There's something that bugs me on Terminator: Skynet is a very advanced artifical inteligence. They've even developed time travel and hybrid terminators: machines with organs.

So why make such complicated plan to exterminate the resistence when it would be much more easier to build a base on Mars and destroy Earth from there?

  • 4
    I feel like anything that involves Mars is harder than almost anything that doesn't involve Mars. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Sep 16 '15 at 22:04
  • 3
    @WadCheber Yes, yesterday I went to see Jesus preaching 2000 years ago with some advanced physics I developed, but somehow I can't develop a way to go to Mars because it's so damn complicated. – Billy Rubina Sep 16 '15 at 22:07
  • 1
    Fair enough.... – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Sep 16 '15 at 22:16
  • 2
    @Voyska - That's a horrible comparison. This is an opinion question, nothing more. – JohnP Sep 17 '15 at 2:53
  • 1
    @Voyska You seem to be unwilling to entertain answers that attempt to explain why Skynet didn't do what you think it should have done. Short of a word-of-god answer there isn't any answer that can be provided which couldn't have a "if it can to X then Y should be negligible because I say so" counter. Other than an opinionated reply, what are you looking for? – Xantec Sep 17 '15 at 3:02

While launching a single one-way probe to Mars almost seems like a simple prospect these days, launching a small manufacturing complex into orbit and moving it to Mars would be an extremely difficult endeavor. You'll need many large rockets just to get everything into Earth orbit, and then additional rockets to transfer from Earth to Mars. You'll also need some way to land it on Mars without destroying it.

Then there is the matter of Mars probably not having much in the way of radioactive material, so you should probably bring that with you too if you want to make nukes. So more rockets for that.

Also, we don't know how much of the other elements will be available, so you better bring enough so that you can build a return rocket if need be. You don't want to get stuck there and be unable to make anything. So even more rockets

And what are you using for fuel/power on Mars? You could build an orbital solar factory, but Mars is further from the sun so it will need to be larger. Alternatively you could use a nuclear reactor, but make sure you bring extra radioactive material to fuel it. And you guessed it, these will need even more rockets.

Building and fueling all those rockets will require massive amounts of infrastructure, which would be very hard to hide and protect from the resistance. Never mind that if the pesky humans instead sabotage the rockets themselves, causing them to explode after lift off, you'll have lost whatever cargo you were sending up so you'll now need to rebuild the rocket and the cargo.

Even if you should manage to get everything you need into orbit and finally set off to Mars, you're now looking at at least 18 months where you can't do anything. Then once you get there you'll need time to get established: dig mines and build your new launch center. Of course those humans have now taken over Earth, a planet much richer in resources. They probably also stole your rocket plans (they found about your time machine after all), so they'll be racing to rebuild their space program and get nukes launched at you before you can get any up.

All said, going to Mars probably isn't a good idea. The time just to get ready to go there would be long and fraught with human interference. Traveling there takes a year and half, during which you can't do anything but the humans are constantly working. Finally, once you get there you'll need an indeterminate amount of time building your infrastructure before you can launch your first missile, during which you're constantly wondering when the first human missile will hit you.

To answer the question "why not go to space and do something" from the comments: Earth is the prize that humanity and Skynet are fighting for. It is reasonably hospitable and has a good amount of raw materials. Any attack that would guarantee to wipe out humanity from orbit would make the surface very inhospitable: dust and debris in the air, radiation storms, acid rain etc. If Skynet were going to go into space it may as well just leave Earth (sterilize it if its particularly spiteful) and head off into the galaxy. But at that point we're no longer talking about Terminator and the answer is out of scope.

