Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar
It is rapidly becoming technologically feasible to initiate industry on the Moon and Mars using autonomous robotics for mining and manufacturing. The lunar industry can produce economic value to Earth by creating infrastructure in Earth orbit, essentially converting our planet from a merely life-bearing planet to a technologically clothed planet that supports a resource-unlimited civilization. Industry on Mars can support colonists and rapid terraforming to convert Mars into both a life-bearing planet and a technologically clothed one at the same time. The two key challenges in accomplishing both are, first, continued advancement in artificial intelligence for robotic autonomy in unstructured environments, and second, solving the financial problem of bootstrapping the industry over a protracted period before it pays back economic value. Both challenges are on track to be solved within few decades leading to a vastly different civilization by the end of the century.