Colonizing the Moon vs. Mars vs. Ceres on Daily Kos

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I wrote a month ago why Ceres might be a better destination for colonization than Mars, a post that got a fair amount of attention but certainly nothing close to the amount Ceres needs in order to reach a point where just about everyone is aware that 1) it exists, and 2) it may be the best place for human colonization in the near future. So yesterday I decided to try writing a quick post on Daily Kos to give the planet a bit more PR.

The result? Success! 100+ comments and a lot of great discussion, as well as a follow-up diary here by a user named Vladislaw that seems to write a daily diary on space-related news (consider following that user's posts as well if you're a reader here) that mentions my diary on Ceres as well as a poll on Ceres vs. the Moon vs. elsewhere.

One thing you may notice from some of the comments there is that Ceres' classification for a long time as an asteroid has really hurt its standing in the minds of the public, as a lot of people seem to believe that Ceres is some type of tiny asteroid similar to Mars' moons Phobos and Deimos, where the gravity is so weak that a running jump could send you careening out of orbit. This is not true at all - Ceres is 88,000 times more massive than Phobos, it's massive enough to retain a spherical shape, it has a surface area equivalent to Alaska + Texas + California, and the escape velocity is around 500 metres per second.

Just to make the point completely clear, here's Ceres:


Here's Phobos:

And here's Ceres next to Phobos.

So no, they're not even close to being in the same league.

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