TUESDAY, DECMBER 15, 2015
Eric Lee, A-SOCIATED PRESS
TOPICS: FOLLOW THE SMART MONEY, FROM THE WIRES, AND THEN WHAT?, VISONARY ISSUES
TUCSON (A-P) — Who will be a spacefarer?
Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic
Paul Allen and his Stratolaunch Systems
Elon Musk and his SpaceX
Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin
What next? Trump the Spaceship? Are space toys just irresistible to billionaires? Are they just in it, as usual, for the profit? Or is there a bigger vision involved?
The stated vision is to colonize Mars, 1,000,000 Munchkins minimum, so humans won't have all their eggs in one basket (Earth). Should Earth have a bad day, at least some will be living the prosperous life on Mars and business as usual will continue. Musk, perhaps smarter than the average billionaire, plans to retire on Mars. To make a planet fit to live in luxury on, he'll need a little help from his fellow billionaires.
The taxpayer minions of Earth will have to subsidize their venture into space, but subsidizing corporate special interests is what they do, as do they whom the public is told to elect to serve special interests. Serving elite interests is what they're for—taxpayers... voters... the elected (formerly known as public servants), so their doing so is pretty much a given. Nothing has to be in the public interest; the public merely has to believe, with a little help, that it is in their best interest.
Is it all about tapping the market for space tourism? Space tourism might be profitable, but the elites would likely soon lose interest and move on to the next must-do thing. Colonizing space is a possibility, but your colony is limited to such resources as can be taken from Earth into orbit or gleaned from a few asteroids. Without vast resources a colony can't really grow. There are just too many limits to growth to start by colonizing space.
What is needed is a Planet B with its own resources for the taking. Fortunately there is one nearby. It is a "fixer-upper" of a planet, but with a few hundred trillion dollars invested, it wouldn't be so bad. Might take 25 years for the pioneers to fix it up enough that the first ship of billionaires and their families would blast off for Gilligan's Planet, but by 2050 Earth may have gone to the dogs (commoners fighting to survive), so $1 billion per ticket may seem like a bargain and Musk, as a transhuman, can retire to live the privileged life he so richly deserves. Selling one way tickets to elsewhere will be a growth industry.
If Musk is smarter than the average billionaire, does he really believe that Mars can be colonized before Earth becomes uninhabitable for decent right thinking (and wealthy) people? He doesn't need to colonize Mars, just sell his vision while laughing maniacally (in private). He can die deliriously happy on an expansive estate on the Kona Coast surrounded by his Praetorian Guard, a more achievable vision, by orders of magnitude, that even lesser billionaires could aspire to, but a vision of Mars Awaiting is far more sellable. No decent billionaire wants an island enclave. They want a planet for the taking and Earth has already been taken.
Help us O'bernie-One, live long, run again, you may be our only hope for non-violent revolution. Make a 'No billionaires in space' campaign pledge. If elites have to live on Earth, they might reconsider laying waste to it to maximize short-term profit. Humanity is at a fork in the road. Will we evolve into a Federation of explorers wanting to know—whose prime directive is non-interference? Or will Borg Elites lord over their collective of Borg drones directed to consume all insofar as it profits their growther overlords? Which fork are we going down? Look around. Is resistance futile?