There will come a time

“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

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.

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.

Outgrowing the planet is not a bad thing

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.”

This is wild stuff and well worth a full read.