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Thread: Space habs, and the livin' ain't easy

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    Space habs, and the livin' ain't easy

    This topic keeps coming up in other threads so I thought I'd just make a place for it.

    So, we're talking space colonization.* Building our own worlds, in other words, whether they be planetary/lunar, asteroid, or orbital habitats. And the problems of living in them.

    Here's my 2 cents:

    No one I know has ever claimed that survival, let alone raising a family, would be easy in space. It won't. It's a harsh, inhospitable environment. Settling there will not be suited to most people. There's a reason we chose our "best and brightest" to be the first astronauts, and that's because we had to. Likewise, a space based home will not be for Joe Average and his sloppy halfway measures. Space is just too demanding to let that guy live.

    People will die, whole colonies will likely die, that's just how it has to happen.

    Maintaining a space habitat's systems, including its biological ecosystem components, will be everyone's job, superseding all other jobs. Taking care of the life support and all its attendant subsystems like power and heat, will always be the paramount priority. Anything less is disastrous.

    A couple of corollaries: First, that means redundancy, redundancy, redundancy. "Two is one and one is none". There will need to be autonomous compartments, each with enough reserves to be capable of supporting (long term) refugees from other compartments too. Overbuild everything. Multiple biospheres whenever possible. The design philosophies will have to be "never enough" and "failure is not an option, it's inevitable so plan for it".

    In the same vein, nothing lasts forever so there will need to be multiple human communities in space if we ever want a permanent presence there.

    And lots and lots of evacuation shuttles to offload people to these other habitats in the event of a catastrophe. Easier with many moderately sized space habitats over huge city-sized structures usually illustrated in those glossy pictures. How fast can you fully evacuate (pun) the population of an O'Neill Cylinder?

    The second corollary is, society will be shaped around this same issue. Individualism is going to be strictly limited, as all space habitats will be essentially large spacecraft in their own right. Run like a military craft under wartime rules. And the Damage Control officer can override even the captain to keep things ship shape.

    Expect constant emergency training drills for all residents. And probably a strict hierarchy of command with assigned roles from childhood. Space is always trying to kill you, so you have to act like you're under siege, always.

    Note that there are humans on this planet who live and thrive in hostile environments. But their mentality usually develops into a very different set of assumptions than someone who grows up in an easy place. Don't look for a big emphasis on individual freedoms, but on collective responsibility.

    Note also, we life with life-threatening circumstances every day. Look at traffic fatality numbers and tell me if driving to work is an acceptable risk. Yes, space is dangerous, but that's kind of the point; if we can learn to live in such an environment and build our own "land", we'll be able to exist practically anywhere and grow beyond our world's limits. No wonder it's the "final frontier".

    Discuss.




    *Not political "colonization" with all its social baggage. The term colonization here is derived from biological cultures.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I do not understand why so many are so keen on living in, as opposed to visiting, space. It is not merely inhospitable, it is impossible to live there without artificial air. Humans will be limited to closed buildings and space suits. Sure it’s an experience, experience is good. Science is interesting, we want to explore. We might even want to exploit, to mine. Mining is one of the oldest skills we have and it is usually unpleasant and life shortening, yet essential to what we call progress.

    This is a romantic notion based on science fiction. I cannot say never, but right now the idea of space colonies is a huge waste of resources in every sense of the word. And I support the allocation of resources to science and engineering. Send robots. Build telescopes, expand knowledge. But colonies? Just another way to die at other peoples’ expense.

    Signed Eyeore, with a deflated balloon in a jar.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I do not understand why so many are so keen on living in, as opposed to visiting, space. It is not merely inhospitable, it is impossible to live there without artificial air. Humans will be limited to closed buildings and space suits. Sure it’s an experience, experience is good. Science is interesting, we want to explore. We might even want to exploit, to mine. Mining is one of the oldest skills we have and it is usually unpleasant and life shortening, yet essential to what we call progress.

