I was thinking to myself, “What part of my book would Elon Musk want to know about?” I think that at present it may be “What are Cosmic Gateways?” Are they stargates? No.
Note: I prefer cosmos/cosmic to the highly ambigious “space”.
What are cosmic gateways?
Some people are interested in hopping ahead, and starting to colonize Mars or the Moon. However there are still uncolonized areas on Earth, and they happen to be some of the best areas in which to learn the skills and technologies necessary to survive and thrive on other planets in our solar system. So more similarly to a “gateway drug”, I call these earthly places of learning “cosmic gateways”.
An additional benefit to these “cosmic gateways”, is that similarly to colonizing a different planet, it improves adaptive-capacity the likelyhood of humanity, or some form of intelligent life to continue living on this planet even if things change drastically due to asteroid impacts or otherwise.
Three basic types
There are hot, cold, and deep cosmic gateways. Hot cosmic gateways such as Tanezrouft “the land of thirst”, most desolate area of the Sahara, is a gateway to the inner planets, primarily Mercury. Cold cosmic gateways such as the Arctic and Antarctica are our gateways to the rocky outer surfaces such as Mars, the Moon and asteroid belt. Deep cosmic gateways such as the bottom of the pacific ocean are our gateways to the far outer planets, moons and dwarf planets, such as Europa, Titan, Uranus (if has liquid mantle), and Pluto.
Cold Cosmic Gateways
Cold cosmic gateways are the most likely to be fruitful in the near term. As the header image shows, the smart people of Mars Society have realized this and have an arctic base (FMARS) for Mars simulation research. While they do have some robots, such as the UAV depicted, in my book the Libre-bots are much more ambitious than just scouting.
Libre-bots engaging humans
Libre-bots are libreware (libre (open)-hardware and libre(open-source) software) , and so can be manufactured from raw materials, ideally reproducing themselves. Libre-bots thus aren’t tied down to earth-based manufacturers and software producers, they can look beyond, even unihabited areas are inviting.
A theme in my series is that the adaptive capacity gained by water-based and solid-based beings working together, always trumps those that are exclusively of one kind. So librebots wish to work with humans and water-based organisms, as it gives them a survival advantage.
- Telescopes identify the object
- Cosmic probes survey and map it
- Landers are sent to verify surface and subsurface conditions.
- A supply seed is sent, which gathers energy resources
- A mining seed is sent, which gathers raw materials
- A factory seed is sent, which produces parts and units
After a supply seed gathers enough energy it is possible to have a water-based outpost, as in most parts of the solar system some heating and extra light is required. For instance the supply seed could set up a greenhouse on Mars, and stockpile grain or other freeze-dryable goods.
At the mining seed stage it could become interesting for human researchers who may wish to be on site to do various tests or to help with exploration.
At the factory seed stage can start bringing in colonists or permanent residents, since all accomodation can be created on site.
Back to Gateways
The idea is to use the colonization roadmap but for unihabiteed locations on/in Earth. This would allow for it to then be applied to other locations in the cosmos. Once we have a multi-planetary civilizations, there would still be cosmic gateways, they would be the more difficult planets, for instance Venus could be considered a cosmic gateway to the gas giants.