The Instigator
triangle.128k
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
FreedomBeforeEquality
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Mars should be colonized, not the moon.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
triangle.128k
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 784 times Debate No: 71932
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

triangle.128k

Pro

Many space agencies in the future are looking to expand Humans outside of Earth. The two most reasonable places to set up colonies first are the Moon and Mars. In this debate, I will be arguing that Mars should be colonized first. FreedomBeforeEquality will be arguing the Moon should be colonized.


Rules:

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments
Rounds 3-5: Anything else

FreedomBeforeEquality

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
triangle.128k

Pro

A temporary colony on the moon may be neccessary for practice, but in the long run; a colony on mars is a better idea. There is more water on mars, it has better gravity, ect. I will get more in-depth into these without further ado.


Gravity

Mars' gravitational pull is twice as strong as the moon's gravity. Low gravity in space is known to cause muscle shrinking and other bad impacts on the human body. Low gravity may be great for jumping or even flying, it isn't healthy over long periods of time without very frequent exercise. The moon's gravity is far weaker than the gravity of Mars which means it would be easier to adapt to the gravity of Mars. Astronauts would also need to exercise less.



Radiation

The sun can emit harmful radiation and "solar storms." Luckily, these are all filtered through the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere. However, this may be a problem for both the Moon and Mars but less on Mars. Mars recieves much less solar radiation being farther from the sun and it has a weak and thin atmosphere and magnetic field to filter some of it.



Day length

The day and night cycle on Mars is similair to Earth. On the moon, a day can last a month. On Mars, a day is a little over 24 hours similair to that on Earth. It would be easier on Mars to adjust to the day and night cycle because astronauts would be more used to it. They are not used to the day and night cycle on the moon.



Resources

Mars is rich in stuff such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and ect. Mars is abundant in many required elements needing to establish a colony. It is richer in metals like iron, copper and other things such as phospherous. While many of these may exist on the moon, they are harder to get and rarer on the Moon. Mars is more mineral rich. It also contains more silicon to create solar panels.










Habitability

Habitability on Moon would likely only be limited to small domes. However, we may be able to terraform the entire planet of Mars for extended habitability. I will present some ways how we can terraform Mars that would not be possible on the moon. If we can terraform Mars, it can serve as another home to Earth.




Water

Water is very important for establishing a colony anywhere. Liquid water does not naturally exist on the moon or on Mars but c It would obviously be needed for stuff like drinking, farming, and ect. The moon's water content however is likely very low. Mars has far more surface water at it's polar ice caps than the moon does in some of it's craters. Mars also has vast amounts of water underground. If we are to terraform either planet, the moon would not be practical. On Mars, large oceans can exist like that on Earth. The moon can not host large oceans due to it's lack of water.



Size and gravity

Higher gravity on Mars would not only help astronauts adapt, but it would help Mars hold on to a thicker atmosphere better. If the Moon were to hold on to an atmosphere, it would likely be blown away by solar winds. Mars is further from the sun and has higher gravity so it could hold a thicker atmosphere. We could thicken the atmosphere on Mars by possibly building factories, melting the frozen CO2 on mars and etc.






Conclusion

Mars is more mineral rich than the Moon. Mars is more mineral rich and contains more useful resources. Mars is more alike Earth than the moon is. Mars is easier to terraform aswell. All these reasons are why a long term colony would be suitable on Mars over the Moon. While we may or may not need to start a temporary colony on the moon first, Mars is better in the long run.















1. http://science.nasa.gov...
2. http://www.space.com...;
3. http://www.eurekalert.org...
4. http://www.exploratorium.edu...
5. http://science.nasa.gov...
6. http://solarsystem.nasa.gov...
7. http://www.pbs.org...
8. http://www.nss.org...
9. http://www.redcolony.com...
10. http://solarsystem.nasa.gov...

FreedomBeforeEquality

Con

Ill first state the benefits to colonizing the moon as many of them will already address the perceived benefits of Mars over the moon.

Proximity

1 way distance to the moon, 238,900 miles.
1 way distance to Mars, 140,000,000 miles.
In the time it take you just to travel to Mars once, you could have made several trips shuttling cargo and equipment from earth where factories are already present and much more easily tooled for making things needed in space.
This close distance also means the trip can be done on much less fuel and a much smaller vessel. This also means the vessel would be much cheaper and readily made on earth than one that is built for a journey 586 times farther away.

At the fastest speed on record of any of our ships moving away from the sun was 100,000 mph [NewHorizons Mission to Pluto], and that was only carrying a space probe and cost us 675M. Even using constant velocity as the method of travel, at that speed, it would take nearly 2 months to get to Mars on a one way trip. Now imagine a ship that has to carry lifesupport and terraforming machinery with it to that speed. There would be sacrifices to speed because of the sheer amount of fuel it would take to get something like that into space ... let alone get it up to a speed like that.

