Will the first person to walk on Mars make it back to Earth?
119
342
1.2k
2100
71%
chance

If there are multiple people in the first mission, any of them getting back to Earth will resolve YES. Must still be alive.

See: /strutheo/will-elon-musk-be-the-first-person

Get Ṁ600 play money
Sort by:

Does this market resolve YES if the first person to walk on Mars makes it back to Earth posthumously?

Also, what happens if the first person to walk on Mars undergoes some form of mind uploading to a server located on Earth?

@ForTruth they must get back to earth living in one piece

@strutheo sorry for opening a new thread on way old topic. Contrary to what we'd previously said, I believe that the market should resolve YES even if the first mission is not intended to return, as long as a future mission brings them back. I do recognize this would mean the market can only resolve NO once everyone from the first mission dies there.

@BrunoParga yes as long as that first person on Mars is living I wont resolve this

@strutheo or it becomes clear they will never return

reposted

75% you guys are pretty optimistic

I'm guessing that the return flight crashing with all astronauts dying resolves this to "no"?

And if they crash on Mars that would not count?

@Jono3h correct, at least one of the crew must make it back to earth alive

If the mission is not intended to return a crew member to Earth, that resolves NO, right?

@BrunoParga correct

bought Ṁ80 NO

@strutheo bet NO then. I think people underestimate how much harder planning for a return trip makes the whole thing.

bought Ṁ10 YES

@BrunoParga why didn't the first man on the moon come back then?

@Jono3h

  • The Moon has a much weaker gravity, so the Mars rocket needs to be about ten times as big.

  • The trip is about two orders of magnitude longer - about a week to the Moon and back, vs 9 months Mars to Earth (6 if you have an even bigger rocket). Things like food, water and waste can be solved with storage in a weeklong mission. But when it's several months instead, I presume you must recycle things on board.

  • Mars is much more survivable than the Moon, which means a one-way mission to Mars is possible.

@BrunoParga You think it'd be easier or cheaper to have a few people live on Mars for 5+ years then send them back? The market is mission-agnostic. If they make it back ever then that'd be a "yes".

I don't think it's cheaper, and I think the PR-failure of having the first Martians being left for dead is not worth it to anyone (except the Martians who would choose to).

@Jono3h It's "establishing a colony", not "being left for dead". Most of the colonists who settled the New World never went back to England either.

@TimothyJohnson5c16 I don't know what you bet, but establishing a colony immediately upon first visit seems implausibly ambitious, unless "establishing a colony" implies "dies within a few years" to you.

@Jono3h in spite of what I explained, it doesn't seem you understand how amazingly difficult it will be for someone to travel from Mars to Earth. It'll require either a much bigger, more complex, more expensive spaceship than if the trip is intended as one-way, or the establishment, entirely from scratch, of enough infrastructure to build and supply that ship on Mars.

And it's not just me saying it, it's the actual people actually recruiting candidates for a Mars mission: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/09/mars-one-mission-a-one-way-trip-to-the-red-planet-in-2024

Sure, some people might want to go the much more expensive and uncertain way, and I don't think it's a slam dunk that this market will resolve NO (especially since it's not a requirement that the same ship takes someone there and back). It is just disingenuous to suggest a one-way trip is something nobody would consider rather than the default.

@TimothyJohnson5c16 I generally agree with your point; at the same time, I think your comment is a bit Anglocentric.

When the first English ships arrived in the Americas in 1607, Spain had maintained a continuous presence for well over 100 years. It's not impossible that there were some eighth generation Spanish descendants. There might well be people with European, Native, African and Asian ancestry. Heck, there might well have been English people who ended up in Spanish American lands well before any English colonization began.

@BrunoParga disingenuous is not the word when taking to a trader, I believe my words.

yeah, it's going to be hard, but the alternatives seem as hard or very reputation-damaging. can you address that part?

@Jono3h I gave you my honest thought about a view that I think is the one you hold. Sounds a nicer way to speak than the sarcasm of "why didn't the first man on the moon come back then?"

yeah, it's going to be hard, but the alternatives seem as hard or very reputation-damaging. can you address that part?

You are right that it will be really really hard from a technical point of view to sustain human life there. However, that's a problem (survival in inhospitable conditions) we have been researching general solutions to for quite some time now. It would apply, with different parameters, to either option - surviving long-term on Mars or surviving the time until the return flight takes off and its journey, on the scale of a year or so.

However, perhaps our crux here is about the importance of reputation and PR. I think you overestimate its importance. When there are the technical means and volunteers, I don't see any actors that might step in to prevent the launch of such a mission. The US government won't jeopardize its relationship with SpaceX, for example, by blocking the company's long-term goal of colonization. Mary people would be enthusiastic about the mission, others would be indifferent; the minority who would oppose it is not nearly motivated, powerful or coordinated enough to prevent it.

@BrunoParga Well, if those astronauts get to live there untill there 60, which would be at least 20 years, then there wouldn't really be a PR-failure.

But if they die within two years, that's pretty grim, and it would be a first of sending a human into space who we are sure will die soon.

How long do you think these astronauts will stay alive?

My initial question was not sarcastic, it was my way of expressing "but don't your arguments also hold up for the moon landing?"

to which you rightfully said: no the moon has less atmosphere and gravity. Which I hadn't thought of (though that's a bit embarrassing to admit). I hope you believe me here, since I'm still curious why you believe what you believe.

