Most of that sum (people) however, would be completely incapable of sustaining themselves.
Take New York, for instance. Millions of people, living in a very dense urban environment, totally dependent upon complex social heirarchies for labor, water, transport, and food distribution from outside localities. Those people would most certainly perish. (The few that have the luxury of rooftop gardens would be under continual threat of brutal crackdowns by just the other tennants in their buildings, and those small gardens would never be able to sustain the city. Throw into that, the destruction of those few production centers via fires, and the deaths of the few who know how to actually grow food instead of buying it at the store, and you quickly have a very serious problem. For a recent eye-opener, look at the LA riots. That was over the brutal beating of a man by local police officers due to something as innane as skin color. Imagine the riots over food distribution, and percieved injustices and subsequent mob reprisals! New York would be burning in days.)
Then you have the continued ecologica uphevals from everyone and adam trying to beat down the doors to the few remaining agreas that are still halfassedly habitable, (like, building houses!) And the situation spirals even more radically out of control.
I don't think you really comprehend the real gravity of what a GLOBAL ecological catastrophe really represents, with a global population as large as ours is.
Humanity *barely* survived the iceage, when we numbered well under 1 billion globally. (Closer to a few million.) This time we would have 7bn, on top of the adverse conditions, all competing to be the survivors. The unburied dead would promote serious issues with plagues, the basic resource shortages would ensure that healthcare would be a far lower priority, and on top of that, you would have batshit people rallying the troops and destroying what's left in mad dash efforts to control it.
I would rather be trapped with "that guy" in a tiny metal box than endure *that* hell.
As for who is going? It's anyone who can pay the admission fee, which is adjusted to all world currencies. It's the 97%, not the 1%. Just that a member of the 1% believes they can get richer by fascilitating the effort.
I agree that it is reprehensible to wrote off the earth and fly away. But high ideals often have bad consequences too. I am a utilitarian. I see utility in having a self sustaining martian colony. I don't really care how it gets funded. Anyone who goes to live in that colony will have nothing but endless hard work and suffering. Going to mars won't be a golden parachute. It will just be a hedged bet against extinction, however slim the margin. In all reality, a 1%er wouldn't be able to HANDLE living on mars anyway.
They wouldn't have 9 billion people outside, unable to care for themselves, looking for what they have, and willing to burn their colony down to the ground to get it, for starters.
Additionally, a self-sustaining colony would not be dependent upon the earth for resources, and as such, would nto be resource dependent upon the earth, so a breakdown of earth's economic and production infrastructures would simply not affect them in any way. The basic requirement for your reprisal is that the martian colony is completely at the mercy of supply shuttles. That is financially unfeasible even without a global crisis, of any magnitude. If you insist on holding that position, no wonder a martian colony looks retarded!
Providing the martian colonists with everything they need to provide for themselves (since despite what you may think, there most certainly *IS* atmosphere on mars, and it would be imminently useful for martian colonists as-is, just not for human breathing, and as such, the colony habitat will not be a closed resource economy! Just sintering the regolith will release oxygen gas because of the perchlorates present, for instance. The curiosity rover's drill sample shows high nitrogen content in the stones sampled, so that is an obtainable resource as well. All the vital materials are availale on site on mars.)
When you aren't having to worry about if the people living "just over there" are going to come kill you for the cabbages you grew, you can spend much more of your time making life better for yourself and others.
The costs of sending people to mars will be outrageous, but that is being privately funded by private enterprise, and is already budgeted. This means that if there is going to be theft and raping and murdering, it will be inside the *ONLY* habitat structure on the entire planet, and would occur regardless of earth conditions. Mars One is performing psych evaluations prior to sending people, and is unlikely to send batshit people.
You don't get that luxury in a post apochalypse.
Now, calculate that your average human requires approximately 2 liters of water daily for proper renal function (though they often do drink less, and it is unhealthy.) Also factor in the scarcity of the material on mars, and the feasibility of sustainable agricultural activities without that large quantity of water.
Now, let's also think about the secondary particles generated when heavy and complex lead neuclei are exposed to iron neculei traveling at near C, and the subsequently exponential impact that this secondary radiation will have as the shielding becomes more and more radiological from constant exposure.
In other words, yes, water has serious issues. You still have to bring it with you if you are really serious about a martian colony. There is no discussion there. You HAVE to take it. It isn't optional. Since you already have to tae it with you, using the absurd cost to orbit it as a canard is moot. Adding the water AND the lead will always cost more than launching just the water.
The water does not have the same problem with producing dangerous secondary radiation, and does not become radioactive itself at near the same rate as will the lead rad shield. The water is already required, and is not optional.
Why not just use the water, then?
You can resolve the "water expands, dumbass!" Problem by freezing it already prior to launch. This also makes it much safer to transport in the event of a micrometeorite puncturing the containment vessel, and believe it or not, ice can be quite insulating, and can serve other functions for regulating the capsule's environment.
If you are going to demand the kitty cat, you must also demand the swivveling chair, and the doomsday deathray aimed at the earth!
A miniatureized clone of yourself wouldn't hurt either!
That's a pretty profound jump, to state that I don't take climate change very, very seriously, and have used it only because it was convenient as an argument.
Far the contrary, in fact. I believe that it is a very dangerous thing, and that the ensueing chaos associated with food and energy shortages as people attempt to live in an environment that no longer has the human carrying capacity of former generations will definately result in wars, precious few resources squandered on ensuring that only "americans" (insert whatever group most floats your boat here. I'm not picky.) Will be the "haves", and damn all everyone else. I fully expect bullshit like scorched earth policies to be vividly and bombastically be discussed, because of the gravity of that kind of environment, and expect true reason and sensibility to have flown the coop long before.
Our chance to avert the disaster was 20 years ago. We blew it, because it was much more profitable to keep on doing what we were doing before, and to foofoo the data and castigate the science and scientists behind it instead.
The data shows we are now beyond the tipping point. The point of no return has been crossed. Signs are showing up everywhere, and it can't be denied anymore (though many still try anyway.)
The biggest threat will be other people. To me, it would be comforting to know that at least somewhere else in the solar system, a group of people would be huddling in a metal shell growing tomatoes instead of shooting other people, raping other people, and stealing shit as society comes down around all around everyone on the earth.
The calamity is already started. No shelters on earth will be built. There will be worldwide disasters, and instead of working to resolve the proble, people will look for who to blame.
There is a long body of evidence to support humanity behaving in this fashion, as resource collapse has been a recurring thread in human civilizations over the ages. Up until now, those collapses have never been global in scale, however.
This is very much an "act now" moment. This is an achivable goal. I hope they succeed. Fixing the fuckup we have caused on earth is far harder than building a martian greenhouse, and really would be science fiction terraforming. At least on mars, the colonists won't have armed robbers demanding their food.
The earth is in store for some very dire shit indeed, and that doesn't even count what the unknown variable of mass animal and plant form extinctions the changed climate will introduce for continued human activity on earth. Look at the serious dangers that just losing bees offers.
Even if we 100% stop all burning of fossil fuels right now, the warming trend won't stop, and the coastal methane realse will still occur.
We have well and truly fucked ourselves.
You are forgettng that humans are without question altering the environment of the earth in such a fashion that its continued habitability will become much more difficult in a mere 200 years.
Humans *are* the extinction level event. Or are you a climate change denier, that thinks the 97% consensus in the scientific community is wrong?
The calamity doesn't have to be a big space rock. It could just as easily be runaway methane release from continental shelves, and wild environmental conditions, and be completely man made.
Does the hubris matter, if the structure is built, maintained, and crewed, rather than written off as too expesive?
The whole point of building the mars colony is to build the mars colony, as a life insurance policy that you hope to never cash in on.
If its built, there's no need to pay more: 250 thousand people is enough for a viable population to be sustained, so more people aren't even needed. This is a non-argument.
If you supply those risk takers with tools and plans to help them succeed, then they may well do so. That's the point.
Since they won't be disuaded, and want to go, regardless of the risk, at least capitalize on the effort, rather than sabotaging it.
Making assertions about the difficulties says nothing that was not already known, and is therefore without value. You can dislike that these people have chosen to go anyway, but you shouldn't be so self-righteous that you overtly try to stop them, and force them to spend that money and their lives doing things that in YOUR opinion hold greater value.
Life, lemons. Make lemonade. Don't whine and bitch that you can't have the mountain dew you want instead.
That is to say, your argument is mypoic, and ignores all the politics involved in creating such a series of organized structures on earth, all the political dick waving over who's in charge of what, and of course, the fact that serious plans to go fucking build a martian colony are seriously on the table, and has real backers, and real offers to be pulled off, and isn't a hypothetical petard that can't be handwaved away.
You can arrogantly assert that they are dumb and will all die, but that's just your opinion.
I prefer to contemplate what they would need to do to succeed, and offer those ideas, so that their chances of success increase.
Unlike an earth based shelter network, a martian one can just be abandoned in 4 years due to a newly elected president deciding to cut the last administration's projects. If it gets built, and occupied, it will stay built, and occupied.
No earth based solution offers that level of commitent to the project, simply becase the shelters don't provide immediate needs to their inhabitants, and would therefor be seen as collossal wastes of taxpayer resources that could be used for (feeding ethipian babies, fighting crime, stopping child pornographers, stopping internet media pirates, fighting terrorists, %boogeyman_policy%, etc.).
Because humaity will have to fucking EVOLVE before those problems go away, and mars one is RIGHT FUCKING NOW, *and* can't be terminated because somebody has a dick waving fetish to the detriment of all humanity, I see the mars one offer as fantastically more appealing than your bullshit canard.
If you'l excuse the harsh language.
Wait, what's this?
A website with almost a quarter million people wanting to go build a martian colony, and willing to pay with their own money and lives for the mere opportunity!?
