Introduction to the Universal Century Ⅰ Part 3
Space Colony Development and the Rise of the Anti-Federation Movement

In the later days of the Anno Domini era, international conflicts became frequent. Civilization itself came to the brink of collapse due to problems such as food supply shortages caused by overpopulation, and severe pollution that transcended national borders.
The space emigration program was devised in order to resolve this crisis. The year in which this program was implemented was called the first year of the Universal Century.

The space emigration program was based on a plan proposed by Gerard K. O’Neill, an American physicist and space development pioneer of the old era’s 20th Century. In his grand and optimistic vision, humanity’s living space would not be limited to the surface of the planet, but would expand to space colonies, huge structures floating in outer space. There, people would be able to make efficient use of inexhaustible solar energy, giving them a luxurious and comfortable living environment.
The space colony design that was adopted in the Universal Century was similar to the Island Three type proposed by O’Neill.
Building materials for these space colony structures were obtained from the lunar surface and from asteroids transported to the vicinity of Earth, allowing them to be constructed at a vastly lower cost than if enormous amounts of material had been sent up from Earth.

The average size of an “open-type” cylindrical colony is 6.4 km in diameter and 36.0 km in length. The cylinder’s interior is divided into six lengthwise strips. There are three window sections that let in sunlight from outside, alternating with three land sections where the people live.
Outside each window section is a huge mirror, which reflects sunlight to illuminate the land section on the opposite side. By adjusting the angle of the mirrors facing the sun, the level of sunlight can be controlled to create a sense of passing time and different seasons.
Since the space colony’s main source of energy is sunlight, the mirrors are controlled so that they always face the sun. As a result, the bases of the mirrors are placed on the opposite end of the colony from the sun.

At the end of the colony opposite the sun, many dome-shaped agricultural plants are arranged in a ring with a radius of 14.35 km. These plants are separated into three blocks, which are positioned so that they are not hidden in the shadows of the mirrors. Although these plants are able to produce more than enough food for the colony’s inhabitants, their life is far from comfortable, as all surplus food is semi-forcibly exported to the Earth Federation.

The colony rotates about its lengthwise axis to create a simulated gravity of 1G. There is debate over what level of gravity humans require, but at the very least, it’s known that extended exposure to a zero-gravity environment causes physiological disorders such as brittle bones due to the loss of calcium.
In addition, this rotationally created gravity will not cause dizziness as long as the radius is at least 500m, and the rotation rate no more than once per minute. If the rotation radius is bigger, and the rotation rate slower, people’s living conditions won’t be negatively affected.
In most cases, the space colonies of the Universal Century have adopted an artificial gravity of around 1G, the same as that experienced on Earth.

The idea of space emigration was the only hope for the survival of humanity, which was on the verge of total destruction. But realizing that vision was a formidably complex and challenging project, requiring the sustained efforts of an incalculable number of people, as well as countless casualties.
Constructing a massive structure that would enable humans to exist in outer space was a process of repeated trial and error, which meant overcoming unexpected problems and many serious accidents. Factors such as air pollution due to defects in atmosphere recycling, and damage to colony walls caused by meteoroid impacts, also claimed many lives.
These accumulated hardships, however, became the foundation of the Universal Century. For example, damage to the colony walls is dealt with by releasing balloons of repair material which are carried on the escaping air current, gathering at the damaged point and quickly mending it. Many fundamental technologies such as this, which were indispensable for space colonization, were developed during this time.

Most space colonies of the Universal Century are of the open type, with one major exception. Side 3, or Munzo, the colony cluster which later became the Principality of Zeon, adopted a unique “closed-type” colony.
The Sides are numbered according to the order in which they were constructed, with the construction of Sides 1 and 2 beginning at the Lagrange points L4 and L5.
However, because they required high-level technologies such as transparent windows and huge mirrors, their construction process was troubled.
Accidents were frequent, and the project was greatly delayed. It was widely reported that, at this rate, the entire program would come to a standstill. At this point, the closed-type colony was proposed in order to quickly realize the goal of space emigration using more practical technology.
The average closed-type colony had a length of 36.0 km and cylinder diameter of 6.41 km, just like the open type. Its electricity requirements would be supplied by the solar power plants floating around it.

Because its technology was simpler than that of the open type, the closed type was also more affordable and could be built in a shorter period of time. Furthermore, since it didn’t require window sections for letting in sunlight, its land area was greater than that of the open type. By simple mathematics, it could accommodate twice as many people.
Sharing a colony with lower construction costs among a larger number of people also served to reduce the economic burden on the space emigrants. For people who wanted to live in space as quickly and cheaply as possible, Munzo’s colonies initially seemed ideal.
However, the closed type definitely had its drawbacks in terms of living comforts. For instance, when looking up from the ground inside the colony, the sky would be the bluish grey of a cloudy day due to the color of the land surface on the other side. For first-generation colonists who knew what life was like on Earth, these closed-type colonies were not so pleasant.
As a result, once the technological challenges of the open type were overcome and people felt more prosperous, the open type design was adopted for all the colonies from Side 4 onwards.

U.C. 0057
About half a century after the start of space emigration, an activist appeared in Munzo who gained attention with his anti-Federation arguments. This was the future chairman of the Autonomous Republic of Munzo, Zeon Zum Deikun.
The leader who appeared at this time was a second-generation colonist from a closed-type colony. He propagated the notion that the colony inhabitants who had advanced into space would evolve into Spacenoids, the reformers of humanity, and acquire characteristics surpassing those of the Earthnoids living on Earth.
The Earth Federation government came to see this radical ideology as a danger. At this point, Federation agencies stationed in Munzo took action to place Deikun under arrest. He was given shelter by Degwin Zabi, who later became Deikun’s closest aide.
The ideology that went on to spark a great war flourished in Munzo’s closed-type space colonies.
“If” is meaningless when it comes to history, but what if Deikun had lived somewhere other than Side 3? The times may well have taken a different path.