Space Lunacy

 $trillion space games and false prophecies by billionaires while Rome burns

History testifies to powerful rulers’ aspirations for the position of gods, including the Pharaohs and Roman Emperors such as Caligula or Nero, nowadays mimicked by false messianic prophecies of “intergalactic civilization” made by billionaires and their followers in public and the media, including some scientists. This includes predictions of making life interplanetary by giant proprietors of space hardware, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, including plans for space tourism, asteroid mining and permanent human settlements on the Moon and Mars.  This would by some estimates be expected to cost about  $1 trillion by 2040. These ideas are closely linked to the rise of climate disruption and potential nuclear calamities and with the upsurge of fascism.  Space playgrounds of billionaires can only come at the expense of the multitude of humanity left behind where, coupled with plans for militarization and even weaponization of space, humanity may be left with a few barren rocks in space to temporarily support a few survivors.

planet Mars

The planet Mars

In 2000 Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and the world’s richest man, launched the reusable Blue Origin, albeit with several launch engine problems. The aim is to commence space tourism in sub-orbital flights, charging a six-figure price such as $300,000 per ticket. Further developments of returnable rockets include defense contracts with the US government and ambitions for permanent human settlement on the Moon, in partnership with NASA. Bezos is quoted to say “humans need space travel because they are “destroying this planet. He doesn’t mean that humanity will have to evacuate a dying Earth, however, but rather that we could outsource our more destructive behaviors to space.

In 2002 Elon Musk, founder of Pay-Pal, developed the SpaceX rocket, including 70 launches to date, with contracts with NASA, the US Air Force and the Argentine Space Agency, including supply contract with the International Space Station.  SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to send crewed flights to Mars and eventually colonize the Red Planet. “I want to die on Mars,” Musk has said, “just not on impact.”, with the motto being : “Making Life Interplanetary” … “You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.

In 2004 Richard Branson launched Virgin Galactic,a tourist-oriented reusable ‘space plane’ for sub-orbital flights, having already signed some rich people on $250,000 tickets and collaborating with the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund. On 13 December 2018 the VSS Unity achieved the project’s first suborbital space flight, reaching an altitude of 82.7 km. In February 2019 a member of the team sat in a flight that reached an altitude of 89.9 km. In Richard Branson’s Motto “Together we open space to change the world for good.

Unfortunately these ideas are attracting some scientists like bees to the honey.

Stephen Hawking said: “Human race is doomed if we do not colonize the Moon and Mars” …. If we’re to survive, Hawking said, “I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth”.

The science presenter Brian Cox, known for his excellent programs on astronomy and the planets, is cited: “Cox says the only way we can become ‘immortal’ as a species is to populate other planets”.

Whereas scientific exploration of space is an exciting project, messianic ideas of colonization of planets raise critical questions, including:

  1. Ultimately the $trillion resources come out from the mouths of hungry children, who can hardly gain from space rocket games.
  2. Prophecies of space colonization divert attention from the extreme urgency of resisting the calamity of global warming and its disastrous consequences and mass extinction of species.
  3. Prophecies of space colonization give people a mistaken impression as if alternatives exist to environmental repair of the terrestrial atmosphere, oceans and biosphere.
  4. Space prophets include mainly physicists, but very few biologists, and do not understand that the human body and psychology are inexorably connected with the Earth. We are Earthlings, our bodies evolved on Earth and are attuned to the gravity, atmosphere and radiation environment on the surface of this planet as well as the multitude of micro-organisms on whom we depend.
  5. Exploration of the planets best belongs to mobile robotic micro-laboratories designed to monitor the wave spectrum..

According to Oxfam eight billionaires now own as much wealth as half the human race.In an ethics-free age false prophecies of planetary colonization—of the rich, by the rich, for the rich— can only be described as a diversion from the need to save life on Earth. The parallels between religious beliefs of heaven and hell are evident, the virtuous (i.e. the super-rich) will be salvaged, whereas the other (poor and/or colored skin) will burn in hell, as Earth is warming.

One cannot argue with insanity.

Andrew Glikson, Earth and climate scientist


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