So, I ran into a problem regarding the aftermath of a colonial war for independence. What happens is the following: The scenario is this: late 24th Century, humans have colonised the Inner Solar System, the Belt, the Trojans, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Io and the Moons and rings of Saturn.

The colonists of Mars and the Outer Solar System are starting to culturally drift away from Earth, thanks to the advent of pantropy, (in the Outer Solar System) moderately available gene therapy and (on the Inner Solar System) widespread gene therapy and cybernetics and have various political disputes, especially considering the strengthening of UNAPA into a de facto military and law enforcement hand of the UN beyond Earth, and the decreased influence of the nations of Earth in their extraplanetary affairs (yes, Earth is still divided among nation-states). However, they cannot become independent without access to life's bottleneck: phosphorus. The key to maintaining the life support systems for these colonies. Earth has a monopoly over this, and these colonists attempt to find an alternate non-Earth derived source. They find it in the form of carboniferous asteroids (which are an actual thing), especially in Deimos and some Saturnian Moons in large quantities.

As a result: war breaks out, Mars' uprising is crushed but the Outer Solar System obtains sovereignty. However, the celebrations do not last for the Outer Solar System inhabitants as the colonists have no clear decision on what to do regarding the future of their new nations. So, civil war, anarchy and balkanisation occurs across large portions of the region, despite the rise of Titan, Europa and Ganymede a successful independent states.

So, as a result I wanted to ask: what implications could this course of events have across the Solar System realistically speaking, especially in the field of extraplanetary policy (basically foreign policy in other words)?

For background purposes, the pre-First Extraplanetary War situation is basically simple. The colonies on Mars are in the process of being terraformed, and Venus as well. The Moon has millions of inhabitants, while by comparison, the Belt and the Outer Solar System worlds are starting to become emerging economies prior to the conflict. And by "emerging" I refer to along the lines of modern-day China, or the Four Asian Tigers sort of "emerging". This is just an economic background. And Earth.....well, there is no unified government as previously mentioned, BUT there IS an organisation that maintains control over the pre-Independence era colonies and it is a UN Branch as previously mentioned, originally established as an organisation meant to regulate extraplanetary affairs between the superpowers on Earth and handle inter-colonial disputes, now a de facto military and law enforcement force beyond Earth. The UN Authority on Planetary Affairs or UNAPA, for short. This UN branch is supposed to be controlling the efforts of Earth's nations to maintain a degree of stability and order across the pre-War colonies. So, yes. :P

NOTE: This (as of April 11, 2016) is part of the Extended Edition for the To The Planets Beyond alternate historical timeline. As the scenario is updated, and new questions regarding this particular point of its history are asked, I will continue to provide more relevant information.

  • $\begingroup$ This is way too broad. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Apr 11, 2016 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon sighs Give me a moment to fix the problem.... $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify Fixed. :P $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon Fixed (Again) and hopefully, it is not as broad this time around. :/ $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ Editing the question title does not fix the question. It is still just as broad as before. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Apr 11, 2016 at 1:22

3 Answers 3


The real reason for Earth to want to control the other members of the solar system is a simple matter of the amount of kinetic energy that spacecraft have moving at interplanetary speeds. As was often discovered in LEO, the Space Shuttle could suffer a great deal of damage due to impacting flecks of paint at the mere speed of @ 7 Km/sec. (there are instances where the windows needed replacing because of this).

Now imagine spacecraft the size and mass of supertankers coming towards Earth at much greater speeds (the maximum speed any unpowered object can move and stay in the Solar System is 72 km/sec. Powered spacecraft might go even faster to reduce the transit time between planets). The amount of kinetic energy that an accidental or deliberate impact on the Earth, Moon or any piece of orbital and cis lunar infrastructure will range from small nuclear device to dinosaur killer impact. The Chelyabinsk meteor massed an estimated 12,000–13,000 metric tonnes and entered at a speed of 19.16 ± 0.15 kilometres per second, releasing 500Kt. For comparison, a modern strategic nuclear warhead generally is designed to deliver 300Kt.

Of course spacecraft are only the least of Earth's worries, the outer system has access to millions of asteroids and comets with even more mass, or can deliver real nuclear explosives at such high speeds that interception will become difficult.

So Earth will become extremely paranoid, and this attitude will probably spread to the Earth-Moon system and perhaps to the rest of the inner Solar System, since effectively everyone will be at the bottom of a shooting gallery relative to anyone orbiting farther away from the Sun. The sorts of countermeasures which are possible include a massive building program to install gigantic laser cannon orbiting the worlds to attempt to stop any incoming ships, missiles or asteroids, as well as a wide ranging examination of other means to protect the Earth (anything from exotic physics to mundane economic and cybernetic disruption of the outer system, or even equipping SoF units to make commando raids on selected outer system infrastructure).

Even if such projects are not feasible or practical, the paranoid thinking will infect the Earth's body politic, and raise tensions to hair trigger levels. A ship departing from its projected orbit due to human error or mechanical failure could be interpreted as the beginning of an attack. Even seemingly innocent pronouncements by outer system politicians or businessmen will be parsed closely to see if there is an implied threat.

