Saturday, April 21, 2012

Regarding self sufficiency

Scroll down to see Thomas' argument that a colony will take a long time to become self sufficient.

It turns out that others are addressing this argument (although in a communistic manner.) It's all about the industrial ecology. Yes, fully modern technology will take a while. That's not the same as self sufficiency. To be self sufficient requires both materials and skills. The first colonists should have hands on training with a set of interrelated tools. Mars provides all the materials. Not everything on this list is required for self sufficiency. It should be adapted for mars.

The first dozen colonists should have experience making the entire tool set. This makes them capable of creating everything from tractors to electronics from local resources. They won't have the time, but the second arrival of three dozen will give them the helping hands.

There's no such thing as 100% self sufficient. No man is an island. But 99% and the assistance of an extreme minority of people back on earth will be plenty. I expect job openings for non essential skills will be abundant for some time with great incentives for some earthlings to make it happen.

Interrelated Tools

They will be able to get the minerals they need from the soil beneath their feet and the air around them. This includes aluminum, steel, copper, fuel and plastic. It also includes all essential life support.

Given a starter set of machine tools they will be able to make everything they need including fully replacing all of their machine tools.

They will have these skills before launching from earth. It will just be a matter of learning from experience on their new world which they will be fully committed to doing.

The minerals they need are abundant and easily found in there new home. It will take them almost no time at all to become self sufficient with very few people required. More people will just make it easier.

What is the minimum number of people required for self sufficiency? One, like my brother.

Update: my brother once went to a job interview in southern California. The man showed him an intricately made machine part and asked my brother if he could make something like that.

My brothers truthful and honest answer? "I made that one." If only he wasn't a complete jerk. Just add alcohol. He will be spending the next three or four years in prison. During that time he will be making amazing working models using ice cream sticks and underware. Just like his last stay in prison.

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