1. revelcharlie

    revelcharlie New Member

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    If humans colonised a new Earth...

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by revelcharlie, Nov 27, 2016.

    Hi,

    I'm researching into this subject for my book... I wondered if anyone on here would have any thoughts on what people would do on a new found planet. The idea is that a large group of people have escaped a dying earth to inhabit a newly discovered like for like planet.

    They may have brought some supplies with them for building but essentially they'd have to start again right? So I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of problems they might face. The obvious one is technology, I'm setting my world 40-50 years into the future so there is scope there for advancements on earth that the people could bring with them. New creatures also sprang to mind, not dissimilar though to creatures on earth, I was thinking something like maybe birds could have become the rulers like humans were on earth. Because Ravens for example are extremely intelligent animals already.

    Anyway I'd be intrigued to read peoples thoughts on it!

    Cheers
     
  2. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    That's not at all what would happen.

    If you really want to know what it might be like, starting from scratch on another world-- spend a month in the wilderness. Within the first two weeks you will more than likely catch a virus, or have to deal with a bacterial infection. And those would be viruses and bacteria that aren't foreign to your immune system.

    Imagine another world, with viruses and bacteria to which you have absolutely no immunity. Alien viruses, leastwise if they behave in a similar way to viruses on Earth, might not be a problem as they operate within a very narrow biological bandwidth, but bacteria are another story. It's not very sexy, but if humans colonized a planet beyond our solar system, they would either succumb to foreign pathogens, or spread deadly diseases to a planet's biology that would cause mass extinctions.
     
  3. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    I think I think the opposite. All I've come to know of our pathogens is that they thrive if our bodies make a good host for them. Viruses especially (from what I recall) have to have their surfaces arranged in such a manner that our cells will let them invade. There's a constant to and fro type battle twixt them and our 'b' cells and 't' cells. I'm sure viruses have to evolve and out-manoeuver us to be successful at infecting us. On alien worlds I reckon we'd have a head start in this respect but may be vulnerable in other ways, say if we're attacked (on a micro scale) non-organically.
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If we brought ravens from earth, why would we genetically enhance them to the level that they were able to rule over us?

    Or do you mean the ravens were already on the planet, and when we arrived we found that they were the rulers? For that I think you'd want to look at the ways humans became the dominant species on Earth and then question how ravens may have evolved differently if they were the dominant species. Like, one of our evolutionary advantages was our ability to us tools, so as we evolved we developed even more manual dexterity so we could use tools even better. How would ravens evolve in order to use tools, or would they have developed a different evolutionary advantage.

    In general I think starting over on a new planet would be nothing like starting Earth, because we'd be able to take so much knowledge with us. Maybe not the technology itself, but if we planned well we'd have the tools we'd need to build the technology, and of course we'd have the knowledge that has taken thousands of years to develop on Earth.

    Some novelists have avoided this by having a malfunction on the colony ships so that the data and tools couldn't be transferred. Might work?
     
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  5. revelcharlie

    revelcharlie New Member

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    Cheers for your reply! I just plucked Ravens out of mid air really, I meant any bird like creature that might be already living on the planet. But yes, I'd want the people to take their knowledge over and start again with what they already know and what they have learned first time round.

    As for the virus stuff, I could touch on that and maybe at the beginning a lot of people did become ill or die. Or I might just not consider it. It's a fantasy/sci-fi book and I think there are certain things you can brush over for the sake of the story.
     
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  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    There aren't that many viruses that can cross between species even on Earth, and we've all evolved in a very similar set of circumstances. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the viruses on a different planet (even assuming viruses had developed there) weren't a threat to humans.
     
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  7. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

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    Here are my thoughts on this subject, based on research I have conducted writing a book about colonizing another planet. Like your idea, this is based on near future attempts and hard science, not on thousands of years in the future when humans can just omni-teleport with their soul-drives. This also assumes that you don't want to completely terraform the planet over hundreds of years. Please note: I am not a scientist. I just think this is an interesting subject.

