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Kelario

Space colonization and asteroid mining

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Two huge issues right now (among people who want humanity to survive longer than a billion more years) are the colonization of Mars, simply for overflow, and of the mining of asteroids to appease the environmentalists so we don't run out of earth material.

 

This thread will discuss both at once because space colonization and space mining are easily interconnected.

 

I have three life goals: 1) get married, 2) get a German Ph.D., and 3) be the main force behind spreading quickly and easily throughout the solar system and then on to Barnard's Star. Here's what I envision:

 

 

Asteroid mining technique: Use gravity to pull the asteroid toward an inhabited planet, then land it like a 2010s space shuttle. This way, it remains intact, and when it is located, its material can be hauled right off to wherever.

 

Timeline:

 

-Mars One mission, estimated date 2020. Humanity builds a bunch of simple greenhouses all over Mars, whose only condition is that water be liquid. Trees can then be planted in them. When the trees are sufficiently large and are making good amounts of oxygen, the roofs of the greenhouses can be bashed in and the trees can flood breathable O2 over the planet. From this, Mars can be terraformed.  (By the way, Mars actually has Alaskan-winter temperatures and would be easily habitable if it wasn't just carbon dioxide.)

 

-2025. A bunch more humans on Mars now, they build mining bases and launch pads. Spacecraft are built to crash (hereupon "harvest") Phobos and Deimos on Mars.

 

-2035. Human habitats are by now on Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. Juno and Vesta serve only as refueling stops for shuttles. Ceres and Pallas also serve this purpose, but are also bases for mining craft working the asteroid belt. Asteroids here would originally be harvested exclusively at Mars. Also, Venus is designated a truce zone exclusively for international nuclear testing, in case they are ever needed.

 

-2040. Regular, run-of-the-mill colonies on Jupiter I and Jupiter II (the latter also possessing a biological base) and a mining base on Jupiter III. Shuttles from the asteroid belt travel to the former two. Asteroid transport craft travel to the latter or to Mars, depending on whether materials are needed in the outer or inner solar system, respectively. Non-Galilean moons, microscopic compared to the Galileans, begin being harvested at Jupiter III. As an afterthought, Jupiter IV is entirely dedicated to housing people serving a life sentence. (Sorted not by numerical designation but in descending order by likelihood of colonies falling in when the water on these moons melts in a billion years.)

 

-2050. Petrol and plastic production facilities on Saturn VI bolstering the economy of its permanent residents. A biological base on Saturn VIII and multiple on Saturn II. Rings and tiny moons of Saturn harvested at Saturn IV.

 

-2065. Flying habitats built on Uranus, which becomes a haven for recreational aviation. Mental health facility on Uranus V and a commercial spacecraft hub on Uranus IV (specialized planes similar to the X-15 would fly things between the planet and moons). Said spacecraft hub's first spacecraft movement carries researchers and their families en route to Sedna, to arrive when it reaches perihelion in 2076.

 

-2076. Colonies and long-range spacecraft base built on Neptune VIII. Such base sends probe traveling at high speed in the general direction of Barnard's Star. / Researchers and families arrive at Sedna, not to be seen or heard from again until the 14th millennium.

 

-14th millennium. Researchers' descendants have evolved separately from core solar system mankind, and they will probably consider each other dangerous aliens.

 

 

 

What are your guys' thoughts?

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All i know is that at first we would have to significantly thicken mars atmosphere with greenhouse gases as at this point in its life the atmosphere is barely there. The radiation levels from the suns rays are to high for anything to live there for any extended period of time but then once the atmosphere was thick enough (which in turn heats up mars enough for things like trees) then you would start worrying about the production of oxygen.

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Asteroid mining by pulling it into gravity well and then crashing? 

More like atmosphere poisoning and commercialized WMD 

 

Orbital refineries would be a better bet, imo 

 

I also would not call -40 to -90 centigrade "alaskan"  temperatures. 

More like polar temperatures. 

Edited by LunarWave

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Two huge issues right now (among people who want humanity to survive longer than a billion more years) are the colonization of Mars, simply for overflow, and of the mining of asteroids to appease the environmentalists so we don't run out of earth material.

 

Hmm...    Well we got about 1-5 billion years to get our of our solar system before Our sun eats us all.  So... no rush? 

