As has been stated many times in many other articles in TMP2, the critical logistical factor in the development of marine settlement is transportation and the chief obstacle to date to the successful colonization of the sea has not been any lack of technology for building and living at sea but rather the severe gaps in cost/performance of contemporary transportation systems when it comes to serving locations in the mid-ocean. Though we often consider the world as ‘shrinking’ thanks to contemporary transportation and are used to the notion that any point on the globe is a day or two away, the reality is that much of the world has become less cost-effectively and conveniently accessible since World War II with the loss of several key classes of transportation including the multi-use ‘packet steamer’ ships and the large ‘flying boat’ aircraft. Dominant transportation systems today tend to have inordinately large and steadily increasing economies of scale which have made service to smaller communities impractical, effectively cutting them off from the world where before they had low bandwidth but still consistent connection. And the developers of current transportation systems, dominated by a shrinking number of increasingly gigantic multinational corporations, have lost all interest in developing technology to serve modest scale markets.
With the original TMP Marshal Savage realized that the success of the concept of marine colonization depended on the development of new transportation systems which both made effective use of its indigenous sources of renewable energy and which had the global reach to gets its export products to the most distant markets with the most economy. Even with a population of a hundred thousand, the individual marine colony may not afford/attract full service from current container shipping lines and airliners and would be hard pressed to afford the inordinately large scale facilities these sometimes call for. Put simply, what Aquarius ideally needs is a scalable transportation technology with the economy of tractor-trailer trucks, at least the same speed, and intercontinental range. This simply doesn’t exist today with any current type of vehicle. It’s not that the technology is incapable of this. It’s just that the corporations developing today’s transportation systems have simply never had what they consider sufficient incentive to develop this capability. It has simply never occurred to them that the island communities once served in pre-war periods still matter or that there is any future market in the middle of the sea.
Savage’s suggested solution to this problem was the Aquarian Airship –a concept often regarded as fanciful but which was, in fact, quite logical and practical. Though his particular choice of airship technology has proven impractical, in general this was a very sound concept. We today have been conditioned to perceive airships as an obsolete technology, yet they offer capabilities and cost-performance that no other aircraft to date has been capable of matching. What other aircraft technology in existence offers the potential ability to circumnavigate the globe at the speed of a tractor-trailer truck carrying container-ship scale cargo at zero fuel cost? Speed isn’t everything.
But Aquarius will need more than this to succeed. Because with TMP2 the colonization of the sea becomes an incremental development process, a number of new vehicles and transportation systems at different scales will be needed to support its evolving transportation needs while accommodating its initially limited industrial capabilities. In this section we will examine a number of possible transportation technologies that are likely to be explored by Aquarian settlements and which transition in capability from Seed settlement scale to full scale colony.
- Solar Ferry
- Solar Wingsail Cruiser
- Relay Archipelago
- Aquarian Airship
- Aquarian Personal Rapid Transit System
- Aquarian Personal Packet Transit and SuperStore
- Aquarian SE Downstation
- Circum-Equatorial Transit Network
- Life In Aquarius
- Seed Settlement Design Concepts
- Aquarian Intermediate Stages
- Aquarian Colony Design Concepts
- Aquarian Mariculture and Farming
- Aquarius Supporting Technologies