What’s the Latest Development?
As the first manned deep-space mission draws closer towards reality, various experts are turning their attention to how well teams of people will get along during years-long voyages and after settling in colonies on Mars or elsewhere. In London later this year, a conference titled “Extraterrestrial Liberty: What Is Freedom Beyond The Earth?” will explore the social implications of space travel and colonization, addressing questions related to the rule of law and the nature of democracy, among others. Currently, the Mars Society operates bases in remote areas designed to simulate life on a colony, and executive director Robert Zubrin has written extensively on the challenges of creating and maintaining an extraterrestrial human community.
What’s the Big Idea?
Writer Richard Hollingham asks whether “society 2.0” will end up being “the same brilliant, terrible, messy, artistic, destructive, ingenious, horrific civilisation our Martian colonists left behind.” He also wonders if the almost-utopian yet hierarchical and quasi-military structure found in the “Star Trek” franchise might be worth striving for. Kelvin Long, executive director of the Institute for Interstellar Studies, suggests that the evolution of a space-traveling human society will take place in small steps. “You [have to] start with the small stuff and demonstrate that humans can live for sustained periods in space.”
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