From hostile deserts,
to lonely islands and the highest mountains, wherever there is space
to expand into humans do so. So, it’s hardly surprising
that we’re already making preparations to set foot on Mars, and to create the first
permanent colony outside of Earth — maybe even terraform another planet
and turn it into a second blue home. But wait, before we can get to the nice future stuff, we first have to complete
the second phase of colonization; creating a semi-permanent outpost to prepare the ground for a larger human presence. But doing so will be gruesome. Even for an expansionist species like us,
Mars is extreme. At first glance,
Mars seems familiar — polar ice caps,
large valleys, liquid water under its surface, and a day barely longer than Earth’s. The ideal place for us to go. Unfortunately, Mars
is actually a cold, radioactive desert where the ground is poisonous
and breathing is impossible. Mars is awful. You almost certainly don’t want to go there. The pioneers doing the hard work on Mars
will have an intensely stressful life, filled with incredibly challenging problems never encountered before. But there are plenty of people
willing to do that work and we have the technology
to enable them to do it. For this video, we will assume
there have been prior missions to Mars to scout out a good place for an outpost, store resources and equipment, and that there’s already a moon base that serves as a hub for Mars missions. The first major challenge for our outpost, is the fact that Mars is very energy poor. Because of its distance from the Sun, solar power is only 40% as effective as on Earth. But even this weakened sunlight
is often obscured for days by enormous dust storms. Solar power alone
will probably not be enough. Alternatives, such as wind power,
and geothermal energy are also unfeasible as there’s hardly any atmosphere
and Mars’ interior is much too cold. Initially, nuclear technology
might be the only option. Since Mars doesn’t have
easily accessible radioactive elements, the nuclear fuel needs to come
from Earth along with the reactor. If we do set it up, it could power
our small outpost for the first few years. Unfortunately, all that energy
won’t be very useful if we can’t breathe. Mars’ atmosphere is only 1% as dense as Earth’s, and mostly made up of CO2. So, now habitats need to be pressurized
and filled with an artificial atmosphere made of nitrogen and oxygen — Which comes with more problems. Corners and flat walls are weak points so the habitats will have rounded and smooth shapes to handle the stress of great pressure differences
between the interior and exterior. The airlocks need to be very airtight
and work perfectly every time. Without an extensive magnetosphere, or a dense atmosphere, half of all radiation coming from space reaches the ground. A person on the surface would be subjected
to 50 times the radiation that they would be on Earth. Three years on the surface of Mars
exceeds the radiation dose limits imposed on NASA astronauts for their entire career. This increases cancer risks significantly. To prevent that, we could shield our habitats
with a thick layer of frozen CO2, that can be harvested directly from the atmosphere. Covering the dry ice with a meter of dirt,
would further increase the level of protection. Sadly, this means almost no windows. From the inside,
most living spaces will be windowless tunnels. From the outside,
they’ll look like burial mounds. All of this would still not hold back all the radiation, but reduce it just enough
to be survivable for long periods of time. It won’t, however, protect anyone who ventures outside. So, remote-controlled robots
will be used for routine work on the surface, while our crew stays inside. Staying inside is a good idea for another reason: Mars dust. It’s much finer than dust on Earth, so it could find its way
into the gears or electronics of our machines. Because it’s also very dry, it’s electro-statically charged; sticking to everything, like spacesuits. It will be impossible to avoid carrying
lots of Mars dust into our habitat, and into the lungs of our crew. To make this even worse, Mars’ soil
