SPACE BASES ON MARS

SPACE BASES ON MARS
Having been to the Moon, Earthlings are eager to set foot on Mars.

It was on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the first landing by Man on the Moon that the President of the United States outlined his country’s stepping stones to Earth’s nearest outer planet. Speaking at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington and flanked by the three Apollo 11 astronauts—Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins—President George Bush outlined America’s way stations to Mars. First, progress from the shuttlecraft program to the emplacement in permanent Earth orbit of a Space Station, where the larger vehicles necessary for the onward flights would be assembled.

Then would come the establishment of a space base on the Moon, where materials, equipment, and fuels necessary for the long space voyages would be developed and tested, and experience would be gained in Man’s living and working for extended periods in outer space. And finally, the actual expedition to Mars, Vowing to make the United States “a spacefaring nation,” the goal, the President said, will be “back to the Moon, back to the future . . . and then, a journey into tomorrow, to another planet: a manned mission to Mars.”

“Back to the future.” The choice of words may or may not have been coincidental; the premise that going to the future involves going back to the past might have been more than a speech writer’s choice slogan.

For there is evidence that “A Space Base on Mars,” this chapter’s heading, should apply not to the discussion of future plans but to a disclosure of what has already taken place in the past: Evidence that a space base existed on the planet Mars in antiquity; and what is even more startling, that it might have been reactivated before our very eyes. If Man is to venture from planet Earth into space, it is only logical and technologically called for to make Mars the first planet on the outbound voyage. The road to other worlds must have way stations due to the laws of celestial motion, the constraints of weight and energy, the requirements for human survival, and limitations on human physical and mental endurance.

A spaceship capable of carrying a team of astronauts to Mars and back might have to weigh as much as four million pounds. Lifting such a massive vehicle off the surface of Earth (a planet with a substantial gravitational pull, compared with its immediate neighbors) would require a commensurately large load of fuel that, together with the tanks to hold it, would further increase the lift-off weight and make the launch impractical. (U.S. space shuttles now have a payload capacity of sixty-five thousand pounds.)

Such lift-off and fuel problems would be greatly reduced if the spaceship will be assembled in weightless orbit around the Earth. This scenario envisions an orbiting, manned space station, to which shuttle craft will ferry the knocked-down spaceship. Meanwhile, astronauts stationed on the Moon at a permanent space base would develop the technology required for Man’s survival in space. Man and vehicle would then be joined for the voyage to Mars.

The round trip may take between two and three years, depending on the trajectory and Earth-Mars alignments. The length of stay on Mars will also vary according to these constraints and other considerations, beginning with no stay at all (just several orbits around Mars) to a long stay in a permanent colony served or sustained by shifts of spacecraft and astronauts. Indeed, many advocates of “The Case for Mars,” as this approach has come to be called after several scientific conferences on the subject, consider a manned mission to Mars justified only if a permanent space base is established there, both as a prelude to manned missions to even more distant planets and as the forerunner of a colony, a permanent settlement of Earthlings on a new world.

The progression from shuttlecraft to an orbiting space station to landings on the Moon and the establishment of a space base thereon, all as stepping-stones or way stations toward a landing on Mars, has been described in scenarios that read like science fiction but are based on scientific knowledge and attainable technology. Bases on the Moon and on Mars, even a colony on Mars, have been in the planning for a long time and are deemed entirely feasible. Sustaining human life and activity on the Moon is certainly challenging, but the studies show how it could be achieved. The tasks are more challenging for Mars, since resupply from Earth (as the Moon projects envision) is more difficult and costly. Nevertheless, the vital resources needed by Man to survive and function are available on Mars, and scientists believe that Man could live “off the land” there. Mars, it has been concluded, is habitable—because it was habitable in the past.

Mars appears nowadays as a cold, half-frozen planet inhospitable to anything living upon its surface, with bitter-cold winters and temperatures rising above freezing only at the equator in the warmest season, with vast areas covered either with permafrost or with rusted iron rocks and gravel (which give the planet its reddish hue), with no liquid water to sustain life or oxygen to breathe. But not so long ago in geological terms, it was a planet with relatively pleasant seasons, flowing water, oceans and rivers, cloudy (blue!) skies, and perhaps—just perhaps—even some forms of indigenous simple plant life.

All the various studies converge toward the conclusion that Mars is now going through an ice age, not unlike the ice ages that Earth has experienced periodically. The causes of Earth’s ice ages, attributed to many factors, are now believed to stem
from three basic phenomena that relate to Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The first is the configuration of the orbit itself: the orbit, it has been concluded, changes from more circular to more elliptical in a cycle of about one hundred thousand years; this brings the Earth at times closer to the Sun and at times farther away from it.

Earth has seasons because the axis of Earth is not perpendicular to its orbital plane (ecliptic) but is tilted, bringing the northern hemisphere under a stronger influence of the Sun’s rays during the (northern) summer (during winter in the southern hemisphere), and vice versa (Fig. 73); but this tilt, now about 23.5 degrees, is not stable; the Earth, like a rolling ship, changes its tilt by about 3 degrees back and forth in a cycle that takes about forty-one thousand years to complete.

The greater the tilt the more extreme are the winters and summers; air and water flows change and aggravate the climatic changes that we call “ice ages” and “ interglacial” warm periods. A third contributing cycle is that of the Earth’s wobble as it spins, its axis forming an imaginary circle in the heavens; this is the phenomenon of Precession of the Equinoxes, and the duration of this cycle is about twenty-six thousand years.

The planet Mars is also subject to all three cycles, except that its larger orbit around the Sun and greater tilt differential cause more extreme climatic swings. The cycle, as we have mentioned, is believed to last some fifty thousand years on Mars (although shorter and longer durations have also been suggested).

When the next Martian warm period, or interglacial, arrives, the planet will literally flow with water, its seasons will not be as harsh, and its atmosphere will not be as alien to Earthlings as it is today. When was the last “interglacial” epoch on Mars? The time could not have been too distant, because otherwise the dust storms on Mars would have obliterated more, if not most, of the evidence on its surface of once flowing rivers, ocean shorelines, and lake basins; and there would not be as much water vapor still in the Martian atmosphere as is found today.
“Running water must have existed on the red planet in relatively recent times, geologically speaking,” according to Harold Masursky of the U.S. Geological Survey.
Some believe the last change occurred no more than ten thousand years ago.

Those who are planning the landings and extended stays on Mars do not expect the climate there to revert to an interglacial epoch within the next two decades; but they do believe that the basic requirements for life and survival on Mars are locally available. Water, as has been shown, is present as permafrost in vast areas and could be found in the mud of what from space appear to be dry riverbeds. When geologists at Arizona State University working for NASA were suggesting Mars landing sites to Soviet scientists, they pointed to the great canyon in the Lunae Planum basin as a place where a roving vehicle “could visit former riverbeds and dig into the sediments of a delta where an ancient river flowed into a basin,” and find there liquid water.

Aquifers—subterranean water pools—are a sure source of water in the opinion of many scientists. New analyses of data from spacecraft as well as from Earth-based instruments led a team headed by Robert L. Huguenin of the University of Massachusetts to conclude, in June 1980, that two concentrations of water evaporation on Mars south of its equator suggest the existence of vast reservoirs of liquid water just a few inches below the Martian surface. Later that year Stanley H. Zisk of the Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, and Peter J. Mouginis-Mark of Brown University, Rhode Island, reported in Science and Nature (November 1980) that radar probing of areas in the planet’s southern hemisphere indicated “moist oases” of “extensive liquid water” beneath the surface.

And then, of course, there is all the water captured in the ice cap of the northern pole, which melts around its rims during the northern summer, creating large, visible darkish patches. Morning fogs and mists that have been observed on Mars suggest to scientists the existence of dew, a source of water for many plants and animals on Earth in arid areas.

The Martian atmosphere, at first sight inhospitable and even poisonous to Man and life, could in fact be a source of vital resources. The atmosphere has been found to contain some water vapor, which could be extracted by condensation. It could also be a source of oxygen for breathing and burning. It consists on Mars primarily of carbon dioxide (CO2) with small percentages of nitrogen, argon, and traces of oxygen (Earth’s atmosphere consists primarily of nitrogen, with a large percentage of oxygen and small amounts of other gases).

The process of converting carbon dioxide (C02) to carbon monoxide (CO), thereby releasing oxygen (CO + O) is almost elementary and could easily be performed by astronauts and settlers. Carbon monoxide can then serve as a simple rocket fuel. The planet’s reddish-brown, or “rusty,” hue is also a clue to the availability of oxygen, for it is the result of the actual rusting of iron rocks on Mars.

The product is iron oxide—iron that has combined with oxygen. On Mars it is of a type called limonite, a combination of iron oxide (Fe2O3) with several molecules of water (H2O); with the proper equipment, the plentiful oxygen could be separated and extracted. The hydrogen obtainable by breaking down water into its component elements could be used in the production of foods and useful materials, many of which are based on hydrocarbons {hydrogen-carbon combinations).

Although the Martian soil is relatively high in salts, scientists believe it could be washed with water sufficiently to the point where patches would be suitable for plant cultivation in greenhouses; local foods could thus be grown, especially from seeds of salt-resistant strains of grains and vegetables; human waste could be used as fertilizer, as it is used in many Third World countries on Earth. Nitrogen, needed by plants and fertilizers, is in short supply on Mars but not absent: the atmosphere, though 95 percent carbon dioxide, does contain almost 3 percent nitrogen. The greenhouses for growing all this food would be made of inflatable plastic domes; electricity would be obtained from solar-powered batteries; the rover vehicles will also be solar-powered.

Another source not just of water but also of heat on Mars is indicated by the past volcanic activity there. Of several notable volcanoes, the one named Olympus, after the Greek mountain of the gods, dwarfs anything on Earth or even in the Solar System. The largest volcano on Earth, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, rises 6.3 miles; Olympus Mons on Mars towers 15 miles above the surrounding plain; its crater’s top measures 45 miles across. The volcanoes of Mars and other evidence of volcanic activity on the planet indicate a hot molten core and thus the possible existence of warm surface spots, hot-water springs, and other phenomena resulting from internally generated heat.

With a day almost exactly the length of a day on Earth, seasons (although about twice as long as Earth’s), equatorial regions, icy northern and southern poles, water resources that once were seas and lakes and rivers, mountain ranges and plains, volcanoes and canyons, Mars is Earthlike in so many ways. Indeed, some scientists believe that Mars, although created at the same time as the other planets 4.6 billion years ago, is at the stage Earth was at its beginnings, before plant life began to emit oxygen and change Earth’s atmosphere.

