Space Homesteading

Space Homesteading

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In the future we will not simply travel to  visit new worlds but seek to build homes   and forge lives on them. So what would  being a pioneer in space truly be like?  Chloe and George Astrid move to Venus in the 23rd  century because the holovids showed them a life of   rural splendor in their own private sky castle.  George had proposed to Chloe on the observation   balcony of the 3783rd floor of the arcology  in New York they both grew up in. The view   way up there was above the clouds, where the sun  still shines even when it was raining down below,   and he said spending time with Chloe made  every day a sunny day for him, and he wanted   to spend the rest of his life with her. Venus is a nightmare on the ground,   a burning land where it rains acid on a molten  terrain, but far up above, you can fly a blimp   filled with normal breathable air because the  thicker Venutian atmosphere is heavier than air,   and the temperature has cooled quite a bit. You  can take a virtual tour there where your blimp   can slowly move along at a pace no faster than  a person might jog and keep up with the Sun,   so that the Sun never sets. Life in the 23rd century is  

in many ways far better than at any time in  the past, but it still has its harsh moments,   and after some personal tragedy hit them George  talked his wife into moving to Venus, to set up   their own floating homestead far from anyone else,  floating above the clouds in perpetual sunshine.  There’s some subsidies and low-interest loans  available for those wanting to pack up to Venus,   and the default trade for those seeking to be  sky farmers is a floating home that has solar   panels for sucking in and separating nitrogen from  the atmosphere, which is 96.5% carbon dioxide,   3.5% nitrogen, and a handful of other traces  gasses. Every so often a remote tanker will come   by to remove much of their nitrogen, and they’ll  grow plants hydroponically to support themselves   and sell and trade the excess to neighbors or  even on the Hesperides, the twilight sky city   that floats on the day night terminator of Venus. Their home is under a diamond glass dome woven   from the extra carbon in atmosphere, surrounded  by thin solar collectors, and both rest upon a   vast thin storage balloon of many chambers, and  as they gather nitrogen into those they rise   higher in the sky and when a tanker docks and  drains some away they dip down into the clouds.  Theirs is not a homestead of soil and  grass, but of carbon fiber and aerogel,   floating like a great sky-ship amidst the golden  clouds of sulfuric acid, refining nitrogen to   export to distant places out among the solar  system and growing food to feed Venus’s growing   numbers. Robots help with a lot of work and they  buy and trade for many things, but they like to  

keep to themselves and make most of what they need  and they try to make the most of what they have.  In their free hours they often put on their thin  protective suits and breathing masks that they   use for outside maintenance, and instead get their  hang gliders and fly around the clouds of Venus.  It’s a simpler life than most, and a harder one  that keeps them busy, but their home is their   sky castle, under the eternal sun and above the  clouds, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Homesteading is a bit of a nebulous term  these days but is generally a lifestyle   emphasizing self-sufficiency, and typical in  a rural environment. The motivations for this   lifestyle are as variable as the styles and  degrees of approach, but it is obviously one   that would seem to translate well to settlers  on a new planet. After all, self-sufficiency is   a fairly critical approach to any individual or  community seeking to set up shop far from Earth.  We’ll talk a bit about motivations for  homesteading in a moment and how they might   translate on to space. However, a key notion  for today is that often our notions of people   going settling and pioneering are a bit romantic,  especially compared to the reality of that life.   We’ll ask today if that truly is an option for  interplanetary or even interstellar settlement,   or if we are tricking ourselves into  thinking of space as the next or final   frontier, the Wild West of the Galaxy. The 900-pound gorilla in the room is that  

currently advanced technology makes true  self-sufficiency basically impossible. In   the past you could get your family, load it  on a wagon with a lot of tools and supplies,   and make your way on the Oregon Trail to a  farm where you might not see neighbors for   days or weeks at a time and where you could be a  mountain man and spend a whole season out hunting   or trapping or prospecting and never see another  soul except your partner or your trusty mule. If   you’ve played the Oregon Trail video game you  have a pretty good idea how often the journey   to these lifestyles was beset with misfortune or  how often those who chose to go without neighbors   and communities were ruined by the effort, but  the possibility existed and was attainable.  As we’ll see today, that possibility does  remain, but much like nowadays, you will   usually be within reach of phones, the internet,  and Amazon. Again there’s a lot of motivation  