is filled with very toxic perchlorate salts. Constant exposure could be deadly. This problem can still be overcome though. Space suits, for example, could be made in a way
that they never truly enter the base, but stay attached to the outside of the habitats. Okay, great. Now we’ve safely isolated humans in terms of energy and air, and protected them from cancer,
we just need to feed them. Water is easy to come by if a settlement
is positioned near the Martian poles with their thick layers of ice. Growing food is a different kind of challenge though. Mars’ soils are alkaline and lack the vital nitrogen compounds
that plants need to grow. Before we can grow anything,
we will have to decontaminate the soil which is difficult and expensive. Then, the soil can be fertilized using recycled biological waste. All of this will take a lot of time,
and is very energy-intensive. So, we might use aquaponics
to raise fish and plants together — Making the astronauts’ diets
more varied and tasty at the same time. This will be an important
psychological boost for our overworked crew. All of these things don’t solve one fundamental problem though: Mars has only 38 percent of Earth’s surface gravity, which could cause muscle-wasting,
bone loss, and cardiovascular problems. While this might be solved in the future
by setting up rotating living spaces, for now, our crew has to live with low gravity and exercise a lot to slow the degradation down. The crews will probably have to rotate every few years, after being stuck indoors
in tight spaces without windows. With the same people,
performing the same routines day-in day-out with little contact from the outside world, and a lot to worry about. Like Antarctic scientists or submarine staff, they will undergo intense psychological screening to make sure they’re mentally resilient enough
to handle this lifestyle for several years. Establishing the first real infrastructure
on Mars will be extremely taxing work that only a group of very determined,
and competent, people can do. Luckily, we have enough of these on Earth. And there you have it! A small Mars base that will survive
for at least a few decades — as long as it’s getting a constant supply of resources, parts, nuclear fuel, and crews from Earth. Unfortunately, Mars and Earth
are separated by millions of kilometers and orbital periods that leave
only a narrow travel window every two years. If there’s an emergency in the colony, Earth wouldn’t be able to help
until the next travel window opens. Helpers may arrive on a planet
filled with corpses. Settling Mars will be the toughest challenge we have ever faced. It will be gruesome work to establish
the infrastructure we need. But we’re stubborn,
and we like extreme challenges. If we push through Phase Two of colonization,
anything is possible. Cities illuminating the dark Martian night, a hub for travel between the planets, industries setting foot in orbit terraforming a true multi-planetary future. Going to Mars is hard but worth it. And if we’re lucky, we might be around
long enough to see it happening and cheer on the people who take on these challenges for the benefit of us all. Figuring out complex stuff
is one of the best feelings ever. Especially if you don’t have
to do it all by yourself. Our friends from Brilliant
can help you out with that part! Brilliant is a problem-solving website
with a hands-on approach. Instead of just dropping tricky concepts in front of you, they help you unravel them bit-by-bit
and build up to an interesting conclusion. This way, science becomes something
you actually do actively, and not only hear about. With Brilliant, you can bear down on dozens of interesting courses and puzzles about topics, like solar energy, gravity, and astronomy. If you visit brilliant.org/nutshell,
or click the link in the description, you can sign up for free
and learn all kinds of things. And, as a bonus for Kurzgesagt viewers, the first 688 people will also get 20% off their annual membership! With Brilliant, you finish your day a little bit smarter. And, no Mars dust to deal with. We promise! Can’t get enough of Mars? We’ve also made a poster about it. You can learn some more
about the hardships of Mars colonization, or just look at the pretty colors. Go get it here!

