Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

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Post Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:33 pm

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

So what might be the motivations of potential space colonists? I'd suggest:

1) the thirst for adventure
2) the desire to help shape a new society
3) wish to escape from conditions in crowded cities (or whatever) on Earth
4) boredom
5) desire to see a new world

Any I've missed?

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Post Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

The problem isn't finding people who would be willing to face the hazards and unknown of space. All of the orbital and suborbital schemes get waiting lists of thousands of people and even the ones where you have to put down substantial sums have more takers than there are rides.

The problem is that spacecraft don't run on dreams. Its the cost and technology of getting there (and staying) that is the limiting factor and why there have been only handful of humans in space. When the cost to lift drops to some specific point, you will see an explosion (relatively) of activity into space, even if there isn't a "killer ap" of space like some kind of unobtainium. Sub-orbital and LEO space tourism alone could easily become a multi-billion dollar industry overnight.
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Post Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:43 am

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

I can imagine that. However, there is a big difference between being willing to spend a fortune on an adventure - such as an orbital or sub-orbital flight - and being prepared to actually up sticks and move to live in a tin can on another planet. Still, pioneers moving to America in the 17th century were prepared to put up with many of the hardships we are talking about (danger to self and loved ones, vast distance from family and friends at home, complete lack of amenities) so I imagien there will be takers for that.

The point at which I wonder if people will go ahead or not is the point raised in another thread... if they think that their children, having been raised on Mars or the Moon, might be unable to visit the Earth because of the higher gravity. Who wants to lumber their (prospective) children with that kind of disadvantage.

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Post Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:09 am

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

Depends of if they would ever want to go back. Psychologically, they could a smug attitude that shrinks would decode as defensive. "Why would I ever want to visit Earth? Its dirty and smelly!"

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Post Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:03 pm

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

Already this planet has a reputation for heading to hell in a hand basket (whether that's true is debatable) and I can imagine this idea being carried over in the children of colonists. Mind you there could also be that pull to see the cradle of life.
But I know that whenever I read about predictions of the future or try to predict it myself, it all seems to explode like you said. One day the Earth is the centre of attentions and the next it's shifted off centre to low earth orbit and before you know it it's out of the gravity well. I've mentioned it earlier, but here I'm going to put in the plug for Red Mars again, it deals with all this.
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