Three Visions of Space

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If colonizing space is the inevitable future of humanity, the vision of that future is still taking shape.  So far, we have seen three evolving versions of Humankind in space in real life.  First, we saw a military style space race between the Soviet Union and the United States of America.  Then, the United States followed with a civilian space agency in reply.  Today, we also have a growing number of private space companies competing for access to what has always been the purview of nation-states.

Each of these versions of humans in space can achieve the goal of colonization, but each is also inherently different in the details of that effort and how best to achieve it.   Military, civilian or corporate, ah that is the question.  Which, if any is best for our species?  Perhaps the answer lies in how each approaches its goal.

The military option squarely focuses on command and control.  Every sensor, craft, pilot and passenger has a well-defined purpose, position and function.  Any deviation from the plan is cause for concern and a response proportionate to the danger posed by the deviation.  If the need arises, a dispassionate response can and will be executed as quickly as possible.  Emphasis on executed.

A civilian option, the kind the United States embraced for the last sixty years, mitigates the emphasis on control with an institutionalized emphasis on safety.  Redundant systems to prevent critical failures, payload protection to safeguard equipment, and above all else, crew safety is the focus of NASA and agencies like it around the world.  The main drawbacks of this approach are overly cautious designs, missions, astronauts and the changing leadership of the government that supports the agency.

With private companies taking a greater role in government space operations around the world, the third option open to our species is still in its infancy.  SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Bigelow Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic, are only a few of the notable corporations aspiring to a greater presence in human space flight.  These companies have specific goals and react quickly to emerging technologies to help them achieve those goals.  Their main obstacle so far has been the enormous amount of funding required for sustained profitable operations.

So then, we have distilled the three versions of military space operations, civilian government space agencies and private space companies into their core principles of control, safety and profit.  Which of these is best for the future of humanity in space?  Each has strengths in comparison to the others, but no single approach seems any better overall to advancing our species along the path to a multi-planet civilization.

Perhaps, and this is entirely from my personal experience having served in the military, experienced the bureaucracy of civilian government agencies, and having run a business, all three have a place in our future.  Each will continue to evolve as we develop the technology, infrastructure and the capability to explore and live beyond Earth’s atmosphere.  What that future looks like will likely be a blend of all three approaches and perhaps something else entirely that we can scarcely imagine today.

Rushing Into Space

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The future of our species, if we have one at all, will be beyond the pale blue sky we see every day.  To make that possibility a reality, there is much work, research, and development ahead.  Those who seize the chance to do that work now will prosper in ways we can only begin to imagine.

Survival – Man-made or natural disasters still threaten our existence.  A large stray space rock, a shaky finger on a nuclear arsenal, or any number of cataclysmic events could doom our species to extinction.  Colonizing other worlds would allow us to escape that fate.

Expansion – One of our basic human impulses is to expand.  We have expanded about as far as we can on Earth, the only ways to continue expanding is down into the crust or out into space.  The challenge of moving out into the vastness of space is in part, its own reward.  Conquering that challenge will also provide tangible benefits to everyone on Earth.

Resources – Our resources on Earth are finite, our planet only contains so many chemical, mineral and biological resources.  When those resources are exhausted, the civilization they support will inevitably collapse.  We can only expect sustainable growth by tapping the infinite resources space has to offer.  Two American based companies, Planetary Resources, and Deep Space Industries are leading a growing field of international private companies who are already tackling the technical and legal aspects of mining asteroids and near-Earth objects.

Research and Development – To achieve any lasting presence in space we need better ways to do things.  We must address practical techniques for resource extraction, reliable communications over longer distances than ever before, command and control functions, crew safety and environmental controls.  We must find solutions to all this and more before large-scale industrial applications can become a reality.

Technology – The space race spurred a new age of technological growth, far beyond the direct applications developed for space travel.  More research into longer duration space travel will do the same today.  Pushing the boundaries of existing and emerging technologies will have benefits on Earth that we can scarcely imagine right now.

Colonization – Humans face a number of challenges in colonizing Mars or the moon.  Radiation shielding, low or zero gravity and sustainable habitation are all technical hurdles we need to overcome to settle anywhere beyond our home world.

Exploration – Some of the greatest moments in human history embraced exploration of the unknown.  Sailing to the New World, circumnavigating the globe, or boldly going where no one has gone before have thrilled our species for millennia.  Losing that sense of discovery diminishes us as a people.