Building a Marsbase is a Horrible Idea: Let’s do it!
Tagged on:                                                                                                                                                                                 

100 thoughts on “Building a Marsbase is a Horrible Idea: Let’s do it!

  • February 3, 2019 at 12:47 pm
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    To support Kurzgesagt and learn more about Brilliant, go to https://www.brilliant.org/nutshell and sign up for free. The first 688 people that go to that link will get 20% off the annual Premium subscription.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 10:33 am
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    the first major challenge is not to open a gate to hell on phoebes

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 6:57 pm
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    Can't wait for all the Mars colony deniers that will spring up claiming that the astronauts being "sent to Mars" are actually having their organs harvested and replaced with Deep-fake CGI tech.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 11:20 pm
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    mars is the place where we put all of the karens, who agrees?

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 11:36 pm
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    some of your vids are scary.

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 1:46 am
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    Alright SpaceX or NASA should hire Kurzegesagt as a worker

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 2:14 am
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    I think it's a good idea to expand human race but should we fix plastic problems first I mean earth would be destroyed billions of years we have enough time to survive

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 2:43 am
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    Fucl colonization insted 1st we need to learn the warp drive to fast travel then its ok ;-;

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 12:39 pm
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    imagine being born and living on mars just hearing about the humans home planet, Earth.

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 5:39 pm
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    the only thing that would convince the government is to tip them they can harvest oil from mars

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 8:00 pm
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    Fantastic video. Makes me excited for the future

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:03 am
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    The weak gravity might be fixed with magnetic shoes that stick to the floor of the circular living spaces

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 7:20 am
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    This is from Davie504

    Mars BASS

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 11:15 am
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    Girls in KSP: This is so easy.
    Boys in KSP and life support and many other mods installed:

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm
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    spacesuits exist
    Mars: THATS ILLEGAL

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:19 pm
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    7:39
    Earth: who r u
    Mars: IM YOU BUT WEAKER!

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:20 pm
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    im signing up for the mission soon if i pass my GCSE of chem,bio and phs!!!! I’ve gained an scholarship for triple science and being a astronaut would be my dream! Wish me luck guys

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 6:20 pm
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    we may also want to try to guide the orbit of mars closer to the Goldilocks zone prior to terraforming efforts, lest the same forces that destroyed the atmosphere once do so again

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 8:40 pm
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    @Elon_Musk

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 11:31 pm
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    That is a damn cheeky Steven universe reference in the fridge.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 2:54 am
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    i watch this a million times each day

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 3:42 am
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    And then there will be people of flat mars society.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 5:20 am
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    Well are you comparing this to colonizing the ocean or the earth in general? Just curious.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 5:44 am
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    Better Lets make mars a fully robótic civilization

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 4:09 pm
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    amazing

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm
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    Of course, if the Magnet Shield at L1 plan works, that would fix a lot:
    1) Much less radiation from space, making it much less dangerous!2) The athmosphere would thicken, so it would get slightly warmer. The ice would melt, the athmosphere would thicken even more, and so on. Eventually, Mars could have a relatively thick athmosphere that would allow easy access to breathable air.
    Overall, that would probably cut out about half of the problems described in the video to at least some capacity. And it doesn't even seem that hard!

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 7:50 pm
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    Certainty of death, small chance of success…. What are we waiting for?!

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 1:47 am
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    Literally my entire family is down to be cannon fodder for scientific advancement

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 7:56 am
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    Yeah but we'll probably be to busy fighting about gender and stuff to get Anything done.

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 2:48 pm
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    And we will have flat marshers.

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 7:41 pm
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    Bowie Base One?

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 9:52 pm
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    Might be bad but Mercury is getting pulled out of orbit by Jupiter and its expanding its orbit, and if it gets out orbit Earth and Venus will switch and Venus will become the new Earth so now we have a better reason

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 10:25 pm
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    The rotation cycle would be even more important because of infection resistance, if the Earth side of the rotation gets there it could just kill everyone in the base, new vaccines would have to be sent every time the shipment period opens. I am ignoring any antivax ideas here sorry

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 3:43 am
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    in other wors, alot of mutation will happen… what if we came from Mars, and now after all this time we are going back to thesame shit 😀

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 4:58 am
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    So would the internet through satellites be enough for at least near instant communication?

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 7:35 pm
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    I suppose everyone noticed the Ridley Scott Alien @03:45

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 3:17 am
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    Why am I watching educational videos after school?

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 6:48 am
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    Am I the only one disturbed by the cute cartoons dying terrible deaths?

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 8:53 am
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    I'm just curious. What's with the birds in nearly every video?

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 7:33 am
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    You are the best Youtuber in the world

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 10:04 pm
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    Oh boy

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 5:49 pm
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    Orbital mining and industry should be established first

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 2:02 am
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    Well of Venus orbit Venus base he will call me Venus

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 12:20 pm
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    So would Venus be easier?