    -First Phase- Groundbreaking

    The first wave of colonists would have to arrive with enough resources and supplies to build a perfect earth habitat to live in for several generations. As @Iain Sparrow pointed out, there's a whole host of foreign hazards to deal with, be it undiscovered radiation, new viruses, or strange life forms with behavior we don't know how to mitigate/control. Maybe you could stay in orbit and send robots and a few teams down at a time, but if you are colonizing in the traditional sense, eventually someone's going to have to live there. Scientist, environmentalists, meteorologists, urban planners, everything, are going to have to figure out how humans can live on the planet. How hard this can be is based on your own setting.

    -Second Phase- Acclimatization

    Once the earth habitat is built the process of localizing the colonists can begin. Unless you are willing to completely destroy this new eco-system so you can breathe 'Earth' air, and unless you just want to live in a spacesuit your whole life slowly dying to alien radiation, humans themselves are going to have to change over time. Depending on the planet, this could be as simple as taking medication to deal with microbes, to radical genetic engineering to make 'local' humans, breeding programs to cultivate genetic traits that aid in survival , or prosthetic augmentation to deal with heightened gravity or environmental stressors. None of these measures are necessarily mutually exclusive, but it's important to note that some might be viewed as more radical than others. A few metal struts to shore up a skeletal structure is a lot less strange that carefully breeding uber-humans over generations.

    -Third Phase- Immigration

    This is not a clean cut point, because maybe as the last two phases were getting completed, Earth was constantly shipping new people to support the effort. Still, at some point, newly arriving colonists will be stepping onto a world either designed for them, or they have to be designed for the world. Maybe 'Vanilla' humans have to conduct radical training to deal with sudden gravity surges due to a massive orbiting moon. Maybe you don't have to breathe on the planet due to helpful-microbes in the air, but you have to undergo training to suppress your anxiety and desire to 'gasp'. Whatever you decide, unless the new world is perfectly Earth-like in EVERY SINGLE way, massive amounts of time have to be spent on integrating these new colonists. Think if when someone from America moved to Russia, instead of being able to count on the spread of their culture throughout the earth, they have to master an hour long process where they spray a instant-drying rubber suit around their head.

    Warning! Opinion.

    THIS
    is where I feel a lot of these sort of stories go off the rails. Yes, history has made it perfectly clear what would happen to natives who try to resist a more technologically advanced, or militaristic civilization. The difference here is that any attempt to colonize a new planet would be a huge undertaking, and largely scientific. Maybe I'm putting NASA or academic people on a pedestal, and there were plenty of scientists who supported things like eugenics or the Nazis. I just doubt the type of people who are smart enough to calculate interstellar-trajectories, understand spaceship fabrication, or sacrifice their lives to plant some alien bean sprouts are going to start some crazy war over the oil on a planet.
     
  8. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You need a story to go with your setting. Start there and then build the world around it.
     
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  9. taariya

    taariya Member

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    Someone already mentioned the Earth habitat, but there are several factors no one has mentioned (maybe it's just implicit?)

    What about gravity? What about the fact that Earth's atmosphere is composed of a very specific makeup of particles that allows life to survive here? What about necessary proximity to the sun to allow proper temperature for the survival of Earth species? What about the fact that everything produced on Earth depends on the resources found therein, whether it's pure or synthetic? What about fuel? What about the fact that other planets might contain levels of radiation that would make life as we know it insupportable (which, if I recall correctly, is the reason humans would need to live underground if we were to colonize the moon or any celestial body with no atmosphere). What about the dependence of humans on the other animals and plants within Earth's ecosystem--how would we fare on a planet lacking these creatures, assuming there's no "Noah's ark" situation where they come with us?

    Is the reader to believe that all of these things have been brought under the control of human beings as they journey to a completely new planet which needn't bear any commonalities to Earth?

    Or what about the fact that space travel to relatively close planetary bodies (say, Mars) would take several human lifetimes to complete? With current technology, by the time human beings got to a different planet or a different star system or a different galaxy, the original pilgrims would be long dead. Are you positing that humans have also found a solution to this problem within your story?
     
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  10. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My 2p...

    First question you need to ask is how much realism you want to include. The "Earth 2" trope is an old one in Science Fiction and there is a certain acceptance amongst science fiction readers that the given planet that's been found is habitable by humans, even though the odds against that would seem daunting in the real world. You get forests that are forests made of trees that are trees filled with mildly tweaked deer analogues and wolf analogues and cat analogues, etc., etc. We just sort of accept this in science fiction in order for the story about the people to get told.

