Comment // Economy

Mankind To Colonise Space In Fifty Years

For some reason, a contact forwarded me a story from the Guardian originally published in 2002. It was just another example of WWF propaganda regarding the Earth's population. What interested me most, though, was the effort to demonise the potential for colonisation of space.

The Guardian report rants:

Earth's population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week.

A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to be released on Tuesday, warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life.

In a damning condemnation of Western society's high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted.

The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.

Using the image of the need for mankind to colonise space as a stark illustration of the problems facing Earth, the report warns that either consumption rates are dramatically and rapidly lowered or the planet will no longer be able to sustain its growing population.

It then proceeds to systematically fearmonger; condemning human activity as something unnatural, even parasitic. We've read it all before, of course, but it was the space angle which grabbied my attention.

I find it ironic that the article would target the colonisation of space as something undesirable. In fact, it should be one of our highest priorties for getting us out of the economic mess we are in today.

As an example, lets take the US Apollo programme. Whether or not that programme managed to actually put a man on the moon, what it did was return over $7 back into the US economy for every $1 spent, as the technology developed filtered down into new products. It insprired whole generations of children to become scientists and engineers, and gave them goals and direction for the future.

The conquest of space should be top priority for any nation with a positive outlook on its future. And if we are to ask our young adults to risk their lives for some kind of national goal, it should be for this, rather than protecting poppy crops in Afghanistan. 

What happened to our spirit of adventure?