History Unplugged Podcast

History Unplugged Podcast

Scott Rank

Age of Discovery 2.0, Part 3: Space Colonization Will Reinvigorate Humanity More Than the New World Discovery 500 Years Ago

November 09, 2021   ●   45 min

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The discovery of the New World irrevocably changed the economy of the Old World. Triangle trade, manufactured goods went from Britain to the Americas, which sent food staples to the Indies, which sent cash crops back to England. It also caused investment dollars to flood into exploration ventures. As far back as the 1500s, tracts of land were sold in Kentucky through British crown land patents, helping fund the Virginia Colony of London, which set up Jamestown. Most importantly, it gave Europe a terra nova where the old social hierarchies no longer mattered. New forms of egalitarianism developed.
With the development of cheaper rocketry by Elon Musk and others, something similar is going to happen very soon. Today’s guest, astronautical engineer Robert Zubrin, spells out the potential of these new in a way that is visionary yet grounded by a deep understanding of the practical challenges. A new Triangle Trade will be development between Earth, Mars, and the asteroid belt. Investment dollars will flood into speculative ventures such as asteroid mining. And all sorts of new human societies will be possible.

Fueled by the combined expertise of the old aerospace industry and the talents of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, spaceflight is becoming cheaper. The new generation of space explorers has already achieved a major breakthrough by creating reusable rockets. Zubrin foresees more rapid innovation, including global travel from any point on Earth to another in an hour or less; orbital hotels; moon bases with incredible space observatories; human settlements on Mars, the asteroids, and the moons of the outer planets; and then, breaking all limits, pushing onward to the stars.

Zubrin shows how projects that sound like science fiction can actually become reality. But beyond the how, he makes an even more compelling case for why we need to do this—to increase our knowledge of the universe, to make unforeseen discoveries on new frontiers, to harness the natural resources of other planets, to safeguard Earth from stray asteroids, to ensure the future of humanity by expanding beyond its home base, and to protect us from being catastrophically set against each other by the false belief that there isn’t enough for all.
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