159

Firstly, if you don't have the capabilities to construct a closed life support system, then you have no business trying to construct a colony many light years away, with no support and no backup and no actual certainty that the world is safe or habitable ahead of time. Your colony ship either needs to be a habitat suitable for a decent number of people to ...


110

The story can be summed up as follows. Von Braun is captured by the Soviets, not the Americans. Failure to beat the Soviets to the Moon extends the Space Race. An extended Space Race means space colonies are feasible in the 80s. Nuclear war happens, the Earth is rendered uninhabitable. The remnants of humanity launch colony ships into space. But really it ...


103

EDIT April 26, 2020 While searching through my answers for research related to another question I came across this answer. The irony that I wrote this one year ahead of the Coronavirus pandemic, which somewhat mirrored the description provided here, is unbelievable. I'd be puffing up my chest and shouting, "Why, oh why, did the world not listen to me!" but ...


85

Exo-bacteria is more likely to be harmless than harmful There are a couple assumptions that you're making that really aren't the case. To start with, microorganisms that our immune systems have no defense against Our bodies are really good at recognizing anything foreign in them. In order to evade our immune system, bacteria (and viruses) need to have ...


78

The simplest way is probably to leave them with a shortage of unobtainium. A substance named for obvious reasons, that happens to be required for the production of FTL drives. Perhaps the limited quantity they had in their existing drive was destroyed (causing the accident) or dispersed in the accident. Either way, they're now limited to space habitats and ...


76

Last time I looked into this I was amazed these experiments (mammalian conception to delivery in orbit) had not been done. I figured I just had not found it and so I dug in this time. For mammals, they have not been done. Pregnant rats have gone to space and come home and delivered so microgravity is not immediately lethal to a fetus. Rats mated in space ...


74

First off, the issue with relativity is solved. No kidding! Barycentric time (TCB) is a time scale that an atomic clock would perceive were it co-moving with the sun. This, of course, is a technical phrasing which means it's as though the clock were fixed with respect to the movement of the sun, but outside of its gravity well. It ticks about 490ms/year ...


71

Is this a realistic way to colonize and explore the universe? No. Apart from problems with generational ships, which you'll find discussed on Worldbuilding SE in other questions, there is a fundamental flaw in the reasoning: they get to work making the planet livable for the people who want to have a sky over their head The people you have described ...


66

Water has a high specific heat. Consequently, the more water that is near a place, the more even the temperatures are. Deserts are notoriously burning hot in the day and freezing at night, but even places not far inland often see greater temperature swings than the shore. Against this there is the effect of more precipitation.


64

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 ...


63

Their ship and her payload were designed as a colony expedition. They had not just asteroid mining craft, and seeds for hydroponics, and modular habitat sections, they also had the blueprints and machine tools to replicate them. And they had the engineers to read the blueprints and use the tools. For the stardrive, they had just the operators' maintenance ...


61

Earth is big.[citation needed] The mass of Earth is about $6 * 10^{24}$ kilograms. Not all of that mass is usable to make spaceships, of course, but let's just hand-wave that and look purely in terms of how much stuff we have. The Star Trek spaceship USS Enterprise is 3,205,000 metric tons; that's $3 * 10^9$ kilograms. In one year, there are about $3.154 *...


60

The primary way to hide something in space is to make it uninteresting. Start with a boring asteroid, made out of silicate rock rather than metals or organic compounds that are worth mining, orbiting somewhere that's inconvenient to reach, but not so inconvenient that people will go there for the achievement. In Earth's solar system, this would be a main-...


60

What you suggest is possible, but the solution is a major problem, for larger reasons. We have sent probes to crash into Jupiter. It is physically possible to send waste into a gas giant. Just as it is theoretically possible to send waste now into the Sun. However, the primary issues encountered commonly with waste is economic and logistical. Waste is not ...


60

Claustrophobia vs Kenophobia If you are born on earth, you are more likely to develop claustrophobia due to having access to open spaces and enclosed spaces being more dangerous. But if you are in an orbital colony without artificial gravity you are more likely to develop Kenophobia, the fear of wide open spaces. If you get untethered in a space walk, or get ...


