Friday, March 17, 2006

What do we want to do in space?

My pithy answer, live there, would seem to require a bit more elaboration.

Let's forget NASA and the how of it for now and focus on the question. Although who should pay for it is a relevant question, it's off topic (although people should pay for themselves seems to cover it.)

What do I mean when I say live there? I mean that people should have the same freedom to choose to live in space or other planets as they do about where in this world they would prefer to live (and all that implies. Do I need to elaborate?) This means like everything in life, it will be unfairly distributed; however, it should be an option as widely available to satify the public desire that exists to the greatest extent possible.

People do things because they want to. They work, they explore, they play, they learn; because that's what we are. First and foremost, we should do it because we can.

Second, because the eventual economic repercussions are enormous. Enormous simply isn't a big enough word. We measure a nations wealth, but what is money? Ink on paper? No. It's activity. When we widen our horizons we increase our wealth. Once we begin living by the millions and billions in space the positive impact on people that remain on Earth is impossible to imagine, but it will be huge and it will be positive. Wealth is created by activity. People that never leave Earth will be able to invest in companies that will make huge profits in more ways than simply mining minerals and providing energy resources. What those other things are will simply not be limited to the imagination of a few. People do different things pursuing their own pleasures much of which is economically profitable. Everybody will benefit (on average with the rising tide.)

Third, because it will make us better people. New situations create new issues. Resolving those issues is growth. Imagine two planets. One with people that never leave orbit. The other explores the stars. Which would be considered the mature civilization? Isn't it obvious?

I might add survival to this list. We'd look pretty stupid and short sighted if we never colonized outside this planet and some disaster came along and wiped out the Earth. Such disasters exist, but may not happen in our lifetime, so... let's just eat, drink and have fun and not worry about such things. Right?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... For some, living in space is the embodiment of all three. As humans, it then becomes an imperative.

Update: I did it again. It's the INTJ in me. I answered the why question and not the what question... silly me. I guess it's because the what answer seems just too obvious to me... yeah, it's just LIVE. THERE. The details of living there include mining asteroids and solar power (as I mentioned) but also include, developing real estate, opening a hot dog stand, etc. In other words, all the activities we do now, but there rather than here. It includes new political movements and religions. The glory days of scientific discovery and exploration. Philosophy and hamburgers. You know, life.

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