    This is a romantic notion based on science fiction. I cannot say never, but right now the idea of space colonies is a huge waste of resources in every sense of the word. And I support the allocation of resources to science and engineering. Send robots. Build telescopes, expand knowledge. But colonies? Just another way to die at other peoples’ expense.

    Signed Eyeore, with a deflated balloon in a jar.
    "Not because it is easy, but because it is hard."

    Just because you don't understand someone else's motivations doesn't mean that those motivations are not valid, or will not lead to results. You can, as most of humanity will, stay here. But plenty of people have multiple reasons to go off Earth to live in space. You don't have to approve.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    "Not because it is easy, but because it is hard."

    Just because you don't understand someone else's motivations doesn't mean that those motivations are not valid, or will not lead to results. You can, as most of humanity will, stay here. But plenty of people have multiple reasons to go off Earth to live in space. You don't have to approve.
    True, but people like me have to pay. Indeed I do not understand the “multiple reasons” motivation. You can add that to a whole list of things other people seem to want, and I do not understand. But can you see any way any space colony can pay for itself, and I mean , like, this century? Next century ? It does come down to who pays in the end.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    True, but people like me have to pay. Indeed I do not understand the “multiple reasons” motivation. You can add that to a whole list of things other people seem to want, and I do not understand. But can you see any way any space colony can pay for itself, and I mean , like, this century? Next century ? It does come down to who pays in the end.
    Looking for a profit motive in space colonization is like looking at Apollo and saying "How much did the Moon rocks sell for?" You pay for a lot of things that don't benefit you personally. And other people pay for things that benefit you but not them. That's civilization.

    The bulk of the cost of building cities in space will not be borne by the planet-bound; the initial investments, yes, those will have to come from Earth. But the energy and resources can't be all lifted out of a deep gravity well even at the cheapest launch costs. Full colonization cannot happen until and unless a largely space-based industrial infrastructure is built, one which can be used for much more than building large habitats for colonists. One which would be a money-making venture in its own right.

    A space colony is not a business. And approaching it as one is based on, as you say, not understanding the motives of would-be colonists. While there are many different ideals behind it, they all want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

    In my opinion colonization will be the result of industry in space, not the driver of it, Elon Musk notwithstanding. It's too big and too idealistic to be the work of the current economy and attitudes. Bootstrapping of automated or remote-operated industrial machines in space is a goal that multiple entities are already working on, such as NASA, DARPA, and other Alphabet Soup agencies in the US, and other countries.

    It's a common fallacy to attribute the goal of off-planet civilization as "science fiction". It's also dismissive and inaccurate. You disparage what you don't understand. Real scientists and hard-headed engineers are working and have worked on the numbers and designs for space habitats, so please do not "science fiction" them, at least.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I didn't mean to imply that full scale colonies the size of cities would be an early step. They'd have to be a late-stage development, reached by stepping stones of smaller less permanent habitats. We don't yet even have a space station with rotational pseudo-gravity, or a closed ecological cycle. The former requires going into orbit to build, and considerable engineering to design, but making closed biospheres is something we can practice on Earth, today. It's being researched now on a small scale, but I believe there's not enough emphasis on it. Closed biological life support cycles would benefit not only colonization efforts in the long run, but any long term human space presence such as interplanetary travel. In fact, it would be absolutely necessary for any BEO human activity.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    If space colonies get a majority vote, I will accept as a democrat. (Small d) You do note that I see colonies as quite different from the challenges of exploration and science. Society does pay quite a lot for that, huge colliders, Mars and Venus probes. You don’t even need technology spin off to convince me we need science across the huge spectrum of science.

    As a sceptic, I do see the invisible hand of military strategy behind this enthousiasm for space colonies. I have experience of how wide the horizon is for technology that might be “useful” . But again, this is not the place to discuss that.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    You do note that I see colonies as quite different from the challenges of exploration and science.
    They are different.

    As for your other "theories", you believe as you want to believe, but I've never been associated with the Military-Industrial Complex and I'm a fan of the concept. So if you're wrong about my motives then you're probably wrong about the motives of other people, too.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I do not understand why so many are so keen on living in, as opposed to visiting, space.
    Yes, Iíve noticed that. Iíve long wanted to live in space and I was a member of the L5 society, though I would be happy with a world based habitat too. I donít really care if you understand why.

