New Details On SpaceX's First Mars Colony Plan With Starship! [Total Space Collab Part 5]

New Details On SpaceX's First Mars Colony Plan With Starship! [Total Space Collab Part 5]

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Welcome to part 5 of this epic collaboration between the Total Space Network and 2 the future. The time has come to imagine the future of humanity in space. And of course, we cannot imagine a future for humans in space without talking about Mars. Yes, that topic has already been extensively covered not only by other channels but also by us, but we're going to try to really make a detailed video about how the first human colony on Mars is going to look like. We'll talk about realistic timelines for the first human landing. We'll talk about

where the first colony will be built, how it will be built, what conditions it must suffice, we're going to talk about in-situ resource utlization, about self-dependence, about potential problems and how to overcome them, about possible targets where it will be built, and more. So stay tuned for this quite extensive Mars episode. In the first three episodes of this giant collaboration with our friends from the Total Space Network, we were talking about the past of humans in space. From the beginnings of human spaceflight in the 60s, to the moon race and the incredible achievements of the Apollo era, to humans living in space for longer and longer periods of time among the first space stations, then to the present with the ISS, and to the near future and humanity's return to the moon with the Artemis program. In this last episode, the Total Space Network talked about how the Artemis program is going to look, about the Lunar Gateway, and of course about SpaceX's involvement in all of this as part of the human lander effort with their lunar Starship variant. So go and check out their channel, link of course in the description, and they also release their videos in podcast format, which you can download on all kinds of podcast webistes, for example on Apple podcasts, but also on their own website, links in the description. Ok, so first of all, why should we settle other planets? We often hear people say things like: Why should we even bother to build colonies on other worlds, on the moon or even mars, when these worlds are so hostile to human life? What is the point of all this? Well, there are really many reasons why humanity must evolve and become a spacefaring civilization, and civilization that not only calls earth home, but also the moon, mars, and later other planets or moons. The first very big motivator

is human curiosity. Humanity started out millions of years ago in Africa. But were our ancestors content staying there? No. They started venturing forth ever further away from the cradle, exploring new strange lands, encountering many obstacles and dangers in the process, and we are sure many did not survive the perilous journeys. Had humanity stayed in Africa, would we even exist now? Probably not. Had we stayed in

one environment, climate change, droughts or other natural distasters would have probably wiped us out a long time ago. It is therefore evolutionary engrained in us to explore and to conquer new living habitats. Even living habitats that are hostile, like for example northern Europe in the ice age. That certainly wasn't a friendly place to live in. There are humans nowadays living in all coners of the planet, and that among other things, enabled us to survive on this often dangerous planet. But we still live only on one planet. After thousands of years of recorded history, after many advances in technology, after decades of spaceflight, we still only live on this planet here. Every single human being lives

on this planet, and yes, sorry but we also include the international space station here because it is so close to earth, circling it only 400km above the surface, that from a larger point of view, it's really still living on planet earth. Now say something should happen on earth. We saw that a global pandemic is a real thing, not some made up Hollywood phantasy. Imagine a virus would be released 1000 times as deadly as the one that is currently plaguing us. Humanity would cease to exist on earth, and thus everywhere in the universe. This funny race of bipedal primates would be no more, much to the dismay of many alien races, who would lose their prime entertainment in laughing about our stupidity. Or a Super volcano eruption. Or a gamma ray

burst. An asteroid impact is luckily getting more unlikely as our space capabilities expand, but it still cannot be entirely ruled out. There are really many scenarios that could entirely wipe us out. And it's not that this didn't happen in the past. There were 5 big mass extinctions in the history of earth, so the danger is definitely there on long timescales. It should thus be a very good idea to also live on other worlds. If we'd

live in other parts of the solar system, a disaster on earth would not mean the end for humanity, and that should really be a big motivator for us to leave our home planet. Then there's of course the economic incentive. If exploration and survival still isn't enough to convince you, then how about the economic beneftits of spaceflight. Did you know how many off-shoot technologies were invented as a by-product of spaceflight? Here's a nice infographic from the Jet Propulsion Lab of 20 offshoot technologies which we wouldn't have without spaceflight. For example camera phones, scratch resistant lenses, CAT scans, LEDs, land mine removal devices, athletic shoes, foil blankets, water purification systems, dust busters, ear thermometers, home insulation, Jaws of Life, Wireless headsets, memory foam, freeze dried food, adjustable smoke detectors, baby formula, artificial limbs, computer mouse, and the portable computer. We are sure there are many more, but it's still surprising that so many technologies which we would not intuitively link to spaceflight, were created as a result of spacelight activities as far back as the space race era of the 50s and 60s. So spaceflight

can make life better here on earth by improving upon existing technologies and helping us to make new advances. And of course apart from the secondary economical benefit of spaceflight, there is the primary economical benefit of huge new business opportunities in space. SpaceX is the beginning of this new space economy. Elon Musk's famous company is basically the first solar system transportation company, that will enable us to get from earth to other destinations in the solar system. They will also provide communications with Starlink.