Economics – The practical implications of harvesting materials from space to improve conditions on Earth, or sustain a new habitat on another world are no small consideration.  Precious metals, unrefined construction materials and the raw materials for life are all abundantly available and almost within reach right here in our solar system.  The people who find a way to bring those materials to market will change the future of our species forever.

The future is now – read, research, and spread the word!

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Escaping Utopia is available for Pre-order on Amazon!  The next part of the Renegade Galaxy series goes live on July 8th!!!  If you haven’t read the first part yet, Renegades of Orion will be free as an introduction to the series on July 8th as well!

Official Space Tourism Guide

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Greetings fellow Human Citizens!  During this unprecedented era of peace and prosperity throughout our many thriving worlds and far-flung outposts, the shining jewel of Humanity pushes ever farther into outer space.  As our valiant space fleet and unstoppable armies push the dark brood of insectoid monsters of Vrax away from their colony world of Thelna, a wide vista of opportunities has opened for loyal citizens who want to explore the Greater Milky Way!

Humanity has known for many years that we are not alone in our galaxy, but in an effort to alleviate the fear many of our citizens feel about alien civilizations, the newly created Office of Space Tourism has developed this official Human League Guide to Alien Species.  We have included all the information at our disposal both from official League sources and with direct cooperation from the United Nations Space Exploration Agency’s Caravel deep space expeditions.  This guide also includes assessments of known hostile aliens, specifically our nearest neighbors, the xenophobic and aggressive Vraxian Swarms.

 

K’tohan Imperium – A reptilian feudal society. They appear to be the second civilization to achieve interstellar space-faring status. The K’tohans reproduce rapidly and have the largest number of colony worlds along with the most powerful space fleet in the Milky Way.  Their technology is some of the most advanced in the galaxy and they have a well-established military hierarchy.  While we have never directly met representatives of the Imperium, we have learned they are notoriously territorial and tend to shoot first and ask questions of the wreckage.

 

Urshurn V’laam Theocracy – These mammalian creatures, roughly analogous to human-sized mongooses, live in a devoutly religious society that has recently declared their intent to convert the entire galaxy.  Their whole civilization revolves around devotion to the sacred flames of their temples, through which they and their priestly rulers commune with their ancestors in the afterlife.

Despite their reverence for tradition and spirituality, they also have many practical technologies and have been an interstellar civilization for almost as long as the K’tohans.  The legends of the Urshurn V’laam precede them, as their technologically adept ancestors sent various forms of their religious texts into space in hopes of converting civilizations ignorant of their spiritual truths.  Their worship is rich in ritual and symbolism, and they have both a supreme religious text and a supreme religious leader.

The copies of the text Humankind have decoded is called “The A’te Duhm, The Book of Holy Flames.”  It recounts the history of a distinct tribe of their people blessed above all others, who received “The flame that cleanses without burning.”  This tribe and their new leader, the prophet Resara, united the many kindreds of their people against a dreaded enemy, the serpentine Or’ferimar (Savage Serpents).

 

Vraxian Hives – The menacing giant insectoid swarms of nightmare.  They are xenophobic, the Vraxai do not communicate, trade with or tolerate the presence of other space-faring civilizations in what they consider their territory.  They are largely dependent on biomechanical technologies that are roughly analogous to other civilizations.

Our knowledge of the Vraxai is, unfortunately, more intimate than any other civilization, as we have been at war with these fiends since their surprise attack and complete destruction of the poorly defended Free Chinese colony world of Paradise.  The giant insects of the swarm have been our sworn enemies since before the Shackleton Crater Treaty founded the Human League.  We created this guide due to the Human League’s recent overwhelming victory over the murderous insects at Thelna.

 

  Vasbaph*Klarn Consortium – An avian mercantile society, they are traders found throughout the galaxy.  Much like the Human race, scarce resources on their homeworld forced the Klarn to reach out to the stars.  Their love of flight and business-oriented culture flourished as they wandered further into the galaxy.  Klarn trade delegations are found all over the Milky Way.  These charming bird-like creatures have even visited the Human worlds of Utopia and El Dorado.

