It’s 2118, April 23. My new status as an experienced colony crewman has had an unexpected benefit. I was asked to join a terraforming crew that is going to establish habitat modules for inoculating newly built hulls. My previous hearty work output and harmonious personality must have persuaded them. Can’t encourage dead heads and work shirks in shell space.
The contract job goal is not quite cutting edge, but awesome in scope. The geometric production of hulls for habitats has outstripped the supply of human crews. This was not a surprise. The early designers foresaw that at some point, the robotic fabrication stations would eventually exceed humanity’s population growth rate.
So the problem is simple – without a human crew, what do you do with all these hulls coming into service? Answer : inoculate with Terran bioforms and let life multiply and prosper. But without the instrumentality of a human crew, how do you manage?
That is what we’re going to try to answer. Can we simply set up large enough habitats that can survive and thrive without further intervention?
The gigantic hulls have been fully stocked with sufficient elements for fabricating the soil, liquid and gaseous ingredients necessary for life. The inboard fabricons and myrmidons are fully programmed to operate the immense hull’s engineering systems. Oceans circulate around the circumference of the tubular hulls. Gases congregate in the central vault. Soils are created, planted and miniature continents are in place. Test plots are spiked with microbials and checked for lividity. As each incremental level of life is verified, it is set into its primary zone, and monitored. Finally, the more complex lifeforms are decanted from their nurseries and set loose.
What we’re going to do is make a generic habitat module that can act as a “seed.” Once we have a viable model and worked out the proportions and engineering, we can write the application programs that will proliferate throughout the solar system’s robotic factory systems. Then they will prepare the hulls so our “Seeds” can simply plug into their logistics port, and no further human intervention is required.
Who knows what a few centuries of colonial wildlife shall be? What will the eventual colonists find when they decant those bottled terraniums? What surprises of adaptation and evolution will result?
I won’t be around to see that. But I will be launching in 3 days. So I am not going to have much more time to update this log. I have to figure out what I want to take and what I want to give away. If it’s not worth stowing or storing its going to have to be tossed. I may be gone for decades. Or not. Uncertainty is part of the adventure. I am excited and apprehensive.
Time to run.