(This is the second in a series of four related essays; you can read the first one here.)
Space exploration is easily the most symbolic, strongest political cause that transhumanism can take up, because a stance in favor is one of the few things that brings all transhumanists together: space flight requires massive resources and strong tech development with, on the other side of the equation, the promise of even more resources and development; indeed, mastery of the universe. Space exploration is, or should be, the main transhumanist rallying cry.
The assumption that space exploration is a given, that is an unstoppable part of tech development that will continue to evolve and improve until humans are masters of the Solar System and beyond is laughably wrong. Yes, Elon Musk is building a massive Spaceship, and I wish him all the best in his endeavor. But what if he fails? He’s only human, and leads a company that must keep investors happy while servicing hard-to-please clients on which it completely depends… like NASA.
If SpaceX were to fail, for whatever reason, there just isn’t any alternative out there, and there has been no single plan for even modest manned exploration that has gone beyond the blueprint stage for decades — the likes of Blue Origin are well behind SpaceX in terms of tech, and even more in terms of ambition. The Asteroid Mining Craze? Wake up: that went away a long time ago. Unless Musk’s Spaceship provides a low-cost, reusable transportation method, there will be no asteroid mining in our lifetimes.
One should also discount NASA’s on-and-off plans to build a Lunar outpost, last re-launched under the previous U.S. administration following, again, decades of discussions. That can go down the drain with a flick of President Biden’s pen, and very likely will, unless his handlers feel that China or Russia can build an outpost before.
The U.S. Senate just drastically cut funding for the program so that nobody thinks it will be make its “ambitious” target of returning humans to the Moon by 2024, that is, during Biden’s administration. Did you know that NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine was perhaps the staunchiest supporter of human flight within the agency? He’s out. Because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.
This decade in particular is critical. Right now, there still is some measure of popular, wide-eyed support for launching astronauts on a wild ride, or at least limited outright opposition; in ten years, that may be gone, perhaps for generations. The writing is on the wall.
Take a recent, much-reviewed book that is making an impact with its arguments against space exploration. Yes, it’s 2020 and the most popular book on space exploration… is strongly against.
“Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Ends of Humanity,” written by Daniel Deudney and published by the prestigious Oxford University Press, makes the straightforward argument that space exploration is mad, bad and dangerous, and should be stopped at all costs…
(You can read the rest here.)