 

As for mining of asteroids.  I'm sure once we start doing that the enviormentalist will complain that we are now destroying OTHER enviorments or just adding more junk to our planet.

 

We are progressing fast but we are also atleast a couple generations away from anything really usefull.

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According to the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, the current plans are far more modest in scope not as much due to budgetary restraints (although that is a significant factor) but caution in approaching the very real dangers of human space exploration, and taking the logistical challenges to be met one step at a time.

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Optimistic appraisals put a human surface-landing-and-return mission on Mars at some time in the mid-2030s, a mission which would take about 2.5 years from start to finish. I hate to bust your bubble, but ever since Apollo 1, basically every space program has been much less gung-ho about their mission schedules.

 

Moreover, industrializing space would be an enterprise that is probably far outside the making within our lifetimes since Space Law at current forbids private ownership of celestial bodies or territory in space, and such rights and laws would be absolutely necessary for prospecting and mining.

Edited by Blue
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Crashing asteroids onto the planet surface is going to have severe negative effects. The metals alone pose strong threats to health. When meteorites crash here on Earth NASA and other Space Agencies have special plans in place to quarantine the area before they can be removed and studied. Apart from that I admit I'm not well versed in knowing what exactly asteroid mining entails but I know it is an important tenant in many science fiction works. Colonization I take more of an interest in. I think that the moon is a more practical start. We need to work out the difficulties with the Martian atmosphere before we can begin to think about colonization. I think those problems will work themselves out over time as Terraforming efforts on Mars become more and more real. We do currently posses the technology to reach Mars in manned spacecraft but that trip could be cut shorter if we had a stable lunar colony first. When the moon and Mars are in perfect alignment the trip is at its shortest. The lessons learned on the moon will set the stage for Mars which will be a herculean task.

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Personally I think by around 2300 maybe 2500 we'll be cracking entire planets for resources....
Its entirely possible to do and results in massive amounts of resources...

Edited by Dawn Rider

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I have a feeling that once asteroids do collide into our planet, scientists are going to study their contents and see if the asteroids contain any resources that the scientists could analyze.

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If planets and other extraterrestrial bodies truly can be inhabited by human beings, then I'd encourage it and say that devoting your life to mankind's colonization of space is worthwhile. Perhaps we'll end up with a Cowboy Bebop-style solar system. Or Futurama, whatever.

 

I will say though, not to be discouraging, but: my prediction is that if humans attempt to make Mars habitable for human life (and other life), the plan will start out great, the atmosphere will be thickened and made breathable, the planet will warm and become similar to Earth, the Martian ice caps will melt and give us water, edible plants can be grown etc. and then when the first shuttle full of humans arrives on Mars to make the planet their new home, BAM! They all drop dead within seconds and the scientists behind the plan realize: "oh shit! We forgot about [X]". That would actually be pretty morbidly funny.

 

What can I say? The Anthropic Principle is a cruel, cruel mistress. Maybe the cruelest mistress of all. Be prepared to form contingency plans as if the future of the human race depended on it.

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 They all drop dead within seconds and the scientists behind the plan realize: "oh shit! We forgot about [X]". That would actually be pretty morbidly funny.

 

Every space organization on Earth aims to become as competent and experienced as the two which have the most of all: NASA, and Roscosmos (the successor of the OKB). Both of them have already had such experiences, and to both of them there was not a drop of humor in the instances. NASA's first great disaster was [as I mentoned], Apollo 1. The fatal fault was the slap-dash initial design of the Apollo capsule, combined with the pure oxygen environment. In a fuelless "plugs-out" comunication test, a fire occured inside the capsule. All three astronauts burned to death in less than 20 seconds, and there was nothing anyone could do except the people at mission control, 400 miles away, listen to them screaming in agony into their microphones. Russia's were Soyuz 1 and 11, both caused by mechanical problems which killed the crews (totaling 4). While all of their deaths were fast, the death of Vladimir Komarov (Soyuz 1) would've been the only one which was painless; he fell to his death due to the capsule's parachute failing, after completion of his mission.

 

Contingencies and redundancies are counted for down to the individual movements of pens and paper for astronauts, because, as the saying goes among rocketry professionals, "There's no problem so bad that you can't make it worse".

Edited by Blue

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