In another thought experiment, it would be interesting to explore the possibility of the Asteroid Belt being used as one of the primary emigration destinations for those earthlings desiring to try their luck elsewhere in the solar system around the year 2040.
We all know that our physiology is based and evolved on taking into account the earth’s gravity as a major parameter.
People who choose to emigrate to Mars will eventually have difficulty adjusting to earth’s heavier gravity once they take a return trip to their home planet.
Therefore, it might be highly plausible that many people emigrating into the solar system may want to keep their 1G privileges since this would enable them to keep their bone density and muscle strength as they are used to.
To offer this option to people venturing further into our solar system, beyond Earth orbit would require the construction of large habitats with artificial gravity which can simulate the 1 g-force we all have become so accustomed to.
As we do not possess the technology to create Star Trek-like artificial gravity plating, giant rotating rings that generate it will have to do.
Since bringing all the building materials from the earth to orbit is unpractical for such colossal structures, They need to be mined and processed in space.
The asteroid belt is the best candidate in terms of location for such a huge undertaking. Now let’s take the year 2040 as the year for such operations to be technologically feasible.
Let’s assume SpaceX their Starship rocket has been flying reliably for many years and that in 2030 the construction and design started on their 18 to 20-meter diameter Starship 2 or GFR (Giga Falcon Rocket). By 2036, the GFR is flying reliably to different destinations around the solar system. Delivering cargo and passengers to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Also at this point in time fusion reactors have advanced enough that one compact fusion reactor can fit into the fairing of a GFR. Fusion reactors would be needed to generate a large amount of power, in the dozens of megawatt range in order to power ion/plasma drives and life support systems.
Solar power would be limited in the Belt regions due to its distance to our sun.
AI and robotics will have advanced to the point that robotics can perform most physical tasks needed for construction wherever needed.
These technological capabilities along with others will enable to construction of orbital fusion-powered factories and mining vessels that could be sent to the Asteroid Belt.
Once arrived, these space machinery can mine the Asteroid Belt for iron, carbon, water, and all that is needed to create huge ring stations with artificial gravity capable of housing hundreds of thousands per station.
Once finished. Large transport vessels powered by fusion power and equipped with artificial gravity rings, all assembled in earth’s orbit, could ferry people to these newly constructed ring stations in the Asteroid Belt to start a new life. Creating new societies and customs.
These ring stations would be completely self-sustaining. Enough could be build and scattered throughout the Asteroid Belt to house tens of billions of people with animals & plant life. Some could be only dedicated to natural habitats, where animals can roam free and many species of trees, plants, and flowers could be preserved.
With the technological capabilities which will become available in the next 10 to 20 years, only our imagination is the limiting factor to what floating paradises we can create among our planetary neighbors and Asteroids.