It’s something of a tragedy that the prospect of colonizing space never fully materialized after the end of the Cold War, when nationalism was at an all-time high, and our eyes looked to the stars for the next great adventure. As they say, lack of competition means a lack of progress.
Traveling to the Moon in 1969 was achieved largely in part by the rivalry between the United States and Russia. The two superpower nations were battling it out for control of the cosmos, and the United States gained the upper hand when Neil Armstrong famously traversed our solar cousin.
However, these days the thought of traveling into space has taken a backseat to economic turmoil, the headache of foreign wars, and political sideshows not just in the United States.
If you have five minutes, take a look at this video by NASA in 1975, where they proposed that we’d have a space colony by the year 2000.
That was also the vision of the 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Utilizing the designs of such scientists as Wernher Von Braun and others, the concept blueprints for a space station that could be inhabited by large populations of people were created, and research into actually building the real versions were funded.
Unfortunately, once the Cold War ended, the infatuation with building our space program was reduced to a near standstill. Sure, we have the International Space Station, and we have several rovers on the martian surface, but we could have had so much more. And the benefits of such solar construction are nearly immeasurable.
Imagine being able to harness the power of the sun for 100% of the space station’s needs, or latching onto asteroids in near-Earth orbit for elements such as metal, platinum, water, and others. The upfront costs would of course be exorbitant, but that’s only because it’s never been done before, and the construction process would need to be achieved on Earth.
However, that won’t be the case for much longer, as a company known as Planetary Resources has announced their vision to begin mining asteroids in the next decade or so.
This means we’ll be able to construct platforms, spaceships, and other artificial buildings in space by the year 2050. Though it’s 50 years later than originally forecast, we’ll take it as our best hope for truly exploring the universe.
Not only is it a benefit for exploration, but also one for the Earth’s ecosystem. Less people on the surface means less damage done. By making the change to space, we can begin quickening the process to heal our planet.
That’s a prospect we should all look forward to, and it begins by supporting these efforts to make it happen.
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