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Skjaldbakka
2009-06-11, 10:16 AM
I am creating a setting for a BESM game. Part of the plot for the game is a war between earth and mars. I am currently working on a justification for this war. I am toying with the idea of having the war be an ongoing thing, that crops up every few generations. That way I have a justification for having armed spaceships.

Resources would be the obvious reason, and I am currently doing some research on what kind of resource advantage/disadvantage a terraformed mars would have.

Any advice on that would be welcome, as well as other causes for hostilities between earth and mars.

Saph
2009-06-11, 10:22 AM
Resources from either planet doesn't make much sense. What are the victors going to do, send their ships down into the gravity well, load them full of minerals, then claw their way back up, then fly all the way home? The energy loss would be far more than the resources could justify, even without the issue of dealing with a hostile population.

It would make more sense if they were fighting over some strategic location with resources, somewhere within reach of both. A group of asteroids, maybe, or one of the system moons (my astronomy isn't good enough to know if any are particularly mineral-rich).

Other than that, the normal causes for wars between countries. Ideology, population pressure, migration, religion, dominance . . .

- Saph

talus21
2009-06-11, 10:27 AM
What about a Colonial Rebellion? Mars has rebeled before, and always lost.

J.Gellert
2009-06-11, 10:29 AM
Steal from various wars of independence.

Martians are colonists from Earth who will no longer tolerate increasing taxes on... tea(?), so they fight for independence from the motherland.

Edit: Ninja'd!

kamikasei
2009-06-11, 10:29 AM
As Saph says, makes much more sense for them to be fighting over something somewhere else in the system. Control of the gas giants and the tritium (useful for fusion) in their atmospheres is one candidate. Nitrogen from various gas-giant moons (I want to say Triton) is another - needed for making soil to terraform Mars and also other bodies (such as the more habitable gas-giant moons, which might explain why Earth wants it). Ideology is another possibility - Mars has little Earth would want, but if it was independent and hostile, it might want to conquer Earth (either for power, or for access to the biosphere) and Earth have to defend itself. (Mars' chief general wears a mask and has a red custom war machine.)

Indeed, I'd say the chief resource for either planet is the biodiversity of Earth, which means the aggression would be rather one-sided. Mars does have metal, but so do other bodies that you don't have to conquer.

Mercury combines both abundant metals and abundant energy from solar power, so might be a candidate.


What about a Colonial Rebellion? Mars has rebeled before, and always lost.

Doesn't work too well because it wouldn't be an ongoing war threatening Earth. Once Mars won independence it wouldn't have a good reason to conquer Earth (and it'd be a hell of a costly proposition, so would need serious justifying). And if they're not independent yet then it's not a proper war.

Cyrion
2009-06-11, 10:30 AM
I think one of the obvious ones would be water, since a lower gravity and thinner atmosphere makes this a more difficult resource to keep. Another might be access to the outer solar system. How about a gravity cannon (stealing from Roger MacBride Allen)? Earth thinks that the Martians are building a cannon that will use the gravity fields of other planets/moons/the Earth itself to accelerate the projectile so that it will be a devastating "meteor" when it hits.

-This could be real or not depending if you want it an actual threat or a political one.

-It does have potential use as a nasty weapon, but its rate of fire sucks and is very time dependent. Thus you'd need space fleets for the build-up and to kill time while waiting for the projectile to hit.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-06-11, 10:30 AM
Mars would, presumably, contain all those minerals that we've been using up here on Earth. They'd probably be some centuries "behind" Earth in how used-up the resources are, depending on when Mars was colonized and industrialized. There's be no fossil-based resources (like oil), unless you've got some kind of secret history of Mars that includes life millions of years ago. (And why not? Just say that it moved further from the sun for some reason, everything died, and the atmospere dissipated.)

Having more information on the culture and an overview of the history of the solar system would be useful for coming up with scenarios.

I assume both planets have some kind of "beanstalk" (orbital elevator) connected to a space station where the spacedocks are located, to avoid the necessity of actually landing on / taking off from the planet.

Tiki Snakes
2009-06-11, 10:32 AM
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space.

No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8JLqsbK5V0&videos=Z-k7z0VBX2c)

>_>

Maybe they just kept trying?

Asheram
2009-06-11, 10:37 AM
When it comes to resources when expanding into space, I've always thought Ceres for a nice mark.

For those who doesn't know, Ceres is a small dwarf planet between mars and Jupiter and is believed to contain large amounts of water and ice beneath it's surface. (Note, this is believed to be 200 million cubic kilometres of water, which is more than the freshwater supply on earth) So if it's a resource war, I'd go for Ceres.

paddyfool
2009-06-11, 10:40 AM
The resource cost of negotiating a gravity well isn't that big once you have space elevators, but I agree that there are vastly more resources to fight over in the solar system than those located on either Earth or Mars.

Two different human civilizations, one centred around Earth and the other around a terraformed Mars, seems a pretty reasonable scenario for conflict however; but by the time we've terraformed Mars, it would make sense for there to be a fair number of people living in space stations at Lagrange points and in other arrangements too. Might something have happened to set back technological knowledge after the terraforming of Mars, perhaps? Or might the competition simply be for living space among people who refuse, for whatever reason, to live on space stations?

