Space, the last frontier?
After remaining fairly calm for decades, outer space is once again seeing a lot of action and interest. There are several reasons for this. NASA received presidential orders to land humans on Mars by 2033. In December 2019, Donald Trump inaugurated the US Space Force with the broader assumption that world powers would once again lead their competitors into the world. space. It is one of the few initiatives of the Trump era that are unlikely to be reversed.
The renewed interest in space is due to two contingent factors. Widespread speculation about UFOs and aliens. And the interest shown by tech billionaires to colonize space. Let’s tackle them one at a time.
Man’s fascination with celestial objects and space has existed since the dawn of civilization. And when the awareness of the true depth of space developed, the idea that we are not alone in the universe also developed. But for those who have embarked on this wild goose hunt, the Fermi Paradox defines the odds. He states that in an infinite universe the likelihood of a space civilization rising is enormous, but that high likelihood is undermined by a complete lack of evidence to support any alien visiting Earth. This could not dampen the enthusiasm of UFO enthusiasts. On July 5 of this year, the Pentagon released an unclassified report regarding everything it knows about the phenomenon. Sadly, it doesn’t reveal any surprising new evidence. If that weren’t enough, there is a lot of sense in what theoretical physicist and pop-scientist Michio Kaku is saying about the alleged UFO sightings. He thinks that if a space civilization had appeared before us, it would be way ahead of us in terms of technology and might not even be dependent on bodily form. Why would such a group of aliens use technologies that can be seen and even identified by the human mind and why would they be of even distant interest to us?
But then there are other scientists like Harvard Professor Avi Loeb who believe that celestial objects visiting our solar system like ‘Oumuamua (please research it), may contain evidence or relics of ancient aliens and therefore must be studied carefully. Humanity is still not ready for a massive investment of time and money in the exploration of such distant and ephemeral objects. The money is useful for other projects as we will see a little later. But given that we are on the cusp of a technological revolution and this rapid growth coincides with the Covid lockdowns where a huge population has been forced to live indoors with a truckload of online conspiracy literature. meant that the obsession with aliens would spread quickly. A desperate person will hold on to straws to make a point. Therefore, old speculation about dreaded allegations of UFO / alien sightings like Bob Lazar’s (again, look for it) has grown in popularity. Even conspiratorial communities like QAnon have witnessed a race to incorporate alien and outer space pseudoscience into their narrative. I can only assume you’ve come across the views of US Congresswoman Marjorie Greene on the California wildfires caused by what she calls “Jewish space lasers.” This claim is just as separate from reality as the rest of QAnon’s fantasy fiction.
But QAnon’s interest is helpful in emphasizing another larger point. It is true that many UFO geeks are motivated by the fascination born from an inability to distinguish well-written science fiction or well-made science fiction films from reality and, therefore, their intentions might be innocent. . But there is much among the prejudices that would have you believe that there are aliens among us disguised as humans. Why? Because if there are aliens here in human costume, the good old pitch for an egalitarian society, all humans are created equal, does not hold water. These aliens could even be malicious and harbor wickedness against the human race. From there, a little jump will bring you to the views of the Nazis and the KKK that the Alternate Community is sub-human if not totally inhuman. I want to keep an open mind for a first real contact with an alien species but what passes for proof in this regard is not much.
Now to the meaty part. Space competition between billionaires. When news broke of Jeff Bezos’ retirement as CEO of Amazon, we also learned that the richest man in the world was planning to visit space aboard a ship made by his space company Blue. Origin. It must have been a moment of symbolism. A sort of send, even if the one that was sent was only to stay in space for a few minutes. Also, it signaled to many that Bezos had exploited land-based business opportunities to full capacity and now space was the new frontier. Still the showman, billionaire Sir Richard Branson couldn’t pass up the opportunity to steal his thunder. Its July 11 flight failed to meet the internationally accepted definition of space, but garnered a lot of media attention. Bezos’ recently concluded flight was more successful even though he only stayed up there for 10 minutes. Elon Musk has not disclosed his immediate space travel plans, although his company SpaceX has a reliable history of space travel. Branson announced that Musk booked a seat on the Virgin Galactic flight and even made a cash deposit. SpaceX plans to send a civilian-only space flight before the end of the year, but Musk is not on the passenger list.
While this may sound like a testosterone race between billionaires with a lot of money to spend and others, it may sound like another billionaire scam or scam, the instincts of the three are not out of place. Sir Branson is interested in space tourism. Bezos and Musk believe in colonizing space for the benefit of humanity. Where Musk differs from Bezos is that he wants to colonize Mars. The red planet is the closest and perhaps the most reliable of all our planetary neighbors. But colonizing a celestial object like Mars may not be easy because of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and logistical challenges posed by its orbit, distance, and terraforming. Bezos, meanwhile, believes in building space colonies from scratch, a more expensive but much more reliable option. Space may not be the last frontier given many new theories about parallel worlds and other fascinating avenues, but once colonized it can offer a seductive ending to the Malthusian dilemma.