This notion has served as a basis for the suggestion by proponents of the Gaia Theory of how Man might “jump the gun” on Martian evolution by bringing life to it; for they hold that it was Life that made Earth hospitable to life. Writing in The Greening of Mars, James Lovelock and Michael Allaby employed science fiction to describe how microorganisms and “halocarbon gases” would be sent from Earth to Mars in rockets, the former to start the biological chain and the latter to create a shield in the Martian atmosphere. This shield of halocarbon gases, suspended in the atmosphere above the now cold and arid planet, would block the dissipation into space of the warmth Mars receives from the Sun and its own internal heat and would create an artificially induced “greenhouse” effect.

The warming and the thickened atmosphere would release Mars’s frozen waters, enhance plant growth, and thereby increase the planet’s oxygen supply. Each step in this artificially induced evolution would strengthen the process; thus will the bringing of Life to Mars make it hospitable to life. The suggestion by the two scientists that the transformation of Mars into a habitable planet—they called the process “Terra forming”—should begin with the creation of an artificial shield to protect the planet’s dissipating heat and water vapor by artificially suspending a suitable material in the planet’s atmosphere was made by them in 1984.

Whether by coincidence or not, it was once again a case of modern science catching up with ancient knowledge. For, in The I2th Planet (1976), it was described how the Anunnaki came to Earth about 450,000 years ago in order to obtain gold—needing the metal to protect life on their planet Nibiru by suspending gold particles as a shield in its dwindling atmosphere, to reverse the loss of heat, air, and water.

The plans proposed by the advocates of the Gaia Hypothesis are based on an assumption and a presumption. The first, that Mars does not have life-forms of its own; the second, that people from one planet have the right to introduce their lifeforms to another world, whether or not it has its own life. But does Mars have life on it or as some prefer to ask, did it have life on it in its less harsh epochs? The question has preoccupied those who have planned and executed the various missions to Mars; and after all the scanning and photographing and probing, it is evident that Life as it has blossomed on Earth—trees and forests, bushes and grasses, flying birds and roaming animals—is just not there. But what about lesser lifeforms—lichens or algae or the lowly bacteria?

Although Mars is much smaller than Earth (its mass is about a tenth that of Earth, its diameter about half) its surface, now all dry land, is about the same area as the dry-land portion of Earth’s surface. The area to be explored is thus the same as the area on Earth with all its continents, mountains, valleys, equatorial and polar zones; its warm and the cold places; its humid regions and the dry desert ones. When an outline of the United States, coast to coast, is superimposed on the face of Mars, the scope of the exploration and the variety of terrains and climates to contend with can well be appreciated.

No wonder when then that the first successful unmanned Mars probes. Mariners 4, 6, and 7 (1965-69), which photographed parts of the planet’s surface in the course of flybys, revealed a planet that was heavily cratered and utterly desolate, with little sign of any geologic activity in its past. As it happened, the pictures were almost all of the cratered highlands in the southern hemisphere of Mars.

This image, of a planet not only without life on it but itself a lifeless and dead globe, changed completely when Manner 9 went into orbit around Mars in 1971 and surveyed almost its entire surface. It showed a living planet with a history of geologic activity and volcanism, with plains and mountains, with canyons in which America’s Grand Canyon could be swallowed without a trace, and the marks of flowing water. It was not only a living planet but one that could have life upon it.
The search for life on Mars was thus made a prime objective of the Viking missions. Viking 1 and Viking 2 were launched from Cape Canaveral in the summer of 1975 and reached their destination in July and August of 1976. Each consisted of an Orbiter that remained in orbit around the planet for ongoing observation, and of a Lander that was lowered to the planet’s surface. Although to ensure safe landings, relatively flat sites in the northern hemisphere, not too distant from each other, were selected for the touchdowns, “biological criteria” (i.e., the possibility of life) “dominated the decision regarding the latitude at which the spacecraft would land.”

The orbiters have provided a rich array of data about Mars that is still being studied and analyzed, with new details and insights constantly emerging; the landers sent thrilling photographs of the Martian landscape at very close range and conducted a series of experiments in search of Life.

Besides instruments to analyze the atmosphere and cameras to photograph the areas in which they touched down, each Lander carried a combined gas-chromatograph/mass-spectrometer for analyzing the surface for organic material, as well as three instruments designed to detect metabolic activity by any organism in the soil. The soil was scooped up with a mechanical arm, put into a small furnace, heated, and otherwise treated and tested. There were no living organisms in the samples; only carbon dioxide and a small amount of water vapor were found.

There were not even the organic molecules that impacting meteorites bring with them; the presumption is that if such molecules had been delivered to Mars, the present high level of ultraviolet light that strikes the planet, whose protective atmosphere is now almost gone, must have destroyed them. During the long days of experiments on Mars, drama and excitement were not absent. In retrospect the ability of the NASA team to manipulate and direct from Earth equipment on the surface of Mars seems like a fairy tale; but both planned routines and emergencies were adroitly tackled. Mechanical arms failed to work but were fixed by radio commands.

There were other malfunctions and adjustments. There was breathtaking suspense when the gas-exchange experiments detected a burst of oxygen; there was the need to have Viking 2 instruments confirm or disprove the results of experiments carried out by those of Viking 1 that left open the question of whether changes in the scooped-up soil samples were organic or chemical, biological or inanimate. Viking 2 results confirmed the reactions of Viking 1 experiments: when gases were mixed or when soil was added to a “nutrient soup,” there were marked changes in the level of carbon dioxide; but whether the changes represented a chemical reaction or a biological response remained a puzzle.

As eager as scientists were to find life on Mars, and thereby find support for their theories of how life on Earth began spontaneously from a primordial soup, most had to conclude regretfully that no evidence of life on Mars was found. Norman Horowitz of Caltech summed up the prevailing opinion when he stated (in Scientific American, November 1977) that,
“at least those areas on Mars examined by the two spacecraft are not habitats of life. Possibly the same conclusion applies to the entire planet, but that is an intricate problem that cannot yet be addressed.”
In subsequent years, in laboratory experiments in which the soil and conditions on Mars were simulated as best as the researchers could, the reactions indicated biological responses. Especially intriguing were experiments conducted in 1980 at the Space Biology Laboratory of Moscow University: when Earthly life-forms were introduced into a simulated Martian environment, birds and mammals expired in a few seconds, turtles and frogs lived many hours, insects survived for weeks—but fungi, lichens, algae, and mosses quickly adapted themselves to the new environment; oats, rye, and beans sprouted and grew but could not reproduce. Life, then, could take hold on Mars; but had it?

With 4.6 billion years at the disposal of evolution on Mars, where are not merely some microorganisms (which may or may not exist) but higher life-forms? Or were the Sumerians right in saying that life sprouted on Earth so soon after its formation only because the “Seed of Life” was brought to it, by Nibiru? While the soil of Mars still keeps its riddle of whether or not its test reactions were chemical and lifeless or biological and caused by living organisms, the rocks of Mars challenge us with even more enigmatic puzzles.

One can begin with the mystery of Martian rocks found not on Mars but on Earth. Among the thousands of meteorites found on Earth, eight that were discovered in India, Egypt, and France between 1815 and 1865 (known as the SNC group, after the initials of the sites’ names) were unique in that their age was only 1.3 billion years, whereas meteorites are generally 4.5 billion years old. When several more were discovered in Antarctica in 1979, the gaseous composition of the Martian atmosphere was already known; comparisons revealed that the SNC meteorites contained traces of isotopic Nitrogen-14, Argon-40 and 36, Neon-20, Krypton-84, and Xenon-13 almost identical to the presence of these rare gases on Mars.

How did these meteorites or rocks reach Earth? Why are they only 1.3 billion years old? Did a catastrophic impact on Mars cause them to somehow defy its gravity and fly off to Earth?

The rocks discovered in Antarctica are even more puzzling. A photograph of one of them, released by NASA and published in The New York Times of September 1, 1987, shows it to be not “football sized” as these rocks had been described, but rather a broken-off block of four bricklike, artificially shaped and angled stones fitted together—something one would expect to find in pre-Inca ruins in Peru’s Sacred Valley but not on Mars.

Yet all tests on the rock (it is no longer referred to as a meteorite) attest to its Martian origin. To compound the mystery, photographs of the Martian surface have revealed features that, on seeing them, astronomers dubbed “Inca City.”

Located in the planet’s southern part, they represent a series of steep walls made up of squarish or rectangular segments is from Mariner-9 photographic frame 4212-15). John McCauley, a NASA geologist, commented that the “ridges” were “continuous, show no breaching, and stand out among the surrounding plains and small hills like walls of an ancient ruin.”

This immense wall or series of connected shaped stone blocks bears a striking resemblance to such colossal and enigmatic structures on Earth as the immense wall of gigantic stone blocks that forms the base of the vast platform at Baalbek in Lebanon or to the cruder but equally impressive zigzagging parallel stone walls of Sacsahuaman above Cuzco in Peru.

In The Stairway to Heaven and The Lost Realms, I have attributed both structures to the Anunnaki/Nefilim. The features on Mars might perhaps be explained as natural phenomena, and the size of the blocks, ranging from three to five miles in length, might very well indicate the hand of nature rather than of people, of whatever provenance. On the other hand, since no plausible natural explanation has emerged, they might be the remains of artificial structures—if the “giants’” of Near Eastern and Andean lore had also visited Mars...

The notion of “canals” on Mars appeared to have been laid to rest when—after decades of ridicule—scientists suggested that what Schiaparelli and Lowell had observed and mapped were in fact channels of dried-up rivers. Yet other features were found on the Martian surface that defy easy explanation. These include white “streaks” that run in straight lines for endless miles—sometimes parallel, sometimes at angles to each other, sometimes crossing other, narrower “tracks”.

Once again, the NASA teams suggested that windblown dust storms may have caused these features. This may be so, although the regularity and especially the intersecting of the lines seem to indicate an artificial origin. Searching for a comparable feature on Earth, one must look to the famous Nazca lines in southern Peru which have been attributed to “the gods.”

Both the Near East and the Andes are known for their various pyramids—the immense and unique ones at Giza, the stepped
pyramids or ziggurats of Mesopotamia and of the early American civilizations.

As pictures taken by the Mariner and Viking cameras seem to show, even pyramids, or what look like pyramids, have been seen on Mars.

What appear to be three-sided pyramids in the Elysius plateau in the region called Trivium Charontis were first noticed on Mariner-9 frames 4205-78, taken on February 8, 1972 and 4296-23, taken six months later.

Attention was focused on two pairs of “tetrahedron pyramidal structures,” to use the cautious scientific terminology; one pair were huge pyramids, while the other pair were much smaller, and they seemed to be laid out in a rhombus-shaped pattern.

Here again, the size of the “pyramids”—the larger are each two miles across and half a mile high—suggests that they are natural phenomena, and a study in the journal Icarus (vol. 22, 1974, by Victor Ablordeppy and Mark Gipson) offered four theories to explain these formations naturally. David Chandler (Life on Mars) and astronomer Francis Graham (in Frontiers of Science, November-December 1980), among others, showed the flaws in each theory.

