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My kid’s spacy English writing assignment makes me so proud! He’s nine, he’s only been once for a few days to an Anglophone country, and we rarely speak English at home. Yet he seems to have picked the language up from on-line gaming, and he’s long been able to read e.g. the Harry Potter books in English. With his permission, here are his ideas about space colonies.

I think that in the future those who want to will be able to move onto another planet, or into a space station. People will breathe using space suits, and at home they will have air inside their houses. They will get food by either importing it from Earth or sending up a space plantation near the planet (or space station) that people live on/in. Another solution for breathing is to place a big glass cupola – I’ve heard that some researchers have found a way to make glass very strong – over the part of the planet where people live, and put air and plants (because they can produce oxygen) in there so people can breathe anyway. You could maybe find a way to make the cupola keep what’s inside temperate.

To make it cheaper to live in space you will have to be a vegetarian, because it will be very expensive to import food from Earth. If you’re a vegetarian you can eat food from the space plantations, which will cost as much as the food does here. When you buy food from a space plantation they come with the food to the supermarket. Imported foods will cost more than the food that comes from the space plantations. You have to import animals like birds, insects and other animals that help the environment. Before you can live in space you will have to find a (cheap) solution to how to get water. Maybe you can find a planet with drinkable water on it.

There are still some problems to solve, and that is why you can’t live in space today. I would like to live in space, maybe not for my whole life, but for a couple of years.

Comments

  1. #1 Pär
    May 10, 2008

    Nice. Have to ask, did you touch up the grammar & spelling?

  2. #2 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    May 10, 2008
  3. #3 Martin R
    May 10, 2008

    His teacher made some minor corrections, and I’m unsure of how much his mum took part in the writing, but I regularly read stuff he produces and it’s usually not far worse than this.

    (We’ve managed to smuggle him into home-language English lessons, just like his old pa once had.)

  4. #4 Art
    May 10, 2008

    Cool deal. You should be proud.

  5. #5 RBH
    May 11, 2008

    Writing as one who worked in the U.S. space program back in the 1960s, that looks real interesting. And it’s well written to boot! Just nine, huh? Well done to him.

  6. #6 Mattias
    May 11, 2008

    Well done, Samuel – please, congratulate him from me Martin! What impresses me most is his grasp not only of grammar and style, but also of the matters discussed (ecology, technology &c). Who knows if he will not himself live to see some of the colonisation discussed here?

    / Mattias

  7. #7 Mark Mandel
    May 11, 2008

    Very impressive. I’ll second Mattias’s comments (and I’m both a native US-English speaker and a grammatical and stylistic fussbudget).

    –Dr. Whom, Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoëpist, and Philological Busybody

  8. #8 Lynn
    May 12, 2008

    Reading this reminds me of our “little professor” 30 or so years ago. Samuel is a real chip off the old block.. I expect to hear great things about him some day.

  9. #9 Martin R
    May 12, 2008

    Aaaw, Lynn, great to see you around the blog!

    Hey everyone, Lynn used to be my nanny! She came over to Sweden from Connecticut with my folks in 1978!

  10. #10 DuWayne
    May 12, 2008

    This reminded me of the first book in Piers Anthony’s Bio of a Space Tyrant. The protagonist, having to flee his home moon, gets work as a laborer in plantation bubbles that orbit the planet or moon they are feeding. I would not however recommend it for a nine year old, as there are depictions of rape.

    I could however recommend that he might really enjoy Oath of Fealty, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The story is set in an LA arcology, a concept that Bucky Fuller considered a R&D tool for colony ships that would be home not just while in transit, but on the new planet while terraforming gets under way. Arthur C. Clark used the concept in 3001: The Final Odyssey, wherein the population of earth lives in tall, relatively slender buildings that reach right outside of earths atmosphere. Oath of Fealty does have some minor adult references, but I would personally let my son read it, at least I will when he’s around your son’s age.

    I have to say that I really appreciate Samuel’s vision in this paper. It reminds me very much of myself at that age. Indeed, I really should say that he reminds me very much of myself, because I am still all about the notion of extra-terrestrial colonization.

  11. #11 Martin R
    May 12, 2008

    Thanks DuWayne! I’ll order a copy immediately. And I’ll get a few of Heinlein’s young-adult novels too, come to think of it. And Simak’s Way Station! And…

  12. #12 DuWayne
    May 12, 2008

    Oy, Heinlein’s definitely one of my favorites. Momma and I were just discussing when we might let the six year old read both him and Piers Anthony’s novels for not so young readers. We are really trying to avoid making sex and sexuality a “thing” so to speak. At the same time we don’t want to expose him to too much too early and both Heinlein and Anthony get a little heavy on the sex in their novels for adults.

    Not sure how he does with non-fiction, but judging by his writing, he would probably really get into Buckminster Fuller. I think I was eleven before I read him, but I probably would have enjoyed him before then. But then, I tend to take the attitude that if the six year old doesn’t get into something, because too much of it goes over his head, he’s growing and learning and will probably pick it up later.

  13. #13 Åsa
    May 18, 2008

    I am extremely impressed!
    Grandma

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