Any one of these better exemplifies the broader and clearer vision that a manned space flight will provide humanity. The two billionaires, both men, have put their personal ventures in the perspective of what would happen if humans went to the next step and ventured into space. Both are quite confident that mankind will achieve this. But the similarities end there. Indeed, these billionaires have different visions, but they also share a lot of the same assumptions about space travel, which should be examined carefully by the public.
To start, both share the assumption that space is not a vacuum, but it is filled with gases, liquid water, and (at least some) particles of life. The public assumes (perhaps falsely) that such a world-class atmosphere would be conducive to human activity. If humans could live in it, they speculate, would they be able to produce art, architecture, buildings, food, clothing, shelter, and medicine? And would there be anything we wouldn’t need, since all these things are needed for sustaining life? Could we send robots into space to take care of those “ecological” issues? Will we ever know?
The public also assumes that any biological life, whether on Earth or in space, would be self-sufficient, requiring no external support. This assumption seems reasonable, since no other life form has been discovered yet. However, just because no other life exists, it doesn’t mean this life wouldn’t require an atmosphere capable of supporting it. In fact, it would need an environment which is Earth-like, at least in composition.
As for whether or not living in space would be “good” for mankind, both agree that it would. Since neither knows the answer to this, it is impossible to tell whether or not this would be good. It’s also impossible to tell whether or not doing so would be good for all of humanity, since we don’t know if life would even exist in such an environment. Would we be foolish enough to send robotic beings into space? What happened to the dinosaurs?
Some people claim that if we sent astronauts into space, they would find that they had very different diets from the people of Earth, in that they would eat a lot less vegetables, or perhaps never eat at all. Others say that this would not be a bad thing, since we would learn about the possibilities of plant and animal life in space. Still others believe that space travel will help us better understand ourselves and our surrounding universe.
Whether or not humans will go into space is unknown. Even scientists have many theories as to what it might be like to live there for a substantial amount of time. It might be a very different place from Earth, or it might not. What is clear is that space travel will be a huge part of humankind’s past, present, and future. We may not know what it’s like living in space for a decade or two, but one thing is for certain: we will witness amazing new things in our solar system and beyond.