I expect off-Earth colonies are inevitable -- perhaps even crucial to the survival of our species at some (hopefully distant!) point in the future.
Someday maybe, but realistically we just don't have the tech to do it.
An important consideration is that faster than light travel is probably not actually possible, and stuff in space is really far away[tm]. Aside from mars and the moon, anything else we could colonize is impractically far away.
Space Colonization, will have to come first before we colonize any planets outside our solar system. As any ship even with faster then light travel would probably need to be multi-generational ships.
Colonization was a superb game. I'd be all up for a space-based remake of it a la Alpha Centauri. I just hope they don't screw it up like they did the Civ IV mod.
If the human race wants to live long past our planets expiration date, then space colonization is a must. The sooner, the better too. I really think we should start sending our history and science into space. A backup of everything. That way if there ever is some sort of major disaster that destroys a large portion of humanity. Our technological advances can be retrieved and continued.
As for the tech? We do have the tech to colonize space, it's just in it's early stages. We would be limited to our own solar system though.
I do think colonization is much sooner than many people imagine.
I think we need to create the B Ark and send it on its way before we the planet gets eaten by a mutant space goat.
They talk about it a little here if you are interested. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/te.../ideachev.html
Food can be grown using plants. We already have the technology to do this indoors and it's even better than using sun light and it's even faster.They where even talking about using this tech to create vertical farms
Everything a human needs we could technically provide even in space. Just point out a problem I have yet to list, and I am pretty sure I can show you a solution.
The technology exists to send a living human or humans within our solar system. The major problem right now is radiation. Mechanical shielding is possible, but that adds significantly to mass, and thus propulsion requirements. Magnetic shielding may also be possible, at significant fuel/energy penalty.
Colonization presupposes a destination where a population could reasonably expect to become self-sustaining in a short period of time. No such place is known inside or outside our solar system as yet. Resupply missions are expensive and at the mercy of whoever remains on earth. "Eff 'em" is not an impossible decision at some future date when different political regimes and different economic realities arise on earth.
There is a lot of exploration, engineering and theoretical physics that needs to be done before anyone even thinks about settlements.
As for temporary habitats, again, there's the question of expense. Somebody needs to come up with a pretty good answer to the questions 'where' and 'why' before that amount of resources is committed.
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On a non-earthlike planet, the problem is ever so much larger, as subsistence is a much larger task. In addition to food, obtaining oxygen and water can be daunting. Then, for your manufacturing needs, the raw materials may not be present, or they are in a place or a form that your earth technology is not able to easily handle.
Consider Leonardo DaVinci. There were a lot of modern devices he understood and could have made, if the industrial base had the ability to provide him with the materials.
If I had to predict how we would get to the stars, I would say in the form of some kind of spore containing our genetic material, accompanied by digital representation of our knowledge base. These things could be dispersed widely without much concern for individual survival or ETA, and many orders of magnitude less resources than would be required to send actual physical humans.
FTL? NCC-1701? Convenient plot device for science fiction writers, and likely to remain so.
Last edited by Maxx; 29-Jan-2015 at 15:43.