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Space Colonization: A Study in Initial Prospective Extraterrestrial Habitation Voyager 1 captures an image of Terra from the edge of our solar system –

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Presentation on theme: "Space Colonization: A Study in Initial Prospective Extraterrestrial Habitation Voyager 1 captures an image of Terra from the edge of our solar system –"— Presentation transcript:

1 Space Colonization: A Study in Initial Prospective Extraterrestrial Habitation Voyager 1 captures an image of Terra from the edge of our solar system – about 3.7million miles from Earth

2 Motivations and Rationale for Space Colonization According to Freeman Dyson and J. Richard Gott:  Spread life and creativity throughout the available frontier  Ensure the longevity of humanity  Make money through varied forms of space commercialism  Save the environment of Terra by moving industry into space  Provide distractions from the immediate surroundings through space tourism”  Ensure the supply of rare and finite material resources

3 Motivations Continued:  An extraterrestrial human presence would serve as a “backup” to repopulate the Earth in the event of some pan-catastrophic event Nuclear war, environmental degradation, collision event, etc.  Technological progress inherent in such an ambitious engineering program, as well as a human presence in space, would help move humanity towards a “Type II” civilization Dyson-scheme power captures / megastructure engineering

4 Prospective Types of Colonies:  Lunar colony Moon colony located near the lunar poles  Asteroid colonization Colonization of the asteroid belt – either in or on the asteroids  OLC-type colony Free-floating colony at Lagrange points 4 or 5  Mars colony Colonization and terraforming of Mars


6 Lunar Colony:  Scientifically valuable  Industrially valuable  H 3 present  Close proximity to Terra  Low gravity may have anatomically deleterious effects  Lack of available water  No atmosphere or magnetosphere (heavy radiation hazard)  Abrasive regolith

7 Asteroid Colonization:  Effective zero gravity provides a favorable manufacturing and shipping environment  Ample space  Heavy concentrations of valuable materials  Far from the sun  High radiation  Lack of gravity necessitates new landing technology  Relatively small size of asteroids Eros, a NEO valued at approximately $16 trillion

8 OLC-type Colony:  Location at Lagrange points 4 or 5 means no energy is needed to maintain position  Mix of artificial and null gravity provides environments suitable to varied applications  Constant sunlight  Difficult to maintain an isolated system  Untested technology  Prohibitive costs  Little in-situ resource availability  Less potential for growth than some other colony types

9 Mars Colonization:  Possibility of terraforming  Available water  Temperatures less extreme than other colony types  Atmosphere (though thin)  Useful location for trade and further travel  Possible with current technology  Distant from Terra Psychologically challenging Communication hampered  Extremely expensive  Possibly damaging to extant life  Unprecedented NASA Design Reference Mission Architecture 5.0

10 Assessment of Benefits vs. Challenges:  Asteroids  The benefits of asteroid colonization do not justify the expense or risk. Though this sort of colony may be useful eventually for a massive settlement, it is, with current proposals, one of the least appealing options for the first human colony  Lunar  Heavy radiation, destructive regolith dust, extremely low temperatures, a 336 hour day/night cycle, and a lack of volatiles make a lunar base more valuably scientifically and industrially than as a location for a settlement

11 Assessment of Benefits vs. Challenges Continued:  OLC  Prohibitive costs, lack of on-site resources, and technological difficulties make L4 or 5 colonies unattractive as initial extraterrestrial colonies, however they may one day be an appealing option, particularly in light of a power trading scheme between the OLC and Terra.

12 Assessments of Challenges vs. Benefits Continued:  Mars  Mars colonization offers the highest long-term economic return considering the startup costs inherent to any extraterrestrial settlement program  A Mars colony could become self-sufficient or at least minimally reliant on Terran supplies, ameliorating some of the difficulties arising from the distance to Earth  A recent experiment simulated a manned mission to Mars (MARS-500) with all participants graduating in optimal physical and psychological condition  Psychological and technical obstacles due to distance and novel environments will prove challenging, however, the benefits and feasibility of a terraformed Martian colony (potential for massive economic growth, “nourishment of the human spirit”, technological boon) justify the costs  Mars’ surface area is equal to that of Earth

13 Vision of a Mars Colony:  Unmanned missions will stock the planet with supplies, construction vehicles, and pre-fabricated shelters as well as landing “super-greenhouse gas” factories  A human contingent arrives on Mars; extensive construction begins and a crop is sown. Mining operations begin to harvest ice and sub-surface minerals  With direct human guidance terraforming begins in earnest

14 Terraforming: the Key to a Habitable Mars:  Terraforming (literally, "Earth-shaping") of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to those of Earth, in order to make it habitable by terrestrial organisms (Wikipedia contributors, 2011)  “Super-greenhouse” gasses, space mirrors, carbon polar cover  Sublimation of the dry-ice polar cap and melting of the water cap  Positive feedback

15 Benefits of Terraforming:  Decreased solar radiation  Temperature rise (allowing liquid water)  Pressure increase  Increased O 2 concentration  Outdoor agriculture possible

16 Economics of Martian Settlement:  As a flexible, spacious, and resource-laden settlement, a Mars colony will be able to grow in ways unparalleled by alternative colonization proposals  Through expansion and technological refinement a settled Mars will become a highly profitable extraterrestrial colony, producing its own goods cheaply in.38g for trade as well as facilitating trade between Terra and the outer solar system  The economic return, dollar for dollar, is greatest for a Martian colony considering the potential for sustained growth free from Terrestrial input, as long as political ties are maintained

17 Feasibility and the Future:  At present, national space programs receive significantly less funding than in the past (the American Apollo program was funded with ~1% of American GDP)  An aggressive program and government commitment could see an American manned mission to Mars by 2020  Prohibitive startup costs make a Mars colony infeasible for the near future – however, technological advances in ongoing unmanned operations and privatization may eventually lead to lower costs

18 "Now that we are here," he went on, "it isn't enough to just hide under ten meters of soil and study the rock. That's science, yes, and needed science too. But science is more than that. Science is part of a larger human enterprise, and that enterprise includes going to the stars, adapting to other planets, adapting them to us. Science is creation. The lack of life here, and the lack of any finding in fifty years of the SETI program, indicates that life is rare, and intelligent life even rarer. And yet the whole meaning of the universe, its beauty, is contained in the consciousness of intelligent life. We are the consciousness of the universe, and our job is to spread that around, to go look at things, to live everywhere we can. It's too dangerous to keep the consciousness of the universe on only one planet, it could be wiped out. And so now we're on two, three if you count the moon. And we can change this one to make it safer to live on. Changing it won't destroy it. Reading its past might get harder, but the beauty of it won't go away. If there are lakes, or forests, or glaciers, how does that diminish Mars's beauty? I don't think it does. I think it only enhances it. It adds life, the most beautiful system of all. But nothing life can do will bring Tharsis down, or fill Marineris. Mars will always remain Mars, different from Earth, colder and wilder. But it can be Mars and ours at the same time. And it will be. There is this about the human mind; if it can be done, it will be done. We can transform Mars and build it like you would build a cathedral, as a monument to humanity and the universe both. -Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson

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