Space Colonization:
Making the Interstellar Journey

How will Humans make the Journey ?

The possibilities for how we as humans will make the interstellar journey depends on several factors and assumptions. Key driving factors in the design of our accommodations include the speed and distance we plan to travel (see Where and How). We will also assume for the remainder of this discussion that humans will not become extinct and that the drive to survive and explore will not be eliminated from of our nature in the near term.

Suspended Animation

Although a favorite technique in science fiction, today’s technology does not provide for the realistic possibility of suspending through cryonics or other means with a chance of resuscitation. There are many research efforts aimed at making this a possibility. Most of these efforts are focused on the terminally ill and promote the promise of revival at a time when the disease can be cured. Whatever the impetus for invention, space-farers may benefit from this technology if and when it becomes practical.

suspended animation and the future of human evolution

suspended animation and the future of human evolution

AI/Machine Enhablement

This will be our first method of interstellar human representation. In fact, it has already begun in some respects (Voyager 1 has left the solar system). Small ships can equipped with sensory arrays and probes that will relay data back to earth or some grand central station, intended to aid us in our decision on where to send living, breathing humans. In the future, humans may also make the journey as machines. Downloading/uploading human conscious into computers is a favorite them of science fiction authors and is being considered as a possible goal of AI.

Incubatorial Craft

Commonly known as Seed Ships. These are one step beyond the AI/Machine enabled craft in that they are unmanned vessels which host self-contained laboratories for conceiving, incubating, birthing, and rearing humans perhaps thousands of light years from sol. The theory is that AI would spend the tedious eons traveling from system to system searching for planets able to support human life (perhaps with genetic alterations required to live in the new found biosphere), and would then launch the planet-bound habitat capable of producing and supporting the genesis of a new human society. Such a ship would carry all of the knowledge and tools necessary to establish an advanced civilization. Significant genetic alterations required by each new environment may be considered by some as constituting a new race. Social interaction between the range of possible human forms is an interesting area of speculation that we would like to explore through essays and conjecture submitted by our readers.

Generational Ships

We favor the generational ship approach. The name is self explanatory. A ship that supports successive generations of humans on a journey between the stars. Our reason for supporting this method of travel is simply this: It’s not the destination that is important, it’s the journey. The idea that life or the business of living has to be associated with a nearby star or planet is, well, terrestrial . Aside from the fact that star systems may need to be visited from time-to-time for the collection of resources and may be the place to meet other species, interstellar distances are a perfectly fine place to raise a family…

Faster Than Light Travel

Although not a reality yet, fans of Star Trek and any number of other science fiction shows know well the concept of a “Warp Drive”, or a propulsion system that allows faster than light travel. This could make interstellar travel no more strenuous than a trip here in the solar system. Of course, as we know from the recent shuttle problems, the most dangerous prt of any flight may be earth to orbiting docking station or ship. Assuming for the moment however that the privatization of space yields a more effective and efficient means of getting to free space, there are a number of theoretical Faster-Than-Light (FTL) systems. These include:

Worm Hole transportation – Although Special Relativity forbids objects to move faster than light within spacetime, it is known that spacetime itself can be warped and distorted. It takes an enormous amount of matter or energy to create such distortions, but distortions are possible, theoretically. To use an analogy: even if there were a speed limit to how fast a pencil could move across a piece of paper, the motion or changes to the paper is a separate issue. In the case of the wormhole, a shortcut is made by warping space (folding the paper) to connect two points that used to be separated. These theories are too new to have either been discounted or proven viable. And, yes, wormholes do invite the old time travel paradox problems again.

Alcubierres “Warp Drive” – The principle of this theoretical drive is that we could expand space-time behind the ship and contract space time in front of the ship to beat the limitations on our ability to move through space. For example you might only be able to travel 90 KPH on a highway. But if you move the highway in the direction you want to go, you have essentially doubled your speed, relative to your destination.

Negative mass propulsion – It has been shown that is theoretically possible to create a continuously propulsive effect by the juxtaposition of negative and positive mass and that such a scheme does not violate conservation of momentum or energy. A crucial assumption to the success of this concept is that negative mass has negative inertia. Their combined interactions result in a sustained acceleration of both masses in the same direction. This concept dates back to at least 1957 with an analysis of the properties of hypothetical negative mass by Bondi, and has been revisited in the context of propulsion by Winterberg and Forward in the 1980s. Regarding the physics of negative mass, it is not known whether negative mass exists or if it is even theoretically allowed, but methods have been suggested to search for evidence of negative mass in the context of searching for astronomical evidence of wormholes.

Milliss hypothetical “Space Drives” – A “space drive” can be defined as an idealized form of propulsion where the fundamental properties of matter and space-time are used to create propulsive forces anywhere in space without having to carry and expel a reaction mass. Such an achievement would revolutionize space travel as it would circumvent the need for propellant. A variety of hypothetical space drives were created and analyzed by Millis to identify the specific problems that have to be solved to make such schemes plausible. Please note that these concepts are purely hypothetical constructs aimed to illustrate the remaining challenges. Before any of these space drives can become reality, a method must be discovered where a vehicle can create and control an external asymmetric force on itself without expelling a reaction mass and the method must satisfy conservation laws in the process.

