Our Future Off-Earth

Monday, 16 February 2015: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Room LL20C (San Jose Convention Center)
Chris Impey,University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ
The prospect of humans living and dying off-Earth raises a set of legal, ethical, and practical questions. After several decades where astronauts have been limited to low Earth orbits, competition between the new and traditional space-faring nations, and aspirations of new players in the commercial space industry, are likely to lead to colonies on the Moon and Mars, and further travel through the Solar System. The growth of private sector space travel may not be regulated significantly by national and international entities. If human colonies are established off-Earth, they will diverge socially, politically, and eventually biologically from the bulk of humanity on the home planet. The rights and obligations of off-Earth humans are unclear, but the transition will be as profound as when humans first left Africa 60,000 years ago.