A sun of a different color? "Tribes of the Orange Sun," "Pale Yellow Sun" and "White Sun Chronicle," three of the most fascinating among recent sci-fi books, consider an earthlike planet orbiting a faraway star similar to, yet different from, our sun. The stories examine space colonization as a solution to over population and environmental problems.
space colonization
Tribes of the Orange Sun
Pale Yellow Sun
White Sun Chronicle

Can space colonization solve Earth's over population and
environmental problems? This page provides certain facts
(numbers), followed by commentary by Gene Shiles,
author of "Tribes of the Orange Sun," "Pale Yellow Sun"
and "White Sun Chronicle."
(Descriptions of these intriguing books are given later.)

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Over Population Space Colonization Earth Facts





Earth's human population, now well over 6 billion, has more than doubled in the 40-year period from 1960 to 2000. This is an average increase of 75 million per year. (A more recent rate of increase is about 80 million per year; click on "Over Population" at the site map above if you want more details about population and growth.)

Is space colonization a way to mitigate future over population? If so, where does one go? Consider the possibilities: planets (in a particular size range, of a particular composition and orbiting at a particular distance from a long-lived star), and the larger moons of larger planets, are the only "common" classes of celestial object that can support life as we know it. We first look at our own solar system. Note: We will consider here only the number of people that may be accomodated; the daunting logistics problems involved in "getting them there" will not be discussed.

You will, of course, form your own opinions about what you read here. Please keep in mind the recent growth rate of about 80 million people per year and the fact that this numerical rate has been increasing.

Earth facts, earthlike planets and space colonization - How much like Earth might other planets be? Colorful flowers? Green wooded hills nearby? Patchy sea fog? A blue ocean horizon, in the distance, reflecting a clear blue sky? Or might they be quite different?

Our Solar System

Earth is the only "earthlike" planet in our solar system, but
other bodies may be considered for space colonization. The
closest, about a quarter-million miles away, is our own moon.
The moon is about 1/4 the size of Earth (diameter), so it has
roughly 1/16 the surface area. Since the moon has no ocean,
its land area is roughly 1/4 that of Earth. This is a lot of
living space, but, since the moon has no atmosphere, humans
would have to live in enclosed structures or in specially
constructed underground facilities; they would venture
outside only in space suits or with some other kind of
protection. They would also have to become accustomed to a
gravity that is only about 1/6 that of Earth. Depending on
its mineral wealth and any presence of water, the moon can
support only a few million or at best a few tens of millions
of excess "earthlings."

Venus is about the same size as Earth. Following an orbit
of the sun closer than Earth's (about .7 AU), its distance
from Earth ranges from about .3 AU to 1.7 AU (where AU,
an astronomical unit, is the average distance of Earth to
the sun, about 93 million miles). Venus has a very thick
atmosphere and the surface is much too hot for life
(hot enough to melt lead); it cannot be considered
for any human colonization.

Mars follows a larger orbit than Earth (about 1.5 AU); its
distance from Earth ranges from about .5 AU to 2.5 AU. It
is about 1/2 the size of Earth (diameter), so its surface
area is about 1/4 that of Earth. Since Mars (at present)
has no ocean, its land area is roughly equal to Earth's.
Its atmosphere is very thin and very cold, and does not
have the composition necessary to support life as we know
it. Like on the moon, colonists would have to live mostly
in enclosures and/or underground. Mars' gravity is about
1/3 that of Earth, so some "adjustment" would be necessary.
An advantage on Mars is that the day-length (rotation
period) is very close to that of Earth. But, given the lack
of a proper atmosphere, Mars could likely support no more
than a few tens of millions of people.

Other possibilities could be several of the moons of
Jupiter and Saturn. But there the conditions are less
favorable for space colonization than that of the moon
or Mars. Clearly only very small colonies might be possible.

One might consider a "closer" space colonization
by constructing a number of "space stations" of
various sizes in near or far Earth orbit. A few million
people, or even a few tens of millions, might colonize
such stations (they most likely would need some level
of continuing "support" from Earth). It is unlikely
that present and forseeable-future technology could
construct anything large enough to support many more
people than those few tens of millions. Far-future
technology might someday support larger "stations,"
and they might even be self-supporting after some
years of partial support from Earth. But such facilities
will be "expensive." Constructing them will certainly
consume resources that will be needed to support the
people remaining on Earth. Also, "far-future" means
hundreds of years into the future; Earth's human
population, at current growth rates, could become
unsustainable long before then.

So there are "places" in our solar system that may be
considered for space colonization - with present and
near-future technology - but apparently not in the large
numbers necessary to relieve Earth's over population.
We now consider "outside our solar system."

Other Solar (or "Stellar") Systems

Space colonization outside our solar system has long
been a favorite topic of sci-fi books. But is it feasible
for solving Earth's over population and environmental
problems?

Searchers have shown, using various means, that planets
indeed exist in orbit around other stars (well over 200
have been "found," and that number is growing). But
the distances to the stars must be considered in any
discussion of colonization of such planets (if any are
found, around the closer stars, to be enough like Earth).

The closest star, Alpha Centauri, is about 4.3 light-years
away (a light-year, the distance light and radio waves
travel, in the vacuum of space, in one year, is about six
trillion miles). But Alpha Centauri is a multiple star, so
it is unlikely to support an earthlike planet.

The closest single star that is much like our own sun is
Tau Ceti; its distance is just under 12 light-years. We do
not know if any earthlike planet(s) orbit Tau Ceti, but
let us consider a journey to its vicinity. Using current
technology, rocket-boost propulsion, a "ship,"
optimistically, might reach a speed of around 40,000
miles per hour. At that speed it would take about
200,000 years to reach the vicinity of Tau Ceti.

Clearly even a small-scale human "visit" to the stars must
await great advances in space technology. Space colonization
outside our solar system may forever remain only an
interesting topic for sci-fi books.

Might we consider changing the conditions on (terraforming)
a planet in our own solar system?

Modify Mars?

Scientists have been examining the idea that space
colonization might involve a "modified" nearby planet.

Mars is the only realistic candidate for "terraforming."
The topic will be covered only very briefly here (for a
detailed treatise, one might read the excellent article by
Christopher P. McKay in Scientific American, March, 1999).

Mars might be made "partially habitable" in about 100
years or so (a thicker carbon dioxide atmosphere may
support plant growth, and even make the enclosures
unnecessary, but humans would still have to carry oxygen
tanks); optimistically the planet might then support maybe
several hundred million people. Fully earthlike, with an
earthlike atmosphere, would take much longer, maybe
1000 years or more, if it is possible at all. Even so, a fully
earthlike Mars would support only "another Earth" full of
people (or fewer, depending on the size of newly-created
ocean(s) on the planet). Even if Earth's population
doubling-time were slowed to 100 years (as opposed to
the current 40 years), an earthlike Mars, even if it can be
accomplished sooner than 1000 years, would only be a
stop-gap measure for Earth's over population and
environmental problems.



Commentary

Earth's Growing Human Population

Is over population on Earth a serious problem? One
might look at various "symptoms." Just a few examples:
Thousands, mostly children, starve to death every day in
different places around the world. Forests everywhere
are "disappearing." The global unpolluted fresh water
supply is in danger. Illegal immigration is a big problem
for the United States.

Science and technology, and, yes, politics, may "handle"
over population problems in the short term even if human
population continues to grow. But what kind of world will
our great-great-grandchildren inherit? Eventually over
population must be controlled, but the longer society waits
the more draconian must be the method and the greater
must be the price paid in terms of human lifestyles and
environmental problems.

We revisit the question:
Is space colonization an alternative?


Recently Published Books

The book "Tribes of the Orange Sun" examines space colonization as an "experimental" solution to human over population and environmental problems in the future world. The book "Pale Yellow Sun" examines space colonization as an "experimental" solution to human over population and environmental problems in the future world. The book "White Sun Chronicle" examines human over population and environmental problems in the future world.


NOW AVAILABLE: "Colors of the Sun - A Trilogy" contains all three stories in one volume!


The book "Colors of the Sun - A Trilogy" contains the stories "Tribes of the Orange Sun", "Pale Yellow Sun" and "White Sun Chronicle" in one volume.





"Tribes of the Orange Sun," published in November, 2001, "Pale Yellow Sun," published in June, 2004, and "White Sun Chronicle," published in November, 2007, look at Earth more than two hundred years in the future. Population has grown to 24 billion. Science and technology has kept up with this over population (fed the people) and struggled with the environmental problems - but human lifestyles have changed dramatically. (Note that growth to 24 billion in 200 years requires a slowing of the current growth rate - to a doubling in 100 years instead of 40 years.)

These most compelling books also assume that the same science and technology has developed the means to send large numbers of people to other solar system(s).

Is space colonization the way to solve the over population problem once and for all?

Direct links to several online bookstores
(prices shown are list for trade paperback;
ebooks are $6.00 for any one of the three titles)

Tribes of the Orange Sun ($18.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
Pale Yellow Sun ($13.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
White Sun Chronicle ($16.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
Colors of the Sun ($32.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon


*Click here on synopsis to read a short description of the story "Tribes of the Orange Sun."

*Click here on synopsis to read a short description of the story "Pale Yellow Sun."

*Click here on synopsis to read a short description of the story "white Sun Chronicle."



Click here to go to the "Tribes of the Orange Sun" home page.

Click here to go to the "Pale Yellow Sun" home page.

Click here to go to the "White Sun Chronicle" home page.


Gene Shiles, author of the sci fi books "Tribes of the Orange Sun," "Pale Yellow Sun"and "White Sun Chronicle."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gene Shiles is a scientist and former
university professor. He holds a PhD
degree in Physics from the University
of California.
His hobbies include, among others,
hiking, fishing, gardening and
easy-listening music. He grew up in
Illinois and currently lives in Minnesota.
He has a black cat named Panther.



Direct links to several online bookstores
(prices shown are list for trade paperback;
ebooks are $6.00 for any one of the three titles)

Tribes of the Orange Sun ($18.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
Pale Yellow Sun ($13.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
White Sun Chronicle ($16.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
Colors of the Sun ($32.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon

 

The books are also available at other online bookstores.

To order by phone, call publisher toll-free:  (877) 823-9235

Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.

Tribes of the Orange Sun: ISBN # 0-595-20319-1
Pale Yellow Sun: ISBN # 0-595-31974-2
White Sun Chronicle: ISBN # 0-595-46191-3
Colors of the Sun: ISBN # 978-1-4401-7030-0

The titles can also be ordered at Barnes and Noble brick-and-mortar bookstores.



To examine space colonization as a solution to over population and environmental problems in the future world, these most compelling sci fi books consider a faraway earthlike planet orbiting a sun of a different color.
   
       SYNOPSIS, "Tribes of the Orange Sun"

    Future scientists, struggling with over population and
    environmental problems, devise an ambitious plan to
    manage further population growth. Earth Government 
    hastily implements the new plan; the only alternative,
    forced population control, is not politically attractive.

    Adam Hampton, the newest member of the population
    project's organizing team, objects to an excessively
    optimistic use of old and some very new technologies.
    He suspects that the plan is fundamentally flawed,
    that the lives of the many young volunteers are at
    risk. But, in the beginning, he cannot point to anything
    specific. He can only watch and wait while three of his 
    best friends - and millions of others - begin what they 
    believe will be a great adventure and a new life.

    The eager volunteers reach their destination, a faraway
    earthlike planet, but events don't go as planned. They
    must soon fight for bare survival against an ancient
    menace - a menace that had plagued growing populations,
    man and animal alike, since life first began.

   
   
       SYNOPSIS, "Pale Yellow Sun"

    The people of Emil, living a relatively idyllic life in
    a bountiful land, learn that they will soon face great
    change. Like it or not, they must end their isolation
    and become entangled in the most critical problem
    menacing the rest of civilization. All of their concerns,
    both societal and personal, must make way for the new
    challenge.

    Andy Landis is a young engineer recently graduated from
    prestigious East Quadrant University. He has been offered
    a great new job, and is just beginning a romance with a
    young woman he has known since childhood. His plans take
    a turn when he is asked to take part in a decision crucial
    to his society's future. He soon learns that the choice
    will be between the ruin of his beautiful homeland and
    mass murder - and suspects that the decision could
    be his alone.

    To make this terrible choice, Andy must uncover secrets
    from that society's tragic early days.
    
   
   
       SYNOPSIS, "White Sun Chronicle"

   The citizens of crowded Earth, struggling to deal with
   environmental degradation and lifestyle changes, face a
   more crushing blow: world hunger.

