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back to article Elon Musk envisions small town of VEGETARIANS ON MARS

Billionaire space pioneer Elon Musk wants to get a Martian colony of 80,000 people up and running by ferrying folks out there for $500,000 a trip. Mars Musk wants to start his colony on Mars with just ten people or so, who would fly to the planet on a huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane. "At Mars, you …

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Begin settling space,

and ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars- what's not to like?

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Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

I must be going blind. Could you point out where EM mentions vegetarians?

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Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

They're only growing crops there, not farming animals. So no meat being produced, vegetarian diet is not optional.

If they can figure out a way to grow bacon (please no hambush jokes) I'll happily signup in 15 years.

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Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

Fish would be a very good thing to grow there. Help recycle water and convert inedible (to us) plant foods into something useful.

And some giant tortoise might help too! Just think how efficient animals would be growing in low gravity!

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Pirate

Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

Oh I don't know. Cannibalism is always an option for struggling colonists.

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Alien

Re: Begin settling space,

Other members of the Ark to include ...

Telephone Sanitisers, Hairdressers, Second-hand Car Salesmen,TV Producers, Personnel Officers, Management Consultants, Insurance Salesmen and Public Relations Executives

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Re: Begin settling space,

@Cynical

You forgot the Patent Lawyers.

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Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

MmmMmm, colonist the "long pork" of Mars...

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Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

It is nice to be optimistic about expanding civilization beyond Earth. Three things, though.

1) There is clearly naivete in Elon. On its first docking mission, one of the non-shielded computers failed in the very-short LEO mission (two others did capably back it up, though). I wonder what an extended mission would unearth.

2) They have yet to explain exactly how they will avoid another single-engine blowout during launch. In this case, they could sacrifice the secondary launch device. When loaded to full-rating, that wouldn't be an option.

3) Curiousity's team is expected to announce some kind of organic-find on Mars during the AGU in December. If there is ANY chance that indigenous organic activity exists on Mars, then we shouldn't assume that we can simply overlay it with Earth based life forms.

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FAIL

Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

They're only growing crops there, not farming animals.

An enforced lack of meat in the diet doesn't mean someone is a vegetarian. That's like saying a prisoner doesn't leave his cell because he's agoraphobic.

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Re: Begin settling space,

You forgot BankersWankers.

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Trollface

Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

Have you ever tried to get a cow on a rocket ship? They don't go willingly. Biped vegetable eaters are a lot easier to fool into getting on something that is basically a supersized Roman Candle.

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@ Beachrider Re: "ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars"

2) They didn't need to sacrifice anything: if the pesky ISS hadn't been in the way the secondary payload would still have been delivered. Losing one engine out of nine did not restrict the vehicle's capabilities - that's why it's built that way.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Begin settling space,

@ Cynical... you forgot ALL Politicians... on the FIRST FLIGHT.

and Paris Hilton...

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Childcatcher

Re: Begin settling space,

And make a shedload of money.

Let me see!

Bit of head scratching later 80,000 people at $0.5m: $40billion. Yes, cheap as chips.

And he wants the Government to contribute as well.

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FAIL

To Mars !!!

And eat only veggies?

Naah

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Devil

Re: To Mars !!!

They could at least import chickens...

Three breasted chickens of course!

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Coat

Re: To Mars !!!

"They could at least import chickens..."

Nah, you don't want to do that.

They're fowl!

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Happy

Is this a terraforming attempt?

Elon is going to send only vegetarians, so he can get lots of methane to start global warming on Mars, and get it nicely terraformed. As a bonus, they can also help refuel his rocket.

I guess it's viable, so long as you can grow enough brussels sprouts, cabbage and beans in Martian conditions.

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Pint

Re: Is this a terraforming attempt?

Good point, but you're looking at it the wrong way - maybe he's thinking you need to send up a lot of cows to help terraform with their voluminous gaseous emissions, and lack of complaining about working standards.

