[extropy-chat] Space colony behind the moon?

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Wed Oct 18 19:39:24 UTC 2006

On 10/17/06, A B <austriaaugust at yahoo.com> wrote:
> The reason I ask is that it seems to me that a "stationary" orbit over the
> "invisible" side of the moon would be an ideal starting place to locate a
> self-sustaining space colony (as insurance against an existential
> disaster), such as the "Ark 1" as proposed by the Lifeboat Foundation. This
> location would seem to offer several security advantages over a lower,
> earth-orbit station.

You and/or the Lifeboat foundation should probably rethink this.  I've
devoted a *lot* of thought over the years to external hazard function
minimization -- I'm not sure putting anything in space is the way to go.

I strongly suspect that there are places on Earth that could be far safer at
a significantly lower cost because you don't have the wasted cost of hauling
material out of the Earth's gravity well.  Henrique's suggestion for a lunar
subsurface colony isn't bad -- but I think a better argument could be made
for an ocean subsurface colony.

Something like an oceanic subfloor colony [1] someplace off the NW coast of
the islands of Hawaii (away from the direction the subsurface hot spot is
traveling, away from the Pacific subduction zones, not near any "typical"
city targets for atomic bombs, etc.).  There is probably still enough latent
heat in the crust in such a location that you could tap geothermal energy
(otherwise you probably need a breeder reactor and relatively large pile of

Something like that and you would be relatively immune to anything which
happens on the surface and probably be able to survive for millions to even
tens or hundreds of millions of years.  The problem is that most of us were
brought up in the era when the colonizing of space would be the solution for
all of our problems so we don't think along the lines of colonizing the

Whether your fears are cosmic rays, mass drivers, nuclear weapons, nanobots,
etc. most of them become much less pressing problems if you have sufficient
amounts of mass between you and them.


1. Oceanic subsurface (sea floor) colonies are largely immune from most
natural or man-made hazards that would impact the Earth's surface.  A
sub-sea-floor colony would be immune from nuclear tipped torpedos as well.
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