Clearly, that website and that project must be a pure fabrication! It couldn't possibly be real, when no such effort to create thse "oh so much easier!" Earth shelters has even been seriously proposed by *ANY* nation capable of carrying out such a plan!
Because that would mean that a martian colony is clearly more favored than an earth fallout bunker, and has a higher chance of being built, and that would totally ruin your argument!
You are forgetting several very important things:
1) these structures must already exist, when no apparent threat is known of.
2) people must be actively livng inside them when the calamity hits.
3) the structures must survive the initial upheval and chaos of the calamity.
By your own logic, 1) will never happen until humans stop being humans, because it is a big todo about "nothing. So, no calamity shelters will ever be built to preserve the human population on earth, because of "more pressing concerns."
Because no shelters will ever be built, not humans will be living inside them, so when the afore mentioned inevitable calamity DOES strike, humanity will be completely unprepaired for it, and will all die out.
*that* is why your argument is self defeating, and relies on magic.
that argument is self defeating on its own merits:
You are basically saying that it is easier to make humans not be humans (alter human behavior such that competition is no longer performed for personal gains) than it is to build a self sufficient martian colony.
That does not follow.
Also, your rebuttle of the extinction reason for building the colony is not well established, and is easily picked apart, since it is based on suppositions, and not substantiated past events, ad relies heavily on magical thinking that humans are magically capable of adapting to anything (that isn't on mars of course!).
Nevermind that I already established that you can do things on mars that you simply can't on earth, simply from the materials sciences involved. That alone makes your argument not hold.
I can give you facts and figures as to why it most certainly *is* possible to build long term settlements on mars, with current technology and the available resources there on the planet. The best you have been able to offer are handwavy excuses and "oh, but this difficult thing makes that totally impossible!" Then shout loudly " I SAID IMPOSSIBLE!" When a simple solution to said "insurmountable problem" is broached.
One of us is being reasonable. The other is not.
With that kind of negativity, of couse you won't look for sensible options.
Like, using marsian weather to deposit the dirt for you, or noting that martian surface gravity is 1/3 that of earth, and that a "50lb bag of sand" will weigh only 16.6lbs on mars.
Don't let those little things trouble your already made up mind though. (Like how at that kind of mechanical strain reduction, glass fiber tethers can hold up loads that you need high grade steel cables for on earth, and all the engineering tricks this simple fact would let you get away with on mars, that you simply would be unable to do on earth in any of the other harsh environments you cited, especially the ocean floor, where you would need a habitat made of pure premium unobtanium to hold back the hundreds of tons of pressure per square meter of water overhead.)
If you approach your problems with the preconception of "Its hard, and can't be done, and isn't worth the time!", then it will never be done, even when conditions have changed, and it most certainly can be done.
The purpose of building a colony outside of the earth is NOT to solve word overpopulation. The purpose is to put our eggs in many baskets. Or did you learn nothing from the celybinsk(sp?) Meteor incident?
Life doesn't have to be fun, glamorous, easy, or desirable there. The reason for putting life there isn't to crow about accomplishments, to solve some "overpopulation problem", or due to some science fiction fantasy utopian ideology or dream. Those are all popular canards used by people who hold your viewpoint, but none of them are the reasons why we should build a martian colony.
So, why then? Ask Mr Sagan. The basic gist is that keeping all the humans in one basket (earth) is a recipie for extinction on the long term. We have had at least one mass extinction event on this world. (And likely many others.) If it has happened once, it can and eventually will happen again. Refusal to accept this as a rational reason to expand our holdings as a species in favor of petty indulgences and empty arguments about difficulty are not founded on reason. Or did the recent russian meteor event not provide enough impetus for you?
No-one is saying a martian colony will be anything but a torturous, inhospitable, and eternally drudge-infused effort to barely survive. We are saying that the adversities that would be present are not insurmountable, and that you only truly fail when you fail to try, and are offing suggestions on how those adversities could be effectively overcome.
Take your recent one: moving hundreds of tons of dirt on top of the habitat's dome of sandbags.
Here's an inexpensive way to do it, that makes use of the martian environment, rather than fighting it:
Mars has seasonal winds that blow the powder fine regolith all over the place, and routinely move huge dunes of the stuff around. You build a wind control wallaround the leeward sides of the dome, so that the dust carried by the winds gets dropped. Mars itself willdump the dirt you want if you are patient.
You can test this out in earth based deserts right now if you want. It's how lost cities in the sahara from antiquity get buried over.
When faced with a very daunting engineering challenge, don't work hard and go nowhere; work smart, and get shit done.
The vast majority of the mass of a sandbag, is the sand it is stuffed with. Also, you don't need to make the entire 10 meters out of the sandbags. The sandbags allow 2 things:
1) a stable dome structure onto which you can pile a lot of dumped dirt, and keep the habitat underneath completely free of bearing any weight. (Bunker)
2) an outer casing on top of said dirt mound to prevent wind erosion from blowing it all away, and exposing the colonists to the radiation outside.
You don't have to make nearly as many sandbags as you are letting on. Just enough to do landscaping and soil management with.
The first version always gets thrown away.