Thursday, July 26, 2007

7 Days of Creation

Following our Maker's example, let's consider following seven phases of creating a habitat in space. Of course, He started with a plentitude of raw materials. In like matter, we'd need to find a suitable near Earth asteroid (or perhaps a piece of one). If this Near Earth Object (NEO) doesn't have water available already on it, we'd have to find some ingenious way of adding water. Perhaps a stray comet will become available; if all else fails, we could export many tons of seawater from Mother Earth.

1. "Let there be light." Build mirrors to collect and disperse light. Artificial Intelligence (AI) devices, (robots, nanobots, etc.) will precede humans to the NEA to do most of the work required to process asteroidal materials. Before they build an enclosing shell for humans to occupy, they'll need to build a means to resupply their consumed energy. Towards this end, first task will be to collect minerals from asteroid and start building solar mirror and solar arrays.

2. "Separate the waters..." Hopefully, the habitats will be large enough to acommodate clouds which would be the "waters above". Even more important, there should be enough water to form substantial reservoirs, "waters below". Of course, water has many functions and is necessary for life.

3. "Let plants grow." Terraform the habitat with mostly raw materials readily available from the NEO but with necessary traces of life available from a few tons of Terran topsoil. During this phase, the habitat should have achieved enough angular momemtum to simulate gravity. while angular momemtum normally conserves, the habitat will probably need to inject some more energy into its spin because shape and size will likely change during subsequent phases.

4. "Use the lights in the sky ..." essential aids for timekeeping and navigation. Insert lots of AI devices to track celestial objects and keep habitat on track.

5. "Fish and birds" export many life forms from Earth and let them inhabit the habitat. Lots of AI devices to monitor this environment and transmitt lots of video and measurements to Earth-borne scientists.

Notice this habitat still has very few human inhabitatants.

Most of the work for above phases will need to be done by AI devices: specialized robots as well as many nanobots.

If the habitat can't support fishes and birds, it probably can't support mammals. It would be poetic to include canaries in the bird populations (recall that coal miners used to carry canaries with them in the coal mines, when the canary died, coal miners would assume bad air and immediately leave. Similarly, if fish and bird can live in the habitat, it's a good sign that animals and humans can

6. "Animals and lastly, humans"

7. "Rest". Now we enjoy the ride. Please don't equate "rest" with "idleness". The mission really starts here; however, compared to previous 6 phases of construction, daily life will seem very "restful".

Deploy these new constructed habitats into cyclers, orbiters, and migraters.

Start out as spheres to contain NEO raw material as well as breathable atmosphere which will need a solid boundary to contain gases since habitat's gravity won't be nearly enough to do the same job as Terran gravity.

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