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Macrolife

Macrolife Spome Space habitats Mobile Utopia

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#1
Ru1138

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One person suggested in the "Where will we go after Earth" topic that we colonize planets as little as possible and opt for wandering space habitats.

 

This reminded me of a science fiction concept (but still very plausible) called Macrolife; or as Isaac Asimov called it, Spome.

 

I think the Wikipedia definition of Spome is the most concise for this concept:

 

A spome is any hypothetical system closed with respect to matter and open with respect to energy capable of sustaining human life indefinitely. The term was coined in 1966 by Isaac Asimov in a paper entitled "There’s No Place Like Spome", published in Atmosphere in Space Cabins and Closed Environments and originally presented as a paper to the American Chemical Society on September 13, 1965. Asimov himself declared his coined word to be uneuphonious (not pleasant to the ear), and defined it as being a portmanteau of the two words "space home".

 

If you want something more expansive, here's what the article about George Zebrowski's novel Macrolife says about it:

 

Scientist Dandridge M. Cole originated the term "Macro Life" in his 1961 book The Ultimate Human Society, though the idea of using asteroids as mobile "societal containers" is a common theme in science, and science fiction.

 

Cole defined Macro Life as "life squared per cell", i.e. "Macro Life is to man what man is to the cell". Zebrowski, in the novel, regards Macrolife as an open-ended, expansive union of organic, cybernetic and machine intelligences (human and alien) with spacefaring as its means of dissemination.

 

The stuff I've read about Macrolfie comes from the eponymous novel by Zebrowski, as well as the article Bigger than Worlds by Larry Niven. I have not read The Ultimate Human Society though.

 

What are your guys' thoughts on this? Will humanity opt for Macrolife as a form of living?

 

Personally, I'd like to explore the Universe, but I might miss Earth.


What difference does it make?


#2
Ru1138

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Turns out there's a copy online of Larry Niven's Bigger Than Worlds located here (but without the illustrations that were in the original paper). The smaller scale stuff (Ringworld sized or smaller) should give you an idea on what forms Macrolife can take.

 

If you want a copy of Bigger Than Worlds with illustrations, then you'll have to look for a copy of  Playgrounds of the Mind (also by Larry Niven).


What difference does it make?


#3
IzzyIngleby

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Why avoid colonising planets, colonise every thing you can surely!



#4
Ru1138

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Why avoid colonising planets, colonise every thing you can surely!

 

This was addressed in the novel. Planet based civilization eventually collapse due to resource exhaustion. After all, they can't move their planet easily to another, more resource rich, location.


What difference does it make?


#5
IzzyIngleby

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But wouldn't you exhaust asteroids much faster? You can't easily move planets, but you can relatively easily move potentially resource rich asteroids into orbits allowing for strip mining or simply transport them back to the planet.

 

Also, at least currently, the amount of matter being lost from our own planet is trivial, we gain much more from micrometeorites every day than we send up in terms of man-made objects, we never really lose raw materials (eg. Iron, copper, gold) , they just become harder to recycle in certain forms.


Edited by IzzyIngleby, 13 June 2013 - 11:59 PM.


#6
Ru1138

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But wouldn't you exhaust asteroids much faster? You can't easily move planets, but you can relatively easily move potentially resource rich asteroids into orbits allowing for strip mining or simply transport them back to the planet.

 

Also, at least currently, the amount of matter being lost from our own planet is trivial, we gain much more from micrometeorites every day than we send up in terms of man-made objects, we never really lose raw materials (eg. Iron, copper, gold) , they just become harder to recycle in certain forms.

 

I don't know. This idea wasn't mine.


What difference does it make?






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