So Where Do We Go From Here?
…the Final Frontier…
Human expansion to other worlds, should it ever occur, will be in the form of Polynesian colonization, not European: Small bands of explorers who keep traveling further and further out into the Oort Cloud until eventually they cross into interstellar space.
Even then it will take thousands of generations for any of them to reach another solar system, much less one with an Earth-like planet.
At that point it may be moot if the descendants could still be considered human in the contemporary sense of the word; they may be physically and culturally more suited to use smaller worlds, moons, and asteroids that larger planets.
I'm presuming long range / long term prospecting type missions:
Looking for rare metals or compounds found only among the planetoids and comets of the cloud. The ships would be huge mining / refining vessels with provisions for keeping colonists alive for several generations.
Not O'Neil L5 colonies, but something smaller; perhaps a flotilla of vessels for maximum safety / support.
They would be constantly scouting ahead, by passive ship based systems and by unmanned probes, to find new sources to exploit. They would "island hop" their way deeper and deeper into space.
These would not be ships in the traditional sense, more like mobile space stations. When they arrive at a new world they repair / refurbish / redesign their vessels (or build a new one) and keep going.
And don’t be surprised if they're 100% female crews, using either frozen sperm banks or some form of parthenogenesis to keep the community going.
© Buzz Dixon