Population in space soars to historic high: 13

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sample crew quarters on the Enterprise-D. Perhaps the creation of a self-sustaining spacefaring culture is worth the higher initial cost.

Yeah! This is what I was writing about yesterday (and on a few other posts before too). With the number of crew on the ISS to increase to six, plus the astronauts on the shuttle and Simonyi on his second journey to space, the overall atmosphere in space seems to be undergoing a bit of a change. One subject often discussed is how many people we need in space for it to undergo a change from simply a location for research that we visit every once in a while, to a place with a large number of people that simply prefer to be there and regard themselves more as citizens of space than of simply the planet or their home country. Right now funding is never secure for space development and programs can be canceled at any time, but what if we were to have a few hundred people actually living there? This would create a sort of lobbying effect, a momentum that couldn't be brought to a halt so easily now that there are people that actually spend their lives in space and have no real desire to return home in the long term.

13 is still far too low of course, and this number is also spread over three locations (the ISS, shuttle, and Soyuz) but with six people on the ISS there's a bit more opportunity for some real interaction between this larger group of people. One of the most interesting parts of Star Trek: TNG is how the crew not only works on the Enterprise but also lives there, including everything from simply spending time with friends at Ten Forward to dating, getting married and starting a family. Though the argument is often put forth that manned exploration right now is far too expensive and we should stick with cheaper unmanned probes (and this is probably correct at the moment), the argument can also be made that with enough initial investment manned exploration could actually turn into a phenomenon with its own self-sustaining momentum given the fact that it also brings about its own culture with it.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP