The Millennial Project 2.0

Geopolis The general goal of the Bifrost space program is the establishment of a massive renewable energy powered launch capability that can support the extensive development of the solar system across the Asgard phase of development. In TMP2 we’ve envisioned this in the form of the Bifrost Space Elevator which employs an Aquarius style marine colony as a ‘downstation’ and an Asgard EvoHab settlement as a GEO positioned ‘upstation’. But the story of the Bifrost program may not end there. A number of space elevator systems may be deployed, each evolving over time to a progressively wider/thicker tether structure supporting increasing transit ‘bandwidth’ in the form of magnetically driven elevators, wave conduits for space-sourced solar power transmitted by maser or laser, and possibly -by the time of the Solaria phase- raw materials in molecularly packaged forms transported by Laser Molecular Conveyance -a speculative means of materials transport that uses a laser beam to push streams of molecules at near-luminal speeds and which may become a key means of materials transportation about the solar system by the Solarian age.

It has been suggested by proponents space elevator technology that, eventually, enough elevator systems may be deployed that it may create the compulsion to link them on orbit together by a second tether structure running along the orbital path, eventually completely encircling the Earth. This would be done for several reasons. First, it would increase the stability and integrity of all the vertical tethers attached to it, making for a safer space elevator system overall and making possible failures of younger thinner tethers a less disastrous prospect. It would increase the ease with which new tethers could be added to the overall system. It would enable transportation by magnetic shuttle car directly between upstation facilities. It would allow for unlimited deployment of communications systems all along the Equator. (though there is a strong possibility of virtual obsolescence of satellite telecommunications by the growth of ground and high latitude aerostat systems based on their reduced latency and economy) And it would allow for the increased expansion of orbital habitat real estate once upstation facilities had reached a practical maximum. In his short novel Fountains of Paradise introducing the space elevator concept to the popular culture, SF writer Arthur C. Clarke presented a brief vision of this eventual evolution of the space elevator into a GEO urban ring. In TMP2 we call this the Geopolis.

It’s not entirely clear if the demand for surface/orbit transit on Earth will ever become so great that a very large number of these space elevators will become necessary or that the demand for Earth orbital real estate will likewise become so great as to compel this sort of mega-construction. Most space development advocates seem to focus more on Lagrange point habitats as the most likely locations for intensive near-Earth orbital settlement. But if the situation is right, the potential to build this is likely to be realized by the middle of the Asgard development phase and, if actually built, this could become one of the first great space construction mega-projects ushering in the Solarian age. It may also be a structure largely unique to the planet Earth, at least until civilization spreads to other solar systems.

Constructing the Geopolis would be relatively straightforward once the technology of space elevator structural fabrication is well established. One would employ tether extruders largely the same as those used for vertical tether structure creation in a horizontal direction from the nodal upstation facilities. The fabrication systems would likely take the form of a self-contained factory at the tether end which travels along it as it slowly extends it. By the likely time of this project these would likely be rather more advanced systems capable of diamondoid extrusion of a large complex section tether profile. This profile would include several conduits for communications, power, and transportation using magnetically propelled shuttles, which would serve as the tether fabricator’s supply line as it grows. By this time of development it may also include a NanoSoup network as a molecular materials Internet, much as may be deployed on much of Earth at the time.

As the tether length increases it would begin being used for facility and habitat space, even before it completes its first upstation links. Being used rather like a gigantic version of an aluminum T-slot profile and like the core truss of an EvoHab structure, structures would be retrofit to the tether, projecting outward volumetrically around it. Communications transceiver arrays would run along the Earth-facing edge while MOF (manned orbital factory) complexes, solar and radiator arrays, and spacecraft docking and construction ports would extend horizontally and vertically outward. EvoHab composite pressure hulls would be built enclosing long lengths of the tether and deploying vast Urban Tree complexes along it. These microgravity communities would be much like those of the independent EvoHab, relying on various deployable architecture and hosting vast arrays of SkyGarden and SkyFarm hydroponics trellis structures, but they would potentially extend for hundreds of kilometers. Rotating habitats would also be a possible, either inside these EvoHab enclosures or in the form of toroidal cylinders built around a magnetic hub attached to the core tether. Relying on the tether for their longitudinal stability, they could grow to very great and narrow lengths or could be built as a series of counter-rotating modules, each housing a community or unique biome.

At a certain point in its long development, the Geopolis complex would likely begin incorporation NanoFoam construction as with most of the structures and artifacts of the Solarian age. A NanoFoam matrix would incrementally ‘subsume’ the structures of the Geopolis, reforming them as it spread. The new structures would be much the same in basic organization and features, through many MOF factory structures would likely be obsolesced. This re-formed Geopolis would have a much more organic character as its earlier modular component systems are replaced with grown-in-place structures and overall the complex may assume the character of an enormous vine-like plant.

Eventually, the Geopolis could grow into a complete circle around the Earth at GEO, linking up all established space elevator structures and facilitating the easier and faster creation of more. It would become two vast urban rings, in fact. One on orbit and the other following along the Equator as a series of marine colony structures and land arcologies linked by the Circum-Equatorial Transit Network. This combined complex could become a primary population center for terrestrial civilization, facilitating the incremental depopulation, reforestation, and environmental restoration of the northern hemisphere and much of the rest of the globe.

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Phases Foundation Aquarius Bifrost Asgard Avalon Elysium Solaria Galactia
Cultural Evolution Transhumanism  •  Economics, Justice, and Government  •  Key Disruptive Technologies
Life In Solaria
EcoSphere  •  RhiZome  •  BioZome  •  Solar Snowflake - Solar Ribbon  •  Geopolis  •  Dyson Sphere  •  Solarian Spacecraft
Solaria Supporting Technologies