Solar System or Ecosystem?
By Y. Brody at Apr 18, 2010
In a speech to NASA on Thursday, Obama unveiled a bold, new climate change policy for the United States.
Apparently realizing there is no viable consensus to be had among America's state-corporate leaders on earth science (i.e., reducing carbon emissions and consumption of terrestrial natural resources to safe levels), Obama appears to have gone straight to Plan B: He's pulling out the national credit card to hire aerospace corporations to help conquer the solar system, mine for treasure, and scout potential new homes. The first manned missions to asteroids, and then Mars, should pave the way to the first human space colonies in the second half of the 21st century.
"Our goal is the capacity for people to work and learn and operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time, ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite."
--Barack Obama, April 15, 2010
Images from http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/
NASA had been looking into colonization and resource mining for decades before Obama gave these ideas the full weight of his support and moved up the schedule. For example, NASA's recently updated Space Settlements website explains that since the Earth will some day become uninhabitable, masses of ordinary people will, at some point or other, have to make the move to "a nice place to live" on orbiting spacecraft and/or celestial bodies. Orbital colonies are envisioned as "California beach town"-style communities with "fantastic views" and "great wealth," while those on asteroids, the Moon, and Mars offer unlimited living space:
"The asteroids alone provide enough material to make new orbital land hundreds of times greater than the surface of the Earth, divided into millions of colonies. This land can easily support trillions of people."
Among other advantages to getting off Earth, according to NASA: Space pilgrims "might prefer to live away from 'non-believers,'" new social and political structures can be developed more easily than they can on Earth for those who might "wish to experiment," and penal colonies would effectively become escape proof. If NASA is correct, once humans begin breeding extra-terrestrially, the Earthling population may eventually find itself in the minority. In frank and unsettling terms, the reasons are explained:
"Those that colonize space will control vast lands, enormous amounts of electrical power, and nearly unlimited material resources. The societies that develop these resources will create wealth beyond our wildest imagination and wield power -- hopefully for good rather than for ill."
With future prospects for a global agreement on climate change looking effectively buried with the grand failure at the Copenhagen summit and the international splintering that has taken place in its aftermath, I'm afraid this may be the most realistic climate change program the US is likely to get this year.
Yet, it's not too late to act collectively to save life on Earth!
Join the world's largest organized grassroots movement at 350.org today.