We know more about the Moon, have better maps of Mars, than the sea. It is the oceanus incognita of our world, unknown territory beyond the edges of our knowledge
Last year, NASA astronauts flew to the International Space Station on a commercial rocket built by SpaceX. Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of the company, has a larger dream than just taxi service to the space station. He and other visionaries are looking towards missions to the Moon, Mars, asteroids other destinations in our solar system and beyond. In short, they want to see it become normal for humans to live outside earth.
Space might be the final frontier, but oppotunities for exploration and even pioneer settlements are still available on earth. Google and other innovations have made the world small enough to fit on our computer screens; but the real world is not fully known or encompassed. In fact a mysterious frontier covers 71% of our planet, the blue frontier.
We know more about the Moon, have better maps of Mars, than the sea. On old maps, areas beyond the known lands – terra incognita – there was often the label, ‘here be dragons’. Today the seas are the oceanus incognita of our world, unknown territory beyond the edges of our knowledge, where there are far more amazing things than dragons.
Settling the Open Sea
Colonizing the ocean is not a new idea. The concept of seasteading has been around for a long time. Until recently, it has been the domain of dreamers. Critics of pioneering the seas point to the very real problems of isolation, lack of amenities and civil government, prohibitive costs, legal and political ambiguity (including lawlessness), lack of oversight, harmful environmental impact and more. Significant challenges, but not insurmountable.
This novel Pelagia is an attempt to imagine a society and life of permanent settlements on the sea fifty years from now, using technology today that is within our reach, if not quite within our grasp.
Marcelli Township is a Pelagic seamount settlement on the submarine Louisville Ridge in the southwest Pacific Ocean.
The Township is made up of the Ring, which encircles the seamount marine reserve; the Deep, where there is light industry; and the Rise, the ocean farming or mariculture section of the settlement.
The New Settlers
The human drama of colonization is played out in themes that parallel the founding of America and the opening of the American West. There are the settlers seeking a new life, a new chance; those pursuing religious freedom; those drawn to adventure and the challenge of a raw frontier. And of course, there are those running from the law, responsibilities or themselves; outlaws, pirates, con artists, and predators of all stripes, keen to exploit the fragile gains of the pioneers.
Yet human nature explores and moves toward new frontiers; and this vision of settling the open sea is one we could step into tomorrow.