The fact that the features were photographed six months apart, at different sunlights and angles, and yet show their accurate terrahedral shapes, convinces many that they are artificial structures, even if we do not understand the reason for their great size.
“Given the present lack of any easily acceptable explanation,” Chandler wrote, “there seems to be no reason to exclude from consideration the most obvious conclusion of all: perhaps they were built by intelligent beings.”
And Francis Graham, stating that “the conjecture that these are buildings of an ancient race of Martians must take its place among the theories of their origin,” wondered whether future explorers might discover in these structures inner chambers, buried entrances, or inscriptions that might have withstood “ten thousand millennia of wind erosion.”

More “pyramids” with varying numbers of smooth sides have been discerned by researchers who have scanned the Martian photographs. Interest, and controversy, have focused mainly on an area named Cydonia, because a group of what may be artificial structures appears to be aligned with what some called a Martian “sphinx” to the east of these structures, as can be readily seen in the panoramic NASA file photo O35-A-7.
What is noticeable is a rock with the features of a well-proportioned human face, seemingly of a man wearing some kind of a helmet (Fig. 85 above), with a slightly open mouth and with eyes that look straight out at the viewer—if the viewer happens to be in the skies above Mars. Like the other “monuments”—the features that resemble artificial structures—on Mars, this one, too, is of large proportions: the Face measures almost a mile from top to bottom and has been estimated to rise almost half a mile above the surrounding plateau, as can be judged by its shadow.

Although it is said that the NASA scientist who examined the photographs received from the Viking 1 Orbiter on July 25, 1976, “almost fell out of his chair” when he saw this frame and that appropriate “Oh, my God” or expressions to that effect were uttered, the fact is that the photograph was filed away with the thousands of other Viking photographs without any further action because the similarity to a human face was deemed just a play of light and shadows on a rock eroded by natural forces (water, wind).

Indeed, when some newsmen who happened to see the transmitted image wondered whether it in fact showed a human face, the chief scientist of the Mission asserted that another photograph, taken a few hours later, did not show such a feature at all.

(Years later NASA acknowledged that that was an incorrect and misleading statement and an unfortunate one, because the fact was that the area fell into darkness of night “a few hours later” and there did exist other photographs clearly showing the Face.)

Three years later Vincent DiPietro, an electrical engineer and imaging specialist, who remembered seeing the “Face” in a popular magazine, came face-to-face with the Martian image as he was thumbing through the archives of the National Space Science Data Center. The Viking photo, bearing the catalog number 76-A-593/17384, was simply titled “HEAD.” Intrigued by the decision to keep the photo in the scientific data center under that tantalizing caption—the “Head” whose very existence had been denied—he embarked, together with Greg Molenaar, a Lockheed computer scientist, on a search for the original NASA image.

They found not one but two, the other being image 070-A-13 (Plate F). Subsequent searches came up with more photos of the Cydonia area taken by different Viking Orbiter cameras and from both the right and left sides of the features (there are eleven by now). The Face as well as more pyramidlike and other puzzling features could be seen on all of them. Using sophisticated computer enhancement and imaging techniques, DiPietro and Molenaar obtained enlarged and clearer images of the Face that convinced them it had been artificially sculpted.

Armed with their findings, they attended the 1981 The Case for Mars conference but instead of acclaiming them the assembled scientists cold-shouldered their assertions—undoubtedly because they would have to draw the conclusion that the Face was the handiwork of intelligent beings, “Martians” who had inhabited the planet; and that was a totally unacceptable proposition.

Publishing their findings privately (Unusual Mars Surface Features) DiPietro and Molenaar took great pains to dissociate themselves from “wild speculations” regarding the origin of the unusual features. All they claimed, the book’s epilogue stated, was “that the features do not seem natural and warrant further investigation.”

NASA scientists, however, strongly rejected any suggestion that future missions should include a visit to the Face, since it was clearly just a rock shaped by the forces of nature so that it resembled a human face.

The cause of the Face on Mars was thereafter taken up primarily by Richard C. Hoagland, a science writer and onetime consultant at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He organized a computer conference titled The Independent Mars Investigation Team with the purpose of having the features and all other pertinent data studied by a representative group of scientists and specialists; the group eventually included Brian O’Leary, a scientist-astronaut, and David Webb, a member of the U.S. President’s Space Commission. In their conclusions they not only concurred with the view that the “Face” and “pyramids” were artificial structures, they also suggested that other features on (he surface on Mars were the handiwork of intelligent beings who had once been on Mars.

I was especially intrigued by the suggestion in their reports that the orientation of the Face and the principal pyramid indicated they were built about half a million years ago in alignment with sunrise at solstice time on Mars. When Hoagland and his colleague Thomas Rautenberg, a computer specialist, sought my comments on their photographic evidence, I pointed out to them that the Anunnaki/Nefilim, according to my conclusions in The 12th Planet, had first landed on Earth about 450,000 years ago; it was, perhaps, no coincidence that Hoagland and Rautenberg’s dating of the monuments on Mars coincided with my timetable. Although Hoagland was careful to hedge his bets, he did devote many pages in his book The Monuments of Mars to my writings and to the Sumerian evidence concerning the Anunnaki.

The publicity accorded the findings of DiPietro, Molenaar, and Hoagland has caused NASA to insist that they were wrong. In an unusual move, the National Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, which supplies the public with copies of NASA data, has been enclosing along with the “Face” photographs copies of rebuttals of the unorthodox interpretations of the images.

These rebuttals include a three-page paper dated June 6, 1987, by Paul Butterworth, the Center’s Resident Planetologist. He states that “there is no reason to believe that this particular mountain, which is similar to tens of thousands of others on the planet, is not the result of the natural geological processes which have produced all the other landforms on Mars. Among the huge numbers of mountains on Mars it is not surprising that some should remind us of more familiar objects, and nothing is more familiar than the human face. I am still looking for the ‘Hand on Mars’ and the “Leg on Mars’!”

“No reason to believe” that the feature is other than natural is, of course, not a factual argument in disproving the opposite position, whose proponents contend that they do have reason to believe the features are artificial structures. Still, it is true that on Earth there are hills or mountains that give the appearance of a sculpted human or animal head although they are the work of nature alone. This, I feel, might well be a valid argument regarding the “pyramids” on the Elysium plateau or the “Inca City.” But the Face and some features near it, especially those with straight sides, remain a challenging enigma.

A scientifically significant study by Mark J. Carlotto, an optics scientist, was published in the May 1988 issue of the prestigious journal Applied Optics. Using computer graphic techniques developed in optical sciences, Carlotto employed four frames from NASA images, taken by the Viking Orbiter with different cameras during four different orbits, to recreate a three-dimensional representation of the Face.

The study provided detailed information about the complex optical procedures and mathematical formulations of the three-dimensional analysis, and Carlotto’s conclusions were that the “Face” was indeed a bisymmetrical human face, with another eye socket in the shaded part and a,
“fine structure of the mouth suggesting teeth.”

These, Carlotto stated, “were facial features and not a transient phenomenon” or a trick of light and shadow.

“Although the Viking data are not of sufficient resolution to permit the identification of possible mechanisms of origin for these objects, the results to date suggest that they may not be natural.””
Applied Optics deemed the study important enough to make it its front-cover feature, and the scientific journal New Scientist devoted a special report to the published paper and to an interview with its author. The journal echoed his suggestion that “at the very least these enigmatic objects”—the Face and the adjoining pyramidal features that some had dubbed “The City”—“deserve further scrutiny by future Mars probes, such as the 1988 Soviet Phobos mission or the U.S. Mars Observer.”

The fact that the controlled Soviet press has published and republished articles by Vladimir Avinksy, a noted researcher in geology and mineralogy, that support the non-natural origin of the monuments, surely indicates the Soviet aerospace attitudes on the matter—a subject that will be dealt with at greater length later on. Noteworthy here are two points made by Dr. Avinsky.
He suggests (in published articles and privately delivered papers) that in considering the enormous size of the Martian formations, one must bear in mind that due to the low gravity of Mars a man could perform gigantic tasks on it
He attaches great importance to the dark circle that is clearly seen in the flat area between the Face and the pyramids
While NASA scientists dismissed it as “a water spot on the lens of the Viking Orbiter,” Avinsky considers it “the centre of the entire composition” of the “Martian complex” and its layout.

Unless it is assumed that Earthlings possessed, tens of thousands or even half a million years ago, a high civilization and a sophisticated technology that enabled them to engage in space travel, arrive on Mars and, among other things, put up monuments on it, including the Face, only two other alternatives logically remain. The first is that intelligent beings had evolved on Mars who not only could engage in megalithic construction but also happened to look like us.

But in the absence even of microorganisms in the soil of Mars, nor evidence of plant and animal life that among other things could provide the humanlike Martians with nourishment, the rise of a Martian population akin to Earthlings and one that even duplicated the structural forms found on Earth seems highly improbable. The only remaining plausible alternative is that someone, neither from Earth nor from Mars, capable of space travel half a million years ago, had visited this part of the Solar System and had stayed; and then left behind monuments, both on Earth and on Mars.

The only beings for which evidence has been found—in the Sumerian and biblical texts and in all the ancient “mythologies’” — are the Anunnaki from Nibiru. We know how they looked: they looked like us because they made us look like them, in their image and after their likeness, to quote Genesis.

Their humanlike visages appear in countless ancient depictions, including the famous Sphinx at Giza. Its face, according to Egyptian inscriptions, was that of Horem-Akhet, the “Falcon-god of the Horizon,” an epithet for Ra, the firstborn son of Enki, who could soar to the farthest heavens in his Celestial Boat.

The Giza Sphinx was so oriented that its gaze was aligned precisely eastward along the thirtieth parallel toward the spaceport of the Anunnaki in the Sinai Peninsula. The ancient texts attributed communications functions to the Sphinx (and the purported subterranean chambers under it):
A message is sent from heaven; it is heard in Heliopolis and is repeated in Memphis by the Fair of Face.
It is composed in a dispatch by the writing of Thoth with regard to the city of Amen...

The gods are acting according to command. The reference to the message-transmitting role of the “Fair of Face”—the sphinx at Giza—raises the question of what the purpose of the Face on Mars was; for, if it was indeed the handiwork of intelligent beings, then by definition they did not expend the time and effort to create the Face without a logical reason. Was the purpose, as the Egyptian text suggests, to send the “message from Heaven” to the sphinx on Earth, a “command” according to which the gods acted, sent from one Face to another Fair-of-Face?

