• Question: Do you think people should be able to live on other planets? personally, i don't because I feel like whatever humans get they don't appreciate and they ruin everything. Why can we leave things as they are and enjoy them from a distance?

    Asked by FreyaM on 17 Nov 2020.
    • Photo: Tris Warren

      Tris Warren answered on 17 Nov 2020: last edited 17 Nov 2020 12:30 am

      Hey FreyaM – this is a very good point and something we are talking about right now with the idea of space mining already a big thing. Some of my work is looking at where there might be water frozen at the surface of the Moon. Some people think we could use this water to set up a human base camp on the surface of the Moon, and possibly even use this water as a part of a refuelling station to launch rockets further into space. But there are ethical questions – should we use this water? The main argument people will make that we should use the water – is there is probably a lot of it and we will only want to mine a small amount of it. But this isn’t really sustainable and as you say we haven’t done a great job on our own planet yet.
      Personally, the only reason I would be interested in people going to the Moon is for the extra science we could discover. This doesn’t have to be humans it could be done by robots, but humans tend to be a lot better at doing experiments than robots. I would be interested in knowing, for example, the chemical makeup of the water frozen at the surface of the Moon – because that would tell us a lot about how the water got there and even how the Moon formed. What are your feelings on this are you happy for science exploration but not exploitation of the Moon and other planets?

    • Photo: Harriet Gamble

      Harriet Gamble answered on 17 Nov 2020:

      I think this raises a really good point about space law. There are already some laws which control what we can or can’t do in space but these laws will need developing and expanding if humans start to spend more time in space on other planets. I think with co-operation between countries to follow a set of laws which ensure the protection of all outer space areas we could live on other planets without damaging them. The hardest part would be getting all the humans to agree on a single set of laws and stick to them.

    • Photo: Steve Williams

      Steve Williams answered on 18 Nov 2020: last edited 18 Nov 2020 3:30 pm

      You are absolutely correct us humans do a huge amount of damage to the planet. However, there is one exception I can think of and that is Antarctica which while occupied by humans has remained in near perfect conditions. So when we try we can do it. If we were to occupy other planets we don’t have much choice as that planet would have to be within our solar system and with an environment that we could manage to live in. The obvious choice is Mars but even living there isn’t easy and there would be many challenges to overcome right down to basic things like breathable air and water. With the technology we have today and into the foreseeable future it is going to be very expensive to get people there so there is not going to be many living there.

    • Photo: raam shanker

      raam shanker answered on 19 Nov 2020:

      Absolutely, people should!

      Especially with the younger generation like yourselves, who are planet-conscious. You will be able to make the difference by becoming engineers and work on clean energy, sustainability and climate change!

      Also, living in a new planet gives us a blueprint to start afresh based on lessons learnt from Earth. So, we already know what not to do, and what to do instead. Therefore, why not!

    • Photo: Marina Ruiz Sanchez-Oro

      Marina Ruiz Sanchez-Oro answered on 20 Nov 2020: last edited 20 Nov 2020 9:47 am

      Hi there! I totally agree with you, I think we should study space and be interested in space and sending telescopes and rovers to other planets, but not with the interest of living there, but for scientific research. Lots of really interesting discoveries can arise from this, but I dont think it would be a good idea to colonise them. That’s just my opinion though!
      I also think it’s important to find a balance between research in space and conserving the resources on Earth. Putting a rocket into space costs lots of money and fuel etc so when climate change should be our main concern, I think definitely the space sector needs to start looking into renewable sources of materials for instance and make sure it’s not causing more harm than benefits.