Thursday, January 17, 2008

Colonizing Planets

I think we (as in you and me) need to start thinking about what planets we are going to colonize. Mars is always the popular choice, but I think there area a lot of better choices. First off the moon. The moon is great because it's so close, and it's tide locked to Earth. That's the only real benefits it has though. It has almost no resources and no atmosphere. So everything we need will need to be taken there. Thus we first need either a space elevator or a launch loop (get working on that), or some way to get stuff into orbit for cheap. Then we can build solar collectors on the light side, and telescopes on the dark side. The great thing about telescopes on the dark side is that they will have no light or interference from Earth, and being on a body, with people living on it, it would be easy to service.

Next up Mercury. A lot of people doubt living on Mercury, something about 'surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead' or some such nonsense. Well I'm not made of lead, so why would I worry about that? The poles though are much colder, and some think that some craters at the pole could actually be cold enough for (water) ice. Plus the days are like 180 days long and thus you could spend a few months on the shaded side exploring or whatever while it is cold. The benefits of Mercury are that it has tons of solar energy (6.5 times the power Earth gets outside the atmosphere), it's surface contains valuable resources, including He-3, and iron.

Moving on we can hit up Venus. Venus is an interesting planet, as it has the exact opposite problem of all the other inner planets, too much atmosphere. I think Venus is actually probably the best confident for colonization, with the possible exemption of the Moon (or maybe this Earth place I keep hearing about). You could start with the atmosphere, build floating habitats, that would let you take advantage of a good temperature and pressure. The solar power is 1.9 times Earth, plus the clouds reflect it back up, so you can have them double sided. The atmosphere is made up of mostly poison, but at least it's an abundant amount of something. Granted we won't be breathing the atmosphere, but as long as we build durable structures we can use the stuff as fuels for something.

The other thing is that terraforming Venus actually could happen. It's closest to Earth in size, and distance from sun. Plus it already has the atmosphere, we just need to strip the excess, which is easier than creating an atmosphere out of nothing. If we could just cool down the planet some, it would be a positive feed back loop that would further cool down the planet, and then we use plants to turn the CO2 to O2 (get working on this, too).

A side note here. I just got back from lunch and it's snowing hard. I really look forward to hiking in the snow. Mainly in actual snow coming down, not really just the snow on the ground. Hopefully we'll get the chance (if this weather control device you are tasked to build [as of now] ever gets completed I guess we will).

Now we can move on to the outer solar system. The outer solar system is much farther, so longer travel times, can't use solar power, and colder. The benefits are that you have a lot more options, both the planets and the 800 moons. A lot of the moons have valuable resources, some have liquid water.

I've lost interest in this topic since lunch, so we'll see if anything else pops into my mind.

Well, nothing.

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