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Re: RE: starship-design: Numbers needed for Colonization

In a message dated 4/29/98 5:45:08 AM, f96bni@student.tdb.uu.se wrote:

>On Wed, 29 Apr 1998, Christoph Kulmann wrote:
>> Hi Bjorn,
>> >And YES a planet is maybe NOT neccesary for the colony to survive, but 
>> it
>> >probably IS neccisary for the endevour to make "economic sense" even in
>> >the long run. (If the target star system doesn't have planetary bodies 
>> you
>> >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 of
>much more than a "plant the flag" mission as long as there is not at least
>SOME ideas for how to exploit other star systems availible...
>> >> 
>> >> 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 it, 
>> some
>> >> amount of Terraforming is going to be necessary no matter how Earth 
>> like a
>> >> planet may seem. 
>> >
>> >Actually I disagree with this... It's probably MUCH more easy to adapt 
>> the
>> >colonists than the planet if the changes are small. For exsample with
>> >Vaccines, imunization or other "artificial" bio-medical solutions then 
>> to
>> >try to change the whole microbiological Eco-system of the planet. This 
>> may
>> >of course also have large social/moral/ethical concerns as well as
>> >practical problems. (For one thing, it might be inposible for "Earth"
>> >humans and "colony" humans to interact personally w/o risk of plagues.)
>> >
>> >
>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 think 
>> of colonizing a terran world with it's own biosphere. In my opinion one 
>> of two things will happen:
>> 1. The alien ecosphere and the genetic/biochemical composition of it's 
>> species is closely similar to ours; this is the worst case, for it means 
>> that the colonists will encounter millions of microorganisms and other 
>> 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 take 
>> to develope a vaccine even against a virus known in as much detail as 
>> HIV.
>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 colonists
>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... I'm sure there are LOTs of
>others as well... Even so, there probably WILL be setbacks and thoughout
>it's history diseases propably WILL be a large threat to the colony, BUT i
>personnaly think that the advantadges of using a "terran" world are worth
>the risks!
>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???)

Actually we do.  Ignoring some of the weorder venerial desases, theirs always
thous swine and avian flus that keep hiting us.

>2) Most diseases are usually EITHER very virulent OR very deadly, but
>usually not both. (IIRC) That would NOT usually be in their Evolutionary
>interest... This should give the colonists the neccesary time to develop
>imunno systems capable of defending them. This will probably have some
>cost in lives lost, but i still feel it would work with good medical care,
>quarantine procedures etc...

Not virelent or deadly TO THEIR HOSTS!  Others get hit hard.  Ebola comes to
mind.   Killed 99% of folks in a week, but is thought to be fairly harmless to
its host.

>> 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, 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.
>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. (Unless
>they are Sentient of course... That's an entirly different matter.)

First rule of exploration.  Bring bigger guns!  ;)

>> 2. If the alien biosphere is fundamentally different form ours (e.g. a 
>> planet with microbial ecosystems miles beneath the surface or a surface 
>> environment with a different temperature regime, much higher pressures 
>> 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 terraforming
>a "dead" planet... $$$ not Comfort is likely to be the deciding factor
>> In case of colonization, it seems much better to choose a Mars-like, but 
>> sterile Planet/Moon. I think its much, much easier just to warm a planet 
>> and install a thicker atmosphere than to fight against alien lifeforms 
>> every single day. You can still explore the aliens from your base on a 
>> terraformed world.
>Sure, I agree that it is EASYIER... But it's also MUCH more resource
>intensitive and mor expensive... 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 Oxides
>& silicates comon to lifeless worlds.) 
>> Christoph
>> P.S.: in all other points, you are right.
>> ______________________________________________________
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>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.)

Why not build your own orbital worlds from spaced based resources.