Colonising another planet, what do you need?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by alexb123, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. Enmos Registered Senior Member

    Nothing. What did we need last time?
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  3. soullust Registered Senior Member

    um what we need is less corrupt governments, and business, that will not say something that costs a million dollars, costs a billion so they can line there pockets.
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  5. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member


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  7. TBodillia Registered Senior Member

    Current estimates say a crew of 6 would need 3,000,000 pounds of supplies for a 9 month space journey (manned mission to Mars and back not counting any stay on Mars). So, your 500 people would need 125,000 tons of supplies for just a 9 month journey, and there are no habitable planets in that range.

    If you want to add the fantasy of warp drives, or any other type FTL drive, you might as well add replicators.

    And, building a "modern society" 500 years ago is very different from building a "modern society" today.
  8. Mr MacGillivray Banned Banned

    I would take at least one puppy in order to reduce social stress among the population. Maybe more dependent on how many people are going.

    (scientifically proven: just google it; i can't post links.)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  9. MarkitScience Registered Senior Member

    interesting stats, how did you come up with those?

    if that's really the case, maybe the best way to populate mars would be to send something like 40-50 people instead, many in their youth, so that they could make babies and get the snowball rolling.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Robert L. Forward, a scientist who wrote "hard" sci-fi, used forty years as the one-way journey to the nearest solar system that might have a habitable planet. That requires previous unmanned craft finding it so we know where it is, and can start decelerating at the halfway point.
    Dogs don't live 40 years. Going to need a breeding colony of them too. I certainly wouldn't go to any planet that didn't have dogs!
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Seems very high estimates. Where are these from?

    web-search I have done suggests various alternative figures: which would suggest under 3.5 tons per person per 200 days (or 17.2 kg per person per day). Which would put a 9 month journey for 500 people at under 2,500 tons. This does assume a high level of recycling but this is not unreasonable.
    The ISS experiences would also suggest otherwise.
    Each rotation of c.180 days for 3 people require less than 3,000 kg.
    That's 1 ton per person per half-year. Roughly.
    500 people for 9 months... just 750 tons.

    Neither seem to suggest anywhere near the 125,000 tons.

    Or are you including fuel as "supplies"?
    'Cos if so then I think 125,000 tons is rather a low estimate.
  12. Gustav Banned Banned

  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Just to put some figures behind this sort of thing:

    If the ship accelerates continuously at 1g (for passenger comfort) with deceleration starting at the mid-point, then within 40-years of on-board time you could get more or less anywhere in our galaxy.
    But you'd need rather a lot of fuel.

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    Such things will depend on what fraction of "c" you can get the ship to, and then obviously how far away the nearest habitable planet is.
    At a speed of 0.5c the ship-board time only moves c.5% slower than for an observer outside the ship. So at such speeds 40 years would only enable a 20LY range for a habitable planet.
    Which isn't impossible, but there aren't that many planets within 20LY.
    Reduce the speed to 0.1c then you have to search within 4LY.

    The closest stars (Alpha Centauri system) are just over 4LY, and there are only 40 to 50 stars within 16LY, I think.
  14. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

    Weird you would arbitrarily choose 500 colonists. I just wrote a book about planetary colonization, and that's the exact number I used.

    If the planet was similar to Earth, I don't think you'd need all that much to create a thriving colony. Fertile couples with the right mix of skills would be more important than any of the tools brought along. The tools and supplies, however, would be handy. Guns for predators, a foundry, a machine shop, raw materials, heaps of medical supplies, lots of seeds and breeding stock, all these would be nice.

    Another important thing that couldn't be weighed or physically stowed for the trip would be the proper political and social systems to make sure the colony succeeded. There have been keen studies into why early American settlements failed, and they concluded that the lack of private ownership (or at least a large stake in the settlement's profits) contributed to starvation-levels of ennui.

    Tribalism, in-grouping and out-grouping, colonial fracturing, these threats make the psychological and social tools far more important than whether or not they have a decent ratchet set.
  15. soullust Registered Senior Member

    lots of :m:

    and maybe some food and water

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  16. Pronatalist Registered Senior Member

    Start with the most important factor or resource: MORE PEOPLE!

    No, don't bring any nasty anti-life contraceptives. No need, and why bring the corruption that people want to leave behind?

    What to bring? How about MORE PEOPLE. People forget that much all this technology, that we surely want to take, was the result largely of the natural population growth of the human race, and would not be viable with too small a population and markets too small.

    So wouldn't we want to transport as many people as we find who want to go, even if if means cramped huge spaceships, or 1000s of spaceships to make the journey?

    You don't just need tools, but more tools, as once a successful colony plant occurs, population is bound to grow. So we need the blacksmiths and such to forge more tools, and the miners to get and smelt the metals out of the ores. If you take a small number of people, you won't have enough expertise for the people to know how to build all the stuff we need for modern cities. Sure it may be possible to start all over from scratch, but why waste time doing that? I think a good colony plant should involve more than an Adam and Eve and a Garden, as we aren't near as smart as God, so why not reduce the risk by bringing more people, more expertise, and thus the ability to quickly produce more tools?

