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Rosetta mission: Philae lander bounces twice, lands on side ~ Cliff face blocking solar power


How Esa scientists believe Philae has landed on the comet – on its side
How Esa scientists believe Philae has landed on the comet – on its side. Photograph: European Space Agency/Reuters


Excerpt from
theguardian.com


Rosetta mission controllers must decide whether to risk making lander hop from shadow of cliff blocking sunlight to its solar panels.


The robotic lander that touched down on a comet on Wednesday came to rest on its side in the shadow of a cliff, according to the first data beamed home from the probe.

Pictures from cameras on board the European Space Agency’s Philae lander show the machine with one foot in the sky and lodged against a high cliff face that is blocking sunlight to its solar panels.
The precarious resting place means mission controllers are faced with some tough decisions over whether to try and nudge the spacecraft into a sunnier spot. If successful, that would allow Philae to fully recharge its batteries and do more science on the comet, but any sudden move could risk toppling the lander over, or worse, knock it off the comet completely.

The washing machine-sized lander was released by its Rosetta mother ship at 0835am GMT on Wednesday morning and touched down at a perfect spot on the comet’s surface. But when anchoring harpoons failed to fire, the probe bounced back off into space. So weak is the gravitational pull of the comet that Philae soared 1km into the sky and did not come down again until two hours later. “We made quite a leap,” said Stephan Ulamec, the Philae lander manager.

In the time it took the probe to land for the second time, the comet had rotated, bringing more treacherous terrain underneath. The spacecraft bounced a second time and finally came to a standstill on its side at what may be the rim of an enormous crater.

“We bounced twice and stopped in a place we’ve not entirely located,” said Jean-Pierre Bibring, Philae’s lead scientist. Teams of scientists are now trying to work out where the probe is. What mission controllers do know is that they are not where they hoped to be. “We are exactly below a cliff, so we are in a shadow permanently,” Bibring added.

With most of Philae in the dark, the lander will receive only a fraction of the solar energy that Esa had hoped for. The spacecraft needs six or seven hours of sunlight a day but is expected to receive just one and a half. Though it can operate for 60 hours on primary batteries, the probe must then switch to its main batteries which need to be recharged through its solar arrays. If Philae’s batteries run out it will go into a hibernation mode until they have more power.

The spacecraft was designed with landing gear that could hop the probe around, but from its awkward position on its side the option is considered too risky.

Though caught in a tight spot, the Philae lander’s systems appear to be working well. The Rosetta spacecraft picked up the lander’s signal on Thursday morning and received the first images and more instrument data from the surface of the comet.

One of Philae’s major scientific goals is to analyse the comet for organic molecules. To do that, the lander must get samples from the comet into several different instruments, named Ptolemy, Cosac and Civa. There are two ways to do this: sniffing and drilling. Sniffing involves opening the instruments to allow molecules from the surface to drift inside. The instruments are already doing this and returning data.

Panoramic view around the point of Philae's final touchdown on the surface of comet 67P, taken when Rosetta was about 18km from centre of comet. Parts of Philae's landing gear can be seen in this picture.
Panoramic view around the point of Philae’s final touchdown on the surface of comet 67P, taken when Rosetta was about 18km from centre of comet. Parts of Philae’s landing gear can be seen in this picture.Photograph: European Space Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Drilling is much riskier because it could make the lander topple over... Pushing down into the surface will push the lander off again. “We don’t want to start drilling and end the mission,” said Bibring.
But the team has decided to operate another moving instrument, named Mupus, on Thursday evening. This could cause Philae to shift, but calculations show that it would be in a direction that could improve the amount of sunlight falling on the probe. A change in angle of only a few degrees could help. A new panoramic image will be taken after the Mupus deployment to see if there has been any movement.

Meanwhile, the Rosetta orbiter team will continue to try to pinpoint Philae’s position.

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Crashed spaceship pilot unaware co-pilot unlocked brake







Excerpt from AP-LOS ANGELES — The pilot of the Virgin Galactic spaceship that tore apart over the Mojave Desert didn’t know his co-pilot had prematurely unlocked its brakes, though protocol for the test flight required the co-pilot to announce the step, federal investigators said Wednesday.

Pilot Peter Siebold told the National Transportation Safety Board that he was not aware co-pilot Mike Alsbury had pulled a brake-unlocking lever before the rocket designed one day to fly tourists to the edge of space was done accelerating. Seconds later, SpaceShipTwo began to disintegrate over Southern California.

Protocol for the flight was to announce the unlocking, an agency spokesman said.

It is not clear if Siebold didn’t hear Alsbury or the co-pilot never indicated he was taking the action. The safety board plans to analyze flight audio next week, spokesman Eric Weiss said.
Virgin Galactic and said it could not comment on the investigation and referred questions to the NTSB. Siebold has not spoken publicly.

Pilots and co-pilots typically agree in advance before making important decisions, said Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former space shuttle astronaut who now consults on commercial space flight. One method is a “challenge and response” system in which one voices an intended action and the other confirms it before the action is taken.

Lopez-Alegria said he did not know whether the unlocking of SpaceShipTwo’s brakes was considered critical enough to require agreement, but “you would never take that action on your own.” He noted that in the cockpit of a commercial airliner, the pilot and co-pilot call out and confirm an action as routine as raising the wheels after takeoff.

The Oct. 31 crash about 120 miles north of downtown Los Angeles killed Alsbury, injured Siebold and cast a shadow over the immediate future of space tourism. It could take a year for the NTSB to determine the cause, though Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said last week the company wants to resume test flights as early as next summer with a replacement craft.

The eventual goal is to launch spaceships carrying six passengers from a spaceport in New Mexico. For their $250,000 ticket, passengers would get a fleeting feeling of weightlessness and a spectacular view of Earth from about 62 miles up.

Pilot Siebold was hospitalized after the crash, but when he spoke to investigators Friday he had been discharged.

He told them that he was flung from the vehicle when it disintegrated. He said he unbuckled from his seat at some point during his fall that began miles above Earth, and his parachute deployed automatically.

Investigators have not revealed the exact altitude of the breakup, but previous SpaceShipTwo test flights peaked at about 10 miles, much lower than the height expected for commercial flights.

Co-pilot Alsbury could be seen on inflight video unlocking the system before the vehicle had reached Mach 1.0, Hart has said. The feathers aren’t supposed to be unlocked until the craft reaches Mach 1.4, or more than 1,000 mph. At that point, it would have reached an altitude where the thinner air would not have provided so much violent resistance.

Even after Alsbury unlocked them, the feathers were not supposed to move. For that to happen, the crew would pull a second lever. The crew didn’t take the second step, but the system engaged anyway. Two or three seconds later, the craft began to break apart.

The NTSB has said the feathers could have deployed because of aerodynamic forces on the craft. The agency said Wednesday that it is looking at those forces and reviewing safety documentation and the feather system’s design.
___
Associated Press writers Brian Melley and John Antczak contributed to this report.

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Google to lease former Nasa airfield for space research


Hangar One
Google will restore Hangar One which has become a landmark in Silicon Valley

Excerpt from

bbc.com



Google latest "moonshot" is an apt one - it is investing in a Nasa-owned airfield to expand research into space exploration and robotics.

Planetary Ventures, an offshoot of Google, will take over management of the Moffett Federal Airfield.

The airfield is already regularly used as a landing strip for the private jets of the firm's billionaire executives.

Google has not divulged exactly how the site will be used.
But, according to a Nasa press release, the site will be used for "research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies".

For Nasa, the sale offers rich pickings - the agreement will provide it with $1.16bn (£731m) in rent over the initial 60-year lease term.

"As Nasa expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth," said Nasa administrator Charles Bolden. 

And for Google, the investment represents an opportunity to restore an iconic building.

Part of the deal includes the restoration of Hangar One, an important landmark in Silicon Valley. Built in 1933, it is one of the world's largest free-standing structures.


Moffett Federal Airfield golf courseThere is also a golf course on the site


Planetary Ventures plans to invest more than $200m in rebuilding Hangar One and two other hangars on the site.

It will create an educational facility where the public can explore the site's legacy and the role of technology on it.


Very little is known about Planetary Ventures, the firm behind the deal. Press reports describe it as shell organisation for real estate deals although the name hints at something more. 

The base, previously maintained by Nasa's Ames Research Center, is located four miles from Google's Mountain View headquarters.


