As most of you in the Star Trek generation have come to think, someday humans will be going out from Earth and colonizing other planets. And since we evolved on this planet we are used to the idea of living on planets. But when you think about it, the idea of colonizing outer space itself makes more sense. When you think about giant space colonies orbiting the Sun it’s far easier and more practical than trying to live on planets.
Living on planets have a lot of disadvantages. In our solar system the only other possibility is Mars for a planet where you might be able some day (in tens of thousands of years) be able to walk outside without a space suit on. So if your on a planet or the moon you’re going to have to build something that is as strong as a space habitat anyway. The disadvantages of living on planets or moons are.:
- It’s fixed size and small. We have already filled up the Earth and Mars and the Moon are smaller.
- Going outside requires a space suit. We will probably never be able to create an outside environment we can live in.
- It is what it is. Gravity, size, location, orbit aren’t going to change.
- It’s a gravity hole. Takes a lot of energy to take off and land if you are leaving to go somewhere else in the solar system.
- And you have to deal with weather and the planet’s personalty. Floods, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.
- Bottom line – planets suck. A planet is just a pothole in the space time continuum.
But – living in space is far more interesting. But before I describe it we are going to have to assume a far greater technology than we have today. So I’ll start there.
In the future we will have perfected mining and manufacturing in space which is done 100% by autonomous robots. The are lots of asteroids out there that contain everything we have on earth and are a lot easier to mine. On Earth all the good stuff sank to the core when the planet was molten. In asteroids there’s all the platinum group metals and asteroids are generally a lot softer stuff to dig into not having been compacted by gravity.
Robotic space craft will be able to fly off to an asteroid and stat making anything you want out of the raw materials there. The robot could replicate itself there to increase productivity or have the replica fly off to yet another asteroid to mine. Water can be turned into rocket fuel and the sun provides an unlimited amount of electricity. These robots could manufacture giant space colonies to be the home of billions of people. And there’s plenty of room to make as many as we need to.
Gravity is artificially produced by rotation so you can set the gravity to wherever you want. Full gravity on the outer ring. Reduced gravity as you move towards the center. Might be handy for old people to live in 1/3 gravity so if they fell they wouldn’t get hurt.
Anyhow – after viewing a lot of YouTube videos on asteroid mining I’m seeing the future of humanity differently and that colonizing space is far better than colonizing planets. Might need to come up with some new science fiction to start exploring the idea. This video is inspiring.