Re: Guest Post - Death On Mars

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Link is broken.

Crazy, but in a way to be encouraged.

What they should really be looking for is a gay polyamorous crew, of course.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:32 AM
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I'd totally have gone for this in the twenties. Now I realize Mars is basically the desert southwest with no air and less interesting geology. I like air. And interesting geology.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:34 AM
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There are plenty of people I know whom I would like to have die on Mars.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:37 AM
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Get your ass to Mars.


Posted by: Opinionated Hauser | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:46 AM
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I guess it all depends if we're talking about the Mars of Total Recall, Red Planet, Mission To Mars or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Do they specfiy?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:49 AM
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Did we discuss this Lawrence Krauss op-ed at the time? He claims lots of people want to go die on Mars, especially people who grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars. Seems insane to me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:23 AM
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To be more precise, he says:

One of my peers in Arizona recently accompanied a group of scientists and engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on a geological field trip. During the day, he asked how many would be willing to go on a one-way mission into space. Every member of the group raised his hand. The lure of space travel remains intoxicating for a generation brought up on "Star Trek" and "Star Wars."

First: every member of the group wanted to go die on Mars? I wonder how large the group was. Second: every member of the group raised his hand?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:26 AM
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Colonists and pilgrims seldom set off for the New World with the expectation of a return trip, usually because the places they were leaving were pretty intolerable anyway.

Yeah, but like half the original Massachusetts Bay Colonists turned around and went right back home anyways. That elision of the difference between not expecting a return trip and being 100% confident that one is not possible seems a little key.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:28 AM
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"Get your ass to Mars; by the way, you're never coming back" is a very different proposition from "Follow me to Mars; by the way, we're never coming back." Cough Elon Musk cough risk appetites have their limits, I guess cough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:34 AM
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I think the more likely thing is that you'll die halfway to Mars because they'll fuck something up or decide to cut funding for the venture partway through.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:37 AM
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usually because the places they were leaving were pretty intolerable anyway

The places they were leaving had air.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 10:04 AM
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10: I would actually think that a manned spacecraft halfway to Mars would be somewhat immune from funding cuts. It's not like they'd be sending air or fuel through a tube or anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 10:10 AM
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Without funding to pay page fees in the journal, what does air matter?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 10:13 AM
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Second: every member of the group raised his hand?

It'll be like Alaska 2.0. Harsher climate, no food or air, and even fewer chicks.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 10:29 AM
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14: So, not the kind of place to raise your kids?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 10:32 AM
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No salmon or moose is a total deal breaker.

I would be down for Alaska and was looking at applying at Anchorage PD years ago when I was first jumped on the "continuing education is for suckers" bandwagon. But my wife barely tolerates the dark and cold where we're at. I was unable to convince her that she could pass the time giving me meth fueled blowjobs.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 10:46 AM
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Stay away from the salmon mousse.

It's a reality TV show pitch.

From the article:

Rounds 3 and 4 will be reality-type shows broadcast on TV and the internet.

In Round 3, 20 to 40 candidates from each country will participate in "challenges" to demonstrate their suitability for the mission and the audience will choose a winner. Mars One will decide who else proceeds to the next round.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:00 AM
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It'd be sweet to open the first restaurant on Mars. You could charge like $150,000 for a hamburger, because woo monopoly! Also because that's probably how much it costs to source a hamburger from Mars.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:06 AM
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I'd bet you could undercut the price if you went the soylent green route.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:14 AM
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Speaking of food, whoever invented Trader Joe's Cookie Butter is an evil genius.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:36 AM
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20: Those Belgians are sneaky.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:39 AM
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18 you'd have to wait years for the cow you ordered from earth and the years again for the $150,000 the customer sent for. Unless there's Paypal. And marscows. Otherwise I see no problems with your business plan.

