Making The Case For Space Colonization

DISCLAIMERThis was written as an assignment for my Language & Linguistics class and was originally posted on Academia.edu.

Space colonization is crucial to the development of human civilization because it opens the possibility of creating new homes for humanity and makes further advancements in energy and technology, with the efficiency of recycling a planet’s native resources for sustainability. Human beings have been curious of nature since the development of civilization. They are born with the desire for innovation and it has contributed to their place in existence. The realm of science has projected humanity’s fulfillment of their inherent destiny and has contributed to a myriad of discoveries. Now there is an increasing desire to colonize space. However, this voyage starts with focus on advancing equipment and machinery necessary for this almost-unbelievable feat, as well as countering controversies of its impossibility.
By fulfilling human destiny, it ensures its own progress as well as its benefits. By extracting hydrogen from regolith, it would be used to substitute the cost of what would’ve been spent on rocket fuel propellants, as well as its processed soil being used for food crops and heat insulation in the case of long-term residence. Once humanity has populated another world, the risk of their extinction is dramatically reduced and the benefits of civilization would be spread to other worlds.
Assuming that the Colonization Council will not depend on any sole nation, they have prepared its own goals by using the Hitchhiker Strategy. This plan is basically identifying programs that fit their desired destination and is closer to colonization (Gavert, Paragraph 13).
The reports by the Colonization Council have been called “Hitch reports” due to their ties to their Strategy (Gavert, Paragraph 14). It is but one step closer to achieving serious discussion in space colonization.
There is colonization of the Moon. It is the heavenly body most familiar with Earth and is most suited for settlement. The first moon-based research center may be built in 2030 (“Moon Colonies Possible”, Paragraph 1). Caves which appear on the moon as a result of volcanic activity could become radiation protection if it is sealed (“Moon Colonies Possible”, Paragraph 2). In 2008, images were taken by Japan’s Kaguya spaceship of the deep tunnels within the moon and if porous enough, according to Sergei Krikalov, head of the Cosmonaut’s Training Center, could set the plans for a cavernous base (“Moon Colonies Possible”, Paragraph 3).
Then there is the colonization of Mars. In 1997, NASA launched the first successful mission to the red planet that involved Mars Pathfinder, a rover capable of moving about the surface and making observations. The purpose of the mission was to verify the abundant remote sensing data that had been gathered on Earth as well as from satellite-based programs. However, it also received authorization to provide a public relations boost to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a federally funded research center in the California Institute of Technology that managed the project on behalf of NASA. It was successful in both cases and the Pathfinder provided new images of Mars never before seen, which increased public interest in NASA (Dittmer, Paragraph 2). The Mars Pathfinder also simulated human presence on Mars. Indeed, in 2004 President
George W. Bush made a pledge “to send a manned mission to Mars…” and has been “…funded and is in its design stages” (Dittmer, Paragraph 36).
Hydrogen in space travel is used for fuel, cooling scientific instruments to cryogenic levels, electricity, drinkable water, storage of reference gas, and as a gas gap heat switch. There have been discussions to add more uses of hydrogen for future expeditions. (Bowman, Paragraphs 1-2). Such an opportunity is the use of material from extraterrestrial sources. It is being proposed in the Extraterrestrial Resource Utilization (ETRU), designed by R. H. Frisbee. He makes the case that hydrogen is crucial for the manufacture of both propulsion propellants and structural materials. Hydrogen may be used for substantial quantities of samples from Mars to Earth once colonized. These samples would be cryogenic liquid/solid, and extracted from the carbon dioxide of Mars’ atmosphere to be used for fuel and oxygen. As a result, oxygen and water necessary for human life on Mars could be produced from the hydrogen, which would then be recycled (Bowman, Paragraphs 34-35).
Space missions are to support human, robotic, and one day colonial missions with the benefit of nuclear propulsion, as nuclear rockets can reduce the time to get to the Moon and back to Earth. It would also encourage long distance space travel and create a market for high-paying jobs in a lunar nuclear space port (Gavert, Paragraph 24). On Mars, it would lead the way for a small mission with one hundred colonists or a large mission with ten thousand colonists, where the missions would include “(1) Scientific Exploration & Research, (2) Commercial Exploration, (3) Transportation, and (4) Government Activities.” The following would be responsible for being consumers of propellants (Rice, Paragraph 3).

To read more, the paper is uploaded on Academia.edu.

Water Discovered In Jupiter

As it turned out, there has been a recent discovery by NASA into the Great Red Spot that has been most prominently featured on the face of the planet Jupiter. There has been detection of moisture found within the clouds of Jupiter, which could hold the possibility of water.

What makes Jupiter’s storms different from Earth’s is that Jupiter itself is 1000 times bigger, consists of gas, and rotates completely once in nine hours. This results in much more bigger storms. Also, while the weathers on Earth are affected by the Sun, since Jupiter is further away from the Sun, the weather activity is caused from the heat from the inside.

More specifically, the Great Red Spot is the major focus of this discovery. It is a 400-year-old torrential storm that encompasses 10,000 miles and moves at 200 miles. Within it are three layers of clouds: 1. ammonia; 2. mix of ammonia and sulfur; 3. icy and liquid water. This lowest layer of the Great Red Spot is what made Gordon L. Bjoraker, an astrophysicist of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, fascinated as soon as he discovered it.

How Bjoraker managed to discover this moisture was by working with a team of researchers to use an infrared spectrometer from the W. M. Keck Observatory and an spectrograph from the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. These were used to measure the wavelengths of light being projected from the Spot in order to see which chemicals were within it.

