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Why Mars? Why not the moon?

edited February 2019 in General
Just curious, Elon wants to colonize Mars, Why Mars, why not the moon?
It’s a lot closer, practically a hop, skip and a jump compared to Mars.
I’m sure there must be reasons why Mars and not the Moon, anyone know why?


  • edited February 2019
    I believe there are more new discoveries to be made on mars than the moon. Most scientific evidence points to the moon literally being a spin off of the same material as earth. So more of the same. While the distance to mars is no small feat, neither is its size relative to our moon. There is a significantly higher probability to make profound scientific discoveries (minerals or fossils, evidence of life past or present) on mars than on the moon. If you want to watch a fun show, look for MARS on prime which gives some insight into why MARS with a science fictional twist.

    Thx, B
  • edited November -1
    @David N: there’s a REMOTELY TINY chance of terraforming Mars...the moon, not so much.

    Also, if we’re going to become a multi planetary species, we need to solve long-distance space travel and high-G rocket landings through atmosphere.
  • edited November -1
    I believe part of the reason is gravity or the lack of it on the moon. Mars has gravity though not one for one with earth but there is gravity which would make it easier for us to adapt to. Also no source of water on the moon. Besides, the moon is so 1960's.............. :-).
  • edited February 2019
    We should do both.
  • Mars has an atmosphere making it far more likely to be habitable. One can extract oxygen from its CO2 atmosphere.
    There is evidence of water on the moon at the poles.
  • edited February 2019
    As others have already commented, Mars offers far grater potential than the Moon does, plus, the engineering advances involved in overcoming the various obstacles required to obtain interplanetary travel will provide multifaceted benefits for decades, even centuries, to come.

    This is not to say that there isn't any likelihood that we'll eventually set up some sort of installation on the Moon, say, a manufacturing and scientific research facility liken to that portrayed in that '70's British-Italian scifi show, "Space:1999", i.e., "Moonbase Alpha" perhaps, and have transport vessels like those nifty (did he really just say 'nifty'?!) "Eagle" sub-light speed capable spacecraft that are capable of nearby &/or neighboring interplanetary travel, but Mars presents the most potential for economic and intellectual growth as well as Human advancement and expansion.

    You can read more about "Moonbase Alpha" here:
  • edited February 2019
    Too close to Trump.
  • edited February 2019
    Yes, but you'd have an excellent view of the explosion when he finally snaps.
  • edited February 2019
    There is water on the Moon but no carbon.
  • edited February 2019
    MIght be able to grow potatoes on Mars but don't forget the ketchup.
  • edited February 2019

    Liquid water cannot last on the Moon's surface while any water vapor is readily evaporated by the sunlight that strikes it.

    This is because daytime on one side of the moon lasts about 13 and a half days, causing the Moon's surface to reach temperatures up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit (127 degrees Celsius), followed by 13 and a half nights of darkness, causing surface temperatures to plunge to minus 280 F (minus 173 C)!

    So you're a crispy critter or an icicle or something that fluctuates between the two over the course of 13 and a half days, so I guess something along the lines of stale beef jerky.

    However, based on our own Earth-bound observations, it is speculated that water in the form of ice could potentially survive in the cold, permanently shadowed craters at the Moon's poles, say, if it was once a component of an asteroid or meteor that happened to have smashed into the lunar surface inasmuch as none could ever form of its own accord due to the lack of an atmosphere.

    In otherwords, the Moon is a very desolate place that would only be habitable through the application of extensive engineering and redundant, precautionary measures.
  • edited February 2019

    Yeah but you keep driving your solar powered RV in the Goldilocks zone. I hear it’s constanctly at 72 F there. Plus, one arm from the RV could extend into the hot zone to bake your Pizza. The other, to freeze your Ice Cream. Best of both zones.
  • edited February 2019
    We have researched locations on the Moon that would provide us with the optimum positioning for an installation/base in relation to a point of equilibrium between the light and the dark/"Goldilocks zone" and have found a spot near a crater's rim that seems to present the most potential for survivability:

    Other scientists have estimated that temperatures on any possible permanently lit spot would be comparatively balmy, though still a frigid minus 58 Fahrenheit (-50 Celsius), give or take a little.

    Only time will tell not to mention there's still the need for the consideration of some sort of shielding to protect colonists (and all Space travelers too) from exposure to the unending radiation that exists in Space/on non-atmospheric planets given that there's no atmosphere on the Moon like we have here on the Earth to keep us from being cooked from the inside out like in a microwave.

    Time, Innovation, Courage, and Curiosity...All great motivators.
  • edited February 2019
    As is the potential for being flash-frozen and flash-baked....
  • edited February 2019
    Hence Mars because the Moon is simply too inhospitable of a place to establish anything other than, maybe, an off world processing and refinement installation for mining of the asteroid belts encircling our Solar System, the Main Asteroid Belt and the farther outlying Kuiper Belt to, perhaps, produce ever larger deep space craft capable of taking us farther into the depths of Space.
  • edited February 2019
    Well, both the Moon and Mars have Water:
    although it's likely much more prevalant on Mars.

