How many people?

This is an interesting paper estimating the minimum number of people required for a self-sufficient colony on Mars. Using a mathematical model to estimate work time requirements vs. work time capacity, the researchers come up with a surprisingly low number: 110.

In the forthcoming second book of the Generation Mars series, I peg the colony population at around 5000, so I think I’m good there.

Lava tubes

“This would be the first time any of the children saw the surface. The colonists had built underground, using existing caves and lava tubes where possible, building and burying structures where necessary. This was to protect themselves from solar and cosmic radiation. On Earth, the atmosphere and magnetic field serve this purpose. But Mars has little of either, so dirt and rock filled the role.”
– from Scratching the Surface: Generation Mars, Prelude

A new paper explores lava tubes in the Hellas Planitia as possible habitats for humans.

Interview with Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson, commenting on a bunch of stuff.

His comments regarding personal freedom in a Martian colony don’t gel with mine. The social system that I imagine in Generation Mars has a great respect for personal freedom.

However, that is tempered by a level of social responsibility that we would likely find unrecognizable here on Earth.

Where is Dawn Colony?

A while back I posted about how the writing of science fiction is a race with the progress of science. Here’s a perfect example: where is Dawn Colony? I’ve been hesitant to place it at a specific location on Mars because the more specific I get, the more likely it is I’ll be wrong. Perhaps they live near the southern end of one of the study areas mentioned in this article.

I’m open to other suggestions.