The big idea: should we colonise other planets?
news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Monday, 21 August - 11:30 · 1 minute
Is Elon Musk’s vision for the future a libertarian fantasy or scientific imperative?
The question of human settlement on Mars is, for many people, not “if” but “when”. Elon Musk ’s SpaceX company began speaking of the Mars Colonial Transporter around 2012. Its latest incarnation, the prototype for a massive spaceship called Starship that can house up to 100 passengers and crew, took off from Texas in April but exploded before reaching Earth’s orbit . Whether that counts as a success or not depends on who you ask, but it testifies to Musk’s determination to see a human presence on Mars in the next decade.
His view that colonising the cosmos is humankind’s ultimate and inevitable destiny is widely shared. The moon, lacking an atmosphere, short on water, and with weak gravity, is not a very attractive stepping stone, but Mars has none of those drawbacks and is considered a much more viable place to build the first off-world settlement. “Once the exclusive province of science fiction stories and films,” according to Nasa , “the subject of space colonisation has rapidly moved several steps closer to becoming a reality thanks to major advances in rocket propulsion and design, astronautics and astrophysics, robotics and medicine.”Continue reading...