Ross A. Finlayson wrote:
> The idea of space colonies is an interesting thing.
> In terms of food and biomass preservation, I think one thing will be algae
> tanks to grow biomass, and then conventional or nano-technology to produce
> edible food from that.
> Remember that for the few people that are on such a solar colony, they will
> have the entirety of Earth to back them up.
The point is to build a society that is self sufficient with sufficient resource base to develop a viable long term population in a terraformable environment. It is to provide a fallback population if the 'grey goo' scenario of nanotech causes worldwide catastrophe here on earth. Current research is showing that Mars could be terraformed to a livable open air environment in a century of work, and livable in open air with merely oxygen masks within just 20-30 years of concentrated work (giving a CO2 atmosphere at a density similar to Lhasa, Tibet). This is with NO nanotechnology.
Orbiting space colonies will always have at least a partial dependency on earth.
> The minimum limits of a gene pool for a self-sufficient and survivable
> anthropological structure is about more than one person.
Depends on what level of inbreeding you are willing to tolerate. Using one woman and hundreds or thousands of fertilized embryos would be a minimum acceptable gene pool, if that is all your are concerned about, but you will also need a good number of highly trained people from the start to oversee terraforming work. A Mars colony IMHO would be cheaper than an orbiting space colony, for the simple reason that Mars already provides all the working mass you need. An orbiting colony requires you to get your mass from somewhere else.
> One key issue about transport and transit will be the ability to place some of
> the passengers in a statis state, wherein they will not use life support
> resources but can be awaken upon arrival. This is a bit more focussed towards
> extra-solar travel, when the distances to be surmounted would require extended
> travel times.
> It has been shown that women are more suited for space travel in terms of
> resource consumption, among other things. In terms of the expert skills
> required that is not a gender issue.
Well, men still are superior in mathematical/spatial skills, and tend to produce far more genius intelligences. Women are superior for space travel only for one reason: they are less prone to get space sick. However it has been shown that propensity to space sickness is more a matter of the percent of body fat. Fat people are less likely to get space sick and women typically have 2 to 3 times higher body fat levels than men at a similar level of cardiovascular fitness.
> Unmanned space ships show that as our skills and abilities with robotics
> increases, we can use these "beasts of burden" of humanity to enable early
> development of Mars or other structures and land humans later, when they would
> be better able to survive in the already made and functioning habitat.
Of course, sending dumb robots to do the factory work of producing greenhouse gasses and digging heat tap shafts, as well as refining metals and chemicals for supplying a nascent Mars industrial base is necessary, but humans will be required for several purposes:a) maintaining the robots b) doing the big jobs of bringing in a couple comets a year for three or four years to drop on Mars at the north and south poles. c) oversee the nuclear plants that will be needed to produce heat. d) developing in greenhouses genetically engineered plant and animal species that can survive in a low pressure, high CO2 level, high radiation martian atmosphere.
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