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Colonizing Mars

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/20/2012 Category: News
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,319 times Debate No: 20517
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)




Resolved: The U.S. Federal Government should substantially increase exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth's mesosphere by colonizing Mars.
1st round acceptance
2-4. fight to death
5. summery (no new arguments)
I'll be debating it is impossible today to colonize the Mars.


Be it resolved that the US Federal Government should expand to colonize Mars.

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Since Debate is over in Kansas I decided to use my cards. Most are updated and I hope you enjoy.
Inherancy: it will take to long to colonize.
Golbus 11 (AL Golbus, NASA Official,, April 29, 2011 accessed Oct. 24, 2011, AL)
How long did it take to build New York? California? France? Even given ample funds the first settlement will take decades to construct. No one is building a space settlement today, and there are no immediate prospects for large amounts of money, so the first settlement will be awhile. If Burt Rutan's prediction of affordable orbital tourism in 25 years is correct, however, it's reasonable to expect the first orbital colony to be built within about 50 years.
----Average Joe is rating econ as poor
The Economic Collapse 11 (Uh Oh: 90 Percent of Americans Rate Economic Conditions in the U.S. As "Poor",, accessed Oct. 26, 2011, AL)
Uh oh – are we rapidly reaching another major economic tipping point? According to a new CNN/ORC International Poll, 90 percent of the American people believe that economic conditions in the United States are "poor". This represents a significant increase from when the same question was asked in June. Back then, 81 percent of the American people considered economic conditions to be "poor". To put this in perspective, only 11 percent of Americans rated economic conditions in the U.S. as "poor" back in January of 1999. The Federal Reserve and the Obama administration keep telling us that we are in the middle of an "economic recovery", but obviously what average Americans are experiencing on the street is a different story. Millions of families have been absolutely devastated by mass layoffs, heartless foreclosures or bad debts. All of the recent polls show that satisfaction with government is at an all-time low and anger at Wall Street and the financial community is rising to dangerous levels. In the United States today, the economy is the most important issue for most Americans. When you have 9 out of 10 Americans rating economic conditions as "poor", that is a very troubling sign

----Cost to high even for an individual to go into space.
Golbus 11 (AL Golbus, NASA Official,, April 29, 2011 accessed Oct. 24, 2011, AL)
Space colonization is extraordinarily expensive because launch vehicles are difficult to manufacture and operate. For example, the current (2004) cost to put an individual into orbit for a short time is about $20 million. To enable large scale space tourism by the middle class, this cost must be reduced to about $1,000-$10,000, a factor of 3 to 4 orders of magnitude. Space tourism has launch requirements similar to space settlement suggesting that a radical improvement in manufacturing technology may be necessary to enable space colonization. Note that current launch costs vary from $2,000-$14,000 per pound for operational vehicles
----Mars can't sustain life, Biosphere Project 2 Proves
Golbus 11 (AL Golbus, NASA Official,, April 29, 2011 accessed Oct. 24, 2011, AL)
People need air, water, food and reasonable temperatures to survive. On Earth a large complex biosphere provides these. In space settlements, a relatively small, closed system must recycle all the nutrients without "crashing." The Biosphere II project in Arizona has shown that a complex, small, enclosed, man-made biosphere can support eight people for at least a year, although there were many problems. A year or so into the two year mission oxygen had to be replenished, which strongly suggests that they achieved atmospheric closure. For the first try, one major oxygen replenishment and perhaps a little stored food isn't too bad. Although Biosphere II has been correctly criticized on scientific grounds, it was a remarkable engineering achievement and provides some confidence that self sustaining biospheres can be built for space settlements.
----Radiation Protection needed for life
Golbus 11 (AL Golbus, NASA Official,, April 29, 2011 accessed Oct. 24, 2011, AL)
Radiation protection. Cosmic rays and solar flares create a lethal radiation environment in space. To protect life, settlements must be surrounded by sufficient mass to absorb most incoming radiation. This can be achieved with left over from processing lunar soil and asteroids into oxygen, metals, and other useful materials.
----Radiation causes health defects.
NASA08 ( accessed on Oct. 10, 2011, About Space Radiation, AL)
Ionizing radiation travels through living tissues, depositing energy that causes structural damage to DNA and alters many cellular processes. Current research sponsored by NASA seeks an understanding of DNA structural and functional changes caused by radiation, basic metabolic controls known to be modulated by radiation; genomic instability; changes to tissue structure; and "bystander" or non-targeted effects. NASA has identified the following health concerns as its highest research priorities. Risk of Radiation Carcinogenesis from Space Radiation – increased risk of cancers. Risk of Acute or Late Central Nervous System Effects from Space Radiation – changes in motor function and behavior or neurological disorders. Risk of Degenerative Tissue or Other Health Effects from Space Radiation – other degenerative tissue defects such as cataracts, circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases. Acute Radiation Risks from Space Radiation – prodromal risks, significant skin injury, or death from a major solar event or combination solar/galactic cosmic ray event that jeopardizes crew and mission survival.
----World population can fit in Texas, world not over populated
Alison 11 (Wick Alison, staff writer for the Front Burner (Dallas newspaper), written Jan. 13, 2011,, accessed Dec. 1, 2011, AL)
Robert Kunzig of National Geographic is on Krys Boyd's Think right now discussing his article, "Population Seven Billion." He said he did the calculations, and the entire world could fit in Texas if each person were alloted the same average square feet of living space as in New York City. I lived in New York City, and the sqaure footage wasn't that bad. Give up a private screening room and a wine cellar and a couple of extra bedrooms — and most of your kitchen space — and you'd be surprised. I'm all for it. Imagine all the room left over for farming, flyfishing, and horseback riding. When it comes to picking neighborhoods, I'd want to move to wherever the Italians settle. (The North Koreans can have Odessa.)


