The National Academy of Science in the USA is looking for public input on the future of humanity in space. To achieve this, they put out a public call on twitter for suggestions (#HumansInSpace). For the last 24 hours, suggestions of all sorts have been rolling in, ranging from cynical to wildly optimistic and from practical to obtuse. I corralled what I thought were best of them for your perusal.
Public vs. Private
Many of the comments reflected the changes we are seeing in modern space exploration, namely privatisation. It is quickly becoming clear that governments no longer have the political will or finances to fund space exploration and colonisation on the scale that is required. Private companies are already starting to take up the slack, and will continue to do so now that space exploration is becoming profitable.
Bring in the Robots!
A couple of people mentioned that humans shouldn’t be in space at all, and I would agree, to a point. The majority of mining and manufacture needs to be done by machines, from a cost and practicality perspective. On the other hand, humanity will, sooner or later, need to leave this planet.
Some Solid Suggestions
Here are a couple of the more promising, practical suggestions that I hope the NAS will pay attention to. They cover a range of topics:
On building in space:
On health and wellness:
And a few more:
A Little Less Practical
And finally, a few less practical suggestions:
The breadth and insight represented in these tweets is encouraging. Space exploration is a challenging and dangerous field with more complications than solutions. I am excited to see whether these ideas and suggestions will come to fruition over the next twenty or thirty years.