    This is a romantic notion based on science fiction.
    Okay? Much of the life Iíve experienced was science fiction when I was young. Whatís a little more?

    I cannot say never, but right now the idea of space colonies is a huge waste of resources in every sense of the word.
    I disagree. The real issue, I think, is if Starship or something similar is a success. That would lead to a dramatic increase to people in space with the new opportunities. Space stations will grow, lunar, asteroid and Mars habitats will grow, eventually leading to serious habitats on and off other worlds.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    As a sceptic, I do see the invisible hand of military strategy behind this enthousiasm for space colonies. I have experience of how wide the horizon is for technology that might be ďusefulĒ . But again, this is not the place to discuss that.
    Weird. In the very long run, I expect there will be a military presence when civilization expands into space, but it has never had anything to do with my enthusiasm for space colonies. I have no idea what it would have to do with military strategy. Usually, when someone mentions military with respect to space, they tend to forget how big space is. Near earth orbit spy satellites are one thing, but move out to deep space, and there is little reason for a military presence.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    True, but people like me have to pay.
    This is nothing new though. Being adverse to the financial risk of frontier ventures is normal. On an individual level it makes sense. On a societal level I don't think it does because in the long run opening up new frontiers almost always ends up being a benefit, eventually. I don't see any reason for space to be different, except maybe in time scale. But you can't get away from the reality that many individuals along the way will lose, ranging from money to their lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    But you can't get away from the reality that many individuals along the way will lose, ranging from money to their lives.
    True. Space is, and always will be, hazardous. It's not for everyone, as I said.

    People who go into space to stay will be those who see it as an acceptable risk.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    It's been suggested that since anyone may prove inviable as a colonist and need to be sent away, there should only be round trip tickets sold to reach a habitat. That way their potential exile is already pre-paid. Otherwise your hab gets a lot of poor space bums clogging up your life support.

    Any money that does not pay for a return trip in your lifetime could go toward paying one's oxygen bill...
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    True. Space is, and always will be, hazardous. It's not for everyone, as I said.

    People who go into space to stay will be those who see it as an acceptable risk.
    Hi Noclevername,

    Why always?

    In my opinion, as the science, technology and engineering advance, travel to, from and through space will become increasingly safe and comfortable. With that in mind, I think space will be suitable for all.

    As to conformity and drills and sending the best (whatever that is), easy access to safe space will obviate all that.

    Cheers,

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Hi Noclevername,

    Why always?

    In my opinion, as the science, technology and engineering advance, travel to, from and through space will become increasingly safe and comfortable. With that in mind, I think space will be suitable for all.

    As to conformity and drills and sending the best (whatever that is), easy access to safe space will obviate all that.

    Cheers,
    It will probably get more comfortable and relatively safer to travel in space. It won't ever be safe to do so.

    It will always be a vacuum, it will always be full of radiation, objects in orbits move at speeds that make a bullet weep with envy, and human habitats will always need to be maintained to the high standards that keep their residents alive.

    Maybe post-biological beings made of adaptive nanotech could exist without such care, but us squishy biologicals are fragile, and only suited to Earthlike conditions. We need air, water, food, all of sufficient quality to sustain us. In an artificially maintained environment that means work, and lots of it. Anyone who sits on their butt without contributing is a drag on limited resources.

    We have it easy on this planet. We have the luxury of being careless. That's not going to be the case when fresh air is not a guarantee and every aspect of life depends on many machines working properly all day, every day.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    It will probably get more comfortable and relatively safer to travel in space. It won't ever be safe to do so.

    It will always be a vacuum, it will always be full of radiation, objects in orbits move at speeds that make a bullet weep with envy, and human habitats will always need to be maintained to the high standards that keep their residents alive.