 

Interstellar Space Colonization

space colonyI have been emboldened as of late to further press the agenda of Interstellar Colonization.

When Hollywood and the media powers that drive social consciousness, awareness, and attitudes decide to hop on the bandwagon, this site becomes no longer a cry in the dark or a whisper in the night with espousing the absolute necessity of our species to spread to other planets, which has been a formal core tenant of our creed since 1979.

The hindrance of progress toward this goal is dwarfed by the absolute failure of your government and mine to wisely invest in space exploration, instead spending trillions on archaic military shows of force (no longer relevant in today’s world) and scare tactics to keep us domicile to the egregious, internationally-recognized class warfare that unbridled capitalism has brought upon us.  It is a clear recognized fact that wealth, supported by the institutions and policies of a crooked government (YOUR Congressman and Senators, in the US, other titles meant to impress and intimidate in other lands) will continue to be centralized, making the rich richer and the average, middle class and poor, poorer.  All for the temporary comforts and excesses that bribery (illegal and legalized via political contributions) affords.

The system is broken.

Gates, who personally acknowledges his fortune is due to the “system,” is free to spend your money and mine on malaria band-aid vaccinations rather than invest at least some in space technologies that will not only allow unprecedented access to the riches of raw materials in space that could improve all our lives, but that will also mitigate the risks of human extinction created by our own hands. All driven by momentary greed and profits:

  • The global warming resulting from our oil economy and burned fossil fuels.
  • The continual pumping of ocean pollutants into the deep blue jewel of the universe.
  • The over-use of antibiotics that can only end in a losing human battle.
  • The stripping of our majestic natural rain forests.
  • The erosion of of our rich and fertile co2/oxygen conversion and food producing lands.

All because some people can’t get enough, and others don’t have enough. And profit, we’re lied to since birth, is the only way for us to get the stuff we want and need. Folks, there is plenty to go around. You and I have to right the wrong. It is time for a Seachange. It is time for progressive taxes at a minimum, and a complete overhaul of our political and economic policies and institutions.

It is time for worldwide governments to operate on a  100% visible basis (yes, hello reality show big brother, ever-present cameras)  that cause short-term one-term elected or appointed politicians, perhaps via a scientifically-based meritocracy, to make decisions that are for the betterment of ALL. Not personal gain, not a district, not a state, not a country, not a continent.

Even Romania is fucking its citizens. Lining military supplier pockets instead of  harvesting the riches of space for all mankind.

Click for Larger – Even Romania is robbing its citizens, as are they all. Lining military supplier pockets instead of harvesting the riches of space for all mankind.

Human Extinction: Risk Management

To reiterate the above, and to provide continuity with the original “Reasons for Interstellar Colonization” article some 12 years ago, the most obvious reason is that the earth’s existence is finite. It may very well be billions of years before the sun burns out or explodes, but it may only be months or years before a natural disaster such as an asteroid impact, or mega-volcano, or a biological agent makes spaceship earth uninhabitable by humans. Global warming is In-Our-Face. We must expand beyond one environment to decrease the likelihood that a single catastrophe will cause our extinction.

Adventure, Exploration, and Extraterrestrial Life

We will see wondrous sites. More unimaginable than the most gifted digital artist of today. In the course of our explorations we hope find evidence of other civilizations if not living members of those societies. The confirmed existence of extraterrestrial life developed independently of our own planet’s history will help to provide some additional perspective on fundamental questions like “why are we here?” If we discover that life is ubiquitous, our human-centric perspective will give way to a greater cosmic truth. If on the other hand we are able to confirm, after much exploration that we are indeed alone, that will perhaps have the greater impact.

Scientific and Technological Advancement

Every major scientific initiative results in the need for new, never-before existing tools, machines, techniques, and processes. Entire new technologies can be born, or revolutionary and radical new ways of performing, creating, or manufacturing materials and components and their functions can be invented.

Oft times such new breakthroughs are ‘spin-offs’ – i.e. a new manufacturing technique for space modules finds itself on the surgeon’s table in full spinal column replacement.

New Social and Political Freedoms

In a reality of abundant worlds and inexpensive transport between them, entire worlds or continent-sized colonies on them may subscribe to particular sets of social, political, religious, economic, or other doctrine. Nay-sayers and the rebellious have to but leave toward the colony or world that is of like mind.

Perhaps the only universally-enforced standard across the colonized worlds would be the sanctity of freedom – the ability to choose.  Even if one’s only choice is to leave behind a world that offers no perceived alternatives. An appeals process involving a multi-colony panel and available to those sentenced to severe punishments and/or death may also seem reasonable as an arbitrator of justice and human rights.

Economics

However idealistic and valid these other reasons for space exploration are, it may be simple economics that ultimately provides the impetus for our serious, sustained effort at living in extraterrestrial environments. Space is literally the largest store of natural resources in the universe. And it remains COMPLETELY untapped.