Study Proposes Orbital Ceres Colony

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Ceres, once considered an Asteroid but now classified as a dwarf planet orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, may harbour a significant under surface liquid water ocean. Scientists believe it would be a useful way station for exploring the rest of the solar system.

Scientists Propose Permanent Human Habitat Built Orbiting Ceres

It’s like something straight out of “The Expanse.”


A group of Finnish researchers are proposing a permanent human habitat in the orbit of Ceres, a massive asteroid and dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.

According to the team, this “megasatellite settlement” could be built by collecting materials from Ceres itself.

If that sounds familiar to fans of the popular sci-fi book and TV series “The Expanse,” that’s because in that fictional universe, Ceres Station plays a pivotal role as one of humanity’s first human off-world colonies. In the series, however, the space rock itself was spun up to create a crewed habitat on its surface with artificial gravity.

In a paper uploaded to the prewrite repository arXiv this week, the team argues that Ceres would be prime real estate because it has nitrogen, which could enable the creation of an Earth-like atmosphere.

In fact, they argue that the environment could even be “better than Earth,” since there’s no adverse weather or natural disasters, and plenty of living space to grow into.

Read more:

The study is available here.

The biggest issue I see with Ceres as the first permanent off-world habitation is getting there is not a 3 day mission. The overwhelming advantage of a moon base is if you had to launch an emergency mission to help the colony correct a critical problem, you could get to the moon relatively quickly, in weeks rather than months.

Once we gain experience with a moon base, we can ditch the training wheels and try for something more ambitious.

Having said that I understand why scientists are getting excited about Ceres. Its low gravity, high rotation rate, and abundance of useful and not aways readily available raw materials, suggests that Ceres will play a very important role in our future expansion throughout the solar system.

via Watts Up With That?

January 13, 2021 at 12:30PM