Planets, bridges, rings

[Image: From Un Autre Monde, 1844, by J. J. Grandville. With huge thanks to Scott Webel!].

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Freeman Dyson:

"The Kuiper Belt may seem to us today to be a cold and inhospitable place, but it is probably less inhospitable to life than Mars. It has the advantage of being an archipelago, a collection of small habitable islands not too far from one another. Because the relative speeds are slow, communication and travel between one island and another will be easy. When you are living on a billion-ton comet in the Kuiper Belt, another billion-ton object will on the average pass by within a million miles about once a month. Million-ton objects will come by within this distance every day. It will take only a few days, using a small spacecraft with a modest propulsion system, to hop over and visit the neighbors or replenish supplies. If you are bored by the scenery or unhappy with your family, you can move permanently and try your luck on another comet, just as the Pilgrims in the old days moved from Plymouth to Boston and from Boston to Providence and places west.

If a community occupying a Kuiper Belt object outgrows its habitat and wishes to expand, it can increase its living space by attaching tethers to neighboring objects as they float by. A metropolis could grow by accretion of objects in the twenty-second century as rapidly as Chicago or San Francisco grew by accretion of real estate in the nineteenth. A Kuiper Belt metropolis would probably be a flat, disk-shaped collection of cometary objects, linked by long tethers and revolving slowly around its center to keep the tethers taut. To continue the accretion of desirable properties while avoiding destructive impacts, the metropolitan border patrol would be engaged in an interesting game of celestial billiards, tracking approaching objects with telescopes, nudging them gently with space tugs and hooking them with tethers..."

June 09, 2006 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

Anonymous, where did that quote come from? I'd love to read the entire work.

July 17, 2006 10:43 PM  

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