The Hell of Humans in Heaven

Space technology and the potential habitation of the Solar System is lengthening the list of catastrophic threats posed to humanity, claims Daniel Deudney in his new book Dark Skies.

A Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, Deudney argues that what has already happened and may happen in space is far less positive than many people think. The track record of space technology as a positive force in world politics and the human condition is highly debatable on political, ethical, normative, and moral grounds. The key negative outcome of the Space Age to date is that space technologies – mainly rockets, missiles and military space infrastructure – make nuclear war more likely. Furthermore, if humanity develops habitats across the solar system, nuclear weapons will continue to be a reliable method of waging war which could extinguish life on Earth. The Solar System will not escape the condition of Mutually Assured Destruction or the Thermonuclear Revolution.

For Deudney, future crewed space ventures are likely to have darker and more troubling socio-political consequences than their advocates nonchalantly presume. The expansion of humanity into space should join the long list of the catastrophic threats that risk the future of human society and life on Earth as we know it. Its proponents – the Space Expansionists – are cheerleading a future that is hopelessly utopian and devoid of political understanding, experience, and historical reality. Humanity’s habitation of the Solar System beyond Earth is a potential existential threat to humanity, and as such, any aggressive expansion across the system should be relinquished. The political naiveté, ignorance, and flawed assertions of the Space Expansionists must be scrutinised.

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