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Space Colonization

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

Written by Poyraz Bahcivan


Carl Sagan, one of the most well-known scientists, said, “Across the sea of space, the stars are other suns,” (Cosmos). As Sagan said, our solar system is not the only habitable system in the endless void of space. As a civilization at the early stages of The Kardashev scale’s type I, our need for resources exceeds the those of Earth’s, leading us to look up in the sky, outside of our little blue marble, to find a solution.


The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring a civilization's level of development based on the amount of energy it consumes (4). According to The Kardashev scale, there are three types of civilization. Type I civilizations use their planet's resources and the resources that reach the planet from the space. Since we do not even have our planet's total control, our civilization is thought to be a type 0 civilization. A type II civilization is a civilization that has control over its solar system. These civilizations would get the benefits of their star at its max efficiency level by using methods such as covering the star with solar panels. Type III civilizations have total control of their galaxy. We still do not know the limit of these three types as we do not know the limit of space.


Starting with the launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, the space race of the Cold War was the main reason for where we are today (7). Twelve years after the Sputnik 1 mission, NASA, the main rival of the Soviet Space Program, launched the Apollo 11 mission, causing humankind to step on a celestial object, the Moon, other than the Earth for the first time. After the Cold War, space explorations got slower, but in the last two decades, space explorations started again, and this time, many companies are included in this race as well. During this period, companies started participating in this space race, working in areas such as launching satellites, space mining, space tourism, and colonization (5).


Fifty years after the last moon mission, Apollo 17, NASA came up with another mission named Artemis. Planning to build a habitable zone, Apollo is the first actual colonization project out of Earth. This plan is separated into three missions: Artemis I, Artemis II, and Artemis III. The first step of this 3-mission plan, Artemis I, is to be launched on the 2nd of September 2022. Artemis I will be an uncrewed testing capsule sent to the Moon and brought back. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that the rocket used in the Artemis I mission will be the most powerful rocket ever flown to space (6). On the other hand, the Artemis II mission is planned to be a crewed mission. However, in this mission, the rocket will not land but will only orbit the Moon. If everything goes as planned, it is planned to launch Artemis III, which will carry the first humans to live on the moon, in May 2025.

One of the most known companies in the space sector is SpaceX. SpaceX’s founder and CEO, Elon Musk, plans to send over 1 million people by 2050 (2). He also states that they plan to build 100 Starship Rockets yearly for over ten years to achieve that goal. In this plan, starting in 2028, 1000 ships will depart over 30 days for every 26 months. This could sound very unlikely, but considering the new Starship Rockets’ features, it could not be as hard as we think. The Starship Rockets are also a part of the Artemis mission. Starship rockets will be orbiting the Moon before the Artemis rockets arrive. The astronauts will use the Starship Rockets to land on the Moon since the rockets NASA made are not suitable for the Moon landing and launching again. The main reason for the use of the SpaceX designed Starship was to build a rocket that could carry people safely, vertically land, and go long distances such as from Earth to Mars (8).

Nevertheless, Elon Musk's 1 million Martian plan has many problems. One of them is Martian babies. Biologically, our bodies are not evolved to live in places with lower gravity. Firstly, giving birth out of the Earth is very dangerous just by itself. A low-gravity space environment decreases bone density, which increases the risk of a mother fracturing her pelvis or baby's bones (1). Other than medical problems, scientists report that people living on Mars can cause variations in the human race. Martian humans could have different skin tones, head sizes, and many other differences.

One another problem is politics. The claims on outer space are still being discussed. The Outer Space Treaty, which over 112 countries signed, including even North Korea, states that there is no claim for sovereignty in space (3). No nation or company can own space, the Moon, or any celestial body, which means that outer space will be used as an international common area that no one can claim, but everyone can use. This treaty also forbids the presence of weapons of mass destruction in orbit and all other celestial bodies than the Earth.


In conclusion, it seems that, before the 22nd century, the Earth would not be the only celestial object with humankind living on it. We will have to find a way to adapt biologically to the planets we colonize. Space colonization has become real, and it has to be taken seriously. Every civilization that passes a level of energy consumption has to get out of its shell. In the end, this will be what we are doing.


References:

1- "Biologist: Babies Born in Space Might Not Be Fully Human". Futurism, 2022, https://futurism.com/the-byte/biologist-space-birth-babies-not-human.

2- "Elon Musk’s Plan to Send a Million Colonists to Mars By 2050 Is Pure Delusion". Gizmodo, 2022, https://gizmodo.com/elon-musk-mars-colony-delusion-1848839584.

3- "International Space Law". Space Foundation, 2022, https://www.spacefoundation.org/space_brief/international-space-law/.

4- "Kardashev Scale - Wikipedia". En.Wikipedia.Org, 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale.

5- "List Of Private Spaceflight Companies - Wikipedia". En.Wikipedia.Org, 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_companies.

6- "Nasa Is About to Launch Its Most Powerful Rocket Ever Here’s What You Need To Know". Science Alert, 2022, https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-is-about-to-launch-its-most-powerful-rocket-ever-heres-what-you-need-to-know

7- "Space Race - Wikipedia". En.Wikipedia.Org, 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Race.

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