Colonising a World: Location

As I posted last night, Mars is ripe for colonisation.  However, it’s not Earth-like, and it’s not a very hospitable place.  But what if we find an Earth-like planet to colonise?

Let’s say we’ve found the planet.  We know we’re going there.  So, what do we need to do?  We need to decide where to land and set up our first colony.  How do we figure this out?  We need to look at many factors.

Climate

The climate is very important, not only for our comfort, but also for maximizing our ability to grow food.  Assuming we have sufficient technology, we can easily heat our homes.  Winter won’t be an issue for our daily lives.  However, a fledgling colony may need to be able to grow as much food as possible to support a growing population.  I would suggest a sub-tropical region with cool to warm winters and hot summers.  A lot of food crops grow best in hot weather, especially fruits and many grains.  We would need these to be healthy.  But a milder winter would also allow us to grow some of the vegetables that are suited for cooler climates.  We get the best of both.  Dry weather is great for fruit and grains.  But not too dry.  We don’t need a drought.  However, abundant sunshine is great for solar power and a decent amount of wind is also great for electricity.

The Land

Mountains are out.  Dense jungle is out.  We need some grassland with access to forest.  Grassland is great for growing crops, but forests are needed for building homes and other buildings.  Flat land is best, though some varied landforms, such as hills, would be nice to avoid monotony.  But ideally, flat grasslands are the best for farming.

Water Access

The colony should be based near a river.  This is important for several reasons.  First, and most important, is drinking water.  Fresh water is needed for us to drink, and it’s much easier to clean river water than it is to desalinate sea water.  Also, the river can be used to generate electricity.  We don’t necessarily need to dam a river to make enough electricity for a colony.  Also, fresh water is needed for irrigation of farms.  It’s absolutely essential for our food supply, as well as drinking water for the farm animals.  It would also be ideal that the sea is nearby, as it may also have abundant food in the form of fish, if this world has anything like that.  If needed, it could be a good source of salts, as well.  Also important is the stabilising effect of the ocean on the climate.  The weather shouldn’t fluctuate as much as it would inland.  Finally, the ocean can be used for transportation to other points along the coast.

Resources

Natural resources are incredibly important for a colony.  Wood is needed for construction.  Water is needed for drinking and irrigation.  But there are other resources, such as metals.  Iron is important for making steel, which is great for construction and manufacturing.  Aluminum is also a very useful metal, as are other resources such as gold (for electronics), oil (for plastics), sand (for glass), and so on.  Being near these resources is extremely valuable.  Oil is not necessarily important, as cleaner sources, such as plant oils can be used to make plastics.  It would be important not to burn fossil fuels, so as to preserve the environment of this world.

Link to Ariadne

In my created world, Ariadne, I have developed the entire planet, including climate, environment, natural hazards, countries, and so on.  I have located a point that is ideal for the colony.  It’s at the delta of a major river in the southern sub-tropical grasslands of the main continent.  There are forests to the north, the ocean to the south, and a large bay with calmer waters that is useful for fishing and transportation.  To the south, along the eastern shore of the bay, there are some hills with low cliffs that could be safe during the storm surge of tropical cyclones or tsunami.  The river is also navigable by boat, so transportation upriver is easy.

Now it’s your turn.  Do you have any ideas about what you would like if you could establish a colony on another world?  What kind of environment would you like?