The History of Interplanetary Colonization
Forget star travel! Let’s get busy and really have some fun with our own back yard first!
One of my earliest introductions to how this would work comes from Robert Heinlein’s wonderful books ‘Red Planet’ (1949), ‘Between Planets‘ (1951) and ‘The Rolling Stones‘ (1952) and ‘Have Spacesuit. Will Travel’ (1958). Heinlein’s universe consisted of very large colonies on Mars and Venus, and settlements on Ceres, and Titan and the Galilean moons of Jupiter especially Ganymede. These were traditional domed communities that had matured into major settlements of upwards of 100,000 or more people. ‘Red Planet’ is set some time in the 21st century, with a major equatorial settlement and outlier colonies, and the beginnings of the terraforming process to make the Martian atmosphere breathable. Other stories like ‘Podkayne of Mars’ (1962) take place in the equivalent of 150,000-ton ocean liners (e.g. Queen Elisabeth II) in space that never touch down on a planet but where people are shuttled back and forth on self-propelled, aerodynamic ships. These leviathans maintain a constant acceleration of 0.1Gs so
Spaceship from the movie ‘First Spaceship on Venus’ (1960)
interplanetary travel takes about a few weeks to get from Mars to Earth, and the ships rotate to —> Read More Here