General Discussion

Would space colonies be safe from Earth?
Lonnehart at 9:52PM, June 30, 2010
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The world today makes me depressed sometimes. People killing people and even to go so far as to wage war for the silliest things. Makes me want to grab a passing asteroid and turn it into a self sustaining space colony and populate it with people who just want to live normal lives and not deal with the idiots who cause so much strife.

Now after several hundred years many space colonies are founded, and all of them are flourishing and prospering while not trying to be Utopias. They trade only with each other and not with Earth and are really nice places to live. And the Earth? Heavily polluted, lots of strife, and ruled by overzealous priesthoods, overly greedy megacorporations, and extremely brutal megagovernments. They know what they did to achieve their power and don't care what it cost their Mother Earth for them to have it. Now they look towards the flourishing space colonies within the many asteroids that orbit Earth/Mars/within the Asteroid Belt…

Do you think they'd be aware of the space colonies? If they are, would they try to take them on despite the fact that they may have superior weaponry (the colonies wouldn't be stupid… they would've been watching Earth and would be prepared for attempted invasions)? Would they even have the tech needed to travel into space when they're restrictive about creativity and innovation? Is it possible for human history to end up this way?

I hope this topic isn't too far into left field… :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
Aurora Moon at 1:33AM, July 1, 2010
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you forget to take human nature into account for those space colonies.

those space colonies would eventually have a degree of corruption on them after a while….especially after the original founders were all gone and 40 generations went by.

After all, just look at early colonies everywhere on earth… barring killing the natives and invading their lands, they were virtually crime-free, very peaceful, etc.

Then as the colonies grew and it developed more, all the strife came.

it's just like religion, really. It starts out really swell, fine and dandy in that it basically tells us to love and respect our fellow human beings.
But the more people comes in, the more it develops over time the more you got followers who thinks that they know better than other followers on how things ought to be run from the inside. and worse, they start acting all holier than thou and such. 200 years later the religion has 30 million followers and you got your religious fanatics who bomb abortion clinics, crash planes into buildings, and the like. the “peaceful” self-important ones who feels the need to force their viewpoints down people's throats and condemns others to hell if the people don't agree with them.

that ruins the whole religion's reputation despite the fact that it was originally supposed to be a religion of peace. The fact that most religious people actually don't do that shit is moot… the few crazies and the hardcore nuts are just enough to corrupt it.

instead, what if Earth actually learned how to balance itself out and became something that could be considered as being close enough to a utopia?
And the space colonies, not having learned from Earth on how to balance things out, becomes the threat…..
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
Ironscarf at 2:06AM, July 1, 2010
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Agreed - the space colonies, being small communities, would be far worse than the earth they left behind. You know what happens when people leave mainstrem society behind to set up their own utopias don't you?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_E7CcGnDYNUc/SmTi7K2UjPI/AAAAAAAAAG4/rH4giTUO3FY/s1600/jonestown2.jpg
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
bravo1102 at 3:25AM, July 1, 2010
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There is also the possiblity that these space colonies would be wanna-be utopias and a glance at the Utopian self-reliant community movement in the USA in the mid 19th Century is very useful in this regard. Fortunately none of them ended up like Jonestown. Instead we got Utah.
Self-reliant space colonies made up of survivalists, white-supremecists, or any other fringe group of idealists would be far more likely than a bunch of Joe Sixpacks. Imagine a space colony of kyupol clones. ;)
And you know there could also be groups of tiny one family isolated compound law unto themselves space colonies infesting the solar system. Imagine another Ruby Ridge or Waco compound on every asteroid or the space equivilent of a mobile home.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Product Placement at 6:08AM, July 1, 2010
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So you're saying that if I found my own space colony, I can't declare myself as the King?

Stupid democracy. Always messing with my kingly plans.

Aurora worded it pretty nicely. We're silly people who can't play along in the long run. Eventually we'll find new and creative ways to mess it up for everyone.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:53PM
ozoneocean at 9:24AM, July 1, 2010
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Ironscarf
Agreed - the space colonies, being small communities, would be far worse than the earth they left behind. You know what happens when people leave mainstrem society behind to set up their own utopias don't you?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_E7CcGnDYNUc/SmTi7K2UjPI/AAAAAAAAAG4/rH4giTUO3FY/s1600/jonestown2.jpg
Sorry scarf.
We have a very longstanding policy against posting images of violence, gore, dead bodies, etc.
Please don't do that.

Maybe a wiki link to the Jonestown massacre would've made that point clearer than an ambiguous image anyway.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Ironscarf at 10:09AM, July 1, 2010
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Ozoneocean
Please don't do that.

Sorry, completely forgot the rule there: in future I'll stick to more socially acceptible ways to be misunderstood.