To answer your original question, however, Mars has considerably less resources than Earth. It's much smaller, and being further from the sun means it's much colder too (although something could be done about this with a specially crafted atmosphere & mirrors in space). Also, we can reasonably expect that Mars would have no hydrocarbon deposits (coal etc) and a much more limited biodiversity (having only what we brought over). And that whatever its precise geological balance is, we, and the other life forms we depend on, will be worse adapted to it than they are to Earth's equivalents. Mars in its present, pre-terraforming state may well be low on water even though we know there to be at least a North Sea's worth in ice deposits; however, it would be easier to access more water from ice asteroids than from Earth. As for other geological resources, well, there's a lot we don't know yet, but they've certainly got plenty of iron, sulphur, and silicon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geology_of_Mars

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-11, 10:44 AM
I wrote a story about a war between Earth and Mars that used a pretty simple and understandable narrative:

30 years ago Mars declared independence and kicked Earths' forces off the planet. It was a tough battle, but Mars was victorious.

Now Earth wants its wayward colony back.

Simple, straightforward, VERY open ended. There could be utterly fantastic reasons for wanting the colony back or for declaring independence, or either could be something relatively trivial and more a matter of a leader's ego than anything else.

It's just a loose justification of course, you'd still have to come up with the details <@[email protected]>m

Telonius
2009-06-11, 10:46 AM
There's also the all-important supply of Illudium (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Illudium%20Q-36%20Explosive%20Space%20Modulator) to consider.

Tiki Snakes
2009-06-11, 10:51 AM
Given that the OP is talking BESM, the above ideas could all work fine BUT the essentially realistic approach isn't necessarily the only possible one.

You could always pseudo-science this thing, and have the canals of mars, ancient marsian ruins, red (creeping) vegetation and so on. Perhaps the Marsian colonies 'resources' that Earth wants are actually ancient Alien Relics of Dread Power or incredible Macguffinness.

Perhaps ancient, surviving Marsians are controlling the Marsian Leaders, using the human settlers as a front and a tool to begin the conquest of Earth and the rebirth of the fading, subterranian Marsian Race. 'The Blue Planet Will Be Ours! GAK GAK GAK!'

Fishy
2009-06-11, 11:34 AM
Part of the extensive terraforming efforts on Mars involved tinkering around with microbes and filling the atmosphere with them. They were engineered very carefully, designed to be harmless to humans, and to the first colonists, they were. Over the generations, however, their little viral genes drifted, and became something else. The Bug is completely harmless to 'native' martians, who grow up with the antibodies to fend it off and by and large aren't aware of its existence.

Earth, meanwhile, is the Homeland of Humanity. It's Jerusalem, Mecca, and your great grandfather's house all rolled up into a pale blue dot that you can see in the night sky. Mars is grand and all, but the overwhelming majority of Martians want to visit Earth sometime during their lives- and the majority of those simply can't afford to. Spaceflights are expensive.

When the inevitable happened, it actually took a while to figure out what was happening. People just suddenly started dropping dead in urban areas- there was no pattern to the outbreaks, no vector- until someone noticed that every outbreak happened in a city with a spaceport. The worst plague in Earth's history was from Mars.

Scientists scrambled to find a cure, but vaccination on a global scale was simply impossible- too many people, too much money, not enough time. The Earthlings settled on a cheaper cure: quarantine. They tossed the infected into the infamous Plague Ship, sent it off to Mars, and made an announcement. Earth was off limits. Forever. No one on the planet, none of their children, none of their children's children would ever be allowed onto the home of humanity.

The Martians didn't take that well.

And when the next ship full of pilgrims was boiled into plasma in the name of the quarantine, they didn't take that well either.

TheThan
2009-06-11, 11:39 AM
Clearly mars needs women (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarsNeedsWomen)

Tsotha-lanti
2009-06-11, 11:45 AM
Clearly mars needs women (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarsNeedsWomen)

Maybe Mars was colonized for Earth by a genetically modified, custom-created breed of humans who are all male (for muscle mass or some other excuse, it's irrelevant), and they need Earth women to breed with or they'll die out after this generation! Aside from the pulpy nonsense, it's got a potential philosophical dimension - is it right to create life to serve you, and does their creation and condition justify their actions? How far can you go to survive, not as a person, but as a people?

Tengu_temp
2009-06-11, 11:50 AM
BESM + Mars + war = the only think I can think of is this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrU76ecOsE4).

Tsotha-lanti
2009-06-11, 11:59 AM
They're Jovians, though. (I.e. from Jupiter.)

SSGoW
2009-06-11, 11:59 AM
why not just make it a "game" like every so often they go to war just to see who is stronger? every so many years (100's or every 1000 ) they go to war just for kicks or somthing. you could even say that between wars that they either get along great or that they isolate themselves in preperation for the next war (war game)

kamikasei
2009-06-11, 12:15 PM
Clearly mars needs women (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarsNeedsWomen)

Who'd fight a war over that? Earth girls are easy.

