Our future in space

Rick Tumlinson has a lot to say about our future in space. There is much in this piece that fits with the ideas I present in Generation Mars. Give it a read and see what you think.

“But suppose we can get past this first phase of government’s trying to use space to dominate Earth and establish the first viable communities in the beyond. These can be based on underlying principles that focus on caring for life, evolving humanity and exploring the cosmos, and yes, funded by new industries and vast resources we no longer have to rip out of the MotherWorld. In that case, we may have a chance to move to a new level of human culture, where war, conquest, and control make way for more peaceful, collaborative efforts to expand the domain of life for all.”

This is the sort of culture I describe in Dawn, the Martian colony of my books.

Mars model

This is interesting. A group of researchers developed an agent-based model of a Martian colony “to explore the psychological, social, technological, economic, and logistical factors that would influence the long-term viability of a human Martian settlement.”

They found that the minimum number of individuals needed to create a colony with a stable population was much smaller than one might anticipate: 22.

The population of Dawn, in my books, is around 5000. I’ve worried that this might be too small for self-sufficiency. The fact that this model suggests 22 individuals are enough for population stability (albeit with regular shipments from Earth) suggests otherwise.

The personality categorization used in the model is necessarily blunt. People are, of course, more complicated than what can be modeled in an agent-based system like this one. However, based on the characters I’ve written in Generation Mars, I think that if one were to attempt to categorize the population of Dawn in a similar way, it would lean heavily in the direction the model suggests as most likely to survive: agreeable, social, with a creative approach to life.

Ice dome

While the older children walked through the dust storm, Ori and the younger children were spending the day in the ObsDome. The name was short for “observation dome”. This was one of the newer surface buildings of the colony. It was constructed primarily of ice. Water, in any form, was an effective shield against the various types of radiation that reached the surface of Mars. With thick ice between supportive layers above and clear ice for windows all around, the ObsDome provided a safe place to view the surface around the colony. Nina often brought the younger children here when the third graders were at Surface Training.

Air: Generation Mars, Book One

Coming in October

#Mars #scifi #ChildrensBooks

(image: crop from Scratching the Surface, Luis Peres)

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.