60

Stability Nothing beats the radiation shielding of 1,000 kilometers of magnetic field + 100 kilometers of air + (at night) 6,000 kilometers of water and rock. For heat, nothing beats 22 billion cubic kilometers of atmosphere to dissipate, by whatever means necessary, heat concentrations. You can have 1 terajoule nuclear blasts, or multi-terajoule meteor ...


37

Unless I'm living underwater, if a large hole appears in the side of my home due to some incident, my immediate emergency response is put on warm clothing. My second is to cover the hole with anything that might be handy: piece of wood, a piece of plastic, just enough to keep the heat in and weather out. It might be uncomfortable until more permanent repairs ...


33

Trading in promises Two mechanisms can play a part here but essentially you don't have to wait for the ore to return to sell your investment, it's all about share value and the promise of a return. Shares in a business are proportional to their promise of return - sometimes even if that return hasn't happened yet the implication that in the future the profit ...


26

Planets are fail-safe. A space colony has to be operated and maintained by competent and responsible people. Most people aren't and this is not entirely bad (we need the other kind of people to make innovations here and there or to run the administration). Well, a planet can be screwed up as well, but it takes a lot of effort. A space colony can be destroyed ...


20

Counterpoint: This mission isn't a good investment and would probably never take off Mainly, 70-150 years is a very long time. Hell, 150 years ago humanity didn't have powered flight, let alone space travel, and if anything, the rate of technological progress has only gotten faster. Furthermore, while investors are fundamentally gamblers, all our modern ...


15

You really only have three main options to get into orbit: Rockets / continuous thrust Space elevator As a Projectile from a "Big Gun" (All of your velocity acquired at once) Space elevators have been discussed to death and back. They are the gold standard for cheap space access but are by far the most difficult to construct and maintain. Not to ...


13

Beavers that have never seen running water in their entire lives will start gathering twigs on hearing it. We aren't that programmed, but we may not prove to be absolutely blank slates. Living in space may prove to be subtly (or egregiously) badly suited to human beings, even those born on space station or space ship. Perhaps we need genuine gravity, and ...


11

I'd buy it, and so would millions of other other speculative traders. I'd totally buy a 0.00001% share of such a mission for \$50, because I'd be expecting to sell it in 10 years for \$60, not because I'd be expecting to be around in 150 years when it returns and I can claim my \$300 cut of the mining profits. When people think there's money to be made in a ...


10

Cthulhu dislikes Dyson Swarms Any argument about planets being safer of more stable assumes that your automation and general engineering capabilities are rubbish (on the current day level instead of on one one might reasonably expect form an interstellar civilization in other words). The environment might kill you isn't a good reason not to settle a place, ...


9

Supply Logistics of mining in space is a lot more complex as mines will be small and distanced. Some mines will not be worthy of a big mining ship with a strong long term life support system. Those ships, workers will need shipments from other places. It will consume a lot of time and workpower. Comfort and Freedom Everything in a space station is a utility ...


9

They're not being funded by an individual; they're being funded by conglomerates. An awful lot of banks accounts/pension funds/mind boggling sums of money are not invested by any one individual. They are funded by investment firms which aggregate up all the money that they have been given and then invest it in a variety of different potential revenue streams....


7

Mostly life will be perfectly normal. At .38g normal day-to-day activities would proceed normally. It is enough gravity to not bother sleeping (it should be more comfortable!), standing, sitting at a desk, eating. Your paperwork will behave and sit on your desk, your food likewise. Liquids in open containers will be a bit more unruly (2.5x wave height for ...


7

Space habitats cost an enormous amount of money. Who's gonna pay for that? The people imagining O'Neil cylinders have been dreaming about bustling Moon cities and rotating habitats in Earth orbit by 1980 since the 50's. We don't have any of those simply because nobody is willing to finance them. Those up-front investments would only start to pay off after ...


5

Homesteading and Independence On earth, we see this phenomenon currently. Some people are attracted to the idea of settling on a plot of land and doing as much as possible themselves. Some are able to live "off-grid" independently from the rest of society, in various community sizes and various levels of import/export of goods and services with ...


5

Mars is famously the "Red Planet", because it is covered in some forms of iron oxides. It shouldn't be too hard to reduce this to extract iron an oxygen, although i suspect it will be easier to just let hydroponic plants eat away at those 95% CO2 of the martian atmosphere. Supplying a short expedition with oxygen vs. a permanent colony is a very ...


5

A Martian colony would produce very little oxygen. It would recycle it. Moxie seems to be the go to for near future Mars missions. You can break down iron oxide or other minerals to give oxygen, you can use plants, and you can use electrolysis. I'd expect all of these to contribute to a Martian oxygen cycle, no one tech would produce it all. However the tech ...


5

Space Elevators The key here is to use a very thin ribbon of carbon nano-fiber cables instead of one big ginormous metal cable as is most often depicted in science fiction. While it used to be assumed that a space elevator would cost over a trillion dollars, advancements in carbon nano-fiber technology has lead to newer ideas on the design of space elevators ...


4

There are two structures that have not been mentioned yet: Space Fountain## Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_fountain This is a very clever design, and relatively easy to build. The basic principle is this: Shoot a stream of metal pellets at high speed through a vacuum tube. Twist the tube upwards 90 degrees with a big magnet so ...


3

It's an enterprise undertaken by states, not individuals or firms, for several reasons: It's a good long term investment financially It's a good investment from the perspecive of a nations economy: The first nation to receive the return shipment could dominate the market in certain minerals for some time, either by dumping it on the global market to wreck ...


3

As the Moon landing has shown, using the words of Aldrin and Armstrong, hopping is a much more efficient way of moving than walking. I guess the same work also on Mars, which is halfway between Moon and Earth in terms of gravity. For short distances the astronauts found they could walk fairly normally. As soon as they sped up, they were unable to sustain a ...


3

Why would someone invest their money if they have no hope of seeing returns in their lifetime? Maybe they are so rich they literally can't find any other half sensible places to stuff that money into. This is very plausible in fact. If public money is spent, then you need to convince the public that it is worth it Heh, really? How much of your government'...


3

A space colony is like a hive. If you're part of it, you must work for it. There was this story I read, settled in a post-apocalyptic world. Some of the world's most socially powerful people, made use of their influence to build a safe haven. However, if you wanted to be part of it, there was a condition. By working for them, in return, they allowed you to ...


3

For inside the solar system, fusion is unnecessary. For outside the solar system, fusion might be insufficient (if you want to get there in a lifetime). Inside the solar system you can easily get where you need to go using fission power, or instead of powering your craft directly with solar, you fuel up with hydrogen extracted using solar through ...


3

Space Whip I'm not sure I can do this justice but in his book Seveneves, Niel Stephenson posited a novel means of getting into orbit. You have a satellite with two very long, thick cables on either side, which is rotating on an axis tangent to the curvature of the earth, so at all times, one cable is approaching the earth and the other is moving away. ...


3

Half-comment/half-answer: This question is far, far too broad as it involves either compressing everything in the manufacturing and technological chain down into a relatively tiny space and then combining it with a power source that can actually run everything. CONSTRUCTION: If you're not going to miniaturize everything we already have, then you're going to ...


2

Because in the final analysis Earth like worlds and space stations/ships are all just habitats i.e. places that are capable of sustaining human existence. The only difference between them (apart perhaps from scale)? Habitats have their environment on the 'inside' while Earth like worlds have theirs on the 'outside'. So location is simply a matter of need and ...


2

Isn't this kind of like asking why fish prefer to live in the ocean? Humans evolved on Earth, so we evolved quite specifically to live in Earth-like conditions. In general, the more Earth-like an environment is, the more humans will find living there to be comfortable/healthy/enjoyable. Sure, you might be able to approach Earth-like conditions in a ...


2

Another counterpoint: commercial company won't have monopoly on space exploration (or won't be expected to hold it for 70-150 years). This would not only be a long term, high risk investment, it also can be ruined at any moment. Even if a space program hits all the milestones over a very long period of time and delivers all the promised results, there is no ...


2

In aquarium hobbyist culture there's a rule of thumb that larger fish tanks are less maintenance and more resilient to change. This is because they're just so big that the environment is self-correcting and is a lot more tolerant to local fluctuations. Nano tanks, on the other hand, are a huge amount of maintenance and often have problem with oxygen ...


2

Solar power falls off with distance from the sun, but there's no such difficulty with fission power...in fact, it becomes somewhat more efficient since solar heating of radiators is reduced. There's no problem with using nuclear out past Mars. And even if/when we do have usable fusion power, it's likely that fission will perform better at relatively small ...


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