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Couldn't we use artificial soil to colonize it?

  1. May 24, 2005 #1
    oh well I got my answers so now I'm just using this thread to remind me of what I want to write in my notebook



    (Add to the list...subtract from the list..etc)

    Man Made Objects like Spaceships
    Mars (Somebody said we could melt the ice there.)
    Objects that are solid, and/or objects that are liquid, and/or objects that are gas (Like gas planets)- objects can't exist in any other state, even in space?
    Moons (Somebody said the moon couldn't be colonized due to the lack of soil on it. But couldn't we use artifical soil to colonize it? Or just take soil from Earth to colonize it? Or something?)
    Meteors- not actually objects in outer space. only considered meteors when they're in earth's atmosphere
    Stars (How cold can stars get? I suppose they'd be too hot).the concept of living on a star, speaking from a spiritual standpoint, seems intriguing)
    All the moons in the solar system (Including our moon) listed in other thread
    Moons (Not just our moon, but all the moons in the solar system)
    What other objects are there that we know of in the solar system?
    Of course, what our solar system- and other solar systems- contain could change over time..
    Our technology may also change over time, eventually allowing us to colonize more places?
    Need to add Cassisi-discovered moons of Saturn to list (not on list currently)

    Martian Satellites

    Galilean Satellites of Jupiter


    Jovian Inner Satellites


    Jovian Irregular Satellites

    S/2002 J 1
    S/2003 J 1
    S/2003 J 2
    S/2003 J 3
    S/2003 J 4
    S/2003 J 5
    S/2003 J 6
    S/2003 J 7
    S/2003 J 8
    S/2003 J 9
    S/2003 J 10
    S/2003 J 11
    S/2003 J 12
    S/2003 J 13
    S/2003 J 14
    S/2003 J 15
    S/2003 J 16
    S/2003 J 17
    S/2003 J 18
    S/2003 J 19
    S/2003 J 20
    S/2003 J 21
    S/2003 J 22
    S/2003 J 23

    Saturnian Regular Satellites

    Saturnian Librating Satellites


    Saturnian Inner Satellites


    Saturnian Irregular Satellites

    S/2004 S 7
    S/2004 S 8
    S/2004 S 9
    S/2004 S 10
    S/2004 S 11
    S/2004 S 12
    S/2004 S 13
    S/2004 S 14
    S/2004 S 15
    S/2004 S 16
    S/2004 S 17
    S/2004 S 18

    Uranian Regular Satellites


    Uranian Inner Satellites


    Uranian Irregular Satellites

    S/2001 U 2
    S/2001 U 3
    S/2003 U 3

    Neptunian Irregular Satellites

    S/2002 N 1
    S/2002 N 2
    S/2002 N 3
    S/2003 N 1
    S/2002 N 4

    Neptunian Inner Satellites


    Pluto's Satellite


    add Cassisi-discovered moons of Saturn to list

    End of list

    Anyways what I'm wondering is:
    Last edited: May 25, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2005 #2


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    No. There are many largely uninhabited places on Earth which are far more favorable for human habitation than any place in space. For example, the surface of the oceans, the Sahara desert, the Australian outback, the Northern expanses of Canada and Alaska, Siberia, Mongolia, interior China, the Amazon, and South Dakota. It won't make economic sense to provide jobs and housing in places like Earth orbit, the moon, Mars, etc. until these places are full. Yet, Earth's population is on track to level off at 10 billion people or so, which won't even begin to fill these places.

    No. First of all, exchanging information does not require a colony. At most all you need is a satellite around Pluto or somewhere else in deep space, with a long term nuclear or solar power supply, to boost messages from deeper space. Second, deep space exploration is basically a one way trip. If you are going to go all the way to the nearest star, three light years away, you aren't going to be able to come back to refuel, and even if you are, the extra time spend going from Pluto to Earth is insignificant compared to the entire length of the round trip.

    This is the best justification for a space colony which you have advanced so far. Note that a colony would have to be pretty big, I'd guess about 150,000 people or so, to continue the human race's existence without major technological interruptions. For example, a smaller group of people could probably not sustain a society that could have neurologists.

    Not sure what you mean.

    Could be done, but sustainable ecosystems are hard to do on a small scale and why would you want to do it?

    Not a nice place to live. Too hot. Maybe a small research station (a la Antarctica on Earth) at best.

    Truly horrible surface to live on, maybe you could work out some sort of decent living in the clouds where there are even some suspicions that primative life exists.

    Technological feasible, but still a whole lot less hospitable than Sibera or "metropolitan" Darwin.

    Could be done. Not clear why one would be in the atmosphere when one could be on a moon, however. The plus, I suppose, is that at the right distance out into the atmosphere you could probably get a 1G gravity without centrifigual force. The downside is that you'd have to deal with turbulence.