The outer system will eventually be affected by this as well. Trade with the inner system might be severely restricted, and there will be real or imagined economic and cyber exploits coming from the Earth, making life difficult for the outer system. The constant threats and sabre rattling from the inner system will certainly elicit responses from the outer system, in an ever expanding feedback loop which will not be good for anyone.

Edit to add: In the solar system, anyone closer to the Sun will be in the same position as the Earth WRT kinetic energy impacts, so Saturn's moons will be looking over their shoulders at what Uranus is doing and so on.

Cue the soundtrack for the Second Solar War.....

  • $\begingroup$ That combined with the Outer Solar System turning on itself makes thing worse how? $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ The Second Solar War will be fought by paranoids with hair trigger reposes using weapons that can potentially eliminate life from entire planets and moons. How much worse do you want it to be? $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Apr 11, 2016 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ You mean "Second Extraplanetary War" correct? And it is already bad enough.... :/ $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ @FutureHistorian More like a Cold War with temperatures warm as the cold heart of space. $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon Alright, question reopened. Oh and since I specified, please be sure to change the answers to account for that this time. Please? $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 19:45

Short Term Earth will probably at first attempt to bully/intimidate/bribe small planets at first. They may plant heavy attack ships near the planets or promise resources if a planet rejoins the Earth. The Earth would also impose heavy checks on anything or anyone travelling to the outer planets in an attempt to get these planets back and avoid them moving under Europa,Titan or Ganymede's influence.

Mid-term From the above short-term stuff some small planets will probably form deals with Earth. The deals would range from "If you don't like them we don't like them" to "We do what you say sir". Earth would then try to hold on to these planets while containing the influence of large outer planets. The Earth may also build bases for "peacekeeping" troops in the region who would threaten, sorry "help", other planets outside of Earth. Over time some planets would become hostile to Earth while others would work with Earth and the majority would be wary of Earth but would not directly oppose it.

Long Term Earth would simply try and hold on to its influence in the region and would always try to harm the other large planets interests probably by turning the larger planets against each other to weaken them. So Earth may convince or even trick Titan into attacking Ganymede while setting Europa up against a series of weak planets. Europa, Titan and Ganymede would each keep up high level anti-Earth propoganda and would say they are making great advances against Earth but in reality the three would do little against Earth and would mainly spend there time fighting each other.

  • $\begingroup$ And what about the situation regarding the Outer Sol System itself, especially when Europa, Ganymede and Titan hate each other? $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 19:55

Foreign Policy concerns for Inner Solar System (ISS) politicians is how to avoid the "high handed enemy" of the Outer Solar System (OSS)

The Gom Jabbar is the "High-handed enemy" from the Dune series of books. While, in Dune, the gom jabbar is a cyanide laced needle, in this context, the gom jabbar wielded by the OSS is the multitudinous asteroids and ice bodies of the Kuiper belt that with a little, well calculated nudge will wend inward to Earth, Mars and Venus. These missiles could be launched in sufficient quantities and sizes that they would overwhelm any defense fielded by earth.

Earth's politicians know that life on Earth could end at the hands of small group of radicals out in the Kuiper belt who decide that they've had enough of Earth's bullying. So while Earth may subjugate Mars and talk big about what they will do to the OSS, in the back of their mind, they still have to be aware of the threat of a hail of 1000 meter objects descending out of the skies over Paris, New York, Tokyo, New Beijing, Sydney at orbital speeds. So while there "is no stealth in space", space is really really big leading to a kind of ultra-slow motion chess match as the OSS sends in planet killers and UNAPA does there best to deflect them.

Planetary Defense

Building defenses against planet killers will be a very high priority much as nuclear missile defense was a high priority for the USA and USSR in the 1960s. While the official stance of the OSS may not include nuking Earth based aggressors, an independent minded miner or two could certainly cause a lot of headaches for UNAPA defense fleets.

The in-fighting and balkanization of the OSS only makes handling the planet killers harder since now anyone with a space tug, a grudge and delta-v to spare can nudge a planet killer Earth-ward.


The OSS and ISS politicians will both need to deal with trade, what to sell, what to tax, how much to tax and how to avoid/eliminate piracy. There are trade items/services that are available due to the economies of scale only in the ISS but are still needed by the OSS. Likewise, there are products that the OSS is especially well suited to deliver such as bulk iron/nickel delivery or hydrocarbons from Titan.

OSS Politics

The OP doesn't provide enough information to describe how exactly the various OSS groups will interact with each other. Things like the nature of the disputes and history of disputes would need to be known before an answer could be given as well as the general disposition of the various political groups. This is all without accounting for pantropy and any behavioral changes that come from that. Without this info, keep in mind that the outer solar system is huge so visits to neighboring polities may only happen once every 30 or 40 years. Conversations take place over days instead of minutes from light speed lag alone. Disputes either have years to fester or years to blow over.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. And how will Outer Solar System politicians deal with....well each other? $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ @FutureHistorian a full answer can't be given with the info provided in the OP. I've answered as much as I can with the info given. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Apr 11, 2016 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Oh. Just checking. :P $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2016 at 22:15

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