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Guest: George Dvorsky; Topics: The article for Gizmodo written by our guest titled "Humans Will Never Colonize Mars, " July 30, 2019.
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We welcomed George Dvorsky to the program to discuss his July 30, 2019 Gizmodo article "Humans Will Never Colonize Mars." Please note that the link to this article has been posted on our blog. During our one segment 64 minute discussion, our guest tracked his article regarding his sources and references, mentioning each reference by name and offering us a short summary of their component to the humans colonizing Mars question. I suggest you read the article, pay attention to those that were interviewed and follow along with his discussion comments on this show. At times during the presentation, I suggested that his article and focus was not balanced or objective because he did not interview people with different perspectives. I specifically mentioned Dr. Zubrin and Elon Musk. In addition, when he was talking about the research and work done by Dr. Bruce Jakosky regarding insufficient CO2 on Mars for terraforming, that not only had Dr. Jakosky been a guest on TSS twice before but that Dr. Zubrin had come on to specifically refute the Jakosky claim about insufficient CO2 on Mars. I pointed out that such information was not part of his article. Our guest did say he had a bias and that maybe the article could have been more objective but that did not negate the value, perspectives and research offered up by those he interviewed. By the way, many of those interviewed have also been guests on The Space Show. Regardless, our guest does not believe that humans in our present form will be colonizing Mars given the challenges and potential adverse human impact of the Martian environment, plus as we discussed later in the program, costs and affordability issues.
Our guest said he was a transhumanist, a subject we have also covered on many past Space Show programs. He believes we will go to Mars for short trips in our present human form but not to colonize it. To colonize Mars, he believes as he stated in his article, that humans will need to be genetically modified for the Martian and maybe overall space environment. We discussed this aspect in some detail but coming up with a meaningful timeline for this to happen was also challenging.
Listener Thomas sent in six email questions for our guest. During the program was able to only ask three of his questions so Thomas posted the other three on the blog. George responded to each of the questions Thomas asked that I was able to read on air. All were good questions so listen for them during the discussion. We would like to hear from you on these topics so please do post on our blog.
Later in our discussion, the issue of financing Mars colonization came up. George was asked about tax payer money being used to finance Mars colonization, private sector funds and private public partnership financing. George did not think the public would be all that willing to finance Mars colonization given the pressing needs for funds for other projects that many might conclude were more pressing. He cited some of those problems in his commentary. He concluded that Mars colonization public funding would be a tough sell.
As we neared the end of the discussion, George had more to say about transhumanism plus the need for Mars to be Earth independent which he said was the definition of being self-sustaining. He thought Mars would have to be self-sustaining at some point due to the complexities and costs of remaining dependent on Earth but being independent would take a very long time. We talked about food and other factors but not so much about governance.
George offered us concluding remarks. He mentioned interstellar flight along with Mars and said we were all on the same team though he thought the humans that do Mars colonization will be a result of transhumanism. Don't miss these final comments.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach George Dvorsky through me or Gizmodo.