A GUIDE TO SPACE COLONIZATION

Posted on December 21, 2023. By Pratul Venkatesh

Are you this person?

“Eh, space exploration and all so far away, I am probably not going to space in this lifetime, why should I care?”

“Eh, I am not in this industry anyways, I have no contribution to make, why should I care?”

“Eh, there are so many other problems already on Earth. Why should I care about space now?

Read on and hope I may be able to offer you some new perspectives! This blog post is roughly divided into two parts – the first part talks on why to invest in space, while the second (the actual guide) presents some ideas on the steps we need to take to advance space exploration.


We have 8 billion people on this planet and are exponentially growing. Our population will approach a peak, and many think that our planet can accommodate only so many humans (~10bil). Does that mean we give up, approach the peak, and then let our population drop? NO! With an abundance of the human resources, it makes for the perfect conditions, at this very exact time, to push beyond and explore beyond the confines of our tiny blue planet! When we have so many people why are we not thinking more about exploring beyond and moving to space and space exploration? Humans have always dreamed and pushed to explore further and further. It may seem like a distant improbable future, but that didn’t stop the first people from voyaging the seas when ships were just coming out.


Space – is something that I feel so deeply for. Its vastness, the things it represents – a final frontier, a collective goal for humanity, shifts in perspectives – all of it excites me so much. It will represent what humanity is collectively capable of. It will lead us to further understanding of the universe, the world, and our purpose – Who are we? Why are we here? Is there anything (or anyone) beyond? And it will always be a goal for us to strive for.

If you have seen Attack on Titan, think about it - you could sit still and live life just as it is. Though there will always be a yearning to understand more about the world beyond and potentially solve the problems that currently many have just accepted as their fate.


Why to invest in space exploration you ask (?)

Benefit 1 – Innovations considering extreme conditions can trickle down to technologies benefiting masses on Earth.

Space forces us to push to the extreme. Living in a box with no access to any external materials. Finite resources. Everything must be recycled. The air to breathe. The water to drink. What to do with the poop?

By considering these extreme limits, if you can come up with a solution – that either gives a new solution OR pushes the cost down of an existing super expensive solution, then well don’t you think these same technology innovations could benefit by making processes down on earth more efficient?


Benefit 2 – Lots of applications! Just going to name drop them for now.

Examples of applications possible in our lifetime:

  1. Global Internet Connectivity – At any point on the surface of the Earth!

    Current projects underway: Starlink, Project Kuiper, Astranis.

    P.S.A If anyone reading this is knowledgeable in this area, could you let me know your thoughts on the impact of competition in this area? Is there enough space in LEO / Geostationary orbits to accommodate different competitors sustainably, without drawbacks like affecting ground telescope stations / leading to space debris. Is global cooperation and limitations needed?


  2. Advanced Telescopes – One step closer to discovering the secrets of the universe.

    Things you can check out: James Webb Space Telescope.


  3. Space Based Unlimited Solar Power (24/7 Power Supply) 🤩

  4. Asteroid Mining – Source of rare earth metals, possibly new lifeforms, and new elements (?)

Further in the future:

  1. Space Elevators – Easy transport to and fro from space! Like your everyday MRT train.

  2. Dyson Sphere – The fuel of intragalactic travel… “How to Build a Dyson Sphere - The Ultimate Megastructure,” By Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell (YouTube Link)

  3. Weather Control - A potential way to precisely control all weather events on Earth and prevent extreme weather events and climate catastrophes! The premise of the movie “GEOSTORM” is exactly this. You could watch the opening scene (YouTube Link) to get an idea of this.

If there any other interesting applications that I have missed, please let me know and I will add it in here :)


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“Pratul! All this is fine but there are already so many other problems down here itself. Why invest money and resources to space when it could be used to solve problems here?”

I agree. It is cruel to ask a government to invest in space when masses are still suffering from lack of even basic amenities and in abysmal living conditions. That should be our priority and something we need to work on fixing immediately. When it starts improving though, I ask you to then immediately start investing little by little towards space exploration. Because it is important for our sustained and continued development! Compared to immediate challenges, space is a long term investment. It is my belief that one needs to constantly invest at all times on short term, medium term, and long term challenges equally – in order to ensure sustained and lasting benefits.