    Maybe post-biological beings made of adaptive nanotech could exist without such care, but us squishy biologicals are fragile, and only suited to Earthlike conditions. We need air, water, food, all of sufficient quality to sustain us. In an artificially maintained environment that means work, and lots of it. Anyone who sits on their butt without contributing is a drag on limited resources.

    We have it easy on this planet. We have the luxury of being careless. That's not going to be the case when fresh air is not a guarantee and every aspect of life depends on many machines working properly all day, every day.
    I have no sense of a dark future ŗ la 'The Expanse'.

    Space living will be safe period and easy as it will rely on a suite of self maintaining autonomous technologies exploiting material and energy resources and building and maintaining habitable facilities.
    The reason we will be there is because Earth's resources pale compared to Space's. There will be no scarcity.

    The notion that people will be required to fix this or that or adjust the exterior antenna makes no sense to me. The robots will do that, and better. Otherwise, space would be dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    It's been suggested that since anyone may prove inviable as a colonist and need to be sent away, there should only be round trip tickets sold to reach a habitat. That way their potential exile is already pre-paid. Otherwise your hab gets a lot of poor space bums clogging up your life support.

    Any money that does not pay for a return trip in your lifetime could go toward paying one's oxygen bill...
    Wow, and there was I thinking you were an advocate! Now you envisage a dystopian society up there that rejects people and sends them back! I had not reached that level. What’s that paradox? Oh yes, I don’t want to be a member of any club that accepts me., was that Groucho?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Wow, and there was I thinking you were an advocate! Now you envisage a dystopian society up there that rejects people and sends them back! I had not reached that level. What’s that paradox? Oh yes, I don’t want to be a member of any club that accepts me., was that Groucho?
    I am not here for you to analyze. Don't get personal.

    Would-be colonists have to be responsible, they would be judged on their actions. Joining a space community is not like just moving to a town. It's literally joining the crew of a spacecraft. Would you keep a sailor at sea who doesn't do their job? No, they'd have to be put ashore for the good of the boat. Same principle; if someone's no carrying out their responsibilities to the community, they are not pulling their weight (mass).

    It's going to take a very different attitude and social organization than we're used to in our cushy lives. As I said, we have a lot of leeway here on Earth. We can afford to slack off occasionally. Space is not that forgiving.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Anyway. The first long term habitat structures will be scientific... and, no doubt, the next stage will be company towns. Like modern oil rigs, or deep-sea fishing boats. Studying those closed societies should give us a great deal of insight into what kinds of cultures and relationships will develop in the early days of opening up space.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Looking for a profit motive in space colonization is like looking at Apollo and saying "How much did the Moon rocks sell for?" You pay for a lot of things that don't benefit you personally. And other people pay for things that benefit you but not them. That's civilization.
    I kind of agree with Profloater about colonies, and I agree that there are things I donít benefit from personally that I pay for. But then again, I reserve the right to express opinions about them, both through voting and on public forums.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    This is nothing new though. Being adverse to the financial risk of frontier ventures is normal. On an individual level it makes sense. On a societal level I don't think it does because in the long run opening up new frontiers almost always ends up being a benefit, eventually. I don't see any reason for space to be different, except maybe in time scale. But you can't get away from the reality that many individuals along the way will lose, ranging from money to their lives.
    What other frontiers were you thinking about when you mentioned opening up frontiers. Because I might argue that they are different?


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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    I have no sense of a dark future ŗ la 'The Expanse'.

    Space living will be safe period and easy as it will rely on a suite of self maintaining autonomous technologies exploiting material and energy resources and building and maintaining habitable facilities.
    The reason we will be there is because Earth's resources pale compared to Space's. There will be no scarcity.

    The notion that people will be required to fix this or that or adjust the exterior antenna makes no sense to me. The robots will do that, and better. Otherwise, space would be dangerous.
    I just don't see that as going to space, that's just the couch someplace else.

    I have positively perverse sense of risk assessment, so I'll understand if you don't agree. Give me jankie technology and duct tape over assurances that the systems will just take care of themself. That promotes complacency and breeds disaster. One of my least endearing traits is a profound lack of fear. Trust me, there is no greater liability than the lack of fear.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I am not here for you to analyze. Don't get personal.

