Humans could move to ‘floating asteroid belt colony’ within 15 years

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Humans could live on giant orbs floating in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter for the next 15 years.

That’s the crazy claim by top scientist Dr Pekka Janhunen that millions of people could inhabit a mega-city in space by 2026.

Janhunen, an astrophysicist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, described his vision in a research paper released this month.

He presented the plan of the “mega-satellites” floating around the dwarf planet Ceres, located about 325 million kilometers from Earth.

“The motivation is to have a settlement with artificial gravity that allows growth beyond the living surface of the Earth,” Janhunen wrote.

The vast majority of plots to colonize distant worlds revolve around the Moon or Mars. This is largely due to their proximity to Earth.

Janhunen’s proposal, on the other hand, seems a bit more distant.

Its disc-shaped habitat is believed to include thousands of cylindrical structures, each housing more than 50,000 people.

These capsules would be connected by strong magnets and would generate artificial gravity by rotating slowly.

Residents would mine Ceres resources 600 miles below the settlement and bring them back using “space elevators,” Janhunen said.

“Lifting Ceres materials is energetically inexpensive compared to transforming them into habitats, if a space elevator is used,” he wrote.

“Because Ceres has low gravity and spins relatively fast, the space elevator is achievable.”

Ceres – the largest object in the asteroid belt – is the best destination for alien colonies due to its nitrogen-rich atmosphere, Janhunen added.

This would make it easier for settlers to create Earth-like conditions than those colonizing the harsher, carbon dioxide-rich environment of Mars.

This does not address threats from malicious asteroids or space radiation, although Janhunen, who worked with a number of Finnish researchers on the article, also thought about it.

He proposed that giant cylindrical mirrors placed around the mega-satellite could protect it from bombardments of all kinds.

These mirrors would also focus sunlight on the habitat for growing crops and other plants.

Everything looks pretty rosy, but Janhunen also pointed out a number of issues with the plans.

On the one hand, there is the not-so-small obstacle of making people steal from Ceres.

NASA sent a probe there in 2015, a journey that took eight years – far too long to support hundreds of people using current technology.

Janhunen also admitted that the energy required to transport Ceres’ building materials into orbit would be a major obstacle.

The research was published on January 6 in the pre-printed journal Arxiv. It has not yet been evaluated by scientists.


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