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Why colonizing Mars is a waste of time

Humanity’s problems are not problems of technology they are behavioral.

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In recent times well known figures such as Elon Musk (of Spacex) and the late Prof. Stephen Hawking have made highly publicised comments about space exploration and the necessity for humanity to colonise other planets (such as Mars) in order to ensure human survival in the future.

While such luminaries may well be right in suggesting that humanity is more than able to bring about its own destruction, I do not believe that attempting to populate other environments is the solution to the problem of human survival. Apart from the great challenges that face those attempting such a feat, the fundamental problems of human behaviour are still likely to apply in any locations additional to our own planet.

Before looking at humanity’s innate problems and our struggle to overcome them, let us consider the immensity of any attempt to colonize the Moon or a nearby planet such as Mars. The Moon is much closer to Earth than Mars (240,000 miles as opposed to at least 35 million miles) so it would obviously be easier to try a settlement closer to home first.

Despite its relatively convenient location, the Moon offers much greater challenges than Mars in many respects. For starters the gravity on the Moon is only about 17% of that on Earth, whereas on Mars it’s not far off 40% of that on Earth. The effects of long-term exposure to low gravity are quite serious with loss of bone mass (like osteoporosis), muscle wasting, deterioration of liver function and possible damage to eyesight. So far, the longest anyone has spent in space is 438 days, so it is hard to gauge the negative effects of spending several years or decades in a low gravity situation. Long-term existence in low gravity would undoubtedly make returning to Earth difficult or even impossible and there might also be implications for life expectancy for continual living in a low gravity environment.

Temperature is a significant problem for any would-be colonists, particularly on the Moon, which has no atmosphere. Daytime periods, which last for approximately half of the 28 day lunar cycle, can see surface temperatures of over 120 Celsius. For the other half of the cycle the surface is plunged into darkness and temperatures of around -150 Celsius. Obviously prolonged periods of extreme cold (and darkness) or extreme heat would make creating a stable environment for humans very difficult. Assuming that it could be done, one would still need to provide an environment that is suitable for growing food – with no water, no atmosphere and extended periods of cold and darkness it does not look very feasible.

The situation on Mars does not look quite so bleak, despite the fact that it would currently take at least 150 days to get there. In the Martian summer temperatures at the equator can reach an encouraging 20 Celsius, although generally temperatures only make it above freezing for a very short portion of the year (of 687 days). At night temperatures can plummet to -100 Celsius, even in summer, due to the thinness of the atmosphere. Mercifully the nights are similar in duration to those on Earth as the Martian day is marginally more than on earth and the axis tilt is only 2 degrees higher. Although this is a lot more inviting than the Moon, average temperature is around -55 Celsius and daytime temperatures rarely creep above the freezing point of water.

All this makes creating a human environment difficult, especially given that the Martian year is nearly twice as long as here on Earth and combined with its off-centre elliptical orbit, severely low temperatures outside of summer can be very long lasting. If it’s going to be difficult to keep warm for humans, that could be a more dramatic problem for plant life which we would need to cultivate to feed us. Plants need exposure to sunlight in order to stay alive and so would need to be grown in some kind of greenhouse type structure in order to allow heat and light to reach them. This would not be so great at night unless some form of effective insulation could be provided to stop the contents of the ‘greenhouse’ from freezing.

For any long-term situation on Mars it would be essential for humans to be able to grow their own food. The atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide on Mars which is fine for plants but deadly for humans. Unfortunately, like us, plants need oxygen (albeit a tiny amount), which is sadly lacking on Mars. Apart from the surface being too cold for plants the air pressure is about 100 times lower than on earth, what affect that would have is unknown. Assuming there are no pathogens in the air, external carbon dioxide could be brought into the closed environment but oxygen would need to be brought from earth or extracted from the frozen polar ice. If this could be done and similar air pressure to earth created, in time it should be possible for plants to create a stable ecosystem that provides sufficient oxygen for a human colony although many hundreds of plants or huge amounts of algae would be needed to provide for just one person.

Initially oxygen would have to be brought to the colony or obtained from water by splitting the oxygen from hydrogen and this would not be easy as water is known to exist at the frozen poles.

Growing plants for food and oxygen would be essential for any colony however it’s not going to be simple. Plants would need light but they would also need to be protected from harmful rays (by filters) that penetrate the thin Martian atmosphere. Plants need a growing medium, usually soil, and nutrients but both are rather lacking on Mars. There is no organic soil on Mars, it’s more like sand and although many of the right minerals do exist there, the proportions are tiny compared to what is typical on Earth – artificial fertilizers would be needed.

