Should Humans Colonize Space?
While humans have long thought of gods living in the sky, the idea of space travel or humans living in space dates to at least 1610 after the invention of the telescope when German astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote to Italian astronomer Galileo: “Let us create vessels and sails adjusted to the heavenly ether, and there will be plenty of people unafraid of the empty wastes. In the meantime, we shall prepare, for the brave sky-travellers, maps of the celestial bodies.” The most common ideas for space colonization now include: settling Earth’s Moon, building on Mars, and constructing free-floating space stations. For more on space colonization, explore the ProCon debate.
“The United States will lead the world in responsible, peaceful, and sustainable exploration, development, and utilization of Cislunar space, including the Moon, consistent with the 2021 U.S. Space Priorities Framework…. The U.S. government will support the development of orbital and Lunar surface technologies and other scalable capabilities that support an enduring human presence on planetary surfaces. These include refuellable Lunar landers, environmental control and life support, lunar surface power systems, mobile and dustresistant spacesuits, surface mobility in extreme environments, and sustainable habitats on planetary bodies.” Editors’ Note: The document defines Cislunar space as “the three-dimensional volume of space beyond Earth’s geosynchronous orbit that is mainly under the gravitational influence of the Earth and/or the Moon. Cislunar space includes the Earth-Moon Lagrange point regions…, trajectories utilizing those regions, and the Lunar surface.”-
Executive Office of the President of the United States, “National Cislunar Science & Technology Strategy,” whitehouse.gov, Nov. 2022
“[NASA shall] Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.”-
U.S. Department of State, “Space Policy Directive-1, Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program,” 2017-2021.state.gov, Dec. 11, 2017