On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the philosophical implications of settling humans on Mars. We also go into Elon Musk's idea that we humanity needs to become a multi-planetary civilization in order to avoid extinction, and the ideology behind this growing wave of Earth escapism (aka, space enthusiasm).

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Timestamps:

  • 0:00 - Intro, SpaceX, and Elon Musk
  • 5:50 - How space exploration inspired me
  • 13:29 - The implications of colonizing Mars
  • 24:00 - The human & engineering challenges of going to Mars
  • 43:03 - Our long-term goals, avoiding existential risk
  • 52:33 - The Outer Space Treaty and the legal status of Mars

Recap:

  • We kick off this episode discussing Elon Musk's most recent talk/presentation where he gave an update on the status of SpaceX's Starship, which is currently in development. Musk reiterated the importance of making humanity a multi-planetary species.
  • I talk a little bit about how I was initially inspired to start blogging about science & technology, then space exploration, and then existential risk, before finally settling on philosophy. Some of the older blog posts on this website date back to when I was blogging solely about science-related topics.
  • We go on to discuss the philosophical implications of colonizing Mars. First, we have to contend with ethical considerations around planetary protection and the possibility that we might harm existing Martian life. We also need to consider the ethical implications of spending money colonizing Mars while ignoring problems on Earth.
  • We then address the various practical challenges of going to Mars, including its extreme distance from Earth, communication delays, resupply problems, habitat living conditions, and possible radiation exposure.
  • We then take stock of several existential risks and how they might factor into humanity being multi-planetary. Ultimately, it seems like becoming a multi-planetary civilization doesn't help us avoid any risks at all (other than natural ones), and may in fact exacerbate some existing existential risks we face.
  • We end things off considering the legal status of Mars and the ethical considerations of colonizing another planet while we still have difficult problems to solve right here on Earth.

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