First, some anime entertainment.
First, the more direct and masculine approach to problem solving and looking out for people. Definitely worthy of respect, and you do have to tame the wilderness before getting to the garden. It would be a bit odd to run a similar campaign in the Traveller universe, but it can definitely be done, especially in the Virus-laden, post-apocalyptic New Era milieu.
Even pretty, beautiful gardens have their failures and their pain. Only the second segment of this movie is really sci-fi, but the emotions there are real enough. It’s rather ironic though that it is the cosmonaut who is in love with someone whose interest is far, far away.
Now, the non-fiction stuff.
This is here really for the info on asteroid, for the asteroid-oriented adventurer. “Such metallic purity!” I am not so worried about threats from space, compared to threats from other men here on Earth.
But I will grant that “vanishingly rare” is not the same as “non-existent”. I doubt that there is any effective answer to the problem of small asteroid strikes, at least until we can solve the Kessler syndrome/space debris issue. Technological advances will help a lot, but I don’t think that we can get the tools we need for another five decades or so, even with Moore’s Law helping out.
One of the tools that I think will become quite useful in coming years is LENR/Cold Fusion. This video is from one of the researchers in the field, and is a concise overview of the state-of-the-art. One of the key points made here is the problems caused by a lack of a good, solid, verifiable theory on the cold fusion process: we have the experimental data, we have good signs of commercial production getting into place, but we don’t have a good theory on why it works.
It reminds me a bit on Traveller’s Jump Space engines. It works, it’s profitable (assuming that the misjump tables are really just for harebrained adventurers with poorly-maintained ships, and that standard commercial & military jump engines are much more reliable), and entire interstellar civilizations are based on it: but without a real grasp on why it works, further development is cramped and limited.
I am glad that Dr. Storms made the point: I tend to cheer on application and results far ahead of theory, but there are times when this is just the wrong approach.
More Speculation on Space
One more thing: Dr. Storms briefly mentions interstellar exploration. I took a quick Wikipedia visit, and it looks like fusion rockets should be able to easily get to 10% of lightspeed.
(With the required heavy anti-radiation shielding, it’s going to be a BIG rocket: colonizing the asteroid belt is going to be a lot cheaper to do first, and some of those colonist’s wealth can be taxed to fund the massive rocket.)
This isn’t too bad: at least the stars closest to us should be available for a manned visit. Let’s say that we can get to any system within six lightyears with a good set of fusion rockets. That’s only three systems outside our own: Alpha Centauri, Barnard’s Star (where we are due to meet the Vilani) and the brown dwarf WISE 1049-5319 (Why can’t they name it after Luhman, the discoverer? Probably too much jurisdiction stupidity.)
To continue the spread of humanity (or ‘humaniti’ when the genetic engineering starts to kick in hard, by 2050 or so), the settlements need merely grow enough to send their own colony rockets, and so on, and so on. In 1,000,000 years or so we should fill out the Milky Way all by ourselves, even assuming minimal technological advancement afterwards.
(Sure, there will be alien civilizations in the future… and we will be those aliens.)
But really, in one million years we should be easily capable of building artificial universes, laying down FTL tramlines across the Local Galactic Cluster, etc…. but way before then, we will realize that the fundamental issue is not how much power, technology, or creative ability we have, but our capacity for moral restraint, patience, foresight, compassion, wise judgement, and love.
Without the soft stuff, without a heart of flesh, all the unimaginable hard power of the future will merely kill us off in more spectacular ways than ever before. A pathetic waste of the Divine gift of life and mind, I say.