- how an off-Earth base could quickly become self-sufficient -


xRisks: A Survival Colony would help humanity survive a number of existential risks arising from Earth. But, what are the most likely existential risks to develop.

An ultimate goal of space advocates is to achieve space settlement to ensure the survival of the human species. Given the number of potential disaster scenarios, it would seem prudent. But, what are the most likely existential risks?

When one thinks of existential risks, being stuck with a planetoid-sized asteroid is the most commonly thought of scenario. But we now have telescopes big enough to detect all of the asteroids down to about 800 meters diameter or smaller. Asteroids of this size would certainly be a bad day but would not actually destroy all of mankind.

Other natural scenarios include things such as supervolcanoes and a near-by gamma burst. These have happened before and life has survived. Humans with our intelligence are pretty adaptable. These scenarios wouldn't actually be fully existential events.

Human-cause climate change is very often cited as having the potential to destroy humanity. But this is ridiculous. People could very, very slowly walk away from rising sea levels, invest in air conditioners, or even grow food in indoor controlled environments if really necessary.

Nuclear war! Definitely an utter disaster. But there never was enough firepower to completely destroy humanity due to the direct blast and radiation and radiation from the northern hemisphere would die down to acceptable levels in about two weeks before making it to the southern hemisphere. Truly it would be a very bad day with a good percentage of humanity perishing. But again, humanity would not perish as a species.

Unfortunately Elon Musk is right. Space settlement can prevent extinction from super AI. Prevention of this threat has to be accomplished from some other means.

The real risks which space settlement could be the answer to is self-replicating technology. Think of biotech, self-replicating chemicals, and nanotech. Certainly before the end of this century we will develop this technology to the level with desktop hardware in universities within reach of graduate students of varying mental health. These are the real existential risks as identified by experts in this field. It is these risks for which space settlement is an answer.

By using local resources, a base could reduce the amount that is needed to be shipped to it even to the point of achieving complete Earth independence.

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