Suppose Mars and Venus were habitable

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the 1950s science fiction depiction of the inner solar system: Venus and Mars both have oxygen atmospheres, water and indigenous life; Venus is a swampy or ocean covered world; Mars’ atmosphere is very thin and cold but humans can still live there with warm clothing and maybe an oxygen concentrating mask. We can eat at least some of the local food, and at least some Earth plants will grow there.

Now, suppose that in our real world this had turned out to be the truth. What would we have done about it? Certainly we would have decided that it was worth it to send at least a few manned expeditions to explore and bring back specimens. But what then?

The 1950s stories presumed the existence of cheap, incredibly effective nuclear rockets. Without some miracle technology to make space travel vastly cheaper, there couldn’t be anything there worth shipping back to Earth. Human colonization would cost millions of dollars per person, and have no conceivable purpose to Earth. Probably at most a few hundred people would end up making the trip and thereafter be on their own, sort of like the Vikings who settled Greenland.

In other words fantasy planets, actual budgets and technology. What do you think would happen?

If both were habitable such that humans could live there without being constantly re-supplied from Earth. I suspect you’d see research stations on both planets, much like McMurdo station in Antarctica. Whether there would be more people there than that would depend on what was found there, and how significant it was. If they found artifacts of ancient civilizations or something, there would be archaological staff.

But I don’t think you’d see huge quantities of humans on either planet unless something incredibly valuable were found. It’s just too expensive.

However, the desire to get people both of these planets would accelerate the pace of rocket development and navigation/control equipment. Eventually, we’d have that cheap space travel. But not yet.

We would send Ice Cube, Jason Statham and Natasha Henstrdige to Mars to go kick some ass.

Just kidding, as it happens John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars happens to be on the HBO Zone channel.

I suspect that if Venus and Mars could support life, we would start sending people there. The key diference is that it would be a lot cheaper to send astronauts with camping equipment manufactured by North Face instead of Jet Propulsion Labs.

I’m sure faster rockets would be developed as space travel between the planets became more routine.

If they were habitable I’d bet that a humanoid species would already be living there.

I think that tourism would be very profitable. Imagine if you could vist the mon for a few hundred dollars or Mars for a few thousand. I would certainly want to do it. I think there would be an awful lot of people who would want travel to Venus or mars just for the pure experience of doing it. A tourist industry could also supply a lot of jobs.

Is that a valid correlation?
Earth-like planet = humanoids?
seems spurious to me…
but it is fantasy after all.

I think if there’s a God he must be malevolent joker, giving us this urge that we have to explore space…and there not really being any place worth going to. Thinking of all the many Earth-like planets that must exist among the stars of the galaxy, only increases the feeling of isolation.

We definitely would have kept our blonde women from going there. All the 1950s bug-eyed monsters from other planets seemed to have an insatiable appetite for blondes.


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Isn’t that where we all came from anyway? (according to John Gray)


I think we’d colonise the planets (it would be a new frontier (but not the final frontier)), or maybe send criminals there, or maybe that’s the same thing; It can’t have been cheap to ship people off to Australia back in the day.

Well, develpment of rockets would have been sped up much faster, we would probably have working nuclear rockets in space, instead of them just being in R&D at NASA. I don’t think we would send criminals, as the I doubt even with the greater incentive to get into space, ground to orbit cost would still be pretty high.