You don’t want me to answer this question. You are looking for a great, positive answer that will make the future look bright not only for colonies on these places, but an economic base for those colonies.
Meanwhile, I’m going to say I don’t think there’s much justification even for people walking on Mars when our robots can do it more safely and less expensively and achieve the same or better results…. what to speak of “colonies.” I think it’s almost laughable and mostly just science fiction dreaming.
People may or may not one day walk on Mars at great risk, and some will probably die in the attempt. There is little reason to go there from a scientific point of view other than to say we did, just like we walked on the moon and then went away.
In the meantime, a safer, cheaper way is send our machines to go.
You see, what this is all about is finding life. What scientists want to do is prove that life can evolve elsewhere than Earth – a so far unproven theory. We want there to be life elsewhere because we want to prove that life was not “created” on Earth alone, but life naturally develops from matter when conditions are ideal.
We don’t need “colonies” or economic bases in space to prove that. We just need to find some germs under some rocks or on some moon around some planet in our solar system. For that we just need space vehicles and robots like the Mars Rovers.
Whether we find life or not is anyone’s guess, but it is still science fiction thinking we will colonize anything off planet.
Probably, and that’s why terraforming is a bad idea. Inside the scientifically minded community, there are two distinct ideas.
Don’t contaminate. Leave whatever planet it happens to be in the original pristine condition so we can study it. (This is the predominant, tree hugging concept.)
Screw number 1. Terraform the planet. Make it livable for humans, existing organisms, if they exist at all, be damned.
That being said, we do try all we can not to contaminate planets we send probes to even though some microorganisms may have made it through.
At present, and probably rightly so, NASA does not want to introduce organisms to other planets – or visa versa – introduce to Earth organisms from other planets on Earth. We may have already failed, but we still try.
If you count all the little nuts, bolts, loose wrenches and pieces of demolished satellites as satellites, then there’s a whole lot of junk floating around Earth. Thousands of pieces that pose a hazard.
Around the moon we have about three functioning spacecraft but have launched far more than that that have, over time, gone dead – perhaps crashed to the surface of the moon. Then we have the odd Juno spacecraft around Jupiter, the voyagers I and II and so on. We’ve put more space junk up there then anything else. This is a fairly accurate artist’s rendition of space junk around Earth.
The Russians have put several probes on Venus, the Americans and Europeans put a probe on Titan, we have probes on Mars, we flew a probe by Pluto and orbited Saturn for a long while before crashing deliberately. We presently have, as mentioned, the Juno spacecraft around Jupiter. We have hundreds of functioning satellites in orbit around Earth.
We spend 600 billion dollars every year on the military. What would happen if NASA had that kind of money? Here’s a very cool YouTube video that I love to watch!
Although, scientifically, we could do as much or more with our rovers, robots and probes than manned space travel, and we can and do it cheaper and safer than manned space travel with our probes and rovers, people will still go to Mars.
Why? Well, I suppose it’s the same reason people went to North America or climb Mount Everest. Because it’s there.
The first man on the moon held an American flag. In the not-too-distant future, astronauts on the moon may be holding fuel pumps.
The future for American commercial space activity is bright. Space entrepreneurs are already planning travel to Mars, and they are looking to the moon as the perfect location for a way station to refuel and restock Mars-bound rockets. As much as this sounds like the plot of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” it is coming closer to reality sooner than you may have ever thought possible.
A privately funded American space industry is the reason. This industry is making progress in leaps and bounds. The global space economy is approaching $350 billion and is expected to become a multitrillion-dollar industry. There are more than 800 operational American satellites in orbit, and by 2024 that number could exceed 15,000. Thanks to public-private partnerships, for the first time in seven years American rockets will soon carry NASA astronauts into space. Long dormant, Cape Canaveral is now bustling with activity. America is leading in space once again.
Space tourism may only be a year away. Tickets for human flights into lower earth orbit have already sold for $250,000 each. Earth-based mining companies may soon face stiff competition from the mining of gold, silver, platinum and rare earths on asteroids and even other planets. A race is already developing to create the technology that will bring those crucial resources back to earth.
Competition is already fierce, with Russia and China challenging the United States for leadership, and about 70 other countries working their way into space. But today’s space race is different. It is driven by innovative companies that are finding new solutions to get to space faster, cheaper and more effectively.
As these companies advance new ideas for space commerce and nontraditional approaches to space travel, they seek the legitimacy and stability that comes with government support and approval. They yearn for a government that acts as a facilitator, not just a regulator. Government must create frameworks that enable, rather than stifle, industry.
Unfortunately, our system for regulating private space exploration and commerce has not kept up with this rapidly changing industry. For example, when it comes to licensing cameras in space, we review small, high school science-project satellites the same as billion-dollar national defense assets, leaving too little time and too few resources for crucial national security needs.
On Thursday, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 2, which will make important strides toward modernizing our outdated space policies. These changes include creating a new office, the Space Policy Advancing Commercial Enterprise Administration, within my office to oversee coordination of the department’s commercial space activities, establishing a “one-stop shop” to work on behalf of the budding private space sector.
This will be a major change. At my department alone, there are six bureaus involved in the space industry. A unified departmental office for business needs will enable better coordination of space-related activities. To this end, I have directed all Commerce Department bureaus with space responsibilities to assign a liaison to the new Space Administration team, including the International Trade Administration, Bureau of Industry and Security, National Telecommunications and Information Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
When companies seek guidance on launching satellites, the Space Administration will be able to address an array of space activities, including remote sensing, economic development, data-purchase policies, GPS, spectrum policy, trade promotion, standards and technology and space-traffic management. The new office will also enable the department to manage its growing responsibilities in space.
The department will take on a greater role when it comes to regulation and promotion of space activity. But as the agency charged with promoting job creation and economic growth, we will not engage only in oversight, but will support American companies so they can compete and lead on a level playing field.
Collectively, these efforts will unshackle American industry and ensure American leadership in space. This is essential to technological innovation, economic growth, jobs and national security. But, perhaps more important, it is rejuvenating the American passion for space exploration.
I can still remember when President John F. Kennedy declared that America would put a man on the moon and when Neil Armstrong took that first step on the lunar landscape. Glued to televisions, Americans were filled with excitement and national pride during the Apollo missions.
Last month I felt that same passion as I visited the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs with Vice President Mike Pence. “As we push human exploration deeper into space, we will unleash the boundless potential of America’s pioneering commercial space companies,” the vice president told the crowd.
This is a very special time in space history — there is a convergence of technology, capital, and political will. The United States must seize this moment.