The Space Reviewin association with SpaceNews

SpaceShipOne/White Knight before takeoff
Settlements on the Moon offer an opportunity to ensure the survival of our civilization and species. (credit: P. Smith)

Advocating colonization

I want to be a Space Frontier Foundation Advocate to start to formalize what I have been doing since May of 2004, when I started writing my space column, and since 1998, when I named my daughter Mahria after the seas of the Moon. That is, get people off their butts and doing something instead of shaking their fists. We have a rich world. It’s time to have a daughter world. It parallels my life. When the time came for kids, that was a challenge and a sacrifice, but all parents know that the joy overflows and the cost is what it costs.

It’s time to take the same approach with colonization. Children represent about a quarter of the world’s population and probably consume at least $7 trillion a year (an eighth of global GDP). It is time to have a child world and nurture it and bring it into its own. It shouldn’t cost more than a thousandth of what we spend on childrearing to get it started.

Cells that do not divide ultimately die. To remain vibrant as a person, a big part of most people’s lives is childrearing. If you visualize the world as a human body, there are always cells that are dying. There are always new cells dividing. There are parts that are growing and there are parts that are decaying. If humanity as a group has fewer kids than people who die, we will die out as a species. The same is true with our planet. Some day, with estimable probability soon and with near certainty later, the Earth will become uninhabitable. Before we turn inward and live in a world like the Matrix or devolve due to some new meme or disaster, we have an opportunity to create a spacefaring species. One that can carry the seeds of human civilization to the planets, the rest of the solar system, the stars and even send generation ships to other galaxies.

Before we turn inward and live in a world like the Matrix or devolve due to some new meme or disaster, we have an opportunity to create a spacefaring species.

We can visualize resources that grow without bound. A galaxy of Criswell structures could hold 1030 people with the same sunshine we enjoy. That would be more than two persons living at once for every atom of silicon in 30 kilograms, which is about what my daughter weighs at seven years old. Doubtless, a few trillion people with vast resources will be able figure out how to fit even more if given the opportunity.

I want to formalize my relationship with humanity’s plunge into the universe. Denote that I am the source of the “glint in a father’s eye” that happens before conception. In this case, we are conceiving, nourishing, and delivering a new world. Some day it will come into its own just as our children will surpass our achievements.

The road will not be easy. There are many steps involved in wooing partners in this endeavor. Parents need to feel financially secure before having kids and one way to defray costs is child labor. Our colony will need to carry much of its costs from day one. A tall order, but one that is not insurmountable. So let’s get on with it! The Moon or bust!