The vegetarian part is just so you don't get hungry and eat the cows while they're performing essential flatulent duties.

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Re: Is this a terraforming attempt?

With all respect I think carnivores indirectly produce far more methane than veggies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is this a terraforming attempt?

How does one indirectly produce methane?

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Dreamers

Part of me is thinking this is one of those blue (or muddy pink) sky scenarios that wont get anywhere.

But where would we be without the dreamers?

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Re: Dreamers

Not just dreaming- he's throwing time, money and other people's brains at launch vehicles, initially to reduce the cost of satellite launches. The Mars thing is down the line a little.

The full interview is over on Wired, and what he said about the cost of rockets was interesting. Fuel is only 0.3% of the cost of his rocket, cost of materials to make a rocket is traditionally 2% of the cost - compared to around 25% for a car - so there is room for greater efficiency in the manufacture; it suggests that the old system of contracting to contractors who in turn subcontract hasn't given NASA the most whoosh their buck. He's also used friction stir welding to add ribs to the frame, rather than machine them out of solid billets of alloy.

I have no doubt that Musk is skilled at PR, and he isn't yet addressing issues of radiation on astronaut's bodies on the journey, but its good to see a billionaire doing something interesting with his money rather than just get a yacht

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Black Helicopters

Re: Dreamers

he's throwing time, money and other people's brains at launch vehicles

And other people's money if he thinks governments should foot part of the initial cost. If it's not viable without tax money, then it's not viable.

I'd jump on the first flight if I was sure there was no taxes on Mars!

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Pint

Re: Dreamers

"he's throwing time, money and other people's brains at launch vehicles"

Because there's nothing quite like a fresh coat of brains on a rocket

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Happy

Re: Dreamers

"but its good to see a billionaire doing something interesting with his money rather than just get a yacht."

Dave,

Perhaps you give him too much credit. Maybe all he's doing is laying plans to build a giant space yacht...

With a name like his, he's clearly going to go mad at some point, and build an underground volcano base, or space station, and fill it with henchmen (and henchwomen). But fortunately they always build them with a convenient self-destruct system. Which makes thwarting them a lot easier.

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Re: Dreamers

I read the interview, he's certainly thought about it from a business perspective (i.e. creating a market where there is a constant stream of people willing to pay to be ferried to Mars). If we were thinking about colonising Mars from a practical perspective it would make much more sense to send a small group of people (enough form a viable gene pool for breeding) and let them get on with populating the planet by themselves.

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I think I just heard the sound of Robert Zubrin ejaculating in his pants.

And rightfully so!

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Stop

Why?

Apart from the novelty, which would wear off quickly, why would anyone want to do this?

In many ways the polar regions of Earth are much more hospitable than anywhere on Mars but there aren't many people that want to live there.

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Re: Why?

Eggs. Basket.

Between asteroids, zombie apocalypses, ROTM, triffids, toxic overload, ocean acidification etc, its a hedging of our species' bets.

And there are people who live in Arctic regions, since more hospitable regions are already populated by other people.

Granted, it wouldn't be for most people, but in this world of 7 billion people, I'd hope there would be some volunteers.

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Re: Why?

Because I'd be on frickin' Mars!

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Paris Hilton

Re: Why?

Two words: Dejah Thoris.

Paris because, well, isn't it obvious?

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Re: Why?

Still doesn't explain why people live in Slough

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Joke

Optional

So *only* half a million to go and live somewhere inhospitable with no atmosphere, a bit like going to Dartford then, well except for having to pay to go that is.....

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Paris Hilton

Re: Optional

I'd pay $500,000 dollars to send Pier Morgan on a one way trip to the cold desolate inhospitable wasteland that is Mars ;-)

Donations accepted to send the unwanted and unwashed to Mars are welcome. Other suggestions,Paris Hilton perhaps? anybody who's ever appeared on a reality TV show?

Just make sure we don't send them a video camera!