    Approximate "surface gravity" in each case (with G=1 earth gravity):

    Jupiter: 2.6 G
    Saturn: 1.2 G
    Uranus: 0.9 G
    Neptune: 1.2 G

    I use an almanac source for radius. For Jupiter, for example, I am using a 43,441 mile radius, of which about 4,000 miles of which is believed to be a rocky core and 35,000 miles of which is believed to be liquid hydrogen in the main.

    Cold, dark, distant, boring.

    Could support mining.

    Most plausible after Mars.

    Small, fragile, bad place to live.

    It isn't a meteor until it is crashing towards Earth and burning up. Most people want mortgages that last more than five minutes.

    If you live for geological periods of time that's a nice thought. No human has cracked a century and a half yet.
    Last edited: May 24, 2005
  4. May 25, 2005 #3
    I guess my question is..

    Say you did colonize a lot of things in space (Planets, moons, etc) and these colonies were as advanced as the ones on Earth and could communicate back and forth between Earth, etc.

    (I was thinking that the more things you could colonize the better, hypothetically; just because it would take space explorers less time to reach civilization whenever they wanted/needed to that way. I know people can just communicate with satellites...but reaching civilization in person would be a different matter..)

    And say you could make spaceships with colonies in them....

    couldn't you have (colonized) spaceships (hypothetically) placed at various points between Pluto and the nearest star? (The one that's like three light years away) I mean hypothetically couldn't you colonize PAST our solar system (I mean so that we can explore a large part of the Universe) using spaceships?

    At least in the future, when our technology is better, if not now?

    And it might not NECESSARILY be a good idea to wait to start colonizing other planets until Earth's natural resources (Such as the Amazon) are completely gone.

    I guess you'd probably just have one spaceship with colonies on it travelling everywhere....instead of, or as well as, spacestations with colonies on them everywhere providing "checkpoints/interaction with civilization" etc with people (For those exploring the rest of the universe)

    I mean people wouldn't live long enough to journey between Pluto and the nearest star anyway right? So I guess they'd either have to breed onboard the ship, or pick people up at checkpoints and stuff (man-made checkpoints like spaceships) (While, or just, doing other things like doing whatever they need to do with civilization at those checkpoints)

    I mean I'm mostly talking about the future here not the present
    I guess that didn't make sense

    Also, how far have unmanned probes gone into the Universe? How far can an unmanned probe find information that it can relay back to us?


    What methods can we use to learn about the rest of the Universe that DON'T include travelling to other places in the Universe. Eg how good is stuff like unmanned probes.
    Last edited: May 26, 2005
  5. May 25, 2005 #4


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    This post includes a lot of things that have been proposed. In the outer regions of the solar system there is the Oort cloud of comet cores - it's where the comets come from. It has been proosed that our Oort cloud and associated debris might extend as much as a light year beyond the outermost planetary orbit. And then maybe Alpha Centauri might have an Oort cloud too, extending out a light year. This would reduce the distance between the two clouds to half the distance between the stars, say two light years. So you could visualize colonizing these bits of asteroidal junk until we go far enough out to make the shorter hop to Alpha C.
  6. May 25, 2005 #5
    oh heres a website with the other moons listed


    Anyways can somebody make a list of ways we can learn about the rest of the Universe without travelling there eg unmanned probes. I mean, I know we've been able to view planets that are in other solar systems without going there. Or at least, probable planets. I mean I know we can view planets in other solar systems from Earth (Apparently?) I'm just unsure of how far away we can view things from Earth, and info about unmanned spacecraft, and stuff

    Last edited: May 25, 2005
  7. May 26, 2005 #6
    I think you need to do some more reading on this subject. While I believe colonization is an excellent idea (though we are far from the capability), your explanation of it (and possible locations) was faulty at best. However, I would like to hear ohwilleke's reasons that the human population will reach a steady state here on Earth.
  8. May 26, 2005 #7
    What other things could we colonize though? I'm mostly just keeping the list/thread (in the first post) to put in my notebook. But when I made the thread I just wanted to find out what people thought about places we could colonize...I didn't make the thread to say what I thought should and shouldn't/could and couldn't be colonized (Just made it to find out other people's thoughts) And the thread was also mostly supposed to be about hypothetical things...things that could take place in the far future..

    Also when I was pointing out reasons for colonizing space....I didn't know what reasons there would, or wouldn't, be for colonizing space... I was just interested in finding out about it...I didn't really care what the reasons for colonizing space would be...so I just deleted that bit I wrote about "reasons for colonizing space"
    Last edited: May 26, 2005
  9. May 26, 2005 #8
    The things we can colonize are not necessarily the ones we'd want to. As ohwilleke points out, putting a sustainable human presence on planets such as Mercury or Venus would be an endeavor far beyond our current capabilities. It likely COULD be done in the future (if humanity survives long enough), but due to the nature of our society, a (paying) reason would have to be found. Also, one does not "colonize" spacecraft (unless of course, they are already there. That would carry huge social and scientific stigma though.) one inhabits them. It would be possible to move some kind of dirigible platforms into the Jovians (Jupiter and Saturn) as I have heard that certain regions on Jupiter could support a human with little more than a breath mask and some warm clothing (and that's with a one G environment!). I suppose we could colonize deep space as well, but the reason (paying again) would have to be found.
  10. May 26, 2005 #9
    I guess my question is:

    If we colonize farther and farther into the rest of the Universe, won't it be easier (At least for the colonies in space) to learn more about it quicker? (Since we'll be able to launch spaceships and such from farther and farther away)

    What other ways can we learn about the rest of the Universe other than by exploring it first-hand and/or using unmanned probes? How far can unmanned probes go, how far have they gone, etc?