    .
    I did not mean anything personal, I was responding to the words you used. I agree with your assessment of space living. Which is why I express my view that colonies are the step too far for our investment in knowledge.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Thanks NocleverName for starting an interesting thread which has attracted such a response already.

    My initial thought about the possibility of long-term multi-generational space habitats evolving to new colonies is: "uncertainty".

    There are so many layers of uncertainty about such developments that it's more in the realm of speculation than developing evidence of future progress.

    To be clear, there is value in developing speculative visions of the future (even sometimes bordering on fantasies or stepping over into science fiction). If we try and envisage transforming from a multi-planet species to a multi-stellar species (in the far far away future) then, at some point, we will almost certainly need to develop - or evolve into - the capacity to survive on multi-decade journeys and so live in such space colonies. So some of the human issues you raise about how such a colony could survive threats etc are really interesting.

    I agree - space is hard, however effectively we can over time achieve transformative innovation in technical solutions/robotics etc

    At the same time we could come to the issue from the other end. What have we learned already about living in space (ISS etc), what is likely to happen next (once reusable rocket launch costs plummet which could be soon) and how could that develop further?

    Maybe the initial part of that is covered in the 'Post -International Space Station?' thread. I recently posted in that thread what I could find out about plans for space habitats in the pipeline - and was frustrated about how little re concrete plans seemed to be out there. There seems to be more on the speculative side than hard evidence at the moment.

    Maybe even more interesting though is the gap between on the one hand 'how what happens next could develop further' on space habitats and on the other hand, this thread (about eventual establishment of settled long-term habitats).

    It all depends on how the space economy emerges over the next few to several decades.

    The initial focus, as others have suggested, will be on putting people into space for particular purposes, such as science, products research, manufacturing, leisure (space hotels etc), or mining. But how and why would this activity then evolve into long-term and established space habitats?

    I will post further as I develop ideas about the longer term scenarios for drivers of demand for space activity.

    All interesting stuff though, which has stimulated a fascinating discussion already...

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    Well as DavidLondon says, the timescale is important. Human civilisation since the ice age, what, 5000 years or so, could have future problems with this planet. Perhaps another ice age or the sun gets too hot. So in another 5000 years this question could come up and Mars, being further out, might look interesting. Space technology is less than 100 years old and realistic human modification less than a decade.

    So I repeat no need to say never, but right now colonisation of space is just too expensive for this planet with no return in sight.

    Mining comes up, and that seems a contender for the moon or asteroids or Mars indeed. Engineers will have to compare deep sea mining along the tectonic plate boundaries with robot missions. The launch costs are not plummeting, they are getting lower than before. Similarly robot mining subsea is expensive today but could easily get cheaper with more development. I don’ t try to predict the winner, probably both are interesting, but I do not imagine anyone trying to make a mining colony in either place. We already have the basic technology for robot mining supervised from a comfy office here.

    There’s mining and there’s communication. Space is relevant. There is also military competition unfortunately. But no commercially viable excuse for a colony.

    We have proto colonies for example on Antarctica, a bleak place but balmy compared to the moon or Mars. People go there mainly for science, and there is tourism which is commercially viable. Why not drum up enthusiasm for a few hundred people to go live there and make a colony supported by air drops? Many could afford that, I guess. But having visited Antarctica, it’s a great experience but I have no interest in living there for the rest of my life.

    OK I know I am being negative, but this is an important debate because a lot of money is being spent with colonisation as a stated objective. And a lot on new generations of nuclear weapons too. Maybe the enthusiasts hope to escape the consequences of those?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post

    ...We have proto colonies for example on Antarctica, a bleak place but balmy compared to the moon or Mars. People go there mainly for science, and there is tourism which is commercially viable. Why not drum up enthusiasm for a few hundred people to go live there and make a colony supported by air drops? Many could afford that, I guess. But having visited Antarctica, itís a great experience but I have no interest in living there for the rest of my life. ..
    I was thinking about a comparison with Antarctica as well. As I understand it, researchers visit and occupy their station when it warms up in southern hemisphere summer. But the minute it gets difficult they leave until it gets warmer and brighter again.

