156

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 ...


64

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.


54

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 ...


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'...


47

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 ...


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 ...


41

The colonists will rapidly be desensitized to capsaicin. This assumes that the "spicy hot" on this world is capsaicin (the active molecule in hot peppers) or something that works similarly. There are other spices perceived by us as "hot" including those in horseradish, black pepper etc. Each has a different mechanism. As regards ...


36

I think there's two things missing. The first is that we do hard things all the time. Its standard practice for humanity to do things that were impossible a generation earlier. I think the real key is motivation. A society's motivation for generation ships is the same motivation a tree has to produce seeds. Why produce seeds when, to produce seeds, you ...


36

Impossible My grandfather hated black people. Not a little bit. A lot. He was a racist. My father wasn't a racist, but was certainly biased. He's had excellent working relationships with people not like himself, but he also tends to use a phrase Grandpa used a lot whenever he hit his thumb with a hammer or encountered a difficult-to-solve problem. He'd call ...


31

Let's split this question to some parts that I deduced from your question 1. Why would anyone work on something that they will never be able to use? First, there are people who are interested in things they can't actually use. For example, Ada Lovelace invented a programming language and wrote code for the Analytical Engine even though it was never built. ...


31

They have no ships that can withstand reentry. Your people arrive in a huge starfaring ship, built in orbit. Descending through an atmosphere would rip it to pieces. So they remain in orbit around this new planet. To get down to the planet, they will have to build a vehicle capable of doing that. Your people might lack the raw materials to build such ...


30

Future space colonists should aim for the lifeless rock. Problem with alien biochemistries is that they might be immediately hazardous (anaphylactic shock after a lungful of the local air) or maybe its just filled with stuff that causes horrible birth defects and chronic brain damage and your brave new world is going to turn into a hideous and drawn-out ...


29

Medical Science Makes People Nearly Immortal Let's say you are the governor of a planet 50 light years from Earth, there is no reason to care about the repercussions of ignoring an order from the home world since you will be dead before they can do anything about it. But... if medical science extends the life expectancy into the thousands of years, and ...


29

The planet already hosts life. Nobody but extremely clean and well-trained exobiologists are allowed to land there to prevent cross-contamination. This is a political rather than physical constraint, so the primary thing that changes is the prevailing political parties and red-tape. Of course, one of the reasons for avoiding cross-contamination is ...


29

The coasts are the only place level enough to build. Depicted: google maps terrain shot of the coast of Greenland. In your lifeless world, the terrain is rugged and steep. If you go inland any distance you are hugging the side of a mountain. Only on the coasts where the ocean has weathered the rocks can you find land that is somewhat level.


28

Terraforming is going to be a far greater investment than strip-mining. However, the cost will still vary wildly based on what the planet is like. Planets which are close to the target for terraforming will cost less to terraform, but will be in short supply. So the logic will likely go: Are we really low on a particular resource this planet has? Strip mine ...


26

Other answers have addressed the serious problems with living in pepper spray, so let's assume you've dealt with that and move on to the food issue: Chickens. Okay, presumably you've brought some sort of gene stock for farming because you're not an absolute idiot. Let's assume that enough of it survived to get started. I've never heard of any plants being ...


26

I think that the number one priority is actually going to be confirming that the planet is, in fact, as habitable as previously anticipated. Previous information on the planet took 500 years to get here; we don't know how fast we were traveling, but I assume it was a relativistic speed (IE a significant percentage of the speed of light). As such, all data ...


25

Flip the question around Let us accept the premise that a generation ship is not viable without the technological ingredients for a post-scarcity utopia. Now add the assumption that this situation has been achieved without a massive (>80%) population crash on Earth. What remains is a situation in which there are billions of people who can do almost ...


25

If we didn't have the capability to use faster than light travel then how could we stay unified IMHO, based on the colonization episodes along the history, we can't stay under a "united government". As soon as a colony becomes self-sufficient, it declares independence or at least demands self-determination. And, nota bene, this assumes a FTL-communication. ...


23

On average, 44 % of total water abstraction in Europe is used for agriculture, 40 % for industry and energy production (cooling in power plants), and 15 % for public water supply. The main water consumption sectors are irrigation, urban, and manufacturing industry. Water use by sectors You need water for industrial processes. Agriculture in the colony may ...


21

Future Considerations I would say there isn't a great reason your new colony would set up shop there AT FIRST. A large river would be better, or something like a freshwater Great Lake. You still get access to all the water you'd need for hydro, you'd be able to see the flood planes and plan accordingly, and a large enough river isn't going to just dry out ...


21

This isn't an Either-or Proposition. Terraforming is going to be a long process, and will require using resources on the target planet to successfully complete. You'll need to build infrastructure dirtside to change the atmosphere, and place the biologicals you need to support Human life. So instead of just searching for a single Earthlike planet, and ...


20

"It's the smell!" -- Smith I think the easiest answer is that there is something in Earth's biology that disagrees with them... something that can be "managed" with continuous medical intervention, but would be really annoying for them to try to settle permanently without completely terraforming the planet. Imagine, for example, that 99% of the aliens ...


20

I wouldn't put colonies in Jupiter's atmosphere. The gravity down there is too high... it'll be quite unpleasant for normal humans to live in, and you'll need an awfully powerful rocket to get back out of the atmosphere and escape Jupiter's very, very deep gravity well. Jupiter has a lot of moons, but the biggest ones (the Galilean moons) are probably the ...


20

Fun thing about cylinders full of air: they make for really nice musical instruments. An OC necessarily has a very tenacious hull. You could land some machines on its outside and have them bang at the hull without damaging it. Just keep banging rhythmically 24/7 until everybody goes crazy. They'll eventually give up. If you want to be really annoying, you ...


18

The aliens are humans. The aliens did do the calculations and they did find a habitable planet, 100,000 years ago. They are depleting their homeworld - here. On arriving on Earth and settling the colonists, the mothership immediately started working on finding the next world. These calculations take a very long time. Almost none of the humans on ...


18

The air will kill you. There was some airborne hazard which rendered the surface poisonous to humans but not the native fauna. Take your pick of germs, atmosphere, radiation, anything that could be fixed by creating a sealed environment like a space station. The options were (a) stay where we are in orbit or (b) land and live in bubble cities on the ...


17

To make Paris a city of ruins will not affect the issue. Phillipe Petain. The best way to not tear the place up with fighting is to not fight. In World War 2, the French surrendered Paris to the approaching Germans without a fight. Fighting seemed pointless, and would destroy their beautiful city. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/...


15

Trying to recreate a game intended to be played on a flat surface in a gravity well whilst in a microgravity chamber seems not only futile, but it also passes up an opportunity to create a new game that makes better use of the features of the environment that hinder conventional bowling. My suggestion: orbit bowling. Set up the court by placing the target (...


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