Land Use on Mars

National space agencies, including NASA, ESA, the Indian Space Agency, and the Chinese space program, all have Mars in sight. Current Mars exploration programs all have human spaceflight in mind for the near future, and eventual plans for exploration often turn to thoughts of permanent settlement or colonization. Several private corporations have also declared their intent to visit, or even colonize, Mars within the next several decades. Whether or not they succeed in their planned time frame, it seems evident that humans have their eyes on Mars.

The patterns of history show us plenty of examples of how land resources have benefited the few over the many, or how conflict over scarce land resources have led to violence and war in extreme cases. Even more fundamentally, the amount of land on a planet is finite, but it is only recently that the practice of homesteading became impossible on Earth. Mars holds the potential for settlers to once again lay claim to open areas of unclaimed land, but is this the best policy for using the resources of space?

In a book chapter published in the Springer edited volume Human Governance Beyond Earth: Implications for Freedom, I discuss my research and thoughts in an effort that will lead “Toward a Sustainable Land Use Policy for Mars“. I discuss the constrains of existing treaties governing the use of space resources, and I present a few possible alternatives for what a land use policy on Mars might look like.

May/June Shows

Summer is here, and the band is whole again! Looking forward to a full weekend of music and practice as we get the show back in shape.

May 8 to 10 – Mysterytrain @ The Spring Soundcheck (Millmont, PA)

Jun 12 – Mysterytrain @ Jam Along the Creek V (Millmont, PA)

Jun 18 to 21 – Mysterytrain @ Cosmic Jam 7 (Millmont, PA)

Cosmic Jam is shaping up to be a good time again this year, and it’s hard to believe that we’re already on number seven.

This year at AbSciCon I will be convening a poster session titled “Life in the Anthropocene: The Future of Earth’s Biosphere“. Understanding the future of civilization is one of the goals of astrobiology research, and I welcome a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives to generate lively discussion at this session.

Life in the Anthropocene: The Future of Earth’s Biosphere

Organizer: Jacob Haqq-Misra (Blue Marble Space Institute of Science)

Summary: The distant future of Earth’s biosphere will be shaped by the balance among factors such as orbital variations in solar insolation, cycles in glacial coverage, the carbonate-silicate cycle, and the resonating effects of anthropogenic climate change. Even longer geologic timescales will force the climate to adapt to a steadily brightening sun by drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide until habitable conditions no longer remain. This poster session invites contributions that consider potential threats or challenges to the future of civilization, life, and climate from factors that will affect the Earth system over the next 100,000 to million years or longer.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the suitability of your abstract for this session, and please share this session information with any of your interested colleagues.

December Shows

We’re trying out a new venue in Altoona this month with two shows at The Empire music club. With space large enough for the band and a full sound system, we’re looking forward to seeing our friends in Altoona again.

Dec 6 – Mysterytrain @ The Empire (Altoona, PA)

Dec 31 – Mysterytrain @ The Empire (Altoona, PA)

We’ll also be at The Empire for New Year’s Eve to bring in the year with style. Looking forward to finally having the full band reunited once again in 2015!

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