First of all I would like to start off by saying that there was no time limit given for the resolution to take place in. I am arguing that we should begin expanding to colonize Mars. Rome wasn't built in a day.


Your time argument can be countered in two parts:

a) There was no time limit given for the resolution so technically this project could take place over an infinite amount of time. The resolution states that the US Federal Government should expand to colonize Mars, which I will defend but this does not have to happen now.

b) Rome wasn't built in a day. Should Columbus have given up when he first reached North America? "It'll take too long to settle this giant new land, we should just not even try." This argument is fallacy. Just because something will take a while doesn't mean that the endevor shouldn't be undertaken.


Yes, right now the economy isn't doing so hot but that doesn't mean this project can't be started. Right now the US could start planning, budgeting, confering with experts on the idea to start putting a plan together. By the time any significant tests or building can start there will be a good chance that the economy will be back up and running properly. The GDP grew 2.5% in Q3 2011 [1] which isn't great but its better than nothing. By the time this project can get off the ground. Start off slow and let the idea gain momentum over time as the economy progresses and gets better.


By the time we need to put people into space the economy should be back on its feet and cost shouldn't be that big of an issue. Even if it is this would be a cost put up in the name science. The International Space Station (ISS) cost NASA roughly $35 billion dollars [2]. If NASA and the American public were willing to blow $35 billion on a space station they will be more than willing to pay equal to or more to start up a Marsian colonization project. While the costs are a little high all new technologies have high start up costs.


"Although Biosphere II has been correctly criticized on scientific grounds, it was a remarkable engineering achievement and provides some confidence that self sustaining biospheres can be built for space settlements."

Essentially you countered your own argument. With improved technology and a team of scientific experts (the same department who put men on the moon and invented Tang) a biosphere, which has already been proven to be a viable field of study, moves into the realm of plausible and then even probable.

Now, once we get the biosphere system working it could sustain the first settlers while they get the ground work laid for a permenant settlement on Mars through a process known as terraforming.

terraforming - (literally, "Earth-shaping") of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to the biosphere of Earth, in order to make it habitable by Earthlings. [3]

Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars would be a slow and steady process but a process that can be achieved.