 

  Chelicar Protectorate – Our nearest galactic neighbors after the monstrous Vraxai, they are a partially cybernetic arachnoid civilization.  The Chelicar are connected to one another in a series of planet-wide networked democracies they collectively call, The Protectorate.  Although they were once fierce, cannibalistic predators, they are now peaceful scientists, engineers, and artists who have given up natural procreation and tied themselves together with an artificial neural network to work and act in concert.

 

  Vermos Magistratum – The grey skinned, oval headed and black-eyed Vermosites may be the inspiration for many legends of alien contact throughout the Milky Way.  Traders from the Klarn Consortium, as well as diplomatic messages received from the Chelicar Protectorate,  indicate the Vermosites have visited those civilizations in one way or another.  The Human League has yet to establish direct diplomatic relations with the Magistratum, but we advise travelers to proceed with caution when encountering the diminutive aliens.

Klarn sources indicate they govern a strict police state operating under their “Code of Social Policy.”  The Vermosites are inquisitive and playful creatures who may even have visited Earth many years ago.  They are natural telepaths, possess many advanced technologies and have at least as many colony worlds as the Human League.

 

  Daegon Dominion – The Daegon rule the longest uninterrupted society to develop in our galaxy. Under the benevolent rule of hereditary Emperor Miralon Mordathun, the Daegon are a stable and cohesive society.  Their people have long life spans but are slow to reproduce.

The Daegon Dominion is the most obscure civilization in the galaxy.  Their people are found throughout the Milky Way on private quests and individual explorations.  They were the first species to achieve interstellar status and the first contacted by the cyborg Hands of Infinity.  The Daegon are a mystical people, absorbed in some quasi-religious movement called Enir, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things.

The Daegon are rumored to be able to change their physical appearance in some way not understood by other civilizations.  Their military consists of a volunteer militia, which is mostly an infantry force, and the Order of Astral Knights, a long-venerated monastic society of warrior-clerics.

The Daegon are the galactic leaders in artificial intelligence and are so far, the only civilization to grant citizenship to artificial intelligences that achieve sentience.  Artificial constructs, robotic assistants, drones, and androids are commonplace among the Daegon.  Their almost symbiotic relationship with artificial intelligence allows them to remain competitive with other civilizations despite their slow reproductive rate.

 

  Oroal Polity – A highly organized society of several distinct varieties of sentient rodents.  They are the newest civilization to achieve interstellar status according to the Hands of Infinity.  Their technologies are mostly primitive, but they are an industrious civilization.  The Polity strives to grow more capable all the time.

Their location within the Milky Way is between the aggressive K’tohan Imperium and the recently aggressive Urshurn V’laam Theocracy.  Either civilization could overpower the less advanced Oroal if they chose to do so.  The Polity is well aware of this and is constantly trying to improve their space fleet, defensive structures, and technologies.

 

Hands of Infinity – A cyborg society unlike any other civilization in the Milky Way, made up of specimens from every known sentient species.  Most of the little we know of the cyborgs comes from our first contact with them in orbit over humanity’s first colony world of Alpha and limited knowledge exchanges with Klarn trade missions.  They are an enigma to all who have encountered them and hint at an unknown intelligence that created them in the distant past.

The Hands of Infinity only interact with the other nine civilizations during their first contact mission when a civilization colonizes a planet outside of their home solar system.  Subsequent introductions of new civilizations to those who already have interstellar status are broadcast from their four terminal space stations.  No one knows who created the Hands or what their ultimate purpose may be.  They operate or are connected to the enigmatic Marker Beacon navigation system around neutron stars throughout the galaxy and maintain enormous Terminal space stations at either end of the only two known wormholes in the galaxy.

 

Space Pirates – A rag-tag group of malcontents from various civilizations, more of a nuisance than a real danger to well-defended systems.  Rumors of a growing alliance of pirate groups is at best an exaggeration.  The Human League discounts all reports of would be space piracy as criminal and terrorist acts of known criminal syndicates like the once infamous Mirror Family of Utopia.

Rumors persist of Neutral Worlds not affiliated with any of the known civilizations and likewise beyond their reach.  The Office of Space Tourism has found no evidence of any significant colony besides those under the direct control of one of the nine known civilizations.  Though it is highly unlikely that some small band of colonists might attempt to settle beyond the reach of government-sanctioned systems, loyal citizens should report any evidence to the contrary to League officials immediately.

Victory through vigilance, Citizen! Human logo