I took a few minutes last night to stand out in the cold and look up at Mars. That bright orange dot, right there next to the Moon: we built a robot, and we threw it at that dot, and that robot used its own wits to find the perfect landing spot, and now it sits there, ready to look for past life. On that bright orange dot, right there next to the Moon.
“There will come a time,” said Sally, “when things will go wrong.” Her face was serious but kind. “Comms might go down. Your suit might get damaged. Your nose might itch.” Everybody smiled. And then everybody’s nose itched. “Things will go wrong,” Sally repeated, “often many things at once. It’s very easy to lose your cool when they do, and that’s guaranteed to make things worse. But if you keep calm and deal with each problem as it comes, there is always a way to make things better.”
Air: Generation Mars, Book One
Coming in October
image: NASA/JPL/MSSS; processing and mosaic: Olivier de Goursac (fr), 2014
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.
I’ve been a little concerned that the actions and responsibilities taken on by Cas and Ori in my next Generation Mars book (still a WIP) are beyond what is possible for a six and eight year old. Turns out: nope.
Dr. Phil Metzger posted an epic 48 tweet thread on Twitter explaining why megaconstellations (e.g. SpaceX’s Starlink) are inevitable, as is their eventual demise as better tech comes online.
Looking at the evolution of life, from single celled organisms to bipedal apes rapidly outgrowing the planet, as the exponential growth of information is a novel (to me at least) approach and provides an interesting perspective.
“I would bet that if we find alien civilizations somewhere else in the galaxy, or in a galaxy far, far away, we will discover that they ALL developed megaconstellations right before they got industry off their planets & divorced their information systems from their biosphere.”