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RE: starship-design: Numbers needed for Colonization
>> >And YES a planet is maybe NOT neccesary for the colony to survive,
>> >probably IS neccisary for the endevour to make "economic sense" even
>> >the long run. (If the target star system doesn't have planetary
>> >wanna exploit, why go there???)
>> ==> A very, very good idea...
>Yes Indeed... :-)
>Personnaly, I doubt if humanity will even be prepared to pay the cost
>much more than a "plant the flag" mission as long as there is not at
>SOME ideas for how to exploit other star systems availible...
==> If there aren't at least SOME ideas, no starship will ever be build.
And the major idea is the close exploration of a foreign planetary
system and alien biosphere. The alien lifeforms themselves offer the
most promising way to become RICH...
>> >> Which brings us back to the need for survey. Without a good prior
>> survey, we
>> >> won't have any idea what we need to colonize a planet with. Face
>> >> amount of Terraforming is going to be necessary no matter how
>> like a
>> >> planet may seem.
>> >Actually I disagree with this... It's probably MUCH more easy to
>> >colonists than the planet if the changes are small. For exsample
>> >Vaccines, imunization or other "artificial" bio-medical solutions
>> >try to change the whole microbiological Eco-system of the planet.
>> >of course also have large social/moral/ethical concerns as well as
>> >practical problems. (For one thing, it might be inposible for
>> >humans and "colony" humans to interact personally w/o risk of
==> see below...
>First, I'm NOT a biologist so this is in kind of "laymans" terms...
>> ==> As a biologist, it seems rather strange to me how many people
>> of colonizing a terran world with it's own biosphere. In my opinion
>> of two things will happen:
>> 1. The alien ecosphere and the genetic/biochemical composition of
>> species is closely similar to ours; this is the worst case, for it
>> that the colonists will encounter millions of microorganisms and
>> small creatures AGAINST wich they don't have any resistancy, but FOR
>> wich they are the most ideal place to start their own colony...
>> Look at Africa for similar scenarios and remember HOW LONG it might
>> to develope a vaccine even against a virus known in as much detail as
>1) assuming how FAST medical/biochemical reserch is going at the moment
>(IMO), I do not think that it'll be imposible somehow "give" the
>some kind of resistency. There are many (Hypothetical) ways to do this,
>for example it might be posible to introduce "local" genes concerning
>Imuno systems trough genetic engineering...
==> Sure, biochemical research is going fast, but this kind of
exponential growth certainly cannot last forever. And you shouldn't
overestimate the possibilities of biotechnology. There are some limits
of practical feasability, although today no one knows where the ultimate
limits will be. But managing millions of unknown and probably dangerous
organisms might be one of them.
==> Implanting ALIEN genes into humans?? They certainly will require a
different reading frame and translation code, which the human cells
I'm sure there are LOTs of
>others as well... Even so, there probably WILL be setbacks and
>it's history diseases propably WILL be a large threat to the colony,
>personnaly think that the advantadges of using a "terran" world are
==> Putting the colony at the very brink of extinction...???
>There are also two other important points.
>1) Diseases and parasites are Often (IIRC) quite particular about their
>hosts. (We don't get infected by contact with other sick Earth mammals
>very often. Do we???)
==> BSE, Plague, Worms......
>2) Most diseases are usually EITHER very virulent OR very deadly, but
>usually not both. (IIRC) That would NOT usually be in their
==> Ebola (and all other filo-viruses) is shockingly deadly AND virulent
AND it is not adapted to humans or any other primates. So it is a good
"working example" of what we might encounter on another planet.
>This should give the colonists the neccesary time to develop
>imunno systems capable of defending them.
==> This usually takes from 200 years to a million years.
>This will probably have some
>cost in lives lost, but i still feel it would work with good medical
>quarantine procedures etc...
>> And still on a terran world there is the possibilty of large (say
>> T-Rex-sized) predators which don't make any racial difference in
>> choosing their dinner...
>I would say that this is the least of our problems... There are LOTs of
>large dangerous predators on Earth,
==> not larger than a Grizzly Bear today...
>but most of them are on the way to
>becoming extinct! I'm perfectly confident that we could do the same on
>purpose on another world that we have managed to do by "accident" here.
==> Go to the stars for some new kind of big game hunt, and thus ruining
the ecosystem you want to study???????????
>When it comes to large life-forms, I'd be much more concerned with what
>we'd do to their chances of survival then the other way around.
==> Ever seen "Lost World"??
>they are Sentient of course... That's an entirly different matter.)
==> If they are sentient, they would shoot back....:-)
>> 2. If the alien biosphere is fundamentally different form ours (e.g.
>> planet with microbial ecosystems miles beneath the surface or a
>> environment with a different temperature regime, much higher
>> or a different atmospheric composition) then there is no problem with
>> contamination; but why should we found a colony on a world as
>> comfortable to humans as the entrance to Hell??
>Because as long as it produces MOST of what we need to survive (food,
>water, air) it's a lot Cheaper/less industrially tasking than
>a "dead" planet...
==> When I said "different" I meant it DOESN'T produce most of what we
need to survive...
>> In case of colonization, it seems much better to choose a Mars-like,
>> sterile Planet/Moon. I think its much, much easier just to warm a
>> and install a thicker atmosphere than to fight against alien
>> every single day. You can still explore the aliens from your base on
>> terraformed world.
>Sure, I agree that it is EASYIER... But it's also MUCH more resource
>intensitive and mor expensive...
==> If it's easier than it means it is less resource intensive and less
==> Terraforming in its very essence is a gargantuan task. But operating
cities and infrastructure in an environment where the local lifeforms
are engaged in a struggle about how fast they can eat you won't be much
>You'll have to transport a LOT of extra
>payload to Terraform a world even if you can use raw material from the
>target star system... (Mostly biological stuff, i would guess)
>Besides, a planet with a long Ecological history is much more likely to
>have more interesting resourses for exploitation. (I.e. the different
>Chemical conpounds there will be much more complex than the simple
>& silicates comon to lifeless worlds.)
>> P.S.: in all other points, you are right.
>Just a few thoughts...
>PS: If we're just gona Terraform a lifeless "rock". Why just not pick
>Mars??? Makes all this several LY star-voyages kinda unneccesary...
>(and there are LOTs of other candidates in the solar system as well.)
==> Terraforming of Mars will be feasible with 21rst century technology.
You could create a 500 mbar atmosphere within a few hundred years - but
it will take 100,000 years before a breathable amount of oxygen could be
accumulated. This is due to the efficiency of plant growth and
So before we could spent our summer vacations on the shores of a
beautiful Martian lake we would have screened dozens of star systems.
Maybe we would have found a world better suited for terraforming than
Mars??? Whith Caravan Starships we could easily transport all the
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