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-2

China has not only already won the space race, they have completely obliterated America as a competitor. By 2045, America will be a non-starter. NASA will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of some Chinese conglomerate (since the Americans refuse to fund it adequately), and the Chinese flag will be flying over every space initiative, right along side of the UN ...


2

If China is racing to colonize Mars, the US should then race to do something grander and better right? The Chinese, if they pour their entire workforce into the Mars project, will have little left over for other topics. Either they will be taken by that project for a long, long time or they completely exhaust themselves in a single project with little left ...


7

There are a number of false premises here - there is exactly zero chance that China could set up colonies on the far side of the moon without other countries' space surveillance noticing it. NASA already tracks everything in orbit bigger than a marble, because that information is crucially important to continued launches. They would not miss the kind of ...


0

Terraforming is valuable for 2 reasons: shortage of living space for the evergrowing human population human luxury - having the option to live in and experience different worlds Point 1 will get solved when people learn to live in free space. Which isn't that hard considering we can more or less do it right now - but won't have near-light speed travel or ...


1

Why can't you just stripmine the planet and then terraform it afterwards? There's no ecology so you aren't harming anything strip mining it. Presumably you are only collecting valuable minerals and elements from concentrated deposits which still leaves behind all the more mundane stuff that biology (as we know it anyways) is mostly composed of plus traces of ...


0

Strip mining doesn't automatically placate the planet is uninhabitable. What are you extracting you have to ruin the entire biosphere? Strip mining is a cheap method of mining, but depending on what mineral resource your extracting; that doesn't bode well for strip mines. China is full of them for rare earths and they're environmental nightmares. Mining ...


5

No FTL? Terraforming is strongly preferred. Consider this - terraforming takes a long time. Do you know what else takes a really long time? Getting anywhere without FTL. There are 33 stars within 12.5 light years of Earth. Travelling at 0.5c requires having about 1.4e16 J kinetic energy per kg, and via e=mc^2 we know 1 kg could be converted into about 8.9e16 ...


2

Magnetic field or no. A planet without a magnetic field gets harsh treatment from its star. The solar wind strips away any atmosphere, as happened to Mars when its internal dynamo faded. Those charged particles in the wind are also brutal for life (and electronics) on the surface. The only prospect for life on a planet with no magnetic field is in deep ...


4

They will terraform any planet that they can and ignore most of the rest As much as I love theorizing about mega-structures, the cost of pulling matter out of a planet's gravity well is immense; so, unless your civilization is using some manner of Non-Newtonian, free energy method of strip mining a planet, chances are that what ever fuel they are using to ...


4

Disassemble everything: asteroids, planets, stars. A constantly-growing civilization which can think in the long-term will inevitably realize that it will hit constraints on population density based primarily off the number of people its resources can support, and once that happens, demographic crisis looms. Its goal, then, will be to obtain as much ...


2

Neither option would be acceptable for any advanced civilisation, which would by definition be aware of the ecological consequences of its actions. They would take a 'tread lightly' approach and ensure that planetary life, archaeology etc is nurtured and encouraged, not exterminated for gain. They're not idiotic, genocidal 18th-century colonialists for ...


2

The game Spaceward Ho! demonstrates a key criterion for this decision. Some parts of a world can be modified by terraforming (which the game represents as "temperature") and some cannot ("gravity"). Planets with good gravity (the range of 3/5 to 5/3 that of your homeworld) are good for terraforming. Planets with bad gravity (less than ...


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 ...


3

If the planets are unable to be terraformed, like those seen around red dwarfs, then strip mine them. This is because planets around class M stars usually have the star defeat all attempts to terraform the planet, since the solar radiation will strip away any atmosphere you may add. In fact, it's now theorized that planets like the Trappist 1 planets may all ...


9

I don't think terraforming really ever makes sense. It just takes so incredibly long that it's just much more efficient to make orbital habitats by stripmining asteroids. In our own solar system, there is enough matter floating around in asteroids and minor planets to make many tens of thousands of habitats providing thousands of times the surface area of ...


14

If it is a planet, terraform. Sure, hollow habitats are neat, but if you have the tech and energy budget that there is a genuine choice to strip-mine a planet, you are rich enough to afford the luxury of a planetary habitat. Wind and sun in your face, hiking the hills and sailing the seas, that just doesn't feel the same in an artificial habitat. People are ...


2

It would take millions of years for solar stripping to cause problems, and the atmosphere would be entirely sufficient as radiation shielding. This is especially so on Mars, which receives about half the solar radiation on Earth to begin with, and which will require over 2.6 times as much atmospheric mass per unit of ground area to achieve a full atmosphere ...


-1

Terraforming Mars is a wash, there's not a lot of stuff on the planet. It's mass, gravity and lack of a magnetic field renders it useless even if it were habited; not without artificial schemes to thwart radiation. Venus is potentially terrform-able. But challenges include - Lowering it's average temperature from 864 degrees fahrenheit to 60. - Eliminating ...


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