Space Colonization is a concept in which permanent human population is established outside Earth. By colonizing and settling space, humankind willbe able to survive crises that threaten humans on Earth. Also, colonizing the space would give access to enormous amount of valuable resources, which would surely be used.
If not counting the space stations orbiting the Earth, the space hasn’t been habitated yet. Colonizing of space requires vast amount of money and other resources, and so far it hasn’t been seen as useful. Also, the technological development of humankind isn’t advanced enough to make the colonizing very feasible option. It has been said, that during the next century, beginning of the space colonization will change the world as we know it.
Reasons for Space Colonization
Survival of the Mankind
At the moment, survival of the mankind depends on the survival of the Earth. We have caused massive crises, such as the climate change, but in addition, a meteor, for example, could destroy all life on the planet. Therefore we must move on to other planets in order to make sure that humans will survive in the future. In the distant future, the fuel of our Sun will run out. If we have colonized space, this would not be the end of humankind.
Harvesting of Resources
Technological advancement of humankind has made many things possible, but with advancements, we have also increased our need of resources. At the moment we are using more resources that is sustainable, in other words, we’re using more of them than the Earth can produce. In addition, many of the important resources, such as minerals, are not renewable. They might be recycled to a certain degree, but eventually, their prices will rise to unbelievable high levels.
The one company or state that will be able to colonize and harvest resources will be unbelievably rich. The first colonizers, instead of states, might be private enterprises. However, colonizing space requires huge amount of effort and money, and there are no fast payouts.
There doesn’t need to be a bigger goal to colonizing space, such as resources. People all over the world have always wanted to explore new areas and live exciting lives. Colonizers have been searching new places and lives in Earth for tens of thousands of years. In the future, people might head to space in order to find a purpose and prosperity in their lives.
There are a few ethical concerns in space colonization, that should be addressed beforehand. When we are moving to other planets, we are carrying virii, bacteria and other small living organisms. It’s very possible, that our probes have already taken bacteria to Mars. If we want to explore the Solar System in its natural states, we have to be very careful not to bring any Earth life to new locations.
The process of terraforming could cause problems on an entirely different level. If we, at some point, start terraforming other planets to resemble Earth, we must be sure that the planet doesn’t contain any life already. In worst case scenario, we could destroy an entire alien civilisation with terraforming process.
According to some thinkers, humankind is using too much resources already. Critics think, that we shouldn’t find any new resources to use, but instead should try and limit our current usage of resources. However, if we have a possibility to explore the space, why shouldn’t we?
At the current moment, there are no projects that have actually materialised. Some plans have been made, and some states, such as the United States and Russia have informed us about their plans of establishing bases on either the Moon or Mars. Russia is planning to have a moonbase ready by 2029, and the United States plans to have habitats in Mars before 2040.
There are some private enterprises that are planning to colonise the space. The most famous of these is probably Mars One, whose goal is to have a base in Mars in just a few years. The problem with private enterprises is, that space travel requires vast amount of financial support. So far all the projects have failed, mostly because of financing, so it is possible that private ventures in outer space won’t be seen in a while.
Possible Targets for Colonisation
There are many objects in our Solar System that could be colonised in the future. The most interesting are the Moon and the Mars, which are located nearby and contain most of the resources needed for life. Of the inner planets, Mercury and Venus are also interesting targets.
When going further, our Solar System contains four interesting gas planets. The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is also an interesting object. The dwarf planet Ceres is also located in the asteroid belt. Other interesting dwarf planet could be Pluto, which is located in the edge of our Solar System.
Will We Ever Colonise the Space?
That is a question that is impossible to answer, as the future is hard to predict. If the resources of our planet run out, we have basically two options. We can either limit the usage of our resources, or harvest them elsewhere. If we want to keep and continue living the way we do now, space colonisation will be an inevitable step at some point.
Building permanent habitats in other celestial bodies is really hard. If we want to colonise the space, before our resources run out, we should concentrate our efforts on development of space technology. Only the time will tell, if we will be able to colonise the space, or are we destined just to stay on Earth.