Beyond Globalisation – becoming a multiplanetary civilisation

Life has experienced some quite horrible and horrific times, that led to 5 mass extinctions – events where more than 80 percent of all species died out. Statistically speaking, the next mass extinction will come sooner or later, and let us hope for the latter, but it will hit us at some point.

The future might bring us nuclear war and climate change, maybe we will get hit by an asteroid, just look at what happened to the poor dinosaurs, or eventually we’ll be engulfed by the sun. You get the idea. The chances of humans surviving are very, very slim.

So, with all of this being so closely examined and researched, wouldn’t the most logical consequence be to have a backup plan? Shouldn’t we try to “save” the human being on a “USB-Stick”, in case our “computer” crashes? Some people are actually working on this “backup Earth” by planning future travels to and settlements on Mars.

EchoStar XXIII Launch

Space Travel

During the 60’s and the epic race to space, 4 percent of all federal spendings of the US were dedicated to NASA, whereas in the 2000s the budget has shrunk to 0,3 percent.
Projects of putting people on Mars, colonising the Milky Way, seem unthinkable and out of reach. Putting people into space seems to have lost its charm.

But, how is this possible when we live in an era of technological advancement? How is it possible that it seems as if no politicians or countries are making space travel one of their priorities? And how on earth is all of this possible when this generation might be the last one to be able to affect the chances of sustaining life of the human species on Earth?

Interplanetary Transport System

Elon Musk, SpaceX and the Big F***ing Rocket

Well, there is one person who takes space travel very seriously. His name is Elon Musk. Some of you may hear his name for the very first time, others might have heard of him as a co-founder of PayPal, the founder and CEO of Tesla, and a person involved in many other projects such as the Hyperloop, OpenAI, SolarCity or Neuralink.

I will introduce him to you as the founder of SpaceX, as someone who aims to make this “Earth backup” by putting 1 million people on Mars by 2060. Manned missions would start in 2024.

SpaceX is a company that “designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft […] to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets”.

There have already been major advancements by SpaceX. The company has revolutionised space travel by building a reusable rocket, a rocket that will eventually transport humans to Mars and goes by the name of BFR – the Big F***ing Rocket.

Interplanetary Transport System

Should we colonise Mars?

And of course there is some criticism out there. Critics might ask why we even should move to Mars and destroy yet another planet? Could you argue that by civilising Mars, humans will care less about environmental problems on Earth?

But keep in mind: Mars is not our second chance to make things right, it is not the new refuge for humankind, once we have made Earth an uninhabitable planet. Mars is simply the easiest option to become multiplanetary. As Musk explained in an interview with National Geographic: “The future of humanity is fundamentally going to bifurcate along one of two directions: Either we’re going to become a multiplanetary species and a spacefaring civilization, or we are going be stuck on one planet until some eventual extinction event.”

I know, that this is an abstract idea. On some days I totally get it; it seems like the most logic thing to do – create a backup of humans so that we can stick around for longer in the event of a mass extinction. On other days I tell myself: “This idea is nuts, Elon Musk must be a crazy person, to think that he can create a colony on Mars. Why start polluting more parts of our Galaxy when we can’t even take care of our own planet?”

Whatever you feel right now, I hope that you have managed to step back and get a glimpse of the big picture concerning our future.

 

By Julia Glatthaar

Photo Credits:

Rebekka Olshcewski, all rights reseved

Interplanetary Transport System, SpaceX, CC0 1.0

EchoStar XXIII Launch, SpaceX, CC0 1.0

Interplanetary Transport System, SpaceX, CC0 1.0

Interplanetary Transport System, SpaceX, CC0 1.0