Why Mars Would Win an Earth/Mars Colony Conflict
Technology Articles 5/13/11
By: Chris Capps
As we look into the possibility of humans one day approaching Mars and even colonizing there, a strange parallel begins to unfold. In many ways the settling of Mars would be similar to the settling of New World after Columbus first landed at Plymouth Rock. And if the parallels were to continue, soon the whole of Earth may find itself in a long drawn out conflict with the human settled red planet. But how could a small group of settlers ever hope to repel forces from Earth? The answer is surprisingly simple.
If we were to colonize Mars in the next 100 years with combustible fuels and only slightly superior navigation techniques, the trek to Mars would be similar to a boat moving from a stationary dock to another dock further upstream. And while a considerable amount of fuel would be required to move up this gravity well away from the sun, there would be substantially less fuel to reach back to Earth. What does this mean in simple terms? Projectiles and ships filled with troops fired at Mars from Earth would find it difficult to fight against the "current" of gravity while projectiles and ships returning to Earth would find it far easier. This would mean "attacks" subject to gravity would in the case of a Mars Earth conflict would be overwhelmingly one sided.
But what if a Mars colony did eventually lead to cessation and even an escalating conflict between the two planets? Einstein once said, "I do not know what weapons World War III will be fought with, but I suspect World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Actually a potential guerilla tactic from Mars may involve just that. The porous moon of Phobos has a relatively small escape velocity, meaning breaking off vast chunks of rock from its surface could be exceptionally easy. And breaking huge slabs from the already sponge-like surface could be done with only a few people working in concert with cutting machines and simple equipment. Then, by taking advantage of similar techniques used during the Apollo 11 moon landing, massive rocks could be pulled back into space and then use correcting rockets to strike back at forces attacking from Earth.
Fortunately, it seems the levels of technology required to have anything other than a peaceful resolution to Mars seceding from whatever parent body it was originally founded under would be far greater than those we currently have available. If Mars were to wish to simply stop receiving support from Earth and become its own planet, any conflict that would arise from that would likely be too costly to make it worth having. And so as technology improved, so would civilization on the red planet And it's feasible that as both required the assistance of one another, there would be no reason to have anything but a peaceful - if not understandably distant - relationship between the two inhabited astral bodies.
But what of the future? How would civilization then progress after another two or three centuries of life? Assuming both planets survived the following three hundred years, would they still be able to keep from entering into a conflict when technology finally made doing so feasible? Let's hope we are able to invent a lasting peace before then.