Space Projects

It is not the first time Google has invested in unusual purchases. Two mysterious barges that appeared on the coasts of San Francisco and Portland, Maine, last year turned out to be Google-owned.

It emerged that Google intended to use them as floating showcases for new products such as Google Glass and its self-driving cars. The project was later abandoned after coastguard officials deemed them to be a fire risk.

(It is not) the first time that Google has worked with Nasa. Back in 2005, Google built an office at Nasa's research facility in order to co-operate on a range of projects.

More recently, the two teamed up to launch a new laboratory, focused on advancing machine learning, also based at Nasa's research centre.

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Galactic Federation of Light Sheldan Nidle November 11 2014

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New Light on the Ancient Maya

During the past two decades, discoveries and research by archaeologists, epigraphers, art historians, and natural scientists have changed many of our ideas about the origins and nature of Maya civilization, and the probable causes of its collapse in...

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Now You See Them ~ ‘Magic Islands’ Appear on Saturn’s Moon Titan

This near-infrared, color mosaic from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the sun glinting off of Titan's north polar seas.
A false-color mosaic from space shows the northern seas beneath the haze of Titan.
Photograph by NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho


Excerpt from
news.nationalgeographic.com


TUCSON, Arizona—Two new "magic islands" have joined one reported last year on Saturn's giant moon Titan, Cassini spacecraft observations showed on Monday. The features add to a puzzling vanishing act playing out on the frozen world's seas.


Since Cassini first arrived at Saturn in 2004, its photos of Titan have revealed numerous seas, lakes, and rivers on the giant moon's frozen surface. This summer, images showed a mysterious feature in one sea—the first "magic island"—that appeared glinting on a lake's surface and then quickly vanished. 


The find raised speculation that scientists had captured views of waves splashing within the otherwise mirror-smooth liquid methane seas on the moon. Or else it was a fluke.


Now, an August 21 flyby has turned up two more strange reflecting features, magic islands that weren't there in earlier flybys. "They just popped up," says Cornell's Alexander Hayes, who presented the latest survey of Titan's seas at a briefing at the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting.


"They could be waves, or they could be something more solid," says MIT's Jason Soderblom, a member of the Cassini team reporting the observations. "We definitely know now they are something reflecting from the surface."


Since Titan is the only body besides Earth that has rain-carved geography to study, the possibility of a lake with waves intrigued scientists enough to keep them looking.


"After ten years there, Titan still can surprise us," Hayes says. "Titan has dunes, lakes, seas, even rivers. All this makes Titan an explorer's utopia."


An August 21 flyby passing some 599 miles (964 kilometers) above Titan allowed Cassini to investigate the depth of Kraken Mare, the largest sea on the frozen moon. Radar observations from the spacecraft covered a 120-mile (200-kilometer) shore-to-shore strip of the methane sea.


That flyby revealed that Kraken Mare reaches more than 656 feet (200 meters) deep.


Cassini image of Titan's sea.
A Cassini flyby of Titan viewed a narrow stretch of the moon's Kraken Mare sea.

Photograph by NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell


Depth Charge

Though Earth and Titan are the only known worlds in the solar system with seas and lakes, the ones on Titan are quite different from Earth's. Surface temperatures on the moon are around -290°F (-179°C), and its lakes are filled with liquid methane, ethane, and other liquefied natural gases.


With spring returning to the northern hemisphere of Titan, where Kraken Mare resides, the scientists suspect they will soon see more mysteries disturbing the once placid surface of the seas of Titan.

"We are likely to see more islands showing up," Hayes says. "These lakes and seas are dynamic places."

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The Mission to land robot on comet to take final step







Excerpt from  theglobeandmail.com
By Ivan Semeniuk

Half a billion kilometres from Earth and 10 years into its remarkable journey, a small robot is about to plunge into space history.

Pending a final green light from mission controllers on Tuesday night, the robot – nicknamed Philae (fee-lay) – will detach from its mother ship and try to hook itself onto one of the most challenging and mysterious objects in the solar system.



It’s a high-risk manoeuvre with plenty of unknowns. But if it works, then the probe will be able to show us what no one has ever experienced: what it’s like to stand on the surface of a comet.

“Comets are new territory,” said Ralf Gellert, a professor of physics at the University of Guelph. “There could be some big surprises.”

