MOON vs. MARS: Which destination should humanity colonize first? PRO=MOON CON=MARS
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With 1 vote and 5 points ahead, the winner is ...
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PRO=MOON colony first
CON=MARS colony first
BURDEN of PROOF is shared- both sides must make an affirmative case for their preferred project. In effect, we have two policy resolutions:
RESOLVED:Humans should colonize the Moon first
RESOLVED:Humans should colonize Mars first
NO KRITIKS, please, for this debate: both sides should assume that human space colonization is both achievable and desirable over the next few centuries of human history. Political questions regarding the governance of any hypothetical colony ought not to be considered for this short debate.
THE MOON is an astronomical body that orbits the planet Earth and acts as its only permanent natural satellite.
MARS is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury.
HUMANS (Homo sapiens) are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina. A terrestrial animal, humans are characterized by their erect posture and bipedal locomotion; high manual dexterity and heavy tool use compared to other animals; open-ended and complex language use compared to other animal communications; larger, more complex brains than other animals; and highly advanced and organized societies.
COLONIZATION requires the establishment of permanent habitats that have potential for self-expansion and self-sustenance.
- RULES --
1. Forfeit=auto loss
2. Sources may be merely linked in debate as long as citations are listed in comments
3. No new args in R3
4. For all relevant terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the rational context of this resolution and debate
- confinement to small spaces,
- long periods of isolation, boredom,
- high stress,
- space sickness, disorientation,
- micro-gravity decreases bone density, atrophies muscles, impairs vision,
- radiation exposure increases cancer risks, damages cognitive abilities. Astronauts caught outside of Earth's magnetic field during a significant geomagnetic storm could suffer lethal exposure.
"Elements known to be present on the lunar surface include, among others, are hydrogen, oxygen, silicon, iron, magnesium, calcium, aluminium, manganese, and titanium. Among the more abundant are oxygen, iron and silicon. The atomic oxygen content in the regolith is estimated at 45% by weight.
- One major additional cost savings is found in the relatively inexpensive cost of launching from the Moon's weak gravity- small packages can be practically catapulted back to Earth.
- A Lunar day is 29 and 1/2 Earth days- so every night is about 354 hours long. This creates some challenges for solar power and agriculture and requires planning for major temperature extremes but the advantage of the Moon is that this cycle is very predictable. Winds, dust storms, and precipitation don't present as obstacles on the Moon as opposed to any planetary destination.
- A colony built near the Moon's poles could exploit continuous or near-continuous illumination as well as the likelihood of exploitable water supplies in the permanently shadowed craters of the poles.
"On 11 December 2017, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, a change in national space policy that provides for a U.S.-led, integrated program with private sector partners for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond. The policy calls for the NASA administrator to "lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities." The effort intends to more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the Moon and laying the foundation of eventual human exploration of Mars.On 26 March 2019, Vice President Mike Pence announced that NASA's Moon landing goal would be accelerated by 4 years with a planned landing in 2024."
- CON preludes his arguments with a promise of more rhetoric, less sourcing. VOTERS will note that "better sourcing" is one of the criterion for judging this debate.
- CON suggests that his framework will rely on the concept of optimal game theory, which he will not define. PRO has no objection.
- CON notes on multiple occasions that CON has concluded that the Earth is flat. This suggests a lack of familiarity with astronomical proofs to a degree sufficient to disqualify CON from this debate. If, for example, CON is convinced that the Earth and Mars are not both in orbit around Sol or that huge amounts of the data gathered by NASA and other space explorers is necessarily false and corrupt, PRO wonders that CON would defend Mars as a candidate for colonization. If the Earth is flat, then all of Astronomy's fundamental assumptions and calculations after Copernicus must be false and any expedition to Mars based on those calculations and assumptions doomed to failure. PRO has no wish to derail this debate rehashing some profoundly discredited theory so PRO will disregard, confident that such assertions can only undermine CON's credibility.
- CON claims that any new space travel will create political turmoil as either flat-earthers or science will be proved wrong. PRO notes that flat-earthers were proven wrong by Aristarchus of Samos in the 3rd century B.C. Any sincere flat-earth theory since serves only as an act of faith, immune to any evidence.
- In spite of the debate condition excluding political considerations, CON has engaged in some highly speculative political arguments regarding the sovereignty and rights of any Martian colony which PRO will disregard as irrelevant to this debate. PRO assumes that the 1968 Outer Space Treaty will define the governance of all Outer Space settlements in the near term.
- CON claims that PRO argued for the need to monitor colonies. PRO objects to the obvious falsehood of this straw man.