I never did find out who deleted my post of the Embassy 2008 Ladies World Professional Darts Final, or why. Maybe, sharp pointy things, thrown by ladies… violence?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
skoolmunkee at 3:03PM, July 1, 2010
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You should check out Red Mars, which is an amazing scifi novel, part hard science and part political. Half the book is about cool ‘settling on Mars’ stuff, and the other half is all the tension and conflict between the growing Mars settlements and factions, and Earth governments and corporations. It's honestly the best sci-fi novel I've ever read.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
same at 3:21PM, July 1, 2010
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War would be started between earth and the colony just because they're there and it doesn't belong to them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:21PM
skoolmunkee at 11:35PM, July 1, 2010
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I think the main problem I have with the “what if” is that it would be extremely difficult and expensive to make a functioning colony in the first place. You can't just go to someplace in space and live there like some kind of desert hermit. You can't even get out of the atmosphere without specialized equipment. Where I'm going with this is that of COURSE Earth would know there's colonies, be able to reach them, and have power over them because their governments and corporations would have funded and populated them. From the very beginning the colonies would be tied to Earth and have a lot of obligations. And unless whoever founded them was exceptionally generous, they would have expectations, requirements, etc- they'd be looking to get something from them. You don't just invest in something like a space colony for altruistic purposes. So in my view, there would never be a situation where there are independent colonies. The whole reason anyone's looking at things like space elevators is for mining and so forth.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
DAJB at 12:10AM, July 2, 2010
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Ironscarf
You know what happens when people leave mainstrem society behind to set up their own utopias don't you?
They turn into the USA?
;-)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
Ironscarf at 2:01AM, July 2, 2010
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DAJB
“Ironscarf” Said:
You know what happens when people leave mainstrem society behind to set up their own utopias don't you?
They turn into the USA?
;-)

Let's hope their sake, there are no natives living on Callisto!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
ozoneocean at 3:28AM, July 2, 2010
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skoolmunkee
I think the main problem I have with the “what if” is that it would be extremely difficult and expensive to make a functioning colony in the first place. You can't just go to someplace in space and live there like some kind of desert hermit. You can't even get out of the atmosphere without specialized equipment. Where I'm going with this is that of COURSE Earth would know there's colonies, be able to reach them, and have power over them because their governments and corporations would have funded and populated them. From the very beginning the colonies would be tied to Earth and have a lot of obligations. And unless whoever founded them was exceptionally generous, they would have expectations, requirements, etc- they'd be looking to get something from them. You don't just invest in something like a space colony for altruistic purposes. So in my view, there would never be a situation where there are independent colonies. The whole reason anyone's looking at things like space elevators is for mining and so forth.
I totally get what you're saying and agree, but I think Lonne is focussing more on a far future time when something like the economic powerhouse, the engine of growth and culture has moved on from the earth… Sort of like how they say Western civilisation started off in the middle east, Egypt, then Greece and later Rome. But the main engine of Culture and technological development moved on from them long ago.
For Lonne's scenario Earth is like Rome after the fall- a faded centre in an old empire. And now it's the colonies that have the new life, except they're separated by the vast reaches of space and not just a few thousand kilometres of land and sea- so Earth and the colonies are more isolated from one another.

I dunno. Very, very little SciFi is ever really predictive of the future. Contrary to popular belief most SciFi is always about the present, only extrapolated into a future setting from the tech and social trends of the day. When you understand that you realise that no SciFi can ever be out of date because it's really always about the time when it was actually written- an insight into that time and what people thought as well as how they thought and what they thought about. So 1984 is really about the late forties in Britain and Europe, 2001 A Space Odyssey is about the world of the 60's and the cold war situation, Fahrenheit 451 is about the world of the late 40's early 50s. etc.

I ramble… -_-
Anyway, so Lonnehart's scenario and the answers people give will tell us more about our own time and how we think about things now than what might happen in the future
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Air Raid Robertson at 10:27AM, July 2, 2010
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The only reason the Earth sucks is because there are people on it. If you move people to a space colony it's going to suck there as well. I don't think a change in the setting will eliminate any of the problems we frequently face.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:48AM
Lonnehart at 1:54PM, July 2, 2010
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ozoneocean
I totally get what you're saying and agree, but I think Lonne is focussing more on a far future time when something like the economic powerhouse, the engine of growth and culture has moved on from the earth… Sort of like how they say Western civilisation started off in the middle east, Egypt, then Greece and later Rome. But the main engine of Culture and technological development moved on from them long ago.
For Lonne's scenario Earth is like Rome after the fall- a faded centre in an old empire. And now it's the colonies that have the new life, except they're separated by the vast reaches of space and not just a few thousand kilometres of land and sea- so Earth and the colonies are more isolated from one another.

I dunno. Very, very little SciFi is ever really predictive of the future. Contrary to popular belief most SciFi is always about the present, only extrapolated into a future setting from the tech and social trends of the day. When you understand that you realise that no SciFi can ever be out of date because it's really always about the time when it was actually written- an insight into that time and what people thought as well as how they thought and what they thought about. So 1984 is really about the late forties in Britain and Europe, 2001 A Space Odyssey is about the world of the 60's and the cold war situation, Fahrenheit 451 is about the world of the late 40's early 50s. etc.

I ramble… -_-
Anyway, so Lonnehart's scenario and the answers people give will tell us more about our own time and how we think about things now than what might happen in the future

heh… I like posting topics that make people think… and Ozone is reading this right.

What I was thinking of the colonies in space was this… while all the colonies are separated by many MANY miles, we'll also have better travel technology. And all of the colonists who left Earth would've been screened for any extremist tendencies of any kind since it's those types who tend to ruin the colonies they live in (in fiction there's BioShock's Rapture, in IRL possibly the Puritans and Jamestown). Only those whose views are moderate and are willing to work with each other and listen to others would be allowed to move into the colonies. And those lessons would be taught throughout the generations (carefully screening the teachers of course) so that the space colonies flourish without the help of old Earth.

So that far flung future Earth is filled with religious/ideological/corporate zealots who fought each other for supremacy (and ruined the Earth in the process) while the people who fled to the colonies to avoid being drawn into the various conflicts have advanced far ahead of them (due in part to the need to survive in the harse environment of space and who was chosen to populate the colonies). How do you think the people of Old Earth will see those colonies? I'm sure some of them will try and attempt an invasion for one reason or another (which would be foolish since one of the things the colonies would be doing is WATCHING Earth)…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
imshard at 6:30PM, July 2, 2010
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Earth asserting supremacy is a definite likelihood. Folks are too greedy and with our tribal natures, Earth powers would probably want to assert their “Right to rule” as the cradle of man. I'd look to examples like Firefly/Serenity, certain episodes of Dr. Who, the Ender's Game anthology, or even the UED from Starcraft. Invariably the seniority entitlement is a strong rationalization for greed.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:59PM
Salsa at 10:28PM, July 2, 2010
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Sorry I am rather impatient and tired this evening so forgive me if I rehash some things that have already been said. I am feeling a little bit on the cynical side and am wanting to crush someone's ideal future.

You have been warned.

To your first question. There is someone that could very easily wipe you out by nudging an asteroid on the right path. You better believe that these people are watching them like a hawk!


For the moment let us ignore the extremely unlikely event that this socio-political would arise. The factors prohibiting this from happening will be touched on later. Let us, instead focus on the question at hand given the premise set by your first post.

Short answer, yes the colonies would most likely be safe from an attack from Earth. Conversely, Earth would be safe from an attack by the colonies.

The long answer:

The reasons Earth would be unable to successfully attack even one of the space colonies with out either vastly over-whelming numbers or vastly over-whelming force multiplication are many. One is the simple fact that it is very hard to hide in space. Even with all systems off and no life on board, a space craft would still be detectable by visual methods and a very old device known as RADAR. Even if you used radar scattering shapes and radar absorbent materials,the craft would still emit in the infrared because of heating caused by the sun.

The next is directly tied to the first. It is also very hard to sneak up on someone in space. I am going to assume that most of the technology present is plausible by todays standards. This means no FTL. So unless Earth has infiltrated the colonies, which you basically said was impossible, it would take someone sleeping on the job for weeks for an enemy fleet to attack unannounced. This rules out a sneak attack. It also means that, unless the attack fleet has some pretty damn big delta-vee to mass ratios, any attacking ships can be plinked from maximum range that the best resolution passive sensors can identify and select individual craft, basically the maximum range that individual infrared signatures can be differentiated. While lasers can't do much beyond about 400,000 KM, kinetic warheads, aka rail/coil gun of gauss cannon rounds, on the other hand don't suffer from the square root law (I think I got the name right). This means that as long as there is ammo and targets, the gunners can pretty much kill to their hearts content.

The third is distance. Space is big. Even at a few thousand KM/s, which would be like .999C, it would take a few hours to get to the asteroid belt. No known ship design that could be built can even come close to withstanding the accelerations involved in going from something close to 0C to that in a few AU's. So we're left with going at most .1C that means it would take days to get to the asteroid belt. More than likely, it would take weeks to get there, because the craft only carry so much delta-vee. Plenty of time to move people out and store up on missiles.

The forth is the fact that a rock is a pretty dang effective heat sink. the colony is likely to have it's weapons mounted on rocks kept in stable orbits around the colony, if it has enough mass. This means that if the people managing the colony's defense have any sense at all, they would keep the rocks as cool as possible and then open up when an enemy appears. After the threat is neutralized, start cooling off the rock again.

This also works the other way. If you want more info, go here. There is a section on war in space, but the other stuff is useful as well.

Now to the socio-political climate. You said that the governments and corporations were suppressing creativity and innovation. This is unlikely to happen because even the most despotic governments in history still encouraged innovation. If this were to happen, society would stagnate and civilization would probably collapse into something like the middle ages or the dark ages as people forgot how to maintain the equipment their relied on.

You also said that the colonies were separate from the Earth governments. This is also unlikely because for even one government to be able to colonize space in any significant capacity, it would require much cheaper access to orbit, or a total, fanatical focus on it. Colonies in space are harder to maintain than those on Earth were. While it is possible for a colony to become self-sufficient, it requires many years of work and trillions of dollars of funds, it is unlikely that the parent government is going to just let go of an investment like that without receiving some form of payback. This also pokes holes in the idea that the colonies only trade amongst themselves.

You also said that the colonies get along pretty swimmingly. I call bullshit on this one. History has shone us that time and time again, that as long as there are resources that a group of people don't control, as long as there is territory that a group of people don't control, and as long as there is another group of people that a group of people don't control, there is going to be conflict. If you look back at every war ever waged, one of these things was the cause. It is almost impossible that these colonies wouldn't be tying to kill each other because of resources. While space has plenty of some things. other things tend to be much rarer. Uranium is a heavy metal that is useful as a power source and a weapon component, but is very rare compared to say iron, copper, and especially aluminium. If someone is parked on a section of the belt that contains a lot of uranium, you can bet that everyone else is going to fight over it.

That pretty much sums up my answer, be glad I spared you, this could have easily been longer.
RAGE!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:18PM
Dave Mire at 5:36PM, July 3, 2010
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This is precisely the reason why rich people are buying land on the moon and on Mars. There is not a land mass on Earth or space that you can stand on without some human @sshole wanting money from you.
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bravo1102 at 2:21AM, July 6, 2010
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Adequately policing any frontier from settlement from wackos and extremists is impossible. You're expecting the USS Enterprise and the Star Fleet to be everywhere? (or Tom Corbitt Space Ranger?) Even then there were lots of wacko planets and colonies floating around. So forget it, there'd be crazies out in space, survivalists and want-to-be Mormons and utopians everywhere.
The greatest danger to the colonies would be the unruly elements in their own populations. A space colony could be a very fragile environment ripe for terrorism. Then there is labor unrest, the downtrodden all those rich a-holes need someone to do the work for them unless we assume mind control and robots but even that would probably not be prefect. You mind control a population and eventually someone somewhere will get an attack of conscience or decide to organize the downtrodden to fulfill their own dreams. Spartacus in space? Space colony Utopia being torn apart by their homegrown Caesar, Robespierre, Stalin or Castro?
There are 8,000-20,000 demonstrations and even petty rebellions in the People's Republic of China every year.

And then as Jerry Pournelle's book series points out: there will be war.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Jonko at 6:39AM, July 6, 2010
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Dave Mire
This is precisely the reason why rich people are buying land on the moon and on Mars. There is not a land mass on Earth or space that you can stand on without some human @sshole wanting money from you.

I didn't know about this.

Space colonies probably will exist some day, but I feel like it will be thousands, or at least hundreds of years until they can thrive enough to even remotely compete against earth. They will probably be too self dependent on each other for a while to be a threat to even each other.

Short term, it definitely seems like a peaceful solution to the problems on earth. I guess another question would be who gets to live on these colonies though. Probably only the rich and successful will have the means to go there, so the starving poverty stricken populations in corrupt countries will have to stay where they are. Unless there's a way to give those that need a fresh start priority to go to these space colonies, I don't think it will help anybody.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
DigitalCAPS at 8:34AM, July 6, 2010
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There will never be colonies. There will be only be ONE prison planet. I like the idea and it makes a wonderful comic book, but the elite who run this planet do not want us to flourish as a people. They just want you smart enough to do your work and dumb enough to keep bending over and letting them give it to you every payday.

Sorry.
Keep the Vision,
Jaymes Reed
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:11PM
TheFlyingGreenMonkey at 10:30PM, July 6, 2010
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I think the answer lies in every single Gundam ever made.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:19PM
therealtj at 1:57PM, July 7, 2010
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Pfft, no. We'd tax the hell out of you guys and obliterate you the first sign of resistance.

At least if I were president…

“The only moral it is possible to draw from this story is that one should never throw the letter Q into a privet bush, but unfortunately there are times when it is unavoidable.”
-Douglas Adams, The Restaurant At the End of the Universe
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:28PM

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