    Moon dust is some pretty nasty stuff - with no wind to blow the dust and sand around and smooth it off like Earth sand, it's basically tiny shards of sharp, shattered glass. Having any kind of long-term habitat is going to require figuring out air filtering mechanisms to keep human lungs happy, and lots of maintenance on mechanical seals (air, oil, etc) to replace them as they get shredded. Mars sand/dust, on the other hand is going to be a lot closer to Earth dust.

    The Moon is a dead world. Mars is...interesting. There are seasonal change, perhaps water seeps, and other things that occur that make for a broader range of things to explore. Evidence of life is far more likely on Mars, which now appears to have had lakes, rivers, etc of liquid water in it's early history.

    Mars is far enough away from Earth that it forces us to face those life-and-death issues that we have to figure out how to handle - an Astronaut on the Moon with a life-threatening illness can be transported back to Earth quickly. Not so much for an Astronaut on Mars. Astronauts are more likely to become socially dysfunctional on the way to Mars - do Mars ships need a jail? The moon is easier partially because it's closer, but mainly because we don't have to face these issues.
  • edited February 2019
    [Apologies to paraphrasing Kennedy's speech on the Subject from 1962].
    but it is as succinct a summary of "why" today as it was when Kennedy said it.

    "We choose to go to Mars in the next decade and do the other things.
    Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
    Because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills,
    Because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win."

    As a comparison:

    Musk's vision is to build rockets, so he can fly enough people to Mars to save Earth, and for himself, to die on Mars - one day.

    Peter Thiel - Musks fellow alumni from PayPal days vision is to :
    Make enough money so he can live forever on Earth. No matter how many blood transfusions it takes, or how uninhabitable a planet Earth becomes. He likely then hopes he can wave a lot of Money at Musk to escape to Mars when its safer to do so than remain on Earth.

    Which of these competing visions wins, you'd have to accept that Musk's one generally provides a lifeboat option for Humankind.

    Thiels vision provides at best, a lifeboat, for a man.
  • edited November -1
    A Roadster is already on its way to Mars for fun. The new Roadsters may use rocket technology for maneuverability. What people don't realize is that new products come out of new endeavors like Velcro from early space attempts. Musk has access to these discoveries and the interuses of new products from SpaceX, Boring, GFs, Semis, PV tiles and who knows what else that is yet to come. I believe Musk employs 50,000 people all of superior experience and accomplishments.
    I wish Musk whee running our country. Musk has made California Great Again.
  • edited February 2019

    >>> "Astronauts are more likely to become socially dysfunctional on the way to Mars - do Mars ships need a jail?"

    That's an...interesting assumption you've made. Whatever makes you think that, of the plethora of potential difficulties astronauts making the 6 to 7 month trip to Mars might have to face and overcome, "social dysfunction" would be one of them?
  • edited February 2019

    Personally, I don't see it so much as a "lifeboat" option than as a necessarily unavoidable exploratory investigation of the surrounding planets of our Solar System to, among other things, allow us to gauge the diversity of potentially habitable environments we're likely to encounter once we manage to make our way beyond our own Solar System.

    Our Milky Way galaxy is an enormous place within which we occupy a relatively minuscule, microscopic corner along what we call the Orion Arm:

    While there is all so much more out there in the vast reaches of our own galaxy, the Milky Way is but one of numerous galaxies scattered all across the Universe, each containing thousands, even millions of other planets and each, potentially, with their own versions of life/cultures/civilizations, hence another bit of motivation for developing interplanetary capable spaceflight (as it would be a stepping stone towards deep space exploration).
  • edited February 2019
    @blue adept

    Doing any of those things require that we as a species still be alive in the future to do that exploring (or invent machines to do it for us). And of course be sufficiently technologically capable of building rockets and such to leave Planet Earth behind.

    And those plans will require lots and lots of time to develop the technology to get us even beyond our Solar System.
    Let alone the rest of our Galaxy, Local Cluster, or beyond.

    As it stands we likely won't make it much past the next 100 years in terms of being in a state to be outward looking enough to want or be able to go to Mars, let alone beyond. Hence Musk's lifeboat plan - at least if we don't leave all our eggs on Planet Earth we have a Plan B ready.

    But its but small baby steps on a very long journey.
  • edited February 2019

    That we even feel it necessary to make preparations to leave this planet in order to preserve our species is, to me, more than enough reason for us to focus our efforts on doing what we can to both mitigate the impact we've had on this planet and put our efforts into cleaning up the environment to prolong our livelihood here.

    Not to mention that we've found ourselves in a position to have to consider a 'Plan B' is testimony of our failure as a species and casts serious doubt on our ability to do any better anywhere else due to our demonstrated potential of falling prey to the very same detrimental influences that have us in the position we are now.
  • edited February 2019

    8B and counting. Probably as little as 1% of those have the acumen to preserve our way of life. Rest are irresponsible and/or unintelligent. Nature (human, not the other one) will see to it that we balance this situation out.

    As Reese says in ‘The Terminator’ - it’s in our nature to destroy ourselves.
  • edited February 2019

    There’s also a theory about why no aliens have contacted us. Intelligent life forms ultimately destroy themselves. Just a theory, but makes you think a bit.
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