There will be huge asteroid and moon mining companies. All these companies, most of which don't even exist today, will be trillion dollar companies in 50 to 100 years, and the space economy will at some point dwarf the earth economy in terms of revenue and profit. So these are some really strong motivators to get our lazy asses off this planet here, I mean yes sure, it's a really nice and comfy planet, but most of you also don't live at your parents home any more, right? So it's really time to leave, and of course there are two very obvious destinations. The first is the moon, it's really a logical choice well because it's really near and has many other benefits about which we already often talked in previous videos. And then there is the other famous target, namely Mars. But why Mars? Why is Mars the first obvious choice for humaniy's first off-world colony on another planet? Well, there are really quite a few reasons for that. First of all, it's our neigbor

planet, so it's really the nearest to us and the easiest for us to get there, apart from Venus. But Venus unfortunately experienced some pretty bad things in the past which transformed a potentially once beautiful second blue planet into a brutal hellhole, so it's not really advisable to live there, at least not on the surface. So Mars really is the most logical choice regarding distance. But apart from that obvious reasons, Mars really has many other things speaking for it. For one, it's a rocky planet with a solid surface. Then, the temperatures although more extreme than on earth, are still quite manageable compared to other places in the solar system. It can get +30°C during a hot martian summer day

at the equator, and -70°C during a martian summer night at the equator. The lowest temperatures on Mars are -153°C at the poles. This is for example a lot friendler than even the moon, where temperatures range from +127°C to -173°C, a temperature range of 300°C, whereas on Mars the temperature range is typically only about half as large. Then Mars rotates with a period fascinatingly similar to earth. A mars day is only barely longer than an earth day with 24h and 37 minutes. To make it even funnier, Mars has an axial tilt of only 25.19°

relative to its orbital plane, also very similar to earth. Then mars has an atmosphere, a thin one, but still, an atmosphere, which makes it appear surprisingly earth like at times on the surface. The mean density is a bit below 1% of earth's atmospheric density with about 0.6 kPa of mean atmospheric pressure on the surface. But in the low lying planes,

pressures can reach 1.4 kPa. And as we recently saw with the ingenuity flying drone, that is already enough to allow for flight, which is also a really big plus. Then, we must also talk about surface features. Mars has many surface features that are really surprisingly earth-like. There are landscape formations, sediment rocks and dried out riverbeds, where you wouldn't know if you'de be standing in the desert of Arizona, or on Mars. So Mars

really is the most obvious and best choice for our first colony on another planet. But of course, there are also challenges to be overcome. For example, Mars doesn't have a protective magnetic field as the earth does, only local pockets of residual magnetism from ages past, where mars still had a magnetic field. But the planet being too small, it cooled too fast and couldn't maintain the field. Therefore, Mars is being now bombarded with solar and cosmic radiation. The radiation equivalent dose on Mars is about 230mSv per

year, as measured by Curiosity's on-board dosimeter instrument. Of course we'll talk about how to overcome this apparent problem. Then, Mars being only slightly larger than half of earth's diameter, Mars is a lot lighter than earth, it has only 10.7% of earth's mass. The gravity is therefore a lot lower, with only 37.6% of earth standard gravity. So our

first colony on Mars will have to overcome some challenges. But where should it be built? And how? Well, the how part, some people are currently working on that. You know, these people here that send up huge rockets called Starships on a regular basis and try to land them, sometimes failing in a spectacular manner, but more often also succeeding in some form or another. What the people working at SpaceX really are doing, is to build a multi-purpose space vehicle that will fly humans to the moon and even to Mars. It will be the Mars colony transporter that will bring the first settlers and cargo to mars, in order to build our first colony. That is why SpaceX is currently the most important company of humanity with regards to human spaceflight. And since our survival is 100%