I just watched The Hunger Games and found it somewhat annoying but at the same time compelling. I thought it was all slyly leftist but I googled it and teabaggers think it's slyly teabaggy so never mind. Just the same, one gets to add Josh Hutcherson to The List. (Attractive Famous Short Dudes.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 3:40 PM
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20 Speculoos!!!! I had it at a waffle truck in the West Village! Sounds like Dutch gynecological tool; is instead most delicious waffle topping. Plz serve it at The Martian Laundry.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 3:43 PM
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12- But this isn't a government program, it's a nonprofit that I guess is funded by sponsorships primarily for the TV show? So if the company runs out of money or the show gets canceled, who steps in to save the poor schmuck in the capsule?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 3:53 PM
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I would be down for Alaska and was looking at applying at Anchorage PD years ago when I was first jumped on the "continuing education is for suckers" bandwagon. But my wife barely tolerates the dark and cold where we're at.

Probably for the best; Anchorage has been on the verge of laying off lots of cops lately due to the exceptionally insane way the city is financed, although they seem to have averted that for now and are actually even recruiting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 3:54 PM
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But this isn't a government program, it's a nonprofit that I guess is funded by sponsorships primarily for the TV show? So if the company runs out of money or the show gets canceled, who steps in to save the poor schmuck in the capsule?

Once they're in the capsule I don't think there's likely to be any way to save them in any case. All the financing will have to be done up front, and they appear to think they can raise $6 billion (which actually seems pretty low for a Mars colony) through TV sponsorships.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 3:57 PM
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one gets to add Josh Hutcherson to The List. (Attractive Famous Short Dudes.)

Alas, if you're following the other thread, Napoleon has just fallen off this list.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 4:03 PM
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28: I had exactly the same thought. He wasn't all that hot, though, so it's ok.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 4:04 PM
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I'd rather die on Mars than on Earth, but I'm hoping not to die on either planet for a while. Still, when it becomes a choice between going into a nursing home, and sending me to Mars, better for it to be Mars, bitches.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 5:13 PM
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On Mars no one can change your adult diapers for you.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:49 PM
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Probably for the best; Anchorage has been on the verge of laying off lots of cops lately due to the exceptionally insane way the city is financed, although they seem to have averted that for now and are actually even recruiting.

There's always Juneau! (for all I know they're in bad straits but it's looking like one of our lieutenants is getting the chief job up there and he's a great guy to work for)


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:38 PM
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But realistically the odds of moving now are slim to none. Both the wife and I got in on the old style state pension system and we bought our house before the boom and crash. It'd take a pretty huge amount of money to get us to move.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:40 PM
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I don't know anything about the Juneau PD. It's probably fine, although it's a much smaller city than Anchorage. There's always the state troopers, too. They've been hiring like crazy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:41 PM
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Both the wife and I got in on the old style state pension system and we bought our house before the boom and crash.

Yeah, no chance of anything like that up here. Probably just as well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:42 PM
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I hear state troopers up there have kind of a crazy gig.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:45 PM
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Definitely, especially in the rural areas.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:52 PM
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The police retirement doesn't look hugely different (ours is 2.5% for first 20 years and 2% a year after that) but I think my wife would get put on a defined contribution plan up there and that's definitely a step down from her current defined benefit + SS.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:52 PM
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7: Maybe they all raised the questioner's hand?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:53 PM
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If only we had more moose meat down here. Or some wild pigs. Godammn pigs are a scourge on the south and are supposedly invading the upper midwest but are they here? No. Fucking pigs, are you too good for the Rockies or something?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:55 PM
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I think my wife would get put on a defined contribution plan up there and that's definitely a step down from her current defined benefit + SS.

Yeah, most state employees have defined contribution and no SS. Not that great for public-sector benefits, and this is actually one reason I'm hesitant to continue working for the state long-term.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 11:56 PM
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That elision of the difference between not expecting a return trip and being 100% confident that one is not possible seems a little key.

