What Science Fiction Authors Get Wrong About Space Colonization

It won’t be anything like the Europeans arriving in the New World

Erasmo Acosta
Predict

--

Image Credit: Marijeberting (DeviantArt)

I’m a big fan of The Expanse (I watched it three times) but still can’t believe how frequently they get things wrong, from the physics to the technology. However, sci-fi works today take after the colonization of the New World, the fall of the Roman Empire, or the great wars in history.

The most Earth-like exoplanet we will ever encounter — far similar to our homeworld than Mars or Venus — will be impossibly alien. Even a world with the same gravity, an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, and carbon-based life forms might be uninhabitable to humans without extensive terraforming — which means destroying the native life as we deploy our biome and chemistry.

How can this be true? When it comes to bonding, carbon is the most promiscuous element in the periodic table. All four nucleobases (A, C, T, G) in Earth’s life DNA are carbon-based but not nearly the only ones that can coexist in a chained molecule that can store information, as was demonstrated in the lab.

The blueprint for a carbon-based life form can be encoded in a molecule so different it will create beings so alien to us that no sci-fi writer has dreamed them yet — although exobiologists will likely

--

--

Erasmo Acosta
Predict

Casualty of Corporate America. Sci-fi writer. Science Junkie. Learn about my dystopian novel K3+ at https://erasmixbooks.blogspot.com