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Re: [FH] Colonisation again (was Re: Sa'Vasku Colours)

From: Tom Anderson <thomas.anderson@u...>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 19:18:38 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: [FH] Colonisation again (was Re: Sa'Vasku Colours)

On Wed, 24 May 2000, Beth Fulton wrote:

> G'day Tom,
>  >or if there is, get rid of it. the first step in colonisation is
>  >the planet, the next is terraforming it :). not popular with the
>  >i'd imagine....
> If we learnt anything from colonisation of our own world I'd hope the
> think we did was send a lead team/probe to discern whether the life
> hazardous or not, rather than just straight avoid or straight 'zap em
> (Yes the cynic in me does realise how unlikely that is).

oh, i'm assuming that colonisation is preceeded by a fairly thorough
survey by scientific types - if whole ecosystems were wiped out without
chance for study, scientists would go on strike. and, of course, there's
always the chance for a little bioprospecting, and the transnationals
would never pass that up :).

>  >no but seriously folks, my thinking is that if a planet has native
>  >we won't colonise it. ....
>  >instead, we'd settle dead worlds....
> I'm curious, what do you mean by dead worlds? Ones which could easily 
> support life and just don't or ones that don't have life because they
> (anymore or yet)?

the former: with the same insolation, gravity and elemental abundances
earth (more or less), but where life hasn't emerged. i mentioned later
in that post that i thought such worlds would be extremely rare, life
being the force of nature it is.

> Besides that I think you're setting a pretty stiff task 
> if you 'disallow' use of existing ecosystems (assuming they're even
> way compatible with us), based on my current understanding (and a
> supposition) I'd reckon most planets that can support life will
> have some examples of it by the time we get there.

i strongly agree.

> OK it may not be 
> possible to coexist with it because we have no 'common ancestory' on
> flip side it may be very possible that our lack of ancestory means we
> live side by side with little or even no impact on each other than
> use (the most obvious being space, though any others aren't a given 
> depending on how the system is set up). There are two ways I can think
> right now where this may happen...
> 1) The physiology and resultant interdependencies, resources and 
> interactions the organisms display are literally so alien that we can
> be in the same environment without effecting each other -

space - and with it the right to capture sunlight - can't really be
shared, and is the basic common currency of all life on terran-like
worlds, i would guess.

> say, for 
> instance, their life was based on silica (I'm not sure if that idea is
> out of favour, but silicon used to be thought of as a viable
> for carbon based on chemical properties such as the way they form
> then there is nothing to say that our carbon based life will even need
> same things as them beyond common needs for space (and most likely
> water).

i get the impression that silicon can only do biology at very high
temperatures, where it gets the ability to form double bonds and do
useful things with its electrons. i'm not entirely sure about this,
though. i do know that there isn't anywhere near as much chemistry that
you can do with silicon as with carbon, so i would guess it's not as
i don't think there are any other serious contenders for the basic
of life, although i have sometimes wondered about nitrogen-phosphorous

> 2) There may be vast tracks that are unexploited as nothing has
evolved to 
> use it, for instance (and if there's someone with a better knowledge
of the 
> early epochs than I please correct me here) say we came upon a planet
> was in the same condition Earth was 500 million years ago, our land
> needs wouldn't necessarily have any impact on the ecosystem as
> would still be in the seas, even if it was like 375 million years ago
> still wouldn't have much animal life to compete with on the land.

well, apart from our impact on the atmosphere and water cycle, which
be considerable. this does seem like a good idea, though.

> OK you'll 
> probably have some purists who advocate leaving it alone, but there's 
> nothing to say that society and decision makers will agree with them
at the 
> time and maybe that in itself leaves the way open for an interesting 
> faction for someone to play (the militant greens out to cleanse the
> of misguided contamination of nature...actually someone has come up
> something similar if I remember correctly(??)).
> Right now any alien life seems of so precious to us, but I figure as
> know more about how common (or not) it is then our attitudes may well 
> change. If it turns out life is fairly common (and especially if all
> nicest most resource rich planets are already taken) and if it also
> out that way can live with it (even if it requires a monthly dose of
> or other drug to neutralise the killer laserlight mosquito reaction)
> I'm guessing we'll just push right on in. Regardless of all our higher

> ideals the forces behind our evolution dictates that you can't pass up
> resource if its staring you in the phase and we are really still ruled
by that.
> Guess it would make for an interesting mosaic (and even more of a 
> competitive pressure between nations for the early sites) if you ended
> with a mix of planets along the lines of "can live here at a push, but
> build the ecosystem for yourself" + "everything we need and it isn't 
> deadly, its just like home" + "life but not as we know it, so you must
> your pills every other morning or turn purple keel over and drop dead"
> "there's life there, but when we saw what it could do we ran like
> built a huge wall around it and threw away the key... and we still get

> nightmares". Make for some interesting DS/SG scenarios if you landed
on the 
> wrong planet...
> Sorry for the ramble, probably got a bit carried away (as usual).

rambling's good - i just wish i had the time to do it more myself 8(.


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