Prof. Gellert should know. Fifteen years ago, he helped build one of the instruments on the dishwasher-size lander that will reveal the comet’s composition. No such direct measurement has been made before. Even designing how the instrument should work was fraught with challenges since there was so little known about what kind of surface the lander might find itself on.

“Is it an ice ball with rock and trace metals, or a rock ball with ice on it … or ice below the surface? We didn’t know,” he said.
And scientists still don’t.

When the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta mission in 2004, the mission’s target – Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko – was little more than a fuzzy blip in astronomers’ telescopes. But Rosetta just arrived in August and it’s been in orbit around the comet since then.

What was assumed to be a single, homogeneous lump of ice and rock has turned out to be a bizarre-looking object in two parts, arranged a bit like the head and body of a rubber duck. By October, scientists had zeroed in on the head portion, which is four kilometres across at its widest point, and settled on a landing site.

Remote sensing data from Rosetta suggest that the comet is quite porous, with a surface that is as black as coal and somewhat warmer than expected. In other words, Philae will probably not be landing on skating-rink-hard ice. Yet, whether the surface will be crusty like a roadside snowbank, fluffy like cigarette ash, or something else entirely is anyone’s guess.

And while scientists and engineers say they’ve done everything they can think of to maximize the lander’s chance of success, they acknowledge it’s entirely possible that Philae will encounter something it can’t handle and smash to bits or sink into oblivion.


Yet the landing is more than a daring jaunt to see what has never been seen before. Comets are also among the most primitive bodies in the solar system. Each one is an amalgam of ice and rock that has been around since Earth and its sister planets formed billions of years ago. In a sense, comets are the leftovers of that process – primordial fossils from the birth of the solar system.

The instrument Prof. Gellert worked on, known as the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS), will help illuminate this early period by making precise measurements of the comet’s elemental ingredients.

It is carried on a robot arm that will place a radioactive source near the comet’s surface. The particles and X-rays the comet material gives off as a result of this exposure will provide detailed information about what chemical elements the comet contains. This will be augmented by another experiment designed to drill and extract a comet sample for analysis inside the lander.

Prof. Gellert, who has also been closely involved in NASA’s Mars rover missions, said Rosetta’s long timeline and the many unknowns related to the comet makes this week’s landing a trickier proposition than landing on Mars – but also a tremendously exciting one.

“I think it’s a matter of hope for the best and see what happens.”

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The New American Dream ~ The Case for Colonizing Mars




Excerpt from Ad Astra

by Robert Zubrin


Mars Is The New World

Among extraterrestrial bodies in our solar system, Mars is singular in that it possesses all the raw materials required to support not only life, but a new branch of human civilization. This uniqueness is illustrated most clearly if we contrast Mars with the Earth's Moon, the most frequently cited alternative location for extraterrestrial human colonization.

In contrast to the Moon, Mars is rich in carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen, all in biologically readily accessible forms such as carbon dioxide gas, nitrogen gas, and water ice and permafrost. Carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen are only present on the Moon in parts per million quantities, much like gold in seawater. Oxygen is abundant on the Moon, but only in tightly bound oxides such as silicon dioxide (SiO2), ferrous oxide (Fe2O3), magnesium oxide (MgO), and aluminum oxide (Al2O3), which require very high energy processes to reduce.

The Moon is also deficient in about half the metals of interest to industrial society (copper, for example), as well as many other elements of interest such as sulfur and phosphorus. Mars has every required element in abundance. Moreover, on Mars, as on Earth, hydrologic and volcanic processes have occurred that are likely to have consolidated various elements into local concentrations of high-grade mineral ore. Indeed, the geologic history of Mars has been compared to that of Africa, with very optimistic inferences as to its mineral wealth implied as a corollary. In contrast, the Moon has had virtually no history of water or volcanic action, with the result that it is basically composed of trash rocks with very little differentiation into ores that represent useful concentrations of anything interesting.

