The Next 60,000 Years / The Starships
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By year 2200, the light-speed barrier will be shattered, and colonisation of star-planets will be a realisable objective. Most of the initial light-speed and supra light-speed stellar probe flights will be carried out with robot crews but, by 2500, effective protective shields will be developed enabling humans to travel at C+ super-speeds.
By 3000, we will despatch our first colonising starship and establish our first space colony beyond the solar system. Most of the first colonists will be from USA, and the second starship colonists will be Japanese. By year 3000, Japan will have experienced many large quakes and volcanic eruptions, and that country's devastation will have spurred the Japanese people to give massive support to their space programme. As space colonisation begins in earnest, it will become apparent that people of the same race make for a happier and more successful starship colony.
By 3200, ten colonising starships will have departed, each carrying an average of 50,000 colonists. Three ships will be from USA; two from Japan; one each from Germany, France, UK, Russia and China. Each starship will be completely self-sufficient and capable of full-life sustainment by docking-only contact with a host planet. Each ship will be able to replicate or extend itself, using nanobio processed raw material from its host planet. Nanobio processing (of sand and soft-rock) will provide all the food, liquid, clothing and other needs of the colonists. By year 3300, another 30 starships will have departed, and the average number of colonists per ship will have risen to 100,000: the ships will be huge.
Meanwhile, the smaller explorer-ships, travelling at up to 200 times the speed of light, will have explored and mapped stellar space within a 500 light-year radial area. No intelligent life-forms will have been discovered. Many more planets, suitable as docking-hosts, will have been located, but none which will enable a viable settlement to be established outside of a starship-city. It will transpire that most starship dwellers are very content with their life aboard ship, and that they have a very strong affection for their ship ... and that most of them are reluctant to leave. What usually happens is that a starship remains at its docked location and, as its population grows, it is progressively extended to mega-city dimensions. Colonists have comfort and entertainment of a very high standard, and they are able to shuttle to and from between the various star-planets, and they very much enjoy these excursions.
Back on Earth, the motivation for starship migration will vary from country to country. As already mentioned, the Japanese people will be strongly motivated by their natural-disaster situation. Devastation around the northern hemisphere's Pacific rim will be severe, including the west coast of the USA. While USA and Japan will have the resources and skills for stellar migration, many other countries (such as Indonesia and the Philippines) will not be so fortunate. Globally, there will be increasing loss of life from natural disasters and adverse climatic conditions. Other countries badly affected will include India, China, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and countries of the Middle East and Caucasus. People will clamour for starship berths. Fortunately, rapid advances of science and technology will bring reduction of starship production costs and increased starship size, and the whole stellar migration process will gain tremendous impetus. Thirty millions will have migrated from Earth by year 4000; two hundred millions by 4500; four hundred millions by 5000; and one billion by 6000. By 6000, there will be close on 1,000 flourishing starship cities on over two hundred stellar planets. By year 10000, the migration of all who wish to leave will be accomplished. A volunteer 'tail-end Charlie' operational unit will remain behind, to transport stragglers as required.
As to politics, institutions and laws, each star-city will decide what it wants and how it will do it. A Federation of star-cities will be established, mainly for communications and the exchange of know-how, and it will set some ground rules for commerce ... but it will not interfere in star-city affairs. Nearly all star-cities will be respectful of individual rights and freedoms. It is interesting to note that the humanoid robots of the future will have advanced sensing, self-programming and creative capabilities, and also a wide selection of optional skill modules. Sane will have their freedom, with support from funded perpetual maintenance trusts. Each star-city will devise its own laws and customs relating to humanoid rights and proscriptions. Many humans will have bionic parts, implants and other aids ... and many will be dependant on their humanoid duos for life-support. The whole situation of humanoid rights will be so complex that pragmatic ad hoc solutions will tend to take primacy over legal niceties.
The star-cities will have economies of plenty, as compared with the economies of scarcity which prevail in present Earth societies. Stellar communities will experience transformations of the supply, distribution and exchange infrastructures, with their relative political conformations. There will be a notable replacement, of self-centred motivations, with more societal and ethically qualitative motivations. Individual motivations will not be lacking, but they will have become more imaginative, creative, empathic and satisfying. The question of ownership is interesting, as acquisition of assets is not a problem, and there is no need to squabble over who owns this and who owns that. Mark-two humans have individual powers to make and do whatever they want. Most of them choose to live together because they enjoy each other's company, but the question, of who owns what, does not concern them. They are aware that they are absolute beings, and they can fully empathise with each other. They know, from personal experience, that they can freely enjoy each other's personas. The whole question of ownership becomes academic. The present perceptions of ownership derive from personal limitations and the economics of scarcity ... and these constraints will no longer prevail.
Many of the star-cities will create Earth-like environmental conditions around them. The creative powers of stellar humans will be truly amazing by present standards, and Earth-like features and facilities will delight and appease the nostalgia of our futurelings. The starships will have taken Earth fauna and flora to the colonies, and some of the shipments will have resembled Noah's ark. Virtually every Earth species will be found on one or other of the star-planets. Also, during the exodus years, most of Earth's precious treasures (including revered architectural icons) will have been moved out, and equitably shared between the colonies ... and these treasures will be a lasting source of interest and inspiration.
Genetic engineering will have produced remarkable advances and transformations of our human species and, as between the widely spaced colonies, distinctly different races will have developed. However, harmonious relations will maintain among the many sectors of the human Federation which, greatly prospering and multiplying, will exceed a population of ten billions of spacers by year 10000. With spacecraft speeds in excess of 1000 times light-speed, and great advances of human capabilities and powers, it will no longer be a question of what our futurelings have to do, but of what they want and will to do.
www.NormanSpencer.co.nz / The Next 60,000 Years / The Starships