This is an ongoing collection of thoughts that I have long ruminated on.

Elon Musk has declared his mission of establishing humanity as a “multi-planetary species”. Sounds noble, and adheres to his affinity for setting enormous goals.

While I agree with the general notion, that establishing a sustainable human presence in more places is a ‘good thing’,

Perhaps he is entirely self-aware of and has chosen the ‘Mars’ banner as a simpler rallying cry over “settle humans on thousands of interdependent but unconnected stations”. Or, which I think is just as likely, and is clearly evidenced by numerous examples cognitive blindsight he has that he is missing l

I’ve conjectured about what advantages most other planet/oids would have and I can only think of a couple:

  • psychological - an expectation to have something ‘solid’ beneath one’s feet. Which I think is very easily surmountable. I don’t think there’s any hard psychological requirement for this however, nor is there any other strong religious or other cultural driver for this

  • proximity to a wider range of resources. Asteroid/comet/planetoid mining away from Earth orbit would take years of forethought to position them or transport materials and I believe in general they are less diverse than planets in regards to available resources, so supply chain is more extensive across time dimension. However even this is likely a very, very short term advantage that comes at huge expense. Establishing a full mining/resource processing infrastructure at the bottom of a gravity well of an environment that is just as hostile as space is probably harder than comet/asteroid mining.

If you could build an ecosystem of 1,000 self-sustaining (probably) stations for the price of one self-sustaining city on Mars. That alone provides vastly better survivability. It also would be vast more beneficial to Earth economically. A society on Mars is going to materially separated from Earth for a very, very long time. Stations in Earth orbit could still have material economic exchange.

And this provides an infrastructure and basis for further expansion - nothing would stop settling of steeper gravity wells later on (although I doubt many people would really want to at that point).

Major Factors

Magnetosphere (Radiation)

Gravity (Health)

Gravity (Transportation)

Atmosphere (Pressure)

Atmosphere (Radiation)

Atmosphere (Resources)