for homesteading and if your goal is to be so far  from others they don’t know you’re there and can’t   reach you in days of travel or even communication  time, there are options for that, like the Oort   Cloud or eventually even the galactic rim.  Many might want that option one day too,   and we’ll explore the Hermit Shoplifter Hypothesis  of the Fermi Paradox a bit today too, though I   gave it an episode of its own up on Nebula not  long after writing this, in order to examine why   some people might flee civilization even if they  weren’t particularly introverted and recluse.  And options like 3D printing, robotics, nanobots,  and digital archives do open the door for true   isolation, whereas in our modern society our  supply chains are so enormous that, as we   learned during Covid, basically every industry  is essential and we’re more interconnected and   interdependent than ever before. Homesteading was not a new idea   when Covid started but it gave it a bit  of a boost. I am a Homesteader myself,  

by most definitions I’ve heard, though in a moment  I’ll explain why I don’t think of myself that way.   My wife and I have tons of friends who identify  as homesteaders, and since she and I seem to check   more boxes than most of them I figure it probably  applies to us but there’s a missing element.  Examining my own motives, I doubt they’re the  norm, but my ideal lifestyle is essentially   what I already do. I love my job, my work here  on this show and the various other hats I wear  

in life. And I do them better in my nice quiet  farmstead where I can concentrate on my work. Or   could until we adopted 3 little kids last year.  My wife and I were both homeschooled as kids,   and we homeschool our 3 hooligans now, so it took  a bit of effort to adapt my workflow around that.  

I’ve mostly managed to train them to be quiet  when I’m writing or recording but my youngest   son Geo often does his schoolwork in my office  and last time I asked him to go out so I could   record and let his brother and sister know, he ran  through the house yelling for everyone to shut up   so dad could record before coming back to shout  through the door that everyone was quiet now.  For my wife and I, the lifestyle was no  sacrifice at all, she was raised on a farm   and we’re both the quiet introvert types, which  is amusing since we’re both professional public   speakers. We both have jobs that let us control  our days better but often have to work long or   late hours. A lot of the stuff that comes with  homesteading is stuff one or both of us grew up   doing or do as a hobby so it’s part of why I  tend not to describe myself as a homesteader.  

I’m an eccentric scientist and writer who lives  in the country, and my wife describes herself as   a farmer, same as she has done her whole life,  and same as most second and third generation   farmers do, rather than as a homesteader. Most of the folks I know who identify specifically   as a homesteader do so after it being a big life  change for them and often a big sacrifice. There   is an implied element of migration to the  term I think, even if you only moved out of   town to the nearest rural area, not half-way  around the country like in pioneering days.  Obviously, definitions can vary but there’s the  element I’m trying to bring to focus for today,   in terms of what separates a space homesteader  from any other space colonist or someone who   just lives on a developing planet that  is still sparsely populated but on which   their ancestors have lived for several  generations or even thousands of years.  The introductory story at the beginning of the  episode was inspired by a number of stories others   have told me about their motives for essentially  resettling themselves. That’s not new either,  

the Green Acres TV show of the 1960s  sympathetically parodies the trouble   a big city lawyer has packing up and moving  himself and his wife to their new farm in the   middle of nowhere. It’s not unique to the US or  even the last couple centuries, but often in the   past it was in the other direction, get off the  farm and get a better life in a town or city.  Picking up and moving to a better  life, and changing lifestyles,   is not a new idea and often is an effective  strategy – it can be a very bad one too,   as many a person discovered on their challenging  journey to that golden destination, their own   Oregon Trail, either finding it harder to get to  than expected or that the grass wasn’t very green.  We seen an amusing example of that with David  Weber’s fictional Planet Grayson, where the   colonists were originally techno-primitivists  on Earth looking for the simple life and bought   rights to colonize a beautiful blue-green gem of  a planet, Grayson, 500 light years from Earth and   made the journey at sub-light speed on ice. It  was such a gem that they intentionally didn’t  

bring teachers and textbooks with them intending  to bring only a little higher technology to get   started and abandon that for their desired  tech-level. They discovered their seemingly   paradise like world was so green because it  was ultra-rich in arsenic and cadmium. Their   descendants led very rough lives and quickly  embraced technology as soon as they could get   access to it again and took up orbital farming. Which as a minor tangent isn’t a good approach,  

