Copyright © 2010 by Frank Crossman. Published by the Mars Society with permission.
BUILDING A PERMANENT SETTLEMENT ON MARS.
Frank W. Crossman
Consultant - 4 Frontiers Corporation
Mars is unique (other than the Earth) in our Solar System in its potential to sustain human life. It has easily extractable sources of water, carbon, and nitrogen and plentiful mineral sources on its surface for production of steel, aluminum, ceramics and cements, a day-night cycle conducive to growth of imported plants, and enough of an atmosphere to protect settlers from much of the solar/cosmic radiation.
The talk will first outline the economic benefit of Mars' size, location, and resources that would economically justify settlement there and then focus on the engineering question: "How is it possible to establish a self sustaining settlement - a fully modern industrial civilization - on the planet Mars at such a great distance from Earth?" The key is to bring from Earth only enough mass in mining, refining, synthesis, and processing equipment to fully utilize the natural resources that exist on Mars.
Initial technical studies regarding the use of Mars's natural resources that were conducted by the Mars Homestead project in 2004 and refined by the 4 Frontiers Corporation in 2007 will be summarized. They concluded that both inorganic and organic materials could be extracted or synthesized from the land and atmosphere of Mars to build a 25-person sustainable settlement.