If such was the purpose of the Face on Mars, then one would indeed expect to find pyramids nearby, as one finds at Giza; there, three unique and exceptional pyramids, one smaller and two colossal, rise in symmetry with each other and with the Sphinx. Interestingly, Dr. Avinsky discerns three true pyramids in the area adjoining the Face on Mars.

As the ample evidence presented in the volumes of “The Earth Chronicles” series indicates, the Giza pyramids were not the handiwork of Pharaohs but were constructed by the Anunnaki. Before the Deluge their spaceport was in Mesopotamia, at Sippar (“Bird City”). After the Deluge the spaceport was located in the Sinai Peninsula, and the two great pyramids of Giza, two artificial mountains, served as beacons for the Landing Corridor whose apex was anchored on Mount Ararat, the Near East’s most visible natural feature. If this was also the function of the pyramids in the Cydonia area, then some correlation with that most conspicuous natural feature on Mars, Olympus Mons, might eventually be found.

When the principal center of gold production by the Anunnaki shifted from southeast Africa to the Andes, their metallurgical center was established on the shores of Lake Titicaca, at what is nowadays the ruins of Tiahuanacu and Puma-Punku. The principal structures in Tiahuanacu, which was connected to the lake by canals, were the “pyramid” called Akapana, a massive mound engineered to process ores, and the Kalasasaya, a square, “hollowed-out” structure (Fig. 88) that served astronomical purposes; its orientation was aligned with the solstices. Puma-Punku was situated directly on the lakeshore; its principal structures were “golden enclosures” built of immense stone blocks that stood alongside an array of zigzagging piers.

Of the unusual features the orbiting cameras captured on the face of Mars, two appear to me to be almost certainly artificial—and both seem to emulate structures found on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the Andes. One, which is akin to the Kalasasaya, is the first feature west of the Face on Mars, just above (north of) the mysterious darkish circle.

As an enlargement thereof indicates, its still-standing southern part consists of two distinct massive walls, perfectly straight, meeting at an angle that appears sharp because of the photographic angle but is in fact a true right angle. The structure—which could not possibly be natural no matter how far the imagination is stretched—appears to have collapsed, in its northern part, under the impact of a huge boulder that dropped on it in some catastrophic circumstances.

The other feature that could not be the product of natural erosion is found directly south of the Face, in an area of chaotic features, some of which have amazingly straight sides. Separated by what might have been a channel or waterway—all are agreed that the area was on the shores of an ancient Martian sea or lake—the prominent feature’s side that faces the channel is not straight but is outfitted with a series of “indentations”.

One must keep in mind that all these photographs were taken from an altitude of about one thousand two hundred miles above the Martian surface; what we observe, then, may well have been an array of large piers just as one finds at Puma-Punku.

The two features, which cannot be explained away as the result of the play of light and shadow, thus bear similarities to the facilities and structures on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

In this they not only support my suggestion that they are the remains of structures put up by the same visitors—the Anunnaki—they also offer a hypothesis for explaining their purpose and possible function.

This conclusion is further supported by features that can be seen in the Utopia area: a pentagonal structure (enhanced NASA frame 086-A-07) and a “runway” next to what some deem evidence of mining (NASA file frame O86-A-O8).

The spaceports of the Anunnaki on Earth, judging by Sumerian and Egyptian records, consisted of,
a Mission Control Center
Landing Beacons
an underground silo
a large, flat plain whose natural surface served as runways
The Mission Control Center and certain Landing Beacons were some distance away from the spaceport proper where the runways were situated; when the spaceport was in the Sinai Peninsula, Mission Control Center was in Jerusalem and the Landing Beacons were in Giza, Egypt (the underground silo in the Sinai is depicted in Egyptian tomb drawings—see vignette at end of this chapter—and was destroyed by nuclear weapons in 2024 B.C.).

In the Andes, the Nazca lines, I believe, represent the visual evidence for the use of that perfect, arid plain as runways for space shuttle takeoffs and landings. The inexplicable crisscrossing lines on the surface of Mars, the so called “tracks”could well represent the same kind of evidence.

There are also what appear to be true tracks on the Martian surface. From the air they look like the markings made by a pointed object on a linoleum floor, more or less straight “scratches” left on the Martian plain. These markings have been explained away as geological features, that is, natural cracks in the Martian surface.

But as can be seen in NASA file frame 651-A-06 (Plate K), the “cracks,” or tracks, appear to lead from an elevated structure of a geometric design with straight sides and pierlike “teeth” on one side—a structure now mostly buried under windblown sands—to the shores of what evidently was once a lake.

Other NASA file aerial photographs show some tracks on an escarpment above the great canyon in the Valles Marineris near the Martian equator; these tracks not only follow the contours of the terrain but also crisscross each other in a pattern that could hardly be natural.

It has been pointed out that if an alien spacecraft were to search for signs of life on Earth in areas of the Earth’s surface outside the cities, what would give away the presence of intelligent beings on Earth would be the tracks we call “roads” and the rectilinear patterns of agricultural lands. NASA itself has supplied what might amount to evidence of deliberate agricultural activity on Mars.

Frame 52-A-35 (Plate L)in the NASA files shows a series of parallel grooves resembling contoured farmland—as one would find in the high mountains of Peru’s Sacred Valley. The photo caption prepared by the NASA News Center in Pasadena, California. When the photograph was released on August 18, 1976, stated thus:
Peculiar geometric markings, so regular that they appear almost artificial can be seen in this Mars picture taken by Viking Orbiter 1 on August 12 from a range of 2053 kilometers (1273 miles).
The contoured markings are in a shallow depression or basin, possibly formed by wind erosion. The markings—about one kilometer (one-half mile) from crest to crest—are low ridges and valleys and may be related to the same erosion process.
The parallel contours look very much like an aerial view of plowed ground meaning conveyed information regarding the named person or object. One epithet for Mars was Simug, meaning “smith,” honoring the god Nergal with whom the planet was associated in Sumerian times.

A son of Enki, he was in charge of African domains that included the gold-mining areas. Mars was also called UTU.KA.GAB.A, meaning “Light Established at the Gate of the Waters,” which can be interpreted either as its position next to the asteroid belt that separated the Lower Waters from the Upper Waters, or as a source of water for the astronauts as they passed beyond the more hazardous and less hospitable giant planets Saturn and Jupiter.

Even more interesting are Sumerian planetary lists that describe the planets as the Anunnaki passed them during a space journey to Earth. Mars was called MUL APIN—“Planet Where the- Right Course is Set.” It was so named also on an amazing circular tablet which copied nothing less than a route map for the journey from Nibiru to Earth by Enlil, graphically showing the “right turn” at Mars.

Even more enlightening as to what role Mars, or the space facilities upon it, had played in the journeys of the Anunnaki to Earth is the Babylonian text concerning the Akitu festival. Borrowed from ancient Sumerian traditions, it outlined the rituals and symbolic procedures during the ten days of the New Year ceremonies. In Babylon the principal deity who took over the supremacy from the earlier ones was Marduk; part of the transfer of the supremacy to him was the renaming by the Babylonians of the Planet of the Gods from the Sumerian Nibiru to the Babylonian Marduk.

The Akitu ceremonies included a reenactment by Marduk of the voyages of the Anunnaki from Nibiru/Marduk to Earth. Each planet passed on the way was symbolized by a way station along the course of the religious processions, and the epithet for each planet or way station expressed its role, appearance, or special features. The station/planet Mars was termed “The Traveler’s Ship,” and I have taken it to mean that it was at Mars that the astronauts and cargo coming from Nibiru transferred to smaller spacecraft in which they were transported to Earth (and vice versa), coming and going between Mars and Earth not once in three thousand six hundred years but on a more frequent schedule.

Nearing Earth, these transporters linked up with the Earth orbiting station(s) manned by the Igigi; the actual landing on and takeoff from Earth were performed by smaller shuttlecraft that glided down to the natural “runways’ “ and took off by soaring upward as they increased power. Planners of the forthcoming steps into space by Mankind envision almost the same sequence of different vehicles as the best way to overcome the constraints of Earth’s gravity, making use of the weightlessness of the orbiting station and the lower gravity of Mars (and, in their plans, also of the Moon). In this, once again, modern science is only catching up with ancient knowledge.

Coupled with these ancient texts and depictions, the photographic data from the surface of Mars, and the similarities between the Martian structures and those on Earth erected by the Anunnaki all lead to one plausible conclusion:
Mars, some time in its past, was the site of a space base.
And there is also evidence suggesting that the ancient space base has been reactivated—in our very own time, in these very days.

A DRAWING THAT DREW ATTENTION:

When the Egyptian viceroy Huy died, his tomb was decorated with scenes of his life and work as governor of Nubia and the Sinai during the reign of the renowned Pharaoh Tut-Ankh-Amen. Among the drawings was that of a rocketship with its shaft in an underground silo and its conical command module above ground, among palm trees and giraffes. The drawing, which was reproduced in The 12th Planet together with a comparable Sumerian pictograph of a spacecraft that designated the Anunnaki, caught the eye of Stuart W. Greenwood, an aerospace engineer then conducting research for NASA.

Writing in Ancient Skies (July-August 1977), a publication of the Ancient Astronaut Society, he found in the ancient drawing aspects indicating knowledge of a sophisticated technology and drew attention in particular to four “highly suggestive features”:
(1) the “airfoil cross section surrounding the rocket,” which appears suitable for “the walls of a duct used for the development of thrust”
(2) The rocket head above ground, reminiscent of the Gemini space capsule even to the appearance of the windows,
(3) the charred surface and blunt end
(4) the unusual spike, which is like spikes tested by NASA for reducing the drag on the space capsule without success, but which in the drawing suggests it was retractable and thus could overcome the overheating problem that NASA was unable to solve (click below image)

He estimated that,
“if the relative locations of the rocket-head and shaft shown in the drawing are those applying during operation within the atmosphere, the inclined shock wave from the nose of the rocket-head would touch the duct ‘lip’ at about Mach-3 (3 times the speed of sound).”
Secret Colonies on Mars
I want to thank all of you for coming here and allowing me the space to share this with you, so I don't have to carry it any longer by myself. The purpose of the lectures is to inform you specifically of the extraterrestrial intervention in our development and the development of mankind. Mankind has been fascinated with Mars ever since time began. The story of Mars that has been shared with me by the Andromedans is both compelling and quite fascinating.

Unlike some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the moon of Earth and the planet Venus, Mars actually originated in our solar system. It is 6.1 billion years old, and its inner sun, which all planets have or had, is burned out. So, the inside is cold, dark and wet. The surface appears to be desolate, sandy and windy. However, Mars is changing, and it has been changing for the last 30 years. The Andromedans say that Mars is getting closer to the sun every three years, and the 200 mile-an-hour storms are becoming less and less frequent. Every year, the polar caps are showing more and more of a change of seasons.

The technology does exist today to enable Mars to sustain human life as we know it. According to the Andromedans, given the correct coordination of events in terms of technological applications, Mars could be fully habitable for human life in only 20 years. One of the moons of Saturn also offers us this possibility.

Mars has a part very similar to that of Earth. It has a history of repeated colonization and life. According to Morenae, Mars was the first planet in our solar system to explored and colonized. When civilizations were coming to our solar system, they stopped first at Mars. Mars at one time had an ocean and an atmosphere. It was also in a different orbit than it is now. It had plant life and some very basic life forms which didn't evolve there, but were brought to both Mars and Earth 189 million years ago by traders, explorers and miners from Alpha Draconis, Ursa Major and Minor, Lyrae, the Pleiades, Zeta Reticuli and Sirius.

Now, there have been some other groups that have passed through here, but those groups were predominantly those who worked our system for minerals, ores, biological samples and all kinds of things. When they came, they always seemed to leave something behind. Some of the life forms that have been and will be discovered on Mars are exactly identical to life forms we have here on Earth.

Space travel has existed in our galaxy for 4.4 billion years, according to what the Andromedans have said. The fossil records of both Earth and Mars apparently show that most life forms have had very little actual evolution and appear almost fully formed. In other words, there just suddenly appeared on the scene because they were brought here, according to the Andromedans, by early space explorers and biological engineers. Every time they came, they tinkered with life forms.

Apparently, 69.3 million years ago a very large planetary asteroid came through our solar system, laden with a lot of debris. This asteroid, according to Vissaeus, was so magnetically powerful that as it came through it ripped Mars from its original orbit (which was nearer to the Earth) and pulled it 19 million miles further out.

All this happened in a very short period of time, and this devastated everything on the planet, ripping off the atmosphere and causing three successive polar shifts in as many days. Although this asteroid left Earth's atmosphere reasonably intact, Mars would take tens of millions of years before it was able to host even the most basic life forms. According to the Andromedans, Mars even had dinosaurs on it at one time, and the fossils of these beasts have been found by the teams that have been sent there. Eventually we will hear about this when and if things become more open.

According to the Andromedans, Mars has been periodically inhabited for 3.8 billion years, and that there are ruins all over the planet. Most of the ruins are buried under hundreds of feet of sand, just like here on Earth in the Gobi desert, where there are ruins of ancient cities. Now, most of us have heard about Cydonia and the pyramids on Mars. There are also war ruins in the Cydonia region that have not been found yet.

It is interesting that the word al quahir, the Egyptian word that means Cairo, also means Mars, and that this has been in the Egyptian language for thousands of years. Strange coincidence.

Ruins on Mars:
The area known as the Tharsis Ridge contains ruins of an ancient city approximately 69 million years old. The Utopia region also holds the ruins of a city equally as old. These cities have been buried for 69 million years.

A really interesting area is called Mariner Valley Canyon, where there is an ancient Lyraen city that has been buried for 113 million years. There is a vast network of underground tunnels and caverns under this area. This area is where the Earth bases Eve is located.

Earth Base Eve:
The Earth base on Mars called Eve is a vast complex built originally millions of years ago, reactivated with the help of the Greys for the Earth world government. It stretches over an area of 118 miles and is three levels deep in some places. It housed approximately 300,000 human beings, and the deepest portion is 6,200 feet below the surface.

It has four openings to the surface consisting of two elevator shafts and two pressurized hangar entrances, complete with elevators. In other words, if you're flying in a ship, you fly into a hangar, which closes, and you're pressurized, dropping you down into living quarters. That's how the whole thing is done.

Earth Base Adam:
Much of the hardware taken to Mars, as I mentioned once before, came from the moon first, via Russia and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The area known as Chryse Planitia, or the Plains of Gold, is the location of the earth colony, and east of there is a city dubbed Adam. There used to be a large fresh water lake in this area long in the past.

There are essentially three large domed structures built into the mountain range there. The largest of these domes stretches 2.6 miles in diameter, and the other two average a mile in diameter. Each of these domed structures is connected by tunnels to the other domes. The largest dome is built 1,000 feet into the surface of Mars.

Underneath the mountain range where Adam is located, there is another tunnel which leads to a cavern area that is seven square miles in size. They don't have any idea what is inside this cavern area, because the Orion Group has a force field which shields them from view. Nobody can see what they're doing in there.

Orion Group Redoux:
In March 1989, the Russian Phobos probe took pictures of mother ships landing on the surface of Mars, as well as a picture of one of the scout craft firing at the probe, just before it exploded. One of these large ships, 250 miles long, landed at an old Orion Group base that has been reactivated.

The base is more than 1 million years old and is completely underground, occupies 64 square miles, contains five levels and extends to 8,500 feet below the surface. It was fully operational as of June 1994, and contains 2111 scout craft and over 100,000 Orion and Draconian troops. The Andromedans are real specific when they say "troops'.

The Cyndonia region was the last based occupied by the Pleiadians, Lyraens and Sirians when our solar system fell to the Orion Group about 317,000 B.C. That base was partially destroyed in that attack.
*****

NSA Lands on Mars in 1959
The first Martian landing by the NSA 'black government' was in March 1959, when three craft were sent to the Cydonia region. Only 29 military and scientific personnel went on this first mission. The 'fortress' area housed the craft and the workers while Eve was being reopened with the assistance of the Greys.

The construction that was done was performed by the same groups that had done construction on the moon, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bechtel, A.A. Matthews, Robbins Corporation, Psi Corps, and scientists and engineers from JPL.

All of the personnel in this project had no families to worry about them, and all records on their existence, except for personal memories of people on earth, have been wiped clean by the NSA Ultra and Blue Moon units (Alpha I and II), who recruited personnel for this mission. All this was done on the premise that the Earth was going to self-destruct due to pollution, population and disappearing natural resources. The bases were completed in 1968. The Andromedans have said that the 'black government' would do anything to maintain secrecy on this matter.

In March of 1989, thirty years to the month of the landing on Mars, a group of Orion and Draconian forces invaded the Martian colonies and all communication between the moon bases and Mars ceased. Some of the greatest talent and minds are stuck on Mars. Three hundred thousand humans out of communication.

The American and Russian Mars probes were sent, subsequently, to see what they could observe on Mars, and they were destroyed or taken out of action from the surface of Mars.
Q: When we start to see ships in the skies, whose will they be?

A: I've been told that the very first mass sighting of ships that will be seen in the United States will be our own. They'll be the ones that our government has actually built. It won't be the aliens. It will be our own. The first real big signs will be in the area of New Mexico, because it is the area most controlled by the government and the Greys. They have that area so sealed up that nothing could go wrong there.
Elon Musk want to foster a Mars colony
of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers
to the Red Planet for $500,000 a trip.

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, wants to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers to the Red Planet for perhaps $500,000 a trip.

In Musk's vision, the ambitious Mars settlement program would start with a pioneering group of fewer than 10 people, who would journey to the Red Planet aboard a huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane.
"At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big," Musk told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Friday (Nov. 16).
Musk was there to talk about his business plans, and to receive the Society's gold medal for his contribution to the commercialization of space.

Mars pioneers:

Accompanying the founders of the new Mars colony would be large amounts of equipment, including machines to produce fertilizer, methane and oxygen from Mars’ atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide and the planet's subsurface water ice.

The Red Planet pioneers would also take construction materials to build transparent domes, which when pressurized with Mars' atmospheric CO2 could grow Earth crops in Martian soil.

As the Mars colony became more self sufficient, the big rocket would start to transport more people and fewer supplies and equipment.

Musk's architecture for this human Mars exploration effort does not employ cyclers, reusable spacecraft that would travel back and forth constantly between the Red Planet and Earth - at least not at first
"Probably not a Mars cycler; the thing with the cyclers is, you need a lot of them," Musk told SPACE.com. "You have to have propellant to keep things aligned as [Mars and Earth's] orbits aren't [always] in the same plane. In the beginning you won't have cyclers."
Musk also ruled out SpaceX's Dragon capsule, which the company is developing to ferry astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit, as the spacecraft that would land colonists on the Red Planet.

When asked by SPACE.com what vehicle would be used, he said,
"I think you just land the entire thing."
Asked if the "entire thing" is the huge new reusable rocket - which is rumored to bear the acronymic name MCT, short for Mass Cargo Transport or Mars Colony Transport - Musk said,
"Maybe."
Musk has been thinking about what his colonist-carrying spacecraft would need, whatever it ends up being. He reckons the oxygen concentration inside should be 30 to 40 percent, and he envisions using the spacecraft's liquid water store as a barrier between the Mars pioneers and the sun.

A $500,000 ticket:
Musk's $500,000 ticket price for a Mars trip was derived from what he thinks is affordable.
"The ticket price needs to be low enough that most people in advanced countries, in their mid-forties or something like that, could put together enough money to make the trip," he said, comparing the purchase to buying a house in California.
He also estimated that of the eight billion humans that will be living on Earth by the time the colony is possible, perhaps one in 100,000 would be prepared to go. That equates to potentially 80,000 migrants.

Musk figures the colony program - which he wants to be a collaboration between government and private enterprise - would end up costing about $36 billion.

He arrived at that number by estimating that a colony that costs 0.25 percent or 0.5 percent of a nation's gross domestic product (GDP) would be considered acceptable.

The United States' GDP in 2010 was $14.5 trillion; 0.25 percent of $14.5 trillion is $36 billion.

If all 80,000 colonists paid $500,000 per seat for their Mars trip, $40 billion would be raised.
"Some money has to be spent on establishing a base on Mars. It's about getting the basic fundamentals in place," Musk said.

"That was true of the English colonies [in the Americas]; it took a significant expense to get things started. But once there are regular Mars flights, you can get the cost down to half a million dollars for someone to move to Mars. Then I think there are enough people who would buy that to have it be a reasonable business case."

The big reusable rocket:

The fully reusable rocket that Musk wants to take colonists to Mars is an evolution of SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster, which launches Dragon.
"It's going to be much bigger [than Falcon 9], but I don't think we're quite ready to state the payload. We'll speak about that next year," Musk said, emphasizing that only fully reusable rockets and spacecraft would keep the ticket price for Mars migration as low as $500,000.
SpaceX is already testing what Musk calls a next-generation, reusable Falcon 9 rocket that can take off vertically and land vertically.

The prototype, called Grasshopper, is a Falcon 9 first stage with landing legs.

Grasshoper has made two short flights. The first was on Sept. 21 and reached a height of 6 feet (2 meters); the second test, on Nov. 1, was to a height of 17.7 feet (5.4 m).

A planned milestone for the Grasshopper project is to reach an altitude of 100 feet (30 m). [Grasshopper Rocket's 2-Story Test Flight (Video)]
"Over the next few months, we'll gradually increase the altitude and speed," Musk said.

"I do think there probably will be some craters along the way; we’ll be very lucky if there are no craters. Vertical landing is an extremely important breakthrough - extreme, rapid reusability. It's as close to aircraft-like dispatch capability as one can achieve."
Musk wants to have a reusable Falcon 9 first stage, which uses Grasshopper technology, come back from orbit in "the next year or two." He then wants to use this vertical-landing technology for Falcon 9's upper stage.

Musk hopes to have a fully reusable version of Falcon 9 in five or six years, but he acknowledged that those could be "famous last words."

A rocket stepping stone:

Another stepping stone toward the planned reusable Mars rocket is SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launcher.

With a first flight planned for next year from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Heavy is a Falcon 9 that has two Falcon 9 first stages bolted on either side.

Musk expects the Falcon Heavy to launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral eventually. This triple-first-stage rocket will be able to put 116,600 pounds (53,000 kilograms) into a 124-mile (200 kilometers) low-Earth orbit. But the Falcon Heavy is still much smaller than Musk’s fully reusable Mars rocket, which will also employ a new engine.

While Musk declines to state what the Mars rocket's payload capability will be, he does say it will use a new staged combustion cycle engine called Raptor.

The cycle involves two steps. Propellant - the fuel and oxidizer - is ignited in pre-burners to produce hot high-pressure gases that help pump propellant into the engine's combustion chamber. The hot gases are then directed into the same chamber to aid in the combustion of the propellants.

Because Raptor is a staged combustion engine - like the main engines of NASA's now-retired space shuttle fleet - it is expected to be far more efficient than the open-cycle Merlin engines used by the Falcon 9.

While the Falcon 9's engines use liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene, Raptor will use LOX and methane.

Musk explained that,
"the energy cost of methane is the lowest, and it has a slight ISP [specific impulse] advantage over kerosene and doesn't have any of the bad aspects of hydrogen." (Hydrogen is difficult to store at cryogenic temperatures, makes metal brittle and is very flammable.) **** MARS- THE NEST 50 YEARS:
KEPLEROPOLIS, July 20, 2059.
Today is a day of joyous celebration on Mars. As the citizens of Kepleropolis look back 90 years, to commemorate the historic first steps of human explorers on the Moon, their eyes are fixed on the imminent launch of their newest spacecraft, Kepler II.

This will be the first craft to use the revolutionary new, and still-experimental, antimatter propulsion system. If successful, the spacecraft will reach neighboring stars, comfortably within the lifespan of the scientists who are anxiously awaiting the discovery of new worlds. There is great excitement that Kepler II will open up the universe to mankind, just as 90 years ago, Apollo opened up the Solar System.

While Kepler II will not be carrying a human crew, its mission is to visit Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, once thought to be impossible to reach in a human lifetime. Over its five-year mission, its predecessor, Kepler I, launched into Earth orbit in March 2009, had identified hundreds of target solar systems to explore.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), who determined the laws of our Solar System, would undoubtedly be pleased that our scientific instruments will soon be looking for planets around other stars.

While everyone in Kepleropolis is anxiously awaiting today’s Kepler II launch, pausing to follow the minute-to-minute progress of the launch preparations on large screens placed throughout the city, researchers working in the Advanced Propulsion Laboratory are especially anxious.

The revolutionary new anti-matter propulsion drive that will take Kepler II to the stars began its development more than 20 years ago on Earth. But it was brought to realization by a scientific team working in the Lab in Kepleropolis. Now it was time see if the system could deliver.

Just as those who came before them nervously watched the first satellite launch, in 1957; the first manned mission, in 1961; the first human footsteps on the Moon, in 1969; and the first manned landing on Mars, in 204 , these young pioneers paced back and forth, waiting for lift-off.

Finally, the moment arrived, chosen to coincide exactly with Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the Lunar surface, now almost a century earlier. The booster engines ignited, and Kepler II was easily carried aloft. Once in Mars orbit, the anti-matter drive sprang to life.

Kepler II was on its way to discover new Earths.

Very few people living on Mars today were alive when Neil Armstrong spoke those first words from the surface of the Moon. But no one here can forget on whose shoulders he stands. However, what is very difficult for citizens of Kepleropolis to understand, especially those who did not witness or participate in the Second American Revolution of 2010, is how it was that so many decades could have been wasted.

For years after the abrupt end of the Apollo Program in 1972, space enthusiasts would lament that it would take a crisis, like that faced by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, to goad an administration in Washington to make the commitment needed for a visionary, multi-decade program to move human civilization into space.

That crisis came in the Fall of 2009.erception finally caught up with reality.

The global financial house of cards, based not on any physical economy, but on criminal enterprise, speculation, and outright stealing, in order to “make money,” finally collapsed. Commerce, production, and life itself came to a standstill. Here was the opportunity to start over, sweep away decades of pessimism and failed policies, and return to the principles which today, on Mars, seem like common sense.

The revolution began by “exorcising” the worship of money.

Starting Over:

A series of global, credit-based international exchange-rate and trade agreements was quickly concluded, reflecting back to the policies of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, and initiated by economist Lyndon LaRouche, who had proposed a four-power agreement among the U.S., Russia, China, and India.

Through this arrangement, each nation could contribute to the restart of the overall global economy.
One immediate task was turning what could have been an ugly, violent mob-reaction to the collapse, and descent into a New Dark Age, into a renewal of the letter and spirit of the first American Revolution.

Great projects of infrastructure building got underway on Earth, in the footsteps of the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, who had designed and implemented the credit policies that built the economic infrastructure of a young United States.

The first task in 2010, was the rebuilding of a planet devastated by disease, starvation, and war, and to reverse the decades of accumulated physical decay.

But as space visionaries insisted at that critical moment, only a multi-generational great project could challenge and mobilize the long-dormant creative resources of the human mind. The scientific discoveries of such a project would unleash the next revolutionary generations of technology, and drive economic growth on Earth.

The politicians reluctantly came to agree. And so, in that spirit, the project to build a science city on Mars came into focus. The cultural pessimism that had taken hold in the late 1960s, and kept its grip on much of the world’s population for 50 years, began to disappear.

In fact, the natural optimism of humanity had not been extinguished during the dark decades of economic decline, only submerged. With the focus now on the future, socially anomic video games, “reality” television, fixations on sex, violence, and “competitive” sports, and a “culture” of death had no place. Mankind would, once again, find its true nature, in the process of discovering the secrets of the universe.

The question posed to every citizen of the world was: What can you contribute to the future of mankind?

And so it was decided, in early 2010, by nearly all of the nations of the world, that through a coordinated effort, enlisting the necessary talents of all of mankind, within 50 years, human civilization would move to Mars.

Living on Mars:

From the start, moving humanity to Mars had as its central purpose the ability to acquire a greater understanding of the universe, by creating a multi-planet home for humanity.

For this reason, scientists explained, there could be no thought of trying to “save money,” by setting up an outpost, or an Antarctica-like base-camp on the Red Planet.

A science city was designed, with a sufficiently large population, which is now approaching half a million, to support not only the scientific staff and facilities of Kepleropolis, but, eventually, to create an independent new world, as the jumping-off point for developing the further reaches of the Solar System.

Scientists and engineers were optimistic that they could solve the technical challenges to get man to the outer planets. But medical professionals were not convinced that men and women could safely live there. They were unsure of how the human body would adjust to the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, or, later, the one-third gravity of Mars.

Would colonists be able to return to the 1-gravity environment of Earth? they asked. They knew, through previous studies in microgravity, that after six months in weightless Earth orbit, some crew members had lost up to 30% of their bone mass.

Even after two years of recuperative therapy on Earth, some space travelers did not recover completely.
Would the same debilitation face residents living in the fractional Earth-gravity on the Moon and on Mars?
Would they leave Earth, unable to return?
These questions had to be answered, before more than a few brave souls would volunteer to go.

In order to find answers, research on the Space Station, to determine the physiological effects of partial-Earth gravity, was, therefore, greatly accelerated in 2012. Two years earlier, the European and Japanese space agencies had decided to deploy, as quickly as possible, a centrifuge to the Station.

The centrifugal force created through the rotation of the centrifuge would mimic variable gravity levels, depending upon the rate of rotation.

There had been much hand-wringing years earlier, when NASA cancelled the Japanese-built centrifuge that had been developed for the Space Station. Subsequently, a crash program was undertaken, and a small, yet capable centrifuge was doing partial-gravity tests by 2012.

Medical professionals had observed, through data collected on the 1970s U.S. Skylab station, the Russian Mir station in the 1990s, and the International Space Station (ISS) in the early 21st Century, that some physiological changes, such as the loss of bone mass, appeared to be continuous, throughout a stay in micro-gravity, while other changes reached a plateau.

But would this be the case in the partial gravity environments of planets?

Centrifuge studies on the Space Station, from 2012 on, indicated that the one-sixth gravity of the Moon did not reach the threshold of load on the musculoskeletal system, in particular, to prevent deterioration.

However, from carefully studying films of the Apollo astronauts cavorting on the surface of the Moon, medical specialists determined that when the weight of the 200-pound space suit was added to the weight of the astronaut, the gravitational load on the skeletal system could prevent serious bone loss. But for those who were not outside the spacecraft, some reconditioning was necessary, after long stays on the Moon, if the Lunar inhabitant wished to return to Earth.

For decades, scientists had worked within their different medical specialties to find preventive and palliative measures to combat each one of the body’s adjustments to microgravity. But this approach left the traveler ingesting a pharmacy-worth of drugs, sometimes with counteracting effects, and spending many boring hours on treadmills.

Then, about 20 years ago, it dawned on the engineers who were developing new exercise equipment, that before returning to Earth, orbital and Lunar citizens could combat just about all of the debilitating effects at once, by simply spending time in a variable-gravity Lunar centrifuge!

Scientists followed their lead.

They reported the results of their experiments, carried out at the Gauss University Laboratory for Advancing Human Health on the Moon, to an interplanetary teleconference of medical specialists in mid-2041.

They had found that over a period of weeks, by incrementally raising the gravitational load on the body in a centrifuge, through relatively short doses throughout the day, immune system reactivity, bone and muscle strength, heart function, and other physiological systems gradually approached a level comparable to that on Earth.

Happily, follow-on partial-g studies, in centrifuges on the Space Station and on the Moon, revealed that, in all but the most intractable cases, such as bone thinning and calcium loss, the one-third gravity of Mars was above the threshold for most physiological changes. As mission planners, back to the 1950s, had hoped, extended stays on Mars would create no “show-stoppers” for a return to Earth.

But, as a precaution, still today, travelers planning a vacation or a business trip to Earth, spend a couple of weeks in short, periodic sessions in the variable-g centrifuge, for a 1-gravity “tune up,” under the guidance of the Kepleropolis medical staff.

