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Space colonization

Space colonization, also called space settlement and space humanization, is the hypothetical permanent autonomous (self sufficient) human habitation of locations outside Earth. It is a major theme in science fiction.

Table of contents
1 Method
2 Location
3 Justification
4 Advocacy
5 Fictional depictions
6 Related articles
7 External links


For humans to live permanently outside Earth, the habitat must maintain variables within an appropriate range, ie. homeostasis. The habitat must contain non-human species--for example, microorganisms and crop plants.

The relationship between organisms, their habitat and the non-Earth environment can be:

A combination of the above is also possible.


The location of colonization can be:

Location is a frequent point of contention between space colonization advocates.

Planet, natural satellite or asteroid


Mars is a frequent topic of discussion. Its size and mass is similar to Earth, has large water reserves, and has carbon (locked as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere). It may have gone though similar geogloical and hydrolocial processes as Earth and contian vabluable mineral ores, but this is debated. Equipment is available to extract in-situ resources (water, air, etc.) from the Martian ground and atmosphere.

However, its atmosphere is very thin (7 milibars) and the climate is colder. There is also the problem of native bacteria, which may live on Mars.

See : Exploration of Mars

The Moon

Due to its proximity and relative familiarity, Earth's Moon is also frequently discussed as a target for colonization. It has the benefits of close proximity to Earth and lower gravity, allowing for easier exchange of goods and services. A major drawback of the Moon is its low abundance of volatiles necessary for life such as hydrogen and carbon. Water ice deposits thought to exist in some polar craters could serve as significant sources for these elements.

See also : Moon colonization.


The Artemis Project designed a plan to colonize Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. It would use igloos made of ice refrozen melted by the microwaves on the surface. For submarine/drill would be use for drilling into the Europan ice crust, as well as any sub-surface ocean. It also discusses use of "air pockets" for human inhabitation.


Space habitat

A space habitat is a space station which is intended as a permanent settlement rather than as a simple waystation or other specialized facility. They would be literal "cities" in space, where people would live and work and raise families. No space habitats have yet been constructed, but many design proposals have been made with varying degrees of realism by both science fiction authors and engineers.

Most of the real work on space habitats was carried out in the 1970s by workshops led by Gerard K. O'Neill in the post-Apollo highs at NASA. Several designs were studied, some in depth, with sizes ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 people. Attempts were made to make the habitats as self-supporting as possible, but all of the designs relied on regular shipments from Earth or the Moon, notably for volatiles.

One problem with the design that was not considered in any real depth is why any of them would be needed. The stated problem was to house workers needed for the construction of solar power satellites, which they predicted would require a peak of about 25,000 workers. However if this was the purpose, the habitat designs were certainly not utilitarian; they all contained housing for complete families, huge open spaces, and considerable parkland. An oil platform would appear to be a better model for such purposes. The workshops appeared to work in reverse, inventing the "solution", and then casting about for a need.

Designs proposed include:


A colony ship would be similar to a space habitat, except with major propulsion capabilities and independent power generation.

Concepts proposed in hard science fiction include:


In 2001, the space news website asked Freeman Dyson, J. Richard Gott and Sid Goldstein for reasons why some humans should live in space. Their respective answers [1] were:

Louis J. Halle, formerly of the United States Department of State, wrote in Foreign Affairs (Summer 1980) that the colonization of space will protect humanity in the event of global nuclear warfare. [1]


Major space advocacy organizations include:

Fictional depictions

Films and books that depict space colonies of Earth include:

Related articles

External links