In this episode I talk about the evolutionary benefits of space colonization as far as technology transfer, climate change and “over-population”. I review accumulating evidence that extraterrestrial life may be more common then we thought and what it means for the bio-ethics of space colonization.
“When you hear about space colonization, often it is about Elon Musk and his stated intentions on Mars, however, what if I were to tell you that space colonization has far reaching implications for absolutely everything you could possibly imagine here on Earth and that the concept of space colonization need not only apply to activities in outer space, but also how those particular technologies can eventually make their way down to earth and improve everything about our everyday lives.
Of course, that has a lot to do with the requirement for technical precision with any industry you have in outer space. There is a overpowering requirement for absolute detail and technical precision because you are going to be far away from whatever device starts to malfunction or whatever mission might be under threat. And therefore you have to have a very good idea of what might happen ahead of time. There has to be a minimal amount of detail available on the target location.
So as far as space colonization is concerned, as we expand our instruments of observation into other parts of the solar system, we find that there are other planetary bodies or natural satellites that might be far more suitable for organic life than Mars. In fact, it seems as though organic life was more prolific on Mars and the ancient past than it is likely to be right now. Various signs of ancient lake beds and microscopic organisms, the constituent elements for organic life in the form of organic chemistry are all present on Mars. However, we do find that in particular, natural satellites, for example, Enceladus has recently been proven to not only have an underground ocean, but its forms of organic chemistry that could eventually lead to life if they were arranged or sorted in a particular manner.
We’re finding more and more evidence of water and at least the constituents of organic life around our solar system. And we are getting closer and closer to validating the existence of extraterrestrial life. How that relates to space colonization has a lot to do with whether or not the elements that are required for sustaining our life are present on another planetary body. So, for example, our atmosphere is mostly composed of nitrogen and oxygen. And because of that, if there are other molecules on another planetary body or natural satellite that even have oxygen and nitrogen within them as a part of their molecular formula, it is possible to break apart that molecule and create the constituent elements for our requirement.
So in order to determine what planetary bodies our civilization may be able to inhabit due to the availability of convenient resources around them, we really have to conduct a pretty deep profile, most of these supposedly suitable locations. Now, with that being said, the reason why space colonization should be an important priority, not the only one, but an important priority is because as in an organic form of life, we want to make sure that our species has the greatest chance of survival by equally distributing our assets across a broader range of space leading up to the age of exploration. Europe was within the dark ages and there were a lot of problems, shall we say, including the plague and overpopulation.
I’m not excusing the pillaging style of colonization that often ended up being incurred upon the Native American people. What I am saying is that there is a pattern here associated with overpopulation and hyper containment, as well as a biological infection of some sort, perhaps triggering a desire to look outward outside of the extant geographic landscape in order to figure out where we may escape to in some cases, but where we may expand our population so that one natural disaster or whatever might happen could be mitigated through a more equal distribution of our population across the solar system or the galaxy, for example.
However, it’s not often mentioned as a solution to a lot of the problems we’re experiencing here on planet Earth is that there should be a globally coordinated movement that would help humanity by getting us off the planets and into. Other areas in outer space could even have an open space colony dome that could form a starbase that is basically also a population center. Perhaps that is how a lot of these forms of space colonization may begin. Perhaps they will begin by parking a station over top of the atmosphere while the planet undergoes terraforming or even engineering of some sort. That way, you could have a population of workers orbiting the planet while also preparing to colonize it again.
There are aspects of bioethics at play here. You have to think that in a situation where we are capable of inhabiting another planetary body. Is the risk that we might affect some kind of native organism worth halting our colonization effort until we’re absolutely certain there are no organisms on that planet? Personally, I would say no. Sometimes the reward outweighs the risk, especially if we are in a situation of desperation. However, the concept of bioethics should be kept in mind if we are to consider how humanity may first interact with an extraterrestrial species of some sort if we consider how humanity may interact with another form of life. Bioethics is a fundamental concept that we should keep in mind, regardless of where we find this life and what stage of its evolution that it is in, we would not want to, for example, take the common cold and introduce it into their ecosystem, for it could be fatal to them, even though it is only mildly debilitating to us.
The same could be said for a pathogen that makes it from another planet or even an asteroid to an area here on Earth or a spaceship orbiting the Earth. Regardless, the concept of bioethics has to be kept in mind when thinking about the potential and implications of space colonization. However, with all that in mind, I do think that space colonization is one of the best things we could all be focusing on right now to give us a constructive goal. To pursue instead of focusing on all the differences we have here between us, oftentimes it is a collective concern or mission of some sort that can distract away from minor differences between people and refocus their attention toward a mutually beneficial goal of some sort”