The soil on Mars is so thin and dry that a huge amount of it ends up as dust in the atmosphere. With rapid temperature changes a great deal of wind is generated, with maximum speeds of around 60mph. Dust storms would be a major problem to overcome on Mars as, on occasion, they engulf almost the whole planet and can last for weeks or even months at a time. High levels of dust in the atmosphere decrease light and heat penetration, just like a volcanic eruption can on Earth. On Earth such incidents are usually localized and short-lived. Severe eruptions in our past caused crop failure and famines on Earth; imagine how a dust storm of months on Mars could impact solar energy production and the photosynthesis of plants.

One particularly important component for survival, that I have barely mentioned yet, is water. The Moon has no water, but there is some present on Mars – in tiny amounts in the atmosphere and as ice at the poles. It would not be possible to transport sufficient water to another planet to provide for a colony so it would need to be separated from any frozen carbon dioxide at the poles and brought to the colony and melted. In the nineteenth century, before refrigeration was invented, huge blocks of ice were transported mostly by ship from northerly regions and sold where-ever people could afford to buy it. So, in theory, ice could be transported from polar regions on Mars to a colony (presumably near the warmer equator) but the logistics of long-distance transportation on a planet with no breathable atmosphere and severe dust storms would not be easy to overcome.

All that I have mentioned so far are just the basic problems of establishing even a tiny community on another world. Assuming that all of the huge problems of creating a workable environment could be overcome we have made no allowance for the inevitable complexities of human existence. Apart from the input of energy of the sun, we live in essentially a closed system that can provide everything that humanity needs to live. We do not need to find, bring or manufacture air, soil, water, plant and animal life in order to survive as it is already here.

Despite having the good fortune to exist on a planet that can provide perfectly for our needs humanity has had and continues to have great difficulty in living in a sustainable way. Humans have an unfortunate tendency to over-consume resources, damage life-sustaining parts of the environment (water, air, soil, other species) and also compete violently with each other and other life forms. In the past we have found that the easiest solution to our problems was to move somewhere else that had not been fully exploited. A small number of isolated communities do continue to live in a sustainable way, but they are under threat from the proliferation of destructive modern living patterns.

Until fairly recently the world seemed like a huge place, inexhaustible and indestructible. However, with a world population of close to 8 billion people and increasing demand for finite resources we are all becoming aware of the dire impact humanity is having on our planet. Of course, the possibility of our destruction is one of the main justifications for attempting to colonize somewhere else.

If we had another Earth to migrate to, it might seem justifiable to move there and start again, although it would not necessarily change the way that we behave – in fact the sudden lack of need to change our ways might ensure that it would not happen. The fact is that we do not have another Earth and trying to create a long-term livable environment somewhere else could prove to be impossible.

Even if it were possible to create a colony on Mars in the decades to come, how many people could it sustain? Without a constant influx of resources to expand a colony of say 100 people, a tiny speck of humanity would be sustainable. The scale of creating a Martian colony of a million people (which is a tiny fraction of humanity) is so daunting that it really is in the realms of science-fiction. Even if such a colony were possible, how would we overcome the continued human tendencies of over-populating, degrading our environment and fighting amongst ourselves? Such behaviour is dangerous for humanity and the world here on Earth, one can only imagine how dangerous it would be for a community in a highly restricted and vulnerable alien environment.

Despite all of the damage that we have done to the planet, which we are only beginning to understand now, we still live on a beautiful and habitable world. Running away to another planet is not going solve the problems of humanity as our fundamental problem is not of technology or resources but of our behaviour. If we insist on trying to colonize Mars or anywhere else we are liable to run into the same problems, created by our behaviour patterns, including our chronic problem of military conflict that shows no sign of ending.

While we are learning that we need to change and learning new and better ways of doing things we still have a very long way to go. What knowledge, energy and resources we have should be concentrated on solving the problems of living here, on this planet that is ideally suited to us. The thought of being stuck here if we do manage to fatally damage Earth is rather terrifying, but perhaps a lack of other viable options might be what saves us. Scientific exploration and expansion of our understanding of the universe is a benefit to humanity, but it should not be used to offer false hope to a species that could be faced with self annihilation. With the possibility of escaping to somewhere else removed we are left with only one realistic option – finding a way out of the mess we have created.

The huge amount of money, time, energy and physical resources that is allocated for or currently being used for space exploration and colonization would be better expended on dealing with the plethora of problems that exist on Earth. We do not yet have the technology to make colonizing Mars or other places a reality, but we do have the technology to fix our problems here on Earth.

The know-how for producing renewable energy has been around for decades and the technology has improved with more and better techniques coming on line in recent years. Nuclear energy is dangerous, potentially explosive and produces huge amounts of radioactive waste – a problem that could haunt us for centuries. This is just one problem that humanity has failed to address properly and is long overdue being solved for the good of future generations. The technology for solving this and much of the pollution problems, including plastic waste, already exists but is very expensive at the moment.