Tidal Locked

The moons proximity and the fact that its tidally locked with earth make for several additional benefits. One, Space transportation ideas have arisen that involve using the moons stationary position to create a channel for more easily transporting material to and from it without the use of rockets, see space elevator. Second, communication of a colony is a breeze since it will always be facing the earth and always have direct contact with some point on earth or its satellites we already have in orbit. Return trips will be easier as there wont be any waiting required for 'optimal' conditions for a launch. The moons orbit is nearly circular and the site of your launch area will always be facing earth at any given time.

Gravity

Mars' gravity is 37% that of Earth.
The moon's gravity is 17% of Earth's.
Exercise would still be a necessity and the difference between the two would barely be noticeable by anyone having lived on earth their whole life. This has proven to be a rather easy problem to overcome by astronauts in zero gravity, so I don't see an additional 20% being all that big a factor in the muscle loss issue. As far as holding an atmosphere ... both are incapable of it on their own, and there is no capability we have that could change the physics of the planet to have it maintain one for us composed of the gases we need to survive.

I do see a benefit though, to there being less gravity, as far as work goes. Mining and building would be easier on the moon. It could support much larger structures by maximizing a materials load bearing capabilities.

Radiation

Radiation could be a problem to any open terraformed colonies. Domes solve this issue. The additional radiation the moon receives is the a benefit as plant life in greenhouses will more readily have access to light.

Resources and Habitability

As a resource the moon itself is not optimal, no. The majority of its rare earth elements would have to come from earth, which would be much easier done than Mars. Solar panels are becoming a pretty lightweight thing to move into space, if built on earth. The orientation of the moon and its non existent atmosphere make it an optimal location for massive solar fields. Atmospheres are actually a liability if relying solely on solar energy. Another point where terraforming a planet makes for inefficiency.

Water

If the water on Mars were melted and also made gaseous for an atmosphere, it would continuously lose the water in the air. The only thing keeping that water on there now is the fact that its frozen. Its melting point and boiling points are pretty close and the atmospheric pressure allows for the triple point of water to exist in ranges found here on earth (a fact we take it for granted). A bit of all 3 states will exist and the gas form will rapidly be lost. Not maintaining critical points in domes would be a constant chore without relocating the planets location in relation to the sun ... earthlike atmospheres will not work on either the moon or Mars.

The biggest benefit is cost. The cost of launching and operating on Mars far surpasses the cost of operation on the moon using the earth as a site for resources. Mars might eventually begin to pay for itself and become self sufficient ... but it would take much longer and a much more substantial initial investment.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...
http://www.universetoday.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...(thermodynamics)
http://solarsystem.nasa.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
triangle.128k

Pro

Round 2 is the rebuttal round so I will go ahead and debunk FreedomBeforeEquality's arguments.


Proximity

While the distance between Earth and Mars is one problem, this problem is less of a problem with new rockets in development. A new rocket engine in development known as VASIMIR uses plasma instead of a traditional chemical rocket. A plasma rocket could possibly cut the trip from Earth to Mars from 6 months to 39 days. While it is still less than the trip to the Moon, Mars is more mineral rich and contains more resources which I will get more into later.

The first astronauts on Mars are going to learn to deal with this problem.


Tidally Locked

The tidal locking also results in very long day and night cycles. It would be hard for astronauts to get used to this but on Mars, the day and night cycle is similair to Earth.



Gravity

You have miscalculated, there is not a 20% difference between the gravity of the two celestial bodies. You are judging by the percentages compared to Earth. The moon's gravity is 50% of the gravity on Mars. Something weighing 30 pounds on Mars would weigh only 15 on the moon. While lower gravity is great for building and jumping, it's not practical. Astronauts do in fact notice health issues in space even with exercise. Less exercise would be needed on the Mars to stay healthy as opposed to the moon.

Also, since they are not visiting the planets but establishing a permanent colony, they will have to deal with the gravity for quite some time. If they do return back to Earth, it will be harder to adjust after becoming used to 1/6th Earth's gravity as opposed to 1/3rd.



Resources

It is cheaper and more efficient to get resources directly from the "planet." On the Moon, we would have to send rockets back and forth to get the resources found on Earth. We can find valuable resources directly on Mars easily because it's richer than the Moon in useful materials. There would be no need to spend millions of dollars on rockets going back and forth because the martian colonists can get them theirselves.



Habitability

While terraforming may sound crazy at first, keep in mind we are not looking to do it in a very short time. Terraforming Mars would be a pretty long process, it may take a couple centuries before you can walk outside without any special gear. However, terraforming may as well be worth it in the long run. We would have not one, but two planets where the human race (and other life) live.

