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1. Humans can fly to the orbit and the moon and can send things to outer space. (now)
3. Humans have colonized the outer space. (PROFIT)
This page is to gather ideas about what the step 2 is and brainstorm how to make a tangible contribution. Keep your imagination within currently understood physical laws and plausible inventions based on already known concepts. It's pasky's scratchpad page but feel free to edit if you have some ideas.
It would appear that with all resources shortages, environmental deterioration, ideologic fundamentalism and globally dangerous (or simply irrationally appearing to be for the majority of humans) experiments, the straightforward solution is to shatter humanity to many voluntarily independent (or varyingly interdependent) pieces.
Step 3 will be achieved when there are multiple stable, independent, self-sufficient human colonies out of the immediate reach of Earth (i.e. not just the orbit). A colony can be based on some space object (planet, moon, asteroid) or a free-standing construed space structure.
Unfortunately, this still sounds too much like far-removed science fiction given that the year is 2012. Weren't we supposed to start terraforming Mars around now?
The self-sufficient human colonies will not just pop up from thin air, such state must be achieved gradually by building on many intermediate steps. The requirements are partially independent and the problem is to trace them far enough to reach some that can be worked on now (and most of the steps must be feasible and fun to work on by themselves to also bring short-term rewards).
General human colony requirements: