The Artificial Planet

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D. R. Glover (2013), JBIS, 66, 43-46

Refcode: 2013.66.43
Keywords: Space colony, artificial biosphere, interstellar travel, grand challenges, exploration strategy

An interim milestone for interstellar space travel is proposed: the artificial planet. Interstellar travel will require breakthroughs in the areas of propulsion systems, energy systems, construction of large space structures, protection from space & radiation effects, space agriculture, closed environmental & life support systems, and many other areas. Many difficult problems can be attacked independently of the propulsion and energy challenges through a project to establish an artificial planet in our solar system. Goals of the project would include construction of a large space structure, development of space agriculture, demonstration of closed environmental & life support systems over long time periods, selection of gravity level for long-term spacecraft, demonstration of a self-sufficient colony, and optimization of space colony habitat. The artificial planet would use solar energy as a power source. The orbital location will be selected to minimize effects of the Earth, yet be close enough for construction, supply, and rescue operations. The artificial planet would start out as a construction station and evolve over time to address progressive goals culminating in a self-sufficient space colony.

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