An example related to continuous investments, a good travel vacation needs planning well in advance. If we are occupied in just the short term day to day all the time – eating, sleeping, doing chores, working, etc and never make the long term planning investments, then we’ll never reap those benefits and vacations that we crave. Many people expect long term benefits, but never started investing earlier.


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The manga and anime, “Attack on Titan,” inspired me to think about the world beyond. I like to think of our planet as if confined in the walls. And beyond is big world out there that we just don't know anything about. There's so much we don't know. There's so much naivety, ideas and beliefs, that with a broader picture, just won't hold anymore. Given that, well at the least for starters, let's stop fighting when we really don't know right or wrong? Why does any soldier fight a war? Are they psychopaths who want to see other people die? All of them believe, and wholeheartedly do so, that they are serving a purpose. Though what if both sides could just let go of past enmity, come up with an inclusive and supportive future and thus think of how to work together for the collective good? What if they could come to that reasoning themselves? The only time people may see a need to take action is to prevent against repeated occurrences in the future. Well then consider that too when making a resolve! Think what can I do different (?) that otherwise troubles my enemy, and well they should be asked to think like that too – how can everyone be more accommodative? Anyways this was a side-track. Back to space exploration.


In the context of unity and relationships amongst people, think about it- the further and further away you get, the less the initial distance in differences matters. A simple example – a citizen of a certain country feels they have so and so differences with another person in their country who was brought up in a different region of the country. Often times they have disagreements. However, take these two people all the way across the world to another country Y. There they don’t care about what initial differences were there between them and would just be glad to see another person from their country in this distant land. Bam, unity. So now imagine a distant distant future. You are all the way across the galaxy. You work with aliens of all races and explore lands distant from your own. It's been forever but you finally meet another human from earth. Imagine that joy. You don’t care which country they are from, which state they are from, yada, yada. All you care is that they are from Earth! In fact, I think in such a future one might even be delighted to come across a dog or even a plant from Earth! AND in a super distant future you might just be happy to see another carbon based life form.

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Tom and Dick, from A and B respectively, think their initial differences is all there is to life (Scenario 1.) Tom and Dick now move to the super distant land of C in Scenario 2 and realize rather just maybe they are ultimately kinda the same? Also where is Harry? God knows.


Of course, this theory is not perfect. Often times people still have disagreements. Though the hypothesis being the further and further away you get, these differences get smaller and smaller till the point that they stop mattering.

Evidence of Theory:

(1) Inter-racial / Inter-national couples are more common in foreign countries (foreign to both partners) than home countries.

(2) Russia and USA collaborate together for the International Space Station despite all their geopolitical differences.




Now, the actual guide to space colonization.

“Moon Colony,” “Mars Base,” “Intergalactic Travel,” they all sound like just distant dreams, almost as if unachievable in this lifetime. One shouldn’t be demotivated by that though and not pursue it at all! Rather take steps towards it with smaller goals that can help us build up to this bigger goal. That’s the essence of this guide.

So, space. The fundamental thing we need is to be able to get around. To move, needs a force, and force needs mass! By Newton’s Third Law -> Whatever mass we apply a force on to push ourselves forward, that mass will experience the same force in the backward direction and move away from us. However, a key difference in space is there is no mass for us to push on! This is unlike Earth’s fluid medium where in the oceans boats and ships push water backwards to move forwards or planes accelerate air molecules and eject it out of the engines to move forwards. Though space has no such material available. (not completely true, an advanced topic is solar sails and photon momentum, but not too efficient for moving large masses) Hence current movement in space has been by acceleration and ejecting on-board fuel out, and well this mass is limited…

By Newton’s Second Law -> F=m.a (force is mass times acceleration) and thus to maximise the force, you push a larger amount of mass out (example: helicopters) or accelerate the limited mass as much as possible (example: jet engines.) We can always maximize acceleration in a sense with better technologies (electromagnetic railguns, cyclotrons, plasma accelerators) but our key limiter in any part of space is the amount of fuel/mass we have that we can push on! As that mass once ejected is lost forever to the depths of space.

Alternatives to fuel are using payloads / big blocks of masses, as thing to push on. Imagine you are on frictionless ice. You throw something fast enough you can make yourself move backward. Similarly, in space you can eject a big mass fast enough to move in a certain direction. And also, potentially how we could move things around between orbits without needing any fuel (minus the small amount needed to correct trajectories.)

