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The problem with tech, space exploration and sci-fi: if we could build a real-world HAL 9000, we could also send him on missions all by himself, in a spaceship the size of a shipping container or two.

@felix also, as Charles Stross has noted, if you could terraform other planets, you could terraform *Earth*. antipope.org/charlie/blog-stat

In _Aurora_ Kim Stanley Robinson argues that interplanetary colonization is also a no-go because a) if the planet already has life, it's likely going to be incompatible with/hostile to Earthlings, and b) if it's lifeless, it will take way too long to terraform—if you could make a self-sustaining habitat that would keep the colonists alive long enough, you wouldn't need the planet.

Putting aside the ethics of the whole enterprise.

@nev Oh, of course, but that's a much bigger discussion. Two of them, even.

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