APPETITE FOR COLONISATION OF SPACE

By Liana Balicka:

Before we can start colonising alien worlds that have not yet been discovered by humans, we need to believe scientists that they actually exist. Today we are almost convinced that the universe consists almost entirely of matter. However, the latest research by scientists on this issue shows that there is also antimatter, and if this is indeed the case, then antimatter seems to contradict everything we currently know about the universe. This issue does not allow quantum physicists to sleep well, because the field they are dealing with could make the themes known from science fiction novels and films a reality.

It is true that the sun will not die until four billion years from now, but there will be no more liquid water on Earth in half a billion years, so perhaps we should already be thinking about leaving our beautiful planet – otherwise, we will simply perish, and that of our own accord.

Let us not leave this problem to our descendants, but let us ask: who will start colonising the universe, how and when? Perhaps new technologies based on antimatter will help us, but where we will go in spaceships to save mankind, we do not yet know.

Scientists are trying to solve these puzzles with more or less success because, in this noble group, it happens that if one scientist claims that something is impossible, another – fortunately in our case – replies that they must have been mistaken. It will be enough for us if all these “divine” particles, quarks and leptons discovered by Nobel laureates lead to space travel, communication faster than light, and perhaps even time travel. After all, this is what we dream about.

While only a few astronauts, the first space cowboys, have ever experienced such thrills and sensations, there are already companies organising commercial space flights, including for us. It’s just a pity that this kind of high-altitude trip is still a treat for the chosen ones with a lot of cash in their wallets. However, in a dozen or so years this entertainment will be available to a larger group and will boil down, perhaps, to a choice between spending an evening in front of the television and experiencing something that is God’s domain – a look “from above” at the globe with the awareness that one day we will be forced to leave it…  forever.

The geographic discoveries of the Middle Ages brought unknown ‘lands and waters’ closer to mankind, but they also triggered colonialism and cruel wars. Today, the appetite for raw materials in space is growing as technology advances. The exploration of Mars, in which we are participating with increasing enthusiasm, provokes the question: are these already star wars or just a harbinger of them?

International space law prohibits any form of appropriation of outer space, which means that no state can subject the cosmos to its authority and jurisdiction. In other words, for the time being, it is not permitted to invest in plots of land on the Moon at all!

It is not allowed, but the entrepreneurial American, Dennis Hope, has become a billionaire by selling plots of land in space to more than three million people on the basis of what he himself announced as a ‘Declaration of Ownership’, in which he takes control of space because the space treaties do not specify the concept of ownership of discovered ‘celestial bodies’. He sent a message to the United Nations to this effect, and since this international organisation did not reject his declaration, he considered his activity on this issue to be legitimate.

Of course, one can laugh or cry over this type of solutions, but there will probably be no shortage of people willing to do so, because if we are going to visit the cosmos in person soon – which is what the tourist agencies that organise the flights encourage us to do – it will probably be better to appear there in our own residence for the proverbial… “peanuts” than to rent a place for… “pots of money”.

This grotesque hypothesis does not seem so ridiculous, because among the happy buyers of space parcels one can find many celebrities from the front pages of newspapers, after the example of whom other colonisers announce their “moon principalities”.

Although the end of the world, according to Japanese scientists, will come in about a billion years, those most curious will not hesitate about making a journey into the unknown (and even buying space plots of land) – after all, learning about the universe, beyond mere human curiosity, is a journey through time and space, which mankind must familiarise itself with and confront if it is to survive.