Colonising a World: Potential Risks

Imagine traveling through space in a large metal can at nearly the speed of light.  What can happen?  The ship can hit a small object, maybe only a few millimetres across, and it can rip through the metallic shell and cause major damage.  So, of course, there are some ways to protect.  Thicker walls, electromagnetic deflection system, or maybe even a kind of warp bubble will keep that kind of thing away.

But going ahead to the landing of the colony, what kind of hazards can colonists encounter on the planet?  Plenty.


The type of planet will indicate the kinds of weather-related hazards there are.  A dry world could have massive dust storms.  A wet world will have huge cyclonic storms.  Somewhere in the middle, you have something like Earth.  You can encounter anything from tropical cyclones, flooding, thunderstorms, blizzards, tornadoes, and landslides.  A planet with a more eccentric orbit can have wildly different weather depending on the hemisphere.  One hemisphere may be more stable, while the other has incredibly large fluctuations, such as a short hot summer and long cold winter.

Ariadne is in a rather favourable position, being somewhat like Earth in temperature and orbital eccentricity, as well as axial tilt.


A seismically active world will have earthquakes, volcanoes, thermal vents, and tsunami.  A seismically dead world will likely have little to no magnetic field, which spells a lot of trouble. The solar wind would be stripping the atmosphere and radiation would be higher.  Not a good situation.

Ariadne is seismically active with large mountain ranges, volcanoes, and earthquakes.


Presumably, a world with life will have animals, though it’s quite possible to have only plant life, or something completely exotic.  But if there are animals, some may be dangerous.  This can range from large predators to small parasites.

Ariadne will have animals.  I’ve mentioned it before, and there will be a large variety of alien animals.


Bacteria and viruses may develop on other worlds, but it’s quite possible something totally unique will evolve.  However, they may work in a similar way to Earth bacteria and viruses.  Whether they’re compatible to human biology or not remains to be seen.

Ariadne’s situation is inconclusive.

Sentient Alien Life

What if the colony planet is already home to intelligent life forms?  This can prove to be a major problem.  An advance survey of the planet should reveal a technologically advanced life, unless they all live underground.  It is entirely possible that a pre-industrial society may live in forests and be unseen by orbiting satellites.  But what happens if they’re advanced?  Would they allow humans to live on the world with them? Or would they defend their planet and try to kill or expel the colonists?

Ariadne’s survey does not reveal advanced technology or a pre-industrial civilisation.

Human Conflict

It’s inevitable that the dangers on the world would be from the colonists themselves.  Mob mentality often results in irrational behaviour and fighting.  Differing ideologies may result in friction between different groups, and then conflict.  It may be inescapable.  Rules can be set for how countries can be established, but will those countries behave in a civilised manner toward each other?  Hopefully, with an entire world waiting to be explored and settled, everyone can be satisfied with what they have.

On Ariadne, it remains to be seen, but as this is going to be a novel series, it’s obvious there will be conflict.

Do you have any ideas what can threaten a colony?  Leave a comment with your thoughts.