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Will man ever colonize space?

Posted by: blertola - Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:06 pm
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Will man ever colonize space? 
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Post Will man ever colonize space?   Posted on: Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:06 pm
A tremendous amount of the science fiction that I read takes place either ten years into the future or ten-thousand years into the future. In the former, little has changed from present times. In the latter, man has expanded to the stars with technology so far extrapolated from present day science that it might as well be magic. Good literature on the interim period is hard to find.

I am having a tremendous amount of trouble envisioning a scenario in which man expands beyond Earth and colonizes space. And I'm not talking Space Arks hurled towards the next nearest star--I mean expansion even within our own solar system. What would prompt a large enough mass of people to live anywhere but Earth?

The answer, at least in my mind, is almost certainly an economic one (hence the reason I'm posting here): someone discovers some sort of economic value in space, a critical mass of people pursuing this primary industry gather, making the provision of secondary industries from space-to-space more profitable than Earth-to-space, and then I suppose things grow from there. Though what that economic value is and how things would grow is rather fuzzy to me (heck, it's all fuzzy to me).

The alternative, of course, is that the entire thought is a sham and it is most likely that people will never leave Earth in any sustainable number.

Anyway, I'm just not knowledgable enough to figure this out on my own, and none of my friends seem interested in the idea, so I thought I would register to a few forums and ask the experts what the most likely outcome was or what hypothetical scenarios could get man living beyond Earth. And here I am.

So have you ever thought about what the impetus might be?

P.S. I don't really buy the "Earth runs out of resources and people flee to space" theory, again because of economics. It seems more likely that we will simply start recycling and reprocessing the resources we've already used once it becomes profitable to do so vs. just tearing new ones out of the earth.

Hopefully this is the right forum to be asking this question in--it looks like most of the topics here are current day.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:30 am
Hello, blertola,

at present I think that Prof. Collins - there are two threads about his thoughts in this section - provides the best and most realistic views about it.

His thoughts as professor of Economics result in the possibility that lunar tourism as well as lunar mining may solve economic problems regarding the relations between costs of production including recycling and market prices on the one hand and the economical efficient access to ressources on the other hand.

I am working on providing raw insights into it in several threads and are only kept from it by a health problem, by another serious event and by the amount of time required to get the next posts ready.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:14 am
One of the most interesting models of economics in the real world is that the first person to enter a new field loses their shirt. The second person makes the money. This happened with 3DFX and Nvidia, and in space with Iridium.

Let someone else spend billions making a colonisation system and buy it off them for a few millions when they go bankrupt.

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Post Re: Will man ever colonize space?   Posted on: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:06 pm
blertola wrote:
A tremendous amount of the science fiction that I read takes place either ten years into the future or ten-thousand years into the future. In the former, little has changed from present times. In the latter, man has expanded to the stars with technology so far extrapolated from present day science that it might as well be magic. Good literature on the interim period is hard to find.


Can I suggest the "Revelation Space" books from Alastair Reynolds? I'm totally hooked, and the technology isn't that "magical". Galactic North Starts in our current Solar System a few hundred years from now.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:50 pm
Remember that the first real colony here in the states was not economic impetus but rather political and religious. The puritans tried to get somewhere that their ideas could flourish. If America goes socialist I will seriously consider colonizing space myself, whatever the economic disadvantages. I think that when pushed, freedom is an excellent motivator.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:07 pm
DanielW wrote:
Remember that the first real colony here in the states was not economic impetus but rather political and religious. The puritans tried to get somewhere that their ideas could flourish. If America goes socialist I will seriously consider colonizing space myself, whatever the economic disadvantages. I think that when pushed, freedom is an excellent motivator.


Good thing US is nowhere close to socialism then. But yeah, I see your point about the religious freedom is something that would be tempting for people when we get the possibility to leave earth. Myself, I'd be on the first "plane" to the atheist-station.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:55 pm
IrquiM I used religious freedom as an example. But, I suspect that freedom for or from a multiplicity of things will be a motivator. It depends on what the individual feels strongly enough about to justify leaving earth to gain it.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:06 pm
IrquiM wrote:
DanielW wrote:
Remember that the first real colony here in the states was not economic impetus but rather political and religious. The puritans tried to get somewhere that their ideas could flourish. If America goes socialist I will seriously consider colonizing space myself, whatever the economic disadvantages. I think that when pushed, freedom is an excellent motivator.


Good thing US is nowhere close to socialism then. But yeah, I see your point about the religious freedom is something that would be tempting for people when we get the possibility to leave earth. Myself, I'd be on the first "plane" to the atheist-station.


Yeah, no giant meteorites will be hitting that particular station :D

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:56 am
I think that while there may be things that motivate people to move off Earth such as religion, there is only one thing that will enable it money.

Whether the cost to leave becomes much smaller or the finacial rewards gained by finding something off-world that has commercial value to Earth or a combination of the two it will all come down to money. If neither of these two things happen we will be going nowhere.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:06 pm
Of course we're going off-world!

Why? Curiosity. If we haven't conquered space for military, scientific, economic or other probably very sensible reasons, we'll do it for curiosity when the price of a launch gets low enough that someone fairly regular can save up some money and launch themselves to anywhere in the solar system with enough supplies to establish a permanent colony and return if they get lonely. Launch technology will permit this at some point, there are several promising technologies being developed/theorized that could give sufficient isp to enable fully reusable SSTO vehicles.


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Post Re: Will man ever colonize space?   Posted on: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:13 am
Hello. When the technology advances to a point when a ticket to Mars or further into our solar system would cost one week of work for an average joe then Earth will be the preferable place to live. Low income people will be forced to reside somewhere on mars, asteroids, rocks in space, etc., places that are affordable. Also, space travel may spark the use of weapons of mass destruction because leaders who start a war will have a way to escape Armageddon on Earth. But in any case the technology advances in space transport most likely will not come through the use of rocketry. Rockets have to carry their own propellants. The propellants within the rocket are accelerated in the wrong direction with accelerating rocket.
Are there any other forums similar to this one?

blertola wrote:
A tremendous amount of the science fiction that I read takes place either ten years into the future or ten-thousand years into the future. In the former, little has changed from present times. In the latter, man has expanded to the stars with technology so far extrapolated from present day science that it might as well be magic. Good literature on the interim period is hard to find.

I am having a tremendous amount of trouble envisioning a scenario in which man expands beyond Earth and colonizes space. And I'm not talking Space Arks hurled towards the next nearest star--I mean expansion even within our own solar system. What would prompt a large enough mass of people to live anywhere but Earth?

The answer, at least in my mind, is almost certainly an economic one (hence the reason I'm posting here): someone discovers some sort of economic value in space, a critical mass of people pursuing this primary industry gather, making the provision of secondary industries from space-to-space more profitable than Earth-to-space, and then I suppose things grow from there. Though what that economic value is and how things would grow is rather fuzzy to me (heck, it's all fuzzy to me).

The alternative, of course, is that the entire thought is a sham and it is most likely that people will never leave Earth in any sustainable number.

Anyway, I'm just not knowledgable enough to figure this out on my own, and none of my friends seem interested in the idea, so I thought I would register to a few forums and ask the experts what the most likely outcome was or what hypothetical scenarios could get man living beyond Earth. And here I am.

So have you ever thought about what the impetus might be?

P.S. I don't really buy the "Earth runs out of resources and people flee to space" theory, again because of economics. It seems more likely that we will simply start recycling and reprocessing the resources we've already used once it becomes profitable to do so vs. just tearing new ones out of the earth.

Hopefully this is the right forum to be asking this question in--it looks like most of the topics here are current day.

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