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Alien

Re: Optional

Surely if you lack in volunteers a quick round up of standard issue tv-wannabes with the old 'its a reality show' ploy would generate a hefty queue of volunteers and a couple of presenters as well. Unfortunately suitability of the applicants for establishing a sustainable and well run colony of humans somewhere else in the galaxy would probably be low

Come to think of it, the whole idea sounds a bit Douglas Adams to me...

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Pint

Re: Optional

Not Douglas Adams, but Wil McCarthy's "Lost in Transmission".

If I had the $$$, I'd sign up today.

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Happy

Vegetarians, or Vegans?

I presume they're not taking anything living other than the plants and what the human body hosts on and within it. Unless they're taking livestock, I can only assume they're going to live as vegans.

Also, people in their mid-40's. Is that to reduce the risk of making native martians by the colonists?

Still, I like Elon "adventurous" Musk and his idea's. Better for humanity to dream than sit in our cave's wondering how to get round the problem of cold weather.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: wondering how to get round the problem of cold weather

You should be busy wondering how to get around the problem of using apostrophes correctly.

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Re: apostrophes

To be honest if you need to be busy wondering about that problem, there is probably little hope for you.

It's not exactly rocket science.

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Would you trust him though?

Today, Elon Musk, governor of the Mars colony, isolated and shut down the ventilation to Venusville ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Would you trust him though?

Musk does look like he could pass for Arnie's younger brother... similar eyes and forehead!

That recent Total Recall remake was less than the sum of its parts, though I liked their substitution of Australia for Mars! Hmm.. plan.... take $500,000 off people in return for a trip to Mars, tell them that they will be in suspended animation for the journey, they awake in a polythene greenhouse in the Aussie outback.

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Re: Would you trust him though?

Why would anyone, Dr Who, make that simple mistake? It is not as if IT isn't Mentored and Monitored, is it?

But when it isn't, is Mentored and Monitored IT Born ........ Created and Floated Out into Virtual Space Lanes.

Building Gardens of Eden in Heavenly Locations on Earth would be an Alien Project requiring Great Game Imaginanation and Flashy Transfers of Stash Cash to Burn on SMARTR Spends, which really spooks the markets. If you can't create a heaven on Earth with all of the worlds resources patently always available to you, it don't say much for the chances on Mars whenever you have no successful working model worked out on Earth with all that IT can so easily provide.

Solving/Resolving Problems Earthbound has them disappear in Space Flight ...... which makes rebuilding Earth in an increasing number of places in the likeness of an Idyllic Space Living on Mars or Venus or wherever a sort of no-brainer, Elon. IT is Edutainment.

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Re: Would you trust him though?

I think that, roughly translated, this post means "sort your own shit out and don't even think about dumping your problems on my doorstep. :("

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Won't happen for that price

Simply because of launch costs.

You'd probably be looking iro $100k to orbit, which while sounding nice, isn't practical near term.

The fuel alone for the launch would cost more than that!

Dragon is about the size of the Apollo capsule, which could only carry 3 people, with tech improvements, lets say 5.

F9 launch is $50m currently.

To achieve $100k, would require 100x reduction in launch costs.

I doubt even Skylon could match that.

I admire the drive and the aim, but the practicality is questionable.

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Re: Won't happen for that price

"which could only carry 3 people" People? The real question is, how many vegetarians can a Dragon carry.

As for me, no matter how cheap it's getting to get there, I'm not interested before they brought at least some cows or sheep there.

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Re: Won't happen for that price

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/ff-elon-musk-qa/all/

I think he was looking at around $500,000, which does cover the fuel. His current aim is to get the cost of manufacturing the rockets down, for which there is plenty of room.

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Re: Won't happen for that price

And with those cows and sheep, you could breed horses...

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Joke

Re: Won't happen for that price

"how many vegetarians can a Dragon carry"

I'm waiting for the punchline...

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