Copyright © 2004 by Kent Nebergall. Published by The Mars Society with permission.
WHAT MARS COLONISTS WILL DREAM AND DO
This paper examines a future point where the first clustered Mars Direct habs are pouring the foundations for a new civilization, and carries human efforts into human bases in the outer solar system using elements of the Mars Direct “live off the land” methodology. A lunar base extracts metals and launches them to a shipyard at Earth-Moon L1. Factories there spray the metal into forms and build spacecraft shells. After being outfitted with high technology components from Earth, these bare bones craft are launched to Mars for outfitting with locally manufactured low-tech components. Water is also shuttled up from Mars to each vessel and placed in very large tanks around the crew areas for radiation shielding and as a feedstock for fuel production onboard. These modular craft can carry large crews out to the most distant moons of the outer planets, where shuttles again replenish the tanks with ice from human-tended surface outposts. Alternatively, these craft can be used for asteroid exploration and mining. Ultimately, a Mars civilization not only extends humanity to another world, but makes colonization of the entire solar system much simpler to do on a grander scale than Earth and the moon could do alone.