you would be putting a vacuum sealed environment  full of purified soil and water into orbit to   bring food down to your planet. As opposed to  simply building a dome with a floor sealed against   significant leakage to fill with purified water  and soil, which you do not need to haul supplies   and food back and forth from space for . To be  fair, they have anti-gravity in that setting,   so going up and down to space might not  be any harder than trucking it across a   continent which we often do nowadays. Also,  there’s definitely room for space farming,  

we’ve discussed it in multiple episodes, but as we  saw in our recent episode on Agriworlds, there’s   a fairly narrow window of future technologies  and development for bulk interplanetary food   trade to be economically viable. That matters for our discussion   for today because for a lot of folks historically,  homesteading was intended to be a path to personal   prosperity. Folks were often leaving for the  goal of independence or a promised land but also   often with prosperity as a primary or secondary  motive and that’s a bit harder if space requires   a huge personal investment only the ultra-rich or  those backed by government monies could achieve.   The latter is likely to come with strings  attached which might make it less appealing   to those wanting personal independence. The  workarounds we typically see in science fiction,  

besides hand waving it aside, are to assume a  gold rush type of scenario, something in space   is making for a very fast and high return on  investment, typically with a lot of risk too,   or the cost is a bit secondary because Earth is  so packed to the rafters with people that there’s   a lot of mechanisms in place to export them. There’s a tendency to assume populations grow   unavoidably, toward Malthusian Catastrophe, but  I’d say the evidence tilts toward civilizations   tending to react when pushing that limit with  something other than a casual shrug that mass   starvation will tend to correct the issue for  them. I think what we tend to see instead,   is that where it’s starting to feel cramped  the culture will start encouraging smaller   families or immigration to new places,  while throwing on subsidies, laws,   or tax incentives to immigrate to new planets,  build space habitats, or have fewer kids. 

My own guess though is that overpopulation doesn’t  get managed directly by just shipping folks off   to new and distant planets, but rather that’s  where you encourage elements of your culture   to go to who specifically desire large families  or big frontiers. Locally you just build more   space habitats in orbit and arcologies on the  ground while shifting focus off big families.  Those incentives for leaving can  also apply to groups you don’t like,   who volunteer in order to flee persecution, or  perceived persecution, or get sent into exile,   or some combination thereof. The Grayson scenario  is a perfectly plausible one, folks leaving for   their promised land, and in their case getting  stuck in a proverbial desert akin to the Exodus   from Egypt under Moses. For those who’ve seen the  Expanse and remember the big Nauvoo colony ship,  

it’s a very similar scenario and also parallels a  lot of religious or political pioneer settlements   in the colonial era. And other eras too,  it’s been fairly common throughout history,   and probably pre-history, for chunks of humanity  not fitting in well to seek abroad, indeed many   young person’s leave their family or village or  tribe for a life in a traveling trade or as a   merchant or musician or soldier for this reason. And science fiction has explored many of these   scenarios, but I would tend to guess the most  likely one is that some group with a lot of   resources – a nation, corporation, religious or  ideological group – gets enough resources together   to found an initial outpost and reasonably  legitimate claim on a given planet or piece of   planet, and does so basically as soon as they  can make a respectable effort at it. As such,   it’s always a bit resource-strapped,  even in a relatively post-scarcity   scenario. They also are going to get a lot  of pushback if they’re constantly planting  

half-baked settlements to claim new real  estate – be it militant or more polite.  That means they are looking for more investment  – literally and emotionally – which means a lot   of them are going to be trying to find a method  to encourage people to come and in a way that   minimizes their own expenditure, but also without  risking such a failure rate that it makes them   look bad. After all, very few powerful leaders  are indifferent to their reputation, especially in   terms of an appearance of competence and success. It’s also a lot easier to avoid the claim you’re  

over-reaching while planting new settlements  out in space if those all have a relatively   open-door policy to people going there, not  just your personal supporters and cronies,   and if it is seen as successful. If country X  tries to claim some 100 kilometer wide asteroid   or 100x100 kilometer chunk of the Martian  landscape, it makes their claim easier to   maintain if their allies and rivals and own  citizens view it as a successful colony that   they can move to or compete inside for business.  In a post-scarcity society, we may or may not   have the same overall commercial perspective or it  might be that the term ‘money’ gets replaced with   prestige or reputation for certain applications. And that’s where your basic homesteader situation   comes in handy. You might pledge everyone a free  ticket to your new location and a chunk of land.  

