Can we colonize outer space? Yes and no. There are multitudes of theories, ideas, and plans that back up the concept of colonizing space. With all of our technological advancements, creating communities beyond the planet earth is not a far off idea. But is colonizing space a rational, safe, or even smart idea? Let’s take a step back to focus on the cons of making a “home” away from home.
One of the main ideas behind the move to outer space revolves around Earth’s climate change. Supposedly, if human beings move to another planet, we will reduce our carbon footprint and restore earth’s CO2 levels. Of course the notion is noble and the idea sounds perfect, if all humans picked up and moved to the moon, wouldn’t that create an even larger carbon footprint? According to Dan Kwartier, Human beings are crucial to the maintenance of oil plants, subways, electricity and even the survival of different kinds of species. Without 24/7 moderation, these systems fail. Oil plants catch fire and begin to burn for days at a time. Water mains or sewage lines combust and fill subways with water causing the land beneath cities to erode. In brief, with the initial disappearance of humans comes the immediate destruction of our earth’s land. This is not to say, however, that Earth’s condition won’t improve over time. It will just take thousands upon thousands of years for Earth to rebuild itself.
This Ted Talk sums up the impact of humans on the planet Earth and how much it depends on us to maintain it now.
Now you might be asking, well how is this bad? If you think about it, as Earth restores itself to a state similar to that of pre-human colonization, we continue our destructive tendencies on another planet. Not only do we begin to destroy another planet with pollution, but we introduce new microorganisms, diseases, or parasites to a new environment. We risk killing off any microorganisms that already exist on the target planet.
Colonizing another planet or moon does not necessarily lead to a happy ending. While our carbon footprint on earth may decrease over time, leaving our planet will perminantely alter nature and life itself on Earth more than it is now. As Earth’s conditions improve, the conditions of the planet being colonized will begin to decrease and the process will happen all over again.