Much of the world’s problems such as environmental degradation, over population and poor resource distribution, economic and physical warfare can be changed simply by changing how we think and do things and don’t necessarily need advanced technology – just the will to do it and allocation of resources. Humanity’s problems are not problems of technology they are behavioral and that is down to our failure to mature as a species. While we continue to put conflict, greed, self-interest and short-term goals above cooperation, consideration and the long-term future of all life, running away to another planet is not going to save us.

You can read more of Luke’s work at lukeeastwood.com.

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This Man’s Incredible Story Proves Why Due Process Matters In The Kavanaugh Case

Accused of rape by a fellow student, Brian Banks accepted a plea deal and went to prison on his 18th birthday. Years later he was exonerated.

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Authored by James Miller of The Political Insider:


Somewhere between the creation of the Magna Carta and now, leftists have forgotten why due process matters; and in some cases, such as that of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, they choose to outright ignore the judicial and civil rights put in place by the U.S. Constitution.

In this age of social media justice mobs, the accused are often convicted in the court of (liberal) public opinion long before any substantial evidence emerges to warrant an investigation or trial. This is certainly true for Kavanaugh. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, cannot recall the date of the alleged assault and has no supporting witnesses, yet law professors are ready to ruin his entire life and career. Not because they genuinely believe he’s guilty, but because he’s a pro-life Trump nominee for the Supreme Court.

It goes without saying: to “sink Kavanaugh even if” Ford’s allegation is untrue is unethical, unconstitutional, and undemocratic. He has a right to due process, and before liberals sharpen their pitchforks any further they would do well to remember what happened to Brian Banks.

In the summer of 2002, Banks was a highly recruited 16-year-old linebacker at Polytechnic High School in California with plans to play football on a full scholarship to the University of Southern California. However, those plans were destroyed when Banks’s classmate, Wanetta Gibson, claimed that Banks had dragged her into a stairway at their high school and raped her.

Gibson’s claim was false, but it was Banks’s word against hers. Banks had two options: go to trial and risk spending 41 years-to-life in prison, or take a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years probation, and registering as a sex offender. Banks accepted the plea deal under the counsel of his lawyer, who told him that he stood no chance at trial because the all-white jury would “automatically assume” he was guilty because he was a “big, black teenager.”

Gibson and her mother subsequently sued the Long Beach Unified School District and won a $1.5 million settlement. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later, long after Banks’s promising football career had already been tanked, that Gibson admitted she’d fabricated the entire story.

Following Gibson’s confession, Banks was exonerated with the help of the California Innocence Project. Hopeful to get his life back on track, he played for Las Vegas Locomotives of the now-defunct United Football League in 2012 and signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013. But while Banks finally received justice, he will never get back the years or the prospective pro football career that Gibson selfishly stole from him.

Banks’ story is timely, and it serves as a powerful warning to anyone too eager to condemn those accused of sexual assault. In fact, a film about Banks’s ordeal, Brian Banks, is set to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival next week.

Perhaps all the #MeToo Hollywood elites and their liberal friends should attend the screening – and keep Kavanaugh in their minds as they watch.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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Kavanaugh Accuser’s Classmate Backs Off Claims She Heard About Alleged Assault

“That it happened or not, I have no idea,” Cristina King Miranda told NPR’s Nina Totenberg. “I can’t say that it did or didn’t.”

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Authored by Amber Athey via The Daily Caller:


A classmate of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is backing off of claims that she knew anything about an alleged sexual assault committed by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Cristina King Miranda, who attended high school with Ford, wrote on Facebook this week that she heard school rumors about an incident involving Kavanaugh and Ford back in the 1980s. Miranda later deleted the post and said she did not want to talk to the media about her claims.

However, Miranda spoke to NPR on Thursday and clarified that she has no information about an alleged assault.

“That it happened or not, I have no idea,” Cristina King Miranda told NPR’s Nina Totenberg. “I can’t say that it did or didn’t.”

Miranda’s new statement directly contradicts her Facebook post, in which she wrote, “The incident DID happen, many of us heard about it in school.”

“In my post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did [happen],” Miranda told NPR this morning. “I had no idea that I would now have to go to the specifics and defend it before 50 cable channels and have my face spread all over MSNBC news and Twitter.”

Miranda said the Senate Judiciary Committee reached out to her after her post but that she would not testify if asked.

Dr. Ford previously said she had not told anyone about the incident until a therapist meeting in 2012. Ford also said the incident happened during the summer, contradicting Miranda’s assertion that she heard rumors about it in school.

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