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To colonize a neighboring planet


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Let us consider that the reason(s) we have not decided to colonize Mars or some other neighboring planet is based on ethical reasons.

 

Would it be ethical to colonize a neighboring planet?

 

I will set forth a hypothesis I have.

 

If a neighboring planet has the potential to be colonized and has microorganisms on it, it will not be colonized. It will not be colonized, because we would be destroying the ecosystem of those life-forms. To destroy its ecosystem would be bad.

Edited by Genecks
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Personally, I think that the more life and the more advanced life on a planet, the more likely it is to be colonized. Why? Because it means there are the sort of conditions that make life possible. That, and no one really cares about microbes. We'll send a scientist to put them in a jar, maybe.

 

Would we colonize a continent that has other humans on it? How about a continent without humans on it?

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If we had to colonize another planet, and their was life on that planet, I am sorry, if its bacterial sort or microscopic, I would be totally in favor of destroying that ecosystem to preserve our species, and possibly other species of our planet. That is if we were technologically capable of colonizing the planet.

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would there be problem in colonising a planet full of trees?

 

If they were trees like on Earth, it might actually be easier to colonize such a planet, as opposed to a planet like Mars. I would think a planet with trees like on Earth, has a somewhat similar atmosphere to Earth.

 

A barren planet on the other hand may not have an atmosphere designed for humans, or an atmosphere at all.

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I think you would be hard pressed to keep humans from colonizing a planet with intelligent life much less microbes. If the first Mars probe had revealed a planet much like the Earth with complex life I think we would already have been there.

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A possible ethical reason I could see is that we'd be dedicating resources to expansion into an exceptionally hostile, resource draining environment when we still protest the amounts of foreign aid we provide to counter the starvation and suffering here on Earth.

 

As for the microbes of an alien world goes, the most compelling characteristic they may have is their uniqueness, since they would have evolved separately from life on Earth.

That said, to consider colonizing another planet unethical because it would involve destroying life there (and replacing it with Earth based lifeforms) would be a bit of a stretch since we do this all the time on Earth. Colonizing a place that is separated by a river, an ocean or space and breaking down which would be ethical or not is somewhat arbitrary.

 

The real issue I guess is whether it is ethical to cause extinction of unique lifeforms and entire evolutionary branches. If the planet is especially barren, you could argue colonization and terraforming efforts would increase life, and the DNA sequences (having originated locally or on Earth) is less relevant. If the planet is Earth like, the local ecology would likely survive and simply be reduced where we do colonize - an effect human existence has on Earth and the ecology.

 

I could see ethical questions impacting how we would colonize another world, but I don't think it would unilaterally prevent it.

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I will set forth a hypothesis I have.

 

If a neighboring planet has the potential to be colonized and has microorganisms on it, it will not be colonized. It will not be colonized, because we would be destroying the ecosystem of those life-forms. To destroy its ecosystem would be bad.

You are not the only one who holds this opinion, Genecks.

 

I have raised this issue myself; see this post and this post. Note well: I haven't said where I stand on this issue. It most certainly is an issue to some, and not just extreme wackos from the green movement. Some members of the Red Mars camp are well-respected and rather influential scientists who have a direct impact on NASA policy.

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You are not the only one who holds this opinion, Genecks.

 

I have raised this issue myself; see this post and this post. Note well: I haven't said where I stand on this issue. It most certainly is an issue to some, and not just extreme wackos from the green movement. Some members of the Red Mars camp are well-respected and rather influential scientists who have a direct impact on NASA policy.

 

Personally, I don't care if Mars does or does not have life. Mars does not seem to have intelligible life on it. As such, even if it had microbes, I doubt we're going to learn anything interesting from them. Unless there are some microbes that are recycling nuclear materials and renewing them (or other awesome/extreme futurist things), then I figure there is little to learn from them. It's not being xenophobic; it's that their utility is low, and they should not be cared about. If there are microbes, go grab them, study them, and if it's shown that they truly are not radically different than Earth microbes, then I suspect the need to keep them safe is extremely low.