    So I would bring MORE PEOPLE, if at all possible. And with an entire planet to fill, surely contraceptives should at least be highly discouraged and natural large families warmly encouraged. Both in the old world Earth and the new world, wherever it may be.
  17. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    My immediate reaction to the question is : Who is this optimist?

    The odds against finding a planet with close to Earth conditions are astronomical against. Thus, we really need to talk of sending a colony ship to another star system capable of building liveable habitats under conditions like Mars, or the moons of Jupiter.

    Incidentally, acceleration of a starship will not be at 1 G. That is a massively high acceleration. It would get close to light speed in no more than 12 months. Realistically, acceleration is more likely to be around 0.01G for about 10 years, to reach a velocity of 0.1 C . Then the vessel would probably switch off the engines and coast till 10 years deceleration from destination.

    Starships will not be possible for hundreds of years, and possibly more. By that time, we can expect humanity will have incredibly sophisticated robotics. It would be perfectly feasible to expect that the robots would be capable of building a suitable habitat at destination. And a robot can be switched off for the duration of a very long voyage.

    With this capability, it would be much easier to send frozen embryos. Let the robots build a new liveable habitat, and then thaw the embryos and incubate them, and then educate the new people who result. They would have their homes waiting for them. After all, with frozen embryos, it does not matter if the robots take a year or 1000 years to build the new home.

    With frozen embryos, you need not be limited to 500 people. It could be 500 million!
  18. Emil Valued Senior Member


    SUPER GLUE :itold:
  19. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member


    money, money, money, and more money,

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    :facepalm: aii, we don't have all that.
  20. MarkitScience Registered Senior Member

    kudos to Gustav for posting the picture of seeds! very true

    also how can we forget: duct tape
  21. syeater Registered Member

    Assuming it is like earth with a mild climate, no hostile enemies.

    In one 40’ shipping container-to be used as shelter initially then as a shop or storage later.

    Medium size tractor w/front end loader, back hoe, post hole digger, concrete mixer and farm implements.
    1 ton pickup with a dump bed
    Portable saw mill
    All in one milling machine
    Chain saws
    Large industrial batteries
    -All of the above with 2 complete spare parts kits
    Water turbine
    Wind turbine
    Solar panels
    25 kW diesel generator
    2 diesel ATVs
    Axes, picks, shovels
    Seeds-both food and industrial hemp, trees
    Black powder
    Guns and ammo
    Fishing gear
    Canned/boxed food for one year (if like earth food shouldn’t be a problem assuming you have your choice to set down in the most human friendly region of the planet)
    Various hand tools, chains, tow straps ect
  22. superstring01 Moderator

    Well, you'd just look at the settlers took west a scant 150 years ago. Sure, the technology your colony would poses would be kinda old, but a hundred and fifty years behind is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I say, dispense with modern technology if your resources were limited and take the basics for starting life out in nature. Seeds, plows, animals, etc.

    Your people should consist of some well educated individuals who have an understanding of the evolution of technology, geology, botany, medicine, chemistry and engineering (and multiples of each) and the ability to put that knowledge to use in the new terrain. You would also want to take a good number of survivalists, hunters and generally resourceful individuals. I say about 75% in their 20s. 25% in their 30's and 40's. No one older than 45 unless they are remarkably indispensable and in fantastic health.

    If you had 500 people (hopefully of a varied racial and ethnic background), that's more than enough genetic variation. You would also want to find a place with good soil and some access to vital minerals and metals. Access to a river with fresh clean water, geological stability and a temperate climate would be a big plus.

    If you had that, then your colony would stand a great chance for survival.

  23. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    Come on guys. Get real!

    I mean - hunters??? - portable sawmills????

    The first planets to be colonised will almost certainly (thousands to one against) be unearth-like. Very possibly Mars-like. The odds against finding another Earth any time in the next few thousand years are somewhat slim.

    What we will end up doing is colonising something that is totally uninhabitable by today's standards. We may end up terraforming it, or (more likely IMHO) constructing sealed cities there to live in.

    What we will need is advanced technology for survival. No animals to hunt. No trees to cut down. We will probably carry frozen animal embryos for domestication - nothing wild (very likely also frozen human embryos). Since all this not happen for several hundred years (for Mars) or 1000 years plus (for outside our solar system), we can expect a very advanced technology, including artificial wombs, intelligent robot servants etc.

    In fact, I tend to think that the first colony on any extra-solar planet will be established by robots, and humans will move in to a completed and comfortable city. Why not! This romantic idea that people have of rugged pioneers carving a new civilisation out of the wilderness is just nonsense. It will not be like that at all.

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