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Issue #18 - human colonization of outer space
The nation's space program has its superficial detractors, but this may be where the future of humanity lies. The Obama administration recently canceled a project to establish a colony on the Moon. Progressive Republicans should restore the project and, going farther, fund development of new technologies which, if we are lucky, will lead to creation of self-sustaining human communities in outer space.
This means building closed containers where human beings can safely live from raw materials available in space. It means finding renewable sources of energy, water, oxygen, edible materials, and other necessities of life. Such resources cannot be forever transported to and from earth. They must be abundantly and conveniently available in space. The technology needs to be developed to convert the available resources into usable materials.
It may be that a human colony will first be established on the earth’s Moon, or, it may be, on an asteroid or on the moon of another planet, taking into consideration gravitational, pressure, and heat conditions. All possibilities should be explored. But first we need the technology to sustain human life under those extremely harsh conditions.
Why colonize outer space? Why do it now? Appealing to the emotions, I would say we should do it for the sake of American greatness. End the war in Afghanistan whose defeat would bring national humiliation and engineer a quick recovery of our reputation by demonstrating whether or not human colonies can be sustained in outer space.
If we do this, we will learn our own limits as a species. Maybe we will appreciate more the home we have on earth and try to save it for future generations. Colonies in outer space would also be a refuge for the human seed and culture should this species become extinct on earth either through a natural catastrophe or its own short-sightedness.
Furthermore, if the U.S. government takes the lead in this project but then brings in personnel from other nations, space colonization will become an event to promote the oneness of humanity and foster world peace. I think of this as both a way to employ college graduates and provide a constructive alternative to war.
Speculations on human life in outer space
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