Depending on how badly you want them, this might  include a standing subsidy for being there or a   lot of equipment, or it might be that you  give out low-interest loans for gear and   tax waivers. Your objective is to devote the  minimum resources for the maximum success so   you definitely want to be focused on getting  people in there who are predisposed to not   expect a lot of help and so that attitude toward  self-sufficiency that tends to be associated to   homesteading is likely to be something you  want and will aim your marketing toward.  Of course they might also be future pains in  the neck for trying to establish more control   over the area as it grows, and in a high-tech  civilization there’s no guarantee that when   that happens in a hundred or so years that the  original settler who left to become independent   isn’t still there, rather than a descendant  of theirs who might be just as glad to see   the Wild West era transition into one with  a lot more infrastructure and government. 

Which raises the question of what the draw is  for them to support themselves, and an important   caveat. That a settler might not need much support  from home, now or later. It is entirely possible   that by the end of this century we will have  managed to achieve some or all of the following   technologies: Life extension, 3D printers,  nuclear fusion, reliable medium-intelligent AI.  Let’s consider the impact of that with a quick  scenario. In the not-too-distant future an   organization sets out to create a big encyclopedia  of everything you need to know as a settler,   including textbooks and augmented reality training  videos of every profession and major hobby. Their   foundation releases the Encyclopedia Galactica and  keeps it updated. They also put in a big library  

of every book, song, movie, recipe, software, or  medicine that’s free from copyright or willingly   donated. Along with this they include  a database of blueprints for any useful   tool or building or piece of equipment or even  a child’s toy they think a settler might need,   along with suggestions of what to use and where. They call this database their Standard Templates   and Constructs, or STCs. Neither the Encyclopedia  Galactica nor the STCs have all of human knowledge   and design in them, not by any means, but it’s got  everything they think a settler might need. A lot   of it is baseline models from companies donated  to include their brand name on the 3D print and   with a note that a better design is available  for a small premium. This all comes in a nice   sturdy briefcase along with a 3D printer, and the  case includes some solar panels and batteries. 

That printer can actually print its own parts  or those for a handful of more specialized or   larger printers or industrial machines. But one of  its most useful abilities is that it has diagrams   for cheap and sturdy solar panels and transparent  dome material and batteries and it can make them   out of many different combinations of available  materials. It’s no match for the state of the   art mega-machines some have available and it's  often clunky tech twenty years out of date but   you can open that box anywhere the sun shines,  or where you can plug it into a power supply,   and the limited AI on board can  consult with you about what you   want to build and how best to get to building it. It is not a big old ball of gray goo that’s going   to spit out sophisticated electronics in seconds  or turn an asteroid into spaceship overnight,   but when you arrive on Mars and they hand  you your case and your personal rover full   of supplies and a deed to your 100 hectare plot  of land, it is sufficient that you could drive   off to that spot and start building your dome  equivalent of a log cabin. If you have more   resources you might build a power receiver so  you can get energy beamed down by microwave   from satellites in orbit, to work faster. I chose Mars as an example because I know   it’s a popular spot for folks to contemplate us  settling but I’ve never heard a convincing case   for how it would ever profit Earth except as a  dumping ground for more people and as a prestige   project. Unlike asteroid mines or orbital power  arrays or space farms, Mars doesn’t really have  

anything to export you can’t find easier elsewhere  and without the large gravity well. It is a place   that could handle large self-sufficient  settlements though, and which we already   know has a personal draw for many people. It only takes one cheap mass space launcher   to make settlement viable at this point,  as one orbital ring around Earth with a   few ground tethers can get you into orbit for  costs on par with a plane flight, and then you   can ride a large, slow Aldrin Cycler out to Mars  with several thousand other settlers each trip.  

