This is going to be a long ramble. There are going to be lots of pieces to put together. Until they are ready to be put into a cohesive whole, or I just get tired of mucking with it, this is where the pieces will be kept.
Pieces to detail:
End of the Petroleum Era
Resource Wars era begins
The Space Renaissance
+ Mass Drivers
+ Ion and Fusion Thrust engines
+ Establishment of Space colonies
+ Establishment of Space Habitats
Economic Recover, advent of the Cosmic Era
+ Colonies and habitats want equal rights and representation
+ Embargos, neo-colonialism, riots
+ First Armed space combat, Colonial Independance recognized
+ Failure of United Nations
+ Advent of American/European power block
+ Advent of old Soviet power block
+ Advent of Asiatic power block
Near Earth Space Supremacy Act, (NESS) passed
+ Rebirth of heavy industry in America and Europe
Additional Ideas (4)
There was a common train of thought that eventually all the oil in the world would be consumed, that it would run out. This actually never happened, it eventually just became entirely too expensive to get at what oil was left in the scattered pockets. The middle east was drained, the vast fields of the Gulf of Mexico, the Siberian fields, the Alaskan north slope, all virtually dry. There was still some there, but prices kept going up. $150 a barrel, then $200 a barrel, and by the end of the Petroleum Era, a 55 gallon barrel of black crude sold for $930. The cost was too great, the end result too little.
There were certainly hybrids, and solar, and nuclear power, but that only mitigated the problem. While the developed nations of the world could afford to build windmill farms, and solar collectors, the rest of the world was not so lucky. Growing industries and developing nations depended on cheap and abundant fuel to power their infrastructures. Fear of nuclear prolifiration left the sun and the wind to provide power, but in countries that lacked already existing infrastructures, the cost was simply too great. The world powers were not willing to shell out the resources to fund the development of these poor nations, and were also not willing to let the secrets of the atom out either. The wealthy remained wealthy, while those countries that were destitute remained that way.
The Resource Wars
Wars were fought during this time, the most bloody and violent occuring in the Middle East and Central Asia. Most of these wars were fought by proxy, this small nation battling that small nation, both being armed and supplied by larger nations that wanted their resources. The destruction was widespread, and only large parts of Europe, North America, and China remained unscathed. The wars, dozens scattered around the globe strained existing resources as they fought to gain more of them.
As mentioned, most of the Middle east was heavily involved, with no arab nations remaining unharmed. The worst phase of the war was a united Arab attack on Israel that was ended with joint strikes from the American navy and the Israeli Defence Force retaliating with what were called 'Pocket Nukes' that decimated Arab command structures and armor formations.
No one won the Resource Wars, the battles simply started to fade out as the fuel required to move the fighter craft and the tanks and the various non-nuclear naval ships was simply becoming more and more restrictively expensive. Some countries would continue to fight on, with battles fought between infantry and scattered hybrid and electric tanks.
At the onset of the Resource Wars, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $7.00. By the end, when mass production started shutting down, a gallon cost $33.99. That is, provided you could find a place that had any.
With it's infrastructure depressed, but not crippled, the USA and other mostly European countries explored alternate options. Most chimed that this was entirely too late, and that the stop-gaps of natural gas, and hybrid vehicles were too little to late. A breakthrough occured at MIT where a grad student brought up plans for a functional and cost efficient mass driver. By using a long inclined rail that pulled up very sharply at the end coupled with a powerful series of electro-magnets, cargo could literally be thrown into space.
With dedicated nuclear reactors, such a driver could bring the space program, long stalled, back to life. America cheered as the first driver was built. This prototype was just over a mile long, and the highest point was a little over 400 feet tall. The sled, pulled by computer controlled magnets, could hurl up to 100 tons into a stable low earth orbit. A transit vehicle or shuttle could be loaded onto the sled, and launched at much slower speed, achieve orbit and consumed only about 1/2 the amount of fuel. While the first world toasted itself and cheered it's innovation, grinding poverty and hunger were widespread across a large part of the rest of the world.
The Magnetohydrodynamic Reactor, a decades long pipe dream, was realized. While functional reactors of the type had been in existance for years, most were little more than experiments and produced only a fraction of the electricity they consumed. Following the lessons learned at CERN, the Russian built §³§Ú§Ý§Ñ §â§Ñ§Ù§å§Þ§Ñ, a solid state tokamak reactor. Located in Kiev, the beast of a powerplant lit the entire city running at 80% capacity.
Glasnost and D¨¦tente
Long adversaries, the US and Russia exchanged technologies. The Russian Mass Driver was constructed near Odessa, while the first American tokamak went online in upstate New York. The two technologies propagated slowly, as both the driver and the tokamak were monsterously expensive to build. After three decades, there were only six tokamaks online (London, Paris, Moscow, Kiev, New York, and Chicago) and four mass drivers functioning. It was known that the best location for large mass drivers was on the equator. The launch vehicle would gain a boost from the angular velocity of the earth, as well as from the driver, and any booster engines, if equipped.