Skjaldbakka
2009-06-11, 12:24 PM
Some good ideas so far. I particularly like the virus angle. One of the reasons I want a realistic and plausible cause for the war is because it is meant to be a backdrop for the main plot (which is not).

Basically, everything humans do needs to be plausible, to serve as a contrast for what the aliens are doing, which is not really.

The current plot (which is still in flux), has most of the action going on amongst the outer planets. Well, the fight against the alien invaders anyway.

The humans are mostly fighting amongst the inner planets. Humans haven't got anything more than maybe a space station on the other side of the belt.

Space travel is near-light speeds, not warp speeds (this may change pending research and plot needs)

Choco
2009-06-11, 12:28 PM
Well, historically, humans fight at the drop of a hat...

And to be more specific to this situation, you could do a repeat of the whole American Revolution. Earth colonized mars and obviously ruled over the colonies while they were being built up, but as the colonies grew in size and power to rival Earth itself, they wanted more representation in how things are done, or perhaps even wanted independence from the start. The various Earth nations would not want to lose their precious holdings on Mars, so after a few years of brewing a fight would be inevitable.

TricksyAndFalse
2009-06-11, 12:35 PM
Holy war. The colonists of Mars included a sizable number of adherents to some particular faith. Their doctrine evolved over time to match the particular crises relevant to Martian life. Maybe water became especially sacred, and Earth is a holy place due to its abundance of water. Maybe the early colonists were all vegetarian for energy-transfer-efficiency reasons, and over time eating meat became associated with religious impurity. Maybe the Martians stopped observing certain holy times because the Martian year made such observances inconvenient for colonial life ("Do we calculate Easter from Earth's first full moon on or after Earth's vernal equinox? Or our first full moon on or after our vernal equinox? Which of our moons do we use?").

Anyway, the differences have become intolerable to both planets, and they must smite the heathens. ("Death to the water-poluting meat-eaters! Reclaim Holy Earth!")

TheThan
2009-06-11, 12:52 PM
Who'd fight a war over that? Earth girls are easy.

maybe the martians don't know that...

paddyfool
2009-06-11, 01:30 PM
The virus thing could be spiced up by the possibility that it was a bioweapon, perhaps.

With near-light speed travel, interplanetary warfare gets very dangerous, very fast, incidentally. If you can accelerate a lump of rock to near light-speed and fire it at your opponent's planet, well, they'd better have some serious defences. Especially as the distance from Earth to Mars at their nearest point would take only about 3 minutes to cross at such speeds (based on time at origin or destination, ie I'm not taking relativistic time-distortion into account, although that also gets interesting). Best work out how long you want it to take to get between the two and plan your speeds of travel around that, imho.

EDIT: Although, of course, the big deal with space travel is acceleration, not top speed. Pretty much anything can go at up to light speed if it accelerates for long enough.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-06-11, 01:59 PM
Let me just list off the plots of applicable sci fi anime in two sentences or less apiece

Martian colony declares itself independent from its controlling interest on Earth due to unfair taxation/trade policies and a clash of egos among national leaders. War ensues, may or may not escalate to mutual attempts at conquest.
A failed rebellion such as the one mentioned above causes the Earth to develop a harsh totalitarian streak when dealing with the Martian colonies, which inevitably causes renewed insurgence.
A fanatic radical declares that people living on Mars are morally and biologically superior to people living on Earth, and plans to use a secret weapon to render Earth uninhabitable and force everyone to live in space or die. The motivation here can be combined with the first one as well, at least for propaganda reasons.
SPACE PIRATES!
...the exact same thing as the first one, as far as I can tell.
Tired of manipulation from Earthbound factions, some Concerned Citizens on Mars create secret superweapons, and send them to Earth to wreak havoc.
...the exact same thing as the above one, with marginally better planning.
Xteen years ago, a massive war between Earth and Mars devastated both planets. Now people want to use the leftover super-technology from that war to start the whole mess over again.
War of the Worlds, only with a long-lost human colony on Mars replacing the Martians. Add lost technology to taste.
Long term living in space, or on a low-gravity planet such as Mars, requires extensive genetic manipulation in humans for them to survive. This leads to a similar situation as 1 or 3, with a different set of moral issues regarding the "superiority" of space-dwelling folk.
A natural, manmade, or even alien disaster on Earth forces the majority of the population to flee to Mars, where population pressures and the disenfranchisement of people left on Earth inevitably lead to conflict between the "haves" and "have-nots". I actually stole this one from an anime where it wasn't the main plot, aren't you proud?
The colonies of Mars are where the semi-totalitarian Earth government allowed politically dissident groups to move, having them live there in relative squalor. That is, until Earth became more crowded again, and lost alien technology was discovered on Mars that could hold the secrets to any number of things: faster than light travel, time travel, whatever you like. Now, a conflict arises between the embittered colonists with access to lost technology and the Earth...damn, this was three sentences.
Democratic Earth and Monarchist Mars have a centuries-long conflict of ideals that no one takes that seriously anymore, except perhaps for one or two men who see the opportunity to end both sides' decadence and rule the solar system properly, wot?

