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Benjamin C. Kinney @BenCKinney
, 12 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Hello internet! Next up for me at #SoCIA18 is Lori Marino, with "Are We Ready for Space Colonization?"
Opens with an analogy about a teenager who just crashed their first car, and whether or not you'd buy them a second, faster car. I can see where this talk is going!
Lots of well-intentioned folks out there think it's imperative for humans to become a multi-planet species. And most of them are motivated, in part, by our failures on/with Earth.
Reasons to colonize other planets (usually Mars) include overpopulation & limited resources, climate change, backup location for humanity; plus our drive to discover and explore. Are these reasons good enough?
(NB: in many parts of space community the term "settlement" is preferred over "colonization," because this is not like Earth historical colonization. I agree, but follow the speaker's terminology.)
Basically, our speaker thinks "Save us from ourselves" is not a sufficient reason. We're not qualified for the job of interplanetary exploration. See: mass extinctions, habitat destruction, overpopulation, etc.
Example upon example of extinctions and pollution, from orangutans to CA/pacific dolphins (missed the species name) to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and of course carbon dioxide & climate change.
She notes that pro-colonization arguments entail some bad assumptions: we've learned our lessons, we (as colonists) won't make the same mistakes, we can reconstruct what was lost (?), and we can start over again without Earth.
These are, indeed, unlikely. "If we can send humans to Mars, is there anything we can't do?" - well yesssss, apparently: "keep Earth liveable."
She'd like to cancel colonization plans. But barring that, suggests: staying slow & robotic as long as we can, and develop rights-based protections for planets before humans go there.
In Q&A, audience members disagree about motives for colonization. People desired it long before it became clear we were ruining our world (decades ago). I do think that science provides a better reason to go forth than settlement does.
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