You can generate power on either the Moon or Mars with solar panels, and here the advantages of the Moon's clearer skies and closer proximity to the Sun than Mars roughly balances the disadvantage of large energy storage requirements created by the Moon's 28-day light-dark cycle. But if you wish to manufacture solar panels, so as to create a self-expanding power base, Mars holds an enormous advantage, as only Mars possesses the large supplies of carbon and hydrogen needed to produce the pure silicon required for producing photovoltaic panels and other electronics. In addition, Mars has the potential for wind-generated power while the Moon clearly does not. But both solar and wind offer relatively modest power potential — tens or at most hundreds of kilowatts here or there. To create a vibrant civilization you need a richer power base, and this Mars has both in the short and medium term in the form of its geothermal power resources, which offer potential for large numbers of locally created electricity generating stations in the 10 MW (10,000 kilowatt) class. In the long-term, Mars will enjoy a power-rich economy based upon exploitation of its large domestic resources of deuterium fuel for fusion reactors. Deuterium is five times more common on Mars than it is on Earth, and tens of thousands of times more common on Mars than on the Moon.

But the biggest problem with the Moon, as with all other airless planetary bodies and proposed artificial free-space colonies, is that sunlight is not available in a form useful for growing crops. A single acre of plants on Earth requires four megawatts of sunlight power, a square kilometer needs 1,000 MW. The entire world put together does not produce enough electrical power to illuminate the farms of the state of Rhode Island, that agricultural giant. Growing crops with electrically generated light is just economically hopeless. But you can't use natural sunlight on the Moon or any other airless body in space unless you put walls on the greenhouse thick enough to shield out solar flares, a requirement that enormously increases the expense of creating cropland. Even if you did that, it wouldn't do you any good on the Moon, because plants won't grow in a light/dark cycle lasting 28 days.

But on Mars there is an atmosphere thick enough to protect crops grown on the surface from solar flare. Therefore, thin-walled inflatable plastic greenhouses protected by unpressurized UV-resistant hard-plastic shield domes can be used to rapidly create cropland on the surface. Even without the problems of solar flares and month-long diurnal cycle, such simple greenhouses would be impractical on the Moon as they would create unbearably high temperatures. On Mars, in contrast, the strong greenhouse effect created by such domes would be precisely what is necessary to produce a temperate climate inside. Such domes up to 50 meters in diameter are light enough to be transported from Earth initially, and later on they can be manufactured on Mars out of indigenous materials. Because all the resources to make plastics exist on Mars, networks of such 50- to 100-meter domes could be rapidly manufactured and deployed, opening up large areas of the surface to both shirtsleeve human habitation and agriculture. That's just the beginning, because it will eventually be possible for humans to substantially thicken Mars' atmosphere by forcing the regolith to outgas its contents through a deliberate program of artificially induced global warming. Once that has been accomplished, the habitation domes could be virtually any size, as they would not have to sustain a pressure differential between their interior and exterior. In fact, once that has been done, it will be possible to raise specially bred crops outside the domes.

The point to be made is that unlike colonists on any known extraterrestrial body, Martian colonists will be able to live on the surface, not in tunnels, and move about freely and grow crops in the light of day. Mars is a place where humans can live and multiply to large numbers, supporting themselves with products of every description made out of indigenous materials. Mars is thus a place where an actual civilization, not just a mining or scientific outpost, can be developed. And significantly for interplanetary commerce, Mars and Earth are the only two locations in the solar system where humans will be able to grow crops for export.

Interplanetary Commerce

Mars is the best target for colonization in the solar system because it has by far the greatest potential for self-sufficiency. Nevertheless, even with optimistic extrapolation of robotic manufacturing techniques, Mars will not have the division of labor required to make it fully self-sufficient until its population numbers in the millions. Thus, for decades and perhaps longer, it will be necessary, and forever desirable, for Mars to be able to import specialized manufactured goods from Earth. These goods can be fairly limited in mass, as only small portions (by weight) of even very high-tech goods are actually complex. Nevertheless, these smaller sophisticated items will have to be paid for, and the high costs of Earth-launch and interplanetary transport will greatly increase their price. What can Mars possibly export back to Earth in return?
It is this question that has caused many to incorrectly deem Mars colonization intractable, or at least inferior in prospect to the Moon.