No one's going to be 100% confident that there won't be a return trip. If it works, and a successful colony is established, I'd say there's a significant chance that other visits to Mars will follow. One of the main moneyspinners for the colony will probably be providing food, accommodation, field support and meth-fuelled blowjobs for other visiting astronauts. And if there's regular travel between Earth and Mars, it's not impossible that you might be able to make your way back.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 2:11 AM
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There seem to be various versions of this thing out there. There's some American zillionaire who's already doing space stuff and wants to go himself; there's apparently a group based in the Netherlands and there may be others, I can't keep track. Is the plan to keep sending them care packages from earth until they turn their toes up full of years and honour, or to send them out with three months' iron rations and let them shoot themselves when they've used them?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 2:41 AM
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42: the former, I think. With a bit of self-sufficiency thrown in - greenhouses full of soya beans and so on. And possibly trade as well. It's a lot easier to lift stuff from Mars than from Earth, so that's where the bulk supplies - oxygen, water, fuel, food and so on - come from for your asteroid missions. Bob Zubrin talked about a triangle trade of manufactured goods from Earth to Mars, bulk chemicals and food from Mars to the asteroids, and raw metals from the asteroids to Earth.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 2:57 AM
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If it was seriously offered to me, that I could go on a mission to Mars but it would be a one way trip?

In a heartbeat. With a bit of luck I'll be the one who stumbles over the conveniently located remains of an elder civilisation and discover the secret of FTL travel.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 3:54 AM
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44. Only on condition that you liveblog it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 3:57 AM
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With a bit of luck I'll be the one who stumbles over the conveniently located remains of an elder civilisation and gruesomely births its long-dormant spawn from my innards.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 4:06 AM
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Concerned Martin's Martian blog might be a bit like this.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 4:17 AM
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If it was seriously offered to me, that I could go on a mission to Mars but it would be a one way trip?

In a heartbeat.

This. I'd totally do a one-way trip in principle. This particular project? Probably not.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 4:45 AM
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I once got in a serious fight with a boyfriend (well, serious, I dunno, but I cried and my feelings were hurt -- I was like 20), when, while discussing space-something-whatever, he said that *of course* he'd go off with the spacemen to tour the universe in their spaceship if the aliens made such an offer, even if it meant he couldn't tell me about it before leaving. Years later I posed the same hypothetical to CA, and he too will run off with aliens with nary a word to me. Hmph.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 5:48 AM
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I wouldn't go off with aliens right away. I'd be worried they wouldn't have any decent food.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 5:55 AM
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37

The police retirement doesn't look hugely different (ours is 2.5% for first 20 years and 2% a year after that) but I think my wife would get put on a defined contribution plan up there and that's definitely a step down from her current defined benefit + SS.

Even if the plans are similar aren't you usually worse off switching mid-career instead of sticking with one? And you would lose seniority too.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 5:58 AM
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I'd be worried they wouldn't have any decent food.

Word. If we want space plus crappy food we've already got the Russians.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:01 AM
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Don't eat Russians.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:03 AM
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50: Mars bars, mostly. And you want to be careful not to eat too many, or you'll need an intergalastric bypass.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:04 AM
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51: I'm not so much mid career yet (I'm 36, with just about five years on now) but yeah, for me to have to re-start my seniority and retirement accumulation wouldn't be great.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:07 AM
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I'd be worried they wouldn't have any decent food.

Of course they will


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:16 AM
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42: There's some American zillionaire...

