The Case for Space Colonization

By: Bria Eldon

9147209285_1088a0bee6_bAn artistic rendering of Mars exploration by Chesley Bonestell.

Given recent events on Earth, like climate change and changing world powers, people are are worried about the future of humanity. One good option for continued success of the human species would be to colonize other planets.

First, colonies in space could be used if something happened to Earth. Most people want to think Earth could last forever, but it won’t. At some point a catastrophe whether natural, like an asteroid, or man-made, like climate change, could destroy the Earth or render it uninhabitable.If the Earth were destroyed or damaged in a catastrophe then a colony in space could become a safe haven. However, no one is suggesting that we just abandon Earth and all move to space. As cool as that would be it’s probably not feasible. Instead we should concentrate on not only forming space colonies as well as adapting the technology from those colonies to saving the Earth.

Next, there are a lot of resources in space. Asteroid mining seems to be the stuff of science fiction but it is soon to be science fact: in February 2001 NASA landed a probe on an asteroid and in September 2016 the Rosetta mission deliberately crashed into a comet after surveying it for several years. While getting a robot out there, not to mention designing it in the first place, would be a real challenge. But it might not be necessary. Near Earth Objects, or NEOs, are asteroids that come fairly close to Earth, and could be mined relatively easily because of their proximity to Earth and some of them have more resources than Earth does. On top of the number of resources they have if we mine them instead of the Earth. Resources that could be mined from asteroids include metals like platinum, nickel, iron, gold and water. While some people point out that it’s not feasible to get to the asteroid belt and mine the asteroids there and it isn’t, for now at least. However, because of NEOs we don’t have to go that far – they occasionally come closer then the Moon.

Finally, the lower gravity on other planets will be easier to launch then from Earth. One of the main problems and why rockets need so much fuel is because escape velocity is about 11.2 kilometers per hour (6.96 miles per hour). If a spacecraft is launched from a lower-gravity planet or Moon, then it will require less fuel, and a simpler rocket can be used because to launch something less fuel is needed, which makes the rocket weigh less and it needs less extra fuel to carry the weight of the fuel needed to launch.

We have the technology to go to space and it’s within reason to live there. Why shouldn’t we?

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