"These technologies have affected other
technologies so that now at the dawn of the 21st
century, one technology after another is assuming an
exponential trajectory," McCullough noted. And all
this is good news, he suggested, when one speculates
on what these technologies portend for space
"There are so many technologies coming on,"
McCullough told SPACE.com. "The commercial
drivers of these technologies are so massive, and
the money is so large, that they they're going to
come right out of the blue," he said.
There are many more advancements that are already
in the pipeline, McCullough said. "Some of the
technologies that are out there are going to allow
us to do some things that people are going to find
A few favorites on the Boeing scientist's list
- Large scale, micro scale and high-speed
fabrication with metal, ceramics, plastics and
electro active polymers;
- Autonomous robotics capable of interacting
with complex objects and capable of piecing
together modules and performing complicated
repair duties unattended;
- Smart programmable shape materials and
intelligent materials, along with microscopic
- Space suits amplified with artificial
muscles and polymer electronics;
- Artificial organs for life support, chemical
processing and water treatment;
- Genetic engineering of Mars adapted plants
and intelligence-boosted domestic animals,
including e-coli delivered pharmaceuticals and
other very advanced health care remedies.
Decade of deliverance
But behind any mass colonization movement there
are, of course, a few assumptions.
First, McCullough explained, is that advanced
lunar infrastructure will provide semi-finished
modules and other lunar materials for integrating
and expanding space systems. Secondly, large
vehicles can be fabricated in space using mostly
automated methods. These great vessels could shuttle
between planetary LaGrange points far from Earth.
Lastly, large passenger-carrying vehicles will need
to haul a massive "water radiation shelter" to
protect occupants on outward bound flights.
McCullough estimates that a nominal size of a
settlement on Mars would support 1,000 people, with
a larger colony housing 10,000 individuals.
Once an interplanetary vehicle is crafted that's
the size McCullough envisions - and at four flights
per year - upwards of 400,000 people could call Mars
home in the first decade of deliverance.
Late stage colonies will require large scale
equipment. Technologies are needed to assemble these
types of vehicles "with little or no touch labor,"
Mars: a user-friendly world
Why put Mars in the colonization crosshairs'
"Mars is a planet that has many unusual and
spectacular features that will draw people to it,"
McCullough told the STAIF gathering. "Being a planet
rather than a moon, it has undergone many of the
geological processes which have caused the formation
of minerals on Earth," he said.
That being the case, Mars is a user-friendly
world, rife with many industrially useful minerals
for construction and manufacturing purposes. It has
a suite of "ates", "ites" and "ides" of common
metals with common non metals, McCullough pointed
out. The red planet is also wrapped in abundant
carbon dioxide which will be fairly easy to
condense, he said.
Water availability on Mars is another huge plus.
There is abundant evidence of past water activity
on Mars. It should be present in permafrost at
higher latitudes on the planet. It may also be
present in hydrated minerals, McCullough stated.
"The availability of water on Mars in significant
quantities would once again simplify our projected
industrial activities. This makes extensive bases
leading to colonies more likely," McCullough