Humanity is a tenacious race. It is rare we set our collective mind to a task we don’t achieve said challenge. Except perhaps peace, but that begs the question is our collective mind set towards peace? It’s an interesting question, but one to be pursued another day, getting back to the point. When we decide to accomplish a task it gets done.
No where is this theorem of mine proved more precisely then in the field of colonization. Seven hundred years ago humanity occupied one planet, one minuscule little world in a tiny corner of space.
Today humanity resides on fifty worlds in twenty solar systems. Those of us who live comfortably on established planets or moons, like Trina-Vare, Landerstone, Titan and Mars sometimes forget exactly how difficult and dangerous colonization is. I look out my window and see a city, trees sway in the distance, and I can walk out my door and breathe the fresh clean air those beautiful trees create each and every day.
For millions of people the reality of life is much different.
The Branderstine/Weiss Colonization effort made contact this past week letting the Interstellar Confederate government know they have established a dome on the planet Ablestine, humanities fiftieth and most recent world, and begun the introduction of oxygen producing algae to the planets only liquid water, a small inland ocean.
For those of you not familiar with colonization, when a planet has liquid water but no breathable air the first task is a dome. This allows people to survive; it regulates temperature and recycles air. Building a dome takes about eight months of labor all done within the confines of regulatory suits. People tend to work ten hour shifts, since twelve hours suits are the lightest and easiest in which to perform manual labor.
The next step is algae. While it’s possible to synthesize small amounts of water it is not possible to turn a planet without water into a livable place. Water, in one form or another, solid, liquid or gas must be present. Ablestine has large amounts of water present in gas. There atmosphere is thick with it. Algae introduced to the liquid water will begin the process of oxygenation. Trees will be next on the colonies agenda.
I arrived at Ablestine the day after they finished their dome. It’s an impressive structure. Huge, covering ten square miles, it has to be since it houses all of the 1,300 colonists. Air locks lead in and out of the dome and allow people to interact with the rest of the planet’s surface. I arrived at night and was taken in through the main air lock. I saw little those first hours as most of the colony was enjoying sleeping for the first time in their own beds.
At breakfast in the community dining hall the next morning I met Corina, my guide around the planet. She is a small vivacious woman with dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, and an infectious laugh.
The first stop on my tour was the monument.
Ever colony looses members before the dome is build. Usually accidents take between five and ten lives, in fact ten is the government accepted level of loss for this stage of colonization. Ablestine lost seven, to dome construction related accidents. Well within the acceptable limit. They lost another twenty to equipment malfunction. I asked, but apparently the government does not put a cap on the amount of lives that can be lost in this manner. In memoriam to the twenty-seven members of their colony crew who never saw the fruits of their labor realized the team created a monument in the middle of the dome.
Next Corina showed me the nurture center, which looked like a nurture center here on Trina-Vare, except smaller, much smaller. Their birth rates will be low for the first seventy years or so, until the planet is sufficiently oxygenated she explained.
Wait, seventy years.
That’s right it will take approximately seventy years for the planet to be sufficiently oxygenated for humans to live on the surface without a dome. I know my jaw was dragging at this. As I looked back into history though I found that Mars had taken over a hundred years to reach a point where is could be viable for human life outside of domes. Look at Mars today, what humanity once called “The Red Planet” is now as green as Earth, well, the red dusts still colors the surface water, but no one could accuse the entire planet of being red.
It was as I pondered this I realized the truth. Humanity is a tenacious race. Seven hundred years ago we set our collective mind to living on Mars, it took over a hundred years to make that dream a reality. We stuck to it. Then we went further, another colony in our solar system, then further still, to Trina-Vare, an entire solar system away.
Now our forward momentum has carried us well into the stars. What will we find as we continue to progress?
As far as we have come there are still millions of stars we haven’t yet mapped, much less rifted too. There are incredible things happening on Ablestine, I look forward to sharing them with you in the upcoming weeks.