Elon Musk. He's got the money, he's building rockets that are servicing the space station, and he's got a plan that isn't completely insane. This is an important distinction between him and say Robert Zubrin, who has no money and is a little nuts, or Mars One, which is stupid and has no money either. The best bet for a crewed Mars mission in anything like the near term is a collaboration between NASA and Musk, ideally with Musk taking the lead role so NASA doesn't screw everything up with bureaucratic bullshit and powerpoint engineering.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:21 AM
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57 is me


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:22 AM
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I thought he was South African?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:23 AM
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49; I'm not sure I understand the hypothetical -- is the idea that there is a big rush, so you either get to leave with the spacemen right now without a chance for goodbyes or you would never get to go, or is it just that spacemen offer to take you on the trip, and you're so excited you just climb aboard, and don't think to ask if you can take a moment to say goodbye to your wife/gf?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:24 AM
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I'm not sure I understand the hypothetical -- is the idea that there is a big rush, so you either get to leave with the spacemen right now without a chance for goodbyes or you would never get to go, or is it just that spacemen offer to take you on the trip, and you're so excited you just climb aboard, and don't think to ask if you can take a moment to say goodbye to your wife/gf?

I'm assuming it's like a Doctor Who situation, so if you don't go right now, you grow up to be Karen Gillan.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:26 AM
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Yes, Ginger Yellow is correct. You have to leave immediately or not at all.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:28 AM
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59: He certainly grew up there, but I think he's jumped ship and is now a US citizen. A quick google seems to confirm this.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:30 AM
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"I can't go now! It's taco tuesday!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:31 AM
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I guess James Tiptree Jr. was wrong -- it's men that are so desperately unhappy that they'll jump on any random alien space ship no questions asked.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:33 AM
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ideally with Musk taking the lead role so NASA doesn't screw everything up with bureaucratic bullshit and powerpoint engineering can spend its money on more important things like satellites that do good science, instead of batshit crazy things like putting people on uninhabitable planets.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:33 AM
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Why does Elon Musk have all this money? Did he sell some tech company to some other tech company 18 years ago, like Mark Cuban? Surely the electric cars can't be profitable yet.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:38 AM
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Like it or not, essear, the batshit crazy is what excites people. No one will ever tell their grandchildren about how, when they were six years old, their parents let them stay up all night so they could watch the Hubble Space Telescope being launched.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:39 AM
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I wager the Mars landers have been more exciting than the final ten years of shuttle launches (that didn't blow up) were.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:46 AM
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66: On the subject of doing good science: The 2014 budget includes $200 million in cuts to NASA's planetary science programs. You can sign a petition here to get the funding restored. There's a link for non-US citizens there, too.

Personally I think there's plenty of room for both basic science and crewed exploration, and both are important. Spending on either one is a vastly better use of resources than stupidities like buying the army tanks it does not want.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:56 AM
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67: Co-founder of PayPal.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 6:58 AM
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I'd be worried they wouldn't have any decent food.

Oh, they would.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 7:24 AM
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Am I alone in having zero curiosity about Mars, to the point that if someone told me I could just like take the L train there or something, I'd be like "eh, it always gets so crowded by 1st Avenue..."?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 7:55 AM
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There are certainly other places in the solar system I'm far more curious about. But this is the only one we're (they're) likely to be flying to in my lifetime.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 7:56 AM
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No. I don't give a shit about Mars either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 7:56 AM
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Me. To me it's like someone said "I've got this huge barren rock. Want to be obsessed about it?" No, I don't, but thanks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 7:57 AM
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Meeting actual aliens or even a planet with non-sentient life would be another thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 7:58 AM
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I sort of lost a friend over not being curious about Mars. True, if not exactly fascinating, story.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:01 AM
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My wife wanted me to go to an exhibit called "Life on Mars" and I said yes because I thought it was going to be about the search for life on Mars. It turned out to be an art exhibit, one that was drinkless for the first two hours. Art while sober is worse than barren rocks in my book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:04 AM
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My interest in Mars is motivated in part by the possibility that there was (and perhaps still is) life of some sort there, which would be a huge deal. The other part of my interest is driven by a sense that sooner or later people will likely live there and I'd like it to be sooner because it's just plain damn cool.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:21 AM
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I'm pretty interested in things like how planets formed and how planetary climates work in general, but I'm not very interested in Mars in particular. The Earth is much more interesting, really, since its chemistry and atmosphere and climate have all been dramatically shaped and re-shaped by the evolution of life in ways that involve super-intricate feedback mechanisms. Based on what little I know it seems like the history of Mars was probably much less eventful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:24 AM
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Mars was fucking epic back in the day. Now it's all corporate/NASA bullshit.