The key thing here is that you are a de facto  post-scarcity civilization at this point. It’s   not that robots simply do everything automatically  and with no oversight, but rather that production   is pretty massive and automated and that you can  mass produce cheap sustainable power generation.  An advanced 3D printer with a lot of templates  and a simple AI in it is not a Star Trek   style replicator, but it fulfills a similar  purpose in clever and industrious hands. Also,  

the usual Genie-in-a-lamp rule about not being  able to wish for more wishes does not apply,   there is no reason a 3D printer or replicator  can’t make all the bits and pieces needed to   make a copy of itself. The very existence of  every single biological cell on this planet   proves that is the case, and also proves you  can make machines at least that small. That   said I think it is a big jump to assuming the more  extreme scifi cases where you could dump a vial   of nanobots on the surface of a planet and watch  it magically terraform the place in a few hours,   or that any 3D printer is going to pull off either  the speed or intricacy a Star Trek replicator.  That doesn’t mean one couldn’t give you  the necessary instructions and blueprints,   based on what you have available, to make your  own domed home, pressurized rover, or personal   spaceship. It is just likely to require a lot of  time and effort of mind and body on your own part,   even if it might be a lot less arduous than  anything the pioneers had to do and produced   a far more luxurious lifestyle. Which isn’t to  say you can’t have automated tech so good that  

people just step off a spaceship right into their  own personal mansion on a new planet, and will   consider that scenario more in just a moment. For the homesteader in a civilization that   still has scarcity and economic limits, even  fairly high-tech ones, that Mars scenario is   still possible, I just think that’s more  of a case where someone is looking for a   place to call their own and is less focused on  operating a profitable home farm or business.  Venus and the nitrogen farm we discussed at  the beginning seem more plausible to me as   while Earth hardly needs nitrogen, all our other  space colonies would, and it’s rare in the inner   solar system. Venus is a bit easier to get off  of than Earth, has considerably more nitrogen in   its atmosphere than we do, and I suspect people  will complain about us removing much nitrogen   from Earth. The other obvious location for that  is Titan, but it strikes me as a less appealing   place to live on. Or over anyway, living on  Venus’s surface is a nightmare, though living   there is possible with sufficient brute force  application of heat shielding so it might be home   for the motivated hermit or some doomsday bunker. Asteroids are another good pick for a homestead  

life, especially as many are small enough an  individual might plausibly own one. There’s   around a million asteroids in the belt a  kilometer or wider, more than large enough   to stuff an entire major metropolis into or build  an entire O’Neill Cylinder out of. There are tens   of millions a 100 meters across, as big in  every dimension as a football field is long,   and with more than enough resources in them  to build a Kalpana scale habitat all on your   own while providing you resources for trade and  lots of silicon to be building a solar farm from.  But solar farms, or space farms, are also a  plausible pathway for a small group, family,   or individual, we talked about the economics  of space farming more in our episodes space   farms and Agriworlds, but it's not too hard  to imagine a family that wanted to stay in   real-time communication range with Earth opting  to setup a hydroponic or dirt farm in one of the   Lagrange Points along with the large cloud  of other facilities that might grow there,   as we looked at recently in our Lagrange  Point Settlements episode. How many tons of   food per year do you need to export to other  space settlements or spaceships for that to   be profitable? In the earlier space settlement  days, that might not need to be much more than   your own family eats, as a new variation  on subsistence farming that was the norm   for a lot of people in the last few Millennia. How much oxygen and metal do you need to refine  

from your hab-dome built over a small crater  in the Moon to buy that food and replacement   gear for your refinery, smelter, and in-home  water recycler? How many square meters or feet   of thin solar panels do you need to build and  clean and maintain to beam out enough watts of   power from your cislunar orbital power grid to  buy oxygen, food, water, and air scrubbers? And,   of course, to service your loan on buying  the place or pay your taxes or rents.  It is worth remembering that homesteading  might have a traditional history of literal   subsistence farming, trading for a few things  you can’t make yourself with your surplus,   but this might as easily be a family server  farm in orbit overseeing data moving around   or the big node for the local internet cache  in that section of the asteroid belt so that   those nearby don’t have to send queries all  the way back to Earth to load a webpage.  Let’s make up a hypothetical case. The average  human settler near Jupiter needs 10 new liters   of water a day, between building up a cistern  and some loss and leakage, and can pay 1% of   their total income for water and half of that goes  to shipping. Thus a homestead on Europa melting  