Mars's atmosphere is 95% CO2 [4] making it condusive to plant respiration. Now if we managed to dig an artificial lake and fill it with enough salt water as not to freeze, perhaps by putting it under a dome of some sort, we could introduce a type of algae or plant that can survive in such atmospheric conditions. Then we expand this process to include more and more plants. Slowly, ever so slowly the atmosphere of Mars will begin to stabilize to sustain life.

Other ways to help sustain atmosphere:

  • Large orbital mirrors that will reflect sunlight and heat the Mars surface.
  • Greenhouse gas-producing factories to trap solar radiation.
  • Smashing ammonia-heavy asteroids into the planet to raise the greenhouse gas level
"NASA is currently working on a solar sail propulsion system that would use large reflective mirrors to harness the sun's radiation to propel spacecraft through space. Another use for these large mirrors would be to place them a couple hundred thousand miles from Mars and use the mirrors to reflect the sun's radiation and heat the Martian surface. Scientists have proposed building mylar mirrors that would have a diameter of 250 km (155.34 miles) and cover an area larger than Lake Michigan. These gigantic mirrors would weigh about 200,000 tons, which means they would be far too large to launch from Earth. However, there is the possibility that the mirrors could be constructed from material found in space.If a mirror this size were to be directed at Mars, it could raise the surface temperature of a small area by a few degrees. The idea would be to concentrate the mirrors on the polar caps to melt the ice and release the carbon dioxide that are believed to be trapped inside the ice. Over a period of many years, the rise in temperature would release greenhouse gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which you can find in your air conditioner or refrigerator." [4]

So as you can see, Mars cannot support life NOW but in the future, its completely possible. With a thickened atmosphere radiation would be stopped, temperatures would rise and gas levels would equilize allowing life to be able to slowly evolve and grow.


The Earth may not be over populated now however UN predictions put the world in a dire situation in years to come.

2050: 10.6 billion
2300: 36 billion
[5, pg 26]
As you can see, while the Earth may not be in immidiete danger of overcrowding and overpopulation the threat is certainly real in the long run and cannot be overlooked. By the time this project becomes feasible the world will indeed be, by our standars, overcrowed and overpopulated.

Other poptential benefits of colonizing Mars:

* mineral resources - mining
* new frontier for exploration, inovation and developement
* an area for people to expand to preventing wars and overcrowding
* opens the door to future extraterrestrial colonization

While this project cannot happen overnight it is something that can be attained. In order to further humanity, combat future threats to our planet and our race it would be beneficial and in the spirit of man to expand to Mars and colonize something outside of our own realm.

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


C2. If the economy is down and people see that we're spending they aren't going to be happy. You don't even have a figure or cost, no tech, and no suppervisor for this so we can assume anything till then.
c3.ISS is indeed $35 billion, but the cost there is split between nations working on the ISS.
C4. breakthrough as in they knew what went wrong, but they never fixed it. With teraforming not working how are you going to colonize Mars.
C5. You must not of read my card, Whole population can fit in Texas. so even with growth we can move that throught the U.S. and even to other continents. so no inherancy there.
c6. . i said with todays tech and I don't think we can mine other planets for that matter. I answered the overcrowded arguement., Future colonizing... Illegal under the Outer Space treaty of 67... and yes we signed it.
Points still standing and more.
Radiation (still standing)
no sex in space
messed up babies
Your move.


- Like I said, the economy is improving, and this will be a gradual process over time. I cannot figure a cost because there is no cost to compare this to, its completely new ground. It will be in the billions I can tell you that but it will be over time. The economy will grow with this program, I think you missed that point.

- No the ISS cost I gave you was the US cost alone. Also, who says that the US government can't work with other nations? If something like this happened it would certainly be a joint effort. The US government would start it in accordance to the resolution but it never says anything about functioning alone.

- It was a breakthrough, once again you make my argument for me "they knew what went wrong" you say. The reason why they never fixed it is because there was no need to at the time. With a project like the colonization of Mars, with a team of experts working on the problem they will be able to fix it in a way that can support life on Mars.

Next you say "with terraforming not working", when you have given no evidence that this would not work. In fact I think given enough time and science it would work quite well. Please expand this point.

