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songsofadistantsun t1_ixb8jng wrote

The thing that I didn't really spell out in my original post is that any space colony (whether based on a planetary body or free-flying) we could realistically build in the next century or two will be absolutely dependent on resources from Earth, especially biological, and therefore depends on Terran nations being able to maintain robust, well-funded space programs. Ergo, space colonies need a healthy Earth-based technological civilization to exist, which renders the idea of using them as a backup for an extinction event on Earth a moot point. So a scenario like Elysium is unrealistic - the rich won't be able to run away to a Stanford Torus to escape the problems they've caused on Earth, or at least not before their closed loop ecologies inevitably fail.


BargleMcquargle t1_ixba2tz wrote

I'm not so sure. The Russians have been effectively living in space for years- all they were really missing was the real estate to grow their own food. Sure, needs some tweaking, and ramping it up to colony scale will need some impressive infrastructure. But a couple of Musks get together with a Russian Oligarch or two and start something small but expandable, using SpaceX hardware or similar. I could definitely see that happening. Much easier to setup a habitable environment from scratch than to even comtemplate terraforming, living underground forever, or being geographically constrained like on the Moon. Plus, they would own half the earth, so easy to just pop back to the shops when they need something if they're just in orbit. Take the schmaltz out of Elysium and i think you have a workable model (speaking as a current Oligarch).