58

Any group of humans can, over time, develop a sense of "us" vs "them". Racism is only one type of this behavior. Even if all of your colonists were to be identical clones, the possibility for this type of behavior exists. "Racism" could even be manifest as a hatred of / discrimination against newcomers to the colony. To ...


56

The Asteroid belt. It has similar requirements for life-support systems as the moon. With the additional need perhaps for some areas with simulated gravity. It is next closest in terms of energy required to get to and from the orbits. It is still close enough to the sun that collecting solar energy is workable (the farthest out we have used solar panels is ...


56

Slow being a little less than half the speed of light, thanks to getting a very large boost as they start their journey. Slow down there! literally. At that speed it's not really a generation ship since you can get to many other stars within the original crews lifetime. And there are hazards to going that fast. Lets assume the ship is, say, 10X the ...


56

As the water "falls" from shower head height towards the drain at the floor, it would be moving at a fixed velocity and be rotating slower than it should at the increased radius of the bottom of the shower, so it would tend to lag the rotation and bend backwards to the direction of spin. The relative strength of this effect would be dependant on the overall ...


53

This isn't our land anymore, kiddo. There was a time in the past your old grampa here would oversee all of those mining operations, from the Red Hills all the way to the Prima City. It was such a sight - all those white, shiny domes, resting on the red blessed lands of Mars. Heh, Red. Red meant money, back then, kid. Nowadays it means just death and a ...


51

Materials exposed to vacuum for extended periods often become brittle and/or literally lose mass over time. Outgassing, cold-welding, decomposition of alloys back to their constituent materials, coronal arcing due to ionization from exposure to ionizing radiation, acceleration of outgassing and decomposition again due to ionizing radiation exposure are all ...


51

If you have only lightspeed communications and STL transport, any organization larger than a single star system (including close binaries etc.) will be more a matter of cooperation than of actual government. This is far, far worse than what the British Empire dealt with in the 18th and 19th centuries; instead of months for both travel and communication, you'...


49

I can think of two reasons: Access to drinkable water. If the oceans are salty or dirty, the settlers might establish desalinisation and/or water purifying plant (assuming today's technological level). Travel and cargo transport. Assuming the settlers don't have hovercrafts or helicopters, if the landscape is untamed, it would most likely be easier to ...


48

If nothing else we would need planets for raw materials and therefore have at the very least mining colonies or penal camps. You can't produce metals, plastics and all the rest from nothing. Also you can't have a closed ecosystem without it eventually deteriorating, there is always a loss however fractional. Evaporation, energy, food and everything else ...


47

You will likely have an easier time if you pick a Slavic language that uses a Roman alphabet. Like Czech or Slovak (which are very similar to each other). Then you don't have to deal with the unknown alphabet and words that are more removed from Latin/etc. Take Slovakia. It's got some pretty straight-forward place name conventions. I do a lot of genealogy ...


46

The same way we do now. I work for a multinational company, with colleagues distributed across a dozen time zones. When I need to schedule a meeting with many people, I simply open Outlook, and look at their calendar to find a free time that is within normal working hours for everyone. I don't need to do any mental calculation of what time it is where, the ...


45

Antimatter. It's insanely expensive to produce artificially, with estimates of up to $62.5 trillion per gram of antihydrogen. Naturally occurring antimatter in any decent quantity would be beyond lucrative - it would also provide whoever controlled it with a nearly unbeatable energy and weapon edge. However, it couldn't be laced into the geology of the ...


45

According to this lovely image from NASA (article here), the source of onboard oxygen in current spacecraft is mainly water electrolysis. The hydrogen so produced is processed with carbon dioxide to reclaim some of the water and produce either solid carbon waste, or acetylene for propulsion. This isn't a 100% closed cycle, so you'll have to add more water ...


45

As every project manager knows, scope creep is the root of all evil. At the beginning, it was just about sending one ship to another planet. Easy, just a matter of time. Then someone said something about food diversity, citrus fruits and, for whatever reason, pineapples. So a team was split up to figure out how to grow pineapples on a space ship and in a ...


45

An assembly hall (town hall). The reason those churches get used for other things is that there are reasons other than worship for everybody to gather at times. A church's main hall is only in use for a few hours a week, so gatherings at other times are feasible. Your need for those gatherings doesn't go away just because your society doesn't have ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible