It is possible that settlers will not want to terraform or paraterraform a celestial body. The main reason is that the planet, moon or asteroid is a better candidate for industrial development.
Some celestial bodies are too hard to be terraformed. A Carbon Planet is a good example. Or, if the celestial body has a too high disequilibrium of minerals, it might be just too expensive. A third case is when the parent star is not suitable for life. It might blow deadly radiation (see Neutron stars ) or there is no star (see Rough planet or Black holes). Someone can argue that extremely expensive, high-tech technology can transform any world into a new home, but economical reasons might argue the opposite.
In many cases, bodies that are not suitable for terraforming are still good destinations for industry.
Mining centers Edit
It is clear that many asteroids host huge amounts of useful Minerals. The list is very long and can be divided into the following groups:
- Minerals needed for living organisms. They will create the required environment for stations and bases on asteroids. Also, in large quantities, they are needed for changing mineral equilibrium on terraforming planets and moons.
- Minerals for terraforming. In this case, one important ingredient is Water, needed for worlds like Mercury, Venus, Moon and maybe Io.
- Minerals for industrial purposes. This includes mostly metals, required for construction. In addition, many rocks will prove useful. It is highly possible that cement can be made from alien rocks and settlers will need it. Native organic compounds will be also mined. There is no oil in outer space and Earth oil resources will run out soon. Settlers will need some prime materials to create plastic and all we make today from oil.
The best targets for mining will be asteroids, since their low gravity makes transportation cheaper. Larger bodies, like planets and massive moons, will probably still have mining centers, but probably developed only for what local population needs.
Industrial centers Edit
Building an industrial center in outer space has some major advantages and some disadvantages. The major advantages are:
- Low transportation costs (because of the low gravity)
- More easy to build the complex (without strong gravity, less stress is put to the building)
- Some technological processes are more easy (for example, cutting massive objects)
- It is more easy to cool metal objects (move them to the dark side of an asteroid)
- It is more easy to build (without gravity, modeling objects from liquid materials)
- No interaction with air (in space void, for corrosive materials)
- Higher solar radiations
- Out there, you are completely on your own.
Dumping centers Edit
Our civilization produces garbage and toxic wastes. They will be dropped somewhere. One good way is to drop them into stars and black holes, but for first settlers, it will be too expensive. So, there is a high probability that some asteroids will be scarified.
Human life Edit
There will be humans working on mining and industrial centers. Dome cities will be needed. Now, depending from case to case, there are a few possibilities:
- People will stay near the industrial centers for all their lives, creating large cities.
- People will stay for a while (days, months) near the industrial centers, but will periodically return to their families.
- Part of (or entire) population will stay on another asteroid (see Global paraterraforming for a model) and will come every day to work.
- A part of the celestial body can be paraterraformed, in order to give people a home, while the other part will be used for industrial reasons.
After industrial decline Edit
As seen on Earth, old mines and industrial centers live a lot of pollution behind, from ruins to extremely toxic chemicals. Will this be the fate of many celestial bodies? Will we destroy the outer space as we destroy Earth today? Most probably, we will and we will leave behind the marks of our civilization.
Industry might bring the profit needed to stimulate us to go into outer space and the profit will be the reason for our economical and political leaders to do that.