Top 10 Places to Colonize in Our Solar System

Tags: #SolarSystem ,   #Mars ,   #SpaceExploration ,   #SpaceTravel

Hannah White

Hannah White

Last updated:  2023-08-08 14:23:02

The idea of living on another planet has become more than just science fiction. At least three major projects are ongoing right now as humanity is slowly preparing for a new space era. By settling ourselves on alternate locations off Earth, we would provide humanity's survival in case of catastrophic natural or human-made disasters. So let's check together these top ten best places that we could colonize in our Solar System. 

10. Venus Cloud City

Floating cloud city on Venus

Colonizing Venus would be a rather tricky job for humans. The atmosphere would crush us, the extreme temperature would boil our skin, and the thick mist of sulfuric acid would burn our lungs. But despite all this, some scientists believe Venus is a good candidate for the colony.

Strange as it may sound, one of the best places to live in our Solar System is 30 miles (50 km) up in the sky of Venus's atmosphere. The idea is to build a floating habitat on top of Venus's clouds. In this Cloud city, we would have gravity almost identical to Earth. The atmosphere would keep us from solar radiation, and there would be plenty of breathable air. Even the temperature wouldn't be too bad, with night one at about 32 °F (0 °C) and daily high at around 122 °F (50 °C). Sweaty, yes, but we could survive.

9. Life Under the Europa Ocean

The hidden ocean beneath the ice of Europa

Europa must be the most intriguing of all Jupiter moons. Over the years, it has been igniting the imagination of various scientists, researchers, and writers. A thick layer of ice covers Europa's surface, and nobody knows what lies underneath. Scientists believe there's a whole ocean beneath the ice just waiting to be discovered. 

In theory, we could build submerged settlements in pockets of air separating the ice and water. Drilling would be rather tricky, but eventually, ice would protect us from Sun and Jupiter radiation. It looks like the oceans of Europa could be a decent place to live. It's easy to imagine them full of life, or if not, we could start filling them.

8. Uranus, Give us Fuel!

Harvesting helium-3 from Uranus gassy atmosphere

Although far away and pretty barren, Uranus is a candidate for colonization. That's because it's full of precious gas helium-3, which is almost completely depleted on Earth. It looks like we might have to overcome many obstacles for Uranus colonization. There's plenty of helium-3 on Saturn and Jupiter, but both are almost impossible to colonize. 

So, the plan is to set up a space station in Uranus orbit and suck up the gases with hot-air balloons placed in the planet's gassy atmosphere. The massive storm around Uranus would pose a significant threat to the colony. Still, we could get an incredible fuel source in return. Furthermore, scientists suggest that base settlement might be possible on one of Uranus' 27 moons.

7. Asteroids, Here We Come!

Mining the asteroids

Some scientists believe that we underestimate the possibility of settling ourselves on asteroids. "Why do we limit ourselves only on planets," they say. Those gigantic rocks might be perfect for setting up mining colonies in the future. Most of them are rich in precious elements such as platinum.

The idea is to establish a space station close to asteroids and fill it with engineers, workers, and mining equipment. They would then slowly extract valuable elements until the asteroid is completely hollowed out. After that, we can use the asteroid's core to set up a new colony. There will be oxygen and water to extract from the asteroid itself so they can be self-sustaining in theory. Inside, an asteroid would provide excellent shelter from the harsh elements of outer space.

6. "If You Believed They Put a Man on the Moon." 

NASA plans to colonize Moon

So close to Earth, the Moon is an obvious choice for establishing the first permanent human space colony. NASA has been making plans for setting up Moon bases for years, and the latest idea is to put a settlement on wheels. Now, why is that you may ask? Well, the nighttime on the moon usually lasts about 14 Earth days. It could get freezing with such a long period in the dark, and impossible to use much-needed solar power to keep things running. 

Building a base near the moon's pole would get us an almost constant energy source since it's virtually always day. Still, it would limit colonist areas of exploration. On the other hand, the mobile base would let them set up mines or explore different Moon parts.