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 1:35 pm
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    so nuke the mar is the best way huh

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 3:04 pm
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    Wasting our precious scarce resources in a freaking desert planet with no fucking water, oxygen, food and everything else!!
    Elon Musk is an idiot!

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 3:50 pm
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    The beginning of the mechanicum of mars

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 4:59 pm
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    I am 11 i will go there before I die

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 7:34 pm
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    I just spent the last hour making sure I 'thumbs'ed up every single Kurzgesagt video I could find…. feelings of satisfaction this intense come around only 1once or 2twice every leap year….. ahhhhhhh.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 8:07 pm
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    Kurzgesagt: Mars is awful, you almost certainly don't want to go there
    Elon Musk: Hold my beer

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 8:35 pm
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    Creating satellite space stations to extend space travel seems like a good next step. Storing supplies fuel etc; to jump from planet to the next. Thus making us able to travel further.
    I wonder

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 9:18 pm
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    This is why it's better to terraform Mars first. However, even if we knew how, we'd have to sacrifice one of two things: the amount of force our bodies have to deal with on the planet, or a breathable atmosphere. There may be a way to do both, but it's currently unknown, and this biggest reason is Mars's size. Venus would actually be easier to terraform, but it being closer to the sun means it's more dangerous for long-term habitation. We could somehow find a way to make an artificial planet, but making one of any significant size would mess up the other orbits in the solar system.

    So here's a better idea: Protect Earth, explore it as much as possible, and for everything else there's virtual reality pods that automatically regulate our bodily needs…if we keep our bodies at all. Considering current research into neurotechnology, we might master that before we ever figure out how to do terraforming properly.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 9:50 pm
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    "Send all the very determined very competent people to another planet… and let a sandstorm kill them"
    NOW… THAT WILL GO IN THE GALACTIC HISTORY BOOKS AS A SENSIBLE STRATEGY!

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm
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    There's an Alien in there…bugger that.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 11:19 pm
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    7:17 incorrect. climate change is

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 11:36 pm
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    I like how terraforming was the LAST thing you mentioned. I have the solution for that: take some kudzu to the polar ice caps and let it reflect the sunlight and release the gases to change the atmosphere.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 12:48 am
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    just give them all to north korea we will be fine.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 12:49 am
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    T.E.M., the firm.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 12:57 am
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    And then the cockroaches evolved

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 5:27 am
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    0% of crews have worked together on a emotional level. Every group has ended poorly

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 8:39 am
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    The way I imagine it, is that some of those inflateable capsules that are docked to the ISS can be draged into the ground by tunnel borers. Screens replace windows and entertainment will be a big necessary component. While it seems like laughable luxury good here, having a fair portion of entertainment combined with exercises and human interaction seems to be crutial wether its on Mars, the moon or space. I could also imagine that muscles are constantly artifically stimulated in order to stay healthy.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 10:49 am
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    What about Venus?

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 11:33 am
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    Building a colony on another planet is the only way to ultimately avoid human extinction. Therefore, from the perspective of the preservation of the species, we have to pursue the pioneering space.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm
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    Elon Musk and SpaceX will do it.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 2:11 pm
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    Share this video to Elon Musk.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 3:17 pm
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    that might be me who goes to mars!!!

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 11:28 pm
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    i mean Mark Watney figured out how to survive on Mars for an extended period of time (though that's a novel/movie)

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 11:40 pm
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    Imagine playing COD and hearing martian kids from mars

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 1:49 am
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    Elon Musk: “How bout I do, anyway”

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 4:26 am
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    Any chance of getting a video about exploring and/or settling on Venus? C’mon, cloud cities! Everybody loves cloud cities! ^_^

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 4:50 am
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    Loving that Doom reference though

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 7:47 am
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    The thing is thats not the only trouble, there is also the political aspects, like if Mars would be a colony, part of a country, or if they end up going independent. All of which will create drama with other nations on Earth.

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 12:52 pm
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    Kurzgesagt : the base will have no windows

    me : we can just replace the windows with camera and television

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 1:37 pm
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    So your saying, the martian was pure bull.