Putting domes everywhere would limit accessability. People would be trapped in small domes as opposed to having free land to walk anywhere. The Moon is incapable of being terraformed, Mars has more potential for Earth life.



Additional Sources
1. https://www.nasa.gov...

I already posted most of my sources to back up my arguments within the second round.




FreedomBeforeEquality

Con

Plasma rockets? And these cost less how? You've just multiplied the cost of this endeavor to cut the trip down a few days. Making it overall even less cost effective an option. (I'll look into actual figures and include them in the next round) I think its safe to say that will be more costly an option than its worth at this point. But hell, so is colonizing at all at this point, so hypothetical are fine I suppose.

Gravity

The weight relation of objects to that of earth is more applicable since the structures and machinery that we are transporting to these places are built here. Comparing the ratios to earth is more accurate. Comparing the moon and mars directly is misleading when the gravity is already on a much smaller scale than earth.

Ex. Gravity is .01 of earths and another is .02 of earths. You could make your same 50% claim ... but they're both relatively the same for us here on Earth.

Day Length

Day length is a great thing for solar panels. Domes could keep people from the full effect of the day anyways. It could be regulated in any manner they wish. Something like transition lens windows or something. Theres plenty of other things they'd have to get used to, time of day seems pretty meager.

If we are looking at creature comforts like this as a benefit, perhaps it should be mentioned that being able to see the earth at all times out your window would be quite a mole booster and would help people cope with many of the inconveniences of space life.

Resources

I still believe it would cost more than actually mining the resources there on the planet. I believe this on the grounds that a vertical business model start up would be hugely less cost efficient when you already have all of the processing set up for these materials here on earth. There are also inherent benefits to having processed materials here on earth under its pressures and natural environment. You're talking about also having to develop entirely new methods of processing materials given the gravity, pressure difference, and atmosphere we made mention to earlier. That's a lot lot more engineering cost accrued vs. The tried and true methods we already have in place.

Habitability

It may be a long way off. But its a long long long way off. Like I said ... barring a celestial level change in the planets location to the sun ... or a change in the sun itself ... creating a permanent atmosphere of oxygen like that of earth on mars is not doable. There is a natural reason for why all of its oxygen escaped its atmosphere before. And like I said, the water all would have followed it too, were it not frozen there. Melting it is just assisting the planets loss of its water.

Think of it as having a much much lower threshold for global warming than the earth. Its ability to hold an atmosphere is already very small. Forcing events, like purposely melting polar icecaps, would speed those effects along at a much faster rate on Mars than how we are seeing them here on Earth. Its a much more sensitive environment, since its not naturally prone to holding one on its own.

I'm certain we'd destroy any chance in using it in the future if we tried now. We'd need to wait till we could move it or the 'Goldilocks Zone' for the sun expanded a bit and encompassed Mars.
Debate Round No. 3
triangle.128k

Pro

triangle.128k forfeited this round.
FreedomBeforeEquality

Con

FreedomBeforeEquality forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
triangle.128k

Pro

I linked my last arguments in the comments section given that the time ran out before I could post my stance.

It seems my opponent has forfeited this round.
FreedomBeforeEquality

Con

FreedomBeforeEquality forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by triangle.128k 1 year ago
triangle.128k
Here is my argument for round 4: http://pastebin.com...

I apologize but I was too late and it counted as a forfeit on the debate.
Posted by FreedomBeforeEquality 1 year ago
FreedomBeforeEquality
Really the only negative to going with the moon versus mars is that there is a sort of symbiotic relationship between earth and its moon. Disrupting that could have pretty devastating consequences down here on earth. Might be safer to conduct our space development a little farther away.
Posted by FreedomBeforeEquality 1 year ago
FreedomBeforeEquality
Yes ... domes are the way to go.
Posted by triangle.128k 1 year ago
triangle.128k
The soil isn't really toxic. The moon has those same issues that it has no oxygen and all. Mars also does have air, it has an atmosphere.

And who said people are going to walk on the surface without a space suit without pushing air into the atmosphere in the first place?
Posted by Konnor_US 1 year ago
Konnor_US
First, there"s no air on Mars. If you were dropped on the surface of Mars, the view would be spectacular. Then you"d quickly pass out, and expire a couple minutes later from a lack of oxygen. There"s almost no air pressure, and temperatures are incredibly cold. Did I mention the constant radiation streaming from space? You also might want to note that the soil is toxic. There"s a long list of these types of problems. The days are a little longer; you"ll be sleepy. Life on mars is completely impossibel
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Russia_The_almighty 1 year ago
Russia_The_almighty
triangle.128kFreedomBeforeEqualityTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: One less forfeit. Argument wise. Hard to say.