- CON argues for Martian independence irrelevantly and in contradiction to debate terms. PRO will disregard this line of thought.
For those who don't know there's an atmosphere on PM, it has conditions susceptible to life and even though all we've seen are green blobs, it is very possible that there's far more that could happen there if it were to interact with water, soil and some conditions we could induce
- PRO agrees with CON that Mars is more conducive to life than the Moon.
- Humanity should determine with better than 99% certainty that no life exists now on Mars before any human expedition, much less colonization. As humanity learned soon after the discovery of the New World, biological organisms gradually develop tolerances for foreign organisms and are often highly vulnerable when exposed to new environments (Native Americans' vulnerability to smallpox, for example).
- If there is life on Mars, that life must be meticulously quarantined and studied until we are confident that exposure to Terran biologicals do not represent an unacceptable health risk to Martian life and that Martian biologicals do represent an unacceptable health risk to Earthlings.
- Since such certainty for Mars is likely decades away while the Moon already enjoys high confidence of sterility, the Moon is a superior candidate for first colonization while we are carefully looking for Martian life. "No expedition to the moon has ever found amino acids or other chemicals that might link up to form living things, even as similar chemicals have turned up as far away as Mars."
"We'd never know until it was too late that there was a hostile force coming in from PM towards us (which has proven to be the most likely outer-space sphere in our vicinity to have life), until it was too late"
- PRO seems to be arguing that intelligent life may eluding detection out of hostile intent.
- CON argues that any such alien intelligence ought to have a sovereign claim to Mars, necessarily nullifying any Terran claims.
"We can have parties that literally are thousand-dollar priced occasions and have part of it go to charity perhaps, in the middle of space in a really sci-fi nightclub"
- PRO agrees with CON that interplanetary fundraising parties are one potential (but fairly incidental) benefit of interplanetary travel.
- PRO offers no reason why parties are a particularly "Mars first" development. The Moon ought to prove a superior party venue because
- Excessive travel time is a major downside to any party, particularly during the "hung over" return trip. As PRO pointed out in R1, Mars takes 90 times longer to travel to/from than the Moon. Therefore, we could theoretically host 90 times as many lunar fundraising galas per party bus/spaceship deployed.
- Likewise, if we want any money to actually go to the benefit of charities, we should keep costs low. Lunar fundraisers are going to be way, way cheaper than Martian fundraisers. If we use NASA's cost ratios from R1 (24 unmanned/8 manned lunar missions= $20 -30 billion vs 1 manned martian mission = $500 billion. Assume unmanned much cheaper- rough average $2 billion per manned mission vs $500 billion, or 1:250 moon:mars cost ratio), we could host hundred of lunar fundraisers for the cost of one Martian fundraiser.
- Also, ticket prices in the thousands are simply not going to cut it. At current prices, it costs about $1.7 million just to get the weight of the average US woman into orbit. So, let's say a ticket to party on the Moon costs $3 million, we should assume that a ticket to party on Mars needs be about $750 million- really only a realistic consideration for maybe two or three thousand people on Earth, most of whom are probably too busy to spend most of their fortune on an 18 month joy ride.
"We could have greenhouses in the space stations, help with the issue of overpopulation and deforestation without inhibiting people's freedom to have sex as well as not needing to fight off medical advances that make us live longer despite still having children. We wouldn't need to fight new life if we could create room in and around our planet"
- PRO fails to explain why any of these options are exclusive or superior in a "Mars first" scenario.
- Greenhouses are theoretically possible, in fact necessary to any long term settlement. The Moon enjoys a considerable advantages over Mars as a location for hosting greenhouses.
- a significant decline in the chlorophyll content in plant leaves,
- reduction in the oxidizing power of plant roots
- reduction in the size of the plant both above and below ground
- an accumulation of concentrated perchlorates in the leaves
- CON agrees with PRO that space colonies might offer some relief to the Terran problem of overpopulation (and, by extension, deforestation). However, colonies with capacities of scale sufficient to be alleviate Earth are centuries away so and beyond the scope of our discussion here, which is where to build the first colony.
- Even in the long term, the Moon's proximity and cost advantages make the Moon a more appealing destination for population relief efforts on any scale.
"we’ve been to the moon, seen nothing was there worth inhabiting or exploring"
"space experts and financial advisors to both governments and private institutions agree that the moon is a total waste of colonisation and even visitation"
"We know for a fact that the many billions we spent on going to TM are all wasted "
"There is guaranteed failure, lack of anything interesting and worth the investment with TM. So even if you invest only one billion dollars, it will be every single one absolutely down the drain"
- CON's claim is inexplicably ignorant of the profound ongoing scientific, financial, and geopolitical interest in the Moon.
- Wikipedia lists 137 missions to the Moon led by seven different nations over the last 60 years including 8 missions currently in progress. India tried (unsuccessfully) to land a rover on the Moon last week. China successfully grew a cotton plant from a seedling on the Moon earlier this year.
- As stated by PRO in R1, NASA's ARTEMIS program has planned and partially funded 32 lunar missions over the next decade. ARTEMIS 1 is scheduled to orbit the Moon next year. The first manned mission is scheduled for 2022 and the first manned touchdown at the Moon's South Pole is scheduled for 2024.
- Motley Fool was just salivating a few weeks back over Baylor University's recent discovery of a mass of metal 5 times the size of Hawaii's big island. Chinese rovers are already looking for signs of gold there.
Abbreviations from R1 are still relevant.
On the moon, there's no air to breathe, no breezes to make the flags planted there by the Apollo astronauts flutter. However, there is a very, very thin layer of gases on the lunar surface that can almost be called an atmosphere. Technically, it's considered an exosphere.In an exosphere, the gases are so spread out that they rarely collide with one another. They are rather like microscopic cannon balls flying unimpeded on curved, ballistic trajectories and bouncing across the lunar surface. In the moon's atmosphere, there are only 100 molecules per cubic centimeter. In comparison, Earth's atmosphere at sea level has about 100 billion billion molecules per cubic centimeter. The total mass of these lunar gases is about 55,000 pounds (25,000 kilograms), about the same weight as a loaded dump truck. Every night, the cold temperatures mean the atmosphere falls to the ground, only to be kicked up by the solar wind the following days.
Our moon is uninhabitable and lifeless today. It has no significant atmosphere, no liquid water on its surface, no magnetosphere to protect its surface from solar wind and cosmic radiation, no polymeric chemistry, and it is subject to large diurnal temperature variations (e.g., Vaniman et al., 1991; Schulze-Makuch and Irwin, 2008). Thus, associating our Moon with habitability seems outrageous, and certainly it would have been just a decade ago.
- CON has not refuted that the Moon's nearness offers major advantages over Mars in terms of faster and cheaper health & safety support, evacuation & rescue times, tourism, employment availability, communication and media availability, resource extraction and transportation. CON has dropped six R1 arguments favoring 30 times faster travel times and perhaps 250 times cheaper startup costs.
- CON has ignored PRO's argument that the Moon's low gravity and mineral wealth make the Moon the best possible choice for a spaceport beyond Earth's already overcrowded orbit.
- CON disregarded PRO's arguments regarding the advantages the Moon has over Mars in terms of highly predictable whether and a regions of continuous light and continuous darkness.
- CON has dropped PRO's evidence that NASA has made its preference known and has already allocated significant resources towards supporting 32 new missions to the Moon over the next decade.
- CON has made no reply to PRO's argument that the rocket tech necessary to colonize the Moon is presently available while the rocket tech necessary to colonize Mars has not yet been invented.
- CON dropped PRO's discussion of the promotional advantages of a human colony visible from Earth.
- CON tries to claim for his side PRO's arguments that success on the Moon can improve human confidence, investment, and capacity for exploring Mars and other destinations in space.
"Pro concedes that the single most important reason to even begin considering colonizing the moon would be that ultimately the best place for us to colonize in outer space is Mars but Mars is too far to have an easy test run."
- The flipside of Mars viabiltiy (presence of water, amino acids, etc) is that there may already be life (CON even suggests intelligent life which PRO says makes Mars off-limits). We must rule out with a high degree of confidence any potential life (as we have done on the Moon ) before setting any timeline or promoting Mars as a potential first human colony.
- PRO suggested the possibility of fundraising parties on Mars but never explained why distance and cost don't make the Moon a preferable party destination. PRO dropped the matter in R2.
- CON talked a bit about Martian agriculture but never addressed PRO's concern about the deadly toxicity of Martian soil.
- PRO and CON both agree that after generations of trial and error and probably some terraforming, Mars will likely be the more suitable place for large-scale Terran migration but that's not the question. The question is where shall we colonize first? The fact is that we are going to have to have significant lunar development anyway and all the effort we put towards lunar development will certainly improve martian success rates and martian costs so the Moon is simply the most rational choice for a first colony.
- CON argues that we should have mining and agriculture on the same Moon with a colony but we do both on Earth and it will likely be a few centuries at least before we can afford to have "mining planets" like in Star Trek. PRO assumes that industry and habitation will share the same moons and planets for a long time to come.