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56

Mass panic and fears of the apocalypse Physically? Nothing. There would be no readily discernable physical effect on the Earth or us, its inhabitants. Emotionally and psychologically though, that is a whole 'nother story. It would cause a tremendous uproar. A magic event of astonishing proportions has taken place. As other answerers have pointed out: the ...


55

A (local) population of about ten thousand people should be enough. In my opinion there are three factors here. Is there enough need for a restaurant? There seem to be around 14.000 McDonalds restaurants in the US, which is roughly one per 23.000 inhabitants. Assuming that the first one on Mars will be on the smaller size and have less competition, 10.000 ...


40

I worked on a science fiction story centered on Mars for a while, and I intend to pull it off the back burner at some point. My primary driving economic factor for Mars turned out to be pretty simple: As humans began to expand into space, mars became the logical breadbasket for the solar system. Mars has a carbon dioxide atmosphere (mostly) which is not at ...


36

Multiple layers Why have only one layer of dome? If you have two layers of dome, this is much more durable. Three is more durable yet. Internally divided cells Airships do not have a single inflated envelope. Instead, the internal structure of a blimp is divided into a bunch of different cells. A Martian dome could, instead of being a hemisphere, be a ...


34

No. As has been pointed out in the comments above, there is a distinct lack of oxygen. There also happens to be a distinct lack of air itself. Assuming you created skin that could survive the low (from our standpoint, near vacuum) pressure, you would also have to create lungs that are thin enough for air transport but will keep all of the rest of the ...


34

Take a look at this description of how DNA sequencing works, both today and 30 years ago. Basically, 30-odd years ago we did sequencing manually with a whole bunch of scientists (and/or interns) chugging through line after line of DNA molecules. It was an incredibly tedious process, which is why we've since passed it off to computers. However, while ...


30

Cut a road into the canyon walls. In order to build stuff on Mars, they are going to need a lot of heavy earth moving equipment. Simply start digging/mining along the edge of the canyon, and make a very long ramp that the equipment can be hauled down. Then it's just a matter of driving down. Soil on Mars Marian soil is called regolith. It's basically ...


30

Mars is the better bet There's a reason why building habitats on Mars makes more sense, and many of them are covered in the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. The simplest and most plausible reason though is that Mars is already a 'spaceship' in a stable orbit around the sun, so all you have to do is populate it with the people and resources you need. ...


27

This is what we do, it's what we've done for thousands of years Plant some of everything to start with, see what survives. You're going to end up with Japanese knotweed, horsetail, Russian vine, bindweed, ryegrass, dandelions. Weeds. The kind of plants where the first google result is "how do I get rid of [...]". Why? because they're hardy, they'll survive ...


27

There are proposals for skintight spacesuits. This link is worth checking out for a NASA concept of skintight spacesuit. MIT had also developed their version of skintight spacesuit. The MIT BioSuit™, a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits. Please note the MIT Biosuit is more ...


26

Decompression would not be rapid in most cases. This is assuming that you have a relatively small hole in a relatively large dome, kept at or around one atmosphere of pressure. It turns out this is a situation that people think of a lot in the context of airplane safety. (Though airplanes are a fair bit more complex, since they often encounter problems at a ...


25

Yes, you can fake a land with existing rovers but you won't want to. The following sequence of events will establish the hoax but you'll never be able to keep the secret for long and when the hoax is revealed, ESA and NASA reputation will be tarnished forever. Have Curiosity Rover's sensors register a significant overpressure event followed by several more ...


24

Atmosphere is not enough - it would also need water. And Mars already had both atmosphere and water: Mars would lose both new atmosphere and new water for exactly same reasons it did lost them before, in similar timeframe (around billion years or so) or even sooner (because now it's core is less active, creating weaker magnetic protection). So if any ...


24

If there are credible signs of multicellular life, and not just hard-to-explain sensor readings that might be consistent with some sort of life, the priority of Venus for further automated science missions would go up. But there would also be concern of contamination — both ways. Mars remains the better option for the first permanent off-Earth ...


22

I've taken the liberty to provide a slightly more general answer. It also answers your question along the way: Early Stage Colonies (Mars population <50,000) would be incredibly dependent on Earth, and therefore could not afford to risk ending the supply of cargo from Earth. The industrial chains leading to the production of advanced electronics and ...


