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Choosing Planets

Let's turn our imagination to the edge and do something different today. We can call it thought experiment, childish game, day dream, science fiction, pure fantasy or whatever we want but let's move the boundaries far away from Earth, far away from our Solar system, even farther from our Galaxy and do something wild.

Let's choose a planet.

Or to be more precise, let's select one in the vastness of cosmos and move away from this Earth and start new life. Of course in day dreams we are allowed to do this just because the imagination is what our species differs from others on Earth.

Ok, to begin this little endeavor, we need a little astronomy to start with. What we know for sure is that our galaxy alone contains more than 200 billion stars, majority of them not so much different from our Sun and by using basic statistical study based on planet finder's microlensing technique there are approximately 100 billion planets orbiting them. Perhaps more. Multiple that by factor of billions of galaxies in our Universe and you'll get that there are far more Earth twins out there than living people on Earth. There are planets for everybody's taste. So let's start with planet basic properties.

Choosing the World

It has to be huge, much bigger than Earth, maybe twice as big in size or even more to harbor as many people as Earth today and still to have plenty of room for many more. To be something like in Canada's distant regions today with only up to thousand people per square kilometer. However its composition must be radically different than Earth's as in my imagination, it has to maintain gravity more or less like the third rock from the Sun. After all, I don't like to move there and look ridiculously dysfunctional when it comes to, say, simple walking. So less heavy elements inside please and let it be around famous all known number of 9,81. More or less. So no radical changes when gravity is in question, but I would choose the one with radically less water layers than we are familiar within here. Don't get me wrong, I do like water and I would like to have it plenty all over the place, only no oceans or large seas. Rivers are ok in any varieties, lakes too, small seas also fine, but please no oceans. Nobody needs that. Hey, it's my planet, if you like oceans find your own, or don't move anywhere, there are lots of oceans here.

Basically there must be one giant continent in a Norway's style with lots of rivers and lakes and small seas with large bays and calm weather. One rotation cycle could be little longer than Earth's, but not so much over 30 hours. You can't get rid of old habits that easily. Like Earth, it needs to have slightly tilted rotation axis to provide longer seasons and temperature changes over the year, with a revolution over the main star similar to the one in Mars or approximately twice as long as Earth's. Earth-like atmosphere and its greenhouse effect would provide temperature range over the year to be little milder comparing to our native planet, maybe no less than in -10oC in harsh winters and no higher than +30oC in summers. Tilted axis and position within habitable zone of the mother star would also provide no big differences between planet's equator and pole regions. What else? Oh yes, it has to be protected with both strong magnetic field and couple of perfectly positioned giant outer planets from both radiation and looney asteroids and comets. It could also be part of binary star system, where second star could also provide additional protection when it comes to violent cataclysmic events in the neighborhood. Last and surely not least, it has to be green all over the place. Extremely suitable for cultivation of various kind of anything possible. Geography of the planet could be variable with both long valleys and mountains, just like in our home yard.

Humanoids by Star Trek "design"

Do you like my paradise so far? In a way, it was not hard to set basic astronomical properties of the star system and planet itself. However, bigger challenge comes with defining demographics of the planet. You might not like it anymore after I continue and say that I would like the planet to be colonized without any domesticated intelligent species. Why? First of all, it wouldn't be right to find a desirable planet along with at least one dominating intelligent species already evolved there. It would be like colonizing Americas and killing or putting population into reservations. We've been there. It's just wrong. Secondly and probably even more important is that I would like to share it with other intelligent species. Preferably humanoids. Not mandatory though. That way neither would be in position to set a flag and say "this is mine, everybody else not looking like me, go away". Basically in my vision, everyone intelligent who would like to come and build a house is welcome at any time as long as they sign some sort of "sharing" agreement. Something similar to the Antarctic Treaty System we are having here on Earth. Basically, the colonization idea would be comparable to the Earth back in dinosaurs time when all the aliens missed the opportunity to colonize it when no domestic intelligent species existed to claim it for itself. Or they didn't miss it at all and we are actually them and never been native to this planet.

So how would all that sharing look like and what kind of civilization I am talking about? There are so called Kardashev scale defining possible civilizations out there dividing them into Type I, II and III and it, by definition, represents a method of measuring civilization's level of technological advancement, based on the amount of usable energy they have at their disposal. All three types are far away from the civilization of humans as we know today and all three are suitable as potential residents for my planet. By the way, let's call it in further text planet "M". Accidentally, although I first thought of my first name initial, it is titled more than accurate according to planet's classification seen in Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. Anyway, the point of using high-end civilization in my story is that young civilizations like ours is simply not suitable. Why? Several reasons actually, first it seems that big amount of mutual tolerance is needed for sharing principle I am having in mind. All intelligent species desirable have to be evolutionary matured and unburdened by racial, religious and any other interspecies differences. Additionally, the population must be technologically advanced. The system on the planet would be as simple as possible, there will be no countries nor any kind of political organisations, no governments of any kind, nothing like on the third rock of our Solar system. There will be just one institution planetary based with just one treaty where all colonist have to sign and it should be pretty simple. If you want to live there you would have to choose the land that is free and yet unoccupied, claim it yours and the only condition to keep it is to produce zero waste outside of its boundaries. Otherwise you can do whatever you want with it, create your dream house, build a school, trade market, entertainment facility, anything at all as long as you play fair in relation to others.

ISS 3D Printer and first 'emailed' socket wrench

There will be no cities as the technology in everybody's disposal would provide transportation to the most distant part of the planet easy, safe and fast. I see smaller settlements though, based on its mutual benefits and relations. There will be no sports, at least not in a form of the ones we know on Earth. It would be extremely unfair to play, for example, basketball involving multiple species with different masculine properties. However, the technology sports would survive, like races or any kind of recreational activities. Advanced technology in everybody's home would provide planetary and interplanetary network of various communications, there would be no need for many supporting factories except for basic ingredients as home computer would be equipped with state of the art 3D printers capable of producing both simple tools and complex machines. The same home computer would also be able to use food replicators for creating food and food supplements. I don't like existing concept of killing other species and use them for food. Cultivation and planting are perfectly ok and each household would possess it's own greenhouse for growing appropriate food but I expect high-end civilizations in evolutionary terms would solve "the meat" problem and I am not talking about vegetarian diet.

Of course, the main star system would be well explored with several outposts built for several purposes along with mining outer moons, other planets and asteroids in search for all necessary ingredients for planetary life along with variety of orbital activities for planetary residents including entertainment.

Unfortunately, choosing a world to move is still just a dream. Reality still resides far in the future. Nevertheless, I wonder if such world already exists out there in a far, far.. You know.

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