In my book, HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT FROM MARS TO THE STARS I conclude, “the future for humans in space is to become a multi-planet species with no existential threat (though, possibly, with still many catastrophic ones) living physically on two planets (Earth and Mars) and exploring the universe mentally on many others, learning about life within ourselves and in the universe.” That is that the human physical presence will not go beyond Mars, but that our evolving technologies will extend the human presence to the end of and even beyond our solar system, interacting with the Universe without “being there.”
Some find this negative, a statement of limits. I find it exciting and positive extending both our presence and our nature in ways we only can start to imagine. Either way: no one can contradict me (at least with any certainty) — it’ll b a long, long time before I am proved right or wrong.
I think this has implications however right now on how we conduct human space exploration. I am a tactician, I want to get human missions exploring again — going beyond the Moon, getting to Mars. I am strongly advocating the first (and only currently possible) step of exploration be to an asteroid cleverly and roboticly moved to a lunar orbit so that we can reach it.
This leads to a series of increasingly difficult further steps until we eventually reach Mars — first to explore, then to establish an outpost, and then if possible e to create another home for humankind.
Both of these artist’s concepts (the first of the astronaut on the asteroid from NASA, the second of terraformed Mars by Michael Carroll) are in the book along with many others of solar sails, enabling robotic flight to the stars.
This page is devoted to discussion of the book’s thesis about the future of human spaceflight.:
NOTE: YOU are invited to comment on the book or any of the content here — See Below:
Feb 2016: Debate about whether Mars settlement makes sense as a goal for humankiind and for human spaceflight. I assert it is the only reason for human spaceflight, and that it is an antidote to a confining and hidebound future — psychologically and socially as much as physically. Here are two views: one by Dale Skrain and one by Danielle and Astro Teller (the latter is the head of GoogleX)
Uploading the human brain? Not for awhile.
Should humans go to Mars. Article raises ethical and cultural as well as scientific ones.
Do Humans Have a Future in Deep Sea Exploration? The same issue I bring up in my .”about the limits of extending human presence in space exploration apply to deep sea exploration. From this article in the NY Times “To most marine scientists robots have clearly won the deep-sea war.”
PROJECT EXODUS: Interesting, thoughtful article about human settlement on Mars in the New Yorker: Comes up with the exact opposite conclusion that is in my forthcoming book — we should become a multi-planet species, on Earth and Mars.
Microsoft’s HoloLens going on mission to International Space Station – LA Times: Being sent to the space station to aid the astronauts’ visualization. I imagine us using these on Earth to visualize spacecraft data from Mars and ultimately from further worlds to make us feel the human presence being there without the humans being there.
OTHER ITEMS RELATED TO THE BOOK
A story (future speculation) published in the Communications of the Association of Computing Machinery, Becoming a Multi-Planet Species – ACM (pdf)
Review from Houston Examiner (on-line) – by Mark Whitington – rather negative
Review by Michael Michaud in Centauri Dreams– rather comprehensive
Interview in DiscoverMagazine.com conducted by Dr. David Warmsflash Excerpted from a longer interview — Warmflash Interview [pdf]
Events and Talks
Sept 2, 2015 – Pasadena CA: AIAA Space 2015 Conference, Panel on Pioneering Space and Settlement of the Solar System
Oct 15, 2015 – Seminar: Satellite Engineering Course, Aero/Astro Dept. MIT; Cambridge, MA
Oct 19,2015 – Hayden Planetarium, New York NY, Frontiers Lecture
Oct 24, 2015 – The Planetary Society Open House, Pasadena, CA
Oct 31-Nov 1, 2015 – 100 Year Starship Symposium, Santa Clara CA
Nov 12, 2015 – Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena CA: Book release and public talk
Mar 12-13, 2016 – Tucson Book Fair, University of Arizona
July 26, 2017 – Keynote Talk: NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, Caltech
Feb. 8, 2018 – AIAA Los Angeles/Las Vegas Section at Northrop Grumman Corp.