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« The Pandaemonium Device | Main | Perfect or Nothing »

Thursday, 06 April 2017


Dave O

I fear the submarine and oil rig analogy breaks down with Mars. Absent some magical space drive, support and rescue will be 6-9 months at most times.

If a sub breaks (or the chef release rancid egg fumes from ill advised storage in an escape shaft) you can always surface and get clean air. The failure modes for off world colonies could be more like air disasters. Obvious in hindsight but in reality a collection of bad decisions made in good faith that add up to a catastrophe.

The political failure mode will come as you move from company town to something else. Navigating what will be some kind of step function will be messy. Especially if you start to have a generation born there who don't feel fealty to the company or home world nations.

Paul M. Cray

Human have a lot of experience living in hostile environments at the end of long and unreliable supply chains. As long as you have air, water, food and energy you are OK. If you have energy and access to H2O and CO2 ice, you can make air. So energy is crucial. You can always get a unexpected failure mode, but you are not moving at a 1000 km/h and you will been able to anticipate many of the issues. But a global dust storm might be difficult for the colony to ride out. But it is the thing you have to design to ride out.

Again we also a lot of experience with handling recalcitrant people in constrained circumstances. The state, or what stands in for the state, ultimately has a monopoly of violence. You'll have a brig and you can if necessary recycle the personal biomass of individuals.

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