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Comment Re:H20 (Score 1) 381

Well, the water is pretty much literally right there to be picked up - cutting ice is a fairly well developed technology that shouldn't be heavily impacted by doing it in vacuum. And CO2 is even easier - it's everywhere, and existing vacuum pumps will have no problems collecting and concentrating it.

As for converting it to biomass - plants are extremely adept at converting water and CO2 into oxygen and biomass. And microbial ones like algae can reproduce exponentially over very short timescales, allowing you expand production just as fast as you can build greenhouses and collect the necessary trace elements.

You talk as though there's something magically more difficult about using mature technologies just because you're on another planet. Once you're inside an artificial pressurized habitat, the only immediate differences from being on Earth will be the strength of gravity, and the view out the windows.

Comment Re:The Moon is first (Score 1) 381

Except that the Martian wind also wears the dust nice and smooth, unlike the razor-sharp moon dust that will make short work of moving parts and formerly airtight seals. If the wind had any force behind it it might be a problem, but as you say the dust will get into everything either way, so the only real problem is the reduction in visibility and insolation due to dust storms. Sandblasting would seem to be a problem, but due to the extremely low wind force and correspondingly fine particle size, it's probably only an issue for transparent surfaces, which would need some sort a protective coating.

Nigh-limitless CO2 delivered to your doorstep is also a valuable Martian resource - needing only to be fed into greenhouses to be converted into oxygen and (with water) construction feedstock. Nano-cellulose for example is translucent, gas impermeable, easy to sculpt when wet, and roughly as strong as aluminum when dry. Also food-safe (it's used as a thickener) and compostable. And of course carbon has numerous other uses as well.

>That's much easier than waiting multiple months.
Only early on, or if you have a relatively leisurely and easily fixed disaster on your hands. Evacuating a colony of any size would likely be impossible either way, and any critical parts presumably already have spares standing by. Which pretty much leaves emergency supply runs of food, water, or air. And Mars has water and air available locally with minimal processing. Medical evacuation in case of problems beyond the expertise and technology available locally might be a nice option for a few individuals, assuming they could survive the return to Earth's gravity (and crushing acceleration of the trip), but it's absence is hardly a catastrophe beyond the personal level.

Comment Re:Why so aggressive? (Score 1) 157

If security was as bad as you make it out to be, then why can't you demonstrate a hole?

It has been demonstrated as by others - it is such a well known problem that Wikipedia has an article on it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_machine_escape
Symantec have written about it:
https://www.symantec.com/avcenter/reference/Virtual_Machine_Threats.pdf
and there have been items in the news:
http://www.darkreading.com/risk/hacking-tool-lets-a-vm-break-out-and-attack-its-host/d/d-id/1131254?

Jails, zones and some other tools are things with security as a design consideration. The virtual machines we get to work with were designed for other reasons and do not really add anything other than an illusion of security.

Comment Re:Why so aggressive? (Score 1) 157

I'm not lying. I'm drawing an inference from your statements

Then look up the word "IF". You know it already? Then you are NOT drawing an inference from my statements.

The virtual machine software we have directly interfaces with real hardware on a lot of levels - for example Virtualbox putting ethernet cards into promiscious mode. An exploit of the VM could very obviously exploit what the VM has full control over.
I really don't get why you are so angry when such things are discussed.

Comment Re:The Moon is first (Score 2) 381

Unfortunately, the problems are considerably more difficult, and the transportation costs almost as high. All the moon buys you is faster transit times, which is only relevant if your need for help can wait for several days.

The moon is interesting primarily as a fuel, and perhaps eventually construction base, conveniently near (energetically) Earth orbit. And perhaps as a location for major radio telescopes on the far side, nicely shielded from Earth's radio noise. Mars is practically Earthlike in comparison.

Comment Re:What kind of drugs (Score 1) 381

Well, first we'll have to calculate just how many cannabis brownies will be needed to last 100 people for 80 days...

And where are you getting "one way" or "survival of the fittest" from? The current plan is to re-use the transport ships many times, with free return passage to anyone who wants it on the returning ships. And colonizing a new world is likely to be a deeply cooperative endeavor - humanity hasn't been particularly "survival of the fittest" since we started pre-chewing food for our elders.

Comment Re:What's missing (Score 1) 381

A magnetosphere is rather premature, don't you think? We'd need to build an atmosphere first - and if we can accomplish that in less than several thousand years, then, maintaining it against the slow loss to the solar wind should be child's play.

Meanwhile, building and maintaining long-term artificial ecosystems should provide a great deal of knowledge that will be useful as we navigate the drastic climate changes Earth will likely be undergoing over the next few centuries. As yet, we've only seriously attempted the experiment twice, at small scale, in the form of the Biosphere 2 experiments.

Comment Re:H20 (Score 3, Informative) 381

Mars has icecaps estimated to contain about 3 million cubic km of water ice, roughly 1/3 as much water as exists as liquid fresh water on Earth. There may also be useful amounts of subsurface liquid water - that's one of those as yet unresolved features we've found tantalizing hints about.

It also has copious amounts of almost laboratory-pure CO2 freely delivered everywhere on the planet. Between the two, you've got most of the bulk ingredients necessary to build biomass.

Comment Re:terraforming (Score 1) 381

Unfortunately, to do that you'll probably need to either bombard the planet with asteroids rich in atmospheric components, or build massive soil-processing infrastructure to release them into the air - Earth's atmosphere masses about 5x10^18kg, and even with Mars's having 1/4 the surface area to cover, 10^18 kg still amounts to 2.5 million kg of air for every person currently on Earth. You're going to need some serious infrastructure to deliver that kind of tonnage, and Earth is a long way away.

Comment Re:Antarctica (Score 1) 381

Well, maybe. If you were living in an Antarctica whose most violent winds were barely as strong as a light breeze, and had the benefit of incorporating free vacuum-thermos grade insulation into all of your structures and garments.. That super-thin atmosphere has it's advantages after all - "air temperature" is more of a theoretical concept, and in practice you need only guard against radiant thermal losses and conduction into the ground.

Comment Re:Better to dream big than not at all (Score 5, Insightful) 381

Except the Moon is only a bit closer in terms of energy, and still too far away to evacuate anything more than a modest outpost unless you have a nice, slow, orderly catastrophe that allows you months or years to evacuate. You also have to deal with razor-sharp moon dust that, without the benefit of weathering, will make short work of moving parts and formerly airtight seals.

Mars also has far more accessible and abundant resources - a massive ice cap, potentially useful amounts of subsurface water, and all the CO2 you could want delivered to your doorstep. That and greenhouses can give you most of the raw materials needed to build and grow a colony, both in terms of biomass, and carbon and cellulose-based building materials - nanocellulose for example is translucent and airtight, with a strength comparable to aluminum, and can be produced from woody biomass with purely mechanical processing.

As for solar, the insolation on the Moon is more intense, but you'd need pretty huge batteries to hold you through the nights - they are almost fifteen Earth-days long after all. While Mars days are only 40 minutes longer than Earth's, conveniently within the range that most people's circadian rhythms can adapt to.

Comment Why so aggressive? (Score 1) 157

So you can guarantee being able to break out of the VM

Now where did I say that? What's with the lies over something so trivial?
I wrote what I wrote and not what the strawman in your head is up to.


This is a very old and well understood problem ( http://www.csl.sri.com/users/r... ) and I suggest you learn about the implications instead of frothing at the mouth in denial.
When the VM has been designed without security in mind and with hooks deep into the host at the kernel driver level without separation then an exploit of the VM software can escalate to the host. You don't have to trust me on this - learn about the topic and you'll be able to see that much yourself.

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