Colonization of the solar system

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Beside earth the sum of all rocky planets and dwarf planets do not provide much more surface area. Often conditions are very harsh (e.g. high radioactivity on europa). Note that there might be a lot of big transneptunian objects (TNOs) like Pluto missing in this list. Those are hard to reach though.

Up: Spaceflight with gem-gum-tec

This page is about how advanced atomically precise manufacturing may be usable to colonize interplanetary space. The focus is on possibilities that are relatively near term (under a century). If more far term stuff comes up this will be especially noted.

Bodies with dense atmospheres

Atmospheres can deliver building materials in the easiest usable (do not use "digestable"!) standardized form.

  • Gas giants
  • Venus - is paradise for atomically precise manufacturing
  • Titan - is Saturns only planet sized moon with an atmosphere that surpasses the one of Earth.
  • Mars (the second tiniest planet) - has an rather thin atmosphere that for humans equals a full vacuum (spacesuit needed). But it is still plenty thick enough to be usable as a building material.

Asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter

The main asteroid belt lies between Mars and Jupiter. Jupiter with its gravitational disturbances played a role in creating it.
There is lots of planetary core material flying around in the main asteroid belt. Shown here is what is believed to be material of a kind that that can be found at the core mantle boundary of larger rocky planets.
  • pro: enormous accessible surfacer area - probably way greater than all the planets and moons together
  • pro: just the right temperature for the presence of a variety of materials
  • pro: no gravity traps
  • con: there is quite a bit less solar energy than on earth - but it is still enough to be useful
  • con: all the material is in the solid state requiring complex mining
  • con: laggy telecommunication in a dispersed net due to light-speed runtimes

Moons and dwarf planets in the outer solar system

Furter out in the solar system small bodies become increasingly icy. Water ice and at some point even nitrogen ice becomes rock forming material. If not enough carbon and silicon is present one might want to mechanosynthesize weaker bonding ices there and use those materials for not too demanding structural purposes

Flavors of diamondoid gem gum technology

Vastly differing chemical and thermal conditions at different places in the solar system could lead to differentiation (do not use "speciation"!) of diamondoid technology into very different branches.

Structures built out of water ice via cryonic inter-molecular mechanosynthesis wont find much use beside ephemeral consumables on earth since they quickly melt when uncooled or diffuse when insufficiently cooled. Further out and farther from the sun though ice and other compounds that are volatiles on earth can be seriously used as permanent building materials. This materials are also the most abundant materials in those regions so they are likely to be used.

Unlike methane water can't be safely polymerized to stuff that does not melt above 0°C. Long peroxide chains are a powerful explosives. Also oxygen polymers are un-branched linear chains and thus can't form tight meshed poly-cyclically looped covalent stiff diamondoid materials. So technology that uses only the elements oxygen and hydrogen for structural components (that is water) stays out there. Reasonably safely making explosive crystals from mostly water that do not melt will certainly be possible via mechanosynthesis since they can be made practically perfectly clean - the usefulness may be questionable.

  • Chemically reducing environments (nonoxidic compounds)
  • high temperature environments (refractory materials)
  • metal rich environments (planetary core material in the asteroid belt)


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