Multi-Planet Families:

However, there is one adaptation problem still under intensive study in the Life Sciences Laboratory in Kepleropolis. It has been observed that children born and raised on Mars do exhibit physiological changes (they are taller), but apparently do not develop the capacity to withstand an Earth-equivalent gravity load.

The skeletal system, which develops on Earth under weight-bearing gravitational stress during childhood, has diminished load capacity on Mars. Although some palliative measures are being tested, none has proved to be satisfactory.

So, for now, multi-planet family reunions take place on gravitationally “neutral” ground, such as in Lunar or Mars orbit.
All of these experimental results have, of course, been shared with colleagues on Earth.

In late 2018, after new laboratory modules, more advanced equipment, nuclear power supplies, and six additional crew members had been added to the ISS, a proposal that had been made in the 1960s by space visionary Krafft Ehricke, came to fruition.

It had occurred to Ehricke that the adaptation to microgravity which was detrimental to the health of Earth-returning crew members, could be therapeutic to whole groups of people, for whom Earth’s 1-gravity was a burden.
This included those suffering from circulatory ailments, where the removal of gravity could lessen the workload for the heart.

Spinal extension, or a stretching out, seen in micro-gravity (crew members tend to “grow” an inch or two in space), when gravity-induced compression is removed, could relieve the pain of pinched nerves, and chronic bone conditions, Ehricke reasoned. And so, the Earth-orbital Michael DeBakey Memorial Hospital was built, with a complete physical therapy wing, along with a dispensary and clinic to treat on-orbit sickness and injuries from accidents.

Similar facilities were replicated in Lunar orbit.

Life in microgravity meant that many of the physical infirmities of old age were no more. The Earth-orbital population grew by leaps and bounds, as seniors moved out of nursing homes on Earth (which, in any case, had become more like hospices, where people were sent to die), and took up residence where they could live comfortably and work productively, while looking down at their home planet, from 250 miles up.

But there was one very serious and potentially life-threatening biological hazard in space that was not so easily resolved: exposure to radiation.

In low-Earth orbit, the Van Allen belts deflect harmful radiation, protecting crews. And on planetary bodies, there is no lack of material to shield people, plants, and animals from the constant bombardment of cosmic rays and solar particles and radiation. The first extraterrestrial living quarters were simply covered with Lunar and Martian soil.

More recently, new materials have been developed to blanket the cities, which can filter out damaging rays, while letting in natural light.

But what about the radiation that crew members would be exposed to during the trip to Mars, navigating through up to 50 million miles of radiation-soaked interplanetary space? Medical professionals had fretted over this danger for decades. Technologists had spent long, tedious hours in laboratories, trying to figure out how to put radiation shielding around a spaceship to protect the crew.

The solution, however, was much simpler:
avoid exposing the travelers to dangerous doses of cosmic radiation, by getting to Mars as quickly as possible.

Getting to Mars

Today, families of vehicles navigate the ocean of interplanetary space around the clock, traveling between the Earth, the Moon, and Mars.

Only a few miles from downtown Kepleropolis is the Interplanetary Space Launch Center. The space port is responsible for coordinating the vehicles arriving and departing the Red Planet, similar to the function of a busy airport on the Earth.

Once a month, for example, a spacecraft arrives from the vicinity of the Earth or the Moon, delivering astronomers who will carry out studies of the universe from the unique vantage point provided by the Mars-orbital radio and optical telescopes. There are frequent exchanges of scientists, who study the anomalies among the astronomical observations made from different vantage points, near the Earth, the Moon, and Mars.

Of course, there are also business trips, and recreational and family visits.

What made this routine personal contact between the planets possible? It was changing the relative relationship between space and time. Conventional rockets bring people to Earth-orbit in eight minutes, and to the Moon in two days.

Extend that technology to Mars, and the trip could take seven or more months.https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aVRXvBDaV2w#t=0

The VASIMR rocket is made up of three principal stages:
1. a gas is ionized;
2. the plasma is energized and accelerated;
and 3. the plasma is detached from the rocket by a magnetic nozzle.
The nozzle directs the exhaust, to produce thrust.

The development of a fusion-powered plasma rocket has reduced the travel time between Earth and Mars to less than a week. No longer would doctors have to worry about subjecting crews to weeks, or months, of damaging radiation, or the debilitating effects of weightlessness.

The creation of the fusion rocket can be largely credited to the talent and perseverance of Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz.

A former astronaut and plasma physicist, Chang-Diaz was convinced, from the time he was a researcher at MIT in 1979, that the only way to go to Mars was to go beyond the chemical rocket propulsion technology that had been used for 50 years. Mars travel required something in an entirely new physical regime - a plasma rocket that could one day be powered by fusion energy.

Chang-Diaz established the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, in 1993, and started on what became a multi-decade quest to develop the technology mankind would need to go to the planets.

Scientists pooh-poohed the project.
“Everyone knows fusion power is impossible,” some muttered. “And even if it weren’t, you will never design a rocket that can use it.”
The team that Franklin Chang-Diaz assembled, including his younger brother in Costa Rica, spent 30 years finding a solution to the challenge of designing a system that could withstand the temperature, in the millions of degrees, of a fusion plasma, and transform it into propulsive thrust for a rocket.

Why Fusion?

When it comes to rocket propulsion, the hotter, the better.

The efficiency of the rocket engine increases, as the temperature and velocity of the propellant pushed out the rear increases. And the energy produced by the fusing of light ions is orders of magnitude higher than that of any other energy source that has so far been developed.

For comparison, the temperature of the propellant expelled by the 1980s Space Shuttle’s main engine, from the chemical combustion of hydrogen and oxygen, was about 14,000° Centigrade. At that temperature, the exhaust velocity is about 4,500 meters per second. The fusion-powered plasma, in the millions of degrees, is about 60 times more efficient, as the plasma particles can move at velocities of 300,000 meters per second.

Chang-Diaz designed the VASIMR, for Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket. The concept was based on the use of a plasma, or high-temperature electrically charged gas, instead of the burning of chemical fuels. The first-generation engine consisted of three cells, or stages.

In the first stage, a gas, such as hydrogen, is turned into a plasma, by heating it to more than 10,000°. At that point, the electrons are stripped away from the atoms.

In the second stage, the plasma gas is heated to the desired temperature, using electromagnetic radio waves. The third stage - the most challenging - is to coax the plasma out of the rocket engine, to create a plasma exhaust, and rocket thrust. To do this, VASIMR takes advantage of the fact that the electrically conducting plasma can be directed by magnetic fields.

A unique magnetic nozzle was developed, to direct the flow of the hot plasma out of the engine, without touching the sides of the nozzle.

What makes this engine “variable”?

The amount of thrust produced can be changed by varying the amount, and weight, of the gas that is being expelled, as well as the strength of the magnetic field which directs the plasma. At the start of an interplanetary trip, more, or heavier propellant will be used, to give the spaceship the thrust it needs to start on its journey, and pick up speed.

Once the appropriate speed is reached, the engine can be “throttled back” to lower thrust levels. This is done by reducing the mass of the plasma exhaust, while increasing the velocity of the exhaust particles. The higher exhaust velocity is the most fuel-efficient operating mode. By “tuning” the fusion-powered ship, its acceleration is variable.

This capability turned out to be critical, when, six years ago, a ship that suffered a serious mechanical breakdown mid-way to Mars, had to abort the mission and quickly return to Earth.

As the crew approaches the half-way mark, the spacecraft will start its deceleration, so it can approach the orbit of Mars, and dock with one of the Mars-orbital space stations. From there, small shuttle vehicles easily transport the passengers to the surface of the planet.

VASIMR was the first engine designed to be able to efficiently move either people or freight. For the human trips to Mars, clearly, time was of the essence, so, for human transport, the VASIMR engine was energized with fusion power, and operated to optimize speed.

But to build Kepleropolis, thousands of tons of equipment, life-support systems, and structural materials taken largely from the Moon, but also from Earth, had to be transported to Mars. In this case, it was not speed, but cargo-capacity that was optimized.

Dr. Chang-Diaz began his laboratory ground testing years before fusion energy was available. The first stage of the experimental rocket engine, and of the second-stage radio frequency plasma heating, were successfully tested during the Summer of 2009.

In 2012, a first flight version of the VASIMR was ready to be tested in space, on the Space Station. The test engine used the Station’s electrical supply for the kilowatts of power needed to heat the plasma. The small thrust produced was even used to boost the Station into a slightly higher orbit.

Parallel to the development of the plasma rocket technology, there was a crash effort to develop a multimegawatt space nuclear fission plant. This technology had shown great promise decades earlier, but had been abandoned in the early 1970s, in the United States, when there was no plan to go to Mars, and in the early 1990s in Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 2030, a revolutionary 200 MW nuclear-powered VASIMR rocket got its first test run in Earth orbit.

The nuclear energy source used was an improved version of the Russian Topaz reactor from the 1990s. Just four years later, nuclear-propelled cargo ships were making regular runs between the orbits of the Earth and the Moon. Not long after that, ships were delivering cargo from the Moon’s orbit, to that of Mars - in only 39 days.

Interplanetary commerce had become a reality.

The Australian University of Queensland Hypersonics Initiative
has produced impressive results testing engines
that reach speeds of more than five times the speed of sound.
This June 2007 Hy-CAUSE test was a collaborative effort,
with the U.S. Department of Defense.

A Worldwide Effort:

Dr. Chang-Diaz’s VASIMR plasma rocket was, by no means, the only fusion design tested, nor is it the only one flying today. A broad-scale research and development program was restarted in 2010, to apply fusion to power space travel. A major contribution to the international fusion effort came from the stunning results China and South Korea had already achieved.

Every nation was called upon to contribute to space transportation infrastructure. For instance, Australia, where a band of young university enthusiasts had taken the lead, in the early 21st Century, in hypersonic engine testing, developed a family of trans-atmospheric vehicles, that could efficiently carry passengers in a scram-jet-powered airplane-like vehicle, from the surface of the Earth, to low-Earth orbit.

This development also brought to fruition a dream that went back as far as the space program itself - the ability to travel between the farthest points on Earth in a couple of hours, rather than the better part of a day.

Brazil, fortunate enough to be located at the Equator (the closer to the Equator, the less energy needed to launch into orbit), inaugurated its Alcantara launch facility in 2011, and is now a major interplanetary space port, especially servicing vehicles produced by nations in the Southern Hemisphere.

Japan and Europe took up the task, along with Russia, of building unmanned spacecraft to bring cargo to the variety of Earth-orbiting space stations, satellites, Lunar space vehicle assembly, repair and check-out garages, and other infrastructure. These nations, plus China and India, by 2017, had also deployed fleets of manned vehicles, to shuttle crew members from Earth to orbit.