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm
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    Humanity is still thinking on going on mars, instead of fighting the real problems(global Warming contamination, drugs, wars) here on earth, makes me want not to leave in this planet no more

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 1:08 am
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    In some type of educational class year 2583: Good mars morning kids, today we have with us a new student from earth.
    Some kid in the back of the class: Wait, does this mean he's an alien to us?
    Some other kid in front of the class: Cmon, racism doesn't exist anymore.
    The whole class: *Laughs*
    A.I. Teacher: Will you tell the others a little bit about what earth feels like as a kid?
    New student: Well, I was born in a poor family with a genetic defect that got fixed with the DNA manipulators in the hospitals as a newborn. It took a few years for the genetic changes to grow in since it was only detected 15 weeks before my birth and growing up knowing that living things from earth have traveled to another planet in space for the first time since all living creature's made me wonder what would have happened instead if everyone got killed during the cold war or something because of the nuking. None of us would be here, even though we live in two different worlds. Surprisingly, nobody really feels left behind at earth, and since mars became ours, no one really seems to forget that we're all on the same team nowadays. It's quite lovely actually.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 3:40 pm
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    this is the best youtube channel ever

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 5:16 pm
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    why the fuck we don't focus on earth first and end war. maybe it will be easyer when we work together.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm
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    imagine forgetting to order toilet paper. 🙁

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 6:59 pm
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    No one:
    Kurzgesagt: liquid water

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 7:18 pm
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    Couldnt we just augment the crew?

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm
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    The first thing we need on Mars is Hyperloop…

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 8:27 pm
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    Wasting our precious scarce resources in a freaking desert planet with no fucking water, oxygen, food and everything else!!
    Elon Musk is an idiot!

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 8:27 pm
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    Yes
    Let's waste tons of Earths already scarce resources for a planet that's a FREAKING DESERT!!!
    Stupidity of Biblical proportions!

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 8:43 pm
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    Whole thing gotta be robots.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 10:37 pm
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    The pioneers will have a intense and stressful time on mars-Kurzgesnut Pioneers on earth in the past-Excuse me?

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 10:40 pm
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    This guy needs to work for NASA

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 3:14 am
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    We're going to Mars because it is there. And money.

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 3:16 am
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    LOL dropping nuclear reactors from orbit doesn't sound dangerous at all!

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 10:05 am
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    We can't even organise our own planet and now we are thinking about moving to mars🤔🌏

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 5:08 pm
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    THIS GUY IS JUST EXAGGERATING TO MAKE THE VIDEOS CONFORM TO THE TITLE!!! MOST OF THE "PROBLEMS" HE IS TALKING ABOUT WERE SOLVED YEARS AGO, THERE IS A MARS ROVER ON MARS SO THE SHIT HE IS TALKING ABOUT IS IRRELEVANT AND SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO BUILT IT ARE ON YOUTUBE ALSO!!!

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 5:27 pm
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    We have already run into real limits here on Earth. No real colonies in the antarctic or anywhere on or under the water – even though colonizing our own oceans would open up nearly 70% of the planet's surface to our species, it's just too unattractive and difficult an environment, at least with our current technology. Mars is SO MUCH WORSE than our oceans or Antarctica that it's hard to take colonization suggestions seriously. Research base? Sure. Colony? No way.

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 6:43 pm
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    Soooo making the planet green magically removes the radiation and make the gravity stronger….
    This is a pipe dream there is no escape, stop looking at the stars and start to take care of this planet first!

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 7:12 pm
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    …to turn the lifeless rock into a garden

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 11:19 pm
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    -When I arrive on Mars
    “What’s the WiFi password”?

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 4:10 am
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    6:09 this is just school with less gravity.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 5:07 am
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    Why do we wanna go to mars again? Lol

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 10:20 am
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    Mars is preparing for us to trash the place lol

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 10:21 am
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    I feel like humans rush everything, there’s so much work to be done on earth and we’re already moving onto mars?

    Reply

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