A development plan for the Solar System

     Now, we agree that colonizing other planets is not enough, that something more is needed - it's TERRAFORMING. Literally, it means "Earth shaping" a planet, more precisely, creating a functional, self-sustainable biosphere (implying also a proper atmosphere and hydrosphere) similar to that on Earth. 

     Domed or underground colonies could temporarly host a few people. Terraforming is about billions living, breathing, working under the open sky. It's the only way of creating a debouche for Earth's demographic growth.

    You will say: "But this is only a temporary solution; what is gonna happen when all the Solar System will be fully populated?" And right you are! Distances in space are huge, so reaching even the closest stellar system in a decent time is impossible for now. The very laws of physics say it: no one can surpass the speed of light. On a long term we will certainly need a way to trick space-time and shorten distances (that is creating and harnessing the, hypothetical for now, wormholes) or we are busted. 

     Let's stay for now in our Solar System; it has plenty of living space, as you will see, and more reasonable distances. Of course, our spaceflight means are rather primitive, but there is potential for the coming years. The NERVA Project (fast nuclear thermal propulsion engines that would make all the System easily accessible) was unjustfully terminated by the U.S. government. Also, an economical method of launching materials into orbit (you won't be surprised to find out that the vast majority of the fuel a spacecraft consumes is for exiting our atmosphere) is required. Projects based on magnetic levitation, such as M.T.Savage's "Bifrost" railgun, or the more complex and impressive Startram concept are, in my opinion, the best I heard of. But let's conclude that improving our space industry in a few years is perfectly feasible, leave the details to the engineers, and get to the Big Plan.

     You may read a lot of literature about terraforming other planets, and I will try to put as many useful links I find on this website (you may also help me: if you find something interesting just tell me, and I'll quickly add it). Usually this kind of proposals are about Mars, and for good reasons. Mars is not only our closest neighbour, but it is similar to Earth in many ways, and it could be turned into an earthlike world relatively easy. I will get there, but first let me start from a very different part of our Solar System. 

     On to the GIANTS...