While chemical-fueled vehicles still have their place - in lifting large payloads into low-Earth orbit - from there, and through interplanetary space, fission and fusion power are the baseline transport systems today.

It goes without saying that meeting the challenges of developing nuclear and fusion systems that could be flown in space, made revolutionary new energy technologies available on Earth. In 2010, when the world’s dying economy started to come back to life, an immediate crisis to be faced, was the lack of adequate supplies of power. It seems beyond belief today, but then, nearly one-third of the Earth’s people did not even have access to electricity.

Faced with the reality of this crisis, virtually overnight, the silly notions that diffuse solar energy, or that burning the Earth’s food supply (i.e., “biofuels”) could remedy the world’s energy crisis, were pushed aside.

Energy flux density, the amount of power that flows past a given surface in a fixed amount of time - which the American economist LaRouche had developed as the measure of efficient power back in the 1970s - was the only criterion applied to choosing power sources.

Since the 2020s, energy has not been a constraint on Earth.

Abundant nuclear power transformed not only the standard of living of all Earth’s inhabitants, it created new supplies of the freshwater that nourishes life itself, an array of new medical applications, energy to power the all-electric transportation systems that have replaced the primitive and wasteful use of finite supplies of fossil fuels, and enabled the industrial development of the Moon. Krafft Ehricke’s Plans Revived

None of what has been accomplished on Mars over these past 50 years, would have been possible if not for the pioneers who took on the challenge of living on the Moon. For all of the discussion and disagreements 50 years ago, as to whether it were necessary to live on the Moon before going to Mars, no one today questions the wisdom of the decision to take that route.

In fact, the conditions on the Moon are more severe, and un-Earth-like, than on Mars. By tackling the Moon first, later, when it became possible to safely go to Mars, the technologies that were needed to live there, had already been largely developed and tested - some had failed and been improved - and were proven. The Lunar test-bed did not just make Mars colonization easier; it made it possible.

At the start of the global Mars colonization program, in 2010, no one had ever lived on the Moon for more than a few days, and even that had been 40 years earlier, during the Apollo Program.

Those first Lunar explorers had carried with them everything they needed. They were limited by that era’s rocket technology to exploring only the near-equatorial regions of the Moon, and the near side of the Moon, which always faces the Earth. To live on the Moon for months, if not years, required an entirely new approach.

For guidance, and in order to avoid wasting any more time than had already been frittered way, the exquisitely detailed Lunar industrialization plans of the visionary Krafft Ehricke were picked from the bookshelves and dusted off.

Highly energy-dense nuclear technologies, Ehricke explained, would hold the key to living in a place without an atmosphere, virtually without water, with a two-week night, with intense radiation, and wide temperature extremes. On Earth, a productive standard of living in 2010 required a per capita consumption of tens of kilowatts of electrical energy. On the Moon, megawatts per capita were required. For Mars, considering also the transport requirements, electricity consumption today is approaching the terawatt (1 trillion watts) range.

In the early 2020s, multi-megawatt nuclear fission reactors were robotically placed on the surface to provide the power for the first tens of arriving Lunar settlers. A decade later, multi-gigawatt nuclear power stations gave life to the beginnings of a Lunar city.

As the first Lunar settlement grew, industrial manufacturing followed.

Underground caverns, charged with nuclear, and later, fusion explosives, separated and concentrated Lunar raw materials. Manufacturing plants outfitted with laser, electron-beam, and other directed-energy power sources shaped the structural materials into usable form. Construction sites were established to build the grand city of Selenopolis.

As Lunar industrial processing expanded, less and less semi-and finished product needed to be imported from Earth. In fact, by 2037, the flow of commerce had reversed direction.

Before Selenopolis could reach its full economic potential, fusion power was required. And the Moon itself would be key. The most efficient fuel for fusion energy - on Earth, the Moon, Mars, or in rockets - is the fusing of the deuterium isotope of hydrogen, and the helium-3 isotope. On Earth, little helium-3 remains, from deposits by the solar wind. But on the airless, weatherless Moon, there is a treasure trove of this rare and precious material, on and near the surface.

Intensive orbital studies of Lunar minerals over the 2010s, indicated regions of relatively higher helium-3 concentration. Immediately, the two nations of the world with the most extensive experience in mining in extremely cold climates - Canada and Russia - began a joint R&D program to develop the tools that would be effective in mining helium-3 on the Moon.

As progress on developing Dr. Chang-Diaz’s plasma rocket for Mars continued, nuclear-powered freighters began making deliveries of Lunar helium-3 to fuel the fusion reactors on Earth.

Later, that fuel would be needed for the fusion rockets. In fact, it turned out that the Moon, with its near total vacuum, was an ideal place for plasma-rocket engine testing, since the environment was a good analogue for what ships would encounter in interplanetary space. Happily, Dr. Chang-Diaz was still nimble enough, at the age of 79, to make the Lunar excursion in 2029, and supervise these decisive tests.

The crowning accomplishment of the Lunar program, was the establishment of Selenopolis. This first extraterrestrial home for mankind was actually not all that strange and unfamiliar to the immigrants from Earth. The city was divided into different regions, mirroring the variety of climates on Earth, with urban, rural, agricultural, industrial, and resort areas.

There are museums, Gauss University, and the Jules Verne Theater, where in stunning clarity, Selenarians gather to watch the unfolding of human civilization on Mars.

On the Moon, mankind learned how to “live off the land,” processing Lunar soil to extract oxygen, minerals, and materials, capturing water ice at the poles, and developing new resources that became the fulfillment of Krafft Ehricke’s “Extraterrestrial Imperative.”

Mankind had established a multi-planet home. His world had become “three dimensional.”

Here, the work of three generations had created the future, for so many more.

The Next 50 Years

Where do we go from here?

Over the next 50 years, the focus of activity on Mars will change. Now that Kepleropolis is operational, and the construction phase is drawing to a close, it is the investigation of life which will become the major focus of scientific inquiry.

For centuries, scientists speculated about whether there ever was, or if there is, even today, life on Mars. Throughout the 2010s, increasingly more sophisticated robotic explorers were sent to try to find out. The results were all ambiguous.

Finally, the most challenging unmanned mission - an international sample return - was launched in 2024, and a few precious pounds of Martian soil and rocks came back to laboratories on Earth.
Still, no definitive answer. Before men are sent to Mars, in 2024,
an international robotic mission will be deployed to return samples of rock and soil
to be intensively examined in laboratories on Earth.
In this artist’s representation,
an ascent vehicle is taking off from the Martian surface, to deliver its previous cargo.
The rover, which collected the samples and delivered them to the vehicle, takes shelter behind a rock. ne of the technologies that is now being tested for terraforming Mars was first tested in the orbit of the Moon.
In this painting, each of one of Krafft Ehricke’s Lunettas is providing the equivalent to a full Moon,
lighting the perpetually dark lunar pole.
Larger orbiting mirrors can be used to raise the temperature of Mars. With great agility, and the creativity that only man could bring to the task, finally, three years after the first Mars landing, scientists in the field made the stunning discovery of fossil remains of microorganisms that, at one time, lived on Mars.

The operative question now under intensive investigation, is whether there are niches that have somehow been protected from the cold, dry environment of today’s Mars, where life may still exist.

Scientists have taken their cue from the extensive research on Earth, of life in extreme environments. They were shocked to find, in the last decade of the 20th Century, that life is, indeed, found in extreme temperatures, in high-radiation environments, and even in places where there is no light. On Mars, this work is being carried out with the necessary extreme care.

If scientists do find living organisms, one major question to examine, is whether that life originally came from Earth; or, whether life on Earth had migrated through interplanetary space, and originally came from Mars; or if life developed independently, on both planets. Today there are passionate adherents to each theory.

Whether or not it is found that life still exists on Mars, to make this planet truly a home for mankind, a process has been started that will create a “second Earth.”

Terraforming the Red Planet, as far as can be seen today, will be the work of centuries.

One is reminded of a story in the history books, that when Charles de Gaulle told a junior officer of a particular kind of tree he wanted to be planted outside his office, the officer objected, stating:
“But General, that is a very slow-growing tree. It will take decades before it produces any shade.” The General replied, “Then you had best get started right away!”
Those living on Mars today will not be there to see it turned into a garden, but their great-great-great-grandchildren will be.

In the late 1920s, Hermann Oberth, the father of space flight, said that the purpose of space exploration was to “make all worlds habitable.” That is the goal of the Second Earth project - to create a biosphere on Mars.

Over the years, scientists have put forward numerous approaches to terra-forming Mars. But because this is an experiment that cannot, in any satisfactory way, be carried out anywhere else, but on Mars itself, it was decided that a number of approaches would be tried at the same time.

The first order of business, is to raise the temperature on the Red Planet, to liberate frozen water-ice, at the poles and in the permafrost, and gasify the frozen carbon dioxide, to thicken the atmosphere. This will begin a self-reinforcing “runaway” greenhouse effect (once so foolishly feared on Earth).

One of the pathfinder technologies, used in Lunar orbit over the past 20 years, is a set of reflective mirrors. These Solettas, or artificial suns, designed by Ehricke in the 1970s, from an original idea of Oberth, are directing light reflected from the Sun to illuminate perpetually shadowed, water-ice-rich polar regions of the Moon.

On Mars, engineers have determined that the first step, now underway, needed to transfer this technology, is the deployment of a modest-sized orbiting mirror, able to raise the temperature in a given area, by a few degrees. Eventually, once Solettas reach the terawatt level of power, this warming would activate the hydrosphere on Mars, liberating some of the frozen water. The size of the mirror, at a radius of 125 kilometers, required that it be manufactured entirely out of Martian material.

A second experimental approach now underway, is the “seeding” of the Martian atmosphere with halocarbons.

These greenhouse gases will slowly raise the global atmospheric temperature and pressure on Mars, one day liberating explorers from the bulky spacesuits now donned for field work, requiring only scuba-type breathing gear. Once genetically-engineered plants can start living in the carbon-rich atmosphere, they will oxygenate the air, eventually making Mars habitable, without the need for special equipment.

We now know there was life on Mars before man arrived. How many other bodies in our Solar System were, or still are, abodes of life? This will be intensively studied, to the far reaches of the outer plants, over the next 50 years.

And starting today, the Kepler II spacecraft is on its way beyond our neighborhood of planets, to search for life on planets orbiting other stars. Throughout human history there have always been naysayers and pessimists.
[Carter Roberts, Eastbay Astronomical Society/NASA,
the mission of Kepler I, launched in 2009, is to identify Earth-sized planets around other stars]

The establishment of the city on Mars is just the most recent proof, that the human spirit can overcome any crisis:
That by marshalling his unique creative abilities, man discovers the laws of the universe, and then shapes the universe to the betterment of all mankind.

 Filed under: Ancient / Mythology

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