These are just seeds of ideas. Mix and match the basic premises as you will. I may come back with more summaries like this that aren't Gundam.

arkol
2009-06-11, 02:12 PM
Haven't read all the ideas yet, but something occured to and I just had to write it.

What about a new thing in the galaxy? I mean could be anything really. maybe a super-gigantic slow-moving asteroid with somethign mysterious about it. Or maybe a super-high-tech-abandoned alien ship.

Anyway it wouldn't so much be an ongoing war, more like a race, but then again maybe easier to introduce the PCs to it.

Cyrion
2009-06-11, 02:41 PM
I'm blowing up your planet with my Pu-38 Space Modulator because it's blocking my view of venus.




Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering KABOOM! :smallbiggrin:

To make that into a "real" plot- the Martians are using the sun in astronomy for its gravity lens effect, and Earth and the other inner planets keep getting in the way.

Skjaldbakka
2009-06-11, 03:20 PM
14.75 AU/yr

That is what I have determined the top speed of human spaceships are in the setting.

So about two weeks from earth to mars.

This also means the pcs will be 4-6 months away when the war starts.

kamikasei
2009-06-11, 03:29 PM
That is what I have determined the top speed of human spaceships are in the setting.

...Why do they have a top speed? (What stops them from continuing to accelerate past it?)

Ovaltine Patrol
2009-06-11, 03:47 PM
Earth abolitionists go to Mars to free the Martian slaves of the Earth-Descended colonists.

arkol
2009-06-11, 03:53 PM
So about two weeks from earth to mars.

I'm not big on astronomy and all that but isn't the distance between Earth and Mars constantly changing? You know... diffrent orbits and all that....

Randel
2009-06-11, 04:05 PM
Here are a few ideas:

Mars has slightly less gravity than Earth so it should take less energy to get things into space then it would to take that same thing from Earth. Thus, on an economic scale, its cheaper to export stuff from Mars than it is to export from Earth.

Mars needs water in order to terraform into a more earth-like planet or just for industrial/survival reasons. It would be a real pain to get your water from Earth and would be cheaper in fact to go to Saturns rings or something and get ice asteroids. Once you have ships capable of moving ice asteroids around then the water needs for Mars shouldn't be that big of a problem.

Mars (unless it gets industrialized more) has basically no biosphere to speak of, no oceans to get in the way, and all the iron-rich dust you can want and its atmosphere is naturally toxic to humans and terrestrial life in general. Its pretty much a big hunk of resources waiting to be exploited. Martian colonies would at first look like big domed air-tight buildings with the same life-support systems used in spaceflight. Once you can build life-supporting buildings and have the right solar-panels and stuff put in place then you are pretty much all set for civilization.

Now... since there aren't any natural plants on or animals on mars (unless there are) then industries can pretty much pollute the place as much as they want. Nobody breaths the air, and if the extra pollution is messing with peoples air-filters or whatever then its easy to track who's the culprit and make them pay for new filters or whatnot. Stuff like self-replicating machines or nanotech or other things that people on Earth don't want because it could damage the ecosystem all get outsourced to Mars to deal with. Mars gets big business and manufacturing and Earth can get goods manufactured on Mars.

Now... the people on Mars might either resent the 'pollution' of their planet because even though there is no existing biosphere to worry about, the industrial pollution is making it so that any attempts to terraform into an earth-like planet will fail. Why go through the trouble of adjusting the oxygen/nitrogen mix to earth-like standards when half the Martian economy is making trillions of space bucks by dumping toxic sludge wherever they want? Plus, literally nobody is getting hurt by it because no martian with a brain would try to breath the air in the first place. So, environmentalists might see Mars as being exploited by Earth.

Also, since Mars is probably able to move asteroids around just to get water for themselves, they have a pretty nasty weapon on hand. Why build nukes when you can just get your space-tractors to haul huge rocks out of orbit and chuck them straight at Earths capital with enough force to start another ice age?

And, on the subject of trade imbalances... it might very well be that Earth simply can't viably export anything. The gravity is higher than that of Mars and it might just be that its too high to even make a Space Elevator (I did some reading about Space Elevators and due to the height that such an elevator would require its not 100% sure that scientists could make a substance strong enough to actually build one. Since the elevators cables have weight then they themselves have to be taken into account for the maximum load it can carry. A planet with lower gravity could use space elevators more efficiently than a heavier one.) using conventional rockets it takes a lot of energy (and alot of money) to get even one pound of mass off the planet better rockets and propultion drives only make it cheaper... but don't eliminate the fact that Mars can export cheaper.

Plus politics. Earth has many cultures and contries and languages and civilizations on it, each with long histories and pride. Its fairly easy to assume that if Mars gets colonized then there might be one or two starting colonies tops and once they start to cover the planets empty surface then it could be that a single government effectively controls the whole planet.


In short... Mars and the other planets have more united governments, can export better, worry less about environmental damage, and by necessity can move asteroids around to get water and minerals and in a pinch chuck them at enemies.

Earth has pride, a whole lot of people, and a diverse biome. But you can only export so many chickens and cows before the martians learn to grow them by themselves and don't have to pay the huge export costs. If Earths manufacturing industries get outsourced to other planets (to protect the environment) then Earth could very well become subservient to Mars and the other planets. At best, Earth might become a vacation planet for rich off-worlders (who complain about the pollen in the air and the stupid gravity) at worse... it gets pushed around alot and laughed at.


