Mars should be colonized, not the moon.
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.
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments
Rounds 3-5: Anything else
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Round 2 is the rebuttal round so I will go ahead and debunk FreedomBeforeEquality's arguments.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I already posted most of my sources to back up my arguments within the second round.
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 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.
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.
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.
triangle.128k forfeited this round.
FreedomBeforeEquality forfeited this round.
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 forfeited this round.
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