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At Mind Matters News: Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder: Colonizing Mars is a ridiculous idea!

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Making Mars habitable (terraforming) has been kicking around engineering circles for decades. What are the chances, given Moore’s Law-level increases in technology? Sabine Hossenfelder points out that the Mars’ biggest habitability problem is lack of a magnetic field and no plausible technology solution is in sight:

The biggest problem is not that Mars is “minus 60 degrees Celsius or minus 80 Fahrenheit,” she explains, but that it has no magnetic field so the atmosphere was blown away by the solar winds. So to form Mars into a second Earth, we would first need to give it a magnetic field. How easy is that?

News, “Theoretical physicist: Colonizing Mars is a ridiculous idea!” at Mind Matters News

In a paper that was just published in April in the International Journal of Astrobiology, two physicists explain that all you have to do put a superconducting wire around Mars, simple enough, isn’t it? The circle would have to have a radius of about 3400 kilometers but the diameter of the collected wires only needs to be about five centimeters. Well, okay, you need an insulation and a refrigeration system to keep it superconducting. And you need a power station to generate a current. But other than that, no fancy technology required.

That superconducting wire would have a weight of about one million tons which is only about 100 times the total weight of the Eiffel tower. The researchers propose to make it of bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide (BSCCO). Where do you get so much bismuth from? Asteroid Mining. Piece of cake.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Terraforming Mars in 3 Simple Steps” at BackRe(Action) (October 16, 2021)

Takehome: The difficulties inherent in the idea of terraforming Mars are a good argument for the Privileged Planet Hypothesis regarding Earth. Earth is indeed special:


You may also wish to read: Theoretical physicist shows why the sim universe is pseudoscience It’s a lot of fun in science fiction and some scitech celebs buy in. But Sabine Hossenfelder would find plenty to disagree with Avi Loeb about. One problem is, computers can’t simulate human thought because it is often non-computational, which means it is something computers can’t do, by definition.

and

Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder asks, was the universe made for us? She says no. But the question is more complicated than it appears at first. It is true that we have only one universe to go by but then each of us is a unique individual too. What if you had an experience no one else has had? Does that make it untrue?

4 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder: Colonizing Mars is a ridiculous idea!

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Moore’s Law is crap. Every technology reaches an asymptote, and computing is already there. Nothing in the world increases exponentially without limit.

  2. 2
    Peter says:

    The goldilocks nature of earth is also a very compelling reason to believe we are alone in the universe. If there were advanced life out there they would have certainly came here to enjoy the benefits of our very special planet sometime in the past 14 billion years.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    I believe we could colonize Mars but it would be hideously expensive, a lot more difficult than people think, a lot longer than most people think before it could become entirely self-sufficient and really not much fun for the first colonists after the novelty has worn off, at least in the early years

  4. 4

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