instead he talks about white women

    there are tons of muzzies and muzzieland and we’re talking about mars

    the muzzie ck in eveyrone’s mouth ensure they don’t think correctly no matter what you do.

    all addiction has negative consequences. addicting to muzzie ck leads to incorrect thinking. just the way the world works

  10. IFuckPoliticiansInTheAss on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 11:44 am 

    StarvingLion is saying

    StarvingLion » Thu 06 Aug 2020, 12:36:59
    INTC going to 0. Electric Utilities failing…makes one laugh about that remote computer “worker” bullshit.

    BP collapsing down 4%.

    OXY failing down 3%
    APA failing down 5%.

    Junk currency failing.

    Gold soaring.

    I like this quote from StarvingLion because I think exatctly like him: .makes one laugh about that remote computer “worker” bullshit.

    I still wating for the dumb useless worthless politician and pseudo intellectual like Klauss Schawo from the World garbage Forum to tell us how they are going to use COVID hoax to build a new civilization.

    There are too much parasites on this world that are only good are talking useless verbiage.

  11. Crazy Dr with a penchant for buggery on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 11:48 am 

    Yes but is it Pantooki? Or the Mantuki? Soon the covid zombies will storm my castle here in the Highlands,
    I have just a pistol and my whisky to keep me company,
    Good luck against the dothraki covid zombie hordes!

  12. Arse bandit on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 11:49 am 

    Pantooki covid starts yes!

  13. Arse bandit on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 11:50 am 

    Covid sharks*. Have arrived here thick and fast

  14. ANSEL REAPER on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 12:06 pm 

    the level of compliance to governmetn edicts in america is scary. This time with the innernet it feels like the patient is fully conscious while being operated on.

    the mass face DIAPER-19 is horrible condition for mass slaughter. The herd is hostile when you warn them.

    stalin killed his friend, enemies, his farming peasants. hitler killed the SA, his blue collar initial supporters. The SS is educated version of the SA and they kiled with efficiency

    We have our own SS with the scientific elites and goverment freaks. they’re more educated than the mases.

    Le’s hope for a polpot who killed anyone with a pair of glasses

    that would take care of the educated tyrants

  15. Richard Guenette on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 4:18 pm 

    https://medium.com/swlh/humans-will-never-colonize-space-871de7c82c47

  16. zero juan on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 5:43 pm 

    another stupid day with the lunatic:

    Richard Guenette said https://medium.com/swlh/humans-will-never-colonize

    Mick said Yes rigporn the ONLY reason oil price is climbing…

    bochen777 said @Chrome Mags DS doesn’t need CIA biovirus to…

    bochen777 said 20 gb of LEAKS from Intel. Internal documents, all…

    supertard bochen777 is mean he want to miseducated americans said we want to learn how to control our muzzies supert…

    ANSEL REAPER said the level of compliance to governmetn edicts in am…

    bochen777 said COVID is the great CIA false flag of all timesR…

    Arse bandit said Covid sharks*. Have arrived here thick and fast

    Arse bandit said Pantooki covid starts yes!

    Crazy Dr with a penchant for buggery said Yes but is it Pantooki? Or the Mantuki? Soon the…

    IFuckPoliticiansInTheAss said StarvingLion is saying StarvingLion » Thu 06 Aug 2…

    DT said extractivism coming soon to a clean green sustaina…

  17. More lunacy from brain dead Davy the bored mentally ill retard on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 6:45 pm 

    zero juan on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 5:43 pm

  18. ANSEL REAPER on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 7:32 pm 

    Ah me gads!,the liquid covid sharts has got me.
    Oh god the stench!

  19. Ms Cortez on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 7:33 pm 

    Me too!

  20. Mr Floyd on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 7:33 pm 

    I have the shart too, I can’t breathe!

  21. ANSEL REAPER supertard bochen777 youre CCP central committee and of course you speak high english exclusively so youre a muzzie lover that why i never regret i appointed you supertard on Thu, 6th Aug 2020 7:38 pm 

    i wish you speak low english and teach us dumb americans how to harvest our muzzies

    im very interested in how you harvest yoru muzzies and make them churn out cheap goods which i buy

    please supertard bochen77 teach us

  22. Davy on Sat, 8th Aug 2020 8:44 am 

    Jethro Tull:

    Lyrics: “I don’t Want to be a Orange Fat Man”

    Don’t want to be an Orange Fat man
    People would think that I was just good fun
    Would rather be a thin man
    I am so glad to go on being one

    Too much to carry around with you
    No chance of finding a woman who
    Will love you in the morning and all the night time too

    Don’t want to be an Orange Fat man
    Have not the patience to ignore all that
    Hate to admit to myself
    Half of my problems came from being fat

    Won’t waste my time feeling sorry for him
    I seen the other side to being thin
    Roll us both down a mountain
    And I’m sure the Orange Fat man would win

  23. Elon Musk's love child on Sun, 9th Aug 2020 7:45 am 

    Well fuck you synics. I am going to Mars!
    I have booked my business class ticket and I will have a cheese platter before watching the inflight movie.

  24. juanPPee on the mod side with one of his socks on Sun, 9th Aug 2020 7:50 am 

    Re: Global Warming / Climate Changes Pt. 22
    Postby REAL Green » Sun 09 Aug 2020, 07:49:05

    suxs wrote:
    You are one sick puppy, Real Green. You represent the clinical diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts) coupled with Paranoia Disorder (irrational thoughts and beliefs become so fixed that nothing (including contrary evidence) can convince a person that what they think or feel is not true).

    Why? The former is obvious. The latter arises out of your irrational belief that I and all other posters who write commentary contrary to your belief system are in fact, “JuanP”. You and/or your well-known sock puppets (JuanPeePee, Pink Poodle, the board) post multiple times throughout the day comments that identify each post along with nasty and personal invective. Your bullying behavior is the means you employ to purge all posters who express alternative viewpoints. This may come as a shock, but you have fostered a long list of enemies who are determined to dish it back to you.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that your comments are posted from a mental institution.

    Make it a super day!!!

    Bingo, busted, Mods please take down this comment by a JuanP sock. It is obvious what he is doing!

  25. zero juan on Sun, 9th Aug 2020 7:51 am 

    the lunatic:

    Elon Musk’s love child said Well fuck you synics. I am going to Mars! I have b…

  26. Lunatic? on Sun, 9th Aug 2020 8:07 am 

    The critic of lunatics:
    See above posts

  27. Arse bandit on Sun, 9th Aug 2020 8:07 am 

    The crit of the critics of lunatics:
    See above post
    Thank you and goodnight

  28. Lord Voldemort of Chaz on Sun, 9th Aug 2020 8:11 am 

    Well it’s a full time job being the critic of the critics of lunatics?

    Discuss….
    And whinge again…..

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