Bryden Allen's Website

The Fundamental Problems which we must Overcome


Before any group of people start on a large complex project, all the participants should clearly recognise all the problems they will soon be facing. So the purpose of this webpage is to outline the major problems, which we will have in setting up a colony in space.
            I call these problems "fundamental" for a very good reason. The obvious problem of going out into space is "how shall we put the physical material, associated with the colony, out into space". This is a problem and I will deal with it later. The problems I must deal with here first are of a more fundamental nature in that they deal with very nature of life in space. In particular, these problems must apply to all of the four communities associated with this project. They are:

1)          We must learn to - Recycle Everything

The simply fact of life is that any colony, which we will set up in space, must recycle absolutely everything. It has to - the cost of receiving materials from Earth is enormous. Fortunately all things can be recycled – provided we have plenty of energy. And there is plenty of energy in space in the form of sunlight.
            In general it is very beneficial for any community to recycle all the materials they can. All materials are in limited supply so we must preserve everything we can. Our current materialistic world has become very lax about this subject. So this is a subject all societies need to work at. The four different categories of material we must consider recycling are the following.

a)         Organic Matter
The forms of matter we must consider here are: excreta (urine and faeces), food scraps, paper, wood, roots, stalks and all the other forms of organic waste. This recycling would be done in a compost facility and the resultant fertilizer would be returned to the ground to support further growth.
            This form of recycling will be done completely by all the communities discussed in this book. So, once the community has been set up with all the nutrients it needs, then there will be no need for more fertilizer from outside.

b)         Solid materials
Also all these communities would try to recycle all their materials like plastics, metals, rubber, concrete and glass. And, as much as possible, all communities would repair and then reuse all their various machines and appliances.
            The degree to which this can be done will depend on the community. The small Green Communities could only recycle those items they could mend (and return the material they couldn't use to the outside world). The two colonies and the Town-State would try to recycle almost everything.

c)         Water
Besides all this, our Village, Town-State and both colonies would be recycling their water. This would be a very big step in the recycling process, because their agricultural areas must be enclosed (to collect the water vapour). This is a very useful step for life on Earth, because this means peoples can use the world's drier land much more productively.


Roofing system to capture water vapour


d)         Air
This recycle case would only apply to our Earth and Space Colonies. This case means that these two enclosed colonies must also be fully sealed. This is a more difficult case than water recycling because, if the oxygen or the CO2 get out of balance, then the remedy is much more difficult. (This is what happened in the Bios2 experiment.) But this step must be successfully solved before we can proceed out into space.

So recycling can be carried out to many different degrees. So far on Earth we have done very little recycling. We have a lot to learn on the subject. But my sequence of communities, in terms of Green Communities, Village Communities, Earth Colonies, a Town-State and a Space Colony, will allow this difficult topic to be learnt in easy stages.

2)         We must learn to - Reduce our Footprints

Out in space our colony must use the minimum amount of resources because it is terribly expensive to get the essential materials out into space. But finally, when the colony is all set up, it will have a footprint of zero - because it will continue its existence only using the direct energy of the sun. So all my communities must start this process of learning how to live with very low footprints.
            The average footprint for the people of this world is 2.3 hectares. My Green Communities will have a footprint of 0.2 hectares. So this is a big improvement.
            My Village Communities and my Town-State will have footprint of 0.1 of a hectare per person. These communities could make this improvement, because they no longer need to use land to collect and save their water. This is a very useful improvement.
            My Earth Colony will use 0.1 hectares of land per person. But this would be arid land with very little rainfall. So such land would normally support very little life. So the real footprint for this colony would be significantly less than 0.1 hectares.
            And finally of course the footprint of my Space Colony will eventually become zero.
So, by gradually learning how to use less land, these communities will have progressively smaller footprints. This is the very nature of life - if we wish our life forms to expand out into the universe.

3)         We must learn to be - Self-Sufficient

Just a few centuries ago there were many thousands of small self-sufficient communities inhabiting our Earth. But since then our world has become a global village and even our nations have become dependent on each other (and so they are not self-sufficient). But our final Space Colony must be as self-sufficient as possible. Also all my other communities must be as self-sufficient as possible to support this final goal.
            Fortunately my previous requirements (Recycling Everything and Low Footprints) already have forced my communities to be mostly self-sufficient.
            Thus my Green Communities will be self-sufficient in food, water and energy. Also these communities will be independent in the way they do their own construction and govern themselves. In some ways these small communities will be more self-sufficient than most nations are at the moment. And all the communities would be self-sufficient in food, water and energy.
            The main feature of self-sufficiency, which we must discuss here, is manufacture. To produce goods efficiently, a community must have a reasonably sized work force with a good sized market. So this means that my Town-State must do all the manufacturing. And then this Town-State would send all their products to all the other communities as well (in return for work on the project, when the time is appropriate). Given time, this manufacture should include PV panels, computers and communication facilities as well, because these products will be essential to life in a Space Colony.
            To help the other smaller communities become more self-sufficient themselves, the Town-State could teach the smaller communities how to mend their products when they break down. Also the Town-State would supply them with the materials and tools. Given this I hope my Green Communities could remain self-sufficient for 20 years and my two colonies for up to 50 years.
            Given all this, all my communities could remain more independent and more self-reliant than most of the current nations on this Earth of ours.

4)         We must learn to give – Equal Opportunity to All People

Most modern democratic nations consider that they give all their people equal opportunity. But in fact this is not true.
            The nature of capitalism is that we allow the rich people to become richer and so the poor people become poorer. Then the world's resources are not evenly distributed between the people of the world. So eventually the poor people become dependent on the rich people to be able to get a job. Also those people, who have a good job, tend to stay in their good jobs. So the poor people, who do not have a job, certainly do not have an equal opportunity as the rich people who do have a job. And there are different degrees between these two cases. We must not allow this circumstance to happen in the societies we create here.
            I discuss all these problems in all the webpages associated with my main webpage  “Political Fundamentals. In particular the webpage Equality of Opportunity should be the basis of all Political Forms contains most of the essential details.
            But you don't really need to read these webpages now. Because I know these problems exceedingly well, I have structured my various communities in such a way that these problems mostly won't occur. Also in my various communities I give further details on how the communities should be governed. So you don't need to worry about this problem yet.

For the moment, you must just remember that the growth of inequalities is a very real problem indeed. So, before you join such a new community, you must study the nature of its government very carefully indeed to check that this will not happen.


So these are the fundamental problems, which we must solve. But in my next webpage I describe "The Free-Time our Communities will Generate". And given this free-time, all these problems can be solved.


So with patience we should still be able to form a viable colony in space.


You might now also like to look back at:

either my "Home Page" (which introduces this whole website and lists all my webpages),

or "The Ultimate Ascent" (which introduces these webpages),

or "A Path to Create a Full Space Colony", (which introduces this webpage).


Updated on 17/11/2016,