From blockbuster movies such as Star Wars to best-selling novels by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Outerspace has captured people’s imaginations and has done for millenniums. The 50th anniversary of The Apollo 11 mission landing on the moon was on July 20, 2019, and has led some people to wonder what we could do next. Such can be seen at the MET’s Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography exhibit, which closed September 22, 2019. Currently, NASA does not have the capability to send people into space, so they pay Russia to send American astronauts to the International Space Station. However, NASA has many ambitious plans ahead including building the Space Launch Station, Orion spacecraft, developing the Artemis Program and the Mars 2020 Mission.
With all these programs ahead of us, we have never seemed closer to colonizing Mars and the Moon, the hope of many people, than we are today. The Artemis Program hopes to land a man and a woman on the Lunar South Pole by 2024 and lay a foundation for a lunar economy. But, should we, realistically, colonize other planets than Earth?
Public figures such as Elon Musk and Stephon Hawking have spoken publicly in support of humans colonizing other planets. They, like many others, feel that colonizing other planets is a good option in response to disastrous climate change. Some feel that our response to climate change is inadequate and that the only way to continue the human species is to colonize another planet because our damage to Earth is irreparable.
The thought of a human colony on another planet raises many moral, economic and technical questions. Would a human colony serve for research purposes only? Would they become commercialized? How much would it cost to start a colony on another planet?
These are just some of the pressing questions that would need to be thought about before anything is done towards human colonization on other planets. There are many people who feel passionately that humans should colonize other planets in the future, but there are many who feel that the costs would never outweigh the benefits. They believe that with the amount of money it would take humans to colonize other planets, we would most likely be able to create new technologies to solve climate change. They also believe that it would be hard to set regulations around an interstellar economy, which would be vital to preventing foul play and monopolies.
One thing is certain, as our technology becomes more advanced, moral questions and uncertainty about colonizing other planets are sure to arise. Vivienne K. ‘20 said, “I don’t know enough about colonizing other planets to have an opinion about whether we should or not, but I would definitely like to learn more.”