For example, much has been made of the fact that the Moon has indigenous supplies of helium-3, an isotope not found on Earth and which could be of considerable value as a fuel for second generation thermonuclear fusion reactors. Mars has no known helium-3 resources. On the other hand, because of its complex geologic history, Mars may have concentrated mineral ores, with much greater concentrations of precious metal ores readily available than is currently the case on Earth — because the terrestrial ores have been heavily scavenged by humans for the past 5,000 years. If concentrated supplies of metals of equal or greater value than silver (such as germanium, hafnium, lanthanum, cerium, rhenium, samarium, gallium, gadolinium, gold, palladium, iridium, rubidium, platinum, rhodium, europium, and a host of others) were available on Mars, they could potentially be transported back to Earth for a substantial profit. Reusable Mars-surface based single-stage-to-orbit vehicles would haul cargoes to Mars orbit for transportation to Earth via either cheap expendable chemical stages manufactured on Mars or reusable cycling solar or magnetic sail-powered interplanetary spacecraft. The existence of such Martian precious metal ores, however, is still hypothetical.

But there is one commercial resource that is known to exist ubiquitously on Mars in large amount — deuterium. Deuterium, the heavy isotope of hydrogen, occurs as 166 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Earth, but comprises 833 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Mars. Deuterium is the key fuel not only for both first and second generation fusion reactors, but it is also an essential material needed by the nuclear power industry today. Even with cheap power, deuterium is very expensive; its current market value on Earth is about $10,000 per kilogram, roughly fifty times as valuable as silver or 70% as valuable as gold. This is in today's pre-fusion economy. Once fusion reactors go into widespread use deuterium prices will increase. All the in-situ chemical processes required to produce the fuel, oxygen, and plastics necessary to run a Mars settlement require water electrolysis as an intermediate step. As a by product of these operations, millions, perhaps billions, of dollars worth of deuterium will be produced.

Ideas may be another possible export for Martian colonists. Just as the labor shortage prevalent in colonial and nineteenth century America drove the creation of "Yankee ingenuity's" flood of inventions, so the conditions of extreme labor shortage combined with a technological culture that shuns impractical legislative constraints against innovation will tend to drive Martian ingenuity to produce wave after wave of invention in energy production, automation and robotics, biotechnology, and other areas. These inventions, licensed on Earth, could finance Mars even as they revolutionize and advance terrestrial living standards as forcefully as nineteenth century American invention changed Europe and ultimately the rest of the world as well.

Inventions produced as a matter of necessity by a practical intellectual culture stressed by frontier conditions can make Mars rich, but invention and direct export to Earth are not the only ways that Martians will be able to make a fortune. The other route is via trade to the asteroid belt, the band of small, mineral-rich bodies lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. There are about 5,000 asteroids known today, of which about 98% are in the "Main Belt" lying between Mars and Jupiter, with an average distance from the Sun of about 2.7 astronomical units, or AU. (The Earth is 1.0 AU from the Sun.) Of the remaining two percent known as the near-Earth asteroids, about 90% orbit closer to Mars than to the Earth. Collectively, these asteroids represent an enormous stockpile of mineral wealth in the form of platinum group and other valuable metals.


Historical Analogies

The primary analogy I wish to draw is that Mars is to the new age of exploration as North America was to the last. The Earth's Moon, close to the metropolitan planet but impoverished in resources, compares to Greenland. Other destinations, such as the Main Belt asteroids, may be rich in potential future exports to Earth but lack the preconditions for the creation of a fully developed indigenous society; these compare to the West Indies. Only Mars has the full set of resources required to develop a native civilization, and only Mars is a viable target for true colonization. Like America in its relationship to Britain and the West Indies, Mars has a positional advantage that will allow it to participate in a useful way to support extractive activities on behalf of Earth in the asteroid belt and elsewhere.

But despite the shortsighted calculations of eighteenth-century European statesmen and financiers, the true value of America never was as a logistical support base for West Indies sugar and spice trade, inland fur trade, or as a potential market for manufactured goods. The true value of America was as the future home for a new branch of human civilization, one that as a combined result of its humanistic antecedents and its frontier conditions was able to develop into the most powerful engine for human progress and economic growth the world had ever seen. The wealth of America was in fact that she could support people, and that the right kind of people chose to go to her. People create wealth. People are wealth and power. Every feature of Frontier American life that acted to create a practical can-do culture of innovating people will apply to Mars a hundred-fold.

Mars is a harsher place than any on Earth. But provided one can survive the regimen, it is the toughest schools that are the best. The Martians shall do well.



Robert Zubrin is former Chairman of the National Space Society, President of the Mars Society, and author of The Case For Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must.

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