Terraforming NOT! [was Re: SF book recommendations wanted...]

From: Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury@aeiveos.com)
Date: Thu Jun 01 2000 - 16:55:56 MDT

Various people wrote:

> > Terraforming Venus ?
> > Is Mars not a better option ?

>> I have often wondered about the ways in which to terraform Venus and if
>> it would be possible to do so with any of the other planets in our solar
>> system.

I'll simply comment that "terraforming" is an *obsolete* concept
in an era of nanotechnology. It is one of those memes that when
invented sounded like a really good idea and continues to exist because
of the romantic visions we have for the pioneer/explorer and freedom
from governments we find burdensome.

If you argue for terraforming, you have to justify the following --
"Lets Keep people confined to gravity wells, instead of giving
*every* single person a 'world ship'". Why? The usable mass in
the solar system is ~10^16 kg/person, or roughly the mass of
the asteroid Eros (~24 km diameter).

For those of you who are interested in this, you should read my
discussion of planetary dismantlement:

It has been revised a little from the version of 6-8 months ago.

The basic conclusions remain the same -- it takes very little time
to dismantle the planetary bodies of solar systems like ours (on the
order of 10's of years).

There are very few science fiction writers who have done the numbers
or at least begin to understand what nanotechnology allows. I'm
in the middle of Linda Nagata's "Vast", and she seems to come closer
than almost anyone else I've seen.


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