After reading an article about humanity’s need for space colonization to survive, I was reminded of some conclusions I came to in junior high.
If humanity is to have any chance of survival, it is absolutely imperative that our species begin to plant colonies wherever we can off-planet. It would be so easy to wipe us all out with a single stray asteroid, a new disease, chemical or nuclear warfare gone wrong, etc. Our space program has begun to collapse- we haven’t put a man on in the moon again in what, 40 years? The space program has become a massive bureaucracy full of people who are smart, but not innovative. Years of only accepting people with the best grades has resulted in a severe lack of the brilliant creators needed to push our technologies in radical new directions. Instead we are stuck with people who excel at following directions (it’s all they’ve done their whole lives to get into the space program) and what they truly care about is simply keeping their own jobs. I say throw out the whole program and reallocate the monstrous annual budget to creating “prizes” for various space achievements and allow companies and entrepreneurs to try to achieve the goals. The current annual budget for NASA is $16.3 billion. Here is my prediction of what would happen:
Year 1 goal- $16 billion for first company to put a man on the moon- Boeing would have someone there within 3 months
Year 2 goal-$17 billion for first space station to be fully self-sufficient for 1 year-Google would collect this.
Year 3 goal- 1st permanent colony on either Mars or the Moon- It would take several years and the prize would accumulate, but a consortium of entrepreneurs and investors would collect the $50 or so billion.
And so on and so forth. Warning- A couple dozen or so test pilots and inventors may die trying to achieve, since there would be less focus on safety and more focus on the goal.
Moral: Life is short, brutal and meaningless except for the insatiable need to create more abundant and higher forms of life. Feed the beast.
Note: I think the same thing would happen if we reallocated the DoD budget to mercenary armies in Iraq. However, in this case the potential risk and human cost would be too great. The army that quells Iraq could turn on the hand that feeds. Not to mention the horrors it would commit to achieve domination in Iraq itself. So some things are better left primarily to the government.