So, fuel and mass are our limiter to moving around in space. Majority of a rocket’s weight is just the amount of fuel it has to carry! And the truth is currently it’s the only way to reliably get from the surface of the earth into a space orbit. Though once in orbit, moving around in space is actually super easy! Not needing much fuel relatively. For a rocket mission to the moon, most of the fuel is spent in just entering space orbit from earth’s surface.

So now we want to colonize the moon? I think it would be rather inefficient if we had to send a rocket all the way from Earth to the Moon’s surface every single time to move something! Instead, if we could set up space stations that could perform the needed actions in space itself, you don’t need to expend the fuel in orbiting/deorbiting from/to the surface, and burn up rockets to reach back into Earth. And hence it my belief that what we need are bigger, better, and more hospitable space stations! And rockets that travel just between these orbital stations, that can be re-used infinitely, and just have to be refuelled.

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Refer the diagram above. To move from A to B it’d be more efficient to move through orbital stations (D & E where you can re-purpose masses and rockets to move to and fro instead of losing fuel to the depths of space or burning rockets in re-orbital entry, and with research centres in D and E itself don’t have to bring everything back to A all the time) rather than a rocket designed to go directly from A to B.

Now we want to go to C! (Mars Colonization) Carrying fuel all the way from the surface of A is going to be super expensive. What if we could set up a re-fuelling station on B (le moon) by converting moon mass into fuel? That’d potentially be more efficient. Also moving from D<->A needs more energy than moving from B<->E due to stronger gravitational forces to overcome on A.


In conclusion, space colonization requires us to create orbital stations (and with enough intermediaries i.e. more and more stations between D and E for example, we essentially get to the point of a space elevator) as our fundamental limiter and inefficiency is mass. You can max out on acceleration, but you'll always need a mass to push on.

For each planet a surface base and an orbital base are needed.

Setting up orbital stations can help us set up a Moon Base and also provides communication capabilities.

Moon mining at this base can help us to create fuel for travelling to other planets such as Mars.

And that’s how we can one day potentially colonize Mars :D


How to proceed:

-> Make a new expanded International Space Station. (Just a slightly related clip that I love, Valerian 2017 Incredible Opening Scene (YouTube Link) ) -> Set up a Moon orbital station -> Set up Moon colony and fuel generating centre -> Set up Mars orbital station -> Mars Colony! -> Haven’t thought further beyond this, might be enough of a dream for this lifetime😅 -> Type 1 Civilization -> … -> Type 2 Civilization -> Well you get the point… (refer the Kardashev scale.)

ALSO develop re-fuelling and mass transfer propulsion systems (like railguns in space :D)


Oh. Asteroid mining too. Fun.

For space exploration we can refer and be guided by the same principles of humanity’s exploration of the planet in the past, and to avoid making the same mistakes in history. For example, we have to consider the impact of colonization, mining and terraforming a planet’s local habitat and how detrimental it might be in the long run to the indigenous ecosystem. Sidetrack: That's why studying and preserving history is important.


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What can we start investing in today?

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There's just so much out there. And it seems like the likely future for humanity too. A vast ocean of space, and we are starting off so tiny – doesn’t that actually seem like a test designed for us? Anyways why not work on it? Won't that be quite a meaningful and noble life purpose? Isn't it beautiful how the efforts of many humans come together to create something beautiful and larger than life? And we've just unlocked a new ability too with AI and the internet, where we can now put our collective knowledge together and make it more accessible (with the internet all knowledge is available online and almost free to learn. To people reading this please remember the utter importance of internet connectivity, and to continue to push for internet access for everyone.)

Article on Space Based Internet, by Pratul Venkatesh | TO BE APPENDED LATER

The Late Hours, a poem by Pratul Venkatesh | COMING SOON


We'll always need to push forth. To learn more about ourselves and to learn more about the world beyond. Imagine if 10% of the human population became space faring. Far out there they'll see the planet as one. These people will have a unifying worldview that can benefit everyone. The more globalised one becomes, the lesser they see petty divides.

We might find aliens. We might find secret societies. We might find new elements in abundance. And just one day we might find new physics, and that will one day lead us to the answers of the universe. It is my firm belief that humans are meant to explore and evolve beyond this planet.

Let us leap forth! Susume!