So, the war itself might be caused by Earth trying to keep the other planets dependent upon it or at least not organized enough to overpower it. They could fund terrorist groups to disrupt asteroid mining operations or try causing government unrest on the other planet-governments to keep themselves in power.

Ganurath
2009-06-11, 04:09 PM
Wait a minute...

You want a war between Earth and Mars to provide a diversion for an alien invasion?

...That's the plot of Starsiege!

chiasaur11
2009-06-11, 04:13 PM
They want our cattle, we want their Elerium 115.

Asheram
2009-06-11, 04:15 PM
They want our cattle, we want their Elerium 117.

115 :P We need it for proper spaceflight!

chiasaur11
2009-06-11, 04:30 PM
115 :P We need it for proper spaceflight!

Fixed.

Also, we probably want their Blaster Bombs.

Just because those things are so very satisfying.

9mm
2009-06-11, 04:46 PM
I'd say pull a war of 1812... Mars may have won independence; but earth doesn't respect it, ect. ect.

Quietus
2009-06-11, 04:56 PM
Earth is a planet quickly being devoured by the people living on it. It has plenty of resources, of every sort that a civilization could need, but we're using them faster than they're renewing.

Mars has FAR more resources - but only of certain sorts. They need <whatever> that Earth has, be it meats (higher gravity = stronger animals = more meat? Is that how that works?), or water (asteroids solve that though), or plant life. They can strip mine for Martial metals till they're blue in the face, but there's certain things they just *can't get hold of* any more.

And now, Earth has decided to take responsibility for its own well-being.

Usage of Earth's resources has been scaled back massively. It's illegal to destroy X amount of trees per year, or harvest Y number of cattle for food. And those numbers? They're just enough to support Earth's inhabitants, because with current technological levels, they can't cut back any more than that.

Mars is now left with nearly no lumber or plant life, and inferior, weakened cattle. It suddenly finds itself in the situation Earth was, unable to support itself given its current consumption rates, but it has even *less* of those non-native resources than Earth did, and they're less renewable, too. Martians can't possibly cut back enough, and Earth isn't willing to play ball. In order to sustain itself, Mars now has to take Earth over to gain access to the resources it needs to sustain itself. Thankfully, it's got plenty of metals to work with to create war machines..

Skjaldbakka
2009-06-11, 05:25 PM
Well, it isn't so much a top speed as an average top speed. They are using solar sail technology, which relies on a combination of the solar wind and the fact that light exerts force, which over enough area, is not insignificant.

Garian
2009-06-11, 07:20 PM
Mars has FAR more resources - but only of certain sorts. They need <whatever> that Earth has, be it meats (higher gravity = stronger animals = more meat? Is that how that works?)

Strength comes from muscle and muscle is eatable but not so good. Anyone ever eaten tongue? Tongue is as pure muscle meat that you are going to eat.
I don't think gravity levels would have any effect on a creatures meat quality.
Its clearly more natural to be eating species that grow up on that same gravity level all of your ancestors (and theirs) have. But I don't think that it means it will taste better.

kamikasei
2009-06-12, 02:54 AM
Strength comes from muscle and muscle is eatable but not so good. Anyone ever eaten tongue? Tongue is as pure muscle meat that you are going to eat.

...What parts of animals do you eat? Meat is muscle. Granted, underused muscle is considered better than much-exercised muscle, but still... however, I don't think it'd hold up too well as a premise (you can colonize another planet. You can probably vat-grow or battery-farm meat).

bosssmiley
2009-06-12, 09:32 AM
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space.

No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8JLqsbK5V0&videos=Z-k7z0VBX2c)

The implications of tentacular Wellsian Martians in a BESM setting are horrific and wholly NSFW.


"Mars Needs Women!"
(preferably in kawaii little sailor suits...)

Or, sword-and-planet style: we keep stealing the ancient artefacts of the glorious planet red Mars, and the Knights of Red Mars (operating under the auspices of Martian Law) have come to kick our Earthling asses! (http://www.adultswim.com/video/?episodeID=8a2505951ecafa5d011ed0c4405000fd)

paddyfool
2009-06-12, 09:45 AM
Strength comes from muscle and muscle is eatable but not so good. Anyone ever eaten tongue? Tongue is as pure muscle meat that you are going to eat.

A good rump, fillet or sirloin steak is also almost pure muscle. And very, very yummy.



I don't think gravity levels would have any effect on a creatures meat quality.
Its clearly more natural to be eating species that grow up on that same gravity level all of your ancestors (and theirs) have. But I don't think that it means it will taste better.

Agreed. The quality of their beef would primarily depend on the quality of their feed/pasture. Which, in turn, depends on the quality of the terraforming achieved. Have they managed to raise the temperature of Mars to earthlike levels? What about the soil quality, and the amount of sunlight?

Incidentally, what if Mars wasn't entirely terraformed, but only inhabitable within the confines of some biodomes? In that case, you'd have a real space limitation to deal with - no cows and their extensive pasture requirements for starters, although perhaps a few goats would be OK alongside primarily hydroponics-style agriculture.

