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46

It's Not Easy, Being Green: Why would Martians be green? Lots of strange things can happen to a species, so let's dig into them. Ancient traits: Once, Mars was green. Martians blended into their environment seamlessly. Then things got cold and dry and oxygen dropped off, but Martians were still green. Without a strong pressure to change to a new color, they ...


40

Kessler Syndrome The US/NATO military relies HEAVILY on satellites, in ways even their near-peer competitors (like China) do not. China's specific plan to combat this advantage is to blow US satellites out of the sky in the event of war between the two powers. China is also notoriously unconcerned about collateral damage in space. So it'll be messy. ...


38

Because they're not all coming back At the same time they're travelling there to form a colony too - because it's a waste to lug all this stuff to Mars and only use it once. There will be rockets travelling back and forth over the following few decades carrying cargo and people, and it's going to be easier if there's manned bases at both ends. Humanity is ...


22

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused severe supply disruptions for Arctic research expeditions. If I'm reading this article right, at least one team had every single resupply trip cancelled! (See the comments for more details, and a discussion of possible tension with this documentary.) Ships from across the world that were scheduled to make journeys to ...


18

Nurdles The world has finally cracked down on Iran's alleged dreams of being able to make nuclear missiles, and begins an all-out bombing campaign. They watch in horror as the Iranians respond by launching a rocket in defiance that they are unable to blast out of the air ... but it turns out to simply be a launch to orbit, demonstrating what might have ...


18

My current route is a war with China, in which supplying the Martian colony is rather low on the list of priorities, and all resources need to be devoted to the war effort. I do not like this solution though, as I think that a war with China at that point feels a bit like applying current events to something far down the line when it may not be realistic. I ...


15

Standing watches without exhaustion One of the principles of standing watch in an infantry context is that wherever possible there is at least a double-staggered piquet. Let's say 8 soldiers need to stand watch on the gun for 8 hours overnight (from 2000 until 0400), their shifts look something like this: Soldier 1 (split shift) 2000-2100 Soldier 2 - 2000-...


15

Massive coronal ejection unlike anything seen before Sometimes the Sun coughs up a lot of mass and it's usually on its rotation plane. It hits us more often than we would like. Usually it just disturbs satellites for a while but scientists say a big one could knock out power stations on Earth. If we get hit by a really large one that is bigger than the one ...


12

Our skin pigmentation has nothing to do with mimicry, it's an adaptation to mitigate the problems arising from the interaction between the solar radiation and our skin. Do the same for your Martians: their equivalent of melanin is a pigment providing different hues of green, from deeper to lighter. You can also top it with a blood pigment, equivalent of our ...


12

It is not the first approach of this sort. This one just succeeded. After North Korean leadership gave up on their nuclear program, they turned to the space race as a source of national pride. Their unorthodox approach was surprisingly effective, if wasteful. The 70 Korean cosmonauts who succeeded in reaching Mars were actually in the third ship sent up, ...


11

Bilirubin protects from mutagens and oxidants. High levels of bilirubin in the blood is called jaundice. https://ihv.org.uk/news-and-views/voices/kelly-anne-and-siennas-story-of-baby-jaundice/ But the pigments that cause jaundice can protect against mutagens and oxidants. The anti-mutagenic and antioxidant effects of bile pigments in the Ames Salmonella ...


11

For the same reason that poisonous frogs are brilliantly colored. Being green makes them stand out, and also makes them memorable. Most animals lack the cunning to realize that something would not be so conspicuous without good reason, but most are cunning enough to remember how badly they got beaten the last time they tried to eat something green. For a ...


10

OP here: this is my own, not-quite-complete answer, which I'm posting just because no one else got to it. Obviously I won't accept this one, don't worry. Project Orion The first idea I had while writing this question was that the mission architecture made sending a large crew no more problematic than sending a small one. What immediately jumped out at me was ...


10

MASSIVE FINANCIAL CRASH What is "the most realistic way" such a scenario could occur is debatable, but here is a highly realistic one: 2044 experiences a sudden and massive financial breakdown as a result of speculation. Professional speculators have invested massively from the faulty belief that the value of stocks, natural resources, ...


9

Symbiotic plants on the skin One thing that is near universally green are plants. Any part that is using photosynthesis looks green to our eyes (in nearly all cases). Why green isn't used in photosynthesis is unknown. A symbiosis can form between skin and certain single cell or multicellular plants. The advantages can be numerous. The plants are moved and ...


8

Have you ever seen a true color picture taken from Mars? It looks like a Netflix show when a scene happens in a latin-american country - everything is just hues of one basic color. For Mars, it is actually something that looks orangey to yellowish to my eyes. You can judge for yourself by browsing NASA's APOD for a few minutes, looking for Mars pictures. ...


8

If Earth would lose its magnetic field, solar wind would have nothing stopping its interaction with the atmosphere. This would result in molecules being split up there. If this happens to water molecules, they will be split into oxygen and hydrogen. While oxygen is massive enough to generally not escape the gravity well, hydrogen will leave to space. Over ...


8

The surface of Mars is a rather inhospitable place. Very low oxygen content, relatively high charged particle radiation and very low temperatures for instance. In order to survive just those conditions alone your Martians will need a better oxygen transport mechanism, better protection from charged particle radiation and a nice, thick layer of insulation. In ...


7

More viable than building up. Its so viable that we will probably build down on Mars before we build up. This is a published idea already. The fictional "Mars" on Netflix shows a hypothetical 2030 colony on Mars in lava tubes beneath the surface. Building down will protect you from dust storms, meteors, and radiation. It's also probably easier to ...


7

Mostly life will be perfectly normal. At .38g normal day-to-day activities would proceed normally. It is enough gravity to not bother sleeping (it should be more comfortable!), standing, sitting at a desk, eating. Your paperwork will behave and sit on your desk, your food likewise. Liquids in open containers will be a bit more unruly (2.5x wave height for ...


7

A Martian colony would produce very little oxygen. It would recycle it. Moxie seems to be the go to for near future Mars missions. You can break down iron oxide or other minerals to give oxygen, you can use plants, and you can use electrolysis. I'd expect all of these to contribute to a Martian oxygen cycle, no one tech would produce it all. However the tech ...


7

A possible scenario is that the resupply missions are planned as minimum-energy launches every 2 years and takes about 7 months. These minimum-energy launch windows occur 780 days apart, about 2 years and 2 month. Sending spacecrafts outside of these windows would take longer time and consume more fuel. Every extra bit of fuel used eats into the payload and ...


6

Mars is famously the "Red Planet", because it is covered in some forms of iron oxides. It shouldn't be too hard to reduce this to extract iron an oxygen, although i suspect it will be easier to just let hydroponic plants eat away at those 95% CO2 of the martian atmosphere. Supplying a short expedition with oxygen vs. a permanent colony is a very ...


6

Railways are the ships of the land. They are the most efficient form of land transport over long distances, and the only form of transport for heavy cargo. You can't efficiently transport heavy cargo by truck 500km, let alone 2000km. It's still pretty much the only solution to haul heavy cargo like building materials and resources by land. Roads and overland ...


6

Snails feed on leaves, algae and the like. Leaves apart their food grows on hard substrate, and they have a mouth adapted to feed while they are literally moving on it: In the pic above you see the snail from below while moving on a glass. Your creatures can do the same: while moving on the mucosae, their mouth is in close contact with it and chews it away.


6

It is possible there is is a huge amount of water deep in the mantle, perhaps three times as big as the oceans. It is not a big stretch to imagine there is place in the silicates for an additional 30% capcity. Let's say something (caldera explosion somewhere under oceanic floor?) makes the water seep down and bind with the silicates. The loss of life, ...


6

Their alien biology uses, instead of hemoglobin, a compound similar to hemocyanin (but a slightly-different color). Where hemoglobin transports oxygen using iron and makes our blood red, Martian blood binds the oxygen as copper oxide, and is green or cyan.


6

Cost Like everything it comes down to cost. Now if you have a job to do and ten people cost X to send but twenty people cost X + 10%, sending 20 is worth it. Thirty people might be X + 15%. Seventy could just be the sweet spot for the best return on investment. What a seventy man team would be is the majority of the team remains in space in a self sustaining ...


6

the hypothetical situation in which SpaceX has partnered with NASA Instead of hypotheticals, why not look at the work they've already done together? This 2019 Business Insider article (paywalled, alas, though you can find text-only versions of the article in some less reputable places I shan't link to, just in case) took a look at some of the HiRISE image ...


5

Rearrange the galaxy a bit. If you drag the star system Eta Carinae (a binary or possibly trinary system, we're not sure) to within say 30 light years of Sol (it's currently at about 7,500 light years), then when it goes supernova (it's expected to anytime now) then it'll strip the atmosphere and most of the water quite effectively, but without knocking the ...


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