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gwern comments on Musk, Mars and x-risk - Less Wrong Discussion

10 Post author: Kawoomba 23 November 2012 08:32PM

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Comment author: gwern 26 November 2012 04:25:36PM 0 points [-]

It might be relatively cheap to over-engineer (e.g. digging in an extra meter), but it might not.

FWIW, while researching my Moore's law essay, I found materials claiming that underground construction was more expensive but paid for itself via better heating/cooling. But that was for shallow cut-and-scrape constructions and I suspect 1 meter wouldn't take care of supernova radiation.

Comment author: shminux 26 November 2012 05:32:24PM *  4 points [-]

I suspect 1 meter wouldn't take care of supernova radiation.

As far as I understand the issue, the danger is mainly from the temporary ozone layer depletion, with the resulting solar UV rays doing most of the damage, and not from any kind of direct supernova radiation. And UV is not hard to shield from.

Comment author: gwern 26 November 2012 06:15:06PM 3 points [-]

Hm, so you're right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-Earth_supernova#Effects_on_Earth In that case, it doesn't sound like that much of a direct threat at all: we can use cheap underground or UV-glass-filtering greenhouses to grow our food. A disaster, but not really an existential threat.