“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, “I, Robot”, “The Foundation Trilogy”, “The Martian”, “2001: A Space Odyssey” -these are just some of the many novels in which humans have conquered space and colonized other planets. For sci-fi writers it seems obvious that sooner or later, in one way or another, humans will start a space colonization mission and, as time passes by, they seem to be right. But what could the consequences of these missions be?
At first glance the positive aspects seem obvious: new materials and minerals would be at our reach. This means cheaper ways of production and new items available to purchase, which could start to shape a change in our lives. As a consequence, many companies would be interested in exploiting new planets, and they would start developing new space programs and, most importantly, jobs. Migration would as well solve our overpopulation problem. With a new, better life in the horizon who would reject moving to Mars?
However it could turn out in a way which could degenerate our lives. The opportunity of acquiring new materials could be interpreted by companies as a way to increment their income, being tempted to offer jobs on conditions similar to those of a slave and dividing society once again into the upper and lower classes, as happened during the industrial revolution.
Something else to take into account is the military consequences of space colonization. Driven by economic and political benefits any nation could start adapting its army to a space war, the limits of the Outer Space Treaty would become arguable and we would no longer be safe from a missile attack sent from outer space.
In the end it all comes down to one point: will we be able to cooperate to get the largest benefit or will we let our differences divide us? We, as humans, have a lot to win with these programs if they are applied correctly, so it’s our responsibility and in our best interests to demand the respect we deserve to those in power.