  • 1
    Yes. exactly on-point about lack of resources on Mars (or insert other celestial object here). – Möoz Sep 16 '15 at 22:48
  • @Mooz Mercury or Venus might be good candidates resource-wise, but they'd have their own awful situations to deal with. Not to mention any rocket you launch at Earth will be going uphill the entire way. – Xantec Sep 16 '15 at 22:52
  • Do you think that someone who's able to make time travel will have trouble making rockets? "Building and fueling all those rockets will require massive amounts of infrastructure, which would be very hard to hide and protect from the resistance." - So time travel is trivial and doesn't need any infrastructure? The problem with your answer is that you don't see that time travel would require a LOT more structure, this follows from the fact that we're closer to go to Mars (Mars Rover) than to develop time travel. – Billy Rubina Sep 16 '15 at 22:52
  • @Voyska It is hard to say what is involved in building a time machine (I've yet to see someone make one). However, Skynet wasn't able to keep one time machine secret from the resistance, and it was only just able to get a single Terminator through before the humans took it over. How would it be able to construct and protect even one rocket construction site (think NASA's VAB), the large number of rockets and rocket payloads, and the fuel refineries? – Xantec Sep 16 '15 at 22:58
  • If they had the resources to make this, making this should be trivial. – Billy Rubina Sep 16 '15 at 23:00

The problem with Skynet is that... well, its just a machine. We don't know and can only guess how he thinks, but he definitely lacks something that humans have: imagination.

He builds terminators - they are initially effective, until resistance finds a way to fight them. So instead of developing something else, he builds better terminators, then even better ones etc... In other words: If X is ineffective, build better X instead trying Y.

Look at the Judgment Day: Skynet used the most powerful weapon available to destroy his enemies. Yes, he destroyed quite a lot of them, but also completely destroyed infrastructure - all mines and factories had to be rebuild after the attack and the remains were powerful enough to create the resistance. If he'd use biological/chemical weapon , he could easily wipe everyone and leave the world intact. But he did't think about it (well, you could argue that he might not have access to such kind of weapon initially, but why he wouldn't try to invent it later?). He could simply threaten to launch the nukes in the "bow to me or die!" declaration (and what given enough time would stop him from taking control of all nukes in the world?) and declare himself Earth Overlord. He didn't do that either, because he lacks the imagination.

There is also another issue: efficiency. Building time machine seems (to Skynet) easier ( and it works with his best tools - terminators) than moving everything to space and starting complete new project. Yes, the would be potentially more efficient, but taking more resources and time.

For Skynet, simplest, fastest plan is always the right one.

Edit: This is bit similar to Stephen King's aliens from "Tommyknockers": they can build VERY advanced technology - turning radio into teleporter, remote controller into antigravity device - all this powered by AA batteries, which they shortly run off. When in the end main character asks "why didn't you use main power with AC/DC converters?" they answer surprised" because no one thought about it, batteries were working".

  • Something that creates time travel and nanorobots doesn't have imagination? – Billy Rubina Sep 17 '15 at 1:20
  • Not in the way humans have - nanotechnology is just an update to existing technology (both one developed by humans and by Skynet) and time travel would be more efficient way of using his terminators. If you have "A" find efficient way of using it (time travel) or better "A" (liquid/nanotech terminators) – Yasskier Sep 17 '15 at 1:26
  • Also, you're assuming: 1 - that you know what is imagination. 2 - We can measure it. (The first is false mostly because the second is false.) But speaking in the context of the franchise: Are there evidences of your arguments in the movies? I just watched Terminator Salvation and Connor argues that he's always impressed with how clever the Skynet really is (because they sent a hybrid terminator which is half machine and half human). – Billy Rubina Sep 17 '15 at 1:31
  • And Connor argued about how that was totally unexpected. If Skynet doesn't have imagination, how's it possible for it to make a move that is unexpected by their enemies? Notice that in the context of the movies, they've done it several times. – Billy Rubina Sep 17 '15 at 1:43
  • Bot you and me mentioned more efficient ways of dealing with resistance or even with the Judgment Day - yet Skynet haven't thought about it. You can't deny his intelligence, I am just pointing at his narrow-mindness. Look this way: if Skynet was in the pre-stone age where main weapon were sticks, he would invent even better stick, then maybe a spear, a mace, pike etc, but he wouldn't invent a sling - because "stick is efficient so lets build a better one". – Yasskier Sep 17 '15 at 1:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.