 

I figure there is life on other planets. Whether or not it matters that there is life on other planets is a different story. They may or may not be intelligible. Cosmologists try to figure out the age of the universe; biologists try to figure out how long complex evolution took; geologists try to figure out how long the Earth has been around... and from synthesizing concepts from those realms, I've gnereated the the argument/belief that if Earth could do it, then some other solar system is capable of it; and that's good enough for me. The trick is finding which solar system.

 

But, for it to have life means some serious things. And that will include some serious biznis.

 

First off, it will make the genesis-believers and creationists annoyed.

 

Second off, it shows that life is indeed existent on more planets than Earth, thus giving rise to the belief that we should undergo space exploration for new worlds. Also, it may lead to clues as to what kind of planets to look for.

 

But I couldn't really care.

 

I've often been curious to what kind of NASA policies exist in case we did indeed find those microbes on Mars.

Edited by Genecks
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Personally, I don't care if Mars does or does not have life. Mars does not seem to have intelligible life on it. As such, even if it had microbes, I doubt we're going to learn anything interesting from them.

Assuming there is life on Mars, there would be an incredible amount to learn even if that life was extremely simple. That would be particularly so if it could be shown that that life originated independently from Earth life. Those are two big ifs right now.

 

The trick is finding which solar system.

Sorry to bust your bubble, but if that life is not our solar system we're not going to go there anytime soon. We will have a hard time seeing it for a long, long time. The best we will be able to do in the foreseeable future is see signs of life on some other planet. Signs of oxygen in the planet's atmosphere would do the trick. Even detecting such gross signs of life is well beyond current technology.

 

First off, it will make the genesis-believers and creationists annoyed.

Nah. Scientists lie about a lot of things. Dinosaurs, the age of the Earth, evolution, etc. Claiming that life has been found on Mars would just be yet another lie promulgated by those nasty secular humanist scientists.

 

Second off, it shows that life is indeed existent on more planets than Earth, thus giving rise to the belief that we should undergo space exploration for new worlds.

Nope. Not in our lifetime, and I strongly suspect not in our children's lifetime.

 

 

I've often been curious to what kind of NASA policies exist in case we did indeed find those microbes on Mars.

Missions to Mars are already prepared under very sterile conditions, and then en route, the vehicles are intentionally opened up to ensure the death of any Earth-born life that somehow did slip through all the precautions. One reason is self-interest. It would be rather embarrassing to claim that life has been found on Mars only to later find that this purported Mars life is just some Earth-born microbes that hitched a ride to Mars. Not wanting to pollute Mars with Earth life is another reason. The "Red Mars" camp is in the minority right now, but they do have some sway.

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I have my doubts about colonizing Mars to begin with, Antarctica would be much easier but no one seems to be lobbying to live there.

 

In the future gravity wells will be avoided, any colonies will be artificial habitats. Resources in space such as asteroids and comets are far to rich and easy to waste time on planets and gravity wells.

 

We'll construct artificial ecosystems inside huge rotating torus's and ignore planets as we spread across the galaxy. Even at far less than light speed we could could colonize the entire galaxy in a few million years.

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I have my doubts about colonizing Mars to begin with, Antarctica would be much easier but no one seems to be lobbying to live there.

 

I agree with this. It would be easier to expand human habitat/civilization to harsh environments on earth, as opposed to harsh environments of a foreign planet/body/object.

 

The ocean floor is another possibility as well.

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But why would we expand human civilization to harsh environments on Earth versus to another planet?

 

It would be even easier and more desirable to expand our cities instead if we don't want to colonize beyond Earth.

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It would be easier to expand human habitat/civilization to harsh environments on earth, as opposed to harsh environments of a foreign planet/body/object.

 

 

It would be even easier to do neither. But that's hardly the point, is it? You don't go to Mars because you need somewhere to live. You go to Mars to study it, to move "all our eggs out of one basket," etc.

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