Demand for metal and other building materials grew as the first world powers decided the best way to face the current world crisis was to expand beyond this world. With the Panama Main Mass Driver finished, loads as large as 5,000 tons could be slung into orbit, twice a day. While drought ravaged sub-saharan Africa, the first world built space colonies in pieces and threw them into orbit. Shuttles would follow, taking hundreds, and then thousands of people to the newly built habitats. The economy swelled as the building boom was on. China, Germany, France, Japan, England, America, Korea, and the newly emerging Russian Federation launched dozens of stations into orbit. The formerly crowded cities of these nations thinned as those who wanted to settle on a habitat, or even on the surface of the Moon could do so.
The first colonies were the size of small buildings, housing only a few dozen people at a time. Largely experimental in nature, these small structures provided living quarters for spacer crews who would later assemble to modules prefabricated on earth and launched into orbit. The second generation colonies housed a hundred at a time and were the size of small skyscrapers. The third and forth generation grew into viable habitats. These habitats were large enough to house hydroponics domes and vast hemispherical domes for growing crops and recirculating the air supply.
The An-Ting Disaster
This period of explosive growth and outward expansion wasnt without peril. The Chinese An-Ting habitat suffered a catastrophic decompression and hull failure. The habitat, home to 2300 Chinese citizens broke up in orbit, killing all but 14 people who happened to be in airlocks or space suits at the time of the event. This would galvanize the industry, bring about new safeguards and building requirements.
Most of the initial colonies were in stable or geosynchronous orbits. The larger colonies were built further out, at the LaGrange Points around Earth and the moon. Untethered by ecological regulations, zoning commisions and a centuries old infrastructure, the habitats flourished. The Mazatlan Sanctuary is held up as example of what could be done during this time. An American funded habitat, Mazatlan was a space menagerie and by the end of the 23rd century, was home to more jaguars than on Earth.
Colonies were built on the surface of the Moon. Most of these are built in craters and burrowed under the Lunar regolith, and aside from observation towers and the landing pads for spacecraft, almost invisible during the daylight hours. At night, the lights of the various cities can be seen glowing from the array of radio towers and satellite dishes aimed at the sky. Spacecraft built from driver launched goods and fueled from the Moon are launced across the solar system on fusion powered ion-boosters. Unlike the terrestrial tokamaks, the spacecraft born power plants are easier to manage. It seems that the absence of gravity is a boon to their operation.
By the end of the 23rd century, cities have grown on the Moon, Mars, Io, Europa, and dozens of large asteroids have been moved into stable orbits to be mined out for their metallic cores.
The resource squeeze from the end of the Petroleum Era is officially considered over. Between the introduction of smaller tokamaks, older fission reactors, wind, solar, and biofuel, the energy crisis is a thing of the past. The face of the Earth is changed in a number of surprising ways. The planet moves into a long cooling trend following the termination of a large amount of greenhouse gas emission. Roads and transit systems become more efficient and while there are fewer automobiles on the roads, there are more electric trains, mass transit vehicles (because buses just suck) and the like. Long distance flight is still regular, but mostly transoceanic as bullet train tickets are generally much cheaper.
The global economy, long in shambles shows a remarkable recovery. Jobs flourish on planet in the construction sector as workers are needed for building the prefabricated space habitat modules and related equipment. Jobs also bloom in space as the constructed habitats have opening for workers and staff. The Asteroid mining charters are also hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to delve into the metallic cores of asteroids towed into stable orbits. THe hunks of rock considered mined out are rebuild with rock at their core into even more massive space habitats and stations.
By 2325, more than 100,000,000 people live on the habitats, mining platforms, and on long duration survey ships. The population of the Moon is estimated to be closer to 300,000,000 and another 150,000,000 live on Mars. These populations, unrestrained by geographical borders, or neighbors only expand. Many of the habitats and colonies become self sufficient needing little from Earth other than a market for their finished goods.
Other advancements made:
Genetic modification and organ cloning - With organs and blood being artificially produced, the medical industry undergoes a radical transformation. Various trends emerge, ranging from compulsive cosmetic surgery to an entirely new level of artistic body modification.
Human Cloning - Technically considered illegal, various governments explore the options of cloning the best and the brightest of their numbers. Clones remain few and far between.
HoloCast Entertainment - a mixture of holographic technology, virtual reality and other technologies, this becomes the basic mode of entertainment. Viewers watching a sports event are given the sensory input of actually sitting in the stands as if they were actually there.
Beam Weaponry - The Laser, Maser, and Particle Cannon are developed, two intentionally, the third by accident. Lasers and Masers (microwave 'laser') are eventually produced in infantry sized versions. Weighing the pros and cons of the energy beam, the American military adopts an over-under machine gun-Laser rifle.
Synthetic Intelligence - As the dream of a truly sentient computer continues to elude programmers and designers, the dream of a machine that looks and sounds like it is sentient is actually feasible. The Tycho Convention held on the Moon lays out the laws for the creation and use of robots, androids and SI. The basics include not using weapons or any sort, restrictions on labor use, and other humanity protecting enactments.
Ion and Bulk Ion engines
Briefing on Ion engines