and purifying ice or pumping it up from the  subsurface ocean kilometers below need to produce   200 liters per person per day, probably more for  equipment and setup costs, but to indicate how low   a threshold that is, a family of 5 would need  only a cubic meter of ice a day to get there,   to meet their needs as ice miners on Europa. Even  that far from the Sun, they don’t need that many   reflective panels or parabolic dishes to melt  that much ice, or to run the cutting beams for   getting chunks out and dropping them into an  ice catapult to launch to orbital collectors.   Which might be another small farm equivalent. Up in orbit of Mars a small rotating habitat  

uses a slow spinning but large orbital mirror  as its counterweight, the paper-thin mirror   kept rigid by that spin, and the light and power  it shines down feeds the homestead down on Mars.   In the realm of high automation and efficiency,  and when the goal is material subsistence plus   some to spare, you don’t necessarily need much  to work off of. Post-scarcity doesn’t imply that   you casually burn resources, and in practice  what it really means is that you don’t have to   scrabble for basic survival or worry that the  supply is rapidly diminishing and won’t last.  And that takes us to a final train of thought,  because in a post-scarcity civilization of that   variety you’re not leaving home because you’re  worried you will starve to death or that the stars   contain great riches for you personally. Some  suggest that since it does imply a harder life,   only the very independent sorts of people might  do it, and that reasoning seems sound enough   but we need to remember that one of the big  keystones of post-scarcity tends to be virtual   reality. People aren’t really motivated by  an abundance or scarcity of oil or water;  

they are motivated by their ability to fulfill  survival needs and wants of a complex variety that   we see in things like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Basic physiological ones like food, water, sleep,   and shelter, but also other things like amusement,  status, fantasy, and do so in a way that Virtual   Reality can offer and which many a book, movie,  or game already does. You can be king of the   world in VR, even if you’re in a cramped apartment  somewhere eating Ramen noodles, and so your metal   and oxygen dome on the Moon might simply be your  way of paying for computing time, life extension   treatments, and nutrapaste. Your personal fiefdom  or space homestead doesn’t need to be very much   to support your lifestyle. In practice I suspect  these would be much more purposeful lives with   more luxuries into which people often spent  time in VR, but that’s probably not Universal.  But to take a contrary note, the reality of  options like this is that in some scenarios,   if you’ve got your own ship and 3D printer  and STC and Encyclopedia Galactica,   you don’t actually need anyone else, the ship  AI can feed you plenty of believable persons   and places to enjoy. And that takes us to the  Hermit Shoplifter Hypothesis of the Fermi Paradox. 

For my part I don’t believe that people would  universally bury themselves in Virtual Worlds.   There’s also the concern that civilizations  would collapse from the ability of devices   like advanced 3D printers to let some lone  madman build doomsday devices. Even if only   1 in a million people want to build and unleash  a nuclear bomb, then society either collapses or   spreads way out. I tend to think this is  unlikely too but that’s more of a hunch.  Also, regardless of if it’s true it just needs to  be believable. If tons of people with access to a  

personal spaceship, de facto biological  immortality, STCs, and an Encyclopedia   Galactica think they need to be far away to keep  surviving, and can survive in indefinite luxury   even far away from others, then lots of them are  going to do this, even if just temporarily for a   few decades or centuries. And in my opinion,  if technology does permit this strategy, for   an individual or a small group even, then tons of  people are going to do just that, and I consider   this scenario more likely than not to occur. Indeed, I rather expect that the main wave   of colonization out into the galaxy will  constantly be bumping into various worlds   or systems where someone fled at full  speed and stopped when they felt they   were so far away no one would ever get there. But where this becomes a Fermi Paradox solution   is if we assume both conditions are true, that  folks can live indefinitely in isolation and   that any place civilization gets big enough and  lasts long enough it inevitably gets wrecked   by some lone madman or idiot playing with  dangerous AI or some other doomsday tech.   Folks inevitably survive from that, or are  nearby and can flee, and eventually get the   point that survival is about having a large stash  of resources to run your machines and computers. 

So there’s very little communication or  astronomically visible signs of life and   folks tend to grab up a personal stash that will  last them a few billion years – which might fit   into a ship not much bigger than a very large  house if they’re efficient with resources – and   then fly off into the intergalactic void  since they have all they need and they   want to be somewhere nobody will find them and  they don’t have much reason to have way more   resources than they need as some might come  after them to steal it. They don’t qualify   as Loud Aliens and aren’t visible. And again we  deep dived this a couple months back on Nebula   in our Hermit Shoplifter Hypothesis episode. I’m quite sure folks will do this if they can too,   I just tend to think it will be the minority and  most will prefer to stay in or near civilization   and that civilization will find ways to work  around the tendency to implode. That we will  

see plenty of new planets with tons of people  and suburban space habitats, but also various   folks living more on their own or far from others.  This will doubtless go through a lot of different   iterations in various times and places. The good news is that if you want your   personal homestead, you can probably have  it. Whether that’s a space farm or a dome   on Mars or the Moon, or your own floating  sky garden above the clouds on Venus. I think part of the appeal of settling space  is that pioneer spirit, to travel to new   lands and see new sites, and to help forge  new worlds, to take a barren wasteland and   turn it into a paradise. If that sounds like  fun, you should try out Cell to Singularity,  

a free-to-play science-based game that lets you  take life from a barren Early Earth era of the   most basic lifeforms through dinosaurs and other  epochs all the way to modern times, then go beyond   our world to forge a future out among the stars. Cell to Singularity’s designers are also fans of   our show so they take Science & Futurism  seriously, while also giving the game a   compelling science fiction flavor. Tap into the  Extraordinary tale of Evolution in this cosmic   clicker game, where you start as a single celled  organism, then upgrade your biology, intellect,   and technology until you engulf an entire planet  with a civilization on the brink of technological   singularity. Explore from Early Earth out to  among the stars, in a game that fits easily into  

your busy day and again is free to play, whether  you're on your PC or phone, just search Cell to   Singularity on Steam, Google Play, or iOS, and  start evolving your new civilization today!  We’ll get to the schedule in a moment, but  speaking of pioneering space and boldly   going where no man has gone before, I wanted to  congratulate William Shatner, the original Captain   Kirk of the USS Enterprise, for winning the 2024  Heinlein Award which he’ll be coming by to receive   at the International Space Development Conference  in Los Angeles at the end of May. He will be only   the 19th recipient since the award’s inception 35  years ago, which includes fellow Star Trek Alum   Gene Roddenberry, and such other notables as Elon  Musk, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Robert Goddard,   Arthur C. Clarke, Freeman Dyson, Gerard K.  O’Neill, Wernher von Braun, Neil Armstrong, Buzz   Aldrin, James Lovel, Chuck Yeager, Robert Zubrin,  Jerry Pournelle, Peter Diamandis, and Lori Garver.   So very good company indeed. For those wondering,  I received the Pioneer Award back in 2020’s ISDC,  

not the Heinlein, it’s one of the 4 awards we give  out from the National Space Society, of which I’m   just finishing my first year as President of, and  I’m very much looking forward to this year’s ISDC,   more details to follow as we get closer to the  event and flush out the schedule post-holidays.  Speaking of schedules, this weekend, on February  11th, for Sci-Fi Sunday, we’ll ask what might make   a civilization quarantine an entire planet and how  that might be enforced. On the 15th we’ll explore   various technologies made possible through black  holes, including galaxy-wrecking weapons we call   quasar cannons. Then on the 22nd we’ll ask if it  is possible to terraform the moon to have green   lands, blues seas, and white clouds, just like  Earth, and then visit the topic of Vacuum Trains   and other hyperfast transit systems on Sunday  February 25th, before finishing the month on   February 29th, as we leap into the topic of life  on colony ark ship carrying people to new worlds   that will carry us ahead into this leap year. If you’d like to get alerts when those and  

other episodes come out, make sure to hit the  like, subscribe, and notification buttons. You   can also help support the show on Patreon, and  if you’d like to donate or help in other ways,   you can see those options by visiting  our website, You can   also catch all of SFIA’s episodes early and  ad free on our streaming service, Nebula,   along with hours of bonus content like Topopolis:  The Eternal River, at  As always, thanks for watching,  and have a Great Week!

2024-02-18 17:38

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