Skjaldbakka
2009-06-12, 10:45 AM
Mars is fully terraformed, the primary differences being a thinner(but still breathable) atmosphere, and reduced temperatures. Also the very significant difference of no oceans. Water is almost excusively from asteroid mining. Mars may have an elevator to Phobos, I have not decided.

Ganurath
2009-06-12, 12:01 PM
Mars is fully terraformed, the primary differences being a thinner(but still breathable) atmosphere, and reduced temperatures.Then they did it wrong. All they'd need to do is hit it with Ceres, which could be knocked out of orbit with a sufficiently large asteroid, preferably one big enough to break it into chunks. Naturally, physicists would have to be involved to get it at the right speed and angle not to disrupt Mars's orbit, but the result would be enough added mass to maintain a breathable atmosphere and ozone layer while simulatenously heating the planet up enough to melt the caps, enriching the atmosphere further and providing areas for the water to flow into and form oceans.

Ask me how Venus gets terraformed.

Tiki Snakes
2009-06-12, 12:21 PM
That is...kind of cool.

So, I'mma do it. "How is Venus Terraformed, Ganurath?"

kamikasei
2009-06-12, 12:22 PM
Then they did it wrong. All they'd need to do is hit it with Ceres, which could be knocked out of orbit with a sufficiently large asteroid, preferably one big enough to break it into chunks.

Don't be silly, that's far too dramatic. Rather, deconstruct Ceres in its own orbit and then send the chunks in manageable sizes to burn up in Mars' atmosphere.

edit: Whoa, I totally misread you, thinking you were using Ceres as a source of water rather than to add mass. That makes even less sense. You can't feasibly make Mars heavier, not enough to change its ability to retain an atmosphere, unless you add a lot more mass and pretty much rewrite the entire surface in the process. If you have the tech to do that other than by just chucking moonlets at it for centuries and waiting for the surface to cool, you'd be better off applying the tech to deconstruct the planet for habitats.


So, I'mma do it. "How is Venus Terraformed, Ganurath?"

- Put a big parasol between it and the sun. (No, seriously. There are ways.) Result: less light reaching the planet, temperatures drop.

- The carbon dioxide atmosphere freezes out and snows down. Gather it up on the surface and sequester it under diamond coating.

- Terraform the surface normally (importing needed minerals to establish a biosphere, bringing in water as for Mars, etc.)

This exercise in megaengineering brought to you by the Mars Trilogy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Trilogy).

paddyfool
2009-06-12, 12:36 PM
Then they did it wrong. All they'd need to do is hit it with Ceres, which could be knocked out of orbit with a sufficiently large asteroid, preferably one big enough to break it into chunks. Naturally, physicists would have to be involved to get it at the right speed and angle not to disrupt Mars's orbit, but the result would be enough added mass to maintain a breathable atmosphere and ozone layer while simulatenously heating the planet up enough to melt the caps, enriching the atmosphere further and providing areas for the water to flow into and form oceans.

I like it, in theory. In practice, however, the mass of Ceres (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres_(dwarf_planet)) is only 1/680 that of Mars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars). And it's a third of the belt's total mass; overall, I rather doubt there's enough there in total to make any real difference to Mars' ability to hold onto an atmosphere. Also, you're chucking resources down a gravity well, when to further explore the solar system, it's kind of handy having them where they are.

The question, however, is how fast Mars leaches atmo at its current mass... and how much more gas it would release if one were to turn the temperature up, by using, say, mirrors in space (asteroid, or dwarf-planet-chunk, impacts only providing a temporary increase in temperature by comparison). Also, how much ice does it currently contain? A lot to find out yet, and hence a fair bit of wiggle room for sf authors too...



Ask me how Venus gets terraformed.

OK, I'll bite - how? ;-)

EDIT:



This exercise in megaengineering brought to you by the Mars Trilogy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Trilogy).

One of these days, I really have to read that...

Skjaldbakka
2009-06-12, 12:46 PM
I kinda want Ceres to still be around. Plus, I like the idea of mining asteroids for water.

Ganurath
2009-06-12, 12:49 PM
Don't be silly, that's far too dramatic. Rather, deconstruct Ceres in its own orbit and then send the chunks in manageable sizes to burn up in Mars' atmosphere.Yes, well, I suppose if you don't want to heat up the planet that much.
- Put a big parasol between it and the sun. (No, seriously. There are ways.) Result: less light reaching the planet, temperatures drop.

- The carbon dioxide atmosphere freezes out and snows down. Gather it up on the surface and sequester it under diamond coating.

- Terraform the surface normally (importing needed minerals to establish a biosphere, bringing in water as for Mars, etc.)

This exercise in megaengineering brought to you by the Mars Trilogy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Trilogy).Incorrect, or at least incomplete. The thick atmosphere will still retain the heat for generations. You need to add a flying chunk of water to Venus's acidic atmosphere to create an explosion that'll send big swathes of atmosphere into orbit, because the Chemists itP know what happens when you add water to acid.

kamikasei
2009-06-12, 12:52 PM
Incorrect, or at least incomplete. The thick atmosphere will still retain the heat for generations. You need to add a flying chunk of water to Venus's acidic atmosphere to create an explosion that'll send big swathes of atmosphere into orbit, because the Chemists itP know what happens when you add water to acid.