    When I was talking about colonizing spacecrafts...I guess I used the wrong terminology (Eg the word colonizing) but I basically just meant the term "colonizing" to describe the human species living on spacecrafts indefinitely
    Last edited: May 26, 2005
  11. May 26, 2005 #10
    With re to Mercury, no SO bad.

    Mercury is only hot where the sun shines. In deep craters there's likely ice, very very cold ice.
    I don't remember the exact temps on Merc, but they range in the neighborhood of below -200F in shadowed areas to 800+F where da sun shine. Some craters near the poles never get sunshine at the bottom of them.
    The nice thing about an area like that is the ubiquitous availability of power.
    With collectors in the sunlit areas and radiators in the shadowed areas you get essentially the equivalent of geothermal power on steroids.
    A colony on Merc might be little more problematic than a colony on Earth's moon.
    Of course getting there and leaving would be one heck of a lot more difficult. Unless winding up with fingers growing out of your lips due to radiation induced mutation among the few who survive the trip doesn't bother you.

    Then again, having been raised in New Jersey, nit picking problems like mutation don't bother me as much as they do other people. (And here you thought those spiky iridescent green and pink coiffures popular in our state were due to the use of hair dye).
  12. May 26, 2005 #11
    i've done this in geography, i think there are 5 stages in a civilisation's population rate, the birth rate, death rate, and population level goes all over the place, at the moment in the US and UK, we have a low birth rate and low death rate, in places like japan the birth rate is falling, and life expectancy is going up, meaning a lower death rate, i think, i'm not sure why this graph says it's going up...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/population/popchangestructurerev5.shtml [Broken]

    but i think 10 billion sounds good, until we leave earth atleast...

    i was going to mention myself thatif we colonise then we have a much greater chance of surviving a tradegy...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  13. May 26, 2005 #12
    sorry, my sister and I both created accounts on here..is there any way to just delete one, then we wouldn't accidently leave each other logged in

    Last edited: May 26, 2005
  14. May 26, 2005 #13
    Life expectancy is rising because of the simple nature of humans. We rarely want to die, and so medicine has made incredible progress in extending our lifespans. Unless a major event occurs to set back the population clock, we are facing the specter of huge overcrowding. I see no reason why our population will level off at 10 billion; we simply like to live far too much to stop living longer. It is this exact issue that we will have to confront in the near future. I do, however, agree that offworld colonies would greatly increase our chances of survival in an event such as meteor impact.
  15. May 27, 2005 #14
    when we colonise, even if we have loads of room left here, we wont have to worry about overbreeding
  16. May 27, 2005 #15


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  17. May 27, 2005 #16


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    Without a LOT of very good shielding, we won't have to worry about any breeding amongst colonists. The Earth's magnetic field protects us from our Sun, which is not as benign as it appears. Outside this magnetic field, solar flares are pretty lethal. You wouldn't want to try to send somebody to the moon during a period when the Sun is active. One solar burp and they're toast.
  18. May 27, 2005 #17
    ohwilleke, your argument for 10 billion people is based on quite a lot of assumptions. To quote the source you just provided:

    - If fertility rates were to stay constant at 1990-1995 levels for the next 155 years, the world in 2150 would need to support 296 billion persons.

    - Although the high and low fertility scenarios differ by just one child per couple, half a child above and half a child below replacement fertility levels, the size of the world population in 2150 would range from 3.6 billion persons to 27.0 billion.

    Although I think that 296 billion is far out of the ballpark, 27 billion isn't that far out. Only another half a child per family would result in 17 billion more people over a comparable amount of time. However, even assuming that your scenario is correct, can the world expect to support 10 billion? With only six billion now, we are facing all kinds of issues, from massive starvation in Africa to extreme poverty in Asia and pollution in Japan that has rendered the air virtually unbreathable at times. And yet you have the audacity to sit back in your chair in front of your computer in a first world nation remote from these problems and say "Oh, another four billion? That's not a problem. Pile 'em on."

    With a global populaton in this range, the possibilities of disease transmission become far worse as well. Slums and ghettos around the world are already becoming breeding grounds for viral infections of the worst kind. Lack of access to health care would compound the problem. If the bird flu, for example, was to become human-transmissible, millions, perhaps even billions would die in the resulting epidemic. To put it shortly, if we are not going to shortly curb our growth rate as a species, we are going to need a whole hell of a lot more space if we plan to avoid these problems.
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