@Jono3h

I hope you believe me here, since I'm still curious why you believe what you believe.

Okay, thank you for clarifying that.

it would be a first of sending a human into space who we are sure will die soon.

There are two aspects here. One is the real thing, that we can actually think of in proper terms, and the other is what you're calling PR and I think I'd call optics - how to action is perceived.

Whenever someone straps themselves to the skyscraper-sized fuel tank that is a rocket, they know they very well might die. Any space mission comes with a probability distribution function on the (shortened) life expectancy of the crew. That is something that's weighed against other costs and potential benefits - for example, even a mission meant to return will certainly have as a main objective to do research and possible infrastructure construction for future one-way missions. The potential PR backlash will also be factored into the overall cost-benefit analysis.

Then there's the PR itself, the optics, the narratives. Like I said before, I think this is our crux; if I believed PR had a big impact, like I think you believe, then yeah, I would find it almost impossible that someone would even consider a one-way mission. But I think the PR risk is not that significant, for many reasons. The agencies organizing such a mission will have significant capabilities to mould the societal discourse about it; there are not, at present, a lot of institutions or organizations with the ability and desire to galvanize public opinion against a mission with a plausible plan and enough resources to implement it and volunteers to risk their lives.

I ask you: assuming you're right about the extent of the PR/reputation liabilities, what exactly is the mechanism by which that prevents a one-way mission?

How long do you think these astronauts will stay alive?

Let's assume they landed safely and survived through the minimum possible time for them to stay there in a return mission - this is the point where it starts making a difference if the mission is one-way or return.

I think a significant part of the risk is during that time; something goes wrong with the landing, some crucial equipment malfunctions, some condition is not like they expected. By the assumption that they've survived the first, say, week or so, we've already eliminated a good deal of these risks.

Now, of course they could die at any time. But conditional on them making it a couple years, a new window to launch from Earth opens, and with that a resupply mission. They don't need to go there with everything they'll need for the next several decades. Sure, it could be they're banking their long-term survival on the resupply mission, so if that fails they die; but again, this makes for a different proposition than "good luck, good bye, here's 60 years' worth of food". And like, any long-term colonization will depend on there being medium-term studies (say, 5 years) of how humans fare there. Even if you're sent to stay for 5 years and then return, that's more similar to a one-way ticket than to an Apollo-scale couple weeks or whatever the shortest possible mission between launch windows is.

So yeah, if it's a one-way trip I'd give them maybe a 7-10 years average life expectancy, but that's with a wiiiiiide variance.

What's your estimate for that?

@BrunoParga

assuming you're right about the extent of the PR/reputation liabilities, what exactly is the mechanism by which that prevents a one-way mission?

I think that would be the main reason to send people to Mars in the first place. I cannot imagine that money would be a real, direct incentive.

So, NASA surely wouldn't do this, since their budget is determined by their popularity. They might pressure SpaceX not to do this therefore, which, depending on how resilient they are about that and how dependent SpaceX is om their cooperation, would doom such a mission.

But there's a decent chance Musk or other high brass on that project don't want such a mission on their name, possibly prohibitively hindering the mission before they can go to NASA with it.

if it's a one-way trip I'd give them maybe a 7-10 years average life expectancy, but that's with a wiiiiiide variance.

What's your estimate for that?

If it's intentionally a one-way trip, If give it either 6~24 months depending on how much initial supplies can be sent, or 8~15 years of they can be terminally resupplied (though that might just be more expensive then just sending them back).

@Jono3h

I think that would be the main reason to send people to Mars in the first place. I cannot imagine that money would be a real, direct incentive.

The main reason to want to colonize Mars is so that we're no longer a one-planet species. It's a backup in case Earth becomes uninhabitable. Sure, sending the first people there with a 50% chance of dying in the first seven years doesn't do much in that direction - but if we are to colonize Mars, some people have to be the first ones to stay there. This, of course, does not mean they have to be to very first ones there.

So, NASA surely wouldn't do this, since their budget is determined by their popularity. They might pressure SpaceX not to do this therefore, which, depending on how resilient they are about that and how dependent SpaceX is om their cooperation, would doom such a mission.

I believe NASA needs SpaceX more than SpaceX needs NASA. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of customers for space launches; there are only a few providers, let alone ones that NASA would use (I think they won't pay China for that, for example).

If it's intentionally a one-way trip, If give it either 6~24 months depending on how much initial supplies can be sent, or 8~15 years of they can be terminally resupplied (though that might just be more expensive then just sending them back).

What supplies do you think are the most vital that they can't produce them there?

They'll have solar power. Depending on where they land, there's plenty of water ice; it can be filtered into drinking water and electrolyzed into additional oxygen, besides that which the ship's systems convert from CO2. Figuring out how to grow food given seeds, water, power and waste fertilizer - as well as Martian soil, if that's of any help - is a priority even if there are several return missions before the first one-way one.

I think the most vital things they won't be able to make there are those that relate to fixing damage due to wear and tear or accidents - so, medical supplies and spare parts for the systems. The solar panels are probably the most critical. What do you think?

reposted

~50% at ~20

More related questions