To see the glory of tomorrow
And experience adventure
As well as escape today's sorrow
But every great society
Has to remove the base and vile
From the rest of humanity
Sadly casting them into exile
~Darnell Clayton, © 2008
With NASA's Messenger probe seeking to map out the entire planet of Mercury, one may ponder whether or not our species may settle upon that sun baked world.
Mercury's high density may hint towards an abundance of metallic resources beneath its surface. If so, the cratered crust may rival that of our asteroid belt as far as wealth is concerned.
While Mercury may hold the promise of a future colony world, the cratered globe will probably not attract large bodies of people, who may consider it too dangerous to live due its close orbit around the sun (hint: think radiation).
Instead of future solar governments "bribing" their citizens to declare the first rock from the sun home, why not populate Mercury with prison colonies?
While the common citizen may consider working (let alone living) upon Mercury too hazardous for health, future solar governments could mine the surface using prisoners convicted of serious crimes.
Since the "Merurian days" may be too hot to handle, underground Penal colonies would have to be established in order to protect the inmates (as well as guards) from the wrath of the Sun. These underground prisons may not only make it safer for these prisons to operate, but also help contain these inmates as any escape may result in the "mother of all sun burns."
During the "Mercurian nights," prisoners could seek out metallic rich rocks upon the surface, and gather them for later processing in "the day time" below. Metals harvested from "yesterday's labor" could be left upon the surface for pickup during the Mercurian day.
Governments could later use the harvested resources to benefit their respective economies, perhaps even splitting the profits with families seriously hurt by the convicted criminals who inflicted them pain.
While turning Mercury into a prison planet may ultimately result in its final transformation as a self governing world, colonizing Mercury may help ensure that human race thrives upon every habitable world, from the fiery inner system to the frigid outer limits.
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