Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Space - maybe we can but should we?

Artist's conception of the process of terraforming Mars (Wikipedia).
The question is, should it be done?
Am now working on a lecture I have to give in March to Galway Astronomy Club. It's about the ethics of space exploration.

Is the Mars One project (a no-return mission of Mars colonists) a suicide trip, and if so does it matter? Is colonising Mars a good thing in principle, and if so, does it signify what the motives are? Is preserving the human race a good motive?  In order to hasten exploration of Mars, is it OK to cut corners thereby risking planetary protection .. risking polluting Mars with Earth microbes, which could stymie all future investigation into life on Mars?  Is it OK to terraform Mars … schemes have been devised that, within a few centuries, would turn Mars into a replica of the Earth with an Earthlike atmosphere.  But is it right?

How is the demilitarization of space to be policed? How can we preserve archaeology in space and on the Moon?  Who is allowed to mine asteroids and who should be?

Have a lot of work to do on this in the next 6 weeks, so this blog may be a bit quiet on other matters. Any comments or pointers welcome.  In particular I have to research the international law of space, I was hoping to find someone to help me on that, but I have to do it all by hand. Moreover at the end of February am off to Berlin again with my friend Vincent.


On this blog
        The Mars One mission
        Preserving the human race on Mars
        Archaeology on the Moon

        The debate on the so-called over-protection of Mars
        NASA on how to terraform Mars
        Wikipedia on whether to terraform Mars