10 Plans Scientist Have Already Proposed For Colonies In Space

Until recently, the idea of living on another planet has been little more than science fiction. Lately, though, we’ve had the chance to see one of wildest dreams slowly unfold into reality. SpaceX and Mars One have started projects to colonize Mars, the European Space Agency has been talking about colonizing the Moon, and China has openly described plans to build mining colonies in outer space.

It’s just a matter of time now before we see the first colonies in space. As crazy as some of these ideas might sound, you just might be able to visit any one of them in the near future.

Cloud Cities On Venus

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Living on the surface of Venus would be like building a home in the pits of hell. The temperatures would boil your skin, the atmosphere would crush you as tightly as the depths of the ocean, and a thick mist of sulfuric acid would fill the air.

And yet, despite all that, some scientists think that Venus just might be the best place we could set up a colony. It seems counterintuitive. But as hellish as Venus is on the surface, it’s surprisingly comfortable as long as you don’t touch the ground. At 50 kilometers (30 mi) up in the sky, Venus is one of the best places to live in the solar system.

Some scientists want to build floating cities right at the top of Venus’s clouds. They would be self-enclosed habitats filled with breathable air and lifted up by gigantic balloons. In the Venusian Cloud City, life would be a lot like that on Earth. The gravity would be almost identical, and the atmosphere would keep us safe from solar radiation.

Even the temperature wouldn’t be too bad. Nights would drop to 0 degrees Celsius (32 °F), while the 117-Earth-day-long days would get up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 °F). You’d definitely sweat, but you wouldn’t boil alive.

Mining Colonies Inside Asteroids

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There’s no reason that we have to be limited to living on planets. Some scientists believe that we’re overlooking a possible home that’s all over our solar system: asteroids.

They might be the perfect places to set up the mining colonies of the future. Most of those gigantic rocks floating around in outer space are filled with elements like platinum. On an asteroid, you can mine as much as you want because you don’t have to care a lick for its environment.

The idea is to set up a space station around the asteroid and fill it with staff and mining equipment. Workers on the space station would slowly extract everything they could until the asteroid is completely hollowed out.

Inside the hollowed-out core of the asteroid, a new colony would be set up. They would be able to extract water and oxygen from the asteroid itself, so the colony should be fairly self-sustaining in theory. And since they’d be living underground, they’d be protected from the elements of space.

Underwater Cities On Europa

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Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, is covered in a thick layer of ice. Nobody knows exactly what lies under the surface, but there’s reason to believe that a whole ocean is waiting to be discovered if we could just make it through the ice.

In theory, that wouldn’t be impossible and it actually might make a decent place to live. The surface of Europa is bombarded with radiation—not just from the Sun but from Jupiter, too. Under the ice, though, we would be safe from the radiation and we might even find a thriving network of life.

The plan is to put a heated drill on the tip of a submarine and bore right into the ice. When the submarine gets through, it will drop the drill and start exploring the oceans of Europa. In theory, there should be a few places with pockets of air separating the ice and water. There, we could set up floating communities and start filling the underground oceans of Europa with life.

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