You're terraforming a planet. You should expect it to take generations. (That's what longevity tech is for, after all.) The methods you propose seem to inject a lot of energy into the system very violently, on the assumption that somehow the result will be immediately stable and livable.

DarknessLord
2009-06-12, 12:59 PM
These terraforming methods in the context of BESM seem adorable!
*Imagines Venus-tan holding her parasol between her and Sol-tan, while Eath-tan sprays her with water from behind, and Mars-tan stuffing her face with cake*

I'm 90% planet-tans exist, but my google-fu is too weak to find them.

paddyfool
2009-06-12, 01:13 PM
Heh.

Seriously, though, in a BESM setting, you don't need to get that serious over the tech. If you want Mars to have decent gravity and atmo, just give it a black box "gravity generator". ASATiIFM*, after all, just like powered-up mecha attacks. And such a device could easily be a plot point too, as a target for destruction, or more nastily, supercharging. (Planetary implosions FTW).

As for the space elevator, go for it - but rather than have it go to a moon, why not have a really long one that's its own counterweight? Such a design allows a payload to be launched at really high relative velocity on the cheap, which is just plain nifty.

Sounds like an interesting setting, all told - have fun with it!

* "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" (Isaac Asimov)

Skjaldbakka
2009-06-12, 01:20 PM
BESM is not realistic, but neither is it unrealistic, on it's own. It is exactly as realistic as the GM wants it to be, no more, and no less. You can run a highly realistic game using BESM.

Making generalizations about BESM is like making generalizations about anime. It doesn't work, because they are both mediums, not genres.

/end rant

I like the counterweight idea

kamikasei
2009-06-12, 01:25 PM
As for the space elevator, go for it - but rather than have it go to a moon, why not have a really long one that's its own counterweight? Such a design allows a payload to be launched at really high relative velocity on the cheap, which is just plain nifty.

That's actually how they're supposed to work. A proper space elevator stretch from surface to geostationary (areostationary) orbit and the same length again, or a shorter length with a counterweight asteroid/station at the end. The point is for its center of mass to be at geostationary altitude, so that it's not actually resting on the surface, but in its own orbit. The point isn't just to allow free ship boosts, but to let it stay up in the first place.

paddyfool
2009-06-12, 01:32 PM
BESM is not realistic, but neither is it unrealistic, on it's own. It is exactly as realistic as the GM wants it to be, no more, and no less. You can run a highly realistic game using BESM.

Making generalizations about BESM is like making generalizations about anime. It doesn't work, because they are both mediums, not genres.

/end rant

I like the counterweight idea

Sorry! I'm used to my anime being wildly unrealistic and loving it, and thought BESM might be the same. Besides, one bit of black box tech shouldn't skew the realism too much... and gravity generators are pretty ubiquitous in soft-to-medium sci-fi, albeit more common at the spaceship (Enterprise, Star Destroyer, Red Dwarf etc.) than the planetary level. Heck, they're even found in some hard sci-fi, by spinning the interior of the space ship while not at a 1g burn.


That's actually how they're supposed to work. A proper space elevator stretch from surface to geostationary (areostationary) orbit and the same length again, or a shorter length with a counterweight asteroid/station at the end. The point is for its center of mass to be at geostationary altitude, so that it's not actually resting on the surface, but in its own orbit. The point isn't just to allow free ship boosts, but to let it stay up in the first place.

I know - I meant that in response to where he described using Phobos or Demos as a counterweight. There's really no need, although if you have a station on them it could also be cool.

chiasaur11
2009-06-12, 01:44 PM
Sorry! I'm used to my anime being wildly unrealistic and loving it, and thought BESM might be the same. Besides, one bit of black box tech shouldn't skew the realism too much... and gravity generators are pretty ubiquitous in soft-to-medium sci-fi, albeit more common at the spaceship (Enterprise, Star Destroyer, Red Dwarf etc.) than the planetary level. Heck, they're even found in some hard sci-fi, by spinning the interior of the space ship while not at a 1g burn.



I know - I meant that in response to where he described using Phobos or Demos as a counterweight. There's really no need, although if you have a station on them it could also be cool.

Well, you can use one as a counterweight, and the other as an exploratory craft.

Deimos looks like it could use a thruster attachment...

Artanis
2009-06-12, 02:19 PM
What if, instead of directly competing for some sort of needed resource, the two were competing for something else: Empire.

Earth and Mars, being the oldest, biggest, and wealthiest "nations" in the Solar system are the centers of rival empires. Of course, conquering is what empires do, and there's all kinds of nice, nigh-helpless little colonies on Ceres and Europa and whatnot. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what happens to these colonies.

There's a problem though: empires tend to dislike it when somebody else poaches their targets. This eventually leads to Earth and Mars going to war, beating the crap out of one another for a while, then having to retreat and lick their wounds. As that's happening, all these little conquered colonies break free from their exhausted overlords. The sheer resources and manpower available to Earth and Mars means that they inevitably recover and go conquering, and the cycle starts again.



