[extropy-chat] SPACE: new planet?

David Lubkin extropy at unreasonable.com
Sat Feb 21 22:37:04 UTC 2004

Harvey wrote:

>... We now can colonize thousands of worlds with interplanetary
>spaceships without having to invent interstellar travel or FTL ships ...
>... We also now know that Oort clouds and Kuiper Belts are normal 
>structures around stars ...

>Their close proximity means that massive parallel colonization is much
>closer (both in distance and time) than we could have predicted before.
>These worlds will be the primary space frontier.  We will colonize thousands
>of these before reaching many (if any) stars.  Furthermore, we will reach
>these Pluto-type planets around other stars before diving down into their
>gravity wells to reach their planets.  This means that even in interstellar
>travel, these worlds will be reached first.

Moreover, they are convenient stepping stones.

We've debated and fantasized about star travel for most of a century, down 
to the recent thread about the utility of interstellar exploration for a 

Absent a cheap, hand-waving magic physics, interstellar travel is presumed 
to be expensive. Either a high energy cost propulsive system or a 
long-duration flight (generation ship or suspended animation or immortals 
or robotic).

But. The coolest thing to me about Kuiper and Oort is the possibility of 
their ubiquity. If Proxima Centauri has an Oort cloud, it will overlap 
ours. We don't need a trillion-dollar starship or an FTL drive. The 
natural, gradual processes of wanting some elbow room when civilization is 
too cramping or wondering what's over the next hill that spread us across 
this planet can spread us to the stars -- in planetoid-sized hops.

-- David Lubkin.

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