Thursday, May 18, 2006

EXODUS TO SPACE

Phase 2 :Space Industries

As the space stations become richer, it will increase its operations by processing the cut asteroids before sending them to earth. So, instead of sending small mineral rocks to earth, the station will be able to set up a mineral-processing arm to purify the precious metals, cast them into ingots and sell them to earth at a higher price.

At this time, space has transformed from the equivalent of Primary Industry to Secondary Industry. The isolation of the space station in space makes it an ideal place to process minerals as it does not cause any pollution to Earth.

The space industry will further develop when the station administrators will start to employ expertise to expand to manufacturing activities using the materials obtained from the asteroids. Basically, there will be 2 types of products manufactured, products developed for self used and products to be exported to earth using the advantage of zero g environment.

In the first category, the making of products for self-use is necessary because the station’s experts are more familiar of what they really need than those who stay on earth do. Secondly, it will save cost because every item imported from Earth involve high transportation cost.

As the manufacturing capacity progresses, coupled with availability of cheap minerals and weightless environment (facilitates the movement of huge items), the orbits of Earth will become the manufacturing bases. More people will be stationed in space to serve the expanding industries but some employees will still be earth-bound, working long distance from their computers. There will still be no permanent settlement in space although it is getting more crowded. The sky of Earth will be filed with many Space Stations serving as factories. They will be known as Space Factories.

What will happen to earth then? With manufacturing industries shifting above and employment opportunities developed in space, there will be more service-based industries to serve the recreation need of these space expatriates. The earth will be more organic as there will be lesser factories. There will definitely be more launching pads to launch rockets and projectiles to space.

The common conversation will be “Do you work in space or on earth?” If the person works in space the next question will be “What is the Orbital Path of your factory?”

At this time, while the transportation system will get more efficient, the best real estate will be at the Equator both on Earth and up in the orbit due to the development of Space Elevators. A space elevator works the same way as the common lift except that it hangs from the space station and extends down to the surface of the earth. With the space elevator, we only have to press the “Up” button and wait for the door to open. When the door opens, step in. The next time the door opens again, you are in a space station. This will be a very efficient way to travel to space but it will only be available to stations above the line of Equator.

This is the reason why Equator is necessary. In order for the Space Elevator to work, it cannot move at all or it will knock into buildings and mountains. The only way for a space station to appear stationary from earth is for it to orbit around the earth at the same rate of earth’s rotation (one round in 24 hours) and the only place it can do so is above the Equator.

Thus, the most established and powerful space stations are the ones above the Equator where they can take advantage of the space elevators. They can choose to become collection centers for asteroids, manufacturing base or trading center (using the advantage of space elevators). In order to improve profitability, these stations will concentrate on becoming trading centers (equivalent of seaports) and leave manufacturing to other Non-Equator stations.

The Equator Stations will become trading hubs in Earth – Space trades.While on earth, nations at the Equator will have a windfall. All they have to do is to allow a space elevator to extend to their air space. The next thing will be to collect taxes on goods coming in and out from the elevator. By extension, their seaports will become very busy distributing goods from the Space Elevators.

As civilization continues to advance, the asteroids within the vicinity of earth will be consumed. It will be necessary to go beyond the vicinity of Earth. The next destination will be to establish permanent base at the Asteroid Belt (between Mars and Jupiter). That will be the Phase 3 – To Mars and Beyond.

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