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Colonization of Trans-Neptunian Objects

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Freeman Dyson has proposed that Trans-Neptunian Objects, rather than planets, are the major potential habitat of life in space. Several hundred billion to trillion comet-like ice-rich bodies exist outside the orbit of Neptune, in the Kuiper Belt and Inner and Outer Oort Cloud. These may contain all the ingredients for life (water ice, ammonia, and carbon-rich compounds), including significant amounts of deuterium and helium-3.

Colonists of such bodies could build rotating habitats or live in dug-out spaces and light them with fusion reactors for thousands to millions of years before moving on. Dyson and Carl Sagan envisioned that humanity could migrate to neighbouring star systems, which have similar clouds, by using natural objects as slow interstellar vessels with substantial natural resources; and that such interstellar colonies could also serve as way-stations for faster, smaller interstellar ships. Alternatively Richard Terra has proposed using the materials from the Oort objects to build vast starlight collecting arrays to power habitats, thus making an Oort community essentially independent of its central star and fusion fuel supplies. Gregory Matloff has suggested that Extraterrestrial intelligences have already colonized the Oort Cloud, easily avoiding observation by emulating the appearance of natural objects.

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