    In real-real terms 40-50 years in the future isn't remotely enough time for us to collaborate and create a colony ship that could reasonably be expected to reach another solar system with a habitable planet. Not even close. You would need to set your story much further out than that timeframe. Once they are there, these are very, very busy colonists. They need to create a settlement that sustains them. That's not even a guaranty on Earth, let alone another planet. Crops fail even here. On a world where the only things that are likely to be edible to humans are the plants they bring with them, a crop failure would be disastrous, even fatal. Regardless of what their individual training is, everyone's a farmer first.
     
  11. S~A~W

    S~A~W Banned

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    "...everyone's a farmer first...." No truer words have been spoken. And, we all wait for that first harvest...if it comes.

    Escaping earth because it's so bad, taking the mentality that created that bad earth to another earth and thinking the same thing won't happen there? Why is it the escapees are always blameless in the disaster they're fleeing? Seems they're always saints. Probably the same reason everyone was Napoleon in their past life, and not a horse thief...what are the odds?

    I think "the Earth 2 trope" is not only old, it's worn out as well. I'm only a poet, so what I write isn't all that laborious. If I was going to put the effort into 200+ pages, I'd go about this a different way. What would you be getting at when you unfold the tale of the inhabitants in their new home? Can you reveal the same things in a different, more plausible, or less worn out setting?

    Remember. It's going to be a lot of work whichever way you go. A publisher might say, "Oh no. Not another one of these." Having said that:

    Realistically, a lot of pre-work has to have gone into this enterprise. At the very least, the ship has to exist, and the planet located. It's not like you can drive up the space road, and look out the window for planets you like. To be able to do these two things means a certain amount of capability - they at least have saws, axes, cooking pots, spoons...matches, or lighters. So, it's not like they're "starting over".

    As Wreybies said, your first job would be finding water, and starting food production. Let's assume your folks brought seeds with them. Did they land in a spot friendly with those seeds? You can't grow watermelons on a desert. Almost immediately you'll need shelter of some sort. Stone? Wood? (Or, is some sort of initial trek required to get to a usable place?)

    Then, if all these initial things can be managed. You do tedious little humble tasks and wait for that first harvest. In fact, like your ancestors, their lives revolve around the planting season and harvesting season. Much of what your ancestors hadn't devised yet, you already know how to build, as long as you have the materials and tools.

    Clothing wears out. Did you bring cotton, or flax, or hemp? Will they grow? Those crops take a huge amount of land compared to radishes. Spinning wheels, looms...scissors? Eventually, you will have to find ore, and the ability to mine it and smelt it. Then, machine it....

    There's a lot to do, really. Things will evolve around this and become what they are. However, the model, or goal, would be better established in the minds of the refugees. A lot of hit and miss would be gone from the game. Another problem is, the people doing this are accustomed to a more sophisticated way of life. Can they stand up, psychologically, to going back to the land? What about disease in the new world? They have antibodies from their world, but this one? After all this effort completely wiped out by that planet's version of the common cold? Or, the disease they bring with them wiping out the life they intend to thrive upon?

    This could turn into dozens of books, volume after volume. But, what would make it interesting to read, when people find reading their own history of this boring?

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  12. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Just no. Sorry, but it only takes about seven to nine months to get to Mars with current technology. To get to another solar system? Yeah,that takes roughly forever and is well outside the realm of modern science, but having the entire Solar System within our grasp in the next 50 years is well within the realm of the plausible. Check out Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy for a detailed (some say overly-so) description of the human colonization of everything from Mercury to the moons of Saturn.
     
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  13. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Who said they have to be?
     
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  14. taariya

    taariya Member

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    Yeah, must have got my wires crossed. I can't remember what it was I was reading about a single journey to a place taking several decades, but it must have been someplace beyond our solar system.
     
  15. S~A~W

    S~A~W Banned

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    Our intra-solar system travel is being done by small vessels with very light payloads. Moving the apparatus to terraform Mars (as if Venus can be terraformed, gimme a huge break) and the amount of people required to handle a project on that scale, the equipment, survival requirements, isn't something anyone can run real numbers on. This is where the long travel times start coming in. It's also why the concept of warp drives becomes appetizing.