Note that this gives you the leeway to talk about tech and resources a much - or as little - as you want. No worrying about figuring out some explanation involving mining and gravity wells and stuff unless you want to do so :smallbiggrin:

daggaz
2009-06-12, 02:41 PM
Ok Ive been keeping an eye on this thread while I tried to think of something plausible and still cool, and I think Ive got a good one for you.

Technology, while advanced and into the spacefaring/terraforming stage, isnt nearly as wildly advanced as mankind would have hoped. Namely, a stable form of fusion energy has not been developed, simply because the universe sets a size limit on that sort of thing starting at about one solar mass.

While both efficiency and renewable energy source techs have made massive leaps and bounds, they are still subject to heavy limitations. Earth has managed to get most of its energy budget under wraps in this way, but things are tight.

Mars, on the otherhand, has always been heavily dependant on fission reactors, and unfortunately for the colonists, Mars is a dead planet. Despite decades of exploration and research, radioactive isotopes are less than 1/1000th of the occurance on Mars as they are on Earth. Chalk it up to the physics of stellar formation, but Mars (and all the outer planets) are dead from the inside out. Even the asteroid belt is no good; compromised mainly of iron and nickel, they are featherweights as far as the elemental system is concerned.

So Mars turns to Earth, but relations between the two worlds have been ...neutral at best. Isolated for the better part of the century, when the first colonists declared a lofty independance from the troubles of war-torn Earth and her unending political fueds, Mars has been left to her own devices, and Earth is in neither the mood, nor the position, to offer help now.

For Earth is embroiled in her own resource wars, living space is at a premium on the sprawling planetary metropolis, and the vats only produce enough to keep the respective populations from the brink of mass starvation. As well, the deeply entrenched families who control the opposing global corporate states have been at eachothers throats since the fall of the old republics well back in the turn of the 21st century. The threat of annhilation hangs over the heads of the dreary skies of earth, a nuclear curtain waiting always to descend.

The balance is tight, and neither family will entertain the notion of dismantling their weaponry for the plight of the Martians. So the colonists are forced to infiltrate this distopian society, where citizens are slaves and freewill is a corporate slogan, and steal what they need. One warhead contains enough fuel to run an entire colony for decades, and better yet, with enough power (and lead), they could conceivably begin mining on Earth's otherwise impossible sister planet, Venus.

One wrong move, and the Earth itself will be launched into Armageddon, but the fate of Mars hangs in the balance...

paddyfool
2009-06-15, 03:46 AM
Incidentally, how cold and how thin-aired were you thinking the terraformed Mars would be? If it's got to the point of being survivable over long periods without an oxygen tank and with thick clothing, say to the rough equivalent of one of the colder 4000 or 5000m-high areas on Earth, then high-altitude Earth agriculture would probably transfer all right with a bit of work. At altitudes above 3000m or so, pastoralism tends to dominate. Such animals as do well at higher altitudes (mountain sheep & goats, certain breeds of cattle, and yaks for instance) might transfer over relatively easily, even though they often depend on summer feeding-up on Earth, but a lot of crops might require pressurised greenhouses or extensive genetic modification. In such a situation, you might have ample supplies of some form of modified staple (some form of GM maize, potato or wheat, or all of the three), limited types and quantities of fruit and veg otherwise, very little if any fish, maybe some poultry, and pretty good supplies of meat and dairy. It'd be a strange ecosystem - totally managed for man's benefit, with no forest, no wild animals, etc. - but it would be pretty survivable and, coupled with other general hardships and challenges of getting set up and surviving on a freshly terraformed planet, would foster some pretty scornful attitudes of "soft" people back on Earth.

Would such a scenario work for you, do you think?

erikun
2009-06-15, 09:43 AM
I didn't quite read through everything, but here's a few points:

Steal from anime. Steal liberally. The entire Gundam franchise is basically a war between the space colonies and the Earth Federation, and Crest of the Stars is rather similar.

Mars wants freedom from Earth, for political reasons. Earth wants full control over Mars. Queue galatic civil war.

Mars is experimenting on "super-humans" who can survive the rigors of space better. Earth finds this inhumane. Queue psudo-moral war.

Fight over resources, as already mentioned. The asteroid belt, Jupiter/Saturn, Mercury, or even Venus are options. Given that whoever terraforms Venus will probably be populating it, that one adds a political undertone, too.

Earth's environment is on decline, with most residents living in bio-domes. Mars is finally terraformed, and life has spread across the planet. Needless to say, the Martians don't like the idea of Corporate Earthlings trying to move to Mars and take control of things there.

That's just off the top of my head.

Jack Zander
2009-06-15, 09:51 AM
All the years of fighting could have originally been over a sandwich (http://http://www.cracked.com/article_17298_6-random-coincidences-that-created-modern-world.html).

chiasaur11
2009-06-15, 12:11 PM
All the years of fighting could have originally been over a sandwich (http://http://www.cracked.com/article_17298_6-random-coincidences-that-created-modern-world.html).

To be fair, it's an awesome sandwich.