http://corky.net/dotan/log/images/bernalcutaway-800.jpg

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.:

  1. It’s fixed size and small. We have already filled up the Earth and Mars and the Moon are smaller.
  2. Going outside requires a space suit. We will probably never be able to create an outside environment we can live in.
  3. It is what it is. Gravity, size, location, orbit aren’t going to change.
  4. 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.
  5. And you have to deal with weather and the planet’s personalty. Floods, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.
  6. 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.

 



  1. Jon Fitch says:

    The concept is spot-on. I’ve been thinking about the problem with scifi and how it treats local gravity for a while. After leaving the Earth, any gravity well that you land on will become your gravity well. If it is “lighter” than Earth like Mars or the moon, you can’t return to Earth after a generation or two without major readjustment and perhaps death. If it’s “heavier” than Earth, then your body adjusts to that gravity as well with unknown consequences because we haven’t experienced “heavy” gravity yet.

    Once we leave the planet for a significant period of time, we’re not coming back. Embrace the black void and adjust to it. As for building a ship, we will take an asteroid and make it our own by hollowing it out and adding another one or two to it for storage/reaction mass.

    We must leave the planet and it’s gravity well if we are to survive over eons. Why drop into another gravity well and have to do it all over again? The future is between the stars.

  2. Uncle Patso says:

    If we’re going to talk about BIG engineering projects, here’s a couple of ideas:

    Mars is too small and too far from the sun for comfort; Venus is too close to the sun for comfort — engineer some interaction between the two to equalize their orbits. Create three planets, Earth Mars and Venus in a big equilateral, sharing the same orbit. The climate on Venus might cool down over a few millennia to make it a useful planet.

    Or drop a few billion tons of asteroids and comets on Mars to give it more mass and a useful amount of volatiles for atmosphere and surface water and maybe bring its orbit closer to the sun in the process.

    A practical skyhook/elevator-to-orbit would be a major help to all these ideas, not to mention where we are now.

    • bobbo, Onomatopoeia often occurs occluding obstreperous opinions: ow, Ow, OW, OW!!!!! says:

      “The climate on Venus might cool down over a few millennia to make it a useful planet.” /// Say Unc==what percentage of “might” is IMPOSSIBLE? You do know the future of Venus is to be swallowed by the Sun as it cools/throws off more heat/ and expands?

      The plot to 2312 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2312_%28novel%29) more reasonably (but still fantasy based==not even Sci Fi as the distantly possible) was to have our city on Venus “on wheels” so it could match the rotation of Venus and always be on the dark side of things. ((I should check–has Venus not been captured by Suns Gravity and stopped rotating?—Oh, who cares. If 2312 has a city on wheels, it must rotate or it wouldn’t be credible!)

      Raise your hand: are we going to the stars while 30% of people on Earth still live in poverty and disease or would those “challenges to Man’s Science” be taken care of first?….. Then….. if those problems are taken care of, why would anyone great % of people want to leave???

      Ha, ha. Fun to see those who might reject Flat Earth Religion go on to believe in the same level of fantasy because “Science” is in the title.

      Yea, verily!

      • danBran says:

        That’s Mercury in 2312 not Venus

        • bobbo, Onomatopoeia often occurs occluding obstreperous opinions: ow, Ow, OW, OW!!!!! says:

          My error was not intentional. Just bad memory for side issues. Hmmmm….. not being a physicist, or even a scientist,…… MERCURY????? Really???

          Seems way too hot and way too small (gravity). Venus is a much better choice even for something practically speaking: impossible. Maybe I should write my own book???? What would happen? Word for word the same book except for describing Venus instead of Mercury. Ha, ha.

          “The implication” is you agree with everything else I posted??????

      • Tim says:

        bobbo, it’s been 5 years. It’s time. You have cleaned public lavatories and read the science on the studio halls and bathroom stalls so that you have finally earned this brush. Now.. You go boy, and, as you enjoy your heart-felt-given gift, ignore those loud, continuous sounds which are breaking the windows…. I never expected you to do windows… don’t start now. Peaceful Armaggeddon, Tim

        http://youtube.com/watch?v=LUUmTMTCy48
        http://youtube.com/watch?v=SsDEfu8s1Lw&feature=player_detailpage#t=66

        {oh, hush,TB… convince them to give us to go back and edit and i’ll ficks it. }

    • Tim says:

      “”Venus is too close to the sun for comfort

      Not really. Not if we float in the atmosphere there. The atmosphere is so dense that a ship with lifting gas of *Earth air* at it’s natural constituency with the %78 nitrogen and everything is boyant at an elevation where the temperature is in the low 70s yet still plenty of atmosphere above to protect from cosmic rays. Perfect.

  3. sargasso_c says:

    A greed fuelled mass extinction on Earth is pretty much underway. I question the morality of people who contributed most to it then wanting to build a Club Med in space.

    • pedro says:

      Speaking of which, I read 2 days ago the laments of a silicon valley idiot about how outsourcing was the root of the current US problems with unemployment and bad economy with the “we didn’t think it would turn up this way back then” conclusion of the guy’s rant.

      How pathetic.

    • bobbo, Onomatopoeia often occurs occluding obstreperous opinions: ow, Ow, OW, OW!!!!! says:

      Yep…as in an auction to Hunt on of the 5000 Namidia Black Rhino “to help it” survive.