- While the entire population might be able to fit in Texas that would not be healthy nor comfortable. That would destroy the land and in turn destroy sustainibility for such a population. I could probably fit about 500 fish in my fishtank too but they wouldn't survive very long. Just because something fits doesn't mean it can surviv or function.

- Once again you base your argument off of today's technology, but in the future mining other planets will be possible. With lower gravity on Mars (1/3 Earth gravity) mining would actually be easier than it is here. There have been studies showing how shooting a rock or rod at a surface could blow a crater out to help speed the mining process or prospect for new metals. Mining can be done off of Earth and will be done on Mars.

"Outer Space treaty of 67" --- source please, or expand.
Also treaties can be rewritten and reworked quite easily. But until you source this claim I cannot refute any further.

- I addressed radiation through my terraforming argument. Once an atmosphere begins to stabilize and develope it will begin to absorb more and more radiation thus neutralizing the problem. Until then it would be no matter to build a biodome out of radiation resistent glass.

"no sex in space"
"messed up babies"

These are random jumbles that are not coherent nor relevent. Expand and I might be able to address this.

--- Your move ---
Debate Round No. 3


1. The U.S. national debt clock reads $15 trillion and more spending will push us over the edge for another Depression. Just look at Greece.
2. The resolutions was the United States Federal Government to where the U.S. only does it.
3. If they've fixed it then why haven't they tested it. I've to given evidense
4. If you'd read the article it said if everyone had the same living space as the people in New York city.
5.evidense... if we have the tech now then how come we haven't done anything yet
6. sure,
7. ???
8. no sex in space.,, (NASA even says no sex in space.)


1. Once again I have said that this spending would be done gradually and responsibly, we'll fit it into the budget. You have failed to address this but instead just keep saying that we're in debt and the economy sucks. That's great, we still manage to spend billions on useless programs so I think its safe to say that we'd be able to budget int the start of a program that will benefit all mankind.

2. Okay fair enough, you should have clarified earlier. Either way, the US is the country that put a man on the moon in less than 10 years. If we put our minds to it we can do anything. Certainly it would cost money but there are potential benefits that will outweigh any initial start up costs. Think of this program as a business, there are always seemingly overwhelming starting costs when a business starts up but then the costs come down as it developes. The same would be true for a colony. Once people started investing in the program, mining started to happen on Mars as the whole thing started coming together it would begin to alieviate the costs until someday it might even be self sufficient or even turning a profit.

3. You yourself were the one who said that they had fixed it, not I. I merely said that if a group of scientists were to work on it they would get it to work but in defense of your question once again (for the second time) I will say this program hasn't been tested because at this present time in our world there is no need to test it because there are no space colony projects in the works. There is no reason for us to test this right now but if we had a reason to do so we would.

4. Yes, but once again such living areas would not be compatible with human survival, look at places like India and Sudan where population density is extremely high, poverty and disease run rampart while the land is utterly destroyed. Point in case, according to my previous UN document the world's population would be 36 billion in 2300. There is no way that 36 billion people can all live like they do in NYC. There would be fighting, disease, crime, poverty and eventually the whole system would break down. Let's prevent having to even think about such a miserable solution and work on expanding upwards and outwards to the stars.

5. Like your previous argument about the biodome, we haven't done anything because we have not been put in the position to do anything. We do not have a moon colony or even a moon program so it is absurd of you to ask why we are not mining on the moon. That is akin to me asking you why you haven't started your doctorate thesis paper yet when you haven't even graduated high school yet. You may certainly have the capability of writing such a thesis but you are not in the position to do so right now. Same goes for space mining. We have the capability but are not in the position to do so.

6. This treaty doesn't say that there cannot be any space colonization, it merely says space cannot be claimed or conquered by a nation. This is easily remedied. While the US would spearhead and run the Marsian colony project it would be done for and in the name of mankind. It would be a peaceful venture to benefit all of humanity and therefore is in compliance with this treaty. It would be treated the same way we treat Antarctica, where no one really owns anything but countries set up peaceful bases for study.

