from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

Colonizing Space Is Not the Solution to Our Problems on Earth

The dawn of a new space age is upon us. It warrants taking a step back to ask more fundamental, long-term questions, namely: Just what is humanity hoping to accomplish in space?
Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos wears goggles owned by Amelia Earhart which he carried into space at a post-launch press conference after he flew on Blue Origin's inaugural flight to the edge of space, in the nearby town of Van Horn, Texas on
Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos wears goggles owned by Amelia Earhart which he carried into space at a post-launch press conference after he flew on Blue Origin's inaugural flight to the edge of space, in the nearby town of Van Horn, Texas on REUTERS/Joe Skipper

In my weekly column for World Politics Review, I write about how the world is hurtling into a new space age, and—as Daniel Deudney’s new book makes clear—courting new, potentially existential risks in the process.

Last week, the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, journeyed to the edge of space in a Blue Origin rocket christened the New Shepard. Bezos’ trip came only nine days after his fellow billionaire Richard Branson had done the same in a Virgin Galactic space plane. 

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So, what else is new? Wealthy industrialists have always enjoyed building themselves expensive toys. Think Howard Hughes and his Spruce Goose. What sets these voyages apart is their techno-utopianism. Bezos and Branson, along with Space X founder Elon Musk, are the modern avatars of Icarus. They believe that humanity’s destiny lies not on terra firma but in the heavens—and that exploring, exploiting and ultimately colonizing the solar system offers our species its best and perhaps only chance to escape our Earth-bound problems. 

Read the full World Politics Review article here

More on:

Space

Global Governance

Defense Technology

Technology and Innovation

Climate Change