5. Farms in Outer Space

How the Bernal Sphere space station would look like

Can you imagine a self-sustaining space station complete with livestock, farms, and entertainment? There's an idea of making such a place, and it's called The Bernal Sphere. The station would be spherical in design and surrounded by rings with different purposes. Some rings would take care of animals, and others for growing crops. While the rings will remain static, station rotation will provide Earth-like gravity.

Following some weird rules, the gravity would be weaker in the center than on the edges. This means it would be possible to set up zero-gravity locations for fun and recreation in the station's center. The landscape would be much different from Earth's because it would curve up, giving a bird's eye view of the people on the other side of the sphere.

4. Stay in the Shade on Mercury

Moving habitats on Mercury

Building a colony on a planet very close to the Sun isn't the most obvious choice. But is it possible? Mercury's slow rotation, which lasts for 176 of Earth's days, would be of great help in that effort. It would let mobile settlements move in time to keep inhabitants on the edge of sunlight where temperatures aren't much different from those on Earth.

The colonists would be able to find crates full of frozen water on the northern side of the planet, create oxygen through a process called photolysis and make a self-sufficient breathable atmosphere. But why would we colonize such an inhospitable environment? That's because Mercury has enormous deposits of iron and nickel. If mined, they could sustain humanity indefinitely.

3. Ceres' Hidden Oceans

Rocky Ceres covered with a thick layer of ice

Well-hidden in an asteroid belt floats a great big rock called Ceres. This mysterious dwarf planet's surface is covered with a thick layer of ice, which indicates that it could support life. Although about 62 miles far down, scientists believe Ceres has an ocean of liquid water beneath its frozen surface. But how do we colonize this strange world?

The plan is to put gigantic mirrors in orbit around Ceres to focus the Sun's light on the surface. All that extra light should heat things a bit and thaw some of that ice. Released water vapor should create oxygen when it comes in contact with the Sun's radiation. In theory, we could then set up a floating domed colony on the planet's melted surface. 

2. Fly Above the Sea of Liquid Methane

Amazing ideas of colonizing Titan

Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is the only moon in our Solar system known to possess a dense atmosphere. That makes it an excellent candidate for a future colony because its atmosphere can provide excellent shelter from radiation. Since Titan is rich in hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane, it's logical to convert those gases into plastic and use them as a settlement building material. Next, we would need to provide power for the colonists. The obvious choice is solar energy, but we would need to cover about 10% of Titan's surface with solar collectors.

Furthermore, built domed plastic settlements with a self-sustaining ecosystem will need to provide us with food. Producing it, although challenging, will be possible on Titan. Moons' low gravity and thick atmosphere will give us a chance to fly around with just a pair of improvised wings. Pretty cool! How spectacular would it be to soar above the sea of liquid methane

1. Colony on the Red Planet 

How would a permanent human settlement on Mars look like

Elon Musk has spent nearly two decades planning how to accomplish something the world's governments haven't yet - to colonize Mars. Although dangerous and ridiculously expensive, he wants to do it anyway. This real-life Batman didn't reveal much about his plans, just that his settlements would be covered with glass domes. It's speculated that his idea is similar to one of the IMT team called the "Redwood Forest." 

Glass domes would be connected by a network of underground tunnels that would tap into underground water sources and send it back to settlements. Some of the extracted water would be vaporized to create oxygen, and some to supply hydroponic farms. If Elon Musk's plans work out, we can expect Red Planet colonies soon.

The day of setting ourselves among the stars and colonizing our neighboring planets and moons is closer than we think. If humanity is to survive, it must reach beyond Earth.

What do you find most intriguing about our top ten list? The Venus Cloud City or maybe the idea of flying above the Titan sea of liquid methane? Do you have other suggestions on where or how we can colonize our Solar System? Let the imagination launch you into outer space, and share some of those ideas with us in the comments below.

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