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

In a message dated 4/29/98 4:49:47 AM, guderiak@hotmail.com wrote:

>Hi Bjorn,
>>And YES a planet is maybe NOT neccesary for the colony to survive, but 
>>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 
>>wanna exploit, why go there???)
>==> A very, very good idea...

We never could come up with a reason for a colony.  Resources are more
plentiful and easy to get to in space, and the danger of an ecology is less.
But, this solar system is rich in stuff too, and its a lot easier to set up a
colony nearer to your spare parts suplier.  ;)

>>> 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, 
>>> 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 
>>colonists than the planet if the changes are small. For exsample with
>>Vaccines, imunization or other "artificial" bio-medical solutions then 
>>try to change the whole microbiological Eco-system of the planet. This 
>>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.)
>==> 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 
>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...

The T-rex senerio was why I always advocated armored and highly armed ground
craft.   ;)

As to the microbs, a bit of American history.  The term "Manifest destiny" was
an old phrase in the American colonies refuring to a beleaf that god ment us
to take over the continent from the indians.  Where it first came from is the
early colonists (not the first, but soon after) who found a continent of dead
indians.  Vilages recently abandoned or full of dead and deing.  Old world
deseases whiped out well over 95% of the tribal populations before they ever
saw a white guy.  All that from desaese they'ld only been isolated from for a
few thousand years.

>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??

What you don't like a chalenge?!   ;)

>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.
>P.S.: in all other points, you are right.