Humankind always strives to look beyond the unknown. To take one step further. The need for discovery is at the centre of our pursuit of adventure. The very nature of such a need has been key to the development of many innovations, all of which became enablers of far-reaching explorations. The space race is such an endeavour that as nothing before brings great hopes, excitement, and great responsibility. On one hand, it is the show of might and technological advancement, on the other, the milestone marks the beginning of the new human era, the era of space exploration.
We have always dreamed of stars and wondered what is out there. This was true until October 4th of 1957 when the Soviet Union put the first man-made object into space. Not long after, the first human went to outer space - Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth in 1961. For the first time, the man left the world. However, does setting sail make you a sailor? No, but it is the first step to the journey of a lifetime. In 1969, on July 20th, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, making space exploration a fact. This extraordinary event proved that the sky was not the limit anymore. Since that mission, another six crewed mission went to the Moon with the last one in 1972. And now, we again are looking at going back. This time the Moon will become one-stop to a different destination – Mars.
Our Earthly existence - what next?
With humankind expansion, high-speed innovation, and wealth creation, the planet's scarce resource becomes a critical element of the resilience planning for individuals, governments, and the species in its entirety. The inevitable fact of Earth's future uninhabitability raises the question of humankind existence. This fact pushes us to look beyond what is known and harness innovation, yet again ignite the exploration spirit in the name of the greater good. The phenomenon, which in its core provides an unequivocal basis of revolutionary meaning as it provokes complete change in society's fundamental institutions, becomes a reality in front of our eyes.
For ages, the fundamental social institution has been a family. The unit was created with its sole purpose to increase the chances of survival. In the wake of humankind becoming interplanetary species, this social institution as we know it will change. The sense of responsibility for the species survival makes the innovation, deliberately targeting individual survival, dependent on the group's resourcefulness. The exploration camp, the colony, be it Mars or Moon colony will become the primary social unit with its sole purpose to assure the survival of the individuals bonded not by blood but by the purpose. The revolution in its purest form.
War, peace, or collaboration?
The critical challenge to the success of a space revolution is that humankind has always been full of rivalries. Every day, the voices worldwide point to space as a source of limitless wealth and the sphere of strategic importance for military dominance. The same was said of any other explorations to ‘unknown’ lands. The wealth promise invokes military involvement to protect the interest of involved parties. This pressure will lead to increased competition on all fronts, here, on Earth as an immense burden is an enormous cost and effort that must be orchestrated globally - peacefully or otherwise.
And that is why we must ask ourselves many questions. Have we learned anything from the past to achieve species-wide exploration peacefully into space? Will the ‘SpaceHuman’ ever become a reality? Or will national rivalries inherited by the input to the innovation hinder space revolution achievements? Are we going to be humankind as one and not divided by national politics? Is the space revolution becoming the global revolution of a good change? Or will it be the force that creates revolutions against itself? As once West India Company did, will today's giants who are rushing to be the first out there make unforgivable mistakes in outer space?
Under the auspices of Kings and Queens, with the use of commercial forces of such organisations as West India Company, the colonisation made its mark on most countries, bringing years of suffering and exploitation, and fundamentally shaped the world we live in today. Now, we are looking at companies that work with governments or ‘under auspices’ of countries to conquer outer space. They become beacons of the space race and extended arms of the countries. However, as private companies, what laws should they obey? The United Nations Moon Treaty asserts that no nation can claim land on the Moon or any other celestial bodies in the solar system as the extension of its country from the Earth. Although it has not been signed by key players such as the USA, China, Japan, and Russia.
Nonetheless, following the UN as no country can claim land in space, any settlement on any planet must be considered an independent state in the eyes of the law. Therefore, when the commercial company states that it will go to Mars and set the colony, the Mars colony will become owned by that company, meaning that company will own an independent state on the other planet. Now, the commercial objective of setting up a settlement on Mars or any different planet is to make a profit and send back resources to Earth that are deemed valuable or rare on Earth. Similar can be said of past colonies in Asia or Africa until people started to oppose external nations' exploitation and rules. Once the Mars colony matures, develops community, and realises that it is independent, self-sufficient, different from the Earth, developed on the different values and framework, will it want to become separate from its Earthy owner? Or rather, when? How will this be addressed? Will it adapt old ways of organising itself or maybe the new government will adopt a new, unimaginable way of governing a new society taking lessons from our past - the spacehumans revolution.
Keep the peace to make peace
However, when the West India Company conducted its quests, the world was a different place. It was a place where few monarchies ruled almost the entire world; where ordinary people have been exploited and left to their rulers' mercy. It was the world where few made the decisions for all. Now we live in the world when all make a few accountable for all decisions. We know that collaboration of nations and scientists worldwide proves that the achievements once dreamed of are now as real as anything else. Suppose we keep collaborative work and agree on principles that direct us in situations that might be problematic in our space endeavours. In that case, we might decide to unite for the exploration of the great unknown. The United Nations keeps peace globally in most cases, it is a multilateral agreement that gives us the forum to discuss and pressurise for a good cause. Maybe the time has come to think about how to extend the United Nations merit to include outer space in every feasible detail, in the name of keeping peace not only here on Earth, but also out there, in the vast unknown of outer space.
Each quest carries its cost, demanding dedication and perseverance as it requires a sense of responsibility — the responsibility for exploration consequences. The truth is that whatever happens on Earth will directly impact the sustainability of interplanetary human exploration and vice versa. Whether we like it or not, space is not only a matter of science fiction novels anymore. The space revolution has begun. Our responsibility is to make the best out of it; with all the tools we have developed throughout the centuries. Otherwise, history will turn its wheel against us yet again.