22

They would use drones. The distance between the bases, 100 km, is a lot. If they had lunar rover type vehicles, it would take them over 7.5 hours of driving top speed to get there. If they have rovers like in Any Weir's The Martian (excellent book!), it will take four hours at top speed to get there. Quite frankly, ain't nobody got time for that. Looking ...


22

Burning fossil fuels on Mars is highly impractical. Burning coal means using up oxygen, which is not readily available on Mars. As long as the human population on Mars has to live in environmentally closed colonies, Oxygen has to be produced by cultivated plants through photosynthesis, liberated from water or minerals at prohibitive energy cost (more energy ...


22

No; probably Your skeletal muscles are not the most important muscles in your body. That would be your heart. Unless you can add weights your blood, then your heart will get weaker as you spend more time on Mars. The amount of force it takes to pump blood from your heart to your head depends on the hydrostatic force of blood at that vertical distance; so a ...


21

Assuming there are (or were) native Martians, what makes you think their calendar would be any more rational than ours? They too, would have whatever religious/historical/accidental quirks that their cultural development left, which would complicate it just as much as any human calendar. That said, if you're asking about designing a rational calendar ...


21

Drive up from the northern end of the valley, where there isn't a drop off; shown in the topographical map below: Depending on where you start from this could be relatively easy or may involve constructing a ~4000 km road (the length of the valley). Assuming they have the infrastructure in place to travel long distance across the surface they could use ...


21

My best guess is the solar system has enough solid mass for 45-95 Earths, all but two of which are from the gas giants. They can get closer to 500-600 if they can convert hydrogen and helium into material the Earth is made out of. More than 300,000 if they can convert the entire Sun. However, it's unlikely you'd get more than a few to actually have ...


21

Robert Zubrin answers this in his non-fiction book "The Case for Mars", in the chapter the "Interplanetary Commerce": Precious metals. This has already been written in another answer. Zubrin states however that it is not yet clear how abundant these are. Deuterium Deuterium is important for Fusion reactors and according to the book Martian water is ...


19

Short answer: Mars's atmosphere is thin, and thin atmospheres make wind power less effective. Longer answer: The formula for the amount of power gained from a wind turbine: $$Wp = 0.5 \cdot C_p \cdot A \cdot \rho \cdot v^3$$ where $Wp$ = Wind power $A$ = turbine area $C_p$ = coefficient for how effective the wind turbine is, and has a maximum value of ...


19

There could be several reasons. Maybe the Martians can produce their own food and water, but what about all the other parts it takes to run the colony? Which high-tech devices are the Martians willing to live without in the name of independence? What about entertainment, or luxury goods? Are the common folk willing to do without all those products? What ...


19

Just drive down it. Although the valley is large, it's not terribly steep. And like all valleys, some places are steeper than others. Here's a cross-section from https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/gec-mars/9kR0zzUGuRc: Note the vertical scale is exaggerated 4 times, making the actual cross section more like this: Moreover, as with any steep ...


18

If the hoax is to hold, you have to put enough money for a credible mission into the ESA budget, and that money has to end up on the balance sheets of tech companies. Just hiding it in Swiss bank accounts won't do. Also, people are going to track the transmissions of the Mars ship. Amateur astronomers will watch the reentry. So it seems that you have to ...


17

The redness of Mars' surface comes from the large quantities of iron in its crust. Other terrestrial planets in the Solar System also contain iron, but not at their surfaces. Mars in particular has several things going for it that allowed it to keep much of that iron in the crust: Low surface gravity Low temperatures in the initially molten crust These ...


17

Let's get empirical. The good news is research into martian concrete has been done. Researchers think regolith on Mars could serve as a replacement for concrete components. The Mars rovers have used gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and laser spectrometry to determine the composition of martian soil. Mars regolith is mostly silicon dioxide and ferric ...


16

I'll be an optimist here, and say that maybe - just maybe - it can be done. Here's my plan: Send a rover to Mars - or, rather, wait until a rover gets sent to Mars. The best choice now is to wait for the Mars 2020 rover to launch. When the rover lands, begin its mission planning. It will hopefully bring back some positive results regarding Martian ...


16

I'll throw out the orbit option. Earth and Mars are planets on the move as they rotate around the sun. There are several times where they are reasonably close together, but moreover there is much time where they are on opposite sides of the sun from one another. Lets say we are working on a massive project on Jupiter that spans a 20 year timeline. For ...


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