1. notleia says:

    I mean, if I had to choose between Star Trek-type warp space travel and Star Trek-type Happy Hippie Utopia with No Poverty, I’d probably go for the latter.

  2. I don’t mind people getting excited about it, since it is fascinating, but I do agree that if we started a colony on Mars there would be problems there, too.

    Researching space stuff sometimes helps us find solutions that can be implemented here, though, and people aren’t as likely to do that research if there isn’t hype for it, so there’s that.

  3. Kessie says:

    The idea of expanding to other planets is backed by this deep humanist thinking. “We’re only bad because of our society and those bad religious people making us feel bad about ourselves! Man is basically good, so if we could just get away from Earth’s baggage, we could build a new utopia among the stars!”

    I mean, this philosophy pervades science fiction. Also any kind of music about it, like the Final Countdown, or that cool but depressingly humanistic Hope For the Future by Paul McCartney. Getting out to other planets is equated with going to Heaven. It’s our first step to godhood, right?

    Unfortunately, that sin nature is a thing that we take with us, as Mark said in the article. It’s fine to want to colonize other planets, but it won’t be a utopia. I mean, just reading about how important Earth’s magnetic field is to the human brain–and imagining people trying to live on a planet without one–pretty much dooms the whole project.

  4. Travis Perry says:

    Going to Mars cannot be said to be so enormously difficult we couldn’t do it. We could have been to Mars in the 70s if the public had chosen to fund missions to Mars–NASA had sufficient infrastructure at the time. But Nixon felt tax cuts and the Vietnam War were more important. In the 80s, NASA put all of its eggs in the single basket of the space shuttle, which turns out was a much worse idea that sticking with the Saturn V rockets that put human beings on the moon. Our space program is still recovering from that bad decision.

    Human space exploration since the race to the moon has been abominably mediocre–basic ideas as rotating spacecraft on a axis to produce a sense of artificial gravity that would alleviate most of the problems of a long journey haven’t even been EXPERIMENTED with at all. Nor have other obvious members like good shielding against radiation been seriously tried.

    We humans may never make it to Mars but it’s because (in my opinion) we’re lazy and mostly disinterested in exploration unless there’s an obvious profit to be made from it and frankly are more interested in building massive sports stadiums and other forms of entertainment of dubious value rather than learning whether or not we really could live on other worlds. To me, it seems obvious we should want to travel through the stars–they are inherently interesting, wonders of God’s handiwork. If I had to chose between the hippy utopianism of Star Trek and working starships, I’d pick the starships in a heartbeat.

    But that’s really because I think starships are possible, while elimination of all human evil isn’t possible…I don’t agree that wanting to explore outer space is necessarily linked to ideas of creating utopian ideals on other worlds.

What do you think?