Posted by: Sixteenth Century Scenester Astronomer | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:35 AM
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My interest in Mars is motivated in part by the possibility that there was (and perhaps still is) life of some sort there, which would be a huge deal

There's an element of looking for your keys under the lamppost about that, though. We've no particular reason* to think there is or was life on Mars, but it's the closest and easiest place we haven't looked in detail yet. There's arguably more reason to think there might be life on Europa or Enceladus or Titan. But they're bloody far away and (in the former case) have many kilometres of surface ice.

*excluding seriously circumstantial stuff like supposedly anomalous methane levels


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:36 AM
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The other part of my interest is driven by a sense that sooner or later people will likely live there

Sometimes I'm suddenly aware what a dark cloud of gloom I am but do you really think we're going to be around that long?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:47 AM
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Tagentially on topic: One of the many perks of being a former member of Congress is that groups of wackos will pay you $20k just to listen to their crazy theories about space aliens. Nice work, if you can get it.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:50 AM
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sooner or later people will likely live there

How? Why? What's wrong with them?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:53 AM
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Sometimes I'm suddenly aware what a dark cloud of gloom I am but do you really think we're going to be around that long?

In the words of Jayne Cobb: Well, I might.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 8:56 AM
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84: Sure, barring an asteroid strike of sufficient size. The big threats we face are mostly within the range of survivable (other than an all-out nuclear war between major powers, which seems unlikely at this point). Not fun, necessarily, but survivable for at least enough people to keep things running at a fairly high level of technological sophistication.

86: I know a lot of people who'd love to immigrate to Mars. Some are libertarians hoping to establish libertopia, some just want the adventure, some want to do science, all that sort of thing. Maybe there's something wrong with them, but I prefer to think of them as merely eccentric.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:10 AM
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I can imagine that at some point in the far-distant future we will have colonies on the Moon and on Mars, but long before that we will have a megacity at the South Pole and underwater cities at the bottom of the ocean. From a technical standpoint, either of those would be far, far easier to build and maintain than even a small colony on either the Moon or Mars.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, I'm sure we'll send two or three people to Mars just to prove that we can, but after that it die the same death that the Apollo program did.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:10 AM
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You all saw the movie Moon, right?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:17 AM
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My interest in Mars is motivated in part by the possibility that there was (and perhaps still is) life of some sort there, which would be a huge deal.
Then the last thing we should do is send a living person there, with their bacteria-laden shit and all. They already might have fucked it up just by sending some robots.
I sort of lost a friend over not being curious about Mars.
Sometimes you don't know who your friends really are until they talk about experimentation.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:25 AM
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I would say that I am, if not actively bi-planetary, at least a bit Mars-curious.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:32 AM
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Come on, Ajay, it's not like everyone can't see your email address. You have no secrets in this regard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:37 AM
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90: What's a "quintessentially personal encounter"?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:40 AM
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One involving all five essences?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 9:44 AM
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84

Sometimes I'm suddenly aware what a dark cloud of gloom I am but do you really think we're going to be around that long?

Time is not the problem. The problem is currently establishing people on Mars would be really, really expensive with no obvious economic return. So either it would have to get much cheaper or we would have to get much wealthier (or much nuttier). None of which are sure things even given a lot of time.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 10:17 AM
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Warch the movie, Kraab. You too Elbie.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 10:28 AM
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Nice catch, 93.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-30-13 4:17 AM
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I think people have an exaggerated notion of how one way the trip to the New World was. After all, Squanto managed to go to Europe and back before the Pilgrims even arrived.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-30-13 9:59 AM
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