tied to human spaceflight, we're arguing that it might be indeed THE most important company on the planet right now. So Starship will bring us to Mars. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, wants to build a large fleet of these Starships, actually Starship and Super Heavy, which is the entire rocket system that will bring people to mars. This rocket system will be able to land 100 metric tons of cargo on the surface of the red planet in one go thanks to orbital refueling. And it is fully reusable, which will drive down costs by many orders of magnitude, thus enabling mars travel in the first place. Ok, so SpaceX will bring us there. And they actually are already thinking about potentially interesting landing sites for humaniy's first colony on another planet. In cooperation with the university of Arizona, SpaceX has already identified several potentially interesting future landing sites for Starship on Mars. Most of them area located in a region known as Erebus Montes, in the souther Arcadia

Planitia and northern Amazonis Planitia region. These sites must not be too far from the equator, because the solar intensity must still be high enough to allow for electricity generation with solar power. The solar irradiance on Mars is 590W/m², so even though this is only about 59% of the 1kW/m² on the surface of the earth on a clear day, it will still be enough for sufficient power generation. But it should also be sufficiently far away from the equator to allow for large underground water ice deposits, which are only present in the nothern and southern latitude regions. Also, it should be low lying, so that a higher atmospheric pressure will allow for easier Starship landing with regard to aero-braking, and this will also offer better protection from solar and cosmic radiation. The Erebus

Montes region has been identified to suffice all of these conditions, and will thus be a potential future landing site. Plus, there are also large underground lave tubes present in the area, where exo-biologists might be able to find signs of martian life hidden deep underground in these huge caverns. Also water ice and mineral ores are probably present there in large quantities. Ok, so let's say now that we are in the future, around the year 2030. We think that 2030 is a realistic timeframe for the first humans travelling to Mars with Starships. Plusminus a few years of course, since we know that there are large uncertainties with regard to the future Starship development timeline. The first manned mission

to mars could already take place in 2027, but maybe also as late as 2033. We cannot know right now, but if we look at the current rate of progress with Starship at Boca Chica, we can assume that around 2030 is realistic. So how will this Mars Colony One look? Before the first humans land at Erebus Montes, if this region should indeed be chosen, cargo Starships would have already brought a lot of stuff there before the first would people land. Power generation systems meaning solar arrays, buffer storage batteries and probably

also some NASA Kilopower thermoelectric nuclear generators. Because reliance on solar power alone is not a good idea on Mars, due to huge global dust storm events, that can cloud the sky for months, blotting out the sun quite dramatically. Nuclear power will thus be necessary as a backup energy source. Then propellant production. The propellant for the return trip will be created on-site using so called in-situ resource utilization. This means using the resources that are present directly there on site. Liquid methane and oxygen can be

extracted directly from the martian atmosphere, using the famous Sabatier process. CO2 from is extracted from the atmosphere, and is being mingled with hydrogen under high temperature and pressure, yielding methane and water. The hydrogen for the first part is being won by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. So everything needed to create propellant for the return trip is directly present on Mars. Of course, habitats will

also be brought to Mars. We assume it will be some form of expandable habitats at first. It is also highly advisable to build some sort of regolith dome structure above the habitats in order to protect agains the radiation. 3D printing will play a crucial role here, so 3d printers will also be on-board the cargo flights. We said that the average radiation dosage equivalent on Mars is 230mSv per year on the surface. But such a protected habitat shelter would reduce this radiation by a factor of 100. Thus, radiation would not be a danger

any more. This is only but one of many possible configurations for the first habitats. The companies Hassell and EOC have shown a really interesting concept for the first small mars bases using exactly such a combination of expandable modules and 3d printed regolith domes, in order to overcome the radiation problem. Another interesting habitat concept is Marsha from the company Ai spacefactory. They also want to use 3d printing to construct these high cylindrical structures. They would use special plastics and in combination with

the very tall design, it would also reduce the radiation exposure a lot as compated to the surface level. Another really interesting design for the first mars city which we recently saw, is Nüwa, by the architecture firm Abiboo. We find this design particularly interesting and realistic, since it solves a few key problems at once. Building the habitat into a canyon

wall would drastically reduce cosmic and solar radiation exposure by orders of magnitude, just by using the naturally occuring surrounding rock formation of the canyon wall itself. These tube like habitat structures would be connected to each other inside the canyon wall or mountain, and here boring machines from the Boring company would of course be an obvious and perfect choice. By the way, on this topic we're planning another collaboration with Will from the awesome channel "A boring revolution", in order to explore such interesting ideas a bit more. This design would also allow for naturally occuring sunlight to flood the

