Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Lunar Ethics and Space Commercialization
Copyright © 2000 by
David M Livingston


As we start this new century, we note that many of our successful business models are based on greed and are excessively competitive, often to the exclusion of basic human needs and a reasonable distribution of resources. Although they usually operate within the law, these actual businesses do not always value their moral and ethical responsibilities to the consumers, let alone the public in general. In the not-too-distant future, expanding our economy to LEO and the Moon will begin a new era of industrialization in space. Many questions remain as to what this LEO-and-beyond economy will look like, especially the lunar and Martian settlements which are sure to follow.

One of the most important concerns that we can resolve before this era of space industrialization is in full swing involves the standards that our LEO and lunar-based businesses will project. All of us, not just the businesses that will be operating in LEO and on the Moon, can contribute to the debate. The standards that we export to outer space will be with us for many years to come as our new space economy develops, expands, and eventually seeks independence from its source here on Earth. To have a say in the moral component of a new space economy, we need to be addressing these issues now, and even more important, we need to get the business community involved.



Our future generations will be in space, on the Moon, Mars, and even beyond. The initial space residents and pioneers will be from Earth, but as future generations are born in space and on the Moon, their own identity will evolve over time. What springs forth from the seeds that we plant is something that we should all be concerned with today. We must come to understand that we do not own the Moon, space, planets, and celestial bodies. We are not guaranteed these entities. They are not ours for the taking just because we can take it. In "Travelogue for Exiles," a poem by Karl Jay Shapiro, the relationship with space is explained in a way that appropriately summarizes the need for moral and ethical business practices in space.

Look and remember. Look upon this sky;
Look deep and deep in the sea-clean air,
The unconfined, the terminus of prayer.
Speak now and speak into the hallow dome.
What do you hear? What does the sky reply?
The heavens are taken; this is not your home.

We can use space and prosper from it, but as the poem says, the heavens are already taken and they are not our home. Capturing space without regard to ethical considerations will surely breed significant problems, some of which may be with us for centuries. With sufficient forethought, we can make living and working in space beneficial for all concerned. When we do this, we will find the heavens inviting us in as treasured and most welcomed guests, and perhaps over time we will have earned the right to call the heavens our extended home.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Moon and Mars - Videos