Mars will kill you

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Kizmet, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Some of the objections seem pretty lazy. For one, the assumption that Musk's Mars colony would be under U.S. jurisdiction, when it could just as easily be launched through a subsidiary chartered in a country offering a flag of convenience. For another, that direct democracy is impractical, it's like the author's never heard of a New England town meeting.
  3. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Traveling to Mars might indeed kill people (it almost certainly will at some point), but it will be the physical conditions and not some lawyer's opinions that prove deadly.

    I don't see a whole lot of legal difference between establishing a Moon or Mars base or settlement, and establishing research stations in Antarctica. There are dozens of those, some of them quite large, and all of them seem to operate under the flag of the country that established them.

    It remains to be seen whether Elon Musk's Mars settlement will fly the US flag or acknowledge the authority of the US government. It certainly doesn't seem to be an attempt to claim all of Mars on behalf of Washington DC.

    If the Chinese or somebody established a base somewhere else on Mars, I doubt very much whether Musk's people would launch an attack on them in hopes of driving them off the planet. What would happen is probably what happens in Antarctica routinely, and the newcomers would be welcomed and arrangements would be made to cooperate.

    This is the United States' McMurdo Station, effectively a small American town (it even looks like some Alaskan settlements) on a continent where all claims of national sovereignty are in abeyance.:

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  6. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, Mars will kill you.


    Please eat responsibly.
  7. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    This thread motivated me to revisit Heinlein's geopolitical allegory, "Stranger in a Strange Land," which explores, in some depth, the ownership of Mars. It holds up well after nearly 60 years (and it introduced the word 'grok', and was the first science fiction book to make the New York Times bestseller list).
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Fantastic book! My favorite part is where Jubal is describing his love for Rodin's work Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone. The unabridged edition is the one Heinlein intended, and it's the one to read, in my opinion.
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  11. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    <-- owner of an Occupy Mars t-shirt. Musk is one of my heroes.
    heirophant likes this.
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  16. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  17. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Watch here:

    I just watched a very informative recorded Q&A several days ago with reporters from things like and a panel of scientists on the above website. There are doing another live briefing and Q&A right now with a different lineup.

    or watch here

    or watch on JPL's Youtube channel here

    The schedule of what's on tap (press conferences, briefings, live coverage from JPL) is here:

    The landing is set to occur tomorrow (Monday) about 12 noon Pacific Time (3 PM Eastern). The live coverage comes on about an hour earlier 11 AM Pacific (2 PM Eastern). There will be a post-landing (or post-crash) briefing to discuss the success or failure at approximately 2 PM Pacific (5 PM Eastern)

    There are going to be a bunch of live watch-parties all over the US (and several in France and Germany, even one on the island of Reunion, in the Indian ocean) too. There's a list of them here if anyone wants to get together and talk about landing things on Mars with a bunch of Mars nuts.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  18. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    The livestream is on.


    They are passing around peanuts in the mission control room at JPL. It's a tradition there that goes back to the early Ranger missions. The first few failed. Then when they tried once again, somebody passed around peanuts and the mission worked!

    They have passed around peanuts for every mission at JPL ever since. And they have an exemplary record of success!

    Don't mess with what works! It's a confirmed hypothesis! It's science!

    Edit 1: Communications team says that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (which will serve as a communications link between the lander and Earth) is working great. They are also communicating and getting telemetry back from both of the MARCOs, tiny little 'cubesats' each smaller than a briefcase that accompanied the insight lander to Mars, will do a quick fly-by but won't orbit, and hopefully will be the first to relay word from the Insight lander to Earth.

    The MARCOs are a technology demonstration for using tiny little micro-spacecraft (cheaper, easier to launch, built with 'off-the-shelf' components and capable of flying in 'swarms') in interplanetary missions. Since the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter has to move to the right point in its Mars orbit to communicate word of the landing to Earth, the MARCOs should be the first to let us know what happened.

    So far, so good.

    Edit 2: The cruise stage has separated from the lander inside its protective heat-shield housing. The lander has successfully rotated from a lock on the Sun to orienting on Mars, as it assumes the proper attitude for Mars atmosphere entry.

    Edit 3: Atmospheric entry has begun. Telemetry is being received... ionization has cut the lander off from radio communication. MARCOs report they are still still have carrier lock.

    Edit 4: Plasma blackout is over and telemetry has been reacquired (the lander is still alive after entering the atmosphere!). Next up - supersonic parachute deploy.

    Edit 5: Parachute deployed, radar altimeter is on.

    Edit 6: Radar has locked on to Mars surface. Landing rockets on the lander still need to land the thing, since parachutes on Mars won't slow it down enough for landing.

    Edit 7: TOUCHDOWN CONFIRMED!!! (Sorry if the caps traumatized you... it's exciting)

    Everyone is cheering, laughing and hugging each other at JPL. The MARCOs are sending back data from Insight.

    Now all the scientific instruments still have to be deployed and calibrated. But the short period of terror is over. It's safely down on the Martian surface. Hopefully not atop a rock.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  19. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    First photo from Insight, relayed by one of the MARCO's. It's a wide-angle fisheye lens, photographed through a protective transparent lens cap that will be removed in two or three days. The view should be better once it's off. (The camera isn't for beauty-shots, it's to help them position the extremely sensitive seismograph and the boring thing that hopes to penetrate as deep as it can to take temperature measurements.) The spots are crud on the lens cap, kicked up by the landing. The Martian horizon is towards the top, the thing at the lower right is one of Insights landing feet, and a rock is visible in the lower left. The soil appears to be sandy. They are very happy about that, since it's precisely what they want.

    SteveFoerster likes this.
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    I'll have you know that I find that thing quite interesting!

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