living space in large enough quantities in order to increase the mental well-being of our future martians. Because let's not forget that we humans are really sun-loving creatures. We evolved with the sun, and many or our most fundamental body processes as well as mental well being are heavily dependent on the sun. A lack of sunlight will lead to higher occurance rates of depression and other mental disorders, it is therefore strongly advisable to have enough sunlight in our future martian homes. Plus, being located inside a hill, mountain or canyon wall, the tunnels could directly connect to water and mineral ore mining sites, where boring machines would also be heavily at work in order to extract these valuable resources. The tubular homes would also allow for some nice creativity with regard to greenery

and plants, as we can see in these nice renders. So yes, this is definitely a realistic vision of a future city on mars. However, one problem that is not adressed here, is the low gravity problem. Or let's say, a potential problem, because we cannot be 100% sure that this really will be a health problem for our future martian settlers. We do not have any longterm data for how mars gravity would affect the human body. But many doctors think that this will

be indeed a big problem since we are only adapted to 1g earth gravity. They think that the low martian gravity will lead to many detrimental health effects, especially in children. It might therefore be a good idea to overcome this potentially dangerous effect. One possibility is of course some form of rotational habitat, like a rotating train of sorts, as illustrated here by Dr. Joseph Parker. He by the way has a really excellent

space channel called Terran Space Academy which we highly recommend you to check out. Or of course, if that turns out to be a bit too much of a hassle to construct, there is always the possibility of genetic manipulation. It has been shown that myostatin inhibition by increasing follistatin, might lead to increased bone and muscle mass in humans. Experiments with mice have produced really muscular mice which have successfully withstood bone and muscle loss in zero g on the international space station. Future martians might thus

be genetically altered and have huge muscles. And yet again, Total Receall proved to be an accurate description of the future, who would have thought ! I mean seriously, we have cities built into canyon walls like the Nüwa design concept, we have mining and drilling for mineral ores, and we have bodybuilder martians. This is really some visionary stuff. Ok, ok, we also have weird mutants, alien artefacts and eyes popping, but hey, no movie's perfect. Anyways, we got carried away there fore a second, back on topic, overcoming the

low martian gravity will be really important in some form or another, and genetic engineering would allow for overcoming this problem without building rotating habitat structures. So now that the first Mars colony will have been established on Mars in the 2030s, what then? Well, we will of course have an industry growing on Mars. Mars with its unique combination of valuable minerals and rare earth metals, and low gravity, could become the mining hub of the solar system. A space elevator could be built much more easily than on earth with existing materials, no need for carbon nanotubes on mars due to the lower gravity. Hence, mars

could have giant orbital shipyards be built much easier than on earth. The metals from the underground mining sites would be easily transported to orbit, where the future even larger Starships will be assembled directly in Mars Orbit. Hopefully at the Utopia Planitia Shipyards. And hopefully the flagship will be called Enterprise, if not, we'll be disappointed. Since Mars is so much nearer to the asteroid belt, it could be that the resources gathered from the asteroids such as 16 Psyche, will be brought to mars first, before being transported to earth. Mars might thus really become the central mining hub of the solar system. On the surface meanwhile, more colonies and cities will start growing. They might be connected to each other using a global hyperloop network. On mars, building hyperloops will be a lot

easier than on earth, because you get them almost for free. You already have a near vacuum, and the usually low temperatures will allow for easier magnetic levitation by means of high temperature superconductors. There are many really interesting sites on mars, the giant volcano Olympus Mons, the huge valley system Valles Marineris, they all could be connected via a global hyperloop network. And who knows, maybe at some point then, in the very far future, the future martians might even start the huge undertaking of terraforming the red planet. We also made a video on that topic, where we explore if this would even be possible and what would have to be done in order to accomplish this insane mega project, link in the description. So we hope we could convince you that Mars is a really excellent

target for humanity and how Mars Colony One might actually look like. Check out the next video of the series on the Total Space Networks channel, which will be released next week and which will deal with the further future, where humanity will build colonies in other places of the solar system. Which places these are will be the topic of the video so be sure to check out their channel and subscribe to them. Jixuan and me hope you still enjoy this channel here, even though the format is currently different than it used to be. We wish you

all the best, stay safe and healthy, and on 2 the future!

2021-05-05 13:40

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