   The global food supply is destroyed and the people flee
   the cities in a bid for survival. Hungry refugees find
   that the only plentiful source of nourishment is what
   had been, until recently, unthinkable.

   Neil Silvers, a senior member of the Earth Senate, is
   one of a lucky few who find sanctuary in a secure
   building as chaos reigns outside. While he contemplates
   the fate of the world, he also dreams about Laura, a
   young, red-haired junior senator with intriguing green
   eyes.

   The groupís food supply soon runs out. Neil, Laura, and
   a handful of others must venture outside to face a world
   where humans compete with each other as never before. 

   Neil and whatís left of humanity confront their darkest
   fears and soon learn what survival is really about.
   
    
   

Are these stories fantasy? Or are they really about the future
of our home planet? Our own present and future world?


Read "Tribes of the Orange Sun."

Read "Pale Yellow Sun."

Read "White Sun Chronicle."



Direct links to several online bookstores
(prices shown are list for trade paperback;
ebooks are $6.00 for any one of the three titles)

Tribes of the Orange Sun ($18.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
Pale Yellow Sun ($13.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
White Sun Chronicle ($16.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon
Colors of the Sun ($32.95) --> Publisher, iUniverse Barnes&Noble Amazon

 

The books are also available at other online bookstores.

To order by phone, call publisher toll-free:  (877) 823-9235

Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.

Tribes of the Orange Sun: ISBN # 0-595-20319-1
Pale Yellow Sun: ISBN # 0-595-31974-2
White Sun Chronicle: ISBN # 0-595-46191-3
Colors of the Sun: ISBN # 978-1-4401-7030-0

The titles can also be ordered at Barnes and Noble brick-and-mortar bookstores.



Click on space colonization to go back to the top of this page.































*Synopsis, Tribes of the Orange Sun:


Future scientists, struggling with population growth problems and the ruin of Earth's natural environment, devise an ambitious plan to manage further growth of human numbers. Earth Government hastily implements the plan for space colonization - the only alternative, forced population control, is not politically attractive.

Adam Hampton, the newest member of the project's organizing team, objects to an overly optimistic use of old and some very new technologies. He suspects that the plan is fundamentally flawed, that the lives of the many young volunteers are at risk. But, in the beginning, he cannot point to anything specific. He can only watch and wait while three of his best friends - and millions of others - begin what they believe will be a great adventure and a new life.

The eager volunteers reach their faraway destination, but events don't go as planned. They must soon fight for bare survival - against an ancient menace that had plagued growing populations, man and animal alike, since life first began.


End of Synopsis

Click here on space colonization to go back.






*Synopsis, Pale Yellow Sun:


The people of Emil, living a relatively idyllic life in a bountiful land, learn that they will soon face great change. Like it or not, they must end their isolation and become entangled in the most critical problem menacing the rest of civilization. All of their concerns, both societal and personal, have to make way for the new challenge.

Andy Landis is a young engineer recently graduated from prestigious East Quadrant University. He has been offered a great new job, and is just beginning a romance with a young woman he has known since childhood. His plans take a turn when he is asked to take part in a decision crucial to his society's future. He soon learns that the choice will be between the ruin of his beautiful homeland and mass murder - and suspects that the decision could be his alone.

To make this terrible choice, Andy must uncover secrets from that society's tragic early days.


End of Synopsis

Click here on space colonization to go back.






*Synopsis, White Sun Chronicle:


The citizens of crowded Earth, struggling to deal with environmental degradation and lifestyle changes, face a more crushing blow: world hunger.

The global food supply is destroyed and the people flee the cities in a bid for survival. Hungry refugees find that the only plentiful source of nourishment is what had been, until recently, unthinkable.

Neil Silvers, a senior member of the Earth Senate, is one of a lucky few who find sanctuary in a secure building as chaos reigns outside. While he contemplates the fate of the world, he also dreams about Laura, a young, red-haired junior senator with intriguing green eyes.

The groupís food supply soon runs out. Neil, Laura, and a handful of others must venture outside to face a world where humans compete with each other as never before.

Neil and whatís left of humanity confront their darkest fears and soon learn what survival is really about.


End of Synopsis

Click here on space colonization to go back.

























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