Charlie Strossberg wrote an article indicating the difficult and in his view impossible challenges of space colonization It is also pointed to from Centauri dreams
There are several problems with it
1. failure of a science fiction author to figure out a technological way forward is a flaw in the science fiction author not in the technological/sociological plans
Just because you cannot think of a good way to do it does not mean that there are no good ways. It shows that your ways would not work and that you are approaching the problems in a faulty way.
It also shows that when we (collectively) are not trying to colonize space and have screwed up approaches to civilization energy and to space then we will not go anywhere.
2. We could be doing a lot better with space colonization if we actually had plans for space colonization and tried to do it. We have not tried.
Three to six people on camping trips are not attempts to colonize space.
What does a real modern space colonization effort look like ?
- build out power infrastructure first
Using 25 ton LEO launch Proton M for $70 million
launch 100 megawatt solar concentration system
Use 40.7% efficient Spectrolab solar cells
Use magnetic inflation as per James Powell (NIAC 2006 study)
Use the power for electrical boosting to L2 or a higher orbit
Use the power for communication and other satellites that could use cheaper power and to remote power other LEO boost stage to high orbit.
- As you build up space infrastructure robotically and with magnetic inflation and formation flying then get the costs down so that eventually it is affordable to send people for colonization
- Increase the energy and economic capacity of human civilization. 14 Terawatts does not cut it.
Mass produce nuclear power (fission or fusion). Use high burn or reprocessing of all nuclear material. Currently 10% of nuclear material is reprocessed. High burn (not breeder) reactors were made in the 60's and 70s. See thoriumenergy.blogspot.com
- Look at other non-chemical launch systems. Laser arrays and mirrors or magnetic launch. Launch stuff (infrastructure) first not people. So cheaper high acceleration is OK for stuff.
-Look at public relations safe external nuclear pulse propulsion. Update project Orion with a public relations safe version. With project Orion the cost is 70 cents per kilogram into space. Repeatable Z-pinch and minimag Orion or colliding beam fusion (funded by Venrock and others) could get us to public relations safe superior ground launch.
To get serious we need better technology and to use the technology that we have. We can build up our economy so besides lowering the costs we have more money/energy to spend
See past articles on colonizing space