Ground Control to Major Tom
A topic that comes up frequently on my radar is, how does the human race leave Earth and settle other planets? I usually bow out of these discussions because a) I have no intention of settling on another planet and b) no space colony would take me, so it’s rather a moot point.
But the subject came up yet again, and I don’t have anything better to write about today, so, let’s talk. What level of colonization/civilization would be necessary, to convince you to leave Earth? What creature comforts would you require in your new home? To use the ‘carrot and stick’ analogy, what sort of ‘carrot’ would someone have to dangle in front of you, to get you to up-sticks and settle on the Moon or Mars?
For me, it’d be nearly impossible. I like green and growing things; I like horses and other animals; I like to be outside, under the sun, without any other people around. It’s very unlikely that any off-planet colony will reach that stage within my lifetime. I’ve lived without electricity and running water (at different times) so those wouldn’t even be necessary. I can’t live without oxygen (duh!) so a colony with no atmosphere would be useless to me and everyone else. Having just moved to a new state, I think it’d be difficult to fit all of my possessions on the spaceship (some of my things are truly irreplaceable). And I actually like my family; I wouldn’t want to be permanently separated from them, and most of them have no inclination to live on another planet.
Would you be willing to leave Earth? As one of the first explorers, or a later colonist? What infrastructure, institutions, and objects would be necessary to make you think of the colony as ‘home’?