Space and Stellar Colonization
Credit to NASA
One of the major environmental concerns of our time is the increasing consumption of Earth's resources to sustain our way of life. As more and more nations make the climb up from agricultural to industrial nations, their standard of life will improve, which will mean that more and more people will be competing for the same resources. While NASA spinoffs and other inventions can allow us to be more thrifty with Earth's resources, we nevertheless must come to grips with the problem that humanity is currently limited to one planet.
Space colonies could be the answer to this problem, if we can solve the medical problems posed by microgravity (also called weightlessness) and the high levels of radiation to which the astronauts would be exposed after leaving the protection of the Earth's atmosphere. The colonists would mine the Moon and the minor planets and build beamed power satellites that would supplement or even replace power plants on the Earth. The colonists could also take advantage of the plentiful raw materials, unlimited solar power, vaccuum, and microgravity in other ways to create products that we cannot while inside the cocoon of Earth's atmosphere and gravity. In addition to potentially replacing our current Earth-polluting industries, these colonies may also help our environment in other ways. Since the colonists would inhabit completely isolated manmade environments, they would refine our knowledge of the Earth's ecology.
This vision, which was purely science fiction for years and years, caught the imagination of the public in the Seventies, leading to the establishment of the organization known today as the National Space Society. You may also find useful resources in our pages on the International Space Station, Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, and Near-Earth Objects, The Future of Space Exploration, and Nuclear Power in Outer Space.
Credit to Futurism