      As I recall, some other Black Rhino becaume extinct last year? I wonder if thru another Hunt to help it survive?

      http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/09/black-rhino-hunt-auction-wont-help-conservation/

      Not the same greed you are talking about, but the same kind of self destruction that gives our species the desire to leave “earth” which is really a desire to separate from our fellow hoomans.

      Yea, verily.

      • Tim says:

        “”I love animals. It’s why I like to kill them. If we didn’t kill animals, they would die anyways. I’m an environmentalist…

      • Tim says:

        “”which is really a desire to separate from our fellow hoomans.

        Fuck you guys. As soon as my overpressured water heater is charged, I’m outta here!

      • pedro says:

        bobbo said: “Namidia”

        What’s that, a venereal disease?

        • bobbo, Onomatopoeia often occurs occluding obstreperous opinions: ow, Ow, OW, OW!!!!! says:

          Namidia–what, is that the only typo you caught?

          I do apologize for my atrocious typing, and yes-even spelling. Its all part of my anti-authoritarian personality. I do give you the favor of not correcting my errors all the time though. Thats something.

          • pedro says:

            The fact that sounded like a VD made it shine

          • bobbo, Onomatopoeia often occurs occluding obstreperous opinions: ow, Ow, OW, OW!!!!! says:

            Pedro….. seriously now….. I have NO ACCESS to your medical records. Backdoor or frontdoor…. no access.

            Your secrets are safe with me….. err… from me.

            …..dia…does sound like vd.
            …..bia..sounds like someone’s lips flapping…but now, we’re back to your med recs.

            Everything seen thru the lens of our own specific disabilities.

            Yea, verily.

          • pedro says:

            That’s why I noticed your typo. VD’s seem to rule your world and that freudian slip of a syntax error confirms it

  4. Hmeyers says:

    Spaceships in the ocean would be an even better idea!

    Saves all the messiness of launching stuff.

    If you are going to be in the middle of nowhere anyway — which is what space is — why not be in the middle of nowhere with water.

  5. bobbo, Onomatopoeia often occurs occluding obstreperous opinions: ow, Ow, OW, OW!!!!! says:

    From Above, as who needs to “look” for what is new?????

    danBran says:
    1/13/2014 at 11:19 pm

    That’s Mercury in 2312 not Venus
    Reply

    bobbo, Onomatopoeia often occurs occluding obstreperous opinions: ow, Ow, OW, OW!!!!! says:
    1/14/2014 at 3:30 am

    My error was not intentional. Just bad memory for side issues. Hmmmm….. not being a physicist, or even a scientist,…… MERCURY????? Really???

    Seems way too hot and way too small (gravity). Venus is a much better choice even for something practically speaking: impossible. Maybe I should write my own book???? What would happen? Word for word the same book except for describing Venus instead of Mercury. Ha, ha.

    “The implication” is you agree with everything else I posted??????

    //////////////////////// Just getting to Venus much less MERCURY reminds me of the joke about Polish Astronauts going to the Sun…… they planned to go at night to avoid the extreme temperatures. I suppose space ships can be shielded against the Sun’s heat at that minimal distance. Rotation speed of Mercury is doable…only a few miles per hour to have our colony constantly moving with any short failure to result in a hot or cold death.

    Would it be Possible… or Impossible or practically so? Like: Possible but with 4-5 accidents along the way making it just way too expensive. You know: when people won’t fund FOOD FOR POOR KIDDIES….how long will the masses starve inorder to have space ships blow up on the way to Mercury for Christs Sake?

    Read a nice article about Game App construction: all the same plot elements, physics, goals, mechanics etc. Just change the characters/landscape from bugs to space angels with swords. One game will be popular, the other VERY POPULAR because certain “notions” appeal to us. Angels: yes…. bugs: not so much.

    Same with Science Fiction. Make it entirely fantasy, and people recognize it. Put a shit load of science on it…..and the game becomes a winner even though its the same fantasy.

    Hoomans. What you gonna do?

  6. Glenn E. says:

    Just a few insurmountable problems. Like it would be impossible to allow the population to grow, beyond a certain point. Certain frequencies of radiation will get thru, unimpeded by a thick atmosphere. And every now and then a stray meteorite comes crashing thru your glass dome. But if you advocates want to risk it, fine. I just hope the cost to build such a folly, doesn’t further bankrupt the economy of Earth’s developed nations.

  7. deowll says:

    Gravity wells keep the atmosphere in. The atmosphere protects us from space debris which can kill use. A speck of old paint and orbital speeds can do a number on you and will damage the ship. Then you are going to need to get all the needed material together to make this habitat. This is not going to happen in your life time.

    • pedro says:

      This kind of concept passes short-term-feasible science only for pop sci’s editors & fans & people that saw too much tar trek & star wars

    • Little Timmy says:

      I sneaked out at apogee and threw Reeses Peicies off the aft staging pad, this one time at bandwidth camp.

  8. Quivering Quislings quake quantifying querulous questions says:

    Well Timmy–the first two tangential links did not engage me, so I didn’t review the rest. That is the challenge of tangents, like poetry, our own muse, our own quest: not of much interest/meaning to anyone else.

    Ain’t that a Bitch?

  9. Traaxx says:

    We won’t be doing either, they’ve already decided to reduce our current population by 99.8%, if you’re lucky – like Lottery Winner Lucky or Being Struck by Lightning Twice Lucky – you might be one of the 500 million (or 250 depending upon whose literature you read) they allow to remain breathing………..Welcome to the New World Order

    Whatever………………………………………………………………………………..
    Traaxx

  10. Pete says:

    You’re*

  11. Pete says:

    *you’re