In his story “A Gift From Earth”, author Larry Niven envisioned his planet “Plateau” as a colonial world with a dense, hot, poisonous atmosphere like second planet of the Sol star system, commonly known as Venus by Sol 3 or Earth inhabitants, and is fictionally located by Niven within the real Tau Ceti star system (Chinese: 天倉五; pinyin: Tiān Cāng wǔ).

Niven imagines the planet with a single distinguishing feature, an immense mountain plateau named Mt. Lookitthat. It is a little more than half the size of the US state of California, rising over 40 kilometers into the atmosphere’s human habitable zone, and is crowned with dozens of smaller mesa and buttes of diverse height and width.

Our proposed Venarian colony is motivated by the opportunities made possible for creative, social, and economic innovation, as well as long-term scientific research best carried out by humans as opposed to the relatively primitive robotic probes in current use.

Instead of the prevailing common sense of using science to exert dominion over the environment of that world or any other, we seek to understand and adapt to nature, leveraging the very attributes so often viewed as negatives as instrumental for engendering our prosperity.

“The signal in the physical world is the foundation of design. We can understand how the human system works in order to design the most effective signals in a world full of distractions.”

Dano Qualls