    For the expense and strain to accomplish something like this, is the reward worth the expense, or do you wind up with a pyrrhic victory? Trying to create a pristine environment to dramatize a people apart from our subjective history is one thing, and that may not require Earth 2 to do. Trying to dramatize an actual migration from earth to a nearby planet, while staying in the believable range of the scale? Another pyrrhic victory. What would be the point?

    It's always been cheaper to clean up the mess here. Who are we to trash one planet, then go to another one only to trash it? Do we have this right to all planets? I think not. However, if there's no law, no ethics and no standards, some would naturally insist we do.
     
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  16. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    Who's figured out in Star Trek the crew of the Enterprise are the people Roddenberry hoped we'd become,
    but the Klingons are the people we actually are?
     
  17. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. I think you've hit the nail on the head here.

    The real hidden story isn't so much about how to survive on another planet—that's a matter of technical know-how and luck—so much as who paid for the trip, what was the goal of the people who made the trip, and what they have 'learned' from whatever they left behind on Earth and whatever happened to them during the journey? If they bring the same old attitudes and problems with them that they had before, nothing will really change.

    It's a good idea to read Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, for insight.

    Is there any incidence on Earth where people 'colonised' a place without wrecking the indigenous culture and landscape to some extent? I can't think of one.

    What people tend to want, when they are in a colonizing phase, is to find a place where they can do whatever the hell they like. They want to make the rules, not follow rules set by others. They love the notion of a clean slate. And while it's theoretically possible to colonize in an ethical way, a way that respects and accomodates the life and culture they are invading, so far it's not happened here on Earth.

    What, if anything would be different on this new Earth? Would these colonists immediately think 'conservation, respect, sustainability, small is beautiful, etc?' Or would they see a whole new 'empty' planet as a place to expand, to exploit and to make into another Earth?

    It's been said that the best sci-fi is about Earth, and I totally agree with that notion.
     
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  18. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Your biggest problem is the small mindedness of our current politicians and electorate, who value scientific discovery so little that current U.S spending on NASA is only ~ 0.5% of the federal budget.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
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  19. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    If you haven't, please read The Mars Trilogy, almost every point raised here is addressed there.
     
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  20. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    To the OP (and in response to @zoupskim ) check out https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/survive-mars/1/todo/6528

    You'll have to create an account, but it's a free resource.

    This will give you a (very limited) overview of the sort of problems a colony on a new planet - in this case Mars - would have to face, together with the science of why they'd be problems.
     
  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The Enead by Jan Mark is an interesting take on this - its YA but i still find it readable as an adult
     
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  22. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    It's highly unlikely that human beings will ever set down on another planet outside of the solar system. I hypothesize that if we have the ability to make an interstellar trip, we have the ability to stay in space forever. Why would a generation that's lived their entire life on a space ship even want to live on a planet?

    Secondly, while we'd likely be immune to any viruses or pathogens because they didn't evolve along side us, the chemistry of the air would have to be just right and I mean JUST right. A tiny bit too much CO2? Sorry cognitive thoughts, into a fog you go. Slightly too much O2? You'd probably never be able to get to sleep. Trace amount of natural radon? Bring on the hallucinations.
     
  23. Hmt321

    Hmt321 New Member

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    Market forces could push us out to other solar systems.

    If and when we develop "faster than light" travel, we may discover an abundance of some substance that could be sold at a profit back on earth, or space habitats.

    I agree that with out biological modifications we could not live on other worlds.
    I think the chemistry would be close but not close enough.
     
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  24. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    I have risen from the dead, to walk among you as...The Zombie Thread!

    I was genuinely interested in this until I realized it's been dead for half a year almost...creepy.
     
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  25. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributor Contributor

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    Would you be opposed to self-sustaining colony ships? There are very serious plans for creating artificials countries inside ships, with biospheres where people grow plants and animals inside the ship, and the ship mines resources from asteroids for things such as water and energy. The advantage of this design is we can create a familiar habitable environment without having to travel lightyears and lightyears to find a new one. They can be within reach of Earth for easy aid and communication. It's essentially an advanced version of a space station; which are already designed to be habitable to a degree and improving every year.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
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