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Colonising Mars

Colonising Mars is a common thing in fiction, but what would it really be like? I think the crew of the ship will go insane on the year it takes to get there and might start killing each other or jumping out the airlock.
Umm, probably not. Depending on the size of the colony, people would probably stay quite fine during one single year.
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(11-10-17, 03:40 PM)Azareal Wrote: but what would it really be like?
A bunch of rich people promise to totally for realsies make a craft capable of reaching and colonizing Mars while surreptitiously stuffing comically large bags of money with dollar signs on the side into their pockets.

10 years and 15 trillion dollars later a big paper mache mockup Totally Real Rocket explodes in a huge fireball on the launchpad. The whole program gets quietly scrapped and a million golden parachutes deploy.

The next year the company in charge rebrands, spends a cool hundred mill on a new logo, and starts suckering in more investors so the cycle can begin anew.
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The biggest problem with colonizing Mars is that there really isn't a reason to. The cost of shipping materials back to Earth means there is no economic reason and if people are worried about overpopulation how would sending a couple people to mars help. It would take ages and cost an insane amount of resources to ship a significant portion of the population to Mars.
It would take a year to get there, in what is mostly likely a little tin can with hundreds of other people, I doubt you could colonise it in one trip, so there's probably hundreds of these tin cans. There is no gravity in outer space, so your muscles would atrophy on the way.

Astronauts have tried all sorts of things like exercise, but they just can't stop their muscles atrophying due to the micro-gravity. You probably wouldn't even have a shower, as who has the water to spare in a situation like that? Internet? It would lag to hell and back and probably be used for important things. No cat videos for them.

You'd probably be stuffed in a tiny tin can squeezed in with a bunch of other colonists with the equipment for building your colony taking up much of the room. One idea NASA had was to put them into stasis or something on the way there to stop them going crazy, and they're doing research into that area.
The OP asks, OP answers.
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In the forseeable future it would likely be a research colony, similar to research stations in antarctica and ISS.
The trip back and forth is not all that inconciveable, as it used to take months to travel by sea back in the colonial era. The psycological aspects should probably be compared with what happened in the colonial era.
The point where such a colony might expand would probably require several advances to be made. Here is a list of things that could signiciantly help such colonies:
1) Effective fussion reactor; with these the cost of fueling those spaceships would go down by a lot.
2) More economical spaceship designs (would be much easier with practical fussion reactors, even just on the ground).
3) Better self-reliance systems (think biodomes and such).
4) Exploration of mars based resources. Being able to aquire resources on plannet would make a colony much cheaper to maintain.
5) Terraforming of mars, in an economically feasable fashion. This would enable better living conditions and reduce maintance costs.

The first 3 points are already being worked on, and are within the realms of technologies that has a decent chance of ending up working. We already have a net postive energy fussion reactor, but there is a lot more work to be done on that topic. Economical spaceship designs are already a few generations in (the spaceshuttle was one of those genrations). There are several self-reliance systems project, at least I have heard about some several years ago, though the results were not all that impressive (which is why I suggested needing better ones).
The 4th would be a natural mission for future exploration of mars, possibly by such research colonies.
The 5th is still mostly science fiction. There have been several suggestions for how it could be done, but the feasability of them were somewhat questionable.

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