    What would be the driver to persuade people set up a permanent colony there? We may be able to learn something from that about the drivers for space habitat colonisation.

    What sort of pattern could develop on the moon post Artemis? Or even mars? I could see a situation where there is usually - and then permanently - some people on both (though for mars that could take a while). But what developments would need to occur for people to decide to set up a more permanent presence?

    I suppose it may be that the very remoteness of Mars and the two year launch window could be a factor in trying to establish the (massive) infrastructure needed to enable permanent settlement. You can travel back from the moon very quickly if you have eg a sudden health problem or essential equipment failure. But you may have to wait over a year and then spend months travelling to get back from Mars. It goes back to Noclevername's original point about risks and evacuation procedures etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    We have proto colonies for example on Antarctica, a bleak place but balmy compared to the moon or Mars. People go there mainly for science, and there is tourism which is commercially viable. Why not drum up enthusiasm for a few hundred people to go live there and make a colony supported by air drops? Many could afford that, I guess. But having visited Antarctica, it’s a great experience but I have no interest in living there for the rest of my life.
    We do have people living there. This was discussed in another tread.
    I am because we are
    (African saying)

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    There are people who choose difficult conditions and who choose isolation. Often they enjoy being self sufficient and off the grid. That is part of the normal human range. Elon Musk, who cannot be ignored, has said he would like to die on Mars, preferably not on impact, if I quote correctly. He of all people has demonstrated how serious he is about getting there and forming a colony. While I do not understand that ambition, I recognise many might share his dream. Maybe the moon will come first, maybe the far side. That’s pretty isolated from Earth.

    But leaving out science, what does a colony do? And why would others pay to keep it going? Like a hermit, a colony busies itself on survival and structure.

    So what are these drives? Privacy? Self discovery? Winning a bet? Defending a new frontier? Getting rich? Getting paid? Fame? Fed up with Earth? OK no need to explain if no commitment from others is required.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    We do have people living there. This was discussed in another tread.
    Interesting. So there may be lessons to be learned from Antarctica for space.

    Wikipedia on Colonization of Antarctica states:

    ...Currently, the continent hosts only a temporary transient population of scientists and support staff. Antarctica is the only continent on Earth without indigenous human inhabitants, despite its proximity to Argentina and Chile at the Antarctic Peninsula.

    At present scientists and staff from 30 countries live on about 70 bases (40 year-round and 30 summer-only), with an approximate population of 4,000 in summer and 1,000 in winter. There have been at least eleven human births in Antarctica, starting with one in 1978 at an Argentine base, with seven more at that base and three at a Chilean base...
    So I suspect we are not exactly talking about a bustling new colony. Apparently the 1000 present in winter are mostly on one year assignments.

    Interesting to read that a common idea in the 1950s was to have Antarctic cities enclosed under a glass dome. But it came to nothing it seems. The article goes on to suggest "Antractica is too harsh for permanent human settlement', though it is suggested that 'conditions may become better in the future'.

    Space is hard. But so is Antarctica it seems.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post

    Space is hard. But so is Antarctica it seems.
    One interesting thought, or something I've found interesting. There is another place that I know that would seem like a good place to colonize.
    -There is food available if you go out for it.
    -There is no bad radiation.
    -The temperature is relatively constant.
    -There is water and oxygen available from the environment.
    -There is a potential for mining.
    -If a person were to get sick, they could fairly easily be evacuated.
    -There is a chance (at least a chance) to escape if something goes wrong.

    And yet we have never colonized it (I'm talking about the ocean floor). Obviously the big problem is that load of water on top of anything you build there... But if it's in a shallow area, that can be dealt with (we have submarines, after all).

    It seems that, as in the case of the Antarctic, the only places were have colonized so far are places where you can survive without special equipment if necessary. The exception being many places where you can't survive outside in the winter, but of course we have long had fire to overcome that.
    As above, so below

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