7. I cannot respond the the unproffesional use of "???". If you have a question ask, if not please state your case.

8. If you actually read the articles you posted (which by your assertion it is clear that you did not and I invite any readers to click the links and spend just a minute glancing through the actual material) you will see that the article does not say sex in space is not possible but merely says that it has never happened due to the proffessional and scientific nature of space flight. This argument is thereby dead. Sex is in no way tied to gravity. The articles merely say that sex in space has never been tried because of the nature of space travel today.

All accurately refuted.
Debate Round No. 4


1. You can't spend something you don't have. We're in debt, we shouldn't go any further.
2. You don't have a figure to work with however I provided one already and with one that high it would cause deficet spending.
3. The key is the program has been tested and failed
4. Have you not been reading my agruements. Lets do the math pop today. 5 billion times by seven to get to your figure. seven or even eights Texas can fit into Asia leaving the other coutinents available.
5. so you're admitting there is no inherancy. In debate there are 5 stock issues and since you said your self you have no inheracy that wins me that. Also in debate the Con has just to win one stock issue to win the debate, but I'll contiue.
6. Look closer, "outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means, that means no colonizing or mining
8. you must not have read far, it is illegal for health benefits to have sex in space. and second of all with the zero gravity in space you'd need strapps and such to even keep you together. second, no gravity= irregular blood flow= no boner= no sex
Have fun



Like I said, no buisness can start up without a loan and startup costs but eventually it will pay off. Economies change, who knows maybe the space industry would help grow the economy? With research and development plus the potential of opening it up to companies and advertisers and investers money really isn't that big of an issue. It's something you can get around.


With great success and strives in the field for a one time experiment it was actually a success. It was only tried once. If we tried it again and again, trial and error testing eventually we would get the system to work properly. Just because it doesn't work now doesn't mean it won't work ever. The idea is possible, probable even.


This does not have to be the only reason we expand to Mars and there are other reasons for doing so. This argument has so much wrong with it.

Not every square inch of an area is inhabitable. For example:


All of these places pose potential problems for sustaining millions and millions of people like you are suggesting. Everything would have to be trucked in from elsewhere because farmland and forests and water reserves would be inhabited by millions of people. This would be a disaster. What I'm saying is colonizing Mars would help to prevent this future for our race.


I don't understand what you're trying to say. I've made my point. Terraforming and biodomes in combination with each other could work to make Mars permenantly inhabitable.

Space Treaty:

You look closer. Like I said we do it for the good of humanity in the name of peace and science thus taking away "national aspiration" meaning empire building. "by means of use or occupation" meaning we cannot conquer space by force which we wouldn't be doing. Meaning we cannot conquer or possess areas in space against the will of humanity. If we do it in the name of science, exploration and mankind there would be no problem with this treaty. This treaty was signed to prevent the US or USSR from trying to conquer space with nuclear weapons.

Sex in Space:

How can something be "illegal" for health benefits? Also how do you know that if its never been attempted? Even if you needed straps (which you don't just lock your legs together) who cares? People will have sex no matter what.

a) gravity

there is no irregular blood flow because blood is pumped and does not rely on gravity or else astronaughts would have blood problems in space which they don't. Gravity does not factor into bodily functions.

Sex is part of man and space would not impede this proccess. Also it would take roughly 260 days to reach Mars [1] so if it really isn't possible to have sex in space you would only have to wait 260 days because there is gravity on Mars so you can just do it when you get there. Thus your point is moot.

A fun debate. I thank you.

Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by PeacefulChaos 4 years ago
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Double_R 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: There was no contest here. Con made no real attempt to debate and just listed unsubstantiated points to make his argument. Pro refuted those points and gave reasons why we should colonize Mars.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con started out somewhat strong by saying that it would take a long time and massive amounts of money. Pro countered by saying that this could be done over an infinite time frame. After Round 2, Con's case was just a jumble and Pro accurately refuted all of Con's points like "No sex in space".
Vote Placed by vmpire321 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO had superior arguments for the idea of colonizing mars in teh future.