Detecting the wavelengths of the light as a way to find water on Jupiter was also used by Clemson University’s Professor Mate Adamkovics and his undergraduate research assistant by detecting the water spectra within the ice clouds on Jupiter outside of the Great Red Spot.

Amidst the elements within the layers of clouds, Bjoraker and his researchers found methane gas. This chemical was considered an important part of the research, as it helped Bjoraker and his team to determine where the clouds are detected and how they are moving. It turned out that the movements were being influenced by the lowest layer of clouds, which is what blocks the radiation from the Sun from entering the core.

While the core of Jupiter is made of ice, the rest of the gas planet consists of clouds. What also made the discovery of water possible was the presence of thunder and lightning within the clouds.

This is definitely a generation-defining discovery, alongside the discovery of ice on the poles of planet Mars. It is phenomenal in so much as it may answer many more questions about what lurks within Jupiter’s clouded surface.

I Would Live On Titan If Given The Chance

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on Odyssey.

 

Although it would be fascinating to explore the methane-rich oceans being governed by skies of vinyl cyanide, I think it would be rewarding for me long after being deceased to describe such a landscape. The scientific understanding of Titan would not only assist in my survival, but also in enriching my vocabulary. It would also be a disservice if I did not examine space colonization through the perspective of an English major.

Coming out of my hovercraft, I would sift through the sticky sand dunes while wearing my protective suit that would appear like the ones used for Earth skiing. I would commemorate the efforts made by astronomers in landing their rovers and probes upon Titan while describing the spacecraft graveyards that might exist on an island. I would look up at the orange skies, which, like Earth, have a thick atmosphere that protects the surface from ultraviolet radiation. Since I would have to learn scientific words in order to vividly describe this new land, I would have to write with a Huxleyan flare.

As for my occupation on these settlements, just like the protagonists in George R. R. Martin’s early science fiction work, I would like to be someone who is sent to an unknown world to explore it. Specifically, I would like to be sent out alongside scientists and archaeologists in uncovering water sources, sites for future settlement, and even possible life. I might also have to take part in terraforming Titan, especially since Titan can have temperatures that reach -179 degrees Celsius. It would be important to add warming compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere and photosynthesizing organisms such as lichens, mosses, and liverworts into the soil. Although I wouldn’t mind congregating among fellow colonists, I am naturally more inclined to befriend the landscape than other people; not just because I am an introvert, but because I would like to expand my own personal horizon.

While Titan can reach chilling temperatures, I would expect to live in this colony within a heat-compacted settlement that is above ground. Where exactly I would live geographically would have to depend on how much of a good view I can get of the Titan frontier. So I would have to live on one of Titan’s mountains, like the Taniquetil Montes, which have been named from a range of mountains from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Ring” series.

Any valleys, rivers, and other geological formations that the Taniquetil Montes would become my Walden and I would write with a Thoreauvian perspective about the Titan landscape. I would call into question the concept of land ownership as it would apply to human relationships as a whole in terms of wealth. I might even name this area New Walden. I would like to paraphrase Thoreau’s “Walden” in the context of this article by stating:

“What is a house but a seat?–better if a terraformed mountain seat.”

Similar to Thoreau’s experience, I would lend out my services to fellow settlers of Taniquetil. That would be life for me outside of the cities. I would only go to the cities if it meant doing a job there or even doing sight-seeing at the organic development of Titanling culture.

Akin to civilization-building techniques as old as human history itself, it would not come as a surprise that Titan cities would thrive in close proximity to a water source, specifically Ligeia Mare, a lake located in northern Titan. Because the water is made of methane, I would think that there would be technology used to convert it into drinking water, especially since there already is technology right now in converting ocean water into drinking water.

Although colonizing another planet would create a colossal feat for the human race, I naturally think that all of the negative aspects of the human race would be brought with them to Titan. One of those negative aspects is war between the most powerful countries in the world.

Since it would be inevitable that the superpowers of Earth–America, Russia, China, the Gulf States–would take advantage of this colonization race, I would be very interested in how diasporic populations from non-superpower nations would live in this Titan frontier. I could envision a complicated relationship between these populations and the colonial powers which would be not all too different from the complicated relationship between the Irish and the empires that colonized the Caribbean. In that case, it would not become uncommon for people from non-superpower nations to switch allegiances to other superpower nations for any benefits that they may find.

Though, I would be very interested to see how these interactions between entire nations would create an agreed-upon vernacular. Just like how Mannie from Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” narrates and speaks in what would appear to be broken English but is really a Lunar Creole combining English and Russian, it might be possible that creole languages would emerge. This interaction might be more interesting to me if I was given the opportunity to write about such encounters.

But because there would be colonies on Titan, I can imagine that there would be condescension from the superpowers proper, specifically when they look upon Titan colonials as not being in the position of taking advantage of the educational resources on Earth. This would be a problem that already exists on Earth when it comes to post-colonial literature in former colonies like Zambia. Since there was little access to publishers, who already think of the Zambian audience as illiterate, this came to the advantage of self-published authors like Sekelani Bandi. Having national literature (or in this case lunar literature) written by colonials would help make literature in general relevant to Titan society.

Amidst all of these conditions and tribulations, I would say to anyone curious about my perspective that my contribution to this hypothetical Titan literary culture would be worth it to me. Since I already mentioned famous authors in this article, such as Tolkien, Martin, Thoreau, Huxley, and Heinlein, their works including the works of many of my literary inspirations would be lined up in my shelves made from Earth-imported wood. I would be interested in seeing how entire generations of Titanlings would read my observations of the Titan landscape.