Home Science 14 Space Enthusiasts Predict Our Future In The Cosmos – Interview

14 Space Enthusiasts Predict Our Future In The Cosmos – Interview

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It’s been 50 years since Neil Armstrong took one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind, and if the myth-making surrounding the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is any indication, the previously unthinkable achievement still captures the imagination. But we’re not done yet. While NASA is busy landing robots on Mars, billionaire tycoons are duking it out for the chance to fly their friends into orbit. (And don’t get us started on the Space Force.) Here, some venerable space enthusiasts answer the question: Where on Earth do we go from here?

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ANDY WEIR, author of The Martian

“It’s in our nature to go to new places, to spread out and colonize. Our future in space is on the moon. We’ll have fully developed cities there before we have tourism to Mars. Getting there is just so much easier. And within 100 years, we will have invented the materials necessary to make a space elevator. That will make getting stuff into low Earth orbit really cheap, and we’ll see a huge spike in things happening in outer space.”

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JAKOB LANGE, partner at Bjarke Ingels Group

“When we started designing the Mars Science City, we asked ourselves, ‘When you move to a very distant world, do you want to live in something out of a science-fiction movie, or do you want to live in something that reminds you of Earth?’ When people migrated from Europe to America, they brought their style of architecture with them because that’s how they felt comfortable.”

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ROYSTON LANGDON, lead singer of Spacehog 

“We must fake it till we make it and restore humanity by creating representation and a new rule of law in space, because there’s bugger all of that down here. The billionaires-and-corporations thing isn’t working. They don’t want to hear from the likes of you and me, and the politicians have merely become their money managers and not our representatives. Therefore, I’d like to establish a non-hierarchical, artist-to-artist horizontal networking platform and declare a Declaration of Independence of Space forthwith. Do I have a seconder? RoystonLangdon.com for inquiries. Only legitimate artists need apply.”

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SCOTT KELLY, astronaut

“Eventually our sun will turn into a red giant and destroy Earth. In the short term, we may destroy Earth ourselves, so we need a backup plan. Of course, the best option would be to take care of this planet for as long as we can. We can go to Mars if we put the appropriate resources behind the program, but to get there will take an international sustained effort. NASA is often hamstrung by changing executive-branch administrations and inconsistent budgets. We’ll probably have a permanent base on the moon followed by missions to Mars. Will we terraform Mars, making it like Earth? I guess it’s possible, but it would take a really, really long time.”

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ARIEL WALDMAN, NASA advisor and Antarctic explorer
“If and when anyone lands a human on Mars, it will be because so many people from so many nations came together. Hopefully it won’t be colonization, which is a problematic narrative lens to view space exploration through. Hopefully it’ll look more like migration.” 

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ISAAC ARTHUR, YouTuber and futurist

The day will come when we shoot our first science-fiction film in orbit, or a middle-class fan can buy a ticket to visit the set, or to catch a zero-gravity sports game. But the greatest achievement of all will be when traveling to the moon is mundane.”

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EMILY CALANDRELLI, host of Xploration Outer Space

“In the next 100 years we’ll have a permanent moon presence, with companies mining lunar water to develop rocket fuel, creating the first gas stations in space. Hotels and amusement parks will exist for the most lavish vacations of the rich and famous. Museums will be built around iconic Apollo landing sites where these visitors can witness historic lunar landmarks with their own eyes. Moon people will start to develop their own culture and way of life, establish their own government and laws, their own cuisine and dialect, and become distinctly different than people who spend most of their life on Earth.”

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BILLY WEST, voice actor, Futurama

“The sky is falling.”

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RACHEL FELTMAN, Articles Editor at Popular Science:

“There’s something called the ‘Overview Effect’ to consider. Many astronauts say that once they saw Earth suspended in space from a distance, it changed their worldview forever. It makes one realize that humanity is a single, global community. I don’t expect we’ll be able to inspire world peace by shipping everyone up for a sightseeing tour on the ISS, but I don’t think it would do any harm if the richest citizens on Earth—the ones who’ll be able to shell out for tickets into orbit once commercial space travel gets underway—took this change in perspective to heart.”

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KIM ARCAND, astrophysicist

“How will humans adapt to being away from Earth for extended periods of time? My family lives by the ocean, and we can’t imagine not living by the ocean. But we know that if we had to move, we could get back to it, somehow. But what if we could never see or feel the ocean again? How would that impact us?”

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BILL NYE, science guy

“I don’t think humans will ever settle on another planet. All the ones we know are inhospitable on a level that most of us cannot imagine. We may one day have more than one human visit Mars, but I don’t see that as a settlement any more than humans have settled Antarctica. But in the next 100 years we will understand dark matter, which will, in turn, lead to technologies we can’t imagine. I won’t be surprised if both gravitons and darkons are isolated and characterized.”

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LISA HARVEY-SMITH, professor of astrophysics

“I’d be surprised if tensions are not heightened in the future around the commercial use of space. It will become more driven by wealthy individuals and corporations rather than national space agencies. Hopefully, we can protect our solar system from an income-driven gold rush of tourism.”

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PAULA POUNDSTONE, comedian:

“If we don’t replace greed with love for our fellow man, we will fail in space more quickly than we have here on Earth. That’s just a cold, hard fact. We have to change our type of fuel and stop eating meat. The only other alternative is that we stay on Earth using lots of hand sanitizer and very high-quality floaties.”

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SARAH SCOLES, science journalist

“If human beings eventually live in space, the population will be bifurcated between the workers, who mine and clean and cook and construct